When I sat down to record Episode 7 with Shanell, we had no idea that the conversation would take us in so many different directions. While the main content can be found in the original episode, I also wanted to share some of the other things we talked about.


This conversation is what happens when I sit down with girlfriends to chat about a book and then up talking about life. This bonus content is a more personal episode.


Quick warning that some of the topics covered are about grief and struggles with Christianity. If that could potentially be triggering to you, please look at the timestamps below to skip over those sections.


What we talked about

  • 0:00 – Introduction

  • 1:38 – Big Magic & Flowers in the Attic

  • 3:12 – Remembering the challenges of adolescence

  • 4:54 – The importance of empathy for children

  • 6:20 – Exploring the book It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way + shifting away from “the church”

  • 7:16 – Reading with the Women’s Ministry

  • 9:11 – Passing of Shanell’s mother and grief

  • 16:26 – Writing a book

  • 20:34 – Closing chapters and pivoting

  • 24:39 – A book that Shanell wouldn’t want to read

  • 27:47 – Outo


Books mentioned in this episode:

  1. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

  2. Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews

  3. Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst

  4. Untamed by Glennon Doyle

  5. Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis


All book links above are affiliate links. By purchasing the books through the links What Ya Reading? Podcast, will earn a small commission. 


Other links mentioned in this episode:


Connect with today’s guest: 


Final Thoughts: 




00:00 – Introduction

Hey, hey, podcast listeners. Welcome back to What You’re Reading, the podcast where I connect with fellow book enthusiasts to chat about our latest reads, the topics that fuel our bookish obsession, and all those things that keep us glued to those pages. If you are listening to this current episode, that means that you loved what you heard in episode nber seven with our guest, Shanell, and you are back to hear our extra bonus content.

If you’re not quite sure what I’m talking about, then I’m gonna ask you to pause here, go listen to episode nber seven first, and then come back to this one. Anytime I sit down and chat about books with my girlfriends, we always go off on these little side tangents. Well, that’s what this episode is about today. You’re gonna hear a little bit more about the side conversations that Shanell and I had during our recording time.

So again, this episode is the bonus content, the main content, the meat of the conversation that we talked about can be found in the main episode and that will be linked in the show notes. I do wanna give a quick warning here that we do briefly discuss a few topics that could be sensitive to some listeners. We talk about walking with Christianity and the Christian faith as well as covering grief, the loss of a parent or a loved one. 

So if those topics are sensitive to you, please check the show notes. For this specific episode, I have time-stamped where we’re talking about those things you can skip right over it. Okay. Let’s get into it. 


1:38 – Big Magic & Flowers in the Attic 

Big Magic is legit my favorite adult book, but if you had asked me favorite book of all time. Like if the question had been posed just a little bit differently, we’d have been talking about Flowers in the Attic, life-changing for so many reasons, not because the book is [like], It’s Not Supposed to be This Way. It’s not going to lead me to a Christ-centered awakening. But I think so many people who fell in love with literature did so at a time in our lives when we needed to be explained to ourselves. 

And we needed a reflection and we needed to know that somebody else feels as out of place in this very typically developing way. That’s what adolescence is. That’s what pre-adolescence is, is identity versus autonomy. Like I wanna be who I am and I need autonomy in order to do that. And these two are in opposition with each other. And so…definitely not a young adult book. 

I don’t think. I try, , I’m trying to think about giving this to my 12-year-old who can read circles around many adults that I know. But I think it speaks to the adult who was. Who hasn’t forgotten what that stage of life is like. Cause I think some adults forget, especially parents. It’s like the rules are somehow different.


3:12 – Remembering the Challenges of Adolescence

I think one of my frustrations when that I see. I was really connected to my church and, my teen years and, into my early twenties and working with the young adult ministry and the youth ministry. And one of the things that I always push the adults like, and maybe because I wasn’t as far removed, but remember.

