Sunday, June 18, 2017

my daddy did + it changed my life.

to my future daughter.  

from your single 25 year old mama - on fathers day.


sweet girl, 

i hope you have a daddy just like mine one day. not only do i hope - i pray you do. because my daddy is one in a million + he changed my life. 

i hope your daddy prays for you before you are born. i hope he stands beside your fresh self in the nursery + let's you grab his little finger - or picks you up from a far away land + instantly knows that you belong to him - even though you are adopted. i hope he calls everyone he knows and rejoices that he has a little girl + asks them to pray for you for the rest of their lives. not only do i hope - i pray for that. because my daddy did + it changed my life. 

i hope your daddy drives you to dance class + ends up in the ballet recital with you. i hope he runs beside your bike the day he takes your training wheels off + yells "keep pedaling!" and i hope he lets go even though he promised he wouldn't. i hope he takes you outside after dinner + teaches you to play baseball. "keep your eye on the ball!" he will say. i hope he promises you ice cream if you hit it over the fence. i hope he screams "homer!!! ladies + gentleman she did it!" when you do. and i hope he buckles you up + drives you to get your favorite superman ice cream. and i hope you find an old tree stump to sit on behind the ice cream shop + i hope he plops you up there so you can be tall. when we go on vacation i hope he searches the sandy beach with you for the stinky fish + takes you down to the dunes late at night to see the baby turtles. i hope you take long walks to the pier + he takes you off the island for put-put + bumper boats. and most of all i hope he takes you to get chocolate chip pancakes with extra whip cream for breakfast one morning. just you and him. not only do i hope - i pray for that because my daddy did + it changed my life. 

i hope your daddy colors Easter eggs with you every year. and gets up with you extra early on Christmas. i hope he helps make crowns for your birthdays + pretends that all the gifts mama picked out were his idea. i hope he allows you to live a magical childhood. i hope he comes up with little things to call you like "weezer" + "the little general" + "trooper" i hope he asks you about your dreams + tells you that with God anything is possible. i hope he lets you play dress up every day so you can look just like your sister + i hope he doesn't flinch when tiny you comes downstairs in a super hero cape + no shirt because you want to be like your brother. i hope he paints your nails + learns to do your hair. i hope he tells you to dream big. the sky is the limit - he might say - as he begs you to stay little forever. i hope he dances with you around the house to your favorite song. and i hope he asks you to dance at every wedding + party you go to. and i hope you aren't embarrassed + i hope you dance your heart out. not only do i hope - i pray for that because my daddy did + it changed my life. 

i hope you watch the way your daddy loves your mama + i hope you pray for a husband just like him one day. i hope you watch the way he loves your sister + walks with her through the hard. i hope you watch the way he cheers on your brother + champions him to be a courageous man of God. i hope you learn to love your mama and daddy by watching him love his. what i mean is this:: watch the way daddy loves grandma + grandpa. it's truly special. i hope your daddy has incredible sisters + brothers so you can have special relationships with your aunts and uncles. i hope you watch your daddy love his friends well. i hope by watching him you will learn to love yours well. you see how your daddy will drive hours just to be with his favorite people? or hop on planes to be with his friends when tragedy strikes? i want you to do that too one day. i hope your daddy loves hard + fierce. i hope he roots for the under dog + never meets a stranger. not only do i hope - i pray for that because my daddy did + it changed my life.

i hope you come down stairs to find your daddy having his quiet time with Jesus + i hope he lets you sit with him as he prays. i hope you listen well to those prayers. baby - i hope you always ask your daddy to pray for people you love. i hope he prays every morning for everyone he can think of. not only do i hope - i pray for that because my daddy did + it changed my life.

i hope that when the hard times come - and they will - that you cling to daddy. i hope after that big fall off the swing that daddy cleans off your scrape + gives you the Barbie bandaid. i hope when the boy breaks your heart that you sit in the kitchen with coffee with dad + talk it over. i hope when the big surgery comes that you let him hug you a little longer. i know you will ask for your mama - but maybe just one time ask for your papa - he needs you to. do it for daddy. i hope that if life throws a curve ball of depression at you in your 20's that your daddy takes you out for lemon cheesecake. i hope that you laugh together + get teary eyed together as you tell him how hard it's been. i hope he tells you that you will get through it. i hope that because you watch him lean into the Lord for strength - you will be able to also. your daddy is so strong. i hope you never forget that. not only do i hope - i pray because my daddy did all of this + it changed my life. 

