Monday Motivation: Welcome Home Kanye…

Monday Motivation: Welcome Home Kanye…

Hey y’all,

As many of you probably know, Kanye West released his long-awaited gospel album. Kanye, last year began a spiritual journey, which has led us to where he stands now: a self-proclaimed born again Christian and ambassador for Christ. Now, if you know the Kanye that I know… The Jesus Walks to Gold digger Kanye, the words Kanye and Christian are not synonymous. In fact, they are as far apart as can be.

So where do I stand? Where should we stand as Christians today? Here are some of the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head over the past year:

I must admit I have been watching Kanye’s transformation very closely. When he first started doing his Sunday services I was extremely skeptical. Not because I thought the transformation wasn’t possible, but because of the way it was being implemented. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought they this was just another ploy by his famous family to get ratings or another breakdown of his mental health.  The way his Sunday services were being implemented at the beginning of his journey, bordered on cultish behaviour in my personal opinion. ( in a dome, all dressed alike etc..)

Mind you, I made these assumptions long before I ever watched a full service. I saw clips of him taking secular music and mixing it with gospel music and right away my Jamaican Pentecostal upbringing had me denouncing it and him. Mind you, Mr Vegas ( a Jamaican dancehall artist) has a rendition of the gospel reggae track ” I am Blessed” that I had absolutely no problem with. (it’s been played at every single Jamaican CHRISTIAN wedding I have been at in the last 10 years lol)  and I myself used to turn secular songs into Christian songs by changing the lyrics all the time! Why fault Kanye if I wasn’t going to fault Mr Vegas as well?

So finally I watched a few of the Sunday services in Atlanta  Chicago And Detroit. And what I saw in place of Kanye the persona I knew, was simply a soul searching, seeking and trying to find its way home.

What I saw was Kanye’s heart. A man who is truly on a journey to find God and learn how to use his gifts to serve a greater purpose.

When I had this conversation with a group of peers, there were varied opinions. Many statements were made about being aware of false prophets. Which I think is a valid point. The bible does speak about this in 2 Timothy 4 where Timothy is encouraged by Paul to preach the gospel of  Jesus Christ because there is coming a day where the people will not want to hear sound doctrine but will gravitate towards preachers or teachers who tell them what they want to hear. It also says that people will denounce the faith and will run after myths,( 2 Timothy 4: 1-4) and to be perfectly honest when you look at Kanye and the following he has and has garnered through this spiritual journey, it seems like he is a perfect example of the people Paul was warning Timothy about.

But honestly, after watching his services, and leaning into my own relationship with Jesus, Kanye is no different than myself or anybody who has made a choice to follow God, to be honest. Kanye is just at an unfair advantage because of the persona he has created for himself and because he has made such a drastic declaration, it is really hard for people who have seen him one way for so long to truly believe the change is real.

But y’all this is why grace is so powerful. It overshadows everybody’s perception of you. God sees you. The true you. He sees the willing heart even if the world isn’t ready to accept it.

So, like I mentioned before, Kanye released his album and one track in particular really spoke to and convicted me, “Hands On” which features one of my all-time favourite gospel artists Fred Hammond. On this track, there is a line that really made me check myself as it should many people who call themselves a believer and follower of Christ:

“Told people God was my mission/What have you been hearing from the Christians/ they’ll be the first one to judge me/ make it seem like nobody love me”

This is exactly what many of us believers do. We judge people by their past and the persona first forgetting that grace extends to everyone… to celebrities too.  The same grace we live under is the same grace that Kanye has access to through Jesus Christ.

You may not know Kanye personally, but now is the time to pray for him! He is clearly on a journey and needs some guidance to keep him focused on the gift that is eternal life. This is a man who has had the entire world at his fingertips and is now in a place to give that all up in order to serve the one true and living God. To me… that’s commendable.

What the world sees as a plot or even as mental health issues, is really God taking back His child.  Putting him back on track to walk in the purpose that he was created for which is worship…

I’m not God and I can’t say with 100 per cent conviction that this a true declaration that Kanye has made forever. But what I can say right now at this very moment, is that I respect the fact that he has so boldly declared his desire to serve God. All we in Christendom can do is pray for discernment and pray that God will align Kanye with good shepherds that will walk alongside him and guide and help keep him on the path of righteousness.

So I say, welcome home brother Kanye. I’m praying for you!

 

Monday Motivation: Reckless Love…

Monday Motivation: Reckless Love…

adjective

Reckless:

to be reckless of danger.

characterized by or proceeding from such carelessness: reckless extravagance.

Hey guys,

So I was reminiscing with a friend the other day and they asked me, ” What was the most reckless thing you did as a child?” Automatically, my mind took me back to a crisp fall day in 1997 ( dang I’m aging myself here LOL)

I love to rollerblade, even to this day. But when I was in middle school and had to walk to a school that was a considerable distance away from my home, my mother absolutely forbade me from rollerblading to school. Being an adult now, I can understand why she encouraged me not to do it. However, being the stubborn child that I was, I went ahead and did it anyway.  The route that I chose to take to school on this particular day was out of the ordinary for me. It took me longer to get to school this way but the only friend crazy enough to join me on this great expedition, lived closer to this direction. So naturally, we met in the middle and off we went…. rollerblading down an extremely steep hill…. with oncoming traffic all around us. Not a care in the world.

