On Red Cups and Priorities

Good grief friends, if I have to read one more click-bait article on Christians who are upset that Starbucks (a secular corporation mind you) has removed holiday symbols from their seasonal cups this year I will be sick. 

Real talk for a minute folks – Starbucks removed swirls, snowflakes, snowmen, ice skates, etc….from their Christmas cups. Okay, that is their prerogative, it is as I said a secular, for profit corporation to simplify – they can do what they want! 

The last time I checked, snowflakes and snowmen are not Christian symbols of Christmas; the star of Bethlehem, a manger scene, Angels and what have you – yes, these are somewhat representative of what we believe Christmas is all about Charlie Brown. 

If I as a Christian am relying on Starbucks to proclaim my beliefs on a cup that is in stores for a few months instead of sharing the gospel with people myself then I’m doing something wrong as a Christian. 

Romans 12:1 says “do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed…” why then, should we expect the world to conform to us and our beliefs? 

As Christians we need to get our priorities in order; people are outraged over a paper cup but not the persecution of Christians and refugees in the Middle East. Poverty and hunger is rampant in our communities; children are shuffled in and out of the system like cards in a deck. Schools are being shot up on what seems like a weekly basis, bomb threats, and extremist attacks are mentioned on the news daily, and planes are blown out of the sky but sure, let’s get upset about a paper cup. 

Friends, we don’t want the world to think of Christians as the grumpy people that boycott everything in sight or the ones who get angry over trivial things. We want the world to see us as the hands and feet of Christ himself; sharing the gospel, loving the lost, and being respectful of people who believe differently than we do. 

If your knickers are in a twist over a red paper cup maybe, just maybe, you’re looking for the gospel of Jesus Christ in the wrong place. 

Blessings, 
Megan 

Don’t Worry

I’m not dead. I’m still alive but this space certainly isn’t. I’ve started a new semester of classes, a new writing project, recently got promoted and took on new work in the office, and I’m learning some Spanish on the side. So, if the blog is a little bare for a bit (as it has been for quite a loooooooong time) I apologize!

There will be updates every now and then, I promise a few Friday Favorites, and some fun posts as we move into the Holiday season!

Blessings,

Megan

The Aftermath…

….no one ever talks about it but as a writer I like to imagine the days that followed….

Three days of bloody battle…

7,363 men lost their lives….

17,224 were wounded….

but what happened to the quiet town of Gettysburg when the armies cleared out?

On July 1st, 1863 The Civil War made its way to the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where the battle lasted until July 3.

I’ve always been fascinated by the Battle of Gettysburg – the men involved – Chamberlain, Lee, Pickett, and Buford.

Chamberlain’s defense of Little Round Top, Pickett’s charge.

I am reminded on this anniversary that these weren’t the only men in town…the town was occupied, there were people left behind when the armies rolled out…what about them? Who is telling their stories?

Well, the history buff/writer in me has decided to answer this question that I’m always asking myself, so tonight as I sit down to work on my first historical novel, I’m asking myself this question (again) and trying to put myself into the shoes of the townspeople:

What would I have done on June 30th if I saw the cavalry ride into town and set up camp?

Or on July 1st when the battle started on the fields outside of town, or out behind my orchard?

What would I have done on July 4th if I woke up and in my backyard was the aftermath of a bloody battle?

What happened to the dead and wounded? Did life go on as usual in town in the days that followed?

These are the questions (and believe me there are more where these came from) that I’m asking myself as I work on this new project and I have to say it’s been very interesting to really explore Gettysburg’s history a little more in depth than I have before and sort of put myself in the shoes of an inhabitant of the town.

I’m enjoying working on this project so far even though it’s sort of taken a turn from my original plan but that’s okay…I’m going to go with the flow and see what happens from here!!

The Risk of Predictability

I don’t want to be predictable….more specifically, I don’t want my story line to be predictable and I’m struggling with that tonight.

I’m working on a piece where the main character is searching for something – at the risk of giving away spoilers for those of you who know what I’m working on, I’m going to leave it at that…she’s searching for something.

For the majority of the novel she runs into dead-ends, she gets turned around, and takes some detours…is it ‘predictable’ if in the end she finds what she was searching for?

Is is too “happily ever after” if she finds what she was searching for all along? Or as a reader would you be more inclined to read a story where they don’t necessarily find what they are looking for?

Is it too hard for readers to identify with or relate to a character who gets exactly what they want.

