To Stand or To Kneel- That Is the Question...Or Is It?

American Flag.jpg

There is so much tension in the world right now. Some countries are trying to survive and recover from natural disasters. Some countries are in the middle of civil wars, genocides, and "ethnic cleansing". You read the news these days, and it's hard not to hang your head in defeat. Like...why get up? Why bother loving my neighbor? Why try? The whole world is going to hell anyway, right?

If you're reading this, I'm not sure what country you live in, but I live in America, and if you read this post, then you'll know I'm not always proud of that fact. America is my home. It's the only country I know. I was born and raised here, and there was a time, as a child, when I loved being an American. American pride is instilled in us almost from birth. We're taught that America is the greatest country on earth, that we're the leaders of the free world, that the world would crumble and cease to exist without us.

But over the last few years, my eyes have been opened to just how truly screwed up my country is. And this isn't about politics or policy. This isn't about being a democrat or a republican. This is about something that is so much more than just political affiliation. 

Racism has been around almost since the beginning of time. Every country or continent has faced racism of some kind at some point, and I'm sure all continue to, to a certain extent. But I can only speak to the problem of systemic racism in America.

Police brutality is real, and if you think it isn't, that's probably because you're privileged enough that it's not a threat to you. But there are people who look just like me who are killed every day just because they were born with a certain color of skin. Mass incarceration of black people (black men more specifically) is a reality as well. And if you're wanting me to provide the proof of just these two specific examples of systemic racism, then this isn't the post for you. You can look that up for yourself, because I promise you, the evidence isn't hard to find.

Recently, Donald Trump made disrespectful comments in regards to NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem as a form of protest. I'll be honest with you, I have absolutely no respect for Donald Trump. Not a single ounce, and I'm sad but not ashamed to say that.

However, the conversation has become about whether these professional athletes are protesting the flag or not. And here's the thing: THIS ISN'T ABOUT A FLAG. Okay, it is, but it isn't. It's about the flag in that the flag is representative of a nation built on the idea of freedom. 

The problem with that is that when this country was founded, not all people were free. Slavery was still a thriving industry in America. My ancestors were seen as property, less than human, and in some cases less than livestock. My ancestors were beaten, raped, mutilated, tortured, starved, and stripped of all dignity and humanity.

In many cases, they weren't allowed to learn to read. Some female slaves had their children ripped from their arms and sold for auction. And just writing that out breaks my heart into pieces because I cannot even imagine my son being taken from me only to be sold to a stranger who would probably treat him like he were worth less than a dog.

The thing is...slavery has been abolished in America, and yet systemic racism still persists. And that's what Colin Kaepernick and others like him are trying to bring attention and awareness to. That's what he wants to change. That's what I want to change.

But here we are in 2017, 152 years after slavery was abolished and 53 years after the Civil Rights Act was enacted, and I still find myself having to convince others that my humanity isn't based on the color of my skin. I'm still having to convince people that my life and rights are more important than the worship of a flag (or flags, if you count the confederate flag). 

Why is that? Why do some people care more about how the flag is respected than how people of color are respected? Why are you still questioning our humanity? Yes, I'm talking to the flag worshippers here.

What is so threatening to you about a people protesting for their right to be heard, acknowledged, and understood? Please, think about it and let me know.

Pals, this isn't about disrespecting the military. I have many dear friends and family who have served or are currently serving in the military, and I couldn't be more proud of them. I love and respect the hell out of them, and I am honored that they would sacrifice anything for me.

But here's the deal: I and others like me can peacefully protest injustice and respect the military at the same time

And don't even get me started on disrespecting the flag itself. You guys, it's fabric. At the end of the day, all it is, is a symbol. But the flag itself isn't worth more than a person (of ANY color). The flag itself does not give me freedom. It doesn't pay my bills, or raise my child, or give me a future. The honest truth is that only Jesus can give me real freedom, if we want to be really real about things. While we're at it, go ahead and take a look at the U.S. Flag Code and educated yourself as to what is actually considered disrespectful to the flag. 

I could go on, and honestly, this issue is so complicated that I could write a month's worth of blog posts on it and still only scratch the surface. 

But I just want to say that I'm tired. I have loved people of other races my entire life, and yes, that includes a great many white people. I have loved these people, not because of or despite their race, but just because they are PEOPLE. I believe what Jesus said when he said the second greatest commandment is to love others as you love yourself. 

