Author: Shannon Bunch

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July 2017 Update

Hello folks! It’s been way too long since my last email that has more than a schedule in it. Although a little lengthy I ask you take a few minutes to read the following.

The past few months have been some of the most challenging in a long time. Two immediate family deaths in January and February 2 weeks apart was much more than we anticipated.

On January 25th Ilene Irvin, my “adopted” mother passed away unexpectedly. In no way do I won’t to downplay cancer screenings but her death was a result of a routine colonoscopy. So you can only imagine the shockwaves of the news. Here’s a portion of my Facebook post only hours after her death.

“…For over 25 years she laughed when I laughed, cried when I cried, prayed when I couldn’t, held me close when I was near, understood me even when I didn’t understand myself, knew ALL my faults and failures yet reminded me she loved me, gave solid advice even when I didn’t want to hear it, always made sure I was fed, loved my family, called me her “other boy” (she has a biological son Christopher), she would get perturbed if there was a gap in my phone calls, could make me smile when no one else could,….you get my point.

I’ll summarize how the Irvin family. I was still in high school and I knew of them for their singing but never had a conversation. One night God told me to go to their house. I found out where they lived. I got in my car about 11pm, drove to their house, pulled in their driveway, knocked on the door and was greeted by her husband Joe. I said, “I don’t know why I am here but God told me to come”. Joe replied, “I know exactly why you are here”. Ilene was facing some challenging times. God had given a sign He had heard their prayers.

She, too, was a life long singer with her husband Joe and daughter Brittany by her side. Her voice was God-breathed! How I’d love once again to hear her say “that’s my boy”, “love ya bunches”, “you hang in there”, “we’re praying for you”, “be safe on your journey”.

We returned home from her funeral service early Tuesday, January 31. We were awakened hours later to a phone call from Melissa’s sister, Amie, saying she was taking their dad, Jim Hay, to the ER. He had pacemaker replacement about 2 weeks earlier. Having COPD for several years made his recovery more difficult. He stayed several in the hospital. Upon dismissal we brought him to our house on Monday, February 6 to get rest and assistance until he recovered enough to return home. By Wednesday it was evident things were not going as planned.

After Melissa had left for school and I had taken Emme to school he asked me to sit down with him that he needed to have a “heart to heart”. Melissa already knew what his final wishes were and had been given the legal authority to carry those out. But the conversation that proceeded no one had heard. As he shared how he wanted to “do right by my girls and fight” he said “I have no fight left”. With sound mind he requested Hospice care.

He was always a straight-shooter, never sugar coating anything. If you didn’t want to know his opinion don’t ask, especially regarding politics. But one would often get his opinion whether you asked for it or not. But when it came right down to it he was there for us. For example, I received news about a year ago that would affect my life forever. It was 6am. Melissa called her dad who lived 45 minutes away and within an hour he was here. He couldn’t change the situation but he listened. This I speak ONLY from my relationship with Jim and the relationship I saw between he and Melissa.

Now it was our turn to be there for him to listen to his straight forward and simple message. The evaluating Hospice nurse came and determined the COPD was end-stage. He consented to proceed. Melissa asked me, “Is this what adulting is?” None of us desire to have those days where we have to make these types of “grown up” decisions. But those times do come.
Most importantly I had asked him if he had ask God to forgive him. He replied “yes, many times”. I knew he was referring to the day to day asking for forgiveness but not from a salvation perspective. I asked if he had asked Jesus into his heart. He said, “I guess that’s the part I’m lacking”. A minister came to our home and he and I shared with Jim what Jesus had done for him. He received that Word. In my heart I believe he made peace with God for within a short period of time he would slip into a non responsive state and soon leave a body of struggle into life everlasting. Melissa misses him greatly. He championed for her and sometimes gave her the advice she didn’t want to hear. The day he passed she reflected on her relationship and her final actions. My two words to her was “no regrets” which she repeated. I don’t know what it is like to experience the loss of a biological parent. But I’ve seen her sorrow. We now understand what we’ve heard about the first holidays and other special days. And it is difficult. Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated. Although our hearts grieve and now have voids we’ve never had before, the Good Shepherd is leading us through green pastures, beside still waters and restoring our souls. Weeping may endure for the night but joy will come in the morning.

There is one more event I’ll share and wrap this up. Probably most of you are aware that I have a deep brain stimulator (DBS) to treat dystonia. (details about dystonia on my website.) The implanted battery must be changed every few years. We have fought insurance hard since August. They would never agree to give me the referral to a neurologist and as of January I needed a neurosurgeon. Thanks to a Medtronic representative she facilitated me getting surgery. I had to admit myself through the ER at Presbyterian Dallas on February 24th. The surgeon on call had agreed the week before if I showed up he would do my surgery regardless.

