Written by: Lucy Sloan
A note from MagicBeans...sometimes as humans we like to focus on all that is wrong in the world but there is so much good that we need to start talking about and Lucy Sloan is one of those people that is making a difference with our children. Take a moment to read and share her story and her unique approach to helping children with what is consuming so much of our youth today. Thank you Lucy for being part of the solution...
Thank you so much for allowing me to write this blog and share my story. Storytelling has always been my passion and this has been an exciting experience to publish my first children’s storybook; Cindy and Cristabelle’s Big Scare.
My name is Lucy Sloan and I run Lil’ Steps Wellness Farm in the small town of St. Malo, Manitoba Canada. I provide animal assisted counselling to children and teens. I have been in the counselling field for over 20 years, providing mental health support to many children over the last several years. About 8 years ago, I suffered a major head injury. This changed the course of my life and it felt as though my entire identity was taken from me. Over the next two years I would experience a range of symptoms; from daily migraines, double vision, memory loss, and the most debilitating symptom…anxiety. I had experienced anxiety throughout my life at different degrees, but nothing to this magnitude. I felt as though chains were put around my body and I was in a prison sentence in my head. I struggled to be in crowds, anticipated going out to social functions and worried about what my life would look like in the future with all this worry and fear.
Then, two miniature horses, Peanut and Sweety, came into my life. Each day I would spend time with the horses in nature. Doing simple things such as brushing them, taking them for walks and just being still. I noticed a wonderful thing…as I was still with them and in the moment, my anxiety was not so bad. It felt good for the first time to be still. I noticed the beauty around me in the smells and sounds of nature. I was not judged by the horses and I could be exactly me, as I was and that was okay.
At that moment, I realized that I needed to share this experience of healing with others. I created my business over the next year and have been successfully running Lil’ Steps Wellness Farm for almost 5 years. I went back to school and gained a better understanding of animal assisted therapy. One of the key pieces to this type of therapy, is that children will be able to connect and relate their own stories to the stories of the animals. This is a safe and indirect way for them to be able to start their own healing paths. I realized that there were so many amazing stories to share and decided I needed to expand to scope of the healing from the animal’s stories to more children.
Cindy and Cristabelle’s Big Scare was created to allow children to connect with the animals on my farm and understand their own struggles with worry and fear. Cindy and Cristabelle are two miniature fainting goats that experience anxiety in different ways. Throughout the story, their experience with worry and fear impact their lives on the farm. Wilbert the Pig, a very mindful and happy pig, helps them through their struggle with anxiety and provides them strategies to manage better and enjoy life.
In my work as a counselor, I have noticed that it is crucial to not only help the child, but to provide the parent and caregivers with knowledge and tools to help their child. Joanne Lariviere and I added a unique part to the storybook by developing an activity booklet for parents and caregivers to help their child. The activity booklet provides psycho-education to parents and caregivers and is a fun and interactive way to connect the helper adult and child in addressing worry and fear.
I have also created a line of products related to the book, such as a toolkit with the various tools in the activity book and Wilbert the Pig as a weighted stuffed animal.
This is the first of our series in books here at Lil’ Steps Wellness Farm and will have more to come addressing different mental health difficulties. Thank-you for taking the time to hear my story!
You can learn more about Lucy and her story @ https://www.lilstepswellnessfarm.net/lil-steps-book-series
To find 'Cindy and Cristabelle’s Big Scare" and other great books, visit our website at www.magicbeansbookstore.com When you buy a book through MagicBeans we are able to donate new books to under served children, for some these are the very first books they have ever owned. Please visit our bookstore today!