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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Divine Orchestration

14 Nov

divine orchestration in Seoul

 

Hey Lovers,

I’m finally adjusting back to LA time from Asia. It usually doesn’t take me very long to adjust but for some reason I have been dragging all week. I can’t wait to share some of my recent adventures with you during my trip to Seoul, Kyoto, Tokyo and Shanghai. When we planned our trip initially, Clarence was the one who suggested we stopped by Seoul for a weekend. I thought it was pretty random. I’d never had a desire to visit Seoul but he was sold on it. So I agreed and we booked our 3 day/2night stay at a B&B in Seoul, South Korea.

About a week before we left for our trip I was talking to my friend Miranda and she told me that she and Jerame would be in Seoul the exact same time we would be there. If you know me at all, you know that I’m all about signs and looking for the hand of God in my life. But if I’m honest with you, I feel like I’ve been ignoring that part of my life for the past couple of months. I’ll explore that more with you in another post. Anyway, it was so obvious that this was divine orchestration. Why on earth would our close friends from Pasadena be on the other side of the globe the same weekend we were and we didn’t plan it together?

Well, as soon as Jerame began to preach I knew this was God. His message was the message I’d been waiting to hear for nearly 2 years now since graduating from the School Of Supernatural Ministry. The night I graduated, God gave me the verse Isaiah 22:22 to share with my classmates and those in attendance. I continued to see this verse for years, as well as the number pattern 222 and 22:22. This was the verse that Jerame preached from. The question I had in my heart for nearly 2 years was about the keys. What was the key in the verse that God kept bringing to my attention? I got my answer that night from Jerame when he shared the other key verse, Matthew 16:19. He had us come up and he prayed over us with the biggest silver key you can imagined. On the key was engraved Isaiah 22:22. And he said that for one of us, this verse was a life verse. I knew it was for me.

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NPR Marriage Interview

12 Nov

Kyoto

 

Hey Lovers,

Clarence and I are just returning from a 2 week trip to Asia. While we were in Japan a few friends heard us on their ride home from work. About a month ago we were asked to interview with NPR about our decision to get married. It’s our first radio interview, well it’s my first radio interview – and I loved it. Only a portion of what we shared made the interview, but as a writer I totally understand the process. It’s important to note to you all though that we shared our faith as an important part of our marriage and why it works. I believe that you have to have something solid as your foundation and in my life there is no one or nothing more solid than Christ.

I hope you enjoy the interview! I’d love to hear your experience with marriage, whether you are millennial (18-34) or not.

http://www.npr.org/2014/11/03/361206273/millennials-have-inherited-the-black-marriage-gap

Not Thank Kind Of Girl

17 Oct

not that kind of girl

 

Last night I attended an event by the talented Lena Dunham. If you aren’t familiar with her, she one of Hollywood’s newest stars and is the producer, writer and star behind the show Girls. Several months ago I was at my favorite bookstore Vromans when I saw a sign that Lena would be in Pasadena for her new book tour, Not That Kind Of Girl. I thought it would be interesting to hear her speak since she has successfully done things that I would like to do one day. So I bought one ticket. Much later I noticed that the event would be at the Pasadena Presbyterian Church. I found that really strange because Lena isn’t a Christian and her content is very secular.

When I walked up to the church I was greeted by a woman who handed me a bag that said “Lena <3 Planned Parenthood”. Inside the bag was 6 condoms and a card for more information on Planned Parenthood. When I checked in they handed me a copy of her book, Not That Kind Of Girl, and my ticket to enter. The church was packed, both bottom and upstairs. I can’t recall the last time I’ve been in a packed church like that, probably when I visited T.D. Jakes in Dallas last year.

It was quite clear that the audience wasn’t a spiritual one. They were feminist, rebels, interesting women (and a few men sprinkled here and there). I found a seat towards the very back on the bottom floor and started to take it all in. I noticed the massive cross on stage and couldn’t help but to feel sad. These people weren’t here for Christ. But how could this church allow this audience to freely use what’s supposed to be a holy space? But who was I to judge, after all I was in the audience too.

A woman got on stage and sang a couple of folky songs. Then a raunchy comedian stepped on stage, under the cross, and told multiple blasphemous jokes. My heart began to ache, how could this take place in a church? Did the church need money? Were they that ignorant to who would speaking? Why did God bring me to this event? What was he showing me?

