Simply Shelli

Probably, It had to do with Copeland, KS.

Or at least, it started there. The story-telling, risk-taking, adventure-seeking sort of personality that began to take place in the life of my dad. There has to be some explanation for why he is the way he is, so I suppose it has to do with Copeland.

Copeland is in western Kansas about an hour southwest of Dodge City. It has a population of around 300 or so now but back in the 1930’s and 40’s when my dad was growing up, it probably was smaller.

It was a boring little dust bowl town with very little to do but watch the tumbleweeds blow through main street. Maybe a couple of cats would get in a yowling match or there might be a brawl down at the pool hall. Certainly there was not enough to entertain a little boy with a vivid…

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A Sentimental Saturday

I had never been to the Copper Shed before.

However, after a friend recently mentioned it and since I was free this afternoon, I decided today was a great opportunity to see it for myself.

What a fine and beautiful day it was, with the sun shining and the Kansas prairie so vibrantly green from the recent rains.

The blue sky was perfect in it’s brilliance, opening wide it’s invitation for me to gaze at it as I  basked in the goodness and simplicity of God’s greatest gifts.

“What could make this day any better?” I thought to myself.

As I pulled into the country property and began to peruse all of the great finds lined up outside, displaying a vast array of rusty baskets and old metal chairs, I felt a bit of nostalgia.

It seems that something was missing and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

Wandering inside, I realized I was the only person in the store.

And my what a store it was! 

Every nook and cranny was filled with the sort of things that keep women shopping for hours.

There was an area with vintage Christmas displays of Santa’s and knick -knacks that would have been a part of my mother’s childhood decor and even some of mine as well.

Oh how I wish she was here with me like so many Saturday’s in my youth when we enjoyed these sort of outings together!

I entered another room that was full of things my daughters would have loved.

The old Coke bottles reminded me of Lindsay’s collection and her love for soda pop out of a glass bottle.

Nicki would have commented on the little hand braided rugs and sweet home accessories that were accented in every room.

Wouldn’t the four of us had made a wonderful day of this and how fun if my daughter-in-laws could have joined us too!

It was soon becoming very clear to me that what I was missing was an opportunity to enjoy a special place with some of my favorite people.

How many Saturdays growing up had mom and I found ourselves on some grand adventure as we were going to conquer a new project of redecorating my room or buying material for that outfit I had been wanting?

When mom and I were on a Saturday mission, we could always count on something out of the ordinary happening.

I can still see us trying to reach the basket on the highest shelf in the store and my little mother accidentally knocking them all down as I fled to another aisle leaving her all alone to explain herself !

I think of us shopping one Saturday and stopping for gas only to see our attendant disappear when he came to the window and slipped on the ice.  Puzzled, I asked mom, “where did he go?” “I think he fell on the ice”, she replied. He recovered, but we never did!

One Saturday, when cowboy boots were all the rage, we ventured to the western store to try some on. Mom thought they looked great on me except I had them on the wrong feet!

What about all the visits when I had children and we would grab strollers, car seats and sippy cups to take a Saturday trip to the zoo or park?

So many memories, so many laughs!

Oh, the Saturday memories I have of my girls as we hunted for that perfect outfit or clothes for camp, with Lindsay bailing on us every time if she could find a bookstore that would relieve her of the endless trying on of clothes.

How many times did we search for just the right jewelry for that special occasion or look for that one-of-a-kind birthday gift for a friend?

Of course, I will cherish forever the wedding dress hunt when mom and sister knew the bride had chosen the perfect one for her!

Did I mention that no outing would be complete if we didn’t top it off with lunching at a favorite spot!

Happy times they were!

Now with my mother and both daughters living in Missouri, these Saturday outings seem to be happening far less frequently.

Suddenly, the loud slamming of a door abruptly snapped me out of my sentimental journey as I wondered if I may have gotten locked in for the night!

Hurrying to the entryway, I realized that the owner must have come inside, not realizing I was in the back room and left.

Thankfully, I wasn’t locked in.

Nice to know I wasn’t alone in the store, or in my thoughts.

Good memories can often make good company when no one is around to create a new one.

Walking to my car, I made a note to myself that the next time the girls or mom came, I would have to bring them here.

Reminiscing is great, but better still is a  memory to make.

































The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

I don’t know about you, but overcast, cloudy days can sure weigh heavily on my soul.

They especially seemed ominous and overwhelming recently, when this  pandemic found us quarantined at home with no end in sight.

The endless rainy days coupled with the uncertainties of COVID-19, would be enough in and of themselves if it weren’t for the fact that my own health had come into question at the same time!

Why shortness of breath had to become an issue for me at a time when one of the first symptoms of the virus was that very thing, is something I can’t explain.

But it did, and for a bit, had me quite concerned that I might be the first person in Marion County to be diagnosed with Corona.

Calling my doctor and being reassured that without a fever being present, it was probably a rare appearance of my childhood asthma, she prescribed an inhaler.