Remember what it was? I was the teen who, got in trouble on a Magic Mountain trip when we went to Six Flags Magic Mountain because I decided to take my Six Flags cup into Jack in the Box and fill it up. And have them scream at me because I’m technically stealing soda. I was like, “What do you mean? I’m just getting a refill.” And they’re like, but you’re not at Magic Mountain anymore. You can’t just come in here and take the soda. 

Okay, oops, mistake. I wasn’t thinking, but now that you say that it makes sense. But now you’re yelling at a kid who’s having maybe a hard time at home. Maybe they don’t want to sit in this service because they have a lot going on in their mind. And so they’re hanging out in the bathroom and you’re screaming at them and they’re not doing anything wrong. So that right there, what you said, like really like ignites like a fire in me because it’s like we expect kids to use the same brain that we have when they don’t have that. 

They don’t have it, so we have to remember on some level to give some grace to them or steer them in the right direction. So I absolutely resonate with that. And I think more adults need to remember what it was like growing up. 


4:54 – The Importance of Empathy for Children

And we forget so easily. I teach child development, child and adolescent development, and this is one of the things that I try and connect my students back to their former selves the whole semester, because it’s really easy to look down in judgment on parents and children and forget that you were that age and stage as well, but also that we are always expecting children to have it more together than we do.

If somebody knocks their cup down, we don’t want them to cry. They spill something or they get told no and we don’t want them to be upset. They forget something and we ask them, what’s wrong with them? Like, first of all, I got seven reminders for everything on my phone. I’m going to forget if somebody knocks into me at Starbucks, and makes me late, I’m going to be upset. Like we want children to be more emotionally regulated than we are. 

And I think (this topic we could talk about forever) but also they’re, grappling with things maturity-wise, it’s their first time and none of us know what we don’t know. So a lot of grace in this area.


Well, I’m sure there’s some listeners out there that have, kids or have seen this and work with youth and stuff like that.

6:20 – Exploring the Book ‘It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way + Shifting away from “the church”

But I want to circle back really quick to, It’s Not Supposed to be This Way, because the full title continues and it says, finding unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered. And, just being very honest, I’ve had a very interesting walk journey these last couple of years with my relationship, distancing my relationship with church and my relationship with God. But that right there, I haven’t seen a Christ-centered book or a faith book that has made me want to pick anything up. 

But that statement, finding unexpected strength when disappointments leave you shattered. And if we haven’t all been through something disappointing that has made us grieve, like I’m getting chills thinking about this. This is gonna go on my TBR list.


7:16 – Reading with the Women’s Ministry 

It needs to be. She writes some amazing books, JayJay. She’s got another one. So in my church, we have a women’s ministry and our women’s ministry is not like the kind that you see on the Southern movies where they’re like sitting around drinking tea and eating sandwiches and gossiping and then saying like, bless her heart. Our women’s pastor does not play. There is no food. Eat at home. Like this is the (the book), this is the food. Like eat from, she’s so serious about women, not just being free in Christ, but being free period. 

So we have books we read together. We are forced to see ourselves in the text and apply it to our own lives. And then it’s prayer and then we’re out. So we read some heavy-hitting books and Lisa is a heavy-hitting author. She’s written books like Forgiving What You Can’t Forget, Uninvited, and It’s Not Supposed to be This Way

She’s not finger-wagging. Like she places herself and her earth-shattering life in it. And, if you follow her on social media, she’s very transparent, but she’s dealt with like she’s this very public-facing figure and women’s ministry lead who has dealt with some very public infidelity in her life. 

But, finally making the decision to, stand up for herself in that marriage. And just so many things, but she, yeah, she talks about like, some things are just merely an inconvenience, like some things just catch you off guard, like, oh, I didn’t know that was going to happen. And then some of these things that we just weren’t expecting, right? It’s really about the expectations, the expectation of it’s not supposed to be this way.

9:11 – Passing of Shanell’s mother and grief 

And I get like I’m getting teary because my mom passed away six years ago I’m like that wasn’t supposed to happen,  but that’s based on our own expectation of what we desire and what we want. And what we prefer and never at all what we are promised, right? So the promises are there, but we were never promised to have parents until we felt like we didn’t need them anymore and are were okay to live with that. Like none of those are promises. So It’s Not Supposed to be This Way, enters us always back to like, girl, this was an expectation you had. This was not a promise. You were not guaranteed this. And when you said with that…that’s tough.

