|Don’t Be a Carbon-Copy of the World|

Do you ever get a Jesus life check? Recently I am being hit with them so often (and almost always end up being a crying, snotty mess of a person.) God has recently been dealing with me about not living my life so self-centered. It’s so easy to look at society and blame it for making us feel this way or that. Blaming society for low self-esteem and self-worth, blaming society for it’s clutter and for it’s twisted and negative images and messages. I completely get that, because I think society is to blame. Partly. But when I look at myself and I realize that I am portraying that self-serving nature that is going viral in today’s world. I blame myself.

I blame myself because even though sometimes it’s hard to see through the materialistic enticements and clutter, I am to blame because I let society sway me. I let it carry me. I become addicted to social media, I snap-chat every five minutes, I endlessly scroll through my face-book feed for no reason other than to look at other people’s lives, I spend hours watching You-tube videos (I make myself feel better by saying I’m learning and taking tips to better my You-tube channel). It’s funny that social media is a way to let everyone think that our lives are so grand, yet we are hurting inside. We struggle with self-worth yet we post a million and one pictures on Facebook/Instagram to make people think otherwise. Is there any surprise that there are insecurities rising because we compare ourselves to everyone else’s high lights?

It saddens me so much that I am so swayed by this world that it is hard for me to see someone alone, lost, or hurting. I feel as though I let the clutter of this world blind me to see the true heart and vision God has for myself and others. Molly Kate Kestner said, “Live your life in a way where the person you portray isn’t a copy of the person the world tells you to be.” Ask Yourself: What would I look like if I wasn’t so watered down by the world? How can I break free of the influence of this world and be who God really called me to be? How do I step out of this self-serving, “it’s all about me and my perfect life” nature?

I don’t know about you, but I want to be the very best version of me. The me that God created in the secret place and proclaimed all those beautiful things to. The me that can stop being so self-involved and self-serving and can really do what God told us to do in the first place; which was to love God, and love others.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2

Passionately,

Leanne

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A Day Out – Winter Lookbook

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So I decided to go for a comfortable yet, put together look for a day out with friends! With a plain black Turtleneck or Polo-Neck, (I haven’t neglected my Brits!) and plaid shorts, I finished the look off with classic white converse; this look was nice and easy to pull off. Disclaimer: Don’t be fooled by the snow, there was a rather nice octobery chill in the air… If it had been a little colder, I would have added some extra warm layers- Especially some tights or leggings!

Hope you enjoyed this little Look-book!

Until next time,

Passionately,

Leanne

Movies with a Positive Message

I don’t know about you, but I’m an avid movie watcher. Always have been. My parents used to say I had my whole head in the movie; meaning, I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the screen. I did the same with books too. If you couldn’t find me, please know that I was probably underneath your bed reading a Meg Cabot teen fiction.

Whiles I’m one of the first to admit that I do love a good movie/TV show, (aka, A Shonda Rimes original, aka one of my fav directors, aka Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy…) Yet, time and time again I’m disappointed in these movies/TV shows. The very fact that great actors choose to pursue roles that are full of unnecessary and explicit sexual content, promoting a normalized over-sexualized society. It becomes okay for sex to permeate every movie, okay for a film sponsored by Disney to be about  a business man falling in love with a kinky prostitute, okay for children to expect a kiss at the end of the movie because, let’s just be honest here, we’ll all be a teensy bit disappointed if there was no kiss at the end.

I recently watched some not so popular movies on my Netflix account that I absolutely LOVED! – And something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently (in regard to movies) hit me. There can be great movies without kissing. Not just kissing, but unnecessary sexuality or sex scenes that may promote negative images and thoughts in viewer’s minds. Seriously. It can be faith-based or a completely normal movie that spreads a genuine message of positivism!

I watched the movie, Bride and Prejudice the other day and laughed so hard whiles watching it. At the end of the movie I waited for the passionate kissing scene that would sum up the story as is the norm for movies in this generation and…nothing. They hugged. No seriously. They just hugged. It’s so unlike Hollywood that I must admit I was slightly stunned. Other movies include, October baby, Love comes softly, and (a favourite of mine) Grace Unplugged. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying sex or kissing is bad, it can be a beautiful thing…unless it’s taken out of context and begins to bake little porn addicts…(don’t even get me started on the ‘film’, Fifty Shades of Grey). I can truly say that I love many movies that come out because of the story line or the actors in the film…until it is completely ruined by Hollywood’s concepts of love (and everything else for that matter!)

Truthfully though, we can only fix us, so let us start being conscious of the things we watch and the messages we allow society to feed us? yes? yasssss!

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– Think about such things.” -Philippians 4:8

Passionately,

Leanne

New Year, New Me?