I was good with that and happy to move on to finishing up responsibilities with my school job, at the same time trying to find out exactly where I could purchase toilet paper and hand sanitizer, both of which were quickly becoming a scarcity.

The dreary days came more often than they went, and found me one morning waking up to chest pain that left me fleeing to the medicine cabinet to find an aspirin for relief.

Being an avid walker, within normal weight for my size and eating a consistently healthy diet, I refused to accept that I could be having any trouble with my heart.

That is until a month later, when I once again struggled with oxygen deprivation.

As Winnie the Pooh is so fond of saying, “oh bother”, I thought.

Pain doesn’t typically send me running to the doctor, but the need to breathe certainly will, and so it did.

The doctor ordered lung x-rays, stress test, echo-cardiogram and enough blood draws to shut the Red Cross drive down for a good month!

All of these tests took place on rainy dreary days, matching my mood and reflecting the concerns of our culture at large.

As our world was struggling with conflicting information and unanswered questions, so was I.

Nothing showed up in the first few tests and I had to wait a week or so for the rest.

Before the results were all back, chest pain again found me, on the one sunny day we had in a while, being sent to the emergency room after a call to my doctor.

With my husband having to remain in the waiting room, I lay alone in the E.R. pondering my predicament.

Pondering turned to praying, as the  heavy  cloud in my soul seemed to resonate with the pressure in my chest.

More blood tests, EKG and waiting.

“Lord, please bring some answers”, became my mantra as the minutes ticked away.

After what seemed like hours, a doctor swooped in and asked several questions. Specifically, where exactly was my pain, since the EKG looked normal?

After another half hour, the nurse came in and gave me what they call, a G.I. cocktail. Let’s just say it was something like Milk of Magnesia.

It began to dawn on me that I had been treated for ulcers in the past and also had developed a hiatal hernia in recent years. Both of which can mimic symptoms of heart issues.

Returning to the room, the doctor asked how I was feeling and casually mentioned that hernia and ulcer could be a possibility, recommending that my doctor pursue testing for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).

How do you spell relief?!

I texted my husband, who despite being the future recipient of massive medical bills, was ecstatic that this was all the more issue we were probably looking at.

In a most gracious response, he texted back: “totally worth it.”

The heaviness in my heart began to lift, as did my hope.

This too shall pass, along with the virus and the gloomy weather.

As we walked to the car, we couldn’t help but notice the sun peeking through the clouds, almost as if to remind us that it doesn’t stay cloudy forever.











The Joy of a Beautiful Spot

I sit quietly in a little corner nook off of my kitchen and delight at the sight of a hummingbird at my feeder.

Earlier, a small finch stopped to nibble a sunflower from the little dispenser that hangs from an old porch swing support, right outside the newly inserted french doors.

As we enter year four of a house remodel and have had no time to even think of landscaping, I can’t let that hold me back from creating a beautiful spot.

My husband and I are often involved in a renovation project, so to wait for things to be finished before I pull it all together, might find me depleted and depressed as I long for something to offer some cheer.

I have learned over the years that even if all around me is in disarray, I can create something in a little corner somewhere,that  brings beauty to my eyes.

On the prairies of Nebraska, I moved a rocker over by a window in an unfinished room that had a bit of a view of the sandhills to the southwest of us.

I put a little rug at my feet, a table with a small lamp, a cozy blanket throw on the chair, and would sit by that window in the mornings, sipping coffee, reading my Bible and pretend the hills were mountains in the distance.

In Salina, KS. I had an old wrap-around front porch on our 1884 house that I painted and hauled some much used wicker furniture out to sit on. I loved sipping tea there and reflecting on who might have sat on this porch before me and what conversations might they have had?

Before the kitchen nook was created, I found myself in the unfinished living room, this past December, putting up my Christmas tree anyway.

I wasn’t going to let unpainted walls or ceilings keep me from enjoying the beauty of bulbs, the glow of lights or the joy of the season, as I celebrated the birth of my savior.

I truly believe that as people created in the image of God, we are wired for beauty.

When I see the majesty of the mountains, the brilliance of a sunset, the fabulous patterns painted with precision on birds and butterflies, I am reminded that there is a divine creator and he has imprinted himself on us.

It is my small act of worship to praise God by recreating, if only in a simple way, a bit of his goodness.

So, as I sit this morning, in my little nook, watching birds through the windows, gazing, as my flowers gently blow in the breeze, I find a lightness of heart and a gratefulness for the many blessings I have been given.

One of them being the simple joy, of reflecting on life in a beautiful spot.







Good Girls, Good Works and a Good God

As I look back at my life, I can see God’s hand on me all of the way! He is faithful and has never failed me. Not once. Not ever! 🙂

Simply Shelli

“Daddy if I die and go to heaven will I live forever and ever and never have an end?”  This was a thought I was pondering at 5 years old as my dad was tucking me in to bed.  It was a thought that had been bothering me since I had watched the Bugs Bunny cartoon.  It depicted an angel in a long white robe, floating around on a cloud, playing a harp.  Was this what heaven was like?

