When God’s Finger Rests On You

22 Dec

God's finger

I got the following message in a newsletter from Teresa Parker. Her book, Sweet Grace: How I Lost 250 Pounds and Stopped Trying to Earn God’s Favor has helped me so much with my personal struggle with food and God. I thought it was a great message for the new year and wanted to share it with you. The following are her words.

Maybe there’s been a time when you’ve felt God’s finger resting on you. You felt Him saying, “I choose you,” but you were too afraid to answer. You like the rich, young ruler1went away sad. It was money that was standing between you and Him, but it was something you felt you couldn’t do without.

Maybe you thought He was wrong or ridiculous for pointing His supernatural finger at you because you knew what He wanted. He wanted you to help recreate you into the person of destiny He planned for you to be even before you were born.

You know and He knows that you are physically in no shape to be catapulted into this amazing destiny He has planned for you. He dreams of the time when you, like the Princess you are, will step into the center of the dance floor and take His hand for the dance of destiny.

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My Personal Fear Of Success

15 Dec

fear of success

 

Hey Lovers,

I hope you found my previous post on the subconscious fear of success helpful. I realize that not everyone is fearful of success, many people are afraid of failure. I wanted to share a little of my experience and heart with you and why apparently success is scarier than failure (for me). In the industry I work in I am used to hearing no. If I had to guess, I’d say that I’ve heard 99 no’s for every yes I’ve received. This has forced me to grow thicker skin than I already had.

I remember reading a chapter in “Learning To Fly”, Victoria Beckham’s autobiography, where she shared the moment that she got the call that she booked  a spot in The Spice Girls. She said that in that moment all of the tears that she’d been holding in for years from all of the rejection she’d received came pouring out. And she realized how much it really mattered to her, even though she’d told herself for years that every no was “no big deal”. I literally sobbed.

I read another article that broke down signs you may fear success as well as possible reasons why you do.

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Fear Of Success (Subconscious)

13 Dec

fear of success

 

Hello Lovers! I am reposting this article word for word from 99u because it was so insightful. I’ve been asked in the past if I feared success and I always laughed at that question. Why in the world would I be afraid to succeed? I definitely wasn’t afraid of failure and success is planted in my heart. But I recently had the revelation that I am and I just didn’t see it. I am writing a personal post on this topic and will share it with you soon, so check back soon.

 

Have you ever found yourself on the verge of a big success, and noticed things starting to go wrong? It begins with a feeling of agitation. The tiniest details irritate you. Reliable people start making alarming mistakes.“What’s up with them? Can’t they see how important this is? Why are they being so careless?”

It becomes hard to concentrate. You find yourself procrastinating over things you know will lead to success. You say something stupid in an important meeting.

“What’s wrong with me today?”

You get into arguments with your partner and friends, who wonder why you’re being so “touchy.”

All of these are classic symptoms of fear of success – a condition that is all the more dangerous because it’s so unexpected. You want to be successful, right? You’ve sweated blood to get to this point, so why would you sabotage yourself?

But in our success-oriented culture, we don’t give much thought to the fact that success can be downright scary. We’re used to seeing fear as the enemy, so we do our best to ignore it and soldier on. Which means the fear remains subconscious, expressing itself in the kind of “stupid” behaviors above.

So what can you do about it?

Sometimes all you need to do is “out” the fear by admitting to yourself that you are, in fact, afraid. Paradoxically, it can have the effect of helping you relax.

“OK, I’m nervous, which is pretty normal considering what’s at stake.”

(Deep breath)

“Right, what’s next?”

And sometime it helps to focus on exactly what you’re afraid of, and find a way to deal with the threat. Here are three classic versions of fear of success, and what to do about them.

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Harajuku Girls

9 Dec

I’m not sure if songs like this are made out of admiration or objectification. The first time I heard of Harajuku girls was from Gwen Stefani back in the day. She, along with other artists seemed to be inspired by Asian culture. I thought the girls were bold and I loved their funky style. On my recent trip to Japan I had the chance to explore the Harajuku district with my friend Kim Julie and Clarence. As expected, Harajuku had amazing clothes and was the best spot for people watching. I grabbed a few dresses for myself and my cousin, as well as some button flair for my friend Toni’s nurse scrubs.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from that day.

love-lezlie

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What Are You? – Identity Part 1

1 Dec
Ancestry Map

African 57%, European 42%, Asian 1%

 

Hey Lovers,

Over the past year I have really taken an active interest in studying genealogy and recording my family history. I’ve always been interested in this, even as a child. Now that companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe.com offer DNA tests, I’ve been able to find out information I’ve always wanted to know. All of my life I was asked “What are you?”. Although I wasn’t born to one black parent and one white parent (both of my parents have African and European blood), my experience was that of a biracial child. I remember telling people many times what they wanted to know and they would debate with me about my ancestry as if I was wrong. For one, they had a hard time believing that I didn’t have a 3rd ancestry, like Asian. As far as I knew my ancestors were all African and European decent, though we suspected there could be some Native American.

