A Joshua Man Needs a Rahab Girl (Devotional and personal thoughts)

A prayer that I prayed to God about eight years ago was my desire for a Joshua man.  Joshua of Biblical times was incredibly brave.  He was amazing.  He was full of faith in God and was not intimidated by circumstances.  And Joshua was one of only two spies sent into Canaan who thought the Israelites could do it, aka beat the Giants.  “Our God is bigger” could be his and Caleb’s battle cry.  And even Moses, who God used to deliver His people from bondage in Egypt, did not even make it to the Promised Land.  Moses displeased God when he struck a rock twice with his staff when God had commanded him to just speak to the rock (Numbers 20: 9-12).  But Joshua had the privilege to lead the Israelite people into the Promised Land after Moses died.  He obeyed God.  Wow!  What a powerful picture of a Godly man!  Joshua has long been one of the Godly men I admire most in the Bible.

You know what God spoke to my spirit when I prayed for a Joshua man?  God said, “A Joshua man is hard to find.”  Yes, I agree with that.  Don’t get me wrong.  There are many great, Godly guys out there today.  But Joshua is a higher standard than that, and his faith seems like the gold standard to me. Joshua’s faith moves me and that is what I am looking for relationally and romantically.  Sometimes I am tempted to compromise or it seems Joshua men don’t exist today who are still single (or who like me and ask me out), but I know that is not true.  I still hope to find my Joshua man, or better yet, to have him find me.

Recently I began thinking, “What does a Joshua man want?” Immediately I thought of Esther in the Bible.  She was beautiful and pure and brave.  She caught the eye of the King when hundreds of other women were competing with her to become Queen.  Her famous and familiar line, “And if I perish, I perish” will always be engraved in my mind as the upmost example of courage and bravery. But recently when I was thinking of Esther, I felt inferior.  She was so beautiful.  I struggle to relate.  I believe beauty ultimately comes from within, like Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”  However I must admit that recently when I found some white hairs amidst my brown hair, I was mortified and most assuredly less than thrilled.  In my thirties, not only have several white hairs appeared, but my metabolism has been a significant challenge to me and it has slowed down.  Weight in my younger years was easily manageable and I stayed thin, but now weight can stubbornly refuse to budge in my hope to attain my desired goal weight.  This can hurt my self-esteem and cause discouragement.  I joined a gym last October, and while it has been baby steps, I have finally managed to lose around 9 pounds.  It has been a hard fought battle, but victory is sweet.  Along with weight challenges, I was also recently diagnosed with rosacea, which is a red face condition that can start in your thirties and can even cause puss filled pimples.  Yep, it can make me feel less than attractive.  At times it has caused my nose to even have red spots on the end, making me feel like Rudolph.  None of these things (white hairs, weight gain, and rosacea) help with seeing myself as desirable, especially in a look-obsessed world.  I’m slowly working on making amends with the aging process, but I definitely don’t want to let my self-esteem be wrapped up in my looks or what the number on the scale says today.

The main thing that I think about with Esther is her bravery.  I admired her because I wanted to be her.  Sometimes I feel like a timid little mouse, and many people don’t know that I was extremely shy as a child.  I was an avid reader and pretty quiet.  Even in high school, when I had a class and I was graded on verbal participation points, I had to force myself to raise my hand and talk.  I think I raised my hand to speak just twice, actually.  But I could nail it on a test when I was writing.  So, at the end of our grading period, I got 0 for participation points.  I was so shy and unassertive, I didn’t want to argue about the few times that I spoke in what was quite a long stretch of time.  I long to be brave, and I have seen growth exponentially in my shyness, but God is still working on me with courage and bravery.