Of course, in true Bunch fashion it would not go off without a hitch. In preparation for surgery earlier that day I became unresponsive. My heart rate dropped into the 20’s and blood pressure was 50/30. The nurse called a “code”. Melissa is in the room and is instructed by the nurse to go for help. This is 2 weeks after coming through 2 deaths. Once I was awake Melissa’s anxiety and fear was still evident. And recent family deaths had intensified the moment. Surgery was performed later that afternoon and I came home that night.

Just a few days ago after almost 2 years Blue Cross Blue Shield has approved a neurologist for my on-going treatment. It’s not the one I want but I’ll hope for the best. Through all this the generosity of people have showed us once again we don’t have to go these roads alone. We’ve experienced this over and over again but I am still amazed at how God provides for His Children.

In closing, I’m asked almost every weekend I sing about my next recording. Simply put it is expensive. I know it will come but how all this will come together is going to be up to God. I want to record a Christmas album. God’s timing is perfect and He will make a way when it is time.

Be sure to check out my schedule.  Hope to see many of you in a town near you.

Always confirm dates.  These are subject to change without notice.

If you would like to schedule me for your next event or worship service

call 888-699-4922 or email

The Life & Times of the Bunches

Summer has ended, at least for Melissa and Emme.  Emme is now in the 2nd grade.  It is surreal to think she is at this stage in life.  She continues to excel in gymnastics and has just finished her first season of volleyball.  She wears jersey #5 which was Melissa’s number until she finished college.
Many have asked and Emme’s health is doing well.  We have seen a craniofacial doctor twice here in Dallas. The small holes that were detected on the CT scan at Vanderbilt are still there but unlike that doctor this doctor says they are very insignificant and he would not touch them. However the circumference of her head is in the 20 percentile and will experience no more growth. Come to find out when she had her initial surgery at 6 months old was too early. This impeded the natural growth of the cranium.  However this may not present a cosmetic issue.  But as she grows older if the measurements of her head are disproportional to the rest of her body the doctor is comfortable repeating this surgery until she is 15 years old. Unlike the 8 days spent in the hospital on her first surgery this would be no more than 2 days. As Melissa and I began to ask questions we learned that Emme is not the first patient the Dallas doctor has seen from the Vanderbilt doctor. He stated the protocol and method by which the surgery was done was “…not the way it should have been done…”.  Therefore a subsequent surgery done the proper way would have a minimal recovery time unlike what we were told last year that she would be on restricted activities for up to 3 months. This was just another confirmation that our move to Dallas was the right thing to do.  This is a situation we will monitor as time goes on. We appreciate all of you who have inquired on the status of this issue. 
Regarding me and the Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS) that I have I am still waiting for the insurance to approve the doctor I need to see.  We were forced into taking an HMO health plan and for the most part it’s not been too bad. It’s just having to jump through the referral hoops to get anything done.  I have been here for 1 year and have not got anywhere with this. I am in need of updated settings and on-going monitoring.  I followed up with the insurance this week and still have no answers.  I’m asking God for favor and to place me where I need to be.
When it comes to travel and bookings you’ll see it’s getting busy.  However that’s after a summer of sporadic dates.  Obviously we have survived it. But in an effort to supplement household income I have decided to get my real estate license. This wouldn’t be possible without the financial support of a very close friend of many years. Being a real estate agent will allow me the flexibility still to travel and do what I’ve been called to do. I’ll begin classes next week.  I’ll need to complete 160 hours prior to taking the test. I haven’t studied for any type of test since my one semester of college.  Let’s just say I wasn’t the higher education type. Maybe things could have been done differently but that’s the “what if” in my life. 
It was also at that time I got a call from an established quartet The Telestials who were based in Nashville.  I was hired as their pianist and began to live out my life long dream of traveling and sharing the Good News full-time. I decided a year later to venture as a soloist. That was 1996 and 20 years later I’m still going having traveled about 1.3 million miles.  Even at 42 years old my body doesn’t bounce back from some of these trips. 
Over the years I have used air as a preferred method of travel when it comes to long distance schedules.  But the body still knows it’s in motion.  Last year I was granted A-List status with Southwest Airlines if that tells you how many flights I took.  I’ve been TSA pre-checked for over a year and that lessens the stress and allows me to go through the short line.  Speaking of the short lines this email has not been short lines but I had a little time to sit and bring everyone up to speed on The Life of Times of the Bunches!  
Note on the schedule some dates have changed since the last news update.  Some are no longer listed due to cancellations and a couple are still booked but have been rescheduled for other dates.  ALWAYS call and confirm dates before traveling to these events.  Dates are subject to change without notice.  


