www.meganjoychapman.com

Author of Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride Series

A Crown of Beauty for Ashes-Double Portion-Corona Means Crown

To all who mourn . . .
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory . . .

Instead of shame and dishonor,
    you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours. –Isaiah 61:3,7 NLT

Mixed Media Art by Megan Joy Chapman
Acrylic Paint, Printed Photos on Paper, Melted Crayon, Wood, and Ashes on Canvas. Measures 12″ x 12″

Isaiah 61 has always been one of my favorite passages in Scripture because it infuses me with hope. It reveals God’s creative nature and His heart for justice towards His children. It also demonstrates God’s extravagant love for humanity. A promise keeper through the ages, God declares a double portion eternal blessing of joy and bliss for those who remain faithful to Him through life’s burdens and temptations.

I created this painting as a testimony of God’s healing power over my life and how He has been faithful to bring a double portion of joy and strength to combat brokenness.

This canvas incorporates filtered, black and white photocopied prints from my youth through adulthood. Some pictures represent great triumphs and some bring up memories of deep suffering. I speckled ash over the photos using acrylic medium. Melted crayon bark broken into pieces represents childlike faith as well as God’s many colors of grace and glory deposited throughout my life.

Dust and Adjust Your Crown!

A few months ago I had a sore tooth and visited my dentist. The hygienist said that the upper part of my crown looked like it needed a good cleaning. Some plaque build-up was probably irritating the gum.

As she went to town on the upper part of my crown full vigor, she commented, “wow, this is really stubborn!” I kept praying she wouldn’t slip and take out my eye along with my tooth. She was really going for it!

But then with excitement she said, “Did you feel that? A big deposit just came off! I think you’re going to feel a lot of relief from this.” She was right. My tooth and gum healed up immediately after the cleaning.

The next day I kept hearing God say to me, “Dust off your crown! Don’t you know who you are?”

Like many, I was expectantly believing 2020 to be a year of double portion blessing, favor of God, and 2020 vision. But as the struggles of life came in like a flood, I became distracted from that promise. Fear began robbing my faith. Can you relate? So, when God spoke to me about dusting and adjusting my crown, I was all ears. I received His gentle rebuke and started researching the word crown. Here’s what I discovered:

A dental crown is described as a covering for the upper part of a weak tooth to protect it from breaking.

God is our covering authority. When we place our faith in Jesus, He becomes our protector, strength and shield (See Psalms 28 & 91).

A head crown is a circular ornamental headdress worn by a monarch as a symbol of authority, usually made of precious metals and jewels. Or a wreath of flowers worn as an emblem of victory, achievement, an award. The top or highest part of something. The upper part of a cut gem.

The Word of God declares that Jesus, the King of kings, was given all authority in heaven and on earth. In turn, He crowned mankind with glory and honor, giving them charge of everything He made and has put all things under the Believers’ authority (Matthew 28:18-20, Psalm 8). When we receive Jesus as our personal Savior, His Holy Spirit lives inside us. His Spirit unites us fully to Him making us one with Him, which gives us authority over every evil (Colossians 2:9-10). But it doesn’t stop there! God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms! (Ephesians 2:6)

Can you picture that? As royal sons and daughters of the One True God, we are crowned with glory and honor, co-seated with Jesus in heaven. We have been given the authority of Christ to accomplish great achievements for His glory. We are living from a place of victory, not for a victory, because Jesus already won the battle for us on the cross.

All we have to do is believe it! If we truly believed our identity and purpose is co-creating with Jesus from a position of victory, our lives and our world would look radically different. We’d be consistently confident, effective in love, and would never fall for the lie that is fear.

When a baby crowns it means the baby is emerging from the womb.

This is God’s heart for His church in this hour— The Army of God rising up with humble confidence to take its position against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12). As the Bride of Christ makes herself ready, praying, believing, and obeying the Word, may she emerge as a generous radiant church operating in faith (with wisdom) not fear, and resting in God’s love. May we humbly serve to build His Kingdom united together for His glory.

Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of his grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ. For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ! So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.

We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! –Ephesians 2:7-10 TPT

And to my surprise I realized halfway through writing this post that corona, in light of our global pandemic, means crown! referring to the crownlike spikes on its surface.

When we place our faith in Jesus, He promises to bring beauty from our ashes— or life from death. Right before Jesus went to the cross to take the punishment for our sins, His accusers put a crown of thorns on His head to mock Him. The crown of thorns represented the curse of sin and death that was placed on Jesus so that we could be freed from that curse (Matthew 27:28-31). Jesus’ death brought us eternal life. Salvation in Jesus is ultimately our crowning inheritance.

A Crown of Glory for A Crown of Thorns

I don’t believe in coincidences. Corona means crown. I believe God is speaking loud and clear to anyone who will listen. As we face this global shaking during the coronavirus, God is calling people everywhere to pause and draw near to Him. He’s inviting us to remember all Jesus won for us on the cross and to reflect His character on earth.

Romans 8:28 says, And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Therefore, the double portion blessing promised for 2020 still stands! Through this trial, I believe families are being restored, marriages revived, and visions renewed. What seemed important before may not seem as important now. Or vice versa. Either way, may this time of testing become a time of resting—a new normal where people unite and become more intentional about praying together and interceding on behalf of our nation.

May our prayers and praise fill God’s throne room so we can receive His favor and see justice poured out upon the earth. And may we all live by faith, not fear, because if your faith remains strong, even while surrounded by life’s difficulties, you will continue to experience the untold blessings of God! True happiness comes as you pass the test with faith, and receive the victorious crown of life promised to every lover of God! –James 1:12 TPT

In Conclusion

Circumstances change, but God’s character never changes. No matter what we face individually or globally, God is on the throne. He’s not worried. But He longs for His bride to return to Him. As we invite Jesus to be our covering crown, He will bind our wounds and heal our brokenness. As we allow childlike faith to abound in our hearts, His light will shine through the darkness and we will receive a crown of beauty for ashes – the double portion blessings described in Isaiah 61!

. . . And they lay their crowns before the throne and say, “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created all things, and they exist because you created what you pleased.” – Revelation 4:10-11 NLT

 

An Invitation to Salvation

If you have never placed your faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, and would like to know what it means to have a personal relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit, consider praying this simple prayer:

Father God, I admit that I’ve sinned against You. I’m sorry for the things I’ve done wrong and I want to do better. I believe that when Your Son Jesus died on the cross, He took the punishment for my sin. But He didn’t stay dead. He rose from the dead and is now seated in glory at Your right hand. Jesus, please come into my life and fill me with Your Holy Spirit so that I can receive this free gift of salvation and spend eternity with You in heaven. Amen!

If you prayed that prayer wholeheartedly, congratulations! You have been adopted into the family of God. A crown of victory has been placed on your head! Your life is now sealed in Christ and you have an inheritance that will last forever. Below are a few recommendations to help you along your journey.

  • Make sure you tell someone. Speaking out your commitment helps to seal your faith
  • Find a Bible believing church and get connected.
  • Receive prayer. Feel free to contact me. I would be honored to pray for you.
  • Start reading the Bible. If you don’t have one, Bible Gateway is a good place to start.
  • If you are in the Kona area on the Big Island of Hawaii and need assistance during the coronavirus, go to Living Stones Church Help Project.

Full Passage of Isaiah 61, Good News for the Oppressed

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
    for the Lord has anointed me
    to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
    and to proclaim that captives will be released
    and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
    that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
    and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
    repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
    though they have been deserted for many generations.
Foreigners will be your servants.
    They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields
    and tend your vineyards.
You will be called priests of the Lord,
    ministers of our God.
You will feed on the treasures of the nations
    and boast in their riches.
Instead of shame and dishonor,
    you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

“For I, the Lord, love justice.
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering
    and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be recognized
    and honored among the nations.
Everyone will realize that they are a people
    the Lord has blessed.”

