www.meganjoychapman.com

Author of Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride Series

Love Life: Barren or Blessed

love life-motherhood

Gustav Klimt- Mother & Child

Every November around my birthday and holiday season, I fall into this annoying pattern of feeling sorry for myself. With family back east, no children of my own –yet –and the big fat F-Word (40!) just around the corner, I start freaking out, questioning God’s timing and His purpose for my life. Fear creeps in and the inevitable questions nag at me. Will Chap and I ever get to experience a family of our own? Will we ever get to cook a Christmas feast and share stories around a family dinner table? Will I ever have another human being look at me with my eyes and call me Mom?

love life-family table

Knowing this pattern’s going to rear its ugly head each year –until I’m given everything I want, right here right now (yeah right!) I’ve begun strategizing in advance. First, I make sure to stay busy. On my birthday, I go to the salon and get my big unruly hair done – cut, colored, and straightened. This makes me feel like I’m reinventing myself—especially when my grays have become more than I can handle or pull out.

love life-salon

Then of course, shopping and dinner plans are always in the mix. But before all that, I purposefully give myself a pep-talk and say, this year’s going to be different! I will not allow myself to focus on what I don’t have. I’m going to be thankful for what I do have and enjoy this season. I mean, it is THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR! Isn’t it? Yes. I can do this!

love life-shopping

So all suited up in my big girl panties, I pull myself up from my bootstraps (well, they’re more like cute high-heeled sandals in Hawaii, but you get the idea). I wake up on my 39th birthday ready to take on the season with gusto. But before my feet even hit the floor, I start freakin’ crying!

You’ve got to be kidding me! I think. I was sooo ready this time! Get a grip! But the tears don’t stop. Then guilt spits at me, making me feel worse. I feel bad that I’m not being thankful and still whining about the things I don’t have. So all I know to do in this situation is to pray. I grab my journal and the zebra-print and pink trim almost makes me smile (almost).

love life-journal

I start repenting and write down my prayers. Things like, Forgive me Lord for not being thankful for my life daily. Have mercy on me and let me enjoy this life, no matter what my circumstances. Help me to make LOVE my highest goal and enjoy the purpose and plan You’ve created for me, even if I don’t always understand it. Help me to love my life!

Then I start to get petty and ask God for a necklace for my birthday. I had gotten a very unique pair of earrings a few months earlier but needed a necklace to go with them. They were designed by a local artist—one-of-a-kind, copper long swirls.

love life-earrings

So after my hair appointment, I head into the boutique where I’d purchased the earrings months earlier. I approach the owner and describe the earrings and how I was hoping to find a matching necklace by the same artist.

love life-shopping

She tilts her head pensively and says, “I know the artist you’re talking about but I don’t think we have anything left from her.”

I sigh pitifully, say thank you, and turn to leave. But before I exit she says, “Hold on. I’m not sure if this is a match but I think it’s from the same artist…” On her tiptoes she reaches up onto a top shelf and pulls down a display that is hiding behind another display. She presents it to me.

At first glance, I see a tarnished whimsical mess. It’s totally me. And the length is perfect. Then my eyes refocus on the necklace and I see that the swirls are actually letters spelling out a message. LOVE LIFE!

love life necklace

I’m speechless.

“You can polish it up with some copper cleaner,” she says hopefully, trying to make out my frozen stare.

I try not to startle her with my sudden burst of enthusiasm and refrain from jumping up and down. “Umm, yeah! Definitely! I’ll take it!”