i hope your daddy gets to drive you to school every morning. i hope he knows that you can't have a full conversation until he hands you that cup of coffee that's really just creamer. i hope he doesn't yell when you make him late. i hope he flies through red lights joking that they were "orange!" i hope he lets you stare out the window + not talk the whole way there if that's what you need. i hope that if you are grumpy he calls you "stormy" and sings you the song by dennis yost. i hope he tells you about his morning walks + time talking to Jesus. i hope you walk in to school with your arm in his - proud that he is your dad. i hope he has a funny walk + a brief case twice his size. i hope when he sees you in the hallway you both light up. i hope he embarrasses you in front of the boy you think is cute by calling you a silly nickname. i hope you can run to his office when you have a bad day + he'll throw a fruit snack at you. i hope that when your report card ends up in his hands + not in the mailbox that he'll say "sweet girl you tried your hardest! math is hard! i got a D in 8th grade math!" and i hope you are PROUD to have a dad who you get to do life with. not only do i hope - i pray for this because i spent all those days with my dad + it changed my life. 

i hope your daddy loves your girl friends as his own daughters + your guy friends as his own sons. and sweet girl - if your daddy knows someone isn't a good influence for you - RUN. i know it's hard - and you think you know best but you don't. keep around the friends he loves. i hope he has you invite them on vacations + over for barbecue's. i hope we love your friends so well that even if you aren't home they still come over. i hope your daddy mentors the boys who walk through life as your brothers in Christ + i hope he sets a standard for the girls who walk beside you as your sisters. i hope that they call him when life is hard. and i hope they feel safe with us. i hope one day your friends love him so much they ask him to officiate their weddings. not only do i hope - i pray for that because my daddy did + he changed my life. 

i could go on forever dear one. but i think you get it. right?

life is short + hard + magical + fun darling. but if i could pray for just one thing for you - it's that you have a spectacular daddy + baby i pray that you love him well. 


because i do ... my daddy is spectacular + oh my heart i love him well.

he changed my life. 

be brave + love big

i love you,

mama

Saturday, May 6, 2017

[ i feel just like a sailboat... ]

years ago i loved a quote that said [ i'm so young ... i just want to drift. ] but i'm beginning to think that maybe that isn't what i want at all. i guess it depends. on one hand ... drifting sounds blissful and something my free spirit longs for. but on the other drifting sounds lazy and like my life could end up super boring. so i don't think i want to drift. i think i want to sail.

ever since i can remember there has been something about water that has always brought healing to my soul. simply seeing big oceans that make me feel small brings me peace. after each big stressful event for my entire life we made our way to sunset beach - my favorite place on earth. [ if you want to read about it - click here ->  sunset beach ] sunset beach has always brought healing. it feels like home. the ocean feels like home. i feel my best in the sunshine. it is good for my soul. and my health. and my hair. these curls love that saltwater life.

so it makes sense...that when the Lord wanted me to be brave + move. He spoke through my sister with the analogy of putting my sails up + letting God be my wind. [ if you want to read about it - click here -> the wind ]

one of my favorite musicians is named ben rector. he has a song about a sailboat. and the more i hear it - the more i get it. he writes...

[ i feel just like a sailboat. don't know where i'm headed. but you can't make the wind blow. from a sailboat. i have seen the sun. felt the rain on my skin. i've been lost and found. mostly i've been waiting. oh i'm out in the waves and i'm hoping and praying. please let this wind blow me home. and night after night theres an empty horizon. my God do i feel so alone. sometimes life. and most times i feel just like a sailboat. i'm pretty sure i'm heard. at least i know i'm speaking. but i feel like a fool yeah. cause i can't hear you listening. but i'm not giving up. i'm gunna move on forward. i'm gunna raise my sails. God knows what i'm headed towards. oh i'm out in the waves and i'm hoping and praying. please let this wind blow me home. night after night theres an empty horizon. my God do i feel so alone. sometimes life. and most times i feel just like a sailboat. only change i see. lost or found at sea. only difference. is believing i'll make it in. oh i'm out in the waves and i'm hoping and praying please let this wind blow me home. night after night theres an empty horizon. my God do i feel so alone. sometimes life. and most times i feel just like a sailboat. ]

ben - if you ever read this - i think you are pretty neat.

