Friday, October 7, 2016


You know the day's going to be a goody-but-a-weirdy when you find yourself standing in a Television studio with a crock pot full of pork butt.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It seems entirely impossible that I was in Nashville less than two weeks ago. I feel like I've lived half a year since then. Does that mean I'm getting old? Because that sounds like a distinctly "old person" thing to say.

I really packed it in while I was in town. It was a mostly-work trip, so I didn't do any official sight-seeing, but I'm not a very sightsy person. Please remember, I lived in DC for a year and never went to a single museum.

Actually, please don't remember that. Because all it is is shameful. (I did see most of the monuments. Does that count? I took the metro a lot! I navigated to the fancy mall in the age of no smart phones! I was almost plowed over by Ted Kennedy in one of the Senate buildings! -tap tap- Is this thing on???)

And in a strange but important way, isn't going to Anthropologie almost the same as sight-seeing?

(That dress on the left has all my heart for all my life, which incidentally is roughly how long I would have to save my pennies to buy it...I bought a $10 mug, instead.)

Knock knock. Guess what I got to do moments after taking this picture of a parking lot with mountains* behind it?

I got to spend an hour with a longtime blog reader-friend, Karen. She is doing amazing work providing discipleship and support to women serving overseas through Bible study podcasts and intentional prayer. You can read all about it on her site. (This is a great place to get to know her heart!) Traveling can be wonky and there's not always time to meet up with new friends, but when it works out it's always one of my favorite parts of the trip.

I spotted Falling Free for the first time "in the wild" at a LifeWay bookstore! Hand to heart, I searched for it and didn't find it. "They must not have it yet," I mused, in a Charlie Brown sort of way.

They did. They had it. It was just shelved with all the dude books. If you had any idea how important it was to me that my book cover not look to fluffy or chick-centric, you would know how ironic this is.

Here's a short list of other activities I enjoyed while in Nashville: seeing old friends, eating tacos, staying up until 3 a.m. talking with Alia, drinking tea, taking a cat nap with Meg (we both totally slept, which is why we are soulmates,) eating orange fig gelato, meeting some great women at the (in)courage meet-up. (We broke up into small groups to get to know each other, which wasn't even a fraction of how awkward it sounds, and my group devolved into the best conversation about TV shows. I loveeeee lifeeeeee!)

Here's a short list of activities I did not enjoy in Nashville: getting up early, doing my hair every day, putting make-up on every day, IRONING A SHIRT (haven't done this in, oh, four years??,) catching a horrific head-cold, making the brutal rookie mistake of buying the tissues with Vick's Vap-O-Rub in them. (In my defense, I was on vacation, so I thought I'd splurge on the fancy cold remedy.)

I also got to give the morning devotional to the entire team at Thomas Nelson, my publisher. I'm not exactly sure what I would have been saying when this picture was taken, but I can tell you that my dormant weepies tried to surface yet again when I talked about bringing Siley home. Pickle! What a guy.

Oh, I've been meaning to tell you, I call Silas "Pickle" now. No one knows why, but it has stuck, nevertheless. And I can't really think of a nickname that would more clearly demonstrate my great affection. Other than Tippy-Too and Namson, my current nicknames for Ruby and Calvin. WE DON'T KNOW WHY. GET OFF MY CASE ABOUT IT!

Yada yada, then I drove to a studio, donned an apron, and seared a pork butt on live TV. As you do.

Guys. I'm sitting here on the couch listening to the train wail and trying to take back my personal space from Howard the Cat, and I am CRACKING UP just thinking about it. How is this my life? How did this happen? Is this a reward? A punishment? The natural and obvious consequence of living most of life as an unabashed weirdo?

All I know is, right about the time the butt hit the skillet (<< new expression alert! "And then the butt hit the skillet...") I remembered how noxious the cumin and crushed red pepper fumes can be. As the toxic vapors reached our lungs, years of butt-searing flashed before my eyes. I had forgotten this part and WE ARE NOW ALL GOING TO DIE ON AIR. I could not talk yet knew I must.

So sometimes God shows up in the face of a child or in a sky-splitting sunrise or in a redeemed marriage, but other times He shows up on live TV and miraculously allows us to keep talking through the pain.


(editorial commentary: Tone down the claw flapping, Martin!)

(on set with my publicist, Sara, and my editor, Jessica)

Me and the gracious host of "Today in Nashville", Carol Sullivan.
She was so funny and kind!

Later that night, after all the searing and smoking-out and cackling, we had a little "Yay, Falling Free was born!" party at Adele's.

The food was divine, the atmosphere was perfection, and I got to play musical chairs all night and catch up with a bunch of my friends. While wearing a vintage dress found for $3.50 at my favorite thrift store in Goshen. With two giant holes directly over my bum.


The three of us each showed up with our FASHIONABLE leather clutch! When it comes to being fancy, nothing means business like a clutch and a wonky $3 dress.