Now I’m not sure  if you truly understand how steep this hill was. It was so steep that in order to stop myself from blading directly into oncoming traffic, I had to reach out and grab the stop sign pole that was to the right of me  to slow me down ( I am actually shuddering at the thought of this) After I successfully finished my ride, I looked to the left of me and BAM! My mothers good friend was stopped at the bottom of the hill I had just descended. It appeared at the time that she didn’t see me and so I thought I was in the clear!  I later learned upon getting home from school, that she did see me and had promptly called my mother at work. I was properly disciplined Jamaican style ( I’ll leave you to use your imagination lol) This experience was one of the most reckless things I did in my childhood.

Reminiscing about this experience, had me think about that word “RECKLESS”. Let’s look into it for a moment.

The word reckless as defined above means “utterly unconcerned about the consequences  of some action.

I began to look at the word reckless in correlation to our relationship with God. The song “Reckless Love” by Cory Ashbury really helped me put my thoughts together. Mind you, I absolutely HATED this song the first few times I heard it years ago because I didn’t take the time to decipher the message in the lyrics.

Here are the lyrics in particular that I want to take a look at today:

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God, yeah

I was speaking with another friend about how love by today’s standards are truly a gamble. You win some and you may lose some too.  But in order to really experience it you have to be willing to take that risk.

God truly took a risk on us and chose to love us recklessly, without another thought. Even  with Him being the creator and having the ability to see that we were going to hurt Him time and time again , He still CHOSE to love us recklessly! He loves us through our mess. He loves us even when we choose to walk away from Him over and over again.

There is nothing we can do to “earn” the love of God. God’s love is open and available to anyone who sets themselves in a place to receive it.

The part of the chorus that says “leaves the ninety nine,” brings me back to the Parable of the Lost Sheep, specifically the depiction detailed in Luke 15: 1-7 :

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

15 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

This parable brings to life an analogy of how God views us. We at some point have been that one sheep that has wandered astray, and God has dropped everything to go out and call out us and beckon to us. He rejoices when we are found and boasts about it!  Now common sense would say “Its just one! Leave it and cut your losses”.  But no, this is another example of How God’s reckless love abounds.  He honestly could have said oh well another one bites the dust, but he didn’t. He is openly distraught when one sheep (us) is missing from the flock. It feels unnatural, incomplete until the lost one is returned to the flock.

The bridge of this song has lyrics as follows:
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

To continue to love someone who continuously  walks away from you, turns their back on you, treats you with disregard is truly a reckless and careless move.  But as the aforementioned bridge says, there is absolutely NOTHING that can keep our God from loving us without limits!  Now this doesn’t mean that God is reckless. It simply means that the depth of His love is.. without thought or caution or rhyme and reason!

God’s love to the carnal eye of man is foolish. It makes no sense. In many ways His love is as pure and innocent as the love of a child. His love loves without barriers. His love is the type of love that never gives up. His love tears down walls. His love heals trauma! His love allows you to see the bright patch in a season of dark places…  His love in a nutshell is RECKLESS and I for one am eternally grateful for God’s Reckless Love! Oh to love and BE LOVED by God. Its truly a remarkable phenomenon.

 

Be blessed today and always!
Til Next Time,
xoxo

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©justlovethemanyway2019

Fall Reads 2019…

Fall Reads 2019…

Hey guys!

I must say that I had a successful summer of reading! I managed to read all the books on my list with the exception of one ( The Mother’s of Brit Bennett. I just can’t seem to finish this one…. maybe one day )

In addition to the books on my list I also managed to dive into and finish the following books:

Here are the books I have chosen for Fall 2019! Its a very ambitious list but fingers crossed I can!

Speaking of Summer: Kalisha Buckhanon

The new novel from the author of Upstate, one of five books selected by the National Book Foundation for the inaugural Literature for Justice Program: a literary thriller about one woman’s desperate search for her missing twin sister, a multi-layered mystery set against the neighborhoods of Harlem.

On a cold December evening, Autumn Spencer’s twin sister Summer walks to the roof of their shared Harlem brownstone and is never seen again—the door to the roof is locked, and no footsteps are found. Faced with authorities indifferent to another missing woman, Autumn must pursue answers on her own, all while grieving her mother’s recent death.

With her friends and neighbors, Autumn pretends to hold up through the crisis. She falls into an affair with Summer’s boyfriend to cope with the disappearance of a woman they both loved. But the loss becomes too great, the mystery too inexplicable, and Autumn starts to unravel, all the while becoming obsessed with murdered women and the men who kill them.

In Speaking of Summer, critically acclaimed author Kalisha Buckhanon has created a postmodern, fast-paced story of urban peril and victim invisibility, and the fight to discover truth at any cost.

