About the Author

Shannan Martin is the author of Falling Free: Rescued From the Life I Always Wanted, wife of a jail chaplain, and mom to four kiddos. She's a big believer in community and salsa, and blogs at ShannanMartinWrites.com.

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  1. Shannan,
    I grew up in Pittsburgh…home of Heinz pickles…so they are a food near and dear to my heart lol. I guess what makes me, me, is through all the trials God has been faithful to see me through, I have developed a keen sense of when others need encouragement or compassion. This life is hard and we ALL need someone to come alongside us and say, “It’s okay…you’re going to make it.” Scripture says that over and over again…I guess I see myself as the messenger?!
    Blessings pickle lady (and excellent writer),
    Bev

    • Bev, I’m just remembering right now that our little dorky pickle pins were stamped with “Heinz”!! Thanks for completing the memory. Haha. And thank you always for your bright smile and warm encouragement.

  2. I love this post!!! We have a garden every year. Last summer, my husband wanted us to try making pickles. The first batch was a NIGHTMARE. But he wouldn’t give up. Second batch was incredible…cinnamon pickles. Lots of work, but worth it. And I identified with your writing thoughts so much. 🙂 P.S. I blogged about our pickle-making adventure.

    Doesn’t God use the most unlikely things to show us Who’s Boss!

    • Cinnamon pickles??!?!?! I’ve never heard of such a thing!! I need to research ASAP. And yes, God is the King of the surprising. It makes life interesting! Happy Friday!

  3. Shannon,
    I am still in the process of figuring out who I am and what I can or should do. I know God put it on my heart to write; of that I am sure, so I write. Not great, still green, sometimes putrid green), but I write. I have two blogs. One on hope and one for poetry. Not sure why yet. Not many readers at all. Just because God said. Many things I should’ve, could’ve and didn’t for one reason or another. You are right, I am complicated. My mother made bread and sold it. She canned everything, and yes, made great pickles. I try, but nope, not my expertise. I will look at yours and try them. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad I read this. I like to leave some comment on everything I read, just to encourage. I know how important it is.

    • I so appreciate your encouragement. It brought a smile to my face! And I hope you’ll stick with the writing. I try to remember writing is my worship (and my therapy). I write to remember and I don’t want to keep getting confused about whether people are reading, or how many. It can be hard to keep it all in perspective, but I enjoy it most when I do!

  4. My favorite is Dilly Beans — and it is always surprising to me how people bond around pickles. We’ve been picnicking before and had total strangers walk up to our table and say, “Are those dilly beans? Did you make them?”
    Whenever I give them as gifts, they’re a huge hit!

    • I am OBSESSED with Dilly Beans! Somehow, I had never tried them until two years ago. My great aunt brought some to a gathering and I think I ate the whole jar. 🙂 Must definitely can a batch this Summer! Thanks for the pickle solidarity, Michele.

    • Michele, as I believe we live in the same state, I echo your love for dilly beans. Do you enjoy mustard pickles as well?

      • My husband grew up loving mustard pickles, and I have yet to track down a really good recipe . . . my last results were kind of soggy. Do you have a good source?
        Here in this house it’s all about dilly beans and bread and butter pickles (which I can in quarts because pints are really pointless!).

  5. Shannan,
    I’ve been thinking about your question, what makes me ‘me’. Sadly enough, the first things that come to mind are the things I’m not. Stinkin’ devil. I ‘do’ lots of things; bake, read, grandparent. But what I AM is a connector; between people, people and things, people and God, people and dreams. It’s not glamourous or flashy and doesn’t require originality but it uses my bent, talent and interests to point people to Jesus. It took a while to get here, but I’m good with it now and I see the value in being who God wired me to be, rather than lamenting that I’m not someone else.

    Your writing is a tool that I use often to encourage and connect with people. I’m glad you kept at it!

    • I love that you’re a connector and I love that you’re aware of it. That’s a special gift! Don’t discount it, Dawna!