It is heavy. So yeah, that will make you question your favor, God’s faithfulness, his goodness. Like, is he as good as we are singing about? Is he as good as we are talking about? Is he as good and is he still good if my expectations aren’t met? Not if his promises aren’t kept right? 

Because that’s never been a question. He’s gonna keep his promises. And so I’m good to sing about him keeping his promises, but am I still okay to sing about his goodness if he doesn’t meet my expectations? Yikes. How entitled are you? You are not, you are his creation, right? And that’s kind of what it forces you back into. And this is just, of course, what I believe.

And we all believe something different, but if God is what you believe, and this kind of book is something that you’ve been grappling with, his goodness and his faithfulness and his Omni everythingness…like his sovereignty. I highly recommend any read by Lisa. But certainly this one. Because I think each of us is grieving something, whether it’s the loss of a loved one or the loss of expectation. 


And I think both can exist. I think it’s very interesting, and guys I promise we’re gonna get to Big Magic here in a second. I promise we’re gonna get there. I think it’s a really interesting, correlation and as readers, we can read things for the most part that we may not necessarily 100% connect with or agree with, but that we can take out some of those nuggets. So even for listeners that are not in the Christian faith or God-centered or any of that (because on just full transparency, I’m still trying to figure out where I fall in on that spectrum). 

Something like this though still speaks to people who may not believe in the same God or whatever their faith is because I believe that the meat of it, the message of it, the helpfulness of it, the connection of her saying like. I get it, me too,  I’ve lived through some things that were not supposed to go that way. And just handing some, I don’t know, because I haven’t read it, but potentially these books have an opportunity to have some thoughts and consideration and just to really help pull the mask off of that moment or that thing that you’re going through to really kind of help you along your healing journey. 

Like I said, I’m going to (check the book out). You all can come back and check up on me. I’m going to be putting this on my list here just to do some of that healing work, to do some of that journey to really help (me) navigate. 

I don’t want to say get over because I hate that term. I mean, I don’t know if you really ever get over, things that we go through in life, but you may grasp at one or two, a couple of things you may grasp at some understanding, you may come to peace with it. You may understand that in that moment, that was something that was not favorable, but it has helped you in a certain way, whatever it is. 

So I don’t wanna use the word get over, but I think it can be a tool that can help us heal along our journey. 


Certainly. And sometimes it’s not about getting over, so much as getting through. Like my mom, like I said, passed away, it’ll be six years next month. And I’m not over that.

I could burst into tears right now. I literally could. Her birthday was this past Monday. I could fall to pieces in this moment. So I’m not over that,  but I am getting through that every single day that I choose to wake up, whether I choose to get out of bed or stay in bed because I just can’t. I’m still getting through it. 

And it’s like for any job, any house you build, the more tools you have, right? Could you do it with a hammer and a nail? Certainly. But when you get levelers and I don’t know, tools, anything else that you need, drills, right? Like, when you get the drills, when you have more tools in that toolbox, how much more skillfully…I don’t want to say easily…but how much more skillfully are you able to navigate that job when you have more tools? 


Yeah. Yes, I agree. And hugs and kisses and all of the love to you as you’re still on that journey, I haven’t personally experienced or been through that, but I can’t imagine what that is like and what that feels like. So just sending you all of the love and to any of the listeners out there who are dealing with grief or any of that. 

I’ve seen quite a few of my friends go through losing parents at a very young age and what that journey is like. So just know hugs, kisses, love, and accepting and loving on you where you are in the moment. I know I’ve seen that it hits at random, sometimes unfavorable times. And just knowing that it’s okay. 

Music to queue next topic 


16:26 – Writing A Book 

That makes me mad because I’m sitting on brilliant book ideas. I have two books that have been in my brain and heart for years. And I’m like, is that all I gotta do is like make my point and then keep making it?

