Avengers: Infinity War

Friday, my son comes home from school with a slip of paper asking if he can meet a friend at the movies. At eleven, I am still hesitant to let him go places alone, even in our little town. So I got to see Avengers: Infinity War on the opening weekend with a room full of die-hard Marvel fans.

I am not a movie reviewer and didn't watch it with a reviewer mind, but I will tell you my favorite aspect of the experience. Twice a new character showed up on screen and the room erupted in claps and cheers. Even though it took me a moment to realize that one character was Captain America and I only knew the other was Stan Lee because my son told me about his cameo appearance, I enjoyed the group excitement.

Then at the end of the movie, no one left. Well, maybe a handful of people, but the vast majority of the room remained in their seats, while a few stood in the back of the theater waiting. They had been given the heads up of a post-credit scene. At one point, the credits turned black and throughout the room, you could hear "shhhh" "shhh", "shhhhhhhh." Hilarious! Especially when, immediately more credits rose from the bottom of the screen. Finally after probably 15 minutes of credits, we witnessed the brief scene introducing the next chapter of the Avengers adventure.

I like comics, Marvel, DC, superheros, the works, but I am not a one that doesn't miss a new release. I haven't read the comics, and I haven't seen all the movies. I will tell you something though: the atmosphere is fun and exciting. There is not many things like it. It is mildly like walking into Disney- everyone is so excited and noticing all the little details around them, that even those who "aren't Disney people" can't help but get caught up in the excitement, you know!


Today, I'm Super Mom!

Some days, I get it right!

Today was actually a rough day. I finished work, wrapping up with 2 hours of trauma-based, child-led, sensory integration treatments in a room that is always too hot and dry. I had a swing, two tunnels, a yoga ball, bean bag chairs, tactile bins, orbees, and a rocker board to put away, not to mention rice to vacuum off the floor that had been tossed out of one of the tactile bins.

After accidentally locking myself out of the treatment room, I finally walked outside and lifted my face to the sun that had decided to show it's glorious face for a while. Tension pulled at the base of my head and neck.

Starting my new-used Dodge Grand Caravan (yes, I'm a van mom), I opened the sun roof to enjoy the short lived heat. It didn't last long though. Not because the clouds returned too fast, but because that tension in my neck was spreading. Squinting in the sun, I closed the roof, hoping to relieve some of the pain.

I picked up the kids from the local YMCA and headed home, letting them know that I needed to lay down for a little bit. An hour later the pain had not subsided, and it was time for the kids to get to AWANA. Usually, I would just ask my husband to drive them, but he has been battling an infection and had crawled into bed to fight the chills. So I got up- and gingerly walked to the kitchen to get an excedrin and an ibuprofen..

My youngest son could not find his shoes, so 10 minutes later I told them if we didn't leave soon I'd be laying back down and they'd have to miss tonight.  Thankfully they found the shoes and I got them to church, just a little late. 

Now, I know you're thinking- finally I can have an hour to rest with no kids and kick this headache but that wasn't going to happen. You see, my youngest son is turning 7 tomorrow, and we hadn't purchased his presents.  So of course, if I was really "supermom" those presents would have been purchased and wrapped weeks ago. I would have a class treat baked and ready to go to school with him tomorrow, but clearly that was not the case-yet.

I headed to Walmart, purchased presents, extra wrapping, balloons and candles. But no brownies. He had asked for brownies to take to school. Halfway home, I remembered the brownies. Ugh.  I pulled into Rite Aid, hoping upon hope that they would have brownies so that I didn't have to drive back across town to get them. (By the way, across town is maybe 3-4 miles, but today it felt like 20!) I won't hold you in suspense, Rite Aid pulled through. I got home and made 2 batches of brownies. And my husband, feeling a little better, wrapped presents for me.

