Catching Fire, Truckin’ It, & Butterbeer Goodness!!!

To celebrate the release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Lionsgate announced that some of the supporting cast members would embark on a National ‘Victory  Tour.’  The tour included a stop in Miami, which featured special Q&As with fans and autograph signings. Since Miami is only a two-hour drive from where we live and because hubby works for our local Fox news station, he was able to attend the event with one person. He didn’t bring me . . . he brought our 13-year-old daughter. Don’t worry, I’m not bitter or anything. I figure with the direction America is headed, we’re not far off from The Hunger Games becoming a reality, and I plan to offer up my daughter as a tribute. Yeah, paybacks are a . . .

Kidding! Here are some pics from the event . . . .

Catching Fire

Alan Ritchson (middle) is also playing Raphael in the new TMNT!

Now if you’re worried about the state of affairs in America like I am, I have great news! My dad has a plan to save us all. He’s a truck driver, and I write that with extreme pride. It’s a demanding profession, and he’s the hardest working man I know. Since he spends his time traveling all across the fifty states, he has a perspective most of us don’t. He also has a lot of time to think, a luxury many of us don’t have. We have so many things pulling us in different directions, always GO-GO-GO, and we’re hard-pressed to stay informed on the important matters concerning our beloved country and what we should be doing to help. Anyway, as the proud daughter of a truck driver, I kinda think an average Joe like my dad just might be the person we need to save America 🙂 And I was so blessed that he passed through our neck of the woods on Sunday! Here are some pics of Ashley and I running out to greet him!

Truck

And last but not least, some of you may have seen this around the web last week, but just incase you missed it . . . you don’t have to travel allll the way to my state anymore to try the popular wizarding beverage at the Harry Potter area in Islands of Adventure. Because according to Foodbeast, Starbucks has collected the potion recipe for any Muggle to try a Butterbeer at one of their locations.

Here’s what you’ll need to order to achieve frothy butterscotch goodness, in either cold or warm variations:

Cold Version:

• A Crème Frappuccino base, made with whole milk (not skim or 2%, which will mess up the consistency) • 3 pumps of caramel syrup • 3 pumps of toffee nut syrup • Top with caramel drizzle

Butterbeer

CHEERS!

Warm Version:

• Whole milk steamer Caramel syrup (2 pumps for a tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti) • Toffee nut syrup (2 pumps for a tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti) • Cinnamon Dolce syrup (2 pumps for a tall, 3 for grande, 4 for venti) • Top with whipped cream and salted caramel bits • Optional: 1 shot of espresso (2 for a grande or venti)

WARNING: NOT SAFE FOR HOUSE-ELVES!

Starbucks’ Butterbeers will only be available during the next few months, as the coffee chain cuts off the flow of toffee nut syrup after the holiday season. Guess they aren’t the wizards that I thought they were! Still, I plan on hopping on my Nimbus 2000 this weekend and pairing this magical concoction with a chocolate cauldron (cupcake). As a fan and writer of geek-friendly romance, I think this has “perfect date night” written all over it *winks at hubs across the couch*

*Thanks for stopping by! Tell me, are you going to see Catching Fire at the theatre this weekend? Think a truck driver can save America? Do the think the baristas have any idea of the Bombtastic Bomb Starbucks has unleashed with this new recipe?

Suffering IS NOT Failing

There’s many different cups of suffering . . . in physical aches, emotional pain, motherhood, friendships, loneliness, marriage issues, financial hardships, rejection (writing has dealt me an overflowing cup of this one), abuse, divorce . . . we don’t deserve these cups of suffering, but even though God loves us, He doesn’t take these sufferings away.

Coffee

Oh, how I wish a cup of suffering meant Starbucks getting my order wrong and therefore, ending up getting coffee wasted which results in a massive sugar withdrawal incident that has me sprinting across  eight busy lanes of traffic chasing after SpongeBob (you don’t want to know).

Our pastor’s daughter, Kristy Turner, shared the message, “Suffering Is Not Failing,” at the Women’s Retreat I attended for our church at South Seas Plantation this weekend. She shared from Matthew 26:36-46 when Jesus asks his Father to take the cup of suffering from him because he knows he’s about to go to the cross. It’s because of the anguish Jesus went through that he can relate to our suffering. Ultimately, it’s our sufferings that mold us in life . . . it keeps us humble, reminds us of our constant need for God, and benefits those around us as they see God at work in our lives.

I thought a lot of my sufferings during this retreat . . . I felt God whispering to me during her message that I’ve always been so self-sufficient because of the sufferings I endured as a child. I HAD to be independent for survival, and now it’s a difficult habit to break. I don’t admit weakness or ask for help easily. This wouldn’t be so hard if I just sat back and relaxed, but my adult life has been filled with one big project after another. Hubs often feels the need to ask me, “Why do you have to take on the world?” I just thought I liked activity, but this weekend I realized that deep down in my soul, I felt the need to prove something to myself and to the people who ignored me and made me feel insignificant growing up. Jesus reassured me that even if I didn’t do allll those things, he still loves me and I was worth dying for *wipes tears from eyes*

So will I still “think big”? Sure I will! It’s a part of me, but I’m gonna ask for more help along the way and believe my husband when he tells me that sometimes “less is more.” I’m going to take more time to enjoy the simple things in life . . . things I got to enjoy this weekend. The smell of coconut scented sunscreen melting into my skin as I relaxed on the beach, the whispering of the waves, laughing with my friends, the horizon of a sunrise, the treat of a cold Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino from Starbucks, the warm breeze and water washing over my sandy toes as I read a good book.

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Keep calm and carry on!

It’s easy to get caught up in the suffering, the “failing,” and the busyness of life. But it is possible to have peace with God in all things. To end with another cliché (hey, don’t give me that judging look that says you’re a writer–you have no business posting a blog filled with clichés), “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Take a deep breath, and know that God loves you!

What about you? Have there been times in your life when you felt like you needed to think small instead of big? Have you drank from the cup of suffering and thought it was because you failed in some way?