10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
    For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
    and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
    or a bride with her jewels.
11 The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world.
    Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
    with plants springing up everywhere.

Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride, An Adventure Series for Kids 8-12

Read together as a family and share the good news. Check out Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride, my Spirit-filled family redemption story!

If this post encouraged you, please consider sharing it.

 

Love Came Down – My Valentine’s Day Rescue Story

Mixed Media Art by Megan Joy Chapman

Mixed Media on Canvas using Acrylics, Paper, Ink, and Metal

It was two weeks before Valentines Day. Other than an occasional crow from a rooster and some chirping birds that morning, the room was quiet when i sat down to read my Bible. Chap had already left for work and i was alone. Well, i thought i was.

As i opened to my daily reading, i’d love to say i was full of joy ready to seize the day with exuberance – but that would be a big fat lie.  The truth is, i was completely discouraged.  I’d been through a long season of disappointments, including some stressful circumstances, and i was desperate to grab hold of just a crumb of refreshment. I wondered when God might fly down to rescue me and lift me out of my pit.

Although i’m fully aware and thankful for my many blessings, the negative feelings consuming me were not lining up with what i know is true – I know God is always good and i know He always comes through for me. So all i can do in these long seasons is pray, and wait patiently for Him to act.

So there i am, about to read my first sentence, when the TV turns on and startles me. A Scripture from Romans 7 appears on the screen. I look across the room and see the clicker sitting on the coffee table. As far as i can see, i’m still alone.

Then, Dr. Sumrall (i think that’s his name) comes on the screen. He’s in the middle of teaching a sermon. I’m perplexed but invigorated. What just happened? I only pick up pieces of what he’s saying because i keep looking over at the lonely clicker. I squint my eyes thinking it will help me see the invisible angel i assume is standing there.

Dr. Sumrall beckons my attention. “I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind . . . Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The words strike me and i suddenly don’t feel so alone. I close my Bible and listen to the TV.

“For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are God’s children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.”

The words are familiar but i’m hearing them differently than ever before.

“. . . we must wait patiently and confidently.”

The sermon ends and it goes to commercial. Tears stream down my cheeks as i turn it off. I’m feeling comforted now, because i’m reminded that God always sees me. He knows me. And He loves me. I’m certain He wants to speak to my currant situation through Romans 7 and 8, so i grab my Bible and quickly go there.

Since he did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? . . . for Christ died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us . . . Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us . . .

I take a deep breath. I’m amazed by God’s faithfulness. I close my Bible and look up. On the wall in front of me is a painting i created two years ago, Love Came Down. I reread the lyrics printed on the canvas and smile. Then i thank God for rescuing me once again.

Love Came Down – Kari Jobe – Listen Here

If my heart is overwhelmed
And I cannot hear your voice
I hold on to what is true
Though I cannot see

If the storms of life they come
And the road ahead gets steep
I will lift these hands in faith
I will believe

I’ll remind myself
Of all that you’ve done
And the life I have
Because of your son

Love came down and rescued me
Love came down and set me free
I am yours
Lord I’m forever yours
Mountains high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am yours
I am forever yours
When my heart is filled with hope
Every promise comes my way
When I feel your hands of grace
Rest upon me
Staying desperate for you, God
Staying humble at your feet
I will lift these hands in praise
I will believe
I’ll remind myself
Of all that you’ve done
And the life I have
Because of your son
Love

Choosing Thankfulness No Matter What

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. – PSALM 23:5

I love how God set up our Thanksgiving holiday to fall just before Christmastime and then the New Year. It paints an amazing picture of Redemption. A heart of thankfulness to God yields blessings and gifts, which in turn brings new life where the old passes away and the new is born.

Before I became a Christian I was far from thankful. I was blind to God’s sovereignty and what He had in store for my future. As I grew to know Him better, I became more and more thankful because I saw Him moving in my life and in the lives around me. I began to recognize His beauty in creation whenever I gazed at the stars or watched the sun set over the ocean. I saw Him everywhere!