Yes. Okay. So little tidbit and to anyone out there who’s listening, I just discovered this, but do you follow Luvvie online? 


I do. I do follow Luvvie.


She has her (I might be messing up the name of what this is called…it’ll be in the show notes…the correct name and link if I get it wrong), but she has like her Book Academy where she is helping other, specifically women, write a book.

So I don’t necessarily have a book idea, but I just love the book community. So I’ve been listening and watching as she’s talking about this subject. I’m just planting the little seed here for you. You might want to kind of explore and kind of watch some of her stuff on what she’s doing, because I do think everyone has a story worth telling.

Regardless of whether you think or not you have a concept, you have an idea, you have something that you have learned and it is going to be helpful to someone else. 


A hundred percent and that comes out in the work that I do with my clients that’s really laced throughout. But yeah I’ve been following this (The Book Academy). I have I’m on her email list.

So I’ve gotten that prompt a couple of times. And the only reason I haven’t gone through with that yet, it’s The Book Academy. Like the only reason I haven’t gone through with The Book Academy yet is because I have 51-11 things that I’m focused on right now. But it is saved and pinned and ready for me. I was like, I can go to my save folder right now because it’s saved. That is on my to-do list. 

That is on my to-do list, thank you. 


Yes, I just wanna give you that little tad bit of encouragement…just start it, start the process. It may be a five-year process, it may be a six-month to a year process, but start the process. And to anyone else out there who’s listening, we all have very important stories. I do not believe that we were put on this earth regardless of what you believe. We are not here.

to just be here and to leave. We are here to impact each other, to help lift each other up. We thrive in and do great in community. And so whatever your contribution is to community, I think is important. And I think Spike Lee said this, and again, if I get this wrong, the correct quote will gonna be in this show notes. But I believe Spike Lee said (something like) every time a person passes away, it’s like a library is closing. 

And it’s because they’re passing away with untold stories, with untold experiences. And I think he was specifically talking about our elder black ancestors. But so much is lost that we do not have written records of. I mean, we’re just finding out some truths about things in history. So if we take a moment to write down our experiences and our lives and things as we’re going through them, the generations to come can look back at these written records of what it was like to be a millennial living through all of these world crises, right? 

Who’s going to write that story? Who’s going to write the story of being a Black female entrepreneur building her business in 2023? So I’m going to step off my soapbox and come back down to it.


That was beautiful. Yeah, I think it’s definitely worth pursuing.

Music to queue next topic 


20:34 – Closing Chapters and pivoting 

And last point, we’re going to go into the last round. We’ll make sure everyone knows where to find you and the services you offer. 

I also think that it’s OK to close chapters. 


Yeah, that persistence piece does have an end date. 


I think it’s OK to close chapters in function or pivot to something else. And for example, with me, during COVID, I couldn’t plan events. I had literally just launched my business and COVID happened. So I couldn’t be planning events. I had to pivot and figure something out. 

I started offering launch strategy, did launch strategy for two years. And for the time being, that’s paused because (we could talk about this all day), but I don’t like the majority (like you said), how launches are going – you gotta have that freebie and then host the four, five, six, seven, eight lives, and you don’t get people on phone, and use this tactic, doors are closing…no for real (this time), doors closing. 

Like I didn’t like the framework I was seeing. And so I took a step back and said this isn’t in alignment right now. So we’re gonna pause. I may use that in the future, I have no idea. Could I potentially do a one-off project here and there? Absolutely. 

But I think also part of that is, understanding when it might be time to pivot and shift into something else. And knowing that those gifts and talents and strengths are still there. And they might just be needed in a new capacity.


The pivot is real. And I think for me, I’ve evidenced and experienced that in my life, in my business in particular, in, well, in my professional life by going where it feels good. And I go where it feels good based on, there’s this concept of five clues to the talent that allow us to kind of identify where we have talent through these various clues. 