Right now as I’m typing, I have a feeling in my chest. A feeling in my heart. A feeling that makes me want to place my laptop on my wooden floor and sob for days. That feeling stems from gratefulness. Gratefulness that I serve an amazing, amazing God. Gratefulness over the fact that when I was still messing up, and when I STILL mess up, he’s not angry at me. He doesn’t wash his hands off me. He’s not disappointed in me as a person. He doesn’t change his mind about me. He doesn’t say, “I guess she’s good for nothing now…” He doesn’t go back on his promises to me. Instead, he is STILL on my side. He is still fighting for me, still rooting for me, still cares about me; He is still for me. A wise friend of mine said something. She said, “Whether we are running towards God or away from God, His love is the same.”

This year, I can really say that I tried to change. I wanted to change the selfishness I saw in me, the unkindness, the pride, and so much more. One of the things I really focused on was my relationship with guys. One thing God revealed to me at the very end of 2014 and the very beginning of 2015, was the change he wanted me to make in regards to friendship. Specifically friendship with the opposite sex. God showed me that not every relationship with the opposite sex must be romantic. Not every good guy out there was for me. Not every attractive christian guy was ‘the ONE’. I realized that God wanted me to learn the beauty of friendship and the authenticity that can be found in that. Now, was everything I set out to do perfect? Absolutely not. Did I fail miserably? Yes. Does that mean no change took place? No.

How come?

Because I serve a God who does not love me because of my efforts. He loves me regardless. I serve a God who does not base my worth off my success, but off His love for me. One thing the Lord has taught me towards the end of the year is that….Reaching, is the goal. That we would reach out at all. That we would try to be better. God’s will for our lives is not a destination. It is a person. A person who is reaching out to become more like Jesus. I am reflecting on the fact that I am not who I was last year, December 29th 2014. When I look back, I am so overwhelmed at the change that happened on this beautiful journey. The change that happened on the very inside of me. A change I never realized could take place in my heart; yet it did. So, going into this new year, I want to encourage whoever is reading this to strive to be better; but give yourself GRACE in the process. Don’t beat yourself up if you are not your weight goal, or career goal, or self goal or whatever goals you have set yourself for the new year. The fact that you would reach out at all, that’s what’s important. (Btw I am in no way encouraging laziness and a lack of self-control in doing what you need to do.)

“…He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will gladly boast all the more in my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may reside in me…” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Throwback pics to the 90’s.

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My 2nd Birthday, and my brother’s 7th. Haha, I’m 20 now. omg.
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I admit that I wasn’t the cutest toddler.

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FAMILY. (Me, at the left with a rather deer-in-the-headlights grin)

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A little new year inspiration. I couldn’t help it:)

Until next time.

Passionately,

Leanne

 

The Skin I am In

I never noticed I was black until I moved to North America. I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, uhm…what… you weirdo? I don’t mean that I didn’t know that I was of African origin, and that my skin was darker than most of the general population, and that I was of a black race. What I mean is, growing up in the UK, race was not something I noticed because there were many different types of races everywhere. Yes, I was black…and so was about half the people in my High School. I can definitely say I lived in a happy, comfortable bubble for most of my teen years, until something I considered awful (at the time) happened. We moved country.

And can I just say we didn’t just move from one city to another, but worse, we moved to the countryside. Yes, yes, we did. We moved to a little country town that has a fruit in it’s name. I am not going to go into detail of how my sixteen year old, city girl persona struggled with this awful (at the time) adjustment. Let’s just say “struggled” is an understatement. 

No longer was most of the population where I lived a mixture of races, but rather, predominantly white. No longer did I not notice my dark skin tone…oh I noticed. In the new high school we’d moved to, I vaguely remember my sister and I being called, “the black, british girls.” I would hear people in the hallway (american/north american term) or corridor (british term) say things like, “..have you seen the black,british girls?” or “have you heard the black, british girls speak?..” Not that any of those terms were mean or anything, just different. That’s one way I can describe the move to North America. It was different. Things were…different. The people were different. The town was different. The culture was different. I no longer felt safe and comfortable. I felt different.

Very soon, I started to act like it. I tried to fit in with this new culture and new country as most would try to. I tried to be less me, and more them. Less British, and more Canadian. Less black, and more white…and that was one of the “different” things I struggled with. I was at a loss with my identity. I didn’t want to be classified as black first, and a girl second. I would over-analyze if I was being too “black”. If why I didn’t have a best friend in Canada like I’d had in England was because…maybe I was just too, “black”. If people didn’t necessarily “get” me because of my skin-tone/race/skin color. I would often try to make up for my appearance. Make up for my race, by being sugary nice, or funny, or something other than me. Makeup for the skin I was in…

I used to feel like I had lost a piece of myself in the move to N. America. It’s crazy because with God, I’m reforming my identity. It’s been slow, but it’s been beautiful. I no longer care if I’m being too “sassy” or get offended when I’m labeled as the “black girl”. I’m learning how beautiful, how unique, and naturally gorgeous it is to be black. To have dark caramel skin. I am learning to love my tightly coiled curly hair that bounces with life, I’m learning to treasure my African heritage. My skin absorbs the sun’s rays and my hair defies gravity. God teaches me daily how much he treasures me. He whispers into my ear how he made me in the secret place for His very purpose and for such a time as this. I am wonderfully and fearfully made. When the world tells me that I am not enough, he says that I am, He says that there is no flaw in his beautiful creation.