The reason I feel like supermom is because even with a monster tension headache I took care of my family. It's my job, I know. It's what I'm supposed to do! Sometimes it's hard, and sometimes I'm not all that good at it. But today, I allowed my husband to lay down when he needed it, I got my kids to church, I have some presents that I know my son will love wrapped and waiting for him tomorrow and I have brownies cooling on the stove to pack up for him to share with his class.

So many times I drop the ball and don't get things done on time, or don't get it done right. My house is a complete disaster, and I just signed a permission slip for an activity that they have tomorrow that should have been turned in a week ago- but it did get done! I don't have it all together, but I choose to celebrate the successes.

It seems like a small thing to have presents and brownies ready for a child's birthday. Sometimes that would be a small thing, but today it was a big thing. And maybe the kids and even my husband will not realize how hard it was for me to do those things today, but that's okay. I thank God for the gift of my family and I am so glad that I loved them well today. I know that I was a SuperMom today becauseI know that being a "SuperMom" is in those small things that no one will ever fully understand but you.

Would you share a "supermom" story of your own?

I want to hear about your everyday mom sacrifices, and everyday mom-love because that's what makes you a super mom, too.


Daughter of Zion

The second installment of The Zion Chronicles moves into the heart of the Old City in Jerusalem and into the heart of Rachel Lubetkin, survivor of the holocaust camps at a great personal cost. Struggling with her identity and self-worth, Rachel sneaks into the Old City to help encourage those holding the city to stand firm. Her past catches up with her, and when the community find out what she has done, and who she has been, they have to decide whether she is worthy of there trust or guilty of betraying them all.

Again, the history and vivid historical setting is the strong point of this book. I love the detail. Rachel's flashbacks are poignant scenes that make me feel the emotions of the packed cattle cars and forced separation of families experienced by so many during World War II. I enjoyed the journey into the buried streets of the city of the past. The romance was an important aspect of this book; however, I found it slightly rushed and unbelievable. I also struggled with the omniscient POV, particularly the scenes focused around Shaul, the dog.

I"ll be taking a brief break from the series before reading the third book, The Return to Zion.


Untied sneakers

I thought you might like to get to know me a little bit better, especially if you want to trust my opinions and recommendations about books. I am the kind of person who rarely ties my shoes. I don't know how you'll interpret that, but I feel like that should give you some kind of deep insight into who I am.
Thankfully, I'm learning not to worry so much about what you (or anyone else) thinks of me because I know that I am loved and accepted by My Father in Heaven.
I am a Christ-follower, a wife and mother of three, a pediatric COTA/L, a fiction-lover, netflix binge-watcher, dance like nobody's watching kind of gal.
My favorite books are usually deep reads that make me think, or challenge me in some way. They might deal with a difficult subject like abuse or feature a character with a strength I want to emulate or a struggle with which I can relate.
Character development is of the utmost importance to me. My favorite shows on TV are character driven, even more so than story driven - think, West Wing.
I think my favorite word in the world is "hope." I'm not sure how one survives in this world without hope, and I am so very thankful for the hope we have in Jesus.
What's your favorite word and why?


Gates of Zion

Image result for gates of zion by bodieWith so many new books coming out each year, it is nice to pull out some of the older "classics." Bodie and Brock Thoene have written over 70 historical fiction books. According to their website, both the Zion Chronicles and the Zion Covenent series are used to teach college history classes because of their historical accuracy.
The Gates of Zion, originally published in 1986 (and pictured to the left), is book one of The Zion Chronicles Series, and this rich historical detail and setting are one of the most enjoyable aspects of this book. Reading the novel felt like a journey into the past, and I learned a great deal about life in Israel following WWII.

Image result for gates of zion by bodieThe Gates of Zion introduces many notable characters with their own quirks and characteristics. I love little Yacov, Miriam, and Uncle Howard, secondary characters with strong hearts and impacts. The story centers around Ellie, a strong, independent photographer searching for true meaning and value in life. She begins to find that meaning as she witnesses the violence and horrors around her and takes a stand with those closest to her.
My one complaint is the relationship triangle/twist. Without giving anything away, I felt like the shift in feelings was too fast and it did not feel authentic to me. I did enjoy the book thoroughly though and am currently working on the second one now, called The Daughter of Zion. (The updated cover is shown to the right, and it is such a great cover. Doesn't the image give the impression of intensity and intrigue?)


