Shawnelle Eliasen may be one of the most prolific contributors to the popular "Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series.
The LeClaire woman has authored close to 40 short stories in 26-plus years for the series which now boasts more than 250 titles. Each book features 101 stories of various topics submitted by readers.
Eliasen's latest story appears in the "Chicken Soup for the Soul -- Running for Good" edition.
“My favorite stories are faith stories. I love to share about God's grace and goodness," Eliasen said. “I also have five sons and there is always fodder for that.”
Her latest story is called The Bridge. She explained that she has home-schooled all her sons and continues to do that. With her son Grant, now 23, he decided to attend public school when in his early teens.
His mom said they kind of drifted apart as is sometimes the case with young teens and parents. But one afternoon, Grant changed everything when he told his mom he would join the track team, and that he wanted her to run with him. She could hardly contain her joy when thinking this may be a way to reconnect.
But soon she could not keep up with his pace and no longer could be side by side in stride. She thought it would dissolve the effort. But Grant forged on and wanted his mother along.
Then one day, a storm began as they ran. They headed home. As Eliasen crossed a small foot bridge, she stopped and looked down at the fast-moving stream. She suddenly realized everything would be O.K.
You see, she figured even though they run at different speeds, they were headed in the right direction.
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"We had found common ground," she said. "We were on the same path and I was so grateful."
So was Grant, who now lives in Chicago, and is a college graduate looking for work.
"Running with my mom is a treasured memory for me," he said. "I think the story is beautiful. I'm glad she wrote it."
Her work is appreciated.
"Shawnelle is a regular contributor," said Amy Newmark, author publisher and editor-in-chief of Chicken Soup for the Soul. "Her story not only shows that running is good for the physical but also for a real intimate common ground with her son."
Over the years, Eliasen also has written numerous short stories and messages for "Guideposts," a Christian monthly publication featuring short stories and inspirational thoughts.
In her most recent story for that publication, the Morrison, Ill., native, wrote about her love for her family, the five boys and her husband, Lonny.
"I try to write with transparency in hope that an experience that I have worked through, will benefit someone else," Eliasen said.