super easy oat bread

Here’s the thing no one tells you about change: it affects you, and in ways you might not plan for.

Every day, we’re surrounded by the details of our life, be they people or objects or geography, and, even when it’s by your own choice, when you start moving around a lot of those details—whether city, job, church, relationships, house, diet, marital status or say, all of those things—it can unexpectedly, out of nowhere, hit you hard.

Because when enough things around you begin to disappear, you may start to feel like you will, too.

nashville home

This, as you already know, is a post about how I moved last week. It’s the story of how I left an adorable house in East Nashville that I shared with three roommates, a house I only moved into in February and had barely settled into, packed up all of my Tennessee belongings (there aren’t many) and together with Tim and one of our good friends, moved to another side of town.

nashville bookshelves

This new house is nice. It has built-in bookshelves and hardwood floors. It has air-conditioning and a washer/dryer set. It’s the first place where I’ve ever signed a lease and the first rental to earn me my very own library card. More than anything, this house has the distinct privilege of being the first house we’ll live in, me and Tim—the initial place we’ll call home together.

nashville hallway

And, like everything else in my life over the last six months, this house is new. It’s something I don’t know very well. It’s something that will take time to feel familiar.

It’s change.

nashville

There are so many things I love about Nashville: the great food (Marche, Margot, City House, Silly Goose, Burger Up, Baja Burrito, Mas Tacos), the great coffee shops (new favorite: Edgehill Cafe), the rolling hills south of the city, the beautiful cliffs to the east. I love that it hardly snows. I love that it will be warm in November. I love, most obviously, Tim.

nashville home, right side of fireplace

But every now and then, I’ll be driving down a street and wish I saw a Dominick’s on the corner (who says that?). I’ll meet someone for the first time and wish they already knew my name. I’ll see the regular reminders that I’m still new here in my Illinois driver’s license or matching license plate. And sometimes, amidst missing some old details and observing the new, I’ll wonder if I’m not gone, too.

nashville home, through the window

it’s the kind of thing that has me asking, What is it that makes us who we are anyway? Is it our income? Our house? Our family and friends? Do our jobs define us? Our life’s work? Our relationships? Our connections? Our family?

I think I am learning that really, anything that can change isn’t what makes us—not our age or our savings accounts or our things or our hobbies. Not our spouse. Not our friends. What makes us who we are is something deeper than all of those things—something that remains even when all our life details change and however many times they change.

Our identity may often get lost in the details around us, and because of that, it is a sort of gift to lose those details, so at least in the midst of it, you see your soul—that eternal, imperishable part of us that knows it’s made for something more than this life. That’s who I really am, in Illinois or in Nashville. That’s who you really are, too.

Living in my new house, living in the next.

nashville home, view of garage

They took away what should have been my eyes,
(But I remembered Milton’s Paradise)
They took away what should have been my ears,
(Beethoven came and wiped away my tears)
They took away what should have been my tongue,
(But I had talked with God when I was young)
He would not let them take away my soul,
Possessing that, I still possess the whole.

- Helen Keller





As promised, the above post filled you in on the latest, along with pictures from my new home; below, you’ll find the promised easy-oat-bread recipe, complete with pictures from my old one.

Super Easy Oat Bread
Recipe at 101 Cookbooks

The minute I saw this recipe, I had to make it. Right that moment. What I love is it uses ingredients you probably have on hand. Bonus: hot out of the oven, it’s bottom-line irresistible to eat, especially with hunks of butter. We ate it in two days.

old kitchen

mixing ingredients

bread

bread in hand

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. kate

    I love how you have your computer sitting on the stove. I do that too and often think it’s silly, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.

    Today is my 9th anniversary, and I love reading this post, thinking back on the past 9 years, the first place we lived as husband and wife and now the one we call home. Our transitions are often stark and rich at the same time, empty but full, strange yet familiar too because among the unknown rooms lays belongings that define us, and faces that we love and feelings of hope and a sense of grace. It all comes together, like yarn from needles and soon the weave feels more perfect than we imagined.

    It’s been a wonderful thing to watch your life transform since the first time I ever read your blog. Love is an amazing gift and I’m thrilled for you and Tim, finding love, making a new life together, creating a home, baking bread. You are abundantly blessed.

  2. MaryAnn

    You have such a beautiful way of saying things. And you are so right – what makes us who we are is our eternal soul & thank God that once that soul is hidden in Christ it is made brand new.
    If it makes you feel any better, I got married without changing jobs or even moving (he moved into my house) & I still felt a little of the weirdness you are talking about. Suddenly my environment & schedule changed dramatically (in a very good way) & it took quite some time for me to feel like I was at home & comfortable with my life. But it was an adjustment that was well worth it; I’m sure you agree :-)

  3. heather @ chiknpastry

    I know how you feel. You might remember from previous comments that we moved from Chicago to San Francisco earlier this year, and I remember all those same feelings – trying so hard to settle in, to fit in, to feel comfortable in my new surroundings, all the while feeling a little uncomfortable about it all. But one day it just made sense, and it all clicked. Hopefully that will happen for you soon, too. It isn’t about the things, the kitchen, the spouse, whatever; it’s about just feeing right, and knowing in your heart that you were meant to be there, that second, that new house, with those people.

    and the house looks lovely; great details!

  4. angela@spinachtiger

    Reading this, I’m taken back to 12 years ago when I moved here from California to settle into Doug’s world and I had not a single friend. It was hard and yet Nashville welcomed me, as it will you. Once you fill your home with some favorite things and get some good memories there, you will feel it. I know you work from home. I worked from client to client so it wasn’t easy to get a pack of friends. But, I’m here for you anytime!

  5. wandering educators

    although we’ve been here in our current place for almost 9 years, sometimes it still feels new to me. isn’t that crazy? because sometimes, you can feel right at home, right away. change is a constant, even when we’re settled. it’s a good thing to mix it up sometimes – growth is important! off to read this yummy bread recipe. thanks!

  6. Megan Gordon

    Beautiful, beautiful post. S! As someone who doesn’t do well with change at all (never have), this really resonated with me. I often think about what it is that defines who we really are. In our culture it’s so often what we do for work, which is kind of sad because we’re so much more complex than that (most of us, anyway). I’m so happy that you and Tim are taking this step and starting to build something greater together. Having a partner in crime makes the unknowns amidst all the change seem not so bad. xo.

  7. Jacqui

    I love love love this post, Shanna, and the photos of your house! That light! Those walls! The windows! And I love seeing those little touches of you and Tim throughout, slowly making it your home. On what makes you who you are — just know that every time I read your blog, no matter where you are, I always hear your voice. This little (awesome) space you’ve made for yourself will always be somewhere you can find familiarity when everything around you seems so different. And Illinois misses you!

  8. jelieenbaylor

    Your new place looks adorable. I am sure from all of your wedding and shower presents and the things you all collect over time, you will make this little place your home together with Tim :) It was be such a fun experience for you guys! So fun seeing you all today. I can’t wait to see how the Lord continues to work in your lives!

  9. Karmen

    I think you said tons about everyone! It is like your words captured the essence of what makes us human. The change of change! This post truly hit home for me b/c I am in between living quarters and I am totally out of my element… Your post is touching and encouraging. Thank you!

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