okay. holy smokes you guys. i feel like a freaking sailboat lately. please let this wind blow me home my heart cries often. but at the same time i am confident that God knows what i'm headed towards. i think the line in the song that is speaking to my soul the most lately is "i've been lost and found. mostly i've been waiting."

lost:: when i arrived here i felt incredibly lost. now don't get me wrong. the family i nanny for is great + they have been extremely generous + helpful. but it was so weird to be in this new place. knowing no one. coming from a place where i was sure to run into someone i knew basically anywhere i went. i hated having to use the gps to get everywhere. the unfamiliarity of everything was enough to bring me to tears some days. it was definitely not smooth sailing right away.

i remember my second week here i got a terrible migraine. it was a friday. probably my worst migraine of 2016. i left work that september day and crawled into bed. i called my beautiful mama + just sobbed on the phone to her. no one was here to help me. i felt so alone. i felt so lost. she prayed hard for me that night on the phone + i cried myself to sleep. that was a rough day. in case you didn't realize. i felt so lost that day. thankfully things got better.

found:: i finally feel found. there were so many days the past 7 months where i was like "i'm right here God - do you see me? are you listening? could you send me some people?!" hear me on this:: i wasn't doubting His presence or His plan. i was just lonely. some days i still am. but i feel found. Jesus has found me right where i am. He has been faithful even when i have been doubtful. i have found people here. oh my heart bursts with thankfulness for the people i have found here. i desperately needed people here. my church + my friends here make me feel found. i longed for that. it took awhile but my prayers were answered. i feel like i have found my footing + my soul has found rest. i have found pieces of myself here that i don't think i would have found had i stayed in ohio.

[ also: i have found that not everyone here loves LeBron James ... my goal is to change minds on that one. ugh i can't even think about it too much or i get mad. whatever. LEBRON FOR LIFE YO. ]

anyways. i felt lost. but i finally feel found.

waiting:: as john mayer smoothly sings... [ waiting ... waiting ... waiting on the world to change. ] but i'm not waiting on that. i'm waiting on the Lord. Psalm 27:14 reminds us " wait for the Lord - be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." this has been a verse that i have clung to since i moved here. despite my extremely free spirit ... i don't like to wait.

i'm a "mom we have to get this appliance i saw on the infomercials today because it can cook anything in 3 minutes or less" kinda girl. i'm dead serious. i missed a lot of school growing up - because i was always sick. and if i wasn't sleeping i was watching infomercials or the food network. i also watched the disney cruise line 2 hour special basically on loop for years. and so obviously when i got my make a wish we went on a disney cruise. and yes. i'm the cliche kid who chose a disney vacation for her wish. but you know what. it was THE BOMB. and you should totally go on a disney cruise. and also... it seems fitting to talk about my cruise. because ... it was a sailboat.

 [ i'm full of the jokes. ]

lately i've been doing a whole lot of waiting. waiting for the Lord to show me the big reason i'm here. waiting. waiting. waiting. but i trust that He will reveal it soon enough. it's an interesting spot to be in. having no idea what is in store. having no direction of where to go next. but somehow ... somehow i am finding peace in the waiting. the waiting for whatever is to come.

and yes grandma - i hope it's my husband too. HAHAHA. kidding. kinda. not really. okay lets me real real for a minute - if any of you know a jesus loving dream boat that can deal with my drama + spunk + inability to place commas HIT ME UP! hahah. no shame. no shame at all.

okay... anyways.

as i reflected back on the idea of feeling like a sailboat. and remembering how the Lord spoke to me to get here. if you haven't read that blog post - scroll up + click on the link + go read it. God is just so cool.

i was reminded of another song that my sista-friend rachel sent me months ago...

it was released by hillsong in 2015. it's called captain.