What to read next!?!

Okay, my avid reader friends here is the question of the day:

How do you choose what to read next?
No, seriously! I probably have a couple hundred books on my bookshelves in the basement, I just got 4 in the mail last week and I have 6 more in my cart on Amazon, not to mention our visit to the library. So, what is a girl to do? I would love some input. How do I decide which book to start next, which journey to take, which door to walk through? Why is it such a hard decision, I mean, is there really a wrong choice?
Photo by Eugenio Mazzone on Unsplash

Here is my current list of possibilities:

  •  Miriam by Mesu Andrews
  • The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry
  • Daughter of Zion by Bode Thoene (the logical choice because it is due at the library on Saturday)
  • The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck 
  • Salem Rising by Lis Wiehl. 
If only I read as fast as my daughter OR had as much time to read as she does, then I could finish most of that list by Saturday and make a new list for next Monday. Ah, wishful thinking.

Well, drop a comment if you have a suggestion or let me know what you are reading. I'd love to hear from your.  


Francine Rivers' Masterpiece

Francine Rivers is my favorite author. The Mark of the Lion Trilogy and Redeeming Love are the top two fiction books on my list! I was so excited to get this book. It is actually the reason I am reading again and writing again.
First of all, Ephesians 2:10 is I guess, what I consider my lifeverse. In the New Living Translation, it states "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
Rivers' latest book centers around two unfinished masterpieces. Roman Velasco is a famous artist who seems to have it all: the huge house, amazing talent and success, and an endless supply of money. Roman's life is empty. He knows it, but he doesn't know how to fill the hole. Grace Moore is an out-of-work, out-of-luck single mom, trying to make a life for herself and her son. Grace knows and follows the Lord, but struggles greatly with guilt and pain of past mistakes. God weaves their lives together in a way that makes Him the answer. While there is a romantic aspect to this story, it doesn't overshadow the main point which is God's work in their lives. And He does work in and through both main characters to free them from their pasts and guide them into the works that He planned for them.

I truly enjoyed this book. I haven't read for pleasure in months, and now I can't stop! I am so excited to be back in the world of Christian Fiction. Francine Rivers did not let me down. The plot moved steadily, and the characters were beautifully written and developed. I closed the book feeling fully satisfied and fulfilled. I highly recommend this book and ANYTHING by Francine Rivers.


I'm Back!

So much has happened in the last couple years that have kept me from this blog, but I miss it! I miss writing, and I miss reading. I'm not sure what format I plan to use, or even what I'll write about. I'll probably keep doing some reviews. (I just read Masterpiece by Francine Rivers!) But I think I will be doing some other posts as well.

Let me start by introducing myself, again. My name is Megan! I am sitting on the couch, laptop in hand, watching "When Calls the Heart" on Netflix. I would love to visit Hope Valley and worship in the church by the lake with the mountains on all sides, and I have to admit to a little crush on Jack!!

 I started this blog years ago as a place to post reviews of Christian fiction. I love how these stories inspire and challenge me and other readers in so many ways! My daughter has adopted my love of reading and literally reads 2-3 books a week!  If only, I had that time. I might make a dent in my to-read pile.

I am now a COTA/L - certified occupational therapist assistant at a pediatric outpatient clinic. I love my job. I love the kiddos that I work with and I feel like I am right where God wants me to be.

So that brings us back to this blog. If you are anything like me, sometimes you forget to slow down and take some time for yourself. That's what I'm doing. I am taking time to read. And write. And study. And learn. And I hope to share some of that with anyone who checks in here. So welcome back to Inspired by Fiction! I can't wait to share more with you!