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I must say I chose this book solely based on an Amazon recommendation and how pretty the cover is. I’m hearing mixed reviews on this one. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 

 

Make Room: Finding Where Faith Fits : Jonathan McReynolds

God wants to be in everything that has to do with our lives, yet we learn how to separate God from the rest of life early in our spiritual development. But no attitude, no activity, and no element of our lives should be without a faith-infused, God-led foundation.  There is a godly basis for everything you do—posting online, relating to your boss, submitting to your teacher, honoring your mom and dad, performing on your job, and appropriating your talent and money. Making room for God means giving Him unrestricted space to operate in and through your life. It’s the time, energy, and identity you allow Him to use, challenge, and redeem in you so that you can make a difference in the world. Truly making room for God extends into every crack and fold of your life. In his first book, author Jonathan McReynolds draws on the testimony of Scripture and of personal experience to appeal to readers to make room for God in every area of life—public or private, mental or spiritual—to experience the fullness that can come only through an authentic relationship with God. In every chapter, he enlightens marginal and seasoned believers alike about the ways that we shut God out. More important, McReynolds offers honest, practical advice on how to make room for Him every day and in every way.

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 I love Jonathan McReynolds music and so naturally when he put out a book, I snatched it up! I’m already halfway done this one and I’m loving it.

Half of a Yellow Sun: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A masterly, haunting new novel from a writer heralded by The Washington Post Book World as “the 21st-century daughter of Chinua Achebe,” Half of a Yellow Sun re-creates a seminal moment in modern African history: Biafra’s impassioned struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria in the 1960s, and the chilling violence that followed.

With astonishing empathy and the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie weaves together the lives of three characters swept up in the turbulence of the decade. Thirteen-year-old Ugwu is employed as a houseboy for a university professor full of revolutionary zeal. Olanna is the professor’s beautiful mistress, who has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos for a dusty university town and the charisma of her new lover. And Richard is a shy young Englishman in thrall to Olanna’s twin sister, an enigmatic figure who refuses to belong to anyone. As Nigerian troops advance and the three must run for their lives, their ideals are severely tested, as are their loyalties to one another.

Epic, ambitious, and triumphantly realized, Half of a Yellow Sun is a remarkable novel about moral responsibility, about the end of colonialism, about ethnic allegiances, about class and race—and the ways in which love can complicate them all. Adichie brilliantly evokes the promise and the devastating disappointments that marked this time and place, bringing us one of the most powerful, dramatic, and intensely emotional pictures of modern Africa that we have ever had.

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I have been trying to read this book for years and I always get sidetracked.This fall I must finish it!

Dear Haiti, Love Alaine: by Maika Moulite    and Maritza Moulite

Co-written by sisters Maika and Maritza Moulite, and told in epistolary style through letters, articles, emails, and diary entries, this exceptional debut novel captures a sparkling new voice and irrepressible heroine in a celebration of storytelling sure to thrill fans of Nicola Yoon, Ibi Zoboi and Jenna Evans Welch!

When a school presentation goes very wrong, Alaine Beauparlant finds herself suspended, shipped off to Haiti and writing the report of a lifetime…

You might ask the obvious question: What do I, a seventeen-year-old Haitian American from Miami with way too little life experience, have to say about anything?

Actually, a lot.

Thanks to “the incident” (don’t ask), I’m spending the next two months doing what my school is calling a “spring volunteer immersion project.” It’s definitely no vacation. I’m toiling away under the ever-watchful eyes of Tati Estelle at her new nonprofit. And my lean-in queen of a mother is even here to make sure I do things right. Or she might just be lying low to dodge the media sharks after a much more public incident of her own…and to hide a rather devastating secret.

All things considered, there are some pretty nice perks…like flirting with Tati’s distractingly cute intern, getting actual face time with my mom and experiencing Haiti for the first time. I’m even exploring my family’s history—which happens to be loaded with betrayals, superstitions and possibly even a family curse.

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I truly loved this book! ( I finished it already)  I only wasn’t too keen on the parts that delved into the practice of voodoo which is very prevalent in Caribbean ( predominantly Haitian culture) Other than that, the story of mothers and daughters and how they navigate through various means of  trauma really pulled on my heartstrings.

The Marriage Clock: Zara Raheem

In Zara Raheem’s fresh, funny, smart debut, a young, Muslim-American woman is given three months to find the right husband or else her traditional Indian parents will find one for her–a novel with a universal story that everyone can relate to about the challenges of falling in love.

To Leila Abid’s traditional Indian parents, finding a husband in their South Asian-Muslim American community is as easy as match, meet, marry. But for Leila, a marriage of arrangement clashes with her lifelong dreams of a Bollywood romance which has her convinced that real love happens before marriage, not the other way around.

Finding the right husband was always part of her life-plan, but after 26 years of singledom, even Leila is starting to get nervous. And to make matters worse, her parents are panicking, the neighbors are talking, and she’s wondering, are her expectations just too high? So Leila decides it’s time to stop dreaming and start dating.

She makes a deal with her parents: they’ll give her three months, until their 30th wedding anniversary, to find a husband on her own terms. But if she fails, they’ll take over and arrange her marriage for her.