[ through waters uncharted my soul with embark. i'll follow Your voice straight into the dark. and if from the course you intend i depart. speak through the sails of my wandering heart. like the wind You'll guide. clear the skies before me. and i'll glide this open sea. like the starts Your words will align my voyage. and remind me where i've been. and where i am going. lost in the shallows amidst fear and fog. your truth is the compass that points me back north. Jesus my Captain my souls trusted Lord. all my allegiance is rightfully Yours. like the wind You'll guide. clear the skies before me. and i'll glide these open seas. like the stars Your word will align my voyage. and remind me where i've been. and where i am going. like the wind You'll guide. clear the skies before me. and i'll glide this open sea. like the stars Your words will align my voyage. and remind me where i've been. and where i am going. Jesus my Captain my souls trusted Lord. all my allegiance is rightfully Yours. ] 

when i first heard it - i was getting ready to leave. and yet again - the Lord was speaking to me through this idea of sailing + letting Him be in charge. this week this song has been on repeat. i've listened in the car. in the shower. before bed. while i'm doing dishes. and i just keep praying over and over again. [ okay Jesus - keep me close - help me not to miss anything you have for me here - guide me - and don't let go of this heart of mine that is just feeling like a sailboat. ]

[ JESUS MY CAPTAIN MY SOULS TRUSTED LORD...ALL MY ALLEGIANCE IS RIGHTFULLY YOURS.] 

oh my heart. that line. it fills me to the brim. it brings truth and comfort and promises from both Him and i. i don't think you could ask for a better picture of how He loves.

so lately i feel like a sailboat. but i am trusting that my Captain will guide my voyage.

and theres something about drifting that makes my soul sing. but something about sailing feels right. either way. my Captain's in charge. and that alone brings abundant joy.

do you ever feel like a sailboat? talk to the Captain. He will guide you. i promise.

be brave

shelby elyse


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

i'm a fan of His!

[ hey - if you are new here: welcome! my name is shelby. i am 5 feet of spunk with giant dreams + a crazy life. somehow i ended up in alaska but i'm from ohio. i love coffee + popcorn + just about anything covered in chocolate. if i could eat one food the rest of my life it would probably be a cobb salad with chicken and extra ranch dressing. i would like to tell you i do awesome things like run marathons - but i don't. the only marathon i am interested in is a netflix marathon. i have an amazing family + a tribe of incredible friends. i'm still trying to find my footing here in AK but i am confident that the Lord has great things in store. so grab a coffee + read on. also: i missed a lot of school growing up + my grammar struggles because of that. i never met a comma i liked + capital letters seem like a waste of time. but many before you have gotten over it - so i think you can too! okay here we go... ]

my whole life my dad has said the same sentence many different ways.

if you know him - you've probably heard it.

[also if you don't know him - you should. roger roy taylor is the BEST ever.]

dad always says...

"i'm a big fan of his." ... "she's a big fan of yours." "they are big fans of you!"

it's his little trademark. he has a lot of those. the older i get though i am beginning to find out he didn't make them all up on his own. for instance. my entire life he's said "a tradition unlike any other" when anything special happens that we have a tradition for. vacation. birthdays. christmas day. and let me tell you i was shocked to find out that he didn't make it up. it just has to do with the Masters. which makes sense. but i thought RT came up with the best slogan ever for fun events. you know?

anyway...

when i flew home in march my dad picked me up from the airport. after only being in the car for a few minutes he asked me about a friend of mine from highschool. a few years back i asked dad to pray for him. i remember sitting at the kitchen bar that day telling dad this friend wasn't walking with the Lord anymore + dad just said "keep loving him shelbs. keep loving him. and we will pray." so here we are the first week of march a few years later + dad asks about him. "i haven't seen him for months dad - i live in alaska so i'm not sure how he is." he tells me "i pray for him every morning on my walk. i'm a fan of his." i tell dad that i pray too + that i truly believe the Lord has something in store for this old friend. i also - am a fan of his.

a few years back a book became super popular. it was called "not a fan." kyle idleman wrote it. the whole concept was that we need to stop living this life of being a fan of jesus + not actually a follower. well. with no offense to kyle. i think it's possible to be both. and maybe that is immature thinking on my part. and maybe i'm completely wrong.

but maybe...i'm not. because when i hear someone say "i'm a fan of yours." what i hear is "i believe in you! i have faith in you! i love you! i'm here + i will ALWAYS have your back." and that is how i feel about Jesus. and i hope that is how Jesus feels about me. because i believe that the people you love the most are the ones you should be a fan of. and i am a fan of Jesus. i believe that He is capable. i have faith in His plan. i love Him. i am here + ready for His plan for my life. and i hope with all my soul that i will ALWAYS have His back. that i will never waiver to the point where i'm no longer a fan. i don't think being a fan of His is necessarily a bad thing. i think i can be a fan of Jesus.