There was no reverence for God that night in that church. People mocked and spoke as if they were on the street corner. Lena was funny as always and wasn’t nearly as raunchy as her opening act, well until she had her friend place some old-school baby microphone between her legs and pretend to speak to her vagina. This too took place on the church platform. Her friend also asked everyone there to take a moment and “meditate” before they began the interview. Who was she meditating to, or even praying to?

Yet I felt God brought me there to show me something. Clarence reminded me of a passage in scripture.

Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.” The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. – Matthew 21:12-14

Dreams Of A Life

14 Aug

 

Hey Lovers,

I saw the most disturbing film a couple of weeks ago. It was about a young woman in England who was found in her apartment YEARS after she had passed away. Her tv was still on, and no one ever stopped by. The question of course is how in the world could something like this happen? I’m sure you have at least thought about how interactions with neighbors happen less and less in our culture. Do you know your neighbors names? Technology makes it’ so easy to send a text to a friend instead of making a point to see them in person from time to time. But even given all of that, how in the world could a woman who one had friends die without anyone noticing? It seems like she was an orphan because she had mixed stories about her family and upbringing.

I don’t know, this really upset me. The movie is called Dreams Of A Life. Nobody noticed when Joyce Vincent died in her apartment above a shopping mall in North London in 2003. Would anyone miss you?

I remember one time in acting class we did an exercise and we had to sit in front of the class and answer really intimate questions. For some reason, everyone was willing. When it was my turn the instructor asked me, “Lezlie what is your greatest fear”? At the time my response was, “My greatest fear is me dying and no one knew I ever existed.” I don’t even know where that response came from, but that’s what came out.

I now know that I am loved, not only by God, but also by the people He has surrounded me with. And I know that I at least existed to them. Hey, do me a favor though. The next time you pass your neighbor or co-worker that you usually ignore, stop and say hello to them. Really get to know something about them. You never know if the person next to you needs a simple acknowledgement that their existence matters.

joyce carol vincent

Joyce Vincent

 

Little People Of Ambato

29 Jul

ambato

 

Hello there lovers,

I wanted to share with you the little people of Ambato. Ambato is a city about 4 hours from Quito that we visited towards the end of our trip. On this particular day we had the option to go help a woman who needed her home painted or to serve the little people of Ambato. We were warned that their living conditions were pretty dirty and that they were living in poverty. I could sense resistance or at least hesitance from many of the people in our group. But the pastors encouraged us all to push ourselves in new ways. For some of us that meant getting on a microphone and sharing a word that God had given us for a total stranger. For others it was serving the little people of Ambato ;).

Honestly, this was my favorite part of the trip. I was born to do this kind of work so I jump at opportunities like this. When we got there the six siblings made their way back to the house (some were carried inside from the field) so we could meet them. They ranged in height from 3 feet to 5 feet and are believed to be between the ages of 65-80. No one knows for sure. Three of the siblings are high-functioning and the other three are low-functioning, but they all have deteriorating health.

It’s believed that they were abandoned when they were children and somehow managed to raise themselves without outside help. The government finally built a small home for them but they weren’t taught how to use things so they don’t shower or bathe. We were told that the only time their clothes are changed is when a group like ours from the church comes to do it.

When I walked inside their home I immediately connected with the two sisters, Zoilita and Margarita. Margarita was the older sister and was higher functioning. You could tell she kind of ran the place, though she didn’t really speak. I washed her hair for lice and cut it, but not too much because she likes to have some length. After that, I washed Zoilita and changed her clothes. I then had the chance to wash her feet and apply lotion. Her feet were caked with mud because she never wears shoes or socks, even outdoors. I had a moment when I was washing her feet where the scripture of Jesus washing his disciples feet came to mind. At first I was washing her feet without much thought. But as I thought of Jesus and what this act of service meant, I suddenly saw her as a woman getting a pedicure in LA. I wanted it to be the best foot cleaning/massage she ever had. And she smiled and laughed with joy.

But Zoilita carried more joy than anyone I’ve ever met in my entire life. I’ve never seen anything like it and I doubt I ever will again.

Before we left, our whole group prayed over them and sang a few songs for them. They were so sweet. And on the way out the door Margarita made an “X” on me. One of the girls from the church gasped and said that Margarita was blessing me. That totally made my week.

I’ll never forget the little people of Ambato. They changed me and I’m grateful. If you want to read more about them and how you can possibly help, check out this blog post “The Little People of Ambato“. And thanks Katie Shinn for the couple of photos towards the end of this gallery ;).

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