Welcome to Grace, Guidance, and Gratitude–a blog about self-discovery, faith, strength and the belief that anything is possible when we keep our mind focused on only the good things of this world (and beyond it!)

Most of you know me from my food blog Digestion Suggestion, my brief stint as a t.v. host on Food 411 and from my 5-star novel Finding Morgan: A LeFay Trilogy. For those of you who receive the Tuesday Two’s newsletter or follow me on Instagram, you already know a bit of my story. However, there is so much more to tell and this is where I’m going to share it in the hopes of helping others who are struggling through extenuating circumstances (and with all we are all facing right now–that could be most of the world).

Are any of you big fans of Harry Potter? Discovery of Witches? How about Twilight? Well I’m a fan of all of them, and I always wished I had powers like that. I dreamed of all the good I could do in the world with super powers or “witchy” powers. Now, I may not have anything like that but I did find my superpower this past year, and it’s a power I rely on each and every day.

Just over a year ago, my husband and I had big things planned–my novel was getting published and I was on my way to writing the second! My husband’s career was on the fast-track, and we were two months shy of adopting a baby girl to be born near November (after waiting for two years on an adoption list). This last piece of excitement had been over six years in the making; we had been trying to have a baby. After suffering three miscarriages and many, many failed attempts, we decided “let’s adopt! If we get pregnant than we have two (just like the Thomas Rhett song goes)!” Well we weren’t as fortunate as the Rhett family. This is where I’m going to be frank and real, right here in this blog.

After a surgery in June 2019 that determined I’m completely fine (just some minor scar tissue build up) and able to have kids, we realized the only issue we seemed to be fighting was either age or my uterus just sucks. But we were on a high because I knew that I was ok, my husband was ok (better than ok), and we had already been chosen to adopt a baby girl! So, if I happened to get pregnant…..yay for us!

In August 2019 everything changed. My husband was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, stage 4. It literally came out of nowhere and was only detected when I had him go get checked out for extreme anxiety and “brain fog”. Our world, our life, was tipped upside down, shaken about, and then tipped about some more, like a snow globe a child shakes vigorously. Everything moved in rapid fire motions after that. Surgery to remove as much as they could, my ability to go into crisis management mode and find the best doctors and care the world has ever known (I exaggerate, but still), radiation treatments, chemo (which we lovingly referred to as “pop rocks”–yes the candies), cognitive rehab, counseling, oh and a pandemic during which we have had to deal with all of this. I quickly went from a wife, associate publisher, novelist, and soon to be mother to a caregiver, lost soul, and cheerleader of constant positivity in six seconds flat.

Along the way, I’ve learned God is listening ALWAYS; faith and a positive attitude has everything to do with the ability to heal; Mind really does outweigh matter (and medicine at times), and anything is possible.

My husband was on the road to health, and there was no evidence of cancer, when very suddenly things took a turn this August. In October 2020, after only a 14 month battle, my husband, my best friend, soulmate, and true love, passed away.

I started Grace. Guidance. Gratitude as a way to bring hope and faith to other during difficult times. After his passing, I’m using it as a platform to help others cope with tragedy by being frank and real about my own. I’m only 43 and I’ve have seen a lot of loss in a short amount of time. Losing my soulmate has impacted me greatly. My hope is that the guidance I get from God and my faith, family and friends, and the grace for which I need to find a way to walk through this helps others.

Each post will discuss how I manage the emotional toll this has taken on me, how I feel during different stages and weeks, steps I’m trying to take to stay positive and keep going, and the guidance I hope to receive from God that tells me it’s all going to be ok (even on the really bad days). For those of you who aren’t religious, please know I’m not preaching anything. I don’t attend church every week, and I don’t preach scriptures (although I do have my favorites I read). But, I am very faithful and no matter your religion, faith or spirituality, we all believe in something. A divine force, a universal energy, God, spirits, angels, or just a connectedness felt between all humans; whatever it is you believe (you have a place here:) You might even start to see little signs that someone is watching over you too. But in the end, we all struggle with stuff, and I hope that my honesty and stories of how I’m getting through this helps some of you along your own journey.

Until we chat again–may grace, guidance, and gratitude help you on your life journey–Shannon (S.M.)

You’re Nobody Special

I am officially 74 days into life without Mike. Yes, I count the days. 74 days of silence, self-soothing techniques, cooking for one, figuring out finances, taking care of the dogs, isolating because of this pandemic, and staring out the window looking for “signs.” The more I research, speak about, and write on my loss, […]

A Million Tiny Little Things

In what felt like the longest brief moment, my little corner of the world became a snow-globe, one of those Christmas ornaments children love to shake up and watch the flakes swirl in unseen currents. Layer upon layer of white crystals blanketed our city, making many Christmas wishes come true this holiday season. As I […]

Sharing Christmas

It’s hard to believe it’s already (yet only) been six weeks since Mike passed. Christmas is fast approaching, as well as what would have been our 13th wedding anniversary; a day I had felt so blessed to celebrate and honored to have near Christmas. The day now taunts me, tapping me on the shoulder, “Excuse […]

The Club You Never Want to be a Part of

“My greatest fear is that he’ll be forgotten.” That’s the first sentence of an article I came across about the unique challenges ‘young widows’ face. It’s a sentiment that has crossed my mind multiple times throughout my days, so much so that I force myself to do things so he won’t be forgotten. The irony […]

What Now? In the Wake of It All

I can hear it. It’s a delicate crunching sound, silencing everything else around me. I close my eyes and open my ears to a sound like the flutter of distant birds’ wings, or the landing of wet, heavy crystals as the snow accumulates on my hair and jacket. It’s like diamond dust that sprinkles down […]

Two Steps Forward, One Massive Step Back

As I dust off the keyboard and stare at the cursor blinking in front of me, I quickly realize how long it’s been since I’ve put “pen to paper” so to speak. What started out as a weekly blog has turned into a bi-monthly. We shall see where it goes from here. My second novel […]

Why I Don’t Ask Why

The 3 G’s–Grace, Guidance, Gratitude. I have clung to these fiercely over the past year. When you are sitting in an emergency room and being told, “Well what your husband has is like Bo Biden or Senator McCain,” your heart literally drops to the floor. Basically the resident “in training” is tell you your husband […]