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Meet The Author: A Glimpse into Shannon Slee’s World

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The Lewis County Scoop introduces one of our contributors & team members, Shannon Slee, who shares her story from growing up in Quincy, Illinois, to building a homestead in Lewis County, Missouri.

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From Quincy to Ewing

Shannon grew up in Quincy surrounded by a loving family. Her high school days were bustling with track and field, Spanish club, journalism, and jobs. High school sweethearts, Shannon and Jordan married in 2006 and continued their education at various institutions, both separately and together, before each graduated from college.

I was born and raised in Quincy, Illinois, surrounded by wonderful, loving families on both sides. In high school, I was involved in track and field (where I met Jordan), Spanish club, journalism, and various part-time jobs. I began college at Truman State University in 2004. I transferred back home to John Wood Community College because I missed Jordan. We went to Monmouth College together when he graduated high school and were married in 2006. After I graduated (with degrees in Spanish, English, Secondary Education, and a minor in sociology), we moved back to Quincy. Jordan graduated from Quincy University, and we got jobs, and after a while, we began having babies. We came to Ewing in 2016, and that’s when the real fun began.”

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Why Lewis County?

Shannon’s journey to Lewis County began with her parents buying land here. After some time, she and Jordan took over, eager for an adventure. Since their arrival, the community has welcomed them, bonding over shared interests like beekeeping, gardening, and 4-H.

“My parents were interested in finding some land in Missouri, and I happened to meet the right person at the right time who told me about a piece of land that would be ‘perfect for them.’ I rode along with my dad to check it out, and we both thought it was a pretty wonderful piece. Mom and Dad bought it but, after a couple of years, realized they weren’t ready to do much with it, whereas Jordan and I were itching to begin a new adventure across the river with our family. They were good enough to sell it to us, and the wild ride of building a homestead from scratch began. We came here with no homesteading experience of any kind, not knowing anyone, and over the years have been overwhelmed by the kind, loving, and gifted souls we get to share this community with. We love our church family and have made connections with others over hunting, homeschooling, faith, beekeeping, goats, gardening, 4-H, and more. There is such a wealth of knowledge and experience here, and so many people are generous to share it.”

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Past Experiences

Over the years, Shannon has worked in various roles, from car washing to teaching Spanish at Quincy High School. Post-college, she even worked at her church. Now, she’s primarily busy being a stay-at-home mom, which she calls her most challenging yet rewarding job.

Some of my most important jobs were washing cars at my dad’s dealership, cleaning the shop and office for my grandparents at Reichert Trucking, and working at grocery stores through high school and college. The routine of manual and sometimes less-than-glamorous jobs that paid the bills and got us through college helped shape my understanding of the value of working hard and doing what needed to be done. After college, I taught Spanish at Quincy Senior High School. After one year of teaching, I was offered a job at my church, where I worked for the next several years in the office and in student ministry. Once our firstborn came along in 2012, I began the most challenging, lowest-paid, and most rewarding of careers: stay-at-home mom. Since then, I have done quite a bit of photography work and various craft ventures on the side, but my main focus has been and will continue to be meeting the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of my kids.”

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Slee Family Homestead

Interests and Hobbies

Shannon is passionate about homeschooling and advocates for critical thinking and faith-based learning. In her free time, she enjoys activities connected to nature, such as gardening and foraging. She’s also quite the crafter, dabbling in everything from sewing to using her Cricut machine.

The scope of my interests borders on obnoxious. There’s definitely not enough time to pursue all of the things I find interesting. Nature and the outdoors are my favorite, so I love gardening, animal husbandry, foraging, and cooking with things I’ve raised, grown, and found. I love all manner of crafting, from sewing and fiber arts to scrapbooking, to working with epoxy, to making fun things with my Cricut.”

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There’s definitely not enough time to pursue all of the things I find interesting

Travel and Adventure

Though once bitten by the travel bug, Shannon now finds joy in the adventures she and her family embark on right at home in Ewing. With five kids and many animals, she believes there’s no place like home.

“Historically, I thought my life wouldn’t be complete without travel. Over time, God humbled my heart and helped me see the incomparable gift of doing life with the outstanding man I’m married to and finding joy, wonder, and excitement where we’re at. The adventure we began in Ewing seven years ago far surpasses any of my international travels. Also, it’s not exactly easy to get away with five kids and a hundred animals to make arrangements for, so in this season, travel is actually the opposite of what I long to pursue. My current mantra is ‘Let’s stay home.’ There’s no shortage of meaningful work or opportunities for fun right here in our backyard!”

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Inspiring Books and Shows

Every day, Shannon makes time for the Bible. While her reading list features authors like C.S. Lewis, she and Jordan will occasionally wind down with episodes of ‘The Office’ or ‘Parks & Rec’.

