February 1, 2013

A LOVE STORY: SHANNAN MARTIN

happy friday, y'all!

i am so excited to share that, throughout the month of february, i am going to be hosting my little a love story series that i have done the past two years. it's kinda my favorite time of the year 'round these parts.



now, grab your tissues and a cup of coffee, and enjoy. 

((katherine, you won the happy days giveaway! email me today)) 
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shannan blogs at flower patch farm girl



I'm a Junior in college, decked out in flannel shirts layered under men's XL sweatshirts. I'm high fashion, and I know it. I start the new year wizened by the first two, my fairytale ideas boxed up and shelved high. College isn't so different from anything that came before it. The boys I like don't like me back. The ones that do make me want to hide. Relationships that seem right eventually prove me wrong, so maybe that boy from home is what I need, even though everything, everyone tells me to run.

Instead of running, I stand completely still. I wouldn't dare rock a wobbly boat.

But across the lawn I see a boy with dark brown hair and the bluest eyes. His walk is slow but his eyes are steady. I never even hear him speak.


(That boy back home? What boy?)

He holds my hand on a wagon filled with hay and we find ourselves being flung head-first into the kind of love that makes everyone around us skeptical and/or nauseous. He listens closely and brings daisies. He takes me to Taco Bell late at night. He talks with me for hours on dorm room land-lines, telling me about jokes he's played on his younger sisters and how amazing his parents are.

We tell ourselves it's perfect, because it is. But I just ended a dysfunctional, 4-year relationship, Cory is a recovering serial-dater, and my best friend is a dude.

We're off to a complicated start, but we'd rather not talk about it.

Months later, I kiss him back at midnight on the soccer field and make my plea, Let this be the One.


A year later, he sells his 4-H pig and buys me a ring, two-tone, so I can wear it with silver or gold. We ignore the problems that creep toward us like low-tide and focus on the only thing that seems to matter - we're in love.

No one is more surprised than the two of us when, two weeks before our wedding, we call the whole thing off.  It's the kind of agony we never saw coming, though we wonder in two separate states if we should have.



It's 10 months later and rain pounds the windows of the car while I pout and stew and prove again that I'm a child. He reaches into a pocket and hands me the ring for a second time. Just like that, my smile is back and he wears one too, so we run through the rain and go for pizza and we never ever acknowledge the quiet pact we've made, the one where we agree to smile and smooch through our problems until we self-destruct, then jerry-rig ourselves back together without so much as one honest word.


Marriage turns out to be everything we weren't expecting. It's easy when everyone said it would be hard. It's fun when it should be stressful. We never fight and somehow, all of our collective part-time jobs come together like promise.

We slide straight off the cliff of our bliss into a eerily familiar free-fall. We derail. We never saw it coming. Again.

This part right here is where it gets good, because this is when our love story decides to get real. It happens over the course of months and years. It happens on the burgandy sofa in a counselor's office and in a restaurant booth. It happens when we defy reason and move hundreds of miles away on a whim. It happens in an overpriced apartment just outside Washington DC. It happens when we turn right around and move back home less than a year later.

It happens in the exam room of a fertility specialist.

It happens in the Detroit Airport, in the NICU at St. Joseph Hospital, in South Korea, in the County Jail.

It happens when we hold hands while we let go of a dream and grab onto a new one.



It happens over hundreds of dinners at the table, hundreds of hours together on the couch late at night. It happens during Saturday Night Live and Downton Abbey. It happens doing dishes at the sink.

It happens through tears, exhaustion, prayers. It happens when we know and acknowledge that we haven't held the gift of our love with all of our heart and both hands. It happens when we ask to be mended and beg to be redeemed.

This is our love story.

And just like the child who told me he wouldn't trade all of the heartbreak of his past because it made him who he is today, I wouldn't trade our wonky places. They have bound us together and made us certain about our future.


I look at my husband and see grace in Clark Kent eyeglasses. He loves Avett Brothers, coffee, Canon cameras, nature shows. He hates beans, mushrooms and potatoes. (Yes, potatoes.) He likes a good read and he bleeds Breaking Bad. He knows all the dusty theologians and didn't flinch when he realized that they aren't where it's at. He leaves dirty socks all over our bedroom and piles pants on the bench five pairs high. He tiles the back splash and makes a mean scrambled egg He always tells me to go to dinner with my friends and he spends time with our kids without calling it "babysitting".