I even had a specific word prayed over me after church one Sunday— that I’d become an abundantly thankful woman—I would be so thankful that I’d even thank God for my toaster. I found it hard to be thankful at that time in my life because I was suffering through several trials at once— including health, marriage, and financial stress. But regardless I received the prayer, and that week I chose to be thankful—even for my toaster. Guess what happened? My toaster broke. Then my washing machine. And yes, even my car. All that same week!

The old ungrateful me would have spiraled into a pit. But instead, I called my friend who had prayed and told her what happened. She laughed. Not because she’s mean. She just wasn’t surprised. Long story short she basically said, “There’s a good guy and there’s a bad guy. When we believe the good guy and do what He says, the bad guy gets mad.” She told me to keep being thankful no matter what.

It didn’t happen overnight, but as I continued to choose thankfulness (even when I didn’t feel thankful) or when I declared Gods goodness (no matter what my circumstances looked like) eventually I saw blessings and gifts pour into my life and overflow into other people’s lives. The Lord honored my faith by granting me more faith and more joy. And He continues to make me new, day by day, as I trust in Him.

If you’re in a tough season where thankfulness is the last thing you feel like doing, do it anyways. God is preparing a feast for you in the presence of your enemies. Christmas will come. And a new season of fresh hope will soon fill your cup.

Thankfulness, Thankful, Lychee Wood Sign, Megan Joy Chapman, mixed media art

Rustic Lychee Wood Sign, Hand-Carved, Acrylic Paint- by Megan Joy Chapman

Hawaiian Sunset Crazy Quilt

Those who live at the ends of the earth stand in awe of your wonders. From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy. -Psalm 65:8

megan joy chapman

Hawaiian Crazy Quilt design by Megan Joy Chapman. Peruvian Walnut Custom Frame by Ray Strauss. Finished Piece measures 48″ square.

Last year I discovered two things. I love creating mixed media art, and I love creating mixed media art! Fabric, acrylic, bottle caps, bottles! I’ve become obsessed with texture and the infinite ways I can express an idea through media.

With my fashion and costume background, fabrics are a natural go-to for me. I have a ton of leftover scraps from previous projects and also from my days working at Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach. We produced countless costumes for many musicals and plays and the fabrics were often glitzy and fun. My sewing supervisor, Kim, was an avid quilter and saved discarded pieces for her quilts. She said she particularly liked crazy quilting “Cause it’s fast.”

One day Kim showed me how she crazy quilted and I loved that there was no measuring or patterning involved. She just delved into her project and started piecing together colorful shapes. “See,” Kim said, “Instant gratification.” But it sounded better when she said it because she was from Long Island with a definitive accent. She also wore cat-eye glasses, was about 5’11, blonde, and all legs. But more about Kim later.

Fast-forward to 2015 living in Hawaii (about twenty years later). I’m finally ready to decorate the walls of my newly remodeled home. I want something extravagant to set the tone throughout the house–something central, colorful, big. And something that reflects God’s majestic creation. So I decide to make my first crazy quilt using leftover remnants. You’d think for my first one I’d start small. But ohhh no. Not me. I went for it. The finished piece turned out to be a 48″ square!  I know. Crazy right? But I did it, and it makes me smile when I look at it.

The whole process of stitching together a bunch of frayed uneven scraps and then creating something vibrant and beautiful with them, to me, is profoundly inspiring. As I saw the odd-shaped pieces begin to transform and then finally develop into a finished work, I had an epiphany of how God works in us. He takes the broken pieces of our lives, transforms them with His perfect love, and makes us completely whole in Him.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. – Philippians 1:6

Remember Kim? She became a dear friend, mentor, and also led me to the Lord. She even crafted parts of my wedding gown in intricate crazy quilt designs. Looking back (if I know my Kim) she probably prayed over every piece.