this adventure the Lord has me on has stretched me in ways i never knew were possible. i have grown more in these 7 months than in the previous few years i believe. i have been able to fall in love with Jesus all over again. the hard days here have been HARD. but the good days have been glorious. and i believe that this is only the beginning. last weekend havilah cunnington spoke at a women's conference at my church. the theme was i do hard things. i laughed a lot at the irony. because this whole living in the land of ice and snow and knowing no one has been really hard. the kind of hard that made me start going [but Lord ... i'm not a fan of this place!!!] i was telling my friend that being here has been a totally different kind of hard for me. i can handle the physical hard. i can handle the brain tumor + the genetic disorder. i can handle the migraines + the fatigued days. i can handle the immune system crashes + my body being just a step behind everyone elses. but the mental hard. it's a different kind of hard. the loneliness + confusion were hard. the bad days are getting few and far between but some days are still rough. some days i'm still not a fan.

i miss home. i miss my people. i miss my mom and i miss my dad. i miss hearing him come through the door and make some joke about my dog Scout Finch being the only one to greet him. i miss eating popcorn with my mom while we watch dancing with the stars. i miss my best friends. i miss my church. i just miss it. for awhile i assumed all of that meant that i hated this place i now call home. but i don't believe that to be true. just like i think i can be a fan and a follower of Jesus. i think i can be a fan of ohio + a fan of alaska. it's certainly getting easier to be here.

my friendships here are just beginning to flourish. my closest friends here all have husbands and some of them have kids too. so i basically just have added myself to these families. + i have told them all to tell me when they get sick of me hahah! yesterday i was talking to my friend about a family i am growing to love here. and i did it ... i pulled a roger. and as soon as i said it i thought [dear Lord - i am am becoming my father! WOOHOOO!] i said [ i'm a big fan of them!] [them meaning my new friend amanda + her husband shane + their super cool kids. I LOVE EM!] but as soon as i said it i'm like [okay that means something.] because i'll be real with you. i'm not a fan of everyone. HAHAH. i'm so dead serious. there isn't another way to say it. but i'm a fan of theirs... manda + mr. cool you guys are the best.

last night after i left my new friends house i was laying in bed + talking to God. i straight up told him. "this season has been hard Man - but thanks for giving me some people. for right here for right now." and the still small voice said "you can do this! i believe in you!" ... and if we are going with the theme here ... i think that means He's a fan of mine.

but i gotta say ... and i'm sorry to go against the curve here ... but i'm a BIG FAN of Jesus.

i can't wait to see what He has in store.

be brave

shelby elyse

Friday, January 20, 2017

so HE can show up + SHINE

this year i have promised to be more vulnerable and honest with you.

i have promised to be bold and brave.

i have chosen to have the hard conversations no matter the cost.

and i am willing to write about things i have been unwilling to write about before.

if you know me you know i get sick a lot. i was the kid that missed a million days of school + who became bff's with her doctors. if i had to narrow my health down to three topics it would be:: genetic disorder. brain tumor. immunosuppressed. and those of course all branch out into much more complicated stories of their own. because when it comes to health problems nothing is easy. i am complicated + confusing + if someone handed you my charts you'd be shocked i'm still breathing. that is just how it is. it has always been this way + i think it always will be.

true story:: there have been so many times doctors have brought other doctors in just to see me. one time at the dermatologist they were fascinated by my genetic disorder + my mama + i just laughed. it's typical. i'm unique. that is the bottom line.

and you know what? that is okay. because this is my story.

last weekend i was spending time with a family i am growing to love more and more here in alaska. saturday afternoon as i was sautéing balsamic brussel sprouts in their kitchen + coughing up a storm from my bronchitis - one of their kids asked me about being sick. i quickly glazed over it + he simply stated "well why don't you just get prayed for and get healed?" he quickly dug his hole deeper + followed it up with "maybe God is testing you?" his mom yelled into the kitchen for him to just stop talking hahah.

he meant no harm. and i took no offense because he's a 14 year old boy + their brains are mush. plus. he wasn't the first person to ask me this in my life. i wasn't surprised or caught off guard. people have often asked these hard questions.