If so, it didn’t look very fun to me.  I liked my blue jeans, green grass and toys.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to be an angel because I kind of liked the way I looked now.  Besides, in my finite mind everything had a beginning and an end.  There were babies born and they got old and then they died.  Trying to grasp eternal life at the age of five…

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Mom was wise and talented too!

Simply Shelli

I don’t remember when I first thought she was amazing.

Maybe it was when she dressed up as a clown in the town parade and did handsprings down the street.

Perhaps it was when she ran a studio out of our house as she taught tap, ballet, gymnastics and baton.

Was it when I scavenged through Grandma’s attic and found the picture of her as a drum majorette and learned she was an acrobatic baton twirler?

Or possibly when she took up painting, and I observed her creativity.

When did I marvel at her bravery?

Was it the time that a large dog attacked me and she put her 90 lb. body between the dog and I, literally risking her life for mine?

It may very well have been when she dove into the water to save me when I slid off of the dam.

It could have been when…

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Simply Shelli

It has been said that the “hand who rocks the cradle, rules the world”.

Given that a mother is the most influential person in a child’s formative years, that statement is probably very true!

Although my mother taught me many things, these are six lessons that I remember learning very well!


When I was five or six years old, I was playing with neighbor kids who lived next door to my grandparents in Copeland, Kansas.

There was a large dog who was running and playing with us and for whatever reason, this dog became agitated and attacked me as I was running.

I was terrified as he knocked me to the ground and stood over me snarling and baring his teeth.

My mother, who had just gotten out of the hospital and weighed less than 100 lbs. came flying out of the house with no thought for…

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An Unexpected Surprise

Do you ever have one of those moments where you could just burst with thankfulness and gratitude for the wonderful life that you have?

It can hit you out of nowhere, despite the circumstances and you find yourself having a private little worship service just between you and God.

Those times are what I call “joy moments” because they are an unexpected surprise.

Maybe bills are due, doctor appointments are pending, viruses are raging and all of the sudden you notice the beautiful green tree with the fabulous blue sky looming behind it, as the sun spreads a warmth against the cool breeze and you realize that there is so much to be thankful for.

I think of it as joy but I wonder if it isn’t a result of hope.

While hope “springs eternal”, it seems to spill over with those “showers” of blessings that water our soul with joy.

For those who are in Christ, we have this hope that life here is only a dim reflection of what lies ahead.

We look at the many trials and troubles around us, but because of the promises that we find written for those who believe, we are full of hope.

My friends who will say “goodbye” sometime in the near future to their daughter who has terminal cancer, are full of joy in this season of togetherness, as they count the blessings of God providing a temporary home near her and her family.  An added blessing is that their son is able to join them as well, since his job can be done online.

They cherish this extra time to enjoy relationships even as they ready to send her “home”, knowing that because of Jesus, they will all be joined together again.

Oh, it is not without moments of hardship and sadness, however, joy is never dependent on our negative or positive circumstances, but rather our eternal perspective.

It occurs when you are hugging a friend in a tearful moment and suddenly laugh at an old memory that you share.

It spontaneously erupts when you watch a toddler pick a dandelion and gleefully blow the seeds to the wind.

It overflows when you worship in beautiful harmony with the body of Christ, not necessarily because you sing well, but because you love well.

It takes our breath away when we see the harvest moon glisten against an evening sky or a horse running gallantly across an open prairie.

It delights our heart when we read a passage in scripture and know that God is speaking directly to “me”!

If we can capture it in those moments and seal it within our soul, it will become a familiar place that we will want to return to time and time again, until finally, we will rest with it in eternity, as not a moment but a way of life.

“For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands, I sing for joy.” Psalm 92:4




Simply Shelli

You really should think twice before becoming a parent.

Trust me on this because I have had five children and I did so without a clue as to what I was signing on for.

First of all, they are expensive.

They need doctors, dentists, clothes, food and frequent trips to Walmart.

They get sick at all hours of the night and day, refusing to cooperate with your own schedule and needs.

As infants, they strategically plan to spit up on you right after you get ready for church, or better yet, orchestrate a serious diaper blowout in the middle of the service.

As soon as they can walk, they will stand by your bed declaring their stomach hurts and before the words “get to the toilet!!” can escape your lips, they throw up all over you, the bedding and the floor.

They do heartbreaking things like graduate from story hour or…

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Simply Shelli

It isn’t all about you is it? It isn’t all about me either. It is about us and our need to work together in this thing called life.

I remember my mother telling me this story about her father several years ago and there is a life lesson in it.

My Grandpa, Maurice Hanson was an honest man.

Everyone knew that if he shook your hand on a deal it was as good as a written contract.

This worked well for a con artist named Baleau who became a partner in business with him in the 1940’s.

Being in the hog business, Grandpa and Mr. Baleau sold hogs to Cudahay, Swift and Armour meat companies and this was making them both a decent living.

That is until, Mr. Baleau decided to clean out the account, leave Kansas and spend all of the money in Texas.

Sadly, that fateful decision was only…

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