This one’s for any colored girl who has ever felt like her skin is a defect, and her culture is a flaw. Better yet, this one’s to ANY girl who has ever felt like she is not enough.

“…You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” -Song of Solomon 4:7

Here’s a dinner outing I had a week ago with some of my beautiful friends! hastag melanin, hashtag black is beautiful, hastag yaaas.

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Sorry for the blurriness peeps, I’m not a hastag proffesional blogger yet, haha.
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I love how girls go to the bathroom to take selfies
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Moi, Sade, and Aurora

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Why that face Leanne
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Finally, some full on smiles :))

 

Until next time beauties

Passionately,

Leanne

Sincerely, Leanne

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I am gonna be completely honest with you guys. I have been sad. I have been empty, and hurting, I have not been content, I have been selfish. I have ignored God countless of times, I have disregarded His decisions, I’ve conformed to the world. I’ve cared too much what others think of me. I’ve been depressed, I’ve been angry at God, I’ve hated my life. I’ve turned away from the Lord. I have been in-genuine when worshiping Him; only wanting what he can give me instead of worshiping Him for who He is. I have not been perfect,  I have struggled.

I struggle and still am struggling. I long to be in His presence and hear His voice but I don’t make much of an effort to find His heart. I’ve been consumed by the world and completely lost.

I wrote this in my God diary a couple of days ago: “Sometimes, and only sometimes, when I play worship music, I am in Your presence, I get to that place of pureness and love , just pureness and love, pureness and love, and I see hundreds of hands just earnestly seeking Your heart, with no agenda, no selfishness. Only to worship You, just to raise their hands in worship of You, in awe of Your love. That place I go gives me so much hope; my heart literally jumps when I’m there; it is the purest form of worship I’ve ever seen. My eyes are open, and I realize that nothing matters but You.”

It’s so easy to slip away from the Lord. It’s so easy to act as if my life is perfect. It’s so easy to be consumed by social media, friends, life and the deception of this generation. It’s so easy to pretend I’m this perfect leader on You-Tube and to others. So easy. Yet again and again, I am brought to my knees by the creator of the heavens; the one who sees my heart and fathoms my thoughts from afar; the one who made me in the secret place. I am encouraged to draw back to Him, I am given countless of second chances and I am loved over, and over, and over again. His grace is so sufficient in my weaknesses. He still calls me enough, and still welcomes me back with opened arms.

“…For the Lord searches every heart and understands the intention of every thought. If you seek Him, He will be found by you…”

– 1 Chronicles 28: 9

Passionately,

Leanne

Christmas is Coming!

It’s almost Christmas time… How did time fly by so quickly?

That also means that it’s also almost my birthday. I. am. going. to. be. 20. What!? I don’t even know if I’m mature enough to grace the sleek and confident age that 20 airs! Last year, my family and I traveled to Washington DC to spend Christmas with some family members in the US. It was definitely one of the best Christmas’s I’ve had so far. We stayed with one of my mum’s sisters for a week and another one of my mum’s sisters for another lovely week, we explored DC, saw the white house, almost went ice-skating but changed our minds and took pictures next to the ice-skating ring instead…I literally felt like I was Olivia Pope…not gonna lie.

This year I’m so excited just to go home and relax with the fam. Uni has officially worn me out. I want home cooked meals and no responsibilities, I want my bed and lazying about with my fat cat, Aslan…at least for a couple of weeks…I need a break. To rejuvenate my mind, think about my relationship with God, where he wants to take me, to pray, consider my attitudes and decisions, and just b r e a t h e for a bit.

Last week, I volunteered at the International Student Dinner at my Uni and was surprised when I had a really lovely time. One thing I loved about this dinner was that it all about serving others; something that’s really been on my mind lately. Sometimes, I can be so wrapped up in assignments, tests, exams, and stress , that I am so self-centered. So me focused. It’s can be quite exhausting, but once I look up…I see my life, my worries, through Christ’s eyes, and I am no longer overwhelmed. I come to a conclusion that this pressure and stress is only for a moment, not a lifetime.

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The International Student Dinner last week! Nothing to see here guys, its only orange juice
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My girl, Jess and I!
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Our ‘hood’ pose
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Flashback to last Christmas in D.C!
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The lil sis and I at the White-House

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Familyyyy :)))
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More familyyyy :)))
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Happy familyyy :)))
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We all look really sleepy here…lol it was the food guys…
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My gorgeous sister and beautiful aunt!
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My tall self and beautiful aunt!

“The Lord is FOR me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The Lord is my helper, Therefore I will look in triumph on those who hate me.” -Psalm 118: 6

Keep your eyes up, and almost-Merry Christmas!

Passionately,

Leanne