  6. I’m a wife, mom of two pickle-eaters, and editor at a Christian publishing house. But when I feel most like me–the me God made me to be–I’m crocheting sweaters or hats for little children around the world. When I really feel my soul come to life, I am packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child and imagining the joy on the little ones’ faces. I pray for them and imagine them hearing about Jesus and His love for the first time. If money were no object and if I weren’t a big chicken when it comes to foreign travel and foods I can’t recognize (ha!), I sometimes think my true calling is traveling around the world and loving on little children for Jesus.
    Thank you for your writing, Shannan, and for opening your heart and life to us. Robin

    • Teach me to crochet!!! On second thought, you crochet and I’ll make pickles. (I tried to knit once and almost put my teacher in therapy…) 🙂

  7. I am in a season of more “I was….” than “I am.” I retired from 33 years of teaching. I truly feel that season is over. Now, I am waiting to see what season is next. Waiting is not who I am, for sure. 🙂

    • Waiting is SO HARD. I can’t even imagine the surprises God has in store for a retired teacher of 33 years. That’s some pretty inspiring gifting, and if it was true then, it’s still true now. 🙂

  8. I have a blog post that has been up on my screen, waiting to be published. I ALWAYS second guess myself, my words. I love your way with words and today you have given me courage to step out and not be afraid. Thank you!

    • Thanks so much! This morning I thought to myself, “Why did I write a post about pickles?? Will anyone get it??” So yes, I understand the second guessing thing. HIT PUBLISH!

  9. I’m a boy mama… this is new to me. Growing up, I had an older brother with disabilities and a little sister. All this boy-ness is a little overwhelming at times.
    I’m also a bit of a jealous friend at times. Once you’re “mine”, I can be insecure about sharing you. I’ve put in a lot of effort into friendships over the years and sometimes I’ve been burned so I can cling too much. BUT…. I am fiercely loyal and will go the extra mile to help you out every time.

    Friday morning thoughts and confessions about who I am. 😉

    • I love so much that you know this about yourself. Awareness can be a beautiful thing, and honestly, I think we’ve all felt what you’re talking about. Friendships can be hard to come by. We want to hang on!

  10. I’m in this season of which you speak. The pull between selling out and dedication. I’ve asked God to fine tune my ministry to reek of his Holy Spirit and that’s all. He keeps plunking this word “mentoring” down into my guts. It’s not new. It’s not shocking. We’ve hosted taco Tuesday at our house for a decade simply to get to know the younger generation.
    It’s simple. Like pickles. Almost too simple. It’s not like I’m plowing under my corn on a farm in Iowa because some imaginary voice tells me to*. It’s tacos. It’s relationship. It’s a call to these kids to live for Jesus. Simple.

    *I will leave you to that movie reference.

    • The Ministry of Tacos is not to be underestimated! I think it’s brilliant and inspiring.

  11. I’ve come to realize that being different isn’t bad at all. I am who I am. ..deal with it or move on. I must stay true to myself & love me. There have been times when I’ve questioned my uniqueness, because sometimes people look at me differently & are sometimes judgemental. God designed & made me this way for a reason. Whatever God creates through His molding, shaping, & purification is a treasure to behold. So, sisters be confident in the woman that He has created you to be. Remember he made us in His own image.

    • I don’t even like pickles!!! But, your post reminded me of my cousin an best friend whom I shared some of happiest memories with in the past. Before life got complicated with responsibility. I’m on the journey to finding myself from an abusive situation, and just want to thank you for the happy reminders of yesterday birthing hope for bringing my joy back and finding myself in the future.

  12. Shannan,

    What a pleasure to read your post after a disrupted sleep. I went on to your blog and enjoyed reading some more. Thank-you so much for sharing with us.
    My youngest is obsessed with pickles so last year I attempted to make some. He enjoyed them but one of my other kids spat their’s out cause they were way too strong for him. So this year I need to find a balance. (Your recipe sounds amazing, thank-you). That’s something I really enjoy doing, making things that bring a smile or a joyful tear but not so much making them want to spit it out.

    I appreciate your message; Be as God intended for us to be.

    Have a blessed day,

    Penny

  13. I love this. I always whisper that I write, I’m not confident in saying it out loud. I’ve been struggling with what that means and how it fits in my life. I teach preschool and that is definitely a large part of my heart and my passion, but I also long to build community, to encourage. And like you, I process better with words. It’s not easy to fit all that into a box! I’ll try to fling out the writing because it doesn’t seem to fit, or I’ll try to change how I do it, or I’ll second guess myself and all I end up with is a distracted soul. You’ve given me lots to ponder today!