Melissa & Shannon Celebrate the Lives of Their Grandmothers

Within the past 2 months Melissa & I have both lost our paternal grandmothers.  A generation has come to an end in our family. Melissa’s grandmother passed on March 7th at the age of 89. My last grandparent, Mamaw Mable, was laid to rest yesterday after 91 years of life.

Many fond memories I’ll hold in my heart one of which I will share. Mamaw Mable kept a bowl of #Reese cups on the TV stand. Emme got to partake MANY times. I told Emme I was bringing Mamaw a Reese cup to place in the casket and ask if she would write a note. Within the note was a very moving surprise when she named Melissa’s grandmother, Nanny (or as Emme spelled it Nanee) in the note. Needless to say my heart was overwhelmed. On my flight to KY I was looking out the window from about 35,000ft & realized Mamaw had never been on a plane but had already taken a flight much higher than I ever had. Here’s a picture of Emme just after her surgery, current and the note and Melissa’s grandmother on the right.

IMG_2601 DSC00538 Banjo Hay (Melissa's Nanny)IMG_1846

Quick Glance at 2016 Schedule & Booking Remaining 2016 and Now 2017

5/1: Mt. Gilead, OH: Glory Baptist; 600 N. Main St
@ 8:30am & 11am
Info: (740) 747-2437,

5/1: Mt. Vernon, OH: Green Valley Baptist; 1680 Old Delaware Rd
Info: (606) 545-8068,,

5/15: Jacksonville, FL: Hogan Baptist; 8045 Hogan Rd @ 10am
Info: (904) 724-6200, (904) 724-6200,

5/29: Springfield, MO: National Street Rod Assoc. @ Ozark Empire Fairgrounds
Info: (574) 326-6134,

6/5: Ravenna, OH: Ravenna Assembly of God; 6401 SR 14
@ 10am
Info: (330) 297-1493,

6/5: N. Royalton, OH: State Road Community Church of the Nazarene; 8600 SR
@ 10:45am
Info: (440) 237-4929, (216) 956-1937,

6/18: DATE PENDING : Dayton, OH Coming Together Center; 4302 N. Dixie Hwy
Info: (937) 545-3678

6/19: Dayton, OH: Trinity Lighthouse; 4701 Fredrick Pike
Info: (937) 276-5424, (937) 902-4641,

7/10: Fairfield, IL: The Rock Community Church @ 778 County Hwy 10
Info: (618) 599-1904,

7/17: Albany, KY: Twin Lakes Grace Fellowship
Info: (606) 688-2057,

8/28: Dale, TX: Dale Baptist; 180 Packard Dr
@ 10:50am
Info: (512) 988-7292,

8/28: Luling, TX: McNeil Baptist; 14304 FM 1322
Info: (512) 718-8020,

9/11: Batesville, AR: First Assembly of God; 1949 Lyon St.
@ 9:30 am
Info: (870) 793-5489, (870) 262-7551,

