To Have and to Hold

They’ve spent 50 years together

as husband and as wife.

50 years to have and to hold

through every part of life.

50 years of hanging on

in good times and through bad.

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer,

through happy times and sad.

50 years of sickness and health

until death shall they part.

50 years of holding these vows,

from this day forward, in their hearts.

Happy 50th Anniversary Blessings to my Parents, Dennis and JoLane Filkin

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. -Genesis 2:24

Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. -Matthew 19:6




A Closer Look at the Book: Grasshopper Bubblegum


Grandma and Grandpa lived on a dairy farm just a few miles from home. We were fortunate to spend many days on their farm throughout the 70s and early 80s. Playing on the farm was always an adventure. Working on the farm became a delightful chore.

Grandma was creative. With lots of grandkids running around she had to be on top of things. There was plenty to do to keep busy, but Grandma was a genius for encouraging us to be productive in our play. She had many clever incentives to inspire this productivity and keep us out of her hair!

Some of my favorites?

Climbing to the very top of the tree for the best mulberries. Sometimes we even took a sandwich and a jug or canteen of water up with us, just in case we wanted to gather berries through the lunch hour.

Filling buckets with thistle was a thrill. We got to cross the road (by ourselves) and hike out far from the house. We were sure we were even out of Grandma’s perfect sight! Grandma offered a penny per thistle in the bucket upon our return. No matter how long it took, our buckets were always full.

And of course I will never forget the garden chores as described in Grasshopper Bubblegum.  Filling our jar with grasshoppers. Trading grasshoppers for Grandma’s pennies. And walking into town to purchase bubblegum.

I wonder if she knew the true value of her pennies. I wonder if she knew these seeds she had planted would grow crops of wisdom, ingenuity, work ethic, problem solving, cooperation, patience, sharing…

These were her true gifts. They are priceless. And she shared them with me.

If you would like to know more about Grasshopper Bubblegum visit my website

I would love to hear from you! Until then…

Keep up your good work,

Shelly Simoneau

A Closer Look at the Book: Daddy Was A Carpenter


Sometime the middle of the night, at some point in the Spring of 1977, Mother woke us.

She was hurried.

She was serious.

Something was wrong.

I learned about loss that night. I would get to know the feelings of hardship. It would be the first time I had ever seen my daddy cry.

Prior to that night, our family had been enjoying a season of splendor. Days were filled with much laughter. Much joy. Even as a very young child I could see the value of hard work. I witnessed a community, working together, building the Wilsey Lumber Yard strong. It was a time of rejoicing. Of giving thanks.

And then suddenly, in the dark of night, began a season of sorrow. Daddy’s business became a smoldering heap of ash.

This new moment? Confusion. Disbelief. An abrupt introduction to mourning.

These are the devastations we could choose to stash away and forget.

Forget the tears.

Forget the loss.

Forget the ashes.

But what if we choose to remember? What if we choose to share the disappointments that make us cry? What if we choose to share those memories that we would rather forget?

That moment, the memory, becomes truly significant.

And we can be changed.

And those ashes? They can become a song of hope. Yes. In their own way, they can become beautiful.

If you would like to know more about this story visit

I would love to hear from you. Until then…

Always Hope,

Shelly Simoneau

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.40.01 PM   Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.41.22 PM

Happy New Year Class of 1989!

   1989 2014-10-10 at 9.36.45 AM

2014 Council Grove High School Class of 1989 Reunion.

I missed it!

Here’s why.

I didn’t make any other plans. I didn’t blow it off. I even thought about going. I also thought about dieting, buying a new outfit, upgrading my website, liposuction, chemical peels… okay, maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit.

25 years ago I said goodbye and good luck to many gifted and talented high school friends. We all committed to new journeys. I have never doubted these friends are out there in the world making a difference as God has purposed for them.

Some of these friendships have remained. Our generation has been blessed with a technology that sees and knows as much as we want to be seen and be known. With social media, it sometimes feels like we’re all still right there.

Amazingly, I have had the pleasure of running into old classmates in random locations. Spontaneous moments like these are the more authentic reunions of friendship that I have cherished over the years. These moments don’t come with practiced rehearsals of success, covering of age marks and wrinkles, or sucking anything in to get the button done. These moments are simple truths and honest reflections of the real me. As it should be.

So after 25 years, here is what is most important to me, what I want you all to know.

I love God. I love people.

This world out here is not easy. Just like they said twenty-five years ago, it really is full of blood, sweat, and tears. But I have a Savior who gives me joy and hope for every tomorrow. And I pray you have found Him, too.

I have a thankful heart for every blessing I have received. I am blessed through family and friends. You all have been a part of that. You’re a blessing! I am thankful to have shared a little piece of my life with each of you and I encourage each of you, and I pray for you, too, as you all continue on the path God has marked uniquely for you.

I’m hopeful many of our paths do cross again, Council Grove High School Class of 1989. Until then…

Happy New Year!

Happy Birthday to You!

Today is my daughter’s 20th birthday! I’ve spent the last week asking myself the familiar questions.


How could this be?

Where has all the time gone?

Is she really all grown up?


Then I got to thinking about all the kids. I realized they have all experienced socially significant birthdays this year.


In April the oldest turned 21. He “came of age”, no longer a minor, magically transformed into an adult, with adult rights and responsibilities.



 He has certainly proven himself capable of making adult decisions, carrying a job, and making the grades as a college student. He has also discovered it takes a little more than pixie dust to fly out there in the real world!


This young adult is growing more confident of God’s plan and purpose for him day by day. Such confidence will be rewarded through his perseverance – Heb. 10:35-36, Rom. 5:4.



The youngest child just turned “Sweet 16” in October.



 FREEDOM was his first word that day. TETHERED was ours!


Yes, that sweet age has its’ freedoms. He can drive on his own, be responsible for his own clock and calendar, and participate in more activities.


Wait a minute. Did I mention responsibility? Oh yes! He must learn about putting gas in his own car, managing his time, and continuing to follow rules (called laws now), among other things.


And he is doing it! He is growing in knowledge. He’s stretching, reaching, and gathering fruit, learning what is pleasing to the Lord – Eph. 5:8-9.



This brings us to the Birthday Girl! The middle one. Our only daughter. 20 years young today!



 I just have to say it one more time, with tears and giggles all mixed up together. Where have the all the years gone?


20 years! Good-bye teens. Good-bye adolescence. Hello young adult!


I have watched her grow, encouraging her in her struggles and cheering on her successes. Growing into an adult is certainly not easy. And she is just leaving the shallow end!


At the age of 20, this young woman is now peering through a different lens. One ready for deeper water. It’s that place where God has purposed her to search out and find. The promise for her in this deep water? When she seeks her place, in truth, she will find it – Mt. 6:33.


I say Happy Birthday today with joy and thanksgiving! I have been so graciously blessed to share in all of these years, and pray God’s continued blessing upon each and every significant year to come. 


Happy Birthday Josey!