oh how i wish it was that simple though. to just get prayed for and get healed. how glorious would life be if that happened every single time!? but then again ... it wouldn't be simple would it?

i explained to him that if i was healed - i wouldn't be me. i wouldn't have my story. and i wouldn't be able to minister to the people i do. i told him that people have prayed for healing for me - but that God's plan isn't for everyone to be healed. i wish it was. but i am not the author of my story. the Lord is. and His story is perfect. even if that means i have to live in an imperfect body that turns on itself every once in a while.

i started to imagine it though ... if i had been healed. like. completely healed. what would life look like?

yes. life would have been much simpler had i never been sick in the first place. if i was born + was a completely healthy baby. if i never got a brain tumor. if my genetic disorder didn't decide to pick me as it's culprit out of the blue.

i could sit here + scream + cry + tell you that it's not fair. that i deserve better. that i deserve a new body. right now. but i won't. because that isn't how i feel.

because if i had never been sick there would be some other kind of battle. maybe mental illness or a broken family. or one of my siblings or parents could have been the one with chronic illness. and let me tell you. i could NOT handle that. i would pick a brain tumor + being stuck in bed sick every few months over just about any other issue. i would consider myself to be strong + brave + able to push through just about anything. but in all honesty - the minute someone else i love is sick or in pain i panic. i tell them [ go to the doctor! what if you are dying? you need bloodwork! ] i am a great patient + not a great care taker when it comes to sickness. i'll take it - spare the rest of them i say!!!

now. hear me people! this isn't to say that the Lord hasn't healed me at all. He has. He has performed absolute miracles on me.

[ for instance:: when i was born they told mom + dad that i would be blind and deaf and need oxygen and a feeding tube the rest of my life. they said i may not walk or talk + a million other "she will nevers" BUT! HELLO! they were wrong! i have crappy vision + extraordinary hearing. my lungs can produce a scream better than the movies + decide to develop pneumonia all in one week. i don't have a feeding tube + i never shut up + i walk just fine. again. the doctors aren't the authors. GOD is the author. HE has the final say. ]

 all i'm saying is that I haven't been COMPLETELY healed.

but what i'm beginning to realize is that isn't what i would want anyway.

our trials make us who we are. and i think i've always known this - it's just more apparent in my adult life.

wouldn't you agree?

maybe you have suffered from an eating disorder or depression. maybe you went through a sticky divorce or one of your kids has walked away from God. maybe you are battling cancer or lost a child. whatever it may be - despite the hurt and pain and terrible times. can't you look back + see what God was doing? see that His intention wasn't to harm you? see that your faith has grown despite the unimaginable being your reality?

maybe you aren't there yet. you are sitting there going [ she is off her rocker. slow your roll shelby. you are so wrong. i am in the middle of a mess. God is no where. ]

but i promise you ... one day you will get there. you will realized that your faith has been refined in the fire. that the Lord showed up in the loss. that beautiful things come from the biggest battles. and that GRACE is all you see.

the Lord's plan for my life has never been to give me a perfect body here on earth. His plan for my life has been to ALLOW me to live in a body that battles itself.  so that HE can show up + shine through me anyway. despite the imperfection.

because after all ... that is what we all are ... completely imperfect.

so i don't want to be healed. because that isn't the plan.

i just wanna live a life that the Lord would be proud of.

i just wanna shine.

be brave

shelby elyse taylor


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

vulnerable. brave. willing. ready.

it's january now. and i am promising this year that i will be more vulnerable. more honest. more willing to have the hard conversations. more willing to hear truth spoken in love. more secure in who i am + more able to be exactly who i was created to be. i am promising to be brave no matter the cost + find complete refuge in Christ - trusting that His "it's all good shelbs - I've got it." is truth. i'm ready. or at least i'm ready to try.

last year ... last year i promised to live up to a quote that simply said "this year i will be stronger, braver, kinder, unstoppable + this year i will be fierce!" and let me just say ...

i think i did it. i was strong and brave + unstoppable when i moved to alaska.

i hope i was kind ... i guess that is up to you guys.

and i'm not gunna lie ... i am so FIERCE!!!!

okay back to this year. this year is new. this year is different.