But how masterful is God in all this? All those moons ago, when Kim was teaching me to crazy quilt, praying for me, God already knew the revelation I’d have when I made my first quilt many sunsets later! Now that’s something to shout about!

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

Crazy Quilt Wedding Dress Pics

My boss at the costume shop patterned the bodice and long skirt. Kim did all the crazy quilting and constructed most of the separates. I designed everything, patterned the cape along with my husbands vest, and constructed some of the pieces in the collection.

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

Side-front of gown with side train. I made the veil from lightweight embroidered net.

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

The back had a piece that fanned out and then cascaded down the right side.

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

I have the gown, vest, and accessories displayed in a large cabinet in our bedroom.

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

My Husbands Vest

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

There was a cape with a crazy quilted collar.

 

Megan Joy Chapman, Crazy Quilt Art

For the reception I had a mini. It was the 90’s!

How to Crazy Quilt

For more info on crazy quilting go to: What are Crazy Quilts on Craftsy.  The Craftsy website offers online classes with optional feedback from instructors. Or you can google Crazy Quilting and find many different websites and free video tutorials.

Christian Creative Arts Blog

Christian Creative Arts

Over the past few years i’ve agonized over what to blog. Quite honestly, i don’t enjoy blogging because i don’t like competing in general, and with all the brilliant bloggers out there, who really needs another? But i’m told by the scholars that if you want to draw traffic to your site, you need to blog. And you need to write what people want to read.

So what’s a girl to do? I don’t want to just ramble off content i’m not truly passionate about. But then, a few years ago, God gave me a word about Christian artists being on the rise and taking back what the enemy has stolen.  I posted it on Facebook and received good feedback. Other artists liked it because, duh (i said to myself) Christian artists need support! So i had the idea to interview other Christian artists to help promote their work.

In the past couple years we have seen people flocking to the theaters to see Christian movies. Hollywood is producing them because people are supporting them. So that’s it! I’m so relieved to move forward with a blog i truly am passionate about-Christian Creative Arts! Each month i plan to interview authors, musicians, dancers, artists, and anyone else who chooses to honor God with creativity. I will also be posting some of my own projects that i’m working on.

My first Christian artist that i will be interviewing is the lovely Suzanne Field, Author of The Painted Table Novel. Please stay tuned!

Grandma Holt’s Whoopie Pie Recipe

Whoopie-Pies 2

In Mission Patience of Lion Heart & Alessio, Book Two, Grandma and six-year-old Ruthie chef-out in the kitchen. But when they attempt to make Grandma Holt’s Chocolate Whoopie Pies, it becomes a recipe for disaster. Here’s a sneak peek . . .

Ruthie finally got the Velcro to stick on her apron. She hiked up the oversized dress and dragged a chair from the kitchen table to the counter. Climbing onto the chair, Ruthie assumed her position as sous-chef (chef’s assistant). Gaining two whole feet as she stood up, the train of the dress cascaded down to the floor. “Now it fits perfectly!” she shrieked.

“What fits perfectly?” Grandma asked, searching for a towel to dry her face. “Now where’d I put my glasses . . .?”

 Ruthie picked up the wooden spoon and began stirring. “Mama’s dress!”

“Oh here they are!” Grandma found her glasses where she’d left them on the counter and rinsed off the cocoa powder. While she was drying them, she heard Jewel’s car speed up the driveway. The tires screeched as she slammed brakes in the garage. Grandma put her glasses on to inspect Ruthie’s progress. When she finally saw that Ruthie had on Jewel’s silk couture gown, she gasped like a freight train. But it was too late. Grandma knew she was toast when she saw Ruthie covered in chocolate.

Find out what happens next by purchasing your discounted signed copy of Lion Heart & Alessio: The Victory Ride! In Book Two of the sequel, kid’s ages 8-12 will learn about discipline and consequences of their actions in this fun educational adventure. They’ll be inspired to use their gifts and talents to honor God and become superheroes of faith. So don’t just sit there, hop on The Ride and order your signed copy today!