He is my courage-giver, beauty-believer, the laugh track to my nonsense.

He is my fixer.

(A snap-shot from last weekend with all of us and Robert's boys, Avery and Anthony)

33 comments:

  1. I can already tell I'm going to love this series! This is such a true and honest story, I'm so happy Shannan chose to share it. And I think it's pretty awesome that her husband chills with the kids without calling it babysitting. #1 pet peeve right there.

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  2. What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing this. Gives me hope for the future :)

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  3. I love you guys. Especially, I love this: "He sells his 4-H pig and buys me a ring." I mean, that says it all, doesn't it?

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  4. Oh, whew! Brandee's here. I was starting to think only people named Danielle were allowed to hang out here! ;)

    Thanks so much for letting me share here, D. I can't wait to follow every single story. Viva la Fabruary!

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  5. It's a collection of Danielle's!! Love it.

    Beautiful story. CMB rocks. Traded a 4H pig for your ring? It's lovely on many levels. He reminds me a bit of my hubby and my hubby is the best man I know. :)

    Robert's babies are precious!

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  6. I love reading your stories. Thanks so much for being willing to share. And that picture of you surrounded by FIVE children?! Precious. Those babies are wide-eyed and wonderful.

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  7. Love this! Love that you love love and hard work!! Nothing is easy and something are worth working for!! Thanks for the reminder!!

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  8. favorite. praise jesus!
    also, we had the same wardrobe, who knew.


    love you, farmgirl! xoxox

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  9. i just love you, FPFG.
    this is so wonderful.
    and the last pic? THEE best.
    xoxo

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  10. you are so genuine. so real. thank you for reminding all of us that life is complicated and simple and full of dreams that might not come true but there is always hope and wonderufl moments and it's all worth the struggles. xo

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  11. Oh my goodness, they're identical! (Aren't they?) And just too squeezable! Can't wait to see pics of Robert loving on them. :)

    I love, love, love your story and can't get enough of the photos. BTW, how did it happen with you seemingly not aging?! I'm exactly the same age as you, you know. Geez.

    I'm feelin' February! Bring on the love!

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  12. Very real and awesome.
    I wouldn't expect anything less from reading you, Shannan.
    Thanks, Danielle. I love this series.

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  13. Love this story of real and honest love. And those little twins...sigh...FPFG rocks it again!

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  14. I love this. What a great series!

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  15. love it...the selling of a 4H pig and the non fairytale ride of love, joy and journey.

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  16. love stories are baaaack! yay! this one was beautiful! can't wait to check out her blog.

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  17. What a beautiful story. I can't wait to read more!!

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  18. I have been waiting for February!!!

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  19. Love you and your love story, Shannan.

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  20. There is such an ease between the two of you. I know. I've been wedged between you on the couch eating chips and salsa;) Ha!

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  22. Love when it gets real up in here. Bless you a thousand times over for the honesty.

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  23. Clicked over to read Shannan's love story. Beautiful truths woven here. Staying through the hard times, choosing to love when running away would've been easier, this is what makes strong marriages. The Man and I are 32 years and holding strong.

    Great series theme. I'll be back.

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  24. That there is the real deal. I heard a quote once at a wedding about how wonderful it is to be preceded in this life by a love story. What a gift you give your children.

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  25. your authenticity is where it's at, girl.
    that there is true love.
    xo

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  26. Love those first pics of ya'all!! And this post makes me happy!!! Especially the part about him selling his 4-H pig to buy you a ring. Melt.

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  27. 1. Beautiful love story, beautiful you.

    2. In picture #1 you look like trouble...you know, I'm just saying.

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  28. beautiful love story...
    i wanna know when farm girl paints was wedged between you on the sofa. i know...just call me creeper.

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  29. I REALLY LOVE THIS. YOUR HUBBY HAS CHANGED MUCH MORE THAN U HAVE! STRANGE HOW THAT HAPPENS WITH MEN. I WAS JUST TELLING A FRIEND THAT I HOPED U'D WRITE A BOOK & TODAY U SAY U R. BRAVO! YOUR WRITING IS QUITE INCREDIBLE & UNIQUE. LOVE THE WAY U EXPRESS THINGS--KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. U R A WONDERFUL PERSON & COUPLE! BJ.

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