These are the many questions I’ve been asking myself ever since this scene for my novel popped into my head last evening.

I guess what I’m asking is this – as a reader, would you be satisfied at the end of a novel if the main character gets what she spent the novel looking for – if I wrap the story up in a nice little bow, happily ever after style…

OR

If the character spent the entire novel searching in vain and coming up short?

Let me know what you think…I’m still hard at work on this novel and things can still change but I think for the ending I’d really like feedback from readers.

Thanks!

Blessings,

Megan

Book Review: Just One Summer

I was sent a copy of Just One Summer in exchange for an honest review…review writing is tough for me because I tend to revert to high school english class, literary analysis writing and I need to not do that…okay, enough babble…here’s the review : ) 

Just One Summer: A Romance Novella Collection by Nicole Deese, Tammy L. Gray, Amy Matayo, and (one of my favorite authors) Jenny B. Jones.

This collection of novellas centers around four friends and their summer plans – four friends who promised each other as young girls that they would meet at the same cabin every summer to come – then life happens.

Family conflict. Unhealthy relationships. Seeking adventure. A failed internship.

As much as life changes, one thing remains constant and that is the lifelong friendship between Joss, Darby, Avery, and Sydney.

Laugh out loud funny, heartwarming, and oddly nostalgic.

I usually try to avoid these types of anthologies for multiple reasons – not the least of which being that there is often little to no continuity between the novellas….that was NOT at all the case here.

The four friends were present in each of the four novellas in some form or another – either narrating their own story, or communicating with each other via text, email, call, etc.

I have also found that in most anthologies the writing suffers from one to another and that did not happen here. All four women are wonderful writers (and honestly if you haven’t checked out Jenny B. Jones yet you are MISSING OUT my friend!!), and though each had their own distinct style and voice, the flow between novellas was engaging and kept you wanting to read more and more.

I also find that in these tend to lack character development because the novellas are so brief but I was delightfully surprised by this collection and how the characters grew along the way.

It takes a special kind of book to hit me emotionally and this one got me square between the eyes. By the end I was reminiscing about summers spent camping with my friends, spending weekends together, and I realized that I need to reach out to them now that life has drawn us apart.

If you are looking for a great summer read, a beach read, or just a wonderful book I would highly recommend that you check out Just One Summer: A Novella Collectionwhile you’re at it check out Jenny’s other books (because they are all wonderful, and hilarious, and I know that you will love them)!

Vacation Reading Round-Up

For road trips I always pick 3-5 (depending on time spent in the car) physical books to pack in my bag along with my Kindle because come on, 3-5 books, yeah that’s about two days in the car for me.

The first book I chose (and finished on the drive from Michigan to Kentucky was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.

Amusing, heartfelt, and at times surprisingly serious. This book made me laugh, cry, and learn…the mark of a great book if you ask me.

One part memoir, one part handbook for life 100% enjoyable and endearing. She talks about her life getting into comedy, her various writing pursuits, time spent on Saturday Night Live….being a mom, going through a divorce, ;being the best you that you can be.

I was pleasantly surprised by Amy’s serious side. I also have the audio version that she reads herself with several of her friends including Seth Myers, Carol Burnett, and Mike Schur.

The second book I had in my bag was Melanie Shankle’s newest book Nobody’s Cuter Than You: A Memoir About the Beauty of Friendship.

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This book is all about why female friendships are important and it made me grateful for my wonderful girl friends. It made me appreciate the effort we put in with long distance friendships, the joy of having a friend that is just a text away when I need her, and a friend that keeps me accountable.

I laughed out loud, cried, and thanked God again for me dear friends. Mel has such a way with words that I was captivated from the first page and couldn’t put this book down….which is why I’m glad I was in the car. I read this from Kentucky to Dallas and finished it in the hotel that first night in texas.

The third book I chose was Sophie Hudson’s new book Home is Where My People Are. 

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This book made me want to move down south as soon as I could. Sophie has such a unique writing style and voice you feel like you are sitting in the room with her as she relays the stories of her life. The importance of family, faith and friends (and of course fried chicken). I’d recommend reading both of her books as they are equally amazing.

I picked up a few books on vacation as well, Laura Bush’s memoir Spoken from the Heart, and Lilly Koppel’s Astronaut Wives Club…I look forward to reading them both in the coming weeks!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Blessings,

Megan

Friday Favorites: TEXAS ROAD TRIP Edition

Hey ya’ll : )

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It’s Friday and that means it’s time for Friday Favorites! I’m linking up with Andrea and sharing a ton of pictures today (sorry about that!)…

I just returned home from a week long trip to Texas and I have to tell you…it was pretty awesome!