I remember many incidents that revolved around ethnicity. They were often sad and confusing.

My bus driver in 1st grade was an older black woman. She would always stare at me in the rear view mirror. One day my mom walked me up to the bus and said goodbye. She looked at my mom, then looked at me. When we pulled up to the school she said, “Ok kids, today we are going to get off the bus a little differently. We are going to do it like we did when I was your age, by race”. I could feel my little heart tense up. She then went on to dismiss the white kids first, then the Asian kids, and then the Mexican kids. I waited. She finally called the black kids last and I got up. She smiled at me as if she were satisfied. I don’t remember her really staring at me much after that, except for the occasional smile.

I was so embarrassed the time I spent the night at Amanda Miller’s party in 5th grade. She was popular and blonde and came from a wealthy Mormon family. All of us girls sat in the living room talking when Amanda said, “Yeah my parents said I just wasn’t allowed to invite any black girls.” I hesitated because based on history I knew how this would play out. “Well, I’m black Amanda.” After several gasps, Amanda responded, “Well you know what I mean, you aren’t really black Lezlie.” She stopped hanging out with me though in the days to come.

There are more memories, like the time a white boy behind me on the bus as a freshman yelled out the window to a black boy, “NIGGEEEER”. I turned around and shot him the look of death. He looked confused and I had to tell him I was black. I reported him to the school and we had a mediation. During the mediation he said, “She isn’t even really black, why is she so upset?”

And there were the countless times I received hatred from black girls because of my appearance. That always broke my heart because I wanted nothing more than to be accepted as a black girl. Once I was walking down the hallway at school and a black girl tried to cut all of my hair off out of jealousy as she called me a “yellow bi***. I did nothing to this girl previously aside from try to be friendly.

There were times where I felt if one parent was one thing and one was the other it would have been a little easier, but since they were both a mix who identified as black I felt odd. Could I self-identify as mixed? God knows that was and continues to be my life experience. I had a feeling based on what I knew about my family history that I was close to being half and half anyway but a little more black than white. My recent DNA results proved my suspicions to be correct with basically a 60/40 split (African 57%, European 42%, Asian 1%).

Well, enough of that. Here are some of my findings on my actual genetic breakdown ;-).

H6 haplogroup

My maternal haplogroup is H6a1 and according to an Oxford Journal study on the haplohroup H, my particular branch is Caucasus/Ossetians. You will see later in my breakdown that I have 2% Caucasus DNA that still shows in my blood. I find that pretty amazing since the connection goes back so far. I wasn’t sure what Ossetians were but after a little research I discovered that they are are an Iranian ethnic group of the Caucasus Mountains. So not only was I able to discover the Caucasus root, but I know which specific people group within Caucasian I belong to. I’ve been able to connect several dots like this through months of analyzing my DNA through various programs. For instance, I ran my DNA through a program on GEDmatch.com and it showed that I had traces of “Indo-Iranian”. I thought that was strange (only because I had no previous knowledge of that ancestry). But this Ossetian discovery just confirms that finding is accurate.

Here is a lovely traditional Ossetian dance.

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Seoul Touched My Soul

26 Nov

 

Of all the places we visited in Asia I was most surprised by Seoul. I think because I had no expectations for it before we went. Clarence was the one who suggested we visited Seoul and when he mentioned it I reluctantly agreed. His hunch was right. Not only were we blessed by our dear friends who were preaching the same weekend in Seoul, but the city itself charmed us with its beauty and culture. The people of Seoul are so incredibly stylish, kind, and attractive. And they were so open to Jesus, it was beautiful. They are well known for K-pop so I made sure to pick up some K-pop gifts for my little cousin who is a senior in high school.

And the food, oh the food. Everything we are from Seoul from the $3 street food to the hole in the wall hot spots had amazing food. I had the best kimchi of my life in Seoul, I only wish I could have bottled it up and brought it back to LA with me. Clarence is happy that I couldn’t, lol.

I also noticed some really interesting beauty trends with the women of Seoul and wrote about them HERE.

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Set Apart

25 Nov

 

“For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. – Deuteronomy 7:6

God speaks to me in dreams often. On part 1 of my honeymoon to Hawaii last fall He gave me a dream that I’ll never forget. I got a text that I was invited to a PIHOP event. I didn’t get many details but somehow I knew that I was supposed to wear white. I put on a nice white dress and walked down the aisle of the church towards 2 friends that I recognized. They were also dressed in white. Then the music started and I a woman I knew walking down the aisle in a wedding dress with a crown on her head. I know this woman in real life, she has dedicated her life to God in a radical way. I remember thinking, “Oh crap, it’s a wedding, I shouldn’t have worn white.”. But then I realized the first 2 rows of us were wearing white. The bride passed us towards the front of the alter. I never saw the groom because as she passed I woke up.