“The busyness of life keeps me from finding much time to sit down with a good book of my own, but the one non-negotiable is the Bible! I listen to God’s Word every morning while milking the goats and read it to the kids in school every day. I read good literature daily with the kids. Still, if I’m going to read something new “just for me,” it’s going to have to be on audiobook while washing dishes or folding laundry after getting the kids to bed. I love C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, George MacDonald, and Eric Metaxas… the list is much longer, but those are standouts. The television only comes on once in a blue moon at our house because there’s just not enough time and I loathe wasting time and brainpower on nonsense or commercials, but every once in a great while, Jordan and I pop in The Office or Parks & Rec on DVD at night if we feel like we’re just getting too much sleep lately.”

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Family and Traditions

Family plays a central role in Shannon’s life. They do it all together, whether attending church, baking or even butchering chickens. As her kids grow, she appreciates their increasing help around the home.

Both sides of our family are very involved and active in our lives and the lives of our kids…what a blessing! One of my favorite things about family is just doing all the things together! Whether it’s school with the kids, butchering chickens or rabbits or deer, going to the store, cooking or baking, going to church, taking a run, sitting in the deer stand, sharing meals… whatever the case may be, work or play, we do it together. When the kids are little, this makes everything more time-consuming, but as they get older, their growing experience and help with household projects becomes indispensable!”

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work or play, we do it together

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Challenges Overcome

Life hasn’t always been smooth sailing. Shannon faced health challenges with her pregnancies, and one of her children required surgery at just five weeks old. Through faith and prayer, they’ve weathered these storms.

“My experience having babies wasn’t a walk in the park. I had one miscarriage followed by five pregnancies with preeclampsia (and one child who required heart surgery as a 5-week-old.) The result was all five of our kids being born 5-6 weeks premature (but ultimately healthy, thank God) and lingering health challenges for me. I got through those trials with lots of prayer and faith. It was also eye-opening for me in my understanding of both the blessings and limitations of modern medicine.”

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Shannon credits all her talents and abilities to God’s grace and mercy.

Any abilities or talents I have are a direct result of God’s goodness, not my own. Left to my own devices, I’m kind of a piece of garbage. With my eyes on Jesus, I’m significantly less of a piece of garbage. We’re all sinners in need of a savior, and there IS a Savior who can put the broken pieces back together and make life more beautiful and meaningful than we ever imagined. I have found that a humble, repentant, grateful heart is much better soil for God to work in than a proud, self-righteous, me-focused heart.“

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Any abilities or talents I have are a direct result of God’s goodness, not my own

Local Favorites

Shannon is a big fan of home-raised & homegrown food. Though she mainly cooks at home, she can’t resist an invite to the Mexican Restaurant in Lewistown. She also enjoys the community spirit at events like the Ewing Farmers Market.

My favorite food is home-raised and homegrown. Being a stay-at-home mom and cooking for seven every meal, every day, the only way we can afford to eat like this is by putting in the sweat equity to produce it ourselves and preparing it at home! Accordingly, it doesn’t work in our budget to eat out often. I love cooking with local meats, chemical-free produce, wild mushrooms, and raw milk… so obviously, I’m living the dream of having all these things at my fingertips on the homestead. However, I would never say no to the offer to eat Mexican food in Lewistown!”

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We asked Shannon if there was something you wish more people knew about you or any message you’d like to share with the readers of The Lewis County Scoop?

I’ve been told on numerous occasions I should write a book about my homesteading adventures, but the busyness of this season ‘in the thick of things’ with kids, homeschooling, and building a homestead from scratch have precluded my ability to do so. Responding to the call to contribute to the Lewis County Scoop is my first step to carving out the time to share some of these thoughts beyond my Facebook and Instagram friends. I hope readers are challenged to explore new pursuits of healthy, homegrown, and handcrafted living. More importantly, I pray they are encouraged by the thoughts that I share of how a good and holy God shows up in both the mundane and the exciting aspects of life on the homestead!”

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Welcome to the team, Shannon. We can’t wait to read your adventures, stories, & tips on living the homestead life here in Lewis County, Mo!

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To learn more about Shannon visit our Introduction of her as she heads up her column "Homesteading without Credentials" here at The Lewis County Scoop.

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The articles published on The Lewis County Scoop (www.LewisCountyScoop.com) website are opinion pieces (Op-eds) and represent the personal views and opinions of the individual columnists. These views do not necessarily reflect the positions, strategies, or opinions of The Lewis County Scoop or its legal entity, Lewis County Scoop, LLC. Read Full disclaimer here