Greetings! My name is Shannon Murray but as of late, I’ve grown to go by Shan. It fits the newer, much wiser version of me. While many people I know dread getting older, I could not WAIT to get out of my messy twenties, and truly live a life that was solely for me. While I didn’t take the drama into my thirties, I did bring my three wonderful children, who are currently ages 12, 11, and 9. They came with the package (go figure) and are the three biggest blessings produced out of that delicate decade.

Shannon Murray

I enjoy preparing delicious meals for my family and pushing us all to try new things. One of my most recent risks was relocating to Austin after living in Charlotte for several years. Although I am a Houston-native, I had never even visited Austin before accepting a full-time position with my dream agency. However, the risk was worth the trouble of moving my family halfway across the country in the middle of a pandemic. My first taste of birria tacos from Pepe’s Tacos and barbeque beef ribs from Salt Lick was more than enough confirmation.

Aside from being a mother, I have a myriad of different hobbies and interests. I’m an avid viewer of food competitions; so much that I’ll nearly drain my bank account shopping at Central Market for the most detailed ingredients. I also picked up sewing during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and earned a few dollars making masks and hair bonnets for my co-workers and friends. More obviously, my love for writing is why I’m here. Ultimately, my goal is to write a few good novels and hope that a few people (maybe even a few million) are kind enough to read them.

Ok, back to cooking. I really enjoy it. Recently, I made the perfect crème brûlée and crème caramel. During the quarantine, I baked lots of bread, (semi) perfected the art of jollof rice, and fried homemade donuts for the kids. I even made the delectable (Trinidadian) curry chicken roti, but not quite like my grandmother’s. Needless to say, my electric bill soared, but our bellies were full.

photo of creme caramel on a white plate

Although I wear many hats as a mother, daughter, friend, colleague, and partner, at the end of the day, I am a firm believer in filling my own cup first, and then pouring into others from the overflow. As a recovering people pleaser, I’ve learned that Audre Lorde said it best: “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation…” and not doing so is committing violence against oneself.

Shannon Murray

So far, motherhood has been one of my greatest teachers. I started my family at a very early age, and honestly, I wish I had done a little more research. I wasn’t prepared for how much of myself I would have to sacrifice to make sure these little ones were cared for each and every day. Although I had help sometimes, most days were dependent upon me keeping all the balls in the air at once. There are many things I know about myself now that I wasn’t aware of as a twenty-something year old mother. For one, my lack of patience most days was not because I didn’t like the little people, but it was a result of my personality being mostly introverted and I depended on large amounts of quiet time to recharge and process moments when I felt overstimulated. Ironically, three children under the age of five don’t leave much room for processing! Despite the challenges, I’ve managed to raise three beautiful, intelligent, inquisitive, energetic, and caring human beings. There is never a dull moment with my crew and I would not have it any other way.

Shannon Murray

Over time, I’ve learned to adapt to the needs of my family while balancing my need to be an individual. I believe both can be done with a little effort and time management. Now that my children are ages 12, 11, and 9, my mini “getaways” to the bathroom or bedroom closet are less interrupted and more frequent. Most days, when responsibilities are taken care of, you can find us walking through parks, jumping at Altitude, playing arcade games at Pin Stack, or hunting down a new taco truck.

As a newbie to Austin, I enjoy all the city has to offer so far. We plan on exploring the boardwalk, walking through Zilker park, and touring Congress bridge very soon. Did I mention the tacos and barbeque?

If you enjoy my witty writing, follow me on IG and Twitter (@thewriteshan) and visit my webpage, www.yellowandolivepress.com. Happy Reading!

~Shannon Murray

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Fiery. Ambitious. Witty. Extroverted Introvert. Taco Enthusiast. Amateur Chef. Songbird. Outside of being a mother, those words best describe me on any given day. For me, every day is an Eat, Pray, Love moment. I actively consume things that bring me joy and do my best to discard things that deplete my energy. In college, I studied what interested me rather than what I thought would generate the most income (I do question my sanity sometimes). That led me down the path of Sociology and English Literature, which resulted in a bachelor’s and master’s degree (respectfully) from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. Professionally, I’ve worked in a variety of fields, including domestic violence and substance use prevention, higher education, and healthcare. Ultimately, I land wherever my heart leads me, and I bloom where planted. I am continually inspired by the work and life of Zora Neale Hurston, who quoted in her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Over time, I’ve learned to ask the right questions. Aside from being able to write novels full-time (and survive), some of my biggest dreams are to sing in a choir/group led by Kirk Franklin, be a participant on the Amazing Race, and compete on Chopped, Sugar Rush, or the Great British Baking Show. Oh, this is a moms’ blog, right? I almost forgot. My philosophy on motherhood is to be responsible for my own happiness, so my children can learn to do the same as they evolve into adults. I generally employ a semi-hands-off approach in order to give them room to breathe, grow, and develop their natural skills. However, every now and then, I have to steer the ship back on course. We are only here for a little while, so we might as well dance. Check out my latest work at www.yellowandolivepress.com and follow me on IG and Twitter at @thewriteshan.

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