I love Fall! (A pictorial story)

My pumpkin outside my door 2017 (photo by Julie A. Smith)

Starbucks salted caramel mocha (my favorite!) (photo by Julie A. Smith)

My pumpkin in my staff work pumpkin contest (photo by Julie A. Smith)

Fun with friends last year at Curtis Orchard

The pretty barn where my friend Amber got married in October 2016 in Niantic, IL (photo by Julie A. Smith)

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Starbucks has a limited time new Zombie Frappuccino for Halloween!!!🎃

Starbucks Zombie Frappuccino for Halloween (Photo by Julie A. Smith)

Today my co-worker Kate told me about Starbucks new Zombie Frappuccino blended beverage. She found out that it has caramel and apple flavors and is for a limited time with Halloween. That is the first that I had heard of it and it sounded interesting. Kate ended up getting one for each of us to try. I can’t say that it was my favorite drink on the Starbucks menu, but I enjoyed trying it once, esspecially with fall and since it is a limited time drink. Check it out if you feel so inclined and if you like new things.

Inspiring Words from Lynn Cowell

“Sometimes, even when we do the scary thing, the brave thing, it still doesn’t work out.” That excerpt from Lynn Cowell’s Proverbs 31 ministries devotion today stood out to me and hit home. She was talking about courage and bravery and learning not to quit.

In moments in my life lately, I have really been tempted to quit and give up. I have gone through significant disappointments and hard times and people hurting me and letting me down. Lynn goes on to say in her devotion, “difficult times in our lives can be the exact opportunities we need to learn not to quit. Here, we learn to be brave and to do the hard things again and again and again. In the tough places, we can learn that our God is faithful to help us; He will never leave or forsake us.” I agree, and that was a much needed word of encouragement today.

Starbucks new Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino gets a gold star!!!

Photo courtesy of Starbucks.com

If you haven’t gotten to try the newer Midnight Mint Mocha Blended Creme Frappuccino at Starbucks yet, I would highly recommend it. It was one of my favorite frappuccinos awhile back when Starbucks had their 1/2 off Frappuccino Happy Hour. I definitely give it a gold star, and it is one of my new favorites. I also am a big fan of the new Smores creme Frappuccino.

If you are looking for a description to make your mouth water, here it is: “We’ve paired the dynamic duo of dark cocoa and refreshing mint with milk and ice. Next we infuse the blended chocolatey beverage with cooling mint sugar crystals, cut in a layer of whipped cream, then top it with more whipped cream and a dusting of dark cocoa” (description courtesy of https://www.starbucks.com). 

Since it is only at Starbucks for a limited time, if you want to try it, it may be good to get it before it is gone!!!

Devotional Thoughts Based on Hagar

Do you ever feel overlooked?  Do you ever feel unseen, perhaps by your boss or with a promotion, in dating, or even by your spouse?  The human heart longs for connection, understanding, and to be known.  We want to be loved and valued for who we are, not necessarily for what we do.  It can hurt emotionally to have those closest to us misunderstand us or say unkind things about us or our character.

Biblically speaking, there is a woman whose story is often overlooked in the Bible.  Many people know the stories of David against Goliath, Noah and the ark, or Moses and the Ten Commandments.  Sometimes women of the Bible and their stories can be overlooked by the church and Christianity, and that is where I want to give a special shout-out to author and speaker Liz Curtis Higgs.  When I worked at a Christian bookstore, her books were often on our Top 20 wall.  I have always wanted to read something by her, but I actually never have until recently.  Higgs seems to have a heart for women and stories of women in the Bible in particular and what we can learn from them.  She has authored books like Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible.  I found Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible at my local library recently, and I have been blessed by her wise insights and Biblical depth as I have been reading it.  She inspired me to write a short devotional about Hagar on my blog.

Hagar is a woman of the Bible who I speculate is likely not mentioned by many Bible pastors, priests, or teachers.  I think this is unfortunate, because Hagar is someone that many women can identify with.  She did not have the perfect life.  Hagar was an Egyptian maidservant to Sarai (later named Sarah), and she was given by Sarai to Sarai’s husband Abram (later named Abraham), to become another wife to him and have a child by him because Sarai was barren.  Abram went along with this plan, and he slept with Hagar and she became pregnant.  Hagar was in what most people would consider an extremely uncomfortable situation, to put it mildly (Genesis 16: 1-4).

I will sidestep the hot coal about why Old Testament times allowed men to have more than one wife, because that is something that I honestly do not totally understand.  I think that most people today will agree that having more than one wife in a home, or more than one husband, seems to be a total recipe for major problems, jealousy, and disaster.  Sarai began to mistreat Hagar, and Abram looked the other way, even though Hagar was bearing his child and it was not right that she was mistreated, perhaps even abused.  Hagar ran away, and it was there that the angel of the Lord found her and spoke to her (Genesis 16:4-8).  The angel of the Lord spoke to her and said, “You are now with child and you will have a son.  You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery.”  My Bible footnote says that Ishmael means “God hears.”  Then Hagar actually gave God a name and said: “You are the God who sees me.” (Genesis 16:11- 13).  Liz Curtis Higgs elaborates on this well with modern day applications for us when she says, “It’s reassuring to know our suffering never escapes his notice.  God sees and God hears.  Hears our muffled sobs late at night. Hears our whispered pleas in doctors’ waiting rooms…What comfort, knowing we are loved by a God who listens”(Higgs, 2007, p. 51).  

May we know that God cares for us and hears us, just like he did for Hagar long ago.  He cares what you are going through and about the hurt in your heart.

 

References:

Higgs, L.C. (2007). Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible. Colorado Springs, Colorado: WaterBrook Press.

Holy Bible, New International Version, (1973). International Bible Society: Zondervan.

Hurry in before Starbucks Happy Hour is over!!!

If you have not seen the tv ads or heard already, Starbucks Happy Hour is here in the United States! It began on May 5 and ends on May 14, 2017. It is only from 3-6 pm at Starbucks and is a half off frappuccino happy hour!! I have tried the new midnight mint mocha creme frappuccino several times and it is really good. The Smores frappuccino is also back. I believe those are both only for a limited time so hurry in if you want to catch them before they are gone!!!

Starbucks new Midnight Mint Mocha Frappuccino (photo by Julie A. Smith)

Healing Heart (a poem)

Poet’s note: I published this poem on 4/4/17.  I want to share it here, as well.  If you are looking to read more of my poetry, please feel free to check out https://www.poemhunter.com/julie-a-smith/.  I publish additional poetry there that is not all published on my personal blog.

I broke up with you
exactly one month ago.
I had peace with my decision,
but I didn’t want to hurt you.
But then you hurt me so badly.

It was an amazingly amicable break-up.
We both agreed that it was for the best.
You even said how you likely
would have broken up with me
in a few days since you felt that way, too.

But then I couldn’t believe that you
unfriended me on Facebook
a few days after our break-up.
You never told me
and left me to find out the hard way.
We had been friends for years.
Ten to be exact.
I could not believe that you would do that,
and then totally freeze me out
and cut off communication entirely.
I am definitely not perfect,
but I deserve better than that.

Makes me wonder
about being friends with guys.
Sometimes it is harder than being friends with girls
for obvious reasons.
I let you in
which I don’t always do
with guys
and it ended up
seriously harming a friendship
and hurting my heart.
Alas, I have a glimmer of hope
that there is still a guy out there
who will treat me tenderly
and cherish my healing heart
but sometimes that seems
so far away.
But maybe
one day
sooner rather then later
that vulnerable hope
will come true.