A Closer Look at the Book: Snake Tree

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Mother and Daddy love to fish on the Neosho River not far from home. Back in the 80s they had quite a story to tell when they returned from a day of fishing . I listened to that story. I soaked up the details. And I remembered it. Now I pass Snake Tree on to others.

Why did I remember this story that Daddy told?

Was it the excitement and thrill of a threatening snake? Or the humor of Mother climbing up into the tree? Maybe it was the suspense of Daddy fending off the snake with his pole, like a sword, as it slithered closer and closer to the boat?

These were all captivating details for me. But it was the hidden meanings, the deeper message, that drew me in.

Stories that carry forward a deeper message have a projective purpose. An impact.

I remembered the story because of its impact.

Connections. Rich lessons. This shared story continued its offering beyond its telling.

Respect of nature.

Importance of attentiveness.

Value of cooperation.

And the big one… There really are ‘snakes’ in this big world trying to get into people’s ‘boats’.

The Snake Tree has become a true place for my family. Like a family landmark. A reference point when we talk about the river.

It’s a landmark we can return to. A landmark we can learn from. It’s like a really good story.

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If you would like to learn more about this book visit http://www.shellysimoneaustories.com

You can also find me on Facebook. I would love to hear from you! Until then…

Share Your Stories!

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.

A Closer Look at the Book: The Cows Came Running and the Horses Did Too!

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I’ll be sharing a closer look at all my books over the next couple of weeks, as I prepare for the Kansas Book Festival in Topeka, Kansas. The Cows Came Running and the Horses Did Too! was my very first book, released in 2011. The story is based on a 1970s childhood memory that takes place on our humble family farm in Wilsey, Kansas.

I love this story because of its strong connection to just about everyone! It is a story of a dad who says no. His daughters, however, do not listen.

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Ouch! It’s true. I disobeyed my father when I was growing up!

Who doesn’t relate to that?

The best part about this memory is what I got to keep from it over all these years. I gained a rich learning experience of honesty, respect, and responsibility.

And let’s not forget about those natural consequences!

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Find out more about this story at http://www.shellysimoneaustories.com and then share you own story of how you learned that big lesson as a child.

Always Learning,

Shelly Simoneau

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. – Eph. 6:1

Got Nature?

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Children are outside all the time. They are accustomed to it. It is just natural.

 

But recently, when I took Elmont Elementary 2nd grade students outside for a nature walk to prepare our minds for Fall poetry, they came alive with excitement about simply being outdoors.

 

This was not the normal excitement you see when kids play together outside. It was different from the everyday. It did not look or feel the same. These kids were welcoming their familiar environment with a fresh, new outlook.  They were responding to a reason to explore, a reason to participate with nature.

 

I love that about the change of the seasons. It has the power to stir joy and renewed energy into the hearts of young and old. It can pull you in and captivate you, releasing you from the norm for that magical moment in time.

 

I love how the change of season makes everything we’ve always known new once again. This change stirs up all of our senses and renews our attitudes and our actions.

 

Familiar becomes quaint.

 

Natural becomes supernatural.

 

Normal becomes magnificent.

 

Kids in these everyday normal spaces say things like,

 

“This is so awesome!” and,

 

“I feel like a park ranger!” and

 

“Hey, I found some nature over here!”

 

How about you? Are you alive with this change of season in your familiar place? Has your usual been replaced with phenomenal?

 

Got nature?

A Little Fall Fun

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On my routine early morning walks I have observed more and more the coming of fall. This morning I noticed many hedge balls, otherwise known as hedge apples, lying in the ditches and smashed on the road.

 

I love seeing these every year because they remind me of childhood fun and creativity. These sticky, bumpy, green balls were actually great entertainment for my sisters and me growing up.

 

We collected them, counted them, and ordered them by size. We tossed them, rolled them, and stacked them in precarious piles.

 

We used them in place of softballs, in place of bowling balls, in place of croquet balls.  

 

When they crumbled, we hunted for another. When they rotted, we collected more.

 

These hedge balls get sticky, ewww!

 

They feel lumpy, yuck!

 

They look weird, gross!

 

Just what every kid wants! Right?

 

They are out there, and they are free! No planning required. Just pick one up. Get them while they are still in season and have a naturally fun time.

 

Oh, and for the moms out there who liken hedge balls to snakes and snails, did I mention they are a natural spider repellant?