With the stakes set, Leila succumbs to the impossible mission of satisfying her parents’ expectations, while also fulfilling her own western ideals of love. But after a series of speed dates, blind dates, online dates and even ambush dates, the sparks just don’t fly! And now, with the marriage clock ticking, and her 3-month deadline looming in the horizon, Leila must face the consequences of what might happen if she doesn’t find “the one…”

39298169. sy475 Sounded interesting! Starting this one today!

The Woman Next Door: Yewande Omotoso

Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbours. One is black, one white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed. And both are sworn enemies, sharing hedge and hostility which they prune with a zeal that belies the fact that they are both over eighty.

But one day an unforeseen event forces the women together. And gradually the bickering and sniping softens into lively debate, and from there into memories shared. But could these sparks of connection ever transform into friendship? Or is it too late to expect these two to change?

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Interesting concept. Interested to see how this turns out. 

Behold The Dreamers: Imbolo Mbue

Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.

However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.

When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

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I started this last year but had to return it to the library before I had a chance to finish it. I honestly forgot about it until I heard a colleague of mine speaking about it.  What I’ve read so far was great so I’m looking forward to finishing it. 

Thick: And Other Essays : Tressie McMillan Cottom

Smart, humorous, and strikingly original thoughts on race, beauty, money, and more—by one of today’s most intrepid public intellectuals

Tressie McMillan Cottom, the writer, professor, and acclaimed author of Lower Ed, now brilliantly shifts gears from running regression analyses on college data to unleashing another identity: a purveyor of wit, wisdom—and of course Black Twitter snark—about all that is right and much that is so very wrong about this thing we call society. In the bestselling tradition of bell hooks and Roxane Gay, McMillan Cottom’s freshman collection illuminates a particular trait of her tribe: being thick. In form, and in substance.

This bold compendium, likely to find its place on shelves alongside Lindy West, Rebecca Solnit, and Maggie Nelson, dissects everything from beauty to Obama to pumpkin spice lattes. Yet Thick will also fill a void on those very shelves: a modern black American female voice waxing poetic on self and society, serving up a healthy portion of clever prose and southern aphorisms in a style uniquely her own.

McMillan Cottom has crafted a black woman’s cultural bible, as she mines for meaning in places many of us miss and reveals precisely how—when you’re in the thick of it—the political, the social, and the personal are almost always one and the same.

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I don’t generally gravitate towards anthologies /short stories . But I am trying to branch out and try new reading content, I figured this would be a good start. 

 

What are you guys reading this fall? Let me know!

Til Next Time.
xoxo

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( All synopsis’ are from Goodreads.com. )

It’s My Inheritance…

It’s My Inheritance…

It’s my birthday y’all…. and  this year I just wasn’t too excited about it; and if you know anything about me, its that I LOVE my birthday.  I had a few weeks of deep contemplation about what I wanted my next year of life to be like. Here ‘s what i’ve been pondering on the last little while.

Have you ever thought about the word inheritance and what it means?

Recently, the subject of inheritance has seemingly been all around me. This summer, Disney released the live action version of The Lion King. There is a scene in the movie where Mufasa (father) has a conversation with his son, Simba. He explains to him that everything the light touches belongs to them and that one day Simba will inherit all of it.  Watch the full scene ( from the original Disney motion picture film) down below:

What does it actually mean to inherit something?  Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word inherit as, ” : to come into possession of or receive especially as a right or divine portion”.

Simba didn’t have to do anything to receive what Mufasa had to offer him. He was told that it belonged to him just becuase he belonged to Mufasa. It was his right as Mufasa’s son to inherit all that Mufasa had..

Hmm… think on that for a minute.

I was raised as an only child and I am my mothers only biological child. My sibling(s)  on my father’s side are much older than me and so I grew up always knowing whatever my mother had, and most of what my father had  would one day become mine. I didn’t have to do anything to earn it. My only job was to be born into the particular family that I was. It is my rightful place to one day take possesion of the things they have promised me.

I think I see a trend here….

Let’s look biblically for a second. The story  of Abraham is a great depiction of inheritance in direct corelation to us. God promised Abraham that if he followed His lead ( Genesis 12: 1-3) left all he knew behind he would bless him in ways that he couldn’t even imagine. God made a covenant with Abraham when he was old in age (75)  He, at the time was childless and God promised him that he would sow an heir and that his descendents would outnumber the stars in the sky.  (Genesis 15: 5) Abraham would  become the father to genrations of people who would go on to inherit the promised land.. and in latter days, inherit the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Abraham didn’t have to do anything except follow God’s direction to inherit all that God promised to him.

That’s so relatable to us today and our relationship with  Jesus. God sent His son  (Jesus) as a sacrifce, to die on a cross just for us! We didn’t have to do anything to be worthy of such a sacrifice. The benefits of this sacrifice are eternal life. if we just take the step to join the family of God, wholeheartedly, all He has promised us is ours for the taking.

All He asks of us in return is to love Him and to serve Him in spirt and in truth.

Belong: We belong to God
Be in a Family: Through Jesus we are a part of the family of God 
Follow: Follow Jesus to inherit the kingdom of God and in turn eternal life

I was visiting with some friends a few weekends ago, and we were having some pretty deep discussions. We began to discuss how we often doubt God and all He has promised us. My big bro turned to the group and said ( paraphrasing )  ” Why do we act as if the inheritance isn’t ours?”