And if you're not a Christian, the golden rule remains: treat other people the way you want to be treated. 

We are all human. We all bleed. We all die. We all love, and hurt, and cry, and fail, and succeed. We all have insecurities, fears, doubts, talents, gifts, strengths and weaknesses.

WE. ARE. HUMAN.

I’m not afraid
To take a stand
Everybody
Come take my hand
We’ll walk this road together, through the storm
Whatever weather, cold or warm
Just letting you know that you’re not alone
Holler if you feel like you’ve been down the same road
— Not Afraid by Eminem

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Inspired By Friday Vol. 2

Inspired By Friday Banner.png
Inspired By Friday Vol 2

These two fellas just make my heart so happy! In the picture above, we went to see the Cowboys practice during training camp. It was my son's first "professional sporting event," and he LOVED it.

In other news, this palette by PUR Cosmetics may be my new fall palette. I love all of the warm tones in this palette, plus, it's talc-free and it won't break the bank.

This video by Jackie Aina, and this video by Too Much Mouth are my favorites this week. Finally, some suggestions for nude lipsticks for women of color! I get so tired of brands creating "nude" products that only come in beige. But that's another complaint for another day. I can't wait to try some of the Mented lipsticks that both lovely ladies mentioned.

I NEED to take a trip to Scotland to see this Harry Potter shop! If you didn't know, I love all things Harry Potter. It's my favorite book series of all time, and any Harry Potter experience I can have, I am down for it.

This outfit by Cara Loren is everything. I love everything about it. I love the boots, I love the dress, and the Louis, of course. Give me one of everything, please!

This skirt from the LC Lauren Conrad Runway Collection is gorgeous. It's perfect for fall and it's not that expensive (and it's on sale!), so I may have to do a little shopping ;-)

Cheers to the Freakin' Weekend,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

My Fashion Picks for Fall

Fall Fashion Wishlist.png

I am so ready for fall, you guys. I miss wearing boots and scarves, drinking warm beverages, and making delicious, spice-filled desserts.

As far as fashion goes, this year I find myself being attracted to colors that I normally don't care to wear. Berry colors are always (ALWAYS) right up my alley. However, navy blue, beige, and olive green? Usually, it's a hard pass. Still, 

Berry Tones

Call it marsala or maroon, cherry or wine, I've been loving berry shades in clothing. I've always loved this color when it comes to fall and winter, but usually that was just when it came to tops. Now I'm drawn to all things berry, including shoes and handbags. I NEED these Doc Martens before fall is over, and this handbag matches them perfectly!

Beige Tones

Beige is not my color. It's not that it doesn't look good on me, it's just that it's too...beige. Usually, beige and tan tones are too boring to me. I am not an all nude outfit kind of gal, and really don't own much in the beige/tan family, but recently I've just wanted all things beige. These Nike sneakers would so chic with so many different outfits, and I feel like they can be dressed up or down. These beige lounge pants are perfect for relaxing at home or throwing on some flip-flops and running some errands.

Navy Tones

I don't own much navy clothing, and forget about navy shoes. Come to think of it, I don't really own much blue clothing in ANY shade. I want to change that this season, though, because I've really been feeling navy lately. Something about it is so sophisticated. You can wear navy to the office or on a date night out. These navy, velveteen Vans are to die for! They would look so cute with a maxi bodycon dress. And this blue jacket is the perfect transitional piece. I feel like you could wear it from now, all the way into the spring time.

Olive Tones

Okay, I for sure don't own a lot of green. Most of the green clothing I have is an emerald shade, and meant for winter. I certainly don't own a lot of olive tones, and I definitely don't own anything camo. I'm not sure why, though, because I actually love the way that olive tones look against my skin color. This olive green shirt is perfect for a more dressy jeans and t-shirt kind of day. And this camo sweatshirt would look super cute with some dark wash jeans and black combat boots, or sweatpants and Netflix ;-)

What tones are you loving for fall this year?

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

How We Can Continue to Help Houston

Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images, Via

Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images, Via

I was born and raised in the Houston area, so the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey is close to my heart. My family still lives there and I am so incredibly thankful that they were not hurt and that their homes didn't suffer any damage.