Whoopie Pies

Grandma Holt’s Whoopie Pie Recipe

Chocolate Cookie Batter

½ cup shortening

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1 egg yolk

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ cup hot water

2/3 cup buttermilk (make sure to shake it up before you pour)

Fluffy White Filling

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1 egg white

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ cup butter softened

½ cup shortening (Crisco is best for white color)

½ cup marshmallow fluff

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. For the chocolate batter, beat together the first 1/2 cup shortening and granulated sugar on high speed with an electric mixer. Add egg and egg yolk. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water and cool slightly.

Add flour mixture alternately with the soda mixture and buttermilk to the creamed mixture. (I add 1/3 of the flour mixture, soda mixture, and buttermilk to the creamed mixture and blend till incorporated, then repeat two more times until well combined). Drop rounded tablespoons of batter 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. A medium cookie scoop works best to create even amounts of batter. Bake 8-10 minutes or until they’re set. Cool cakes immediately on wire rack.

Make sure mixer is free from chocolate so you’ll have a nice white filling. For the filling, combine powdered sugar, egg white, and vanilla. With clean mixer, beat at low speed and gradually add butter and remaining shortening. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy. Beat in fluff. Spread some filling on the bottom side of one cooled cookie and then top with another cookie. Repeat with the remaining cookies and filling. Store in fridge. Makes 20-24.

Overcoming Discouragement. The Walls Have Come Down Easter Blessing Poem

overcoming discouragement, lion heart and alessio: the victory ride, easter, Megan Joy Chapman

The Walls Have Come Down

Happy Easter, Lovelies!

I wanted to share an encouraging word the Lord gave me after Sunday’s sermon at Living Stones Church on overcoming discouragement. After receiving prayer, I was inspired to write down what the Holy Spirit spoke. I hope it blesses you as it did me.

The Walls Have Come Down

I am at home in your body and it’s a good place to be. You are a temple of My Spirit—the walls have come down. I delight in you. You are right where I want you to be, so rest in Me. We are one.

You are seated with Me in heavenly places, and when I look at you, I see a masterpiece. What once was a frayed swatch has been carefully and respectfully embroidered and grafted into My glorious design.

You are not finished yet. But the work of My hands brings Me great pleasure. I AM the Master Craftsman and you, My daughter/My son, are a work of art.

Do not run ahead of Me or lag behind. Stay the course and follow alongside Me. Trust Me so I can lead you to where I have promised. Then you will find peace and rest in this race.

Be strengthened My daughter/My son for My words are life to your body—an ever flowing spring overflowing with blessings.

The walls have come down.

I delight in you.

By Megan Joy Chapman xo

Goût de France – Lavender Honey Butter

 Lavender Honey Butter

While in Provence, we picked up two small jars of French lavender honey to give away as gifts when we returned home to Hawaii. But they never made it to our friends. The thick golden nectar of lavender love didn’t have a chance after I experimented one day and mixed it with butter. I was making my Spring Veal Stew for a dinner party and wanted something special to serve with French bread. I thought the sweetness  of the honey would pair well with the stew. And it did. So voila! Lavender Honey Butter was born.

I recommend using Miel De Lavande but if you’re in a pinch you can substitute with another raw local honey that you like. Spread the Lavender Honey Butter on bread, biscuits, rolls, or muffins. Bon Appetit!

Lavender Honey Butter Ingredients

Lavender Honey

1/4 cup or more to taste of Miel De Lavande

4 oz. or one stick of softened butter (I prefer salted butter)

Lavender Honey Butter Directions

Bring butter to room temperature so that it’s soft enough to mix. Add honey and mix together. Stores in fridge for several weeks.

Lavender Honey Butter

Related Links (Coming Soon!)

La Chistera Restaurant Review

Spring Veal Stew

7-Minute Roasted Asparagus

Read this story from the beginning

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

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

Goût de France – Spring Veal Stew

Spring Veal Stew

I grew up eating Mom’s Veal Parmesan, Veal Marsala, and Veal Picatta—all good to my mother’s credit. But ordering perfectly cooked fresh veal in most restaurants is hard to find. If veal isn’t properly cooked , it can taste like an old leather shoe.