Long story short, I buy some copper cleaner and rush home to polish the necklace. In my bedroom, I find the earrings and they’re a perfect match. I pull out my journal and read the words I’d written that morning about choosing to love life— and yep—I start weeping again. But this time they’re tears of joy and thankfulness. My eyes are opened to the metaphor of me being a tarnished whimsical mess that God is daily shaping, reviving, and polishing for a special and unique purpose.

love life jewelry

In the simple message on the necklace, I’m reminded of God’s favor and love for me and overwhelmed by His grace and faithfulness. He heard my hearts cry. When I didn’t think He was listening, He was. And at that moment I realized that, yes! I can love this crazy life and purpose He’s given me— even if I don’t always understand it. I can trust God’s timing because He knows my every need—even the petty ones like a necklace!

love life-friends

Celebrating my Blessed 39th Birthday at Beach Tree

For whoever finds Me finds life and receives favor from the LORD. PROVERBS 8:35

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

How I Scored a Free Dinner and a Castle in France

France-Eiffel Tower

Ever since sixth grade geography class, I’ve dreamed about going to France—maybe because I’m a diehard romantic-foodie-art-lover that has always been fascinated by the avant-garde Parisian fashion. Even the language intrigues me—everything always sounds plus chic in French.

Over the past twenty years that I’ve known my husband and within our fourteen years of marriage, he’s endured my French fetish and endless whining about how I long to experience a steamy latte and fresh baked croissant in a quaint café, stroll down the Champs-Elysées, shop in a real boutique, marvel the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, and strike a pose in front of the Eiffel Tower. Realizing I’d never let my dream die, my husband promised that he’d get me to Paris before I turned forty. Well— I turn forty this year, so his plan looks glib.

But just as his plan was becoming an impossible feat, a miracle happened on the day my book, Lion Heart and Alessio: The Victory Ride, arrived at my front door. It was the first time I’d held my book in my hands and seen it in print.

megan joy chapman's book-lion heart and alessio

To celebrate, we had dinner plans with another couple at La Bourgogne restaurant—yep— French.

France inspiration-French restaurant

As we’re digging into our Chevre and Tomato Galette, our friends tell us that they’ve booked a castle in Provence, expenses paid, and would like us to join them.

France- Provence Villa

Could this day get any better? Yes, it can. And it does. After we’ve indulged in our perfectly paired wines, five-course succulent meals, and have planned and gushed over the infinite possibilities of our trip, we realize we’re the last ones in the restaurant. The lovely French waitress approaches and the husbands pull out their wallets. In her sultry accent she says, “The bill has already been taken care of.” Ends up, it was paid for by “Anonymous.”

France-villa pool

The Castles Private Pool

So, pretty much a no-brainer for us. WE’RE GOING TO FRANCE! We spend two weeks in our expenses paid castle in Provence and will spend the last week in Paris. To prepare for our trip we’ve been taking French lessons. So far, I’ve learned to say with big eyes, chin down, “Desole. Je ne parle pas Francais (Sorry, I don’t speak French). But I’m still plugging away at it.

France-villa garden

Our Private Garden!


France-villa tennis court

Tennis anyone?

I’m beside-my-self-cheerleader-kick-EXCITED! My hubby’s stoked, too, because he’s finally off the hook. He keeps saying to me, “See. I told you I’d get you to France before you turned forty.”

With a smitten smile to puff him up, I keep saying, “Nice work, Babe.”

Paris France apartment

This is our Paris apartment living area with a view! so we can people watch. Only a 5 minute walk to the Louvre Museum!

Paris France apartment

Our Paris Apartment Dining Room. Check out the chalkboard. Bienvenu a Paris (Welcome to Paris).

I could go on and on about how God has blown me away with His spot-on timing and has exceeded my expectations for this trip. The list is endless. Instead, I’ll just say this. Keep dreaming big and don’t give up! Your greatest desire may happen when you least expect it . . . and better than you ever imagined!

May he grant your heart’s desires and make all your plans succeed. PSALM 20:4

Merci, Seigner!

What are you dreaming big about?

Follow my trip to France!

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

Galette Recipes

Gouda with Caramelized Onion, Fennel, and Apple Sausage Galette
Brie and Apple Galette
Gruyere, Prosciutto, and Poppy Seed Galette
Goat Cheese, Fig, and Prosciutto Galette

Click here to check out Megan’s educational adventure book for kids ages 8-12!

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