But you know who I was just thinking about today who I can relate to?  Rahab.  Yes, I know, Rahab was prostitute, Even now, it seems that is how  she is always labelled.  But I want to point out that Rahab showed remarkable and exemplary bravery after leading a life where she messed up infinitely more than she got it right.  Her story is told in Joshua 2:1-24.  She definitely was not a pure woman.  And a prostitute would not be at the top of most people’s list for who should be in the lineage of Jesus.  But you know what?  She was redeemed when she made a bold choice to hide and save the lives of two Israelite spies who were hiding from Amorite pursuers. This was outstanding because Rahab was herself an Amorite, and she risked her own safety by harboring the two spies and committing treason against her own people.  This would have been punishable by death if she was caught.  Paul even gives Rahab a commendation for her faith in Hebrews 11:31, and she is the only woman besides Sarah who is listed as an example of faith in Hebrews 11 ( https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Rahab).  In BibleGateway.com, a keyword search for Rahab comes up with some thought-provoking things in the topical index, such as “hospitality>>instances of>>Rahab to the spies”, “hospitality>>rewarded>>Rahab’s”, “kindness>>instances of>>Rahab to the spies”, and “mercy>>instances of>>Joshua to Rahab” (https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Rahab&qs_version=NIV).

God chose Rahab to be an ancestor in the lineage of Jesus.  I can definitely relate to her.  Sometimes I mess up 80 times and get it right one time.  (Ok, I am being slightly melodramatic).  But God sees the one time I get it right.  And he sees my heart.  And he sees me as His daughter, and He views every time I get it right as a job well done.  Sometimes I beat myself up for my failures when God has already said, “You are forgiven” and “Jesus already paid the price.”  God wants me to move forward, but often I am too busy looking at my mistakes, lack of courage, or my faults.  Looking back keeps me from moving forward toward the Promised Land God has for me.  I’m guessing I am not the only one. What about your Promised Land?  What is keeping you from it?  Today as I was pondering what type of woman a Joshua man needs, I thought about how if I want a Joshua man, then I want to be the type of woman that he wants who is an ideal, beautiful counterpart for him.  I can relate to Rahab.  She made a lot of mistakes, but she got it right in the end with a beautiful story of courage and redemption and God’s love.  Please know that God loves you in spite of your faults, failures, and sin, and when you are tempted to throw stones at yourself due to your failures and times you mess up, know God wants you to put down the stones and He offers you His love, grace, and redemption in Jesus.

Starbucks Six New Fan Flavor Frappuccinos! Get them before they’re gone!

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Fan Flavors!!!  Six new frappuccinos!!! At Starbucks!!! I am a bit behind promoting this, but there are six new Frappuccino blended beverages inspired by Starbucks fans now out at Starbucks. They are Cotton Candy, Lemon Bar, Red Velvet Cake, Cinnamon Roll, Cupcake, and Caramel Cocoa Cluster.  I have tried the Caramel Cocoa Cluster (my favorite so far) and the Cotton Candy.  According to the barista in my neighborhood Starbucks, the Cotton Candy one has been super popular and she thinks it should definitely be continued, however personally she really likes the Cinnamon Roll one.

I haven’t heard how long these special frappuccinos will last, but the Starbucks website says to get ready to start voting on Friday June 19, 2015 for your favorite.  My suspicion is that the favorite will be continued and the others will be cut, but that is just a hunch.  It will be fun to vote for a favorite, and I encourage you to get one before they are gone.

One final cool thing.  The last time when I was at Starbucks, I asked the barista lots of questions about the new frappuccinos, and I told her that I blog and promote Starbucks.  She thought that was neat, and actually Starbucks related search terms are the main search terms that people use and find my blog.  Everybody loves Starbucks!  Tonight when I went through the drive-through, I got the same barista, and she said “oh, you are the blogger.”  I thought that was cool! Honestly,  I would love to be a brand ambassador for Starbucks if they ever would have me do that to promote them.  Starbucks is one of my favorite places!!!

Here is a link if you want to check out how Starbucks makes each fan flavor or in order to vote starting on 6/19:

http://frappuccino.com/fanflavors?utm_source=homepage&utm_medium=homepage&utm_campaign=summer1

Starbucks New S’mores Frappuccino is a Hit! Check it out at 1/2 price Frappuccino Happy Hour at Starbucks May 1st-10th!

S’mores Frappuccino® Blended Coffee

S'mores Frappuccino® Blended Coffee

S’mores Frappuccino® Blended Coffee. Photo courtesy of Starbucks website.