9/11: Batesville, AR: Southside First Assembly of God;
@ 6pm
Info:, 870-793-7552

9/18: Kingston, TN: Victory Baptist; 2117 Kingston Hwy
Info: (865) 376-6906,

9/18: Williamsburg, KY; Wofford Baptist; 1845 Hwy 26
@ 6pm
Info: (606) 549-1472,

Big News from a Big State

As of Thursday, July 30th the Bunches stayed at their “5141” residence in Antioch TN as a family for the last time.  We have moved to TEXAS!  The following will give you an idea of how fast this came about.  Melissa had applied for teaching/coaching positions in Texas for a few years now.  Then on a Wednesday night mid July she received word there was a job and volleyball coaching position available in the Crandall Independent School District (ISD).  She submitted application and resume that night and received a call the next morning at 7:20.  By 12:40 the same day she had the job.  We then had 2 weeks to finish the new flooring and stairs she and I had started several months ago, get most of the house packed, put the house up for sale, and have her and Emme in Texas by July 30.  The word “whirlwind” is most descriptive for that time.  Our house sold in about 18 hours and above asking price.  That was a blessing!  
I made the trip to Dallas with them then flew to Austin to sing 2 dates but returned to TN to finish my bookings which were all at that time within a 4 hour driving radius of Nashville, finish the packing and close on the sale of the house. 
For the past few years I’ve realized how important it meant for her to be back home close to family which she’s been away from for about 20 years.  I saw my family more often with them living in Kentucky.  But 99% of the time it has been just the 3 of us.  Although at times that was a difficult task, I would not trade what we learned because of it. We have a family which lived about 30 minutes from us in Mt. Juliet TN, the Flueallens, which gave us much needed breaks from time to time and cared for Emme.  Sometimes even after spending 2 nights in a row Emme did not want to leave.  They bought her toys very often and we tend to believe catered to her.  She was definitely spoiled by them.  But their love for her and us will never be forgotten.  Living in Nashville has been awesome!  While our circle of friends were few we were blessed!  To Bill, Cynthia, Mendy, Linda, Jeremy, Sarah, Daniel and Melissa we will miss you but you now have a new vacation spot!  But God confirmed little by little it was time to move on.  
5141 was the 2nd home Melissa and I bought in middle TN and that was 8 years ago this month.  The house was a blank slate but with our obsessive compulsive tendencies we quickly made it our style.  We aren’t afraid of color.  And we’re not afraid of hard work nor arguing about “how” it should be done.  One peering through our windows would either call the cops or fall out laughing.  You have to keep in mind I’m not mechanically inclined and have to be told sometimes several times the what and how something should be done.  And I often had to ask why.  My why questions don’t often change the methods of the task but I have to overthink everything.  But these intense moments of fellowship are what finally got the job done!  I know this is a bit of a tangent but wanted to give you the inside story…literally.  Now the outside story…well…that would entail the landscaping and general lawn care.  Melissa says I micro-managed that, too.   Maybe just a wee bit.  
5141 was the home Emme was brought to from the hospital as a baby. It was at 5141 she had her first birthday party and lifted her personal cake to her mouth and covered all of her face with it!  And it was that night she took her first steps.  It was here between the 3 of us we recovered from more than our fair share of surgeries.  Geez!  Head, brain, shoulder, tonsils, gall bladder, toes…and I’ve probably forgot one of two.  That’s because I had the brain surgery!  We’ve had enough X-rays and CT scans and MRI’s to last us a lifetime.  
We are currently living in the town of Forney which is east of Dallas.  We can see the skyline from our neighborhood and for now that’s close enough to the big city!  My adjustments to increased traffic takes time.  Coming from slow paced eastern Kentucky to Nashville also took me time to not panic.  But if you have never been to Dallas, Nashville pales in comparison.  Just my opinion. 
Where Melissa teaches and Emme goes to school (Crandall) is about 30 minutes from here.  City population there is about 3,000.  We have definitely been brought to a more rural area.  Being in a small school district has more pros than cons.  There is a great sense of community where schools and churches are still integrated.  For example, at a teachers’ lunch back in August the Director of Schools for Kaufmann County was asked to say the blessing over the food.  He told those gathered if the prayer was offensive to them it was best not to listen!  You’ve heard the saying “Don’t mess with Texas”?  It’s probably best that you don’t.  
We are leasing a home for a year or so until we find the area and home that will serve us best.  There are so many things I could share but don’t have the time to do so.  If any of you have ever moved whether across town, to another city or another state you understand what we have experienced. That well sums up many of my closing thoughts. Your thoughts and prayers as we continue to transition is appreciated. 
The BUNCH Stops Here
I will continue to do what I’ve done for almost 20 years.  Location does not change. 
Logistics are different now for some areas than they used to be.  I have been flying to many dates over the past 15+ years.  Some places I used to fly to I’ll now drive and vice versa.  I ask those with whom I have scheduled dates more than 5+ hours outside of the Dallas area to hang with me for a few more weeks.  I will be in contact soon.  For those with whom I have not scheduled yet I ask for your considerations and understanding regarding travel as we move forward into 2016. 
Below are remaining dates booked for 2015.  
*Dates which need to be booked are listed below the schedule.  
10/25: Williamsburg, KY; Wofford Baptist; 1845 Hwy 26
@ 11am
Info: Info: (606) 549-1472,  
11/1: Kingston, TN: Victory Baptist; 2117 Kingston Hwy
Info:  (865) 376-6906, (865) 255-7353,  
11/8: Mena, AR: Faith Missionary Baptist; 2407 Sutherland Ave
@ 10:55am
11/15: Central City, KY: Green River Chapel; 1009 River Rd
@ 6pm
Info: (270) 543-9275, (270) 754-3716,  
10/18 PM- for the greater Cleveland-Akron-CantonOH region. 
10/25 PM- 100 (+-) miles of Williamsburg KY
11/1 AM- 125 (+-) miles of Kingston TN
11/15 AM- 100 (+-) miles of Central City KY
12/6- anywhere AM & PM
12/13- anywhere AM & PM
2016 dates are already booking.  Please call 888-699-4922 for more information on availability.