  14. I love this and love reading your post. My husband now of two years is the only boy in his family….all the women make their famous pickles. We made them together last year and they have been “setting up” for months. This post inspires me to finally bust out the jar and try some. Also give other pickles to friends and hope they can enjoy them the way we do…. on a hot Mississippi day outside with family and friends. I have been searching for an outlet. I have been a blog follower for years now and want to start my own. I think your pickles have inspired me to. Everything i read says your blog should have a theme or you should post similar content when my mind want to bounce around and write about everything. Am I even a good writer???

    Time shall tell….and on this hot spring weekend that already feels like summer in the south. i will think about you and your pickles.

  15. I’m an artist. I love people. My faith family and friends are important to me. Now about pickles, I went through a phase of pickling and my grandmother even shared recipes and bought books for me. I miss her but have those memories, among many others to make my heart smile. Thank you for taking my hand and leading me down memory lane.

  16. That was such a great story and so encouraging. I’ve been struggling to hear what God is laying on my heart to do. At 36 I do not have a real sense of what makes me, me. I’m currently home with my almost two year old twins and a seven year old first grader so I don’t make time for myself. I prayed that the Lord would deal with my heart and show me what my calling is but to quiet the noise is so hard. I’m a corky old soul who love vintage things. There are things I want to do like sew and sell skirts also I think the Lord is telling me to write a book but I am a song writer and musician or was … pre children and I don’t know a thing about writing a book. I struggled in English in all of high school – Perhaps I am afraid of failure and this is why I don’t follow through. Maybe I am afraid of making time for myself because the kids are so demanding I would be taking away time from them. I’m exhausted and emotional and I can only pray that the Lord continue to hold me. I feel lost and confused. I see signs often that say do what you love and love what you do…. I’m sitting here pondering this question what makes you you and I don’t really know anymore.

    • I’m on the other side of the season you are in 🙂 See, I’m smiling? It was SO hard. You are doing what God has for you to do! There will be more seasons with different things to do. Inspiration will come from the Holy Spirit. I’m praying for Natalie!

  17. My amazing mother-in-law made THE best dill pickles (and dilly beans!) straight from her garden: cucumbers, huge heads of dill, oversized cloves of garlic. In my twenties, two little boys in tow, I learned watching her in her kitchen and went to my own to replicate the jarred wonders. Decades later I watched her drift from us through dementia. But the memories of her pickles, her yeast rolls that she carried all over Raleigh County, WV, to people in various needs, her Christmas family dinners that defined groaning tables, her quilts (the very ones we draped over her casket and the church railings at her funeral), and so much more remain to remind us. What she really created was a home that welcomed everyone, no matter their status or needs, and that’s what I aim to craft. Thank you, Shannan, for creating an online home for us through your craft of writing. I love this little spot.

  18. Shannan,
    i love you story about childhood friends and pickles. Thanks for telling people to share and love what they are good at and not trying to be like any one else. I guess my gift is turning any meal into a master piece and encourage women on how eat and cook healthy meals.

  19. Shannan, Love this post! I can’t help but think of the pickle pin as a mustard seed. A tiny seed that God used to grow something important and meaningful for you to share with others through your gifts and talents.
    Yes, we bloom and bleed when we write. What a perfect way to articulate it!
    Up here in Maine, we love dilly beans and mustard pickles. It’s difficult to find mustard pickles, as they are rarely found in stores. I come by them through a farmer’s wife down the road or by breaking down and making them myself. I haven’t been a serious pickled-preserver in twenty years. Maybe I should start again; it may bring out my muse.
    Thank for the story.

  20. Shannan,

    Love this “Your calling. Your quirks. All of it. It’s you. And it’s beautiful.” I found my calling a short while back-encouragement. I have empathy for people and want them to know they are thought about and loved. One quirky thing is do is make a lot of spreadsheets. I love keeping track of things. How many miles a week I walk, what my food budget is, etc. Also make tons of lists. Love writing down all the things I’m grateful for, list of countries, etc. Thank for you validating my quirkiness as beautiful!
    Blessings 🙂

  21. I’m a children’s librarian, a mom of 3, a pastor’s wife, an avid reader, and an introvert who always has a house full of people (and I’ve learned to love it!). I believe in the importance of community and relationship, finding the beautiful in the broken, and the power of encouragement. I want to adopt but I keep hearing God say “not yet”. I want to get to the point where I don’t worry so much about a clean house, and I mostly just want to be the type of person who makes others feel important and worth something. That’s what makes me, me!