We started out in Dallas…we went to Tillman’s Roadhouse for dessert in the evening before checking into our hotel my FAVORITE thing was the tabletop s’mores that we had for dessert; homemade marshmallows, homemade graham crackers, and chocolate bark….can you say DELICIOUS?!

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Dining room at Tillman’s Roadhouse in Dallas

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I fell in love with the whole feel of this place: art on the walls, mismatched pillows on the benches….

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Dark chocolate, homemade marshmallows, homemade grahams, and a little pot of fire to roast them over…

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Roasting our marshmallows

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seriously, ya’ll are lucky I remembered to take a picture before I devoured this whole thing!

These were delicious : )

When we woke up the next morning we headed into the heart of downtown and made our way to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. My FAVORITE thing is to visit anything historical and this is THE very BEST presidential museum I’ve visited (and I’ve visited my fair share…..9, plus birth places, childhood homes, and various other historical sites…I’m a total history nerd!)

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Super blurry, but this was the view of Dallas as we came in from the south after leaving Tillman’s

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The Baseball exhibit at George W. Bush’s museum…if you’ve been reading for a while you know that baseball holds a special place in my heart; its something that I share with my dad and walking through this part of the exhibit with him was really cool….

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Bush 43 throwing out the first pitch in Yankee Stadium during the 2001 world series just a month after the terror attacks that rocked our nation….and behind him, his dad Bush 41 with Babe Ruth.

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Son and Father…Daughter and Father : )

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Laura’s Reading Room

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Laura’s red State Dinner dress (this picture doesn’t even begin to do it justice).

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Beams from the World Trade Center

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The Oval Office….

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Barney and Miss Beazley

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“Grateful for our freedom…Faithful to our cause…”

 After the GWB Museum we headed off to Dealey Plaza…and the Sixth Floor Museum…

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The Grassy Knoll

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This was a very sobering, very heavy place to be…to stand in a place where history was changed in an instant was….incredible.

After Dallas, which was definitely a FAVORITE place we hopped in the car and drove to…

Austin!

In Austin we had some of the best barbecue I’ve ever tasted at The Salt Lick BBQ in Round Rock. The ribs…oh.my.stars. My FAVORITE! 

The next morning we headed out to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Museum and then had lunch at the Austin Daily Press in the afternoon where I had my FAVORITE lunch of the trip…they make amazing pressed sandwiches and homemade chips; you can find them in Austin at a brick and mortar location OR they also have a food truck operating in the city, either way you can’t lose with the ADP!

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After lunch we got in the car once again and made our way to…

San Antonio!

This was probably my FAVORITE leg of the trip; we went to The Alamo and The Riverwalk.

The Alamo was another one of those very heavy, very sobering places to visit. Knowing the history, knowing how valiantly the Texans fought to defend their position and laying down their lives to defend it just gives you a very heavy heart…and the history is pretty amazing.

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We had my FAVORITE food for dinner that night on the Riverwalk, MEXICAN : )

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 After a night in San Antonio we packed up (AGAIN!) and drove to…

Houston, where we visited the Johnson Space Center. I don’t have a lot to say about this because the nerd in me could write a book about this part of the trip so I will be doing a separate post for this leg of the trip) for now, here are pictures of my FAVORITE things at the JSC…

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Inside Historic Mission Control…the pictures that follow are of various rockets, engines and shuttles….

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Earth Rise, one of my FAVORITE pictures

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After the morning and afternoon in the JSC we headed out to College Station and the campus of Texas A&M (Go Aggies!)

After a night in B-CS we woke up and took a drive around campus and then visited the George H. W. Bush Presidential Museum (two more FAVORITES for this trip!!)

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Dear old Dad on campus at Texas A&M

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George H.W. Bush….the following pictures are from his museum

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President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush and President and Mrs. George W. Bush are my FAVORITE Presidents and first ladies. Regardless of how you feel about their politics they are good people. I got a very familiar, warm feeling in each of their museums, almost as if you are an old friend sitting down with them and listening to them share their lives! I highly recommend visiting these tow museums!

After a great day in College Station we packed up and started our journey back to Michigan; with a stop in Little Rock, Arkansas and a stop in Lexington, Kentucky we made it home!