And one of the clues is satisfaction. So the thing that makes you feel like I can’t wait to do that again. Going to Jamba Juice, as a freshman in college, there was never a day where I was like, I can’t wait to do that again. I can’t wait to serve customers smoothies again. But where I was going to work and feeling that is where my career and then my major, then my future career experiences led me. 

And I just kept following that. Because very rarely do you have satisfaction where you don’t also have some talent. And so that’s not to say that everything again is gonna be monetizable, everything needs to be followed. But where I stop feeling satisfaction, like with the roller skates, I’m not gonna do that. Unless I feel this other clue to talent, which is yearning. It’s almost like a gravitational pull. 

They call it the wisdom of the body. I feel a desire, an attraction to these types of activities more than others. So I know what I feel attracted to and it’s Pilates. And it’s sitting on the couch and talking and having conversations like this. I don’t feel an attraction to, or I don’t go to the things that I don’t feel yearning towards. And that doesn’t mean – don’t you have to balance your checkbook and don’t you have to clean up the pantry? Yeah, and when I do, I leverage my strengths to make those things be more easeful for me, right? 

And that just, I think that ties those things back in together. Like persistence has a cutoff point, but paying attention to where you feel satisfaction and yearning can help you, can help guide you in that decision-making, because you can’t do all the things.

Music to queue next topic 


24:39 – A book that Shanell wouldn’t want to read 

What’s a book that you’ve seen everywhere, but you are not interested in reading. 


It’s that book by Glennon Doyle, Untamed. I see it everywhere and people are on fire for it. And I’m just like, what is that even about?

And I know that probably makes me sound like I live under a rock, but I’m just like…seeing everybody with it does not make me want to grab it. Have you read it? 


I haven’t. I’ve read her first one, Love Warrior. And that was… it was fine. I didn’t hate it. Didn’t like absolutely love it. And that (the book) was more about the things that were going on with her marriage and everything. And now in Untamed, she’s divorced and she has a new partner and all of that. But I don’t know exactly what it’s about. 


Oh, and not to compare it, not to compare Glenn Doyle to anyone, because I adore her. I adore following her. The other book that I’ve always had a very strong aversion to and would never even consider touching is Girl, Wash Your Face.

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Is that her name? That is a book that I like to hide it when I go to the store. 


So I read that in like 2018 and then I read her, Girl Stop Apologizing. And I’m just gonna say this, there was a time in the past, maybe it’s clear, in the past where I was all in on Rachel Hollis, which is funny because I don’t like the cheerleader rah rah – yes, you can do it, go go (books).

I was all in on Rachel Hollis at that time. I believed the reason that I wasn’t successful was because I wasn’t getting up at 5 AM doing my 30-minute workout like she suggested. And of course, since then, some truths and some understanding and things have come out and, I’ve been awakened to some of the stuff. And yeah. 


Before the stuff, before the stuff, as a Black woman, I’ve literally been washing my face since I was six years old. Whatever that metaphorically means to someone is like, there’s never been a time in my life where I haven’t had to be aware and awake and present and striving. 

And I just, I just have never resonated with that. Wash my face? Girl…


27:47 – Outo

All right, guys, that is where we are going to end the episode today. I want to give another shout out and special thanks to Shanell for joining me in this podcast episode. Again, this turned out to be such an impactful and great conversation. I always appreciate when guests take the time to sit down and share with us.

One quick note here, that going forward, the episode transcripts will be available in the show notes. So you can click the link to view those transcripts. And don’t forget, new podcast episodes release every Monday, so make sure you come back soon. 

All right, guys. Bye. 

Music to queue next topic 

Hey there, one last thing before you leave. Are you looking for a group to read and chat about books with? I’d love to have you join us for our next buddy read of The Personal Librarian.

We’ll be having a virtual meetup to discuss this book on Sunday, January 14th. Trust me, it’s always a good time and we’d love to have you join. All of the details can be found in the show note below on how you can join us for this buddy read over on the Geneva app. As a reminder, all books mentioned in this episode can also be found in a show note. Thanks so much for joining us and wishing you a wonderful reading adventure until we meet again. Chat soon.