“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware.”
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1856
I want to be intentional… fully aware, never caught just ‘plucking blackberries’.
About Me. Where to begin? First and foremost, I am set free by the Grace of God. It is in Him I live, and move, and have my being. I’m trying daily to ‘not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of my mind‘. (Thanks to the Apostle Paul for that one. He is one of my favorites, and he was very ‘messy’.)
My name is Shannon Shaneyfelt Doyle. I just go by Shannon Doyle now, but the Shaneyfelt is who defines me. Growing up in Nashville, TN, I had (what I consider) a perfect childhood with my older sister. Nurtured by parents rooted in faith and what’s truly important, we grew up on a hill in the woods, surrounded by lots of trees, wildlife, pets, and creeks. Like a lot of kids, we built forts in nature. We adopted box turtles. We caught crawdads. We spent time in the garden of our grandparents, Lois and Red. We tromped through MeMaw’s purple iris patch, drinking in the delicious grape scent. We played superheroes in hodgepodge costumes. Dad taught us how to use a bow and arrow–shooting boxes in our woods–long before Katniss Everdeen ever surfaced.
We went on nature hikes in our woods– collecting caterpillars, flowers, and rocks–but also ticks and burrs. We fished with our Grandparents on Lake Barkley, and with our parents in Homosassa Springs–on the 18-foot boat that my Dad built with his own hands. We owned dogs, cats, bunnies, hamsters, and guinea pigs. My sister had salt water fish aquariums. I had a pet newt. (One morning we found him shrunken and shriveled behind my parents’ waterbed weeks after he went missing from his bowl. God rest his soul.)
My sister and I got dirty and were allowed to just be kids… to be messy.
Not in an icky way, but in the best way.
Very early in life, I was blessed with lifelong friends who are, to this day, my safety nets. They know who they are, of course. Then in college, I met new lifelong friends who fall right into that ‘childhood friend’ category… but we were just older children when we met.
(Oh, most of my friends are messy, too.)
I have been married to my husband since 1996. Mark defines integrity. He is kind, hard-working, and one of his greatest joys is spending time in nature, camping with our children. Like his mother, he is artistic–he painted, sculpted, was a potter and a glass blower. But these days, he puts his artistic side to use in the kitchen (what woman doesn’t adore a man who cooks?!). He has impeccable taste in music, which is one of the first things that drew us to one another. You won’t hear or see much of Mark in this blog, but he is every bit my partner in life. This might be the only photo you ever get to see of him:
And no, he is not a secret agent man (at least not of which I’m aware),
and if that’s the case, then he is really good at his job.
Mark just likes to remain a bit… anonymous. And I deeply respect that.
I am blessed by three children, whom you will see a great deal of in this blog.
THEY ARE SO VERY MESSY.
Henry, 14. Louisa, 13. Charlie, 10.
They are my muses of discovery– my laughter, joy, and silliness
…and sometimes, my frustration (let’s be honest).
They are pretty much the reason I write.
But mostly, I credit my Maker, because every day I am amazed by him–
and his blackberry bushes, afire.