First of all, HAPPY FALL YA'LL! And nothing says "fall" quite like the simmering goodness of a crockpot! Today's installment of Interview with a Renaissance Mom is a cozy, autumn chat with lifestyle blogger, adoption advocate, and recipe book author, Shay Shull. Her latest book, "Simmers," is packed with recipes even the kids will love! You'll adore this conversation, so let's dive in. If only we could have it face-to-face along with a generous serving of Shay's Apple Bread Pudding!
Please introduce yourself and share a bit about your family and where you live!
My name is Shay Shull and my husband, Andrew, and I live in McKinney, Texas with our four kiddos. I'm a lifestyle blogger, cookbook author, travel agency owner, and all around busy mama living on a lot of love and coffee. We are so blessed to have a family which includes our two bio kids, Kensington and Smith, as well as our two precious girls from China, Ashby and Madeley. Adoption has blessed our family more than words could ever say. God has completely changed our lives through the process and we cannot imagine our family looking any other way.
Within the message of Life Creative, we believe creativity can morph as women transition from season to season. Share a bit of what your creativity has looked like over the seasons of your life — childhood, school years, early adulthood prior to having children. How has that changed over the years and what shape does your creativity take today?
I probably wouldn't declare myself a creative person...but I do love homemaking so much and I think the skills my mom and two grandmothers taught me growing up has completely shaped and defined me today. They encouraged hospitality, entertaining, and sharing a meal with family at the table every night. And because of those life skills, I'm able to recreate them today as an adult. I love opening my home to my family and friends and do so quite often. Having people in my house and being able to spoil them with food and a cozy evening is one of my favorite things to do.
In the busyness of motherhood it can be hard to find the place and space to fit your passions within the practical pieces of family life. Where and when have you carved out the time to create in your busy days?
I wake up really early. Every. Single. Day. I have found over the years that "my time" is somewhere around 4:15am. I wake up, get my coffee, spend a little time with the Bible and then dive into my work. My house is quiet, my phone is not ringing or pinging and I'm able to really get my stuff done. It's my favorite time of day.
God has purposed our creativity as a vehicle for responding to the Great Commission. Writing books and songs, painting pictures of His glorious creation, and selling wares to raise funds for missions work are all examples of how others focus their creativity into Kingdom-building work. How has God given you opportunities to share His love with others through your creative gifts?
I never in a million years thought that I would have a blog or social media platforms from which I could share the Gospel...but I do and it's been such an amazing gift. To welcome people to my site every day and then to remind them of Christ's love along the way has really created this community that I never imagined.
We spend our days caring for “our most beautiful creations” but there are other creations we long to pen, sing, paint, stitch and bake. It’s hard to embrace any other dream during this dream-come-true season of mothering. Share one of your dreams with us?
My dream has always been to see as much of the world as I can. Every year, I try to get my feet somewhere new...but it's always a dream and something I think about all the time.
We love discovering other creative women who are balancing art and home and family just like us! Would you share with us one of your “creative crushes” – another creative mom who inspires you and why.
I have so many! Erin Condren is one of them. She started this little stationary business which is now this fun and fabulous mega empire. Her positive and energetic attitude is contagious. I adore her!
If you had one piece of advice to leave us with, concerning this awkward dance between faith, family and the flourishing arts, what would it be?
Keep your eyes on Jesus. I always find that when I'm at my most exhausted, frustrated, and all around saddest, it's because I've lost my focus. When you keep your eyes on Jesus, things are perfect, but they're manageable and life seems to flow so much better.
Where can we find you and your recipe books?
They are available at your local bookstores and online at places like Amazon and Barnes & Noble!