An open letter regarding Emme Blu’s health

Most of you know when Emme was 5 1/2 months old she had a craniofacial reconstruction to correct and open up the metopic or middle suture in the cranium. In laymen’s terms she was born without a soft spot only in the suture that extends from the forehead to the crown. I won’t go into all the details as they are posted on my website. This surgery was successful and she recovered well. Several months ago while I was washing her hair she pulled away from me and kinda gave a grunt of sorts. I asked if that area was hurting. She said that sometimes it does. As I felt closer above her left ear there is a noticeable lump. I brought this to Melissa’s attention and we have watched it and periodically asked Emme about it. Finally we decided it would be a good idea to have her surgeon look at this.

Upon his initial exam he confirmed this was a piece of hardware that wasn’t reabsorbed by the bone. In order to hold these “soft spots” open there were several dissolving plates and screws that were inserted in various locations. As he continued to feel around he expressed concern about some other areas that felt open. A CT scan would show in fact there were a few spaces that had not closed off. These were detected a few years ago on our last visit but the doctor had no concern as her body was still producing bone growth and calcification. However, medically speaking she has now produced about all she will.

Emme is in no eminent danger. The spaces are about the size of a thumb nail. Dr. Kelly said it would take a freak accident to create any issues. But if you know your cranium is not fully in tact it’s best to fix it. As you can expect we are more aware and concerned when she hits her head or falls. The surgery to correct this is much like the first surgery without having to open the cranium. She would still have the incision from ear to ear reopened. They would fill these spaces, and remove the hardware as needed. This would require a week’s stay in intensive care and 12 weeks restricted activity as she recovers. We don’t want this. We are believing God to perform a miracle and cause bone growth to fill in these spaces! Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” That’s enough for me!

With the doctor’s “okay”, Melissa and I have chosen to wait for one year and revisit the doctor and repeat the CT scan. And let’s see what God has done!

While this is difficult news for us we have been down this road before. We have stood in the pediatric ICU and watched parents care and grieve over children who will probably never go home. The CT scan results could have been brain tumor, cancer, and a host of other things. What we might face is fixable. That in itself brings a level of comfort.

You will be updated if there are any developments over the next year. Your prayers are appreciated very much.

-Shannon, Melissa & Emme Blu

CT Scan Results Pending

Emme had the CT scan yesterday morning.  We are simply asking for a lot of prayer.  The place above her right ear is metal that hasn’t reabsorbed from the craniofacial surgery 6 years ago.  This would require a small incision and a relatively quick fix and outpatient at that.  But if the “soft spot” which was created on the first surgery 6 years ago has not closed she may face another major surgery like the initial.  She would once again be hospitalized for several days with pediatric intensive care and about 12 weeks of restricted activities.  We know God can take care of both issues and NO surgeries would be required.  We are placing this in God’s Hands and asking for your prayers, too.  Updates will come as we get them.

Possible Surgery for Emme


Emme has just graduated from kindergarten and we are so thrilled she has done so well.  FYI: she’s already reading on a 2nd grade level.  She gets those smarts from momma!  Moving on…

It appears we are going down the road to yet another surgery.  This is one we hoped we wouldn’t encounter but knew it was a 20%-30% chance we would.  Here’s where we are.  As many of you will recall Emme had a craniofacial reconstruction when she was 5 months old.  You can read the details here on the website under the “shannon” tab.  Now she is 6 years old and has been complaining with some tenderness to a couple areas of her head.  According to her surgeon at Vanderbilt Children’s one of these lumps/bumps is a piece of metal wire that did not absorb back into the bone and is now protruding into the scalp.  The doctor is also concerned the “soft spot” that was created, which was the whole reason for the initial surgery, may not have completely closed.  An upcoming CT scan will be performed to make a final determination on where we go from here.

It seems she has been through enough with the first surgery, two toes surgery, almost 2 years of reoccurring strep, tonsils and adenoid surgery, but she is a resilient little girl!  I’ll keep you updated as decisions are made.

Emme’s 100%! Booking Help Please

Quick update on Emme. She went back to school last Friday and is doing great! She didn’t need pain medications for the entire 2 week recovery. Well let’s just say she refused to take it after about day 9 or 10. Lot’s of ice cream, popcicles and pushups.

On another note, schedule on the road is shaping up nicely. There are always room for more dates. If your church would like to scheulde just respond to this email or call the number below. I’ll periodically share via email and social media what those are. You can also check out my schedule online on this website. Anything that looks open most likely is. My family and I appreciate your continued support. You are the ones that make the difference! You and your congregations have been gracious. We will always be thankful!