Wow…

That was like a big slap in of reality in my face. A staement that was so simple , took on a very profound meaning for me. For too long I have “known” that all God promised me, belongs to me, but never have I really taken the time to examine what that really means and BELIEVED IT!

Why am I worrying about trivial things when God already has my inheritance waiting on me?  Why am I doubting that what is for will always be for me? Why am I becoming frustrated with the timing of the inheritance’s delivery?

Because I am a fleshly human, flaws and all!

But, this year I’ve decided to walk in my inheritance! It’s already mine so I need to act like it! Everything that God has promised me, I’m claiming it this year! This is the time that my faith gets stronger and deeper and I stand with arms and heart wide open ready to receive. It’s time to live in the overflow of my inheritance.

I must admit, I was not excited for my birthday this year. I am coming off of a few years where God has really been stretchng me and grooming me and pushing me and pulling me and…. you get the drift. It’s been a season of growing pains. But after this conversation, a fire has been light under me to once again start speaking blessings over my life! Year 34 I’m claiming victory! I want the blessings of Abraham to flow all over me!

( This one of my favourite songs! It’s so appropriate for this post and I’m about to make it my theme song for this entire birth year! Anytime I start to lose sight of my inheritance, I’m going to through this on and worship all doubt away 🙂 )

Pray for me y’all (cause the devil stays lurking!)

I hope everyone has a blessed day! I’m off to the airport!! Let the birthday celebrations begin!

God bless you all!
xo

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Style Sunday: Boohoo x Wedding Season…

Style Sunday: Boohoo x Wedding Season…

Hi guys!

I took a much needed hiatus from the blog world.l I just wanted to enjoy my extremely busy summer without the constraints of deadlines and computer screens! I had the opportunity to attend quite a few weddings this summer season. I’d like to share with you what I wore to these events with outfits I found on the popular retail site Boohoo!

Boohoo is an affordable fashion site that caters to needs of men and women of all sizes. It offers a variety of style options ranging from extremely casual to fancy attire.

Today I’m going to showcase two dresses I purchased. At first glance, the dresses seemed very casual ( based on the material).  But once they were accessorized and I dolled myself up they became real showstoppers!

Look One: The Red Dress…

I purchased the dress actually way back in March to wear to another event but I went another direction. I was able to pull it out for a beautiful wedding in July.

Womens Red Off The Shoulder Wrap Midi Bodycon Dress alternative image

This dress is a polyester blend dress. It is an off the shoulder piece that has a front tie, balloon sleeves and is midi length. This dress was the perfect, lightweight material and length for quite a warm summer day.

I pair this dress with silver jewelry. Teardrop bling earrings ( that were gifted to me by a friend) a silver pandora charm bracelet and a jewel and crystal statement necklace from Aldo Accessories. I added silver peep-toe heels from Call it Spring.

I kept my makeup very neutral as the dress was such a bold colour.

I purchased this dress for the amazingly low price of $33.00! ( Canadian currency) I loved this outfit and I hope the opportunity presents itself where I can wear this dress again!

https://ca.boohoo.com/off-the-shoulder-wrap-midi-bodycon-dress/DZZ56895.html?color=157

( PS: All of us ladies wearing red  WAS NOT PLANNED! LOL. Great minds think alike I guess! 🙂

 

 

 

Look 2: The Yellow Dress

Anyone who knows me, knows my favourite colour is purple. However, my favourite colour to wear is…. you guessed it… yellow !

I had another wedding to attend this summer. This time it was in Montreal , Quebec which is about a 6-7 hour drive from where I live. The vision that I had in my head was that I wanted to look like sunshine. This was the wedding of my very good friend aka my “nephew” and his beautiful bride. I wanted a dress to really support the joy I was anticipating to feel on their special day! I smile every single time I see yellow , so yellow was the only option for me 😉

Once again I went to Boohoo to try and make my vision a reality.  I found exactly what I was looking for!

Womens Yellow Off the Shoulder Wrap Skirt Midi Dress alternative image

This dress is the same type of material as the first dress; a polyester blend. This dress is also an off the shoulder piece.  It is a wrap style dress, which I loved because it was very  forgiving in the mid-section area. What also drew me to this piece was the front split. It just added a nice flair to the otherwise very simple piece.

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To to take this dress to the next level, I paired it with some yellow statement earrings from Forever 21. I added some gold bangles and kept my gold nameplate necklace on. The earrings were already so bold that I didn’t want to make myself look too busy.

I added some lucite cinderella slipper heels  from Fashion Nova. ( I don’t know If I can ever wear these again! They were so painful!) I also added a piece of kente cloth material that I used as a shawl in the day and a headwrap at the after party! 🙂   I also addded a clear purse with a pink insert from Forever 21 to complete the look.

This dress also retailed for only $33.00!
https://ca.boohoo.com/off-the-shoulder-wrap-skirt-midi-dress/DZZ21500.html?color=174

Would I reccomend Boohoo? Absolutely! I would defintely suggest you check it out if you are looking for a beautiful  budget friendly piece!