I knew what this dream meant and I knew it was direction from God. It was about being the bride of Christ, I was to live a life consecrated to Him and set apart. I think I’ve shared with you before that as a child I wanted to be a nun and/or a movie star :-). I realize now that the desire to be a nun was to live a life dedicated to God. God has been relentless with this in my life. From the time I was a little girl it’s been heavy on my heart that this is how I am to live. I have spent most of my life “kind of” agreeing to this calling.

This week He has started nudging me again. I have cried many days this week about it. At first I didn’t even know why I was crying. But as I begin to be still and let the tears flow I realized it was only fear of the unknown. At this point in my relationship with God I know that it’s silly to fear anything because He always has great plans for my life and He never leaves me or forsakes me.

Here is a helpful post from Dr. Charles Stanley on being set apart.

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Are You French?

20 Nov

french woman

 

Hey Lovers,

I’m a total Francophile, that’s no secret. My favorite movie is Amelie, my favorite genre of film is general French, lol. I have attempted to learn French probably 5x since I was in college, but I usually stop after a week and start watching movies again. It’s still on my bucket list to actually learn the most beautiful language ever (Clarence fights me on this and insists it’s actually Portuguese). Whatever you say buddy.

Okay so the reason for this post is that while I was traveling throughout Asia, particularly China, I was asked by 4 different men on 4 different occasions if I was French. *Gasp*. In my dreams I am French. I wondered if they were picking up on the desires of my heart? But really, why were all of these guys asking me if I was French. Most of them were Chinese men, but one was Russian and another was Turkish. I finally asked the last guy what made him think that. Can you guess what his answer was?

Because you look so romantic.

Was this dude hitting on me? I don’t know. Maybe. But there may have been some things honestly lost in translation. My friend who witnessed this final occurrence (she happens to be from London) said that maybe they meant French-Moroccan.

Moroccan woman

This is a photo of a Moroccan woman. When I was in college I worked with a Moroccan man and when I wore my hair curly he would say in his native accent, “You would fit right in with the women back at home”.

I am sharing this with you all because it was weird. That’s really the only reason. Also, if you have any insight into French culture or sub-culture that I may be totally oblivious to despite being a Francophile, please share.

Do you know why multiple men mistook me for a French woman in China? LOL!

 

A Date With A Monk

19 Nov

We had the pleasure of bumping into a monk on our way to Fushimi Inari- Taisha our second day in Kyoto. It was rather serendipitous as most of my days are. He happened to work at the same place we were going to and wanted to guide us (and our guide/friend, Alan). Before we entered the grounds he showed us the proper way to cleanse our hands and mouth. This represented cleaning the internal and the external. There were cords to pull on that had bells in a separate area and you could offer a coin if you wanted.

Once we got to the main gate we had to part ways because he had to start his shift. There were miles and miles of orange gates built into the forrest and we explored about half of the grounds. If we had more time and energy we would have climbed to the top of the massive hill (in my eyes it was a mountain) where it was possible to over look all of Kyoto. But, at that point our group was hungry and tired so we walked back to the city.

Whenever we travel to religious grounds we always try to be respectful. It’s fascinating for us because we are both so close to God. There was a time in the past where I wouldn’t have participated in the cleansing with the monk. But God has really shown me the importance of listening to Him in each and every moment. I had His peace that day and as a result I learned new things from a deeply spiritual man.

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Lovely Kyoto

18 Nov

Kyoto Girls

 

I once heard that Kyoto was the Paris of Asia from a trusted friend. So when Clarence and I decided to add on cities to our Shanghai trip, we decided to spend a few days in Kyoto. I’d never heard of Kyoto before my friend mentioned it to me. Aside, from the time I heard it referenced in a song on KCRW one day. I’d only had my heard set on Tokyo for most of my life. Kyoto was a breath of fresh air after a week in crowded Shanghai. And we had the perfect guide to show us the heartbeat of the city, Alan Algee.

It was a joy to see how well adjusted Alan was to this foreign city, coming from Los Angeles. He’s lived there for a year now and is living the creative genius dream. I was happy that Clarence got a chance to meet him and learn what it’s like for an American to live abroad since it’s in our hearts to do so. Well, we are open to the idea at least ;-).

Our first night in Kyoto we explored Kodai-ji Zen Temple and later had Shabu-Shabu at Junidan-Ya, the first shabu shabu restaurant in Kyoto. It’s Japanese custom to slurp at the end of your bowl to show that the food was delicious. I had fun with that. Clarence accidentally walked up to the table with his shoes on for dinner. We gasped – and laughed (after the fact).

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