A Closer Look at the Book: Daddy Was A Carpenter

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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 http://www.shellysimoneaustories.com

I would love to hear from you. Until then…

Always Hope,

Shelly Simoneau

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A Closer Look at the Book: Wash Creek

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Growing up on the farm meant spending a lot of time outdoors. A favorite place to explore and do the work of children was at the creek. Elm Creek runs just an easy walk down the gravel road from the house.

My sisters and I spent time there in every season.

Sometimes we would find the creek bed all dried up. We hunted for fossils and bones and looked for signs of creek life.

Sometimes the water was covered with ice and snow. We dug through the snow with sticks and broke the ice with rocks.

Sometimes the water flowed freely and the sound was so gentle and peaceful. We just stretched out on a big slab of rock and soaked up the sun and the silence.

Occasionally, after heavy rains, the water ran high and fast. I feared the creek on those days, and kept my distance.

Our friends loved the creek too, joining us on our hikes, enjoying the pampering of a picnic, wading in the cool water, and skipping rocks. If the water was low enough we leaped across, back and forth. (We would often return home with a muddy foot or two!)

The name of this special place changed for me after a very memorable father-daughter moment in the late 70s. On that rainy day, Daddy and I stood together in the rising creek. I was scared of the water. But Daddy beckoned me to trust him there. He gave me an opportunity to overcome a fear.

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He reached out and held my hand that day, and all my fear was washed away. In its place came joy and dancing and laughter.

In my heart this old familiar Elm Creek was a new place. I called it Wash Creek.

That day I believed I would be able to accomplish just about anything. Some of those things would be hard and feel dangerous. Some of those things I would not completely understand. But I would not have to be afraid to step out and try. That memorable day I was filled with confidence, joy, and trust.

You can find more information about this book and others on my website www.shellysimoneaustories.com and my page http://www.facebook.com/ShellySimoneauStories. I would love to hear from you!

Joy and Laughter,

Shelly Simoneau

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P.S. Many times over the course of my childhood I recall my parents turning around at the creek. Why? Because the water was not safe to cross. I was able to trust Daddy that day because he had proven his wisdom in his previous actions. Be safe. Turn around. Don’t drown.

The Last First Day!

When we were very young, Mother greeted us with warm cookies as we arrived home after the first day of school. Sister and I were still brimming with energy, even after a long day of school work and new routine. Fresh cookies were the perfect invitation to sit for a bit and share together pieces of our day apart from one another. I remember the sweet memory of feeling full.

Not just full from Mother’s delicious cookies.

Full of joy. Full of happiness. Full of love.

It has been many years since my own children were little. They too were welcomed home with a plate of warm cookies after those delightful first days. They recall the excitement of our simple tradition and the joy of sharing. They too were filled.

Filled with conversation. Filled with laughter. Filled with love.

There was plenty of time.

Today our youngest began his first day of his last year of high school. The last little one all grown up. The moment is already a memory.

And that time for the simplest joys? Where has it gone?

He’s looking ahead now. He’s preparing to move on. He’s not always in a hurry to come home and share his day.

But today, this last first day, I’ll have this plate of cookies waiting.

An invitation.

Come home.

Let’s sit for a bit.

Let’s share some time.

Let’s be filled.

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Peanut Butter 1-1-1 Cookies

Mix 1 egg, 1 cup peanut butter,  and 1 cup sugar together. Use a small cookie scoop to drop dough onto a baking pan. Press with a fork. Bake 8-10 minutes at 350. Cool and Enjoy!

Enjoy the Sparkles

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I like snow because it sparkles.

This is what a second grader recently wrote about the snow during this latest blast of arctic air that chilled almost the entire United States.

Simple. I like it. It sparkles.

I used to think like that, too, a long time ago. As a young child I can remember rough winters on the farm, snowed in for days at a time.

No furnace. Yes! We get to camp in front of the fireplace.

No lights. Awesome! We get to light those special candles Momma keeps in the cupboard for times like this.

No electricity. Cool! We’ll read and play games and use our imaginations together to pass the time.

Funny how time changes us over the years. The prospects of snow once sparkling with ideas of snow forts, snow angels, and snow cones are replaced with the heavier burdens of snow removal, snow make-up days, and snow repairs.

But what if we remember to think like that child of long ago. It’s really just perspective, isn’t it?

Daunting driveway. Yes! I get a free workout today.

Lost days at work. Awesome! I can work on that project I’ve wanted to finish at home.

Power out. Yay! We can have conversation aside from all things plugged in.

The burdens of winter will pass, as spring has proven to come year after year.

In the meantime enjoy like a child. Enjoy time. Enjoy people. Enjoy snow. After all, it sparkles.

JOY

Our 20-year-old daughter came home yesterday for a quick visit. She was battling the winter sniffles and not feeling her best. However, my birthday is coming up and she did not want to miss seeing me before my “big day”.

 

When she arrived in town she took her younger brother lunch at the high school, and made sure to let her favorite principal know how much she appreciated her while she was there.

 

When I arrived home she greeted me with tight hugs and sincere kisses, before paying her phone bill with a giggle and a smile.

 

We enjoyed an evening of dinner, “catching up”, and planning for our Christmas time together before it was time for her to go. She had one more stop to make. She had painted a picture for a friend’s young daughter and wanted to deliver it with hugs before the little one’s bedtime.

 

On the way out I commented on how happy and cheerful she seemed, even with the runny nose and nagging cough.

 

Her response, “Oh yeah, someone reminded me what JOY means!”

 

Jesus first.

Others second.

You last.

 

I am so thankful for every little example that serves as a reminder of the reason for our JOY in every season.

 

Wishing you all a beautiful Christmas filled with the JOYous celebration of our Savior’s birth.