That’s it for summer wedding looks!   Come back next week and see my summer bridesmaid look !

Til next time….

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Monday Motivation: He Is Faithful…

Monday Motivation: He Is Faithful…

Hey y’all!

Have you ever had faith that something was going to work out your way, and then… it didn’t? I know I have on countless occasions. Especially right now, in the season of life, I currently am in.  I’m trying to navigate through, as best can with as much faith as I can that things are gonna “turn around” and “work out” and honestly… it’s been challenging to live my life with faith at the helm of my ship.

It’s very easy to get lost in doubt and have your faith dwindle when you can’t see an end to your situation in sight. I remember having a conversation with a friend and I was mentioning to them about how I was just feeling downright defeated; and yes many an encouraging word was shared ( which I really did appreciate) but I just wasn’t ready to receive them.

So what do I do when I feel defeated? I turn to God. But not always in the way I should. I often tend to turn to Him lamenting about my problems and not even acknowledging Him. I sometimes even go as far to question Him as to  “why He hates me?” (Ugh… even typing this makes me sound like a petulant, inconsolable toddler)

(Sidenote: At prayer/fasting service at my church on Saturday, the leader called me out to pray, and as the Holy Spirit does, He revealed to her the brunt of my lamenting. As she offered up a word through her Holy Spirit utterance, I was able to receive the message, “He loves you so… stay faithful… He loves you so”. Okay, God… I hear you loud and clear. Thank you Holy Spirit…)

Last week I decided to turn my prayers away from it’s non stop lamenting and began to honour God for His faithfulness. In my quiet time, I was drawn to the book of Hosea in the Bible.  I actually really love this book and over the course of the week, I dug in a little deeper into this text.

The book of Hosea is like a prophetic symbol of God’s relationship to Israel. Just like Hosea and his wife’s relationship was fractured due to her adulterous ways, such is Israel’s relationship with God.  (Hosea 1-3) But just as Hosea’s relationship was restored, God too promised to reconcile and restore His relationship with Israel.  Even when Israel didn’t deserve it, God remained faithful to His promise to them. ( Hosea 14)

This is the same way God is faithful to us. Even though we find it hard to have faith because we aren’t seeing the fruits of our faithfulness, God is STILL faithful.

I know I am totally undeserving of His faithfulness to me, but I am eternally grateful.  You see, God made us and he knows that our faith may waver. But that’s why He gave us a reminder of His faithfulness by sending His son as a redeemer! When mankind made the choice to eat the fruit from the forbidden tree, ( Genesis 3)  God had the power to have us permanently atone for our sins by actual physical sacrifice. Instead, He, Himself, made the ultimate sacrifice for us!

Even when we are faithLESS, God remains faithFUL!

There’s a song by Elevation Worship that has really helped me through the past few weeks. The lyrics are as follows:

When the whispers of worry
Overwhelmed my soul
You never left me alone
You were there all along
You are faithful
Why should my heart be afraid?
You are faithful
I know You’re not gonna change
You are faithful, faithful
I was down to the wire
Hoping You would come through
And You stepped in the fire
Like You always do
How I’m convinced of Your love
You are more than enough
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Whatever it is you are worrying about, leave it in the hands of Jesus! He will always stay the same! Faithful! All He asks in return is that we trust Him with our whole heart.. even when it doesn’t make sense!
Lamentations 3:22-23 New International Version (NIV)
“Because of the Lord’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness…” 
I pray that our faithful God works out your situations in His perfect timing!
God Bless!
xoxo
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©justlovethemanyway

Monday Motivation: Rejoice…

Monday Motivation: Rejoice…

Hey y’ all!

Quick post today! These past few weeks have been pretty stressful. It seems like I just can’t catch a break! Work has been super busy, I’ve been dealing with some health issues and I’m just burnt out emotionally and physically and even a little bit spiritually.

For those of you who have a relationship with Jesus, Do you ever feel like He’s not talking to you? No matter how much you seek Him, you just can’t hear from Him? That’s how its been for me for the past couple of weeks.

But over the weekend I was reminded of some of the passages of scripture they spoke about at a retreat I went to put on by my church organization. The theme of the retreat was, “Yet, I will rejoice” and one of the scriptures they used to highlight this theme was Habbakuk 3:17-18 and it reads:

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
    and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
    and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
    and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
    I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

So even though your situation may seem bleak right now, rejoice anyway! The same God that has been there for you before, is still there for you right now…even if you can’t hear Him. Keep trusting! Keep seeking and most importantly…REJOICE!

This song has really been speaking to me over the past few weeks! Be blessed 🙂

 

xoxo
©justlovethemanyway

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Sorry,​ I’m Not Available…

Sorry,​ I’m Not Available…

Hey loves,

Is it just me or does anybody’s calendar sometimes overwhelm them? Honestly, since the top of the year I feel like I’ve just been like a hamster on a treadmill; non- stop go, go go!

While I wouldn’t say I’m a people pleaser, I would say I have a strong desire to make sure those in my circle feel supported whether it be emotionally or as it most often ends up being my physical presence is there when they need it.