The Starbucks new S’mores Frappuccino is a hit!  I had it for my first Starbucks Frappuccino Happy Hour drink of 2015.  The Starbucks website gives this mouth-watering description: “Marshmallow-infused whipped cream, milk chocolate sauce, a creamy blend of graham, coffee, milk and ice finished off with more marshmallowy whipped cream and a graham cracker crumble.”

(http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/s-mores-frappuccino)

If you hadn’t heard, Starbucks widely anticipated event, their 1/2 price Frappuccino Happy Hour has come to town! It is 10 days of bliss for Starbucks lovers far and wide.  Details are as follows.

What: 1/2 Price Starbucks Frappuccino Happy Hour

Date: May 1-10, 2015

Time: 3-5 pm (but a special bonus hour is 5-6 pm for Rewards members)

Why: YOU LOVE STARBUCKS!!!

If you aren’t sure which frappuccinos you want to try, then check out Starbucks website for their vast frappuccino options. Note: they have more frappuccinos that aren’t even on the menu, and the Starbucks iPhone app lists them slightly differently and even includes an OPRAH one that was created in partnership with Oprah Winfrey and Teavana teaologists that is called Oprah Cinnamon Chai Crème Frappuccino.  Here is the Frappuccino menu:

http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages

#gottaloveStarbucks

Love Tarries

Love tarries
as sunrises and sunsets,
new moons,
summer,
fall,
and winter
come and go
and another spring bashfully peaks
through the horizon.
The delay
and wait for love
weighs down my heart
with much sadness.
I feel forsaken
by love.

Men in my age range
seem to prefer model-types,
exotic foreign girls,
girls who like to flirt,
or girls who run after guys
and make things happen.
So, I’m no model,
nor do I want to be,
and beauty ultimately should come from within,
but I fault too many guys
for caring too much about appearance
and putting it on a pedestal,
and not caring enough about qualities
like compassion or intelligence or courage.
I don’t have exotic foreign appeal.
Alas, I can’t compete with that.
And I’ve never been one
much for flirting.
I appreciate genuine connection
and prefer to be monogamous
with flirting, but in dating
and not with every single guy.
I’m more traditional in nature,
and want to be pursued,
but society seems to laugh
at that these days.
I can be both traditional,
as well as for women having equal access
and opportunity in both the home and work sphere.

Love tarries
like a long, cold winter
when spring seems like it is forever gone,
and I sigh
and grow in patience,
albeit somewhat ungracefully,
in this wait for beautiful and lasting love.

Digital Inequality and the IRS

Inequality is “an unfair situation in which some people have more rights or better opportunities than other people.”  The definition of inequality is “the quality of being unequal or uneven” and can include social disparity and disparity of distribution or opportunity (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inequality).

In terms of digital inequality, this can also be referenced as a technology gap.  I understand this very personally, because I was raised in a blue-collar family that was largely against computers when I was growing up.  I think my parents either hated or were scared of computers, and my Mom as a postal carrier never had need of a computer.  Today she gets upset when coupons are e-mail only since she doesn’t do e-mail, however, now that she is retired she surprised me when she took an entry level computer class with her friend at the community college.  Personally, I never owned a computer or laptop in college.  I would sometimes borrow my friend’s or my boyfriend’s computer, but mostly I would live at the library or computer lab when I needed to write papers.  Finances were an issue, and my first real computer came once I graduated with my Bachelors and Masters degrees and bought an old computer from an acquaintance for $100.  I know my experience may not be typical, but it is important to note that not every family can afford computers and technology, which can be very expensive.  This reality does set a child behind in school and can be a learning disadvantage.  A pencil and notebook is much less expensive than a laptop and affording home internet, and for parent’s struggling to put food on the table, technology is most likely not a priority.

