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.