I decided that 2019 was going to be the year that I said: ” no” to more things and that, I would be “selfish” this year and look out for me. My favourite phrase was geared and set to be ” Sorry, I’m not available,,,”

But as things kept coming my way and I formed my mouth to utter the words, “Sorry I’m not available”  I began to ponder one thing… and this one thing  stopped me dead in my tracks:

“What if God decided to have a selfish year and not be “available” for my needs?”

Ouch… talk about a slap in the face!

It has been this long since 2019 started:

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If I really take stock of how many times I have run to God in this time, and every time I called on Him, He was available, It would be impossible to create an accurate tally.

As a Christian, we are called to be Christ-like. That includes with our time, more specifically with our service.  One of the most important roles in His short time on earth was one of a humble servant. And while I’m sure  He would have much rather been given a different task to complete, He took on His role as the Saviour with grace.  And now, that same grace, because of the great sacrifice of Himself, has allowed us to live an abundant life.

John 10;10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” English Standard Version

Herein lays my dilemma. How can I so flippantly dismiss people and what they may need from me, simply because I don’t feel like it? I can’t…

What I can do is to utilize the wisdom that God gave me and be wise about how I delegate my time and… most importantly use the time I have wisely.

This means before making myself available to Sue, Jim and Jenny, I need to make myself available to Him.  To not neglect to make real time for Him. Not just the leftovers.

The song ” Available to You ” has always been one of my favourites but something about the words today  ( specifically this verse) really hit me:

Now I’m giving back to You
All the tools You gave to me
My hands, my ears, my voice, my eyes
So You can use them as You please

I have emptied out my cup
So that You can fill me up
Now, I’m free, I just want to be
More available to You

It’s my desire to be available to God to be able to use me whenever He needs to- in whichever capacity He sees fit.

If it means being a shoulder for that friend to lean on.
If it means being that praying voice someone needs to hear.
If it means sitting on someone’s couch sharing about the love of God.
If it means feeding the hungry.
If it means sacrificing my WANTS  to meet someone’s NEEDS….. ( ouch soph.. really talking to yourself here!!)

Then that’s what I need to do.

I just want to be as available to God as He is to me… and while they may be impossible ( you know with Him being all-knowing and omnipresent 🙂 ) I certainly want to be available for Him to use me in any capacity.

Let’s make 2019 a year where we are available!

xoxo

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Monday Motivation: Nothing Blooms Before Its Time…

Monday Motivation: Nothing Blooms Before Its Time…

I’ve had a bit of writers block the past few months. I just haven’t been able to get the thoughts in my head to materialize into  content. Perhaps I was in a season where I needed to be still and allow the thoughts to manifest in the correct time.

That word “season” seems to be following me everywhere this year and I hate it. I find it so cliche when people say” This is your season” yet this year I found myself uttering that very same sentiment.  Y’all let me tell you… God has been taking me on a crazy journey this year and has really been forcing me to trust Him with some CRAZY FAITH.

So yesterday, I did, and I don’t really want to get into the situation as it’s a pretty sensitive one. But, just know I had a conversation with someone that I NEVER thought I would be able to. And because I stepped out on faith, I in myself felt God begin to move. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the outcome is going to fall in line with my idea of how things should be, but it brought me to a place of peace where I can truthfully be at rest knowing that no matter what happens my latter will be greater!

Anybody who knows me, knows that I’ve never been a huge fan of flowers. Lately however, I have really been really intrigued by flowers and plants and the beautiful process that brings a tiny seed into fruition.  The phrase that God has been ever so gently saying to me in my quiet moments ( or when my mind starts to overthink things) is that “Nothing blooms before its time”.  We oftentimes think that we should be farther ahead in life than you are or that you should have obtained things by certain age, but nothing blooms before its time…. before its season!

Just like a seed, we need time to grow. After a seed is planted it needs to be nurtured and taken care of.  That little seed that was planted must survive the winter. If your season of winter is anything like a Canadian winter, its long and harsh and sometimes seems unbearable. But after that seed survives the winter and we enter a new season, it is then that that seed begins to bloom.

Hillsong Worship has a new record out called “There is More” and on that album there is a track called “Seasons”. This song first appeared on their Christmas album and fell in love and felt so connected to the track. This week especially, I have been really listening to this quite a bit because one the lyrics spoke so deeply to me. The lyrics said,

I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting….

I may be in the winter of my life right now but I can feel my seed on the brink of its bloom.  During this winter season, God has been really stretching me and strongly encouraging me to trust Him. He’s also been having me work on my patience  which is the hardest thing ever for me. But im doing it and you can too!

Its always important to remember that seeds don’t always bloom at the same time. Two seeds can be planted at the same time, nurtured the same way, but no seed will bloom before its time! Don’t get wrapped up in the fact that your seed didn’t bloom in this season, because after that season comes another! Eventually your season will come!

And when you finally see what your seed has bloomed into, you’ll be able to see why God had you wait through so many seasons for your final reveal!

God has not forgotten you and what is for you will always be. So don’t stress the seasons! Enjoy them and take care of your seeds till then!

