Gail's Book Nook

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Looking Out the Window: Shannon Vannatter's Touching Mother's Day Devotional


“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
(Psalm 127:3)

The offer made my mouth water. Imagine a conference promising a free critique by a professional editor. It was the stuff of a starving writer’s dreams.

My dilemma: as a stay-at-home mom, I rarely spent more than a few hours away from my eight-month old son. An editor willing to evaluate my manuscript over a casual dinner beckoned to me. However, the thought of leaving my son for an entire day gave my heart a painful thud.
As always, my husband supported my desire to write. He urged and eventually cajoled me to attend the seminar. I expected to miss my baby, but never anticipated just how badly.

As I prepared to leave that morning, hubby walked me to the car holding our son. A quick kiss goodbye and my guys turned toward the house. Our son’s questioning gaze over his father’s shoulder almost convinced me to stay home.

At the conference, though the speaker interested me, thoughts of my little boy kept me preoccupied. Did he miss me, did he care that Mommy was gone? Or was he having so much fun with his daddy, he didn’t notice my absence? Though hoping for the latter, I wanted my son to miss me, at least a little.

By noon, concentration proved difficult and relief washed over me when we broke for lunch. During a conversation with another writer, I realized we had a two-hour break between the conference and dinner. Wondering how to kill the time between events, in a city forty-five minutes from my home, a brilliant plan formed in my baby-starved heart. Maybe my guys could meet me.

The ringing phone went unanswered. After leaving a message, my concentration improved with the confidence that my son would arrive in a few hours. Back at the seminar, I absorbed more than in the morning session.

When the conference ended, severe withdrawals overtook me with the need to hold my baby. To feel those soft arms around my neck, inhale his sweet, innocent smell, and hear that wonderful giggle.

I rushed to the designated meeting place, but alas, my family wasn’t there. Thirty minutes later, I called home. My husband hadn’t gotten my message. It was too late for a rendezvous and our son needed a nap.

“I probably won’t make it home until 9:30 or so.” After our son’s bed time. I half wanted hubby to tell me to skip the dinner, but my biggest fan didn’t comply.

“We’re fine, don’t worry. Did you learn anything?”

“Yes.” How precious my baby boy is to me.

I spent the next ninety minutes alone, window-shopped at the mall, and consoled myself by purchasing my son a new sippy cup.

Later, at the restaurant, I heard a baby cry. All around me, parents held their children. While waiting for the editor to critique my project, my thoughts remained on my son during the entire meal.

In the end, the conference and dinner were well worth my time. The speakers offered invaluable information and the editor evaluated my novel proposal in detail. She suggested several ideas for improvement, and sent me on my way with new purpose, anxious to tweak my project.
And anxious to hold my baby. After an absence of fourteen hours, worry consumed me during the drive home. What if he’s already in bed? I promised myself that even if he was sound asleep, waking him just long enough to hold and smell him wouldn’t hurt. The speed limit didn’t allow me to drive fast enough.

Once home, much to my relief, the light in the kitchen window revealed my husband holding a very-much-awake baby. Excitement flooded over me when we met at the door. My son smiled, laughed, and reached for me. As I inhaled deeply, he hugged his chunky little arms around my neck and kicked his feet with glee. God gave me a gentle reminder—my child is my most important project.

I’ve attended numerous conferences and monthly writers’ meetings since, entered contests, and pursued the elusive prize of publication. After my son started school, my window of writing opportunity expanded. In 2010, my dream of publication came true. My son is nine now. With deadlines and edits hanging over my head, I still turn the computer off when school lets out each day and only work when he’s not home or after he goes to bed in the summer.

Before my son’s birth, the word—writer—defined me. Though I still define myself as a writer, more importantly—I am mom. And I wouldn’t trade that role for a best-selling novel.


Romance wasn’t what Laken had in mind.

Laken Kroft left home eight years ago and never looked back. Who knew when she applied for the promotion to postmaster that she'd end up in Romance, Arkansas, and much too close to her parents, the town drunk and the local gossip maven?
Hayden Winters has his hands full raising his paraplegic nephew, Brady, and wrestling with his guilt over having caused the child's injury. When the boy's father, Laken's brother, turns up and starts talking custody, Laken's influence is Hayden's only hope. But whose side is she really on?
Will their mutual bond with their seven-year-old nephew draw them closer or rip them asunder? Will Laken accept Hayden “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” or be forced to turn her back on him and “Return to Sender”?


Shannon Taylor Vannatter married her high school sweetheart. Since then her husband answered the call to preach and they became first-time parents 16 ½ years into their marriage. She is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife.

White Roses, White Doves, and White Pearls is her first series with Heartsong Presents Each book ships to a 11,000 member book club and is available at six months in advance of releasing to stores. All three books are set in Romance and Rose Bud, Arkansas. Brides and lovebirds take advantage of the re-mailing program to have wedding invitations and Valentines cards mailed from Romance with a unique postmark. Romance also hosts several annual weddings with Valentine’s Day the most popular date.

The 18th Annual Heartsong Awards named her #3 Favorite New Author, White Roses as #1 Contemporary Novel and #2 Favorite Contemporary Cover, and White Doves as #8 Contemporary Novel and #1 Favorite Contemporary Cover.

Learn more about Shannon and her books at She’s active on Facebook: and Twitter: @stvauthor.

To enter to win a copy of White Doves leave a comment with your email address.


June said...

Thanks for the timely devotional. June Foster

jjjjhibdon said...

I enjoyed your devotional. Any scripture come to mind to add to it?

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hi June,
Glad you enjoyed it.

This verse was at the beginning: “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
(Psalm 127:3)

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Wow! You said, "I am mom. And I wouldn’t trade that role for a best-selling novel." I love that statement. Too many times we forget our role as mother and should never allow that to happen. Thanks for the sweet reminder of whom we really are.

Miss Mae said...

How wonderful to learn that you are a Mom first. :) When everything's all said and done, that's what is most important, isn't it? :)

Wishing you much success!

*please do not enter me in the contest* Thank you!

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hi Linda,
I try to keep my priorities straight.

Miss Mae,
I don't want to think back when he's grown and gone, on the time I spent writing that I should have spent with him.

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Shannon,

Thanks so much for sharing your touching devotional with us.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hey Gail,
Thanks for having me. I've enjoyed the comments.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Hi Gail,
Thanks for hosting me. I enjoyed being here.