The dress, in all her glory! Can't stop loving her.
Meg made me pose for this picture and I felt weird, like when I stand in front of the house and Cory takes my pictures while the neighbor guy silently judges me.

But I'm so, so glad she twisted my arm.

I think I took two pictures all night. Too busy! Thankfully, some other ladies picked up my slack.

And that is the story of my trip to Nashville.

Sitting here in yesterday's ponytail, staring out at the neighborhood that I love and learn from, I'm not sure if I'll ever have a stretch of days that's more beyond my regular life. Quite honestly, this feels pretty good. I think I'll keep it. I think I'll pass when all the offers start pouring in for me to sear pork butts on TV for a living.


TGIF, Homies. Thanks for being with me on this ride!
If you have any nosy questions for me, just leave a comment. I'm all ears.

And hands.

- Shannan

PS - For those of you who watch the show Nashville, I just need you to know that this is where the famed Bluebird Cafe is located. In a strip mall, on the lamest side of town. I could write a whole 'nother post about what this means about life as a whole, but let's just save ourselves the time, take a deep breath, and thank God that we get to be ordinary and he gets to be the famous one.


  1. 1. Love your 3.50 dress #takethatanthro
    2. Appreciate your genuineness.
    3. I watched and it wasn't nearly as awkward as you suggested. I was just relieved you didn't mix up the word "tongs" with "thongs" as I am apt to do (for reasons unknown).

    So thankful you have these memories to feed off of on second-day ponytail mornings!


  2. bullet points speak my love language - thanks Jeane for starting so I don't feel so awkward when I do it (can we start a comment trend on this post - bullet/number points for everyone?)

    1. you look so good in that dress (yay for thrift stores, my fave!)
    2. I just got done reading your book and I kind of want to strong-arm you into being my friend, except Im not really like that because Im super introverted, so I will just imagine that if we lived closer and were neighbors, we would be so cool together....
    3. speaking of the book - its good and what I needed... its pushed me a step closer into doing what Ive known Ive wanted to do for awhile now but my husband is not as sure (he is well familiar with my crazy ideas) so maybe a few prayers sent up for his heart -he told me that I was taking him out of his comfort zone on this idea (been married for 14 years, you kinda think he would be used to it by now and not even have a comfort zone)
    4. the book is actually really, really good... thank you for being vulnerable and brave and writing it

  3. 1. You do NOT have big ears. (think I read that in your book!)
    2. In Heaven, you will live on one side of my Mansion and Laura Kelley on the other side. ; )
    3. I adore the Vicks kleenex. They keep my cats off my head when I'm sick. I just tuck a few under my head.
    4. Pickle… I get it! Tippy-Too and Namson? I enjoy guessing where those names came from.
    5. Please, relax and rest easy, Sister. I've sensed you are on edge lately. You shared YOU in your book and now kind of wonder if there will be "fall out"? There won't be! You live an Honorable life serving God!
    Love to You and all the fan. - Jo

    1. high five on the bullet/numbers! you rock!

    2. Thank YOU, Addie! I, too, enjoy bullets! Hugs - Jo

  4. I can't. I just can't! This post Was. EVERYTHING!!!! Ok, I am off to watch you on tv and I have forever now adopted the phrase, "And then the butt hit the skillet." You are so incredibly amazing, Shannan! xoxo

  5. Oh, Girl! Let me know the next time you're "in town," and maybe we can meet somewhere like the American Girl café for lunch. I live an hour 1/2 south near Huntsville, AL. Nashville is just a hop and a skip away. Well, for now, I'd love for you to check out my blog post: why a pumpkin is better than a man . ;-) not really. I love my cute hubs of 18 years. at

  6. ughhhhhhh. i am jealous of this whole post ONLY because it seems like there was a lot of chips/salsa/guac/taco eating happening. and SHANNAN, I LIVE IN A MEXICAN FOOD DESERT. it is a crying shame.

  7. My friend was a location scout on Nashville and she said they built an entire fake Bluebird IN A it wasn't even the real one on TV. That made me sad. Also, the two houses that were supposed to have been Deacon's and the one where Gunter lived with Luke were right next door to each other in real life. So they had to make sure not to reveal that in all the shots.

  8. I love this, Shannan! And I love your nicknames for your family. I read a quote recently that said anyone we truly love should come with their own dictionary and I think it's absolutely true. I would share some of the nicknames I have for my youngest brother, but doing so would actually put my life in jeopardy so I'll refrain ;)

  9. THANKS for including the ministry in this write up! I have been praying about who needed to see it! how you color coordinated with the host of the show....and your publicist! :-)

  10. Finally getting to this today and loving every word!

  11. Oh Shannan! I'm catching up on your blog on my first lazy sleep in Saturday morning in forever, and it just feels so right. You have me laughing and smiling that life is just so good, and always a good time to not take ourselves too seriously. I have no idea how I found your blog close to a year ago, but I'm hooked and so glad I did. Been telling all my people about your book too, because it's a story we all need, a story were all in if we just open our eyes to it! Thank you!