It’s time for my harvest… whatever that entails.

I love you all! Thanks for sticking with me during my sporadic absences! I’m back now!
Let me leave you with one more lyric from the song…

Though the winter is long even richer
The harvest it brings
Though my waiting prolongs even greater
Your promise for me like a seed
I believe that my season will come

God Bless and have fabulous Monday 🙂
©justlovethemanyway

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Monday Motivation: The Potter…

Monday Motivation: The Potter…

He picks up the clay,  feels its gritty texture in His hands,
Slowly He adds water to it and as it begins to soften,
 He begins to shape it.
Impecably, He intricately designs each feature ,
Each detail unique to this creation. How marvellous that He took simple clay ,
not beautiful by any means,
…and turned it into a masterpiece…- “The Potter”©Sophia Windett

Hey guys!

Every morning at 3:39 am ( yes exactly this time), my eyes fly open. I have come to terms with the fact that this is the time that God wants me to talk to Him in prayer. So, I do… but after that, sometimes I find it absolutely impossible to fall back to sleep. So what better way to pass time, than to throw on some good old Netflix to lull me back to sleep.  As I scrolled through the endless options of shows and movies, I came upon an old classic that I love, “Ghost”.( Ghost is a movie starring the late great Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg. If you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely one you should check out)  There is a scene in the movie where Molly, one of the main characters is working on a piece of art with clay and a potters wheel ( cue “Unchained Melody”) all my 80’s babies know this timeless love scene!  ( I’ll link it right here)  What has always drawn to me to this scene is how detailed and delicate a potter has to be with clay.  One false move and the whole thing could fall apart. But if handled with care, it could be some of the most beautiful pieces of art .

In the wee hours of the morning, this had me thinking about the master potter. (God)   The bible makes many references to the potter and clay. The one that is most prevalent in my mind is Jeremiah 18.  In this chapter the prophet Jeremiah ventures down to the potters house. As he approaches him, he sees the potter working on some clay.  The clay became spoiled in his hands causing him to have to go back to the potters wheel and start over.  It was then that the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah and began to draw the analogy between what the potter was doing with the clay in comparison to what God was doing with Judah. To summarize, the Lord  is showing Jeremiah that Judah is like clay in his hands, for him to mold… or tear down if He has to.

I find it so easy to draw parallel to my life as it applies to this story.  Oftentimes, I conveniently tend to forget that my life is not my own. I am inclined to take things into my own hands and try to “mold” my life as I want it to work out. Now, you can imagine how that has been working out for me….. EPIC FAIL!

When you take things into your own hands you take the place of the potter. The potter is the one who knows the clay intimately. The Potter is the one who holds the design for that specific piece of clay. As you see with the clip I inserted earlier from the movie Ghost,  when Molly ( the master potter in this sense) was working alone, the piece was coming along nicely. Now once, Sam ( Patrick Swayze) comes in and tries to help, the whole thing falls apart.  Such as with us; when we let God ( the master potter ) do His thing,  He is able to piece the vision He had of us, His beautiful delicate  masterpiece  together. But as we humans tend to do , we are inclined to jump in and “help” thus messing up everything! Which, in turn causes the potter to go back to the drawing wheel and start over.  Sometimes He has to tear us down to remould us and make us like he intended.

Life is gonna happen. We are human! We are going to  make mistakes. We are going to crumble. But we have comfort in knowing that when we do, the potter is just waiting to put us back together. After all, what creator doesn’t want to see His masterpiece reach It’s full potential ! 🙂

The song, “The Potter’s House” (the Vashawn Mitchell version)  is one of my favourite songs.  I want to leave the lyrics here so you can read them. Powerful words. They are as follows:

In case you have fallen by the wayside of life
Dreams and visions shattered, you’re all broken inside
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in
The potter wants to put you back together again
Oh, the potter wants to put you back together again
In case your situation has turned upside down
And all that you’ve accomplished, is now on the ground
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in
The potter wants to put you back together again
Oh, the potter wants to put you back together again
You who are broken, stop by the potter’s house
You who need mending, stop by the potter’s house
Give Him the fragments of your broken life
My friend, the potter wants to put you back together again
Oh, the potter wants to put you back together again
You who need mending (if your heart needs mending, come on by) stop by the potter’s house (the potter’s house)
Give Him the fragments of your broken life
There’s joy… in the Potter’s house.
Joy… in the Potter’s house.Peace… in the Potter’s house.
Peace… in the Potter’s house.Love… in the Potter’s house.
Love… in the Potter’s house.

Salvation… in the Potter’s house.
Healing… in the Potter’s house.

Deliverance… in the Potter’s house.
Deliverance… in the Potter’s house.

You’ll find everything you need in the potter’s house
You’ll find everything you need in the potter’s house
You’ll find everything you need in the potter’s house
You’ll find everything you need in the potter’s house
Because the potter wants to put you back together again
Oh, the potter wants to put you back together again

You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in… because the potter wants to put you back together again! (My favourite lyric. )
Whatever you are going through, give it back to the potter and let Him fix it for you!
Have a blessed Monday everyone! May this week be full of joy, peace and happiness!
xoxo