  22. Shannon, Thank you. As I read this my tears are flowing. I was born again 20 months ago and that being the most amazing thing I am struggling. People keep dying, walking away etc. I look in the mirror and at 44 have no idea who I am, except a child of God. I sit with a spiritual counselor weekly as we break down the lies I have believed to be truth. This week as I struggled with grief I sat and cried out in prayer, Romans 8:26 was this weeks title track in my heart. My heart is open to my pickle moment! This week I started to listen to truth. Please pray that I start seeing me as God sees me and not through the lens of lies. I Am what he says I am! Thank you again I was drawn to this post for a reason!

  23. I love this! I found your blog two summers ago because of your pickle recipe! So funny 🙂 They were delicious. It was the refrigerator pickles one…my fav.

    I didn’t grow up loving pickles…I grew up loving rearranging furniture. Which is weird. But to this day, when the sofa is a new spot, my world is refreshed and my outlook on things a little happier 🙂
    xo

  24. I write. I love Jesus. Single, no children except 20 nieces and nephews to love! It’s nice to read God uses us without a formal dream. He uses us simple as we are.

  25. Thank you for the inspired observation that we’re hard-wired to surprise others and ourselves. Since our God loves surprises ( like prayers answered above-and-beyond, blessings out of nowhere, unexpected manifestations of his glory, etc.) it stands to reason that we, too, will be part of his surprises sometimes. One of my surprises is how loud I can whistle!! People don’t expect it from a retired teacher and wife of a retired preacher. Makes people laugh. Not sure why God gave me that gift, except it sure was useful to round up students!! Seriously, though, retirement has offered the opportunity to pursue writing more intently; where it leads (beyond the blog I currently keep) only God knows. Sometimes I become impatient, wanting to know what the final outcome will be. But no doubt, part of this venture is to walk one step at a time toward his promise for tomorrow–whenever that tomorrow might be!

  26. MY SISTER AND I HAD HEINZ PICKLE PINS TOO!!! I still live in the house of my childhood and I ran across that thing several years ago. I don’t remember being overly attached to the pickle pin, so I don’t even know if I saved it when I rediscovered it.

  27. I live in Pittsburgh too Bev! Anyway, I loved this. Ive always been a little quirky. Ask anyone. My hair is purple, and I’m a grandmother. God definitely gives us all something that is uniquely us, and we should embrace it with gusto!!

  28. Aww I love this Shannon!! I’ve been a recovering addict/alcoholic for 30 years. A couple years in I found Jesus ummm actually He found me! Over the years I’ve realized how beautifully different and the same we are as women. All to be celebrated and loved no matter the journey. What beautiful words, So blessed to have read your post today. Thank you and many blessings!

  29. I had to read your post because the lead photo’s caption captured what’s been on my heart since last Christmas. I am not a brand! I want to shout. I’m me- writer/blogger/homemaker/small business owner. Yes, I am all those things, but that’s not all I am. I don’t want to care about comments and stats anymore either, that’s why I’m pivoting to helping other work at home Moms. 🙂 LOVE that you found a ray of sunshine and made pickles! They look so good my mouth watered.

  30. Shannan,
    I have to be truthful, I have thought many times in the past that ‘THIS’ was my calling or maybe “this”…… I am still trying to put it together and it is taking so much awareness that I am not sure if I will ever really know. So many others say THIS is what God called me to do, I am still trying to learn and listen for mine. I think I was searching for MY THING to be this BIG plan but maybe it is not meant to be……..I do know one thing, I know it works out as it should when it is His plan so I am not giving up.

    Thanks for the sweet motivation today. You have been such an inspiration in learning for me that I appreciate everything you have to say. You keep it real, you tell it like it is and you show it like it is. Thanks again Shannan. 🙂