While we’re in Chicago, we spend a night driving around my hometown, past the Riverwalk and up side streets, through neighborhoods and by a big barn, looking for a white wall that we can take self-timer pictures against. I keep saying to Tim, thank you for doing this! for putting up with my crazy! for letting me pursue this idea of a blog header with our picture in it! and he looks at me, and he’s like, What? I want to do this, too!

And a few hours later, here is what we have:

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My friend Kendra tells me how my writing is so much more me since I’ve met Tim and how that’s indicative of the kind of marriage in which I’m loved well and so, free to be more of who I am. I tell her that’s a lovely thought and one I hope is true and that Tim’s a good gift, I see it more every day, in the way he gives me his time and his ear and, one night in Naperville, Illinois, hours of self-timed photos.

Other good gifts I’ve been enjoying this past week:

A reminder that God has made us with certain gifts and desires, like the ability to write our stories — “He said, ‘You may never be published but that doesn’t change the way I made you. You’re a writer. Stop caring about the other stuff and just write.'”

A challenge to ask yourself why you’re writing, or blogging, and if it’s worth it. — “Are you really saying what you want to say, what makes you come alive?”

– Such a good description of what it’s like to be a writer, I found myself nodding at the screen. — “Being a writer might sound romantic, in a certain light and to a certain sort of person, but the reality is a lot of time at the desk.”

– How love is like lightning

– A call to check out of the online world and be exactly where you’re supposed to be

– This beautiful blog that always feels like such a gift to read

– Inspiration for summer thrifting

Photography that takes my breath away

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 22 Comments

  1. Marissa

    Just celebrated 17 married years with man who as you say loves me well and makes me free to be myself, but better. It makes my heart swell that you have a man like that too.
    I appreciate how you framed your ‘list of links’ in context – very nice. :)

  2. Candace Olander

    I enjoy your writing and your perspectives. Behind your sweet young self is an old soul; what a nice combination.

    So you are from Naperville? I live in Wheaton and work in your home town. For sure, it is a nice place to grow up and call home. It pleased me that our community is raising talented, imaginative and grounded people.

    Be well & keep writing!

    Fondly, Candace

    P.S. It appears that both you and Tim chose wisely.

      1. Candace Olander

        Hi Shannalee,

        Yes, we have been to Ivy and like it very much. I have loved the building forever, well not quite, when we moved to Wheaton it was a stationery store. How many of those have stained glass windows? This last winter we pushed the back of our home out after 31 years and now I have a true kitchen. It was a long process and we did more than our share of eating out. Now I just want to stay in my kitchen and cook. In the last two weeks I have made your sweet tomato jam three times. I love it and the aroma while it is cooking.

  3. sarah kate branine

    I’m pretty sure that my blog does not deserve such a kind description! Please come to Oregon so we can meet in person– how fun would that be!

    I love the new header– and I am so happy that God brought you a wonderful husband. Marriage is truly such an incredible establishment from God.

    thanks again for the very kind words about my little slice of the interwebs :) I think the same of your space, friend!

  4. lily

    Your blog is one of my absolute favorites.
    It’s a joy to read all of your posts. You and your husband seem like such lovely people and it’s always wonderful to get a peek into your lives! Just wanted to comment and say thanks for sharing all the inspiring words and wonderful photos!! I always look forward to a new post. :)

  5. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Ah Shannalee, this is another eloquent post of yours (one of so many!) that puts everything into perspective for me (as I sneak a mental break at work to read your lovely blog). The header is adorable (good on Tim for being a great sport and for wanting to do it for you and with you).

  6. Christine

    I love what you share about writing. I know I’m a writer but have been using all sorts of excuses to not write. Fear? I guess. But God keeps showing me (through posts like yours) that if I wrote for no one else but Him, it will be enough. Thank you.

      1. Christine

        I hadn’t heard of it, but I found it and can borrow it for FREE on my Kindle! And I’m going on vacation next week, so I know what (else) I will be reading! Thank you again – love, love, love reading your blog.

  7. art and lemons

    I love that you searched out the wall and took these photos together and how you’ve been able to continue to share more of your voice in your words. The links are great too and Jeff Goin’s advice on breaking the rules hits home for me right now.

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