The best veal I’ve ever tasted was in France. While visiting Arles, I tried the veal stew at La Chistera and was surprised at the simplicity of the dish—no vegetables, no frills—just small pieces of delicate veal in a thick red sauce. But it tasted very fresh, tender, and flavorful.

When I tried to create a recipe similar to the one I had in Arles, I failed. Although my husband liked it, I thought it tasted too much like beef stew. Veal shouldn’t taste like beef—it should taste like veal. So I tried something different and made a white wine herb sauce instead, and then cooked it in a crock-pot.

The combination of herbs, wine, and vegetables complement the veal beautifully without overpowering the dish. A hint of cream mixed in at the end adds a supporting role of richness while the veal remains the star. I like serving this with French bread and Lavender Honey Butter. Bon Appetit!

Spring Veal Stew Ingredients

2 lbs. veal (stew meat cut into ¾-1” chunks)

¼ cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper, divided

3 tablespoons butter, divided

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3 large garlic cloves, chopped

1 onion (2 cups chopped. I prefer Maui sweet)

2 teaspoons Gravy Master or Kitchen Bouquet

1 cup white wine (make sure it is something you like because flavors intensify as you cook)

1.5 lbs. mini potato medley (cut into ¾-1” chunks)

4 carrots (3 cups cut into ¾-1” chunks)

*Reserve 1 extra cup of chopped carrots for last half-hour of cooking

8 oz. button mushrooms (cut into ¾-1” chunks)

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

2-2 ½ cups chicken stock

1 cup peas (will be added at the end)

1 cup whipping cream (will be added at the end)

Herbs (tied together with kitchen string)

1 handful fresh parsley

3 ribs celery with leaves

1 bay leaf

 

Spring Veal Stew Directions

Veal Stew Vegetables

Mix ¼ cup flour, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper inside a large medium sized bowl. Add the veal chunks and toss to combine with the flour mixture.

veal stew preparation

In a heated skillet melt 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon EVOO over medium high heat. Add ½ of the veal in an even layer.

Veal Stew Preparation

Brown on all sides, careful not to burn. Using tongs is helpful to break up the sticky pieces. Cook about 1 minute per side. It’s OK if it’s still pink since we’ll be adding the veal to a crockpot.

Veal Stew Preparation

Once veal is browned, transfer to a dish. Repeat this process by adding 1 tablespoon of the butter and oil to the pan. Brown the other half of the veal and set aside on dish.

 veal stew preparation

In a food processor, add chopped garlic and onions, Gravy Master, and 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and grind ingredients till combined.

Veal Stew Preparation

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the same skillet.

Veal Stew Preparation

Add 1 tablespoon of flour, stirring vigorously to combine. Add the gravy mixture from the food processor. Using a spatula, deglaze the pan and pick up all the leftover veal bits, about 2 minutes. Add wine and bring to a gentle boil, stirring about 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat.  Add the reserved veal, along with all the veal juices that have accumulated, back to the skillet and toss to coat.

 Veal Stew Preparation

To a crock-pot  add the veal mixture from the skillet. Then add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, thyme, and rosemary. Pour in chicken stock and add the tied herbs on top.

Veal Stew

Stir gently to combine all ingredients. Cook slowly for 4-6 hours. *I like to add an extra cup of carrots to the pot in the last half-hour of cooking so they stay vibrant and al dente. Add the peas and cream to the hot crockpot about five minutes before serving so that the peas stay green and the cream doesn’t curdle. Serve with French bread, Lavender Honey Butter, and good wine.

Related Links

La Chistera Restaurant Review

7-Minute Roasted Asparagus

Lavender Honey Butter

Read this story from the beginning

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

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

Goût de France – Roman Ruins of Arles

 

Arles

Rustic age-old town of Arles, France. A glimpse of the 2,000 year old Roman amphitheatre is spotted here in the background.