I would like to ask (if you made it to the end of this CRAZY LONG post) please join me in praying for Texas! With the rain, and flooding, and all the crazy the people of Texas are pretty heavy on my heart right now. I thank God for keeping us safe while we were in Texas last week and my heart goes out to all of the wonderful people I met and I pray that they all stay safe!

Thanks for letting me share my travels with you (and sorry for the abundance of pictures!)

Blessings,

Megan

Update

Good afternoon friends! I just wanted to pop by and let you know that I have not disappeared off of the face of the Earth but because of a weird schedule I’ve been on the road without a computer and not able to post like I’d like to. Look for some recaps, reviews, and general randomness coming next week, until then…

Blessings! 

Megan

I Don’t Know About You…

But I’m feeling 22….

Today is my 22nd birthday which feels really weird to say aloud…22…I’m 22. I have work today and I’m also a Delegate to District Assembly for the Eastern Michigan District Church of the Nazarene so I thought I would use my post today to tell you twenty two things about myself….

1.) I’m an only child

2.) I’m okay with being an only child, it didn’t effect me negatively growing up and I really appreciate the relationships I have with my family members

3.) I work as an Administrative Professional – which is a fancy way of saying I’m a secretary, specifically I’m the Adult Ministries Assistant in the church office where I work.

4.) It’s at this point in the post that I’m really struggling to come up with 22 unique things  to share….

5.) My favorite movie is the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice and no one will ever convince me that any other version is better

6.) My favorite television shows are Parks and Recreation and The West Wing – both explore the inner workings of government but both do it very, very differently…also, Rob Lowe : ) 

7.) I will very frequently respond to texts from my mom with Parks and Rec quotes or pictures and respond to my dad with West Wing quotes….

8.) My favorite book of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird

9.) Since freshman year in high school I have read Harper Lee’s classic at least once a year so if my math is right I’ve read the book at the very least 10 times

10.) I have kind of an addiction to YouTube – I am subscribed to several channels and creators that post daily and I love them.

11.) RE: Number 10 – some of my favorites have to do with Science: SciShow, Veritasium, Minute Physics, The Brain Scoop, and Animal Wonders to name a few.

12.) I’m past the half-way point and if you’re still reading you deserve an award of some kind…which I can’t give you but, I will promise never to do a post like this again! I needed to get a post off today so that I stick to my consistent posting promise…so this is what you get.

13.) Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher…

14.) I entered college as a nursing major…

15.) I am currently a psychology major…

16.)…and after months of prayer and soul searching…I am planning on using my degree in psychology as my foot in the door for teaching….I think I should have just followed my heart years ago…

17.)  I am a total history buff and I read lots and lots of historical texts…for fun! Specifically I love studying the Civil War and to go even more specifically I have always loved studying the battle of Gettysburg….

18.) I enjoy reading biographies – political biographies are my favorite. I’m currently reading Laura Bush’s memoir Spoken From the Heart

19.) Laura Bush is my favorite First Lady

20.) I love baseball – I am a fan of the Detroit Tigers; I have visited six stadiums around the country and would love to visit more.

21.) I do not enjoy celebrating my birthday…

22.) …but nothing gives me more joy than celebrating with other people on their’s.

Thanks for sticking with me through this…..

Happy Monday.

Blessings,

Megan

With One Click of the Mouse…

…the semester is over!!!

Leslie Knope sums up how I feel! It’s been quite the semester and I’m glad that it’s over. I’m done with school now until September so let the summer break begin!

I say summer break but basically what this means is: business as usual. Since this semester was online I was able to go to work each day at the church and volunteer twice a week at the local elementary school….but still NO CLASSES!

Thanks Ron Swanson, that’s how I feel too!

Summer break means more time for family things, more time for personal writing projects (!!!!), and more time for the important things like sleep

I will be treating myself to a nap thank you very much!

I’m looking forward to logging onto my computer in the morning and not having to immediately check Blackboard for new posts, not stressing myself out over essay writing (because let me tell you, I totally stress myself right out!!!), and being able to relax for a few months before hitting the grind again in September.

Time off also means that I wont be neglecting this space like I have been for the last few weeks of this semester – I will have more time to write my own posts, share samples of my writing with you, and (this is good news) I am now actively proofing and editing my first novel with the intent of publishing in the next month and a half (YAY!!!!).

If you made it to the end of this post, thanks for sticking around (and putting up with the plethora of Parks and Rec .gifs). Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you again soon!

Blessings,

Megan…just one more : )