Tonight I was disappointed and concerned when I went to my local library that is a star library in my state (Illinois) to pick up my federal and state tax forms and booklets.  Earlier in the week I had no success picking up the tax forms at the main post office that always stocks them, so I figured that perhaps I was thinking about my taxes late this year and the post office was just out of everything.  However, the sign at my local library said that the IRS decided to not send federal tax booklets this year to places that they always send them, like post offices and libraries. An extremely helpful woman at the library reference desk pointed out that the IRS also did not send supplementary forms like years previously, and a library staff member had to repeatedly call and ask for tax instruction booklets, only to be given 10 booklets that were quickly gone.  Also, there were no IL-1040 forms or booklets at all, and it was unclear to me what the library was given regarding state forms.

People looking for tax booklets were instructed to go online to look up the information.  This is not a good option for people who want to use a tax booklet and a paper form to mail their taxes in the old-fashioned way, which many older people still do.  Also, the library had a sheet with a phone number to call to have tax forms mailed to you.  That is a decent option for people that aren’t trying to do their taxes that night or at the last minute.  However, it is a hardship and a hurdle for taxpayers to jump through when instruction tax guides are not free and easily accessible to people of all income levels.  Many people may not have access to the internet at home, and most people would not like doing confidential tax information at the local library. I think this situation is inequality since it is social disparity and a disparity of opportunity for people of lower income levels.

Libraries and post offices are hubs of their community and provide services to people regardless of socioeconomic status, race, gender, or other factors.  While I can understand the IRS wanting to save money in the costs of printing and mailing forms, which is good both economically and environmentally, it still troubles me that this move results in an inequality that epitomizes the technology gap that is a way of life for many citizens in the United States of America.  I am a fan of freedom, and my hope is that people who are comfortable with old school paper tax forms can easily find and use them, while people who are comfortable with internet tax filing can utilize the internet to file their taxes.  I do not want to see either option cease to exist.

 

 

 

 

New Year, New You (a personal poem)

A new year full of promise and secret dreams.

A new year, a fresh start, and hidden deep waters.

The dazzle of potential is blinding.

The beauty of a clean slate

is liberating,

euphoric,

and causes happiness to permeate

my forlorn melancholy.

 

Light always shines in the darkness.

Light always is beautiful.

Light always shows the way.

 

My theory is thus:

I need to learn to make my own decisions

and stop over-analyzing and questioning

Myself.

My hopes.

My dreams.

My heart.

And I need to safeguard myself from the voices

of those who would make my decisions for me

when that is not their choice,

and they should not be allowed to do so.

 

It is a new year.

I am a new me.

I want to break free

and go down a new path

(yes, I read that Robert Frost poem)

even if no one will join me.

I hope to find someone on the way,

because I am not meant to always be alone,

and God knows

I would make a horrible nun

(even though Mother Teresa is one of the women

that I admire the most).

Besides, I am not Catholic,

and I think marriage is the epitome of cool.

The world may dismiss it, but I won’t.

Marriage is beautiful.

Redbox 12 Days of Deals!!! (Day 9) and Redbox 411

I am a definite fan of Redbox.  I love the concept of being able to rent movies on the cheap at locations that are essentially like movie vending machines all over town.  Redbox has a plethora of locations in my city and surrounding area, and you can find Redbox locations at places like Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, and Ruler Foods.  All you need is a credit card to rent a regular DVD, Blue Ray DVD, or game.  They typically send receipts via e-mail, and if you rent regularly, then they often send you promo codes (that you use before putting in your payment information) to get a free rental on a particular day or rent 1, get 1 free.  I signed up to get notices by text to be in the loop, and they are doing a fun 12 days of deals promotion currently that I want to give a shout-out to.

It is now Day 9 of the 12 Days of Deals (I am slightly behind promoting it, but I still want to get the word out).  All you have to do is reply NICE for a promo code rental discount to 727272.  You can text DAILY thru 12/10/14.  Since I have done it, I have gotten promo codes for 75 cents off, 50 cents off, and rent one & get one free.  While Redbox did raise their prices recently from $1.20 to $1.50 for regular DVD’s (and I believe Blu-Ray movies are now $2 and games are slightly higher, too), however, this Christmas deal promotion is pretty sweet.

“Don’t let your friends & family miss out on the 12 Days of Deals fun! Click to share via Facebook or email: http://m.rbx.me/12dd” (promo quoted from Redbox).