Traveling to Arles from Saint Remy

After a good workout and some breakfast we hopped into our rent-a-car and journeyed out to see first-century B.C. Roman ruins in the historical town of Arles, France—otherwise known as the place where Vincent Van Gogh sliced off his ear.

 Country back road Provence

The scenic drive on the way to Arles led us through winding country back roads overlooking rocky mountain landscapes.

 Les Baux

 The crown-shaped castle village of Les Baux was so striking; the four of us decided it was a must-see while staying in Saint Remy-de-Provence. So we planned to venture back on another day.

Les Baux

Deanna (left) Me (right) enjoying the view of Les Baux.

 

Arles Classical Theater

Our first stop in Arles was to the Classical Theater (Théâtre Antique) a restored Roman ruins theater still used today for concerts and special events.

 

It’s hard to believe that in the Middle Ages, 27 arches encased the theater.

Classic Theater Arles

One of the 27 arches still in tact

The original structure was 3-levels which required 33 rows of seats to accommodate the high demands for seating. What’s left of the Classic Theater now seats 3,000 people.

Classical Theater Arles

I believe this wall, or what’s left of a wall, once supported the highest seating level.

columns Arles

Only two Corinthian columns out of 100 remain from the 3-story stage wall.

Column Arles

Close-up of remaining columns

orchestra pit Arles

Orchestra Pit

ruined column Arles

Ruined Columns

Megan Joy Chapman - Arles

Pondering the 2,000 year old history of my theatrical roots.

Arles

Theater rubble

St. Trophime Church

Theater rubble from the Classic Theater was used to build St. Trophime Church, a Roman Catholic church that was built between the 12th and 15th century.

St. Trophime Church Arles

St. Trophime Church

St. Trophime Church Arles

Main entrance of St. Trophime Church

 According to travel guru, Rick Steeves, “this church sports the finest Romanesque main entrance I’ve seen anywhere.”

Arles Roman Arena

Our next stop just a stone toss away was the Roman Arena (Amphitheatre).

Roman Arena Arles

Construction outside the arena

Amphitheatre Arles

Inside the amphitheatre

Dating back to 90 A.D., Arles Roman Arena was a popular venue for 20,000 spectators who enjoyed watching chariot races as well as gladiators fight wild game. Bullfights, plays, and concerts still run today, entertaining residents and visitors of Arles.

Amphitheatre Arles

In the 5th century the amphitheatre’s arches were bricked up and it became its own town with 200 homes and 2 chapels.

 

Arena hallway Arles

Hallways surrounding the arena.

plaque

A plaque listing the principal amphitheaters of the Roman world.

shopping Arles

Of course the day wouldn’t be complete without a little shopping. I bought myself some French wall hangings and postcards outside the arena.

The Cryptoporticos

city hall arles

City Hall of the entrance into the cryptoporticus.

Arles cryptoporticus dates back to the 1st century B.C. and was built as an underground support or foundation for the town forum. It now supports the Chapel of the Jesuit College and City Hall.

Cryptoporticus Arles

Inside the creepy crypt

 

The cryptoporticus was also believed to have been a storage space as well as a barracks for slaves. The underground tunnels were damp, cold, dark, and musty. The four of us were the only people down there…hmmm I wonder why?

Oddly enough the crypt used to be at street level over two thousand years ago! Since then Arles has buried about 20 feet of history with renovations.

The Rhone River

After a long leisurely 3-course lunch at La Chistera, we did some more walking and sightseeing and ended our time in Arles at the Rhone River. The Rhone runs from Switzerland to the South of France. It’s one of the major rivers of Europe.

Rhone River Arles

The Rhone River

Related Links (Coming Soon!)

La Chistera Restaurant Review

Spring Veal Stew

7-Minute Roasted Asparagus

Lavender Honey Butter

Read this story from the beginning

Goût de France: Thanks, Mom!

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

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