That's not the case for a lot of people. While the death toll was relatively low (praise God), many people lost everything, and at the very least, a lot of people have water damage to their homes and vehicles. 

Houston and the surrounding affected cities still need our help. Some suburbs are in recovery-mode, meaning they need cleaning supplies.

Some places are still in relief-mode, meaning that they still need food and water, personal hygiene products, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, Kleenex, underwear and clothing, socks. People also need baby supplies like diapers, wipes, baby clothes, and baby food.

You can also donate pet food, as many people don't have a way to feed their pets right now, and that includes livestock like horses and cattle.

If you would prefer to donate money, you can always donate to the J.J. Watt Foundation or the Salvation Army. For more information on how/where to donate, see this article.

Please donate something. Anything will help. And if you can't donate money or food, consider donating your time if you live in Texas and can get to a place providing relief and support. 

In times like these, we're reminded that we're all in this together, that we all have a bond because we're human, and that we're meant to give love and support whenever and however we can.

And, as always, you can pray for the people affected by Harvey. Let's also pray for Florida, and that they are kept safe from Hurricane Irma.

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Tuesday Thoughts: Freedom

Tuesday Thoughts-Freedom

I've been thinking a lot lately about freedom. What it means, and more importantly, how it feels. What does it feel like to be free, without all the baggage weighing you down?

After the consistent stress and change that has been the last few years of my life, I'm finally in a season where I can take a breath. I finally have the chance to think, reflect, heal. I'm learning so much about my marriage, about motherhood, about what I hope for in friendship, about my faith, and about myself.

In all of my thinking and reflecting thus far, I've been confronted with the desire to feel free. I want to feel free. Free to be myself, free to live the life I choose, free to work a career I want, free to love my family to the best of my abilities. 

For a long time, I feel like I lived my life according to what other people wanted from me or what they thought I should do. I became a the person I thought people wanted instead being fully myself. And after years of being that person, I lost who I am.

Now I'm trying to rediscover myself, my hopes and dreams, my goals, my life. I'm getting to know myself again. It's both terrifying and amazing. I'm learning things that I love about me, things that have always been there but that I'm finding all over again. And I'm learning about things that I don't quite like, things I want to get rid of or change.

I think self-discovery is a lifelong process. As we change, as we go through life and experience different things, both good and bad, we grow and become a little more different all the time. I'm not the same girl I was 10 years ago, and I wouldn't want to be.

I'm excited to get to know myself again, and see where self-discovery leads. If nothing else, it's sure to be an adventure...

Cheers,
LesLeigh J.

Inspired By Friday Vol. 1

The Inspired Life-Inspired By Friday

I know it's been a hot minute since I've posted regularly! I've been wading through a lot of life change (again), but now I'm ready to hop back in the saddle with regularly scheduled programming.

I decided to start a new series called Inspired By Friday, where I share things that I've found inspiring throughout the week! 

Inspired by Friday Vol. 1

This is my favorite and most inspiring image of the week, by far! It so perfectly captures my little man at this age: always on the move! And I may be a little biased, but is he not the most adorable little person EVER?! I can't believe how much he's changing and growing every day. He's constantly displaying new skills and milestones, and though it makes me SO happy, I can't help but miss my tiny, precious little baby. He's much more toddler now than he is a baby and he's certainly keeping me on my toes!

This vintage perfume bottle is beautiful! I've always loved perfume bottles, almost more than I love the actual perfume.

This podcast by Young House Love on sharing your kids on the internet. I've been following John and Sherry of YHL for years, and I love their podcast. This episode was extremely helpful to me because I think all the time about how much I want to share my son on the internet. We have to remember that, even if we choose to share our lives on social media, our children may not be old enough to choose that for themselves, and if they are, they may not want to share their lives anyway. Just something to consider!

This video about the new Dose of Colors DesixKaty Collection. I feel like I NEED everything in the collection (minus the "nude" lip colors for obvious reasons). 

This interesting article from The New Yorker about time-travelling with words. When I get some free time, I'm going to have to go to this section myself and learn some new (or old) words!

This diffuser is so cute! If you've seen this post or this post, then you know of my love for essential oils. I have been on the hunt for less expensive, high quality diffusers lately, as the Young Living ones are pretty pricey. This one is so chic looking, but appears to be high quality.

Cheers to the Freakin' Weekend,
LesLeigh J.

*This post contains affiliate links.*