last week i read the book "bread + wine" by shauna niequist. it was one of the most beautiful and transparent books i have ever read. i laughed out loud + cried ugly tears. i found myself longing to be more transparent. i found myself relating to her writing + feeling like she was across the table from me - handing me a gluten free pastry + a big cup of hot coffee + saying "it's okay sister - you can be honest with yourself." i found myself dreaming of becoming a wife and mom and filling my house with people and all the best foods. i found myself missing my tribe back home + weeping because i knew if i was home they would be my cooking club. i found myself relating to her heart + her hurt. i found myself thankful that she's a mess just like the rest of us + her ability to be honest about it is something i hope to get better at this year.

because people ... i am a mess. sometimes a wreck. i am loud and unabashedly bold. sometimes too bold. i am so imperfect. i hurt people. i scream and yell and sometimes i'm totally out of control. i often tell people i need the t-shirt that says [ i love Jesus - but i cuss a little. ] because i do. when i'm angry or excited - choice words flow from my lips - sometimes too easily. just last week i flipped out at my brother and said SH*T like 5 times or maybe 10 + my parents were there + i was wild and out of control. i'm crazy. brutally honest. rude and sometimes mean. and i could name off handfuls of people that REALLY don't like me. but you know what?

my identity is not found in your opinion of me

 + i refuse to keep living like it is. i refuse to worry anymore about what you think of me. whether that be loving me or hating me. it's exhausting. i think so many people feel this way. why do we care how many people follow us on instagram? why do we live in expectation - hoping someone "cool" will want to be our friend? the pressure some days is too much - and i feel like my entire being could just explode - like a grenade. i don't wish to keep living this way for one more day. i refuse it. i say to myself [ no - this isn't just - this isn't what matters - stop! ] + i step away from my phone + i breathe in the cool alaska air + i remind myself what matters.

towards the end of shauna's book she has a chapter about summer - and as i read it i cried + remembered + i laughed + dreamed. i related to her on every level. except the part about having a baby. haha. throughout the book shauna beautifully discloses her body shame and how she dealt with it for the better part of her life. but in this particular chapter she talks of summer + all the spectacular things that come with it + then she talks about the dreadful parts as well - being seen in a bathing suit. a few quotes stuck out to me as she unpacked her box of worry. she said [ my friends are not actually counting the days till summer to see if i've finally turned into a supermodel. ] haha! but i think the best part of all was this ... [ shame ... it whispers to us that everyone is as obsessed with our failings as we are. it insists that there is a watchdog group devoted completely to my weight or her wrinkles or his shrinking bank account ... shame tells us we're wrong for having the audacity to be happy when we're so clearly terrible. shame wants us to be deeply apologetic for just daring to exist. ] + then she redeems that whole rant by sweeting admitting that she will not live like that anymore. she says [ i'm going to live in the body God made me, not because it's perfect but because it's mine ... i'm not going to let a lifetime of shame about my body get in the way of living in a rich, wild, grateful, wide-open way. i'm not going to give into the cultural pressure that says women's bodies are only beautiful when they're very, very small ... i'm not going to bow to the voice inside my head that says i should be ashamed of myself for being so unruly and wild ... i'm not going to hide. ] oh this part it made we weep. it brought memories of  my childhood on the beach + memories of feeling shame now. i said "you go girl" a few times + prayed i could be as brave as her.

because if i'm being honest with you ... this is something i have quietly dealt with for quite some time. shame. about my body and how it looks. medications have ruined + years of illness are reflected in this body of mine. sometimes i wonder where the body went that God gave me. but i am slowly learning that scars are beautiful and scales are brutal + i need to take a step back + be thankful that i can run [ not very well ] + dance [ give me a pool floatie + i'm the best dancer ever ] + do things like walk through orange groves with my brother on a random thursday in california.

this week shauna's book gave me new air. inspired me to write more. be bold. stop being ashamed + kick butt everyday.

this year i am choosing to live a full life. be the crazy mess i am. and remain completely unapologetic about it.

i refuse to live a life hoping to be accepted.

because again ... my identity is not found in your opinion of me.

i refuse to let it be.

so here i go ...

vulnerable. brave. willing. ready.

join me.

[for you are calling me to greater things.] - bethel music

BE BRAVE

shelby elyse

Sunday, December 18, 2016

shelbulb takes anchorage:: month two + three.

you guys. when i moved here i said i would write more. boy has that been a struggle. i'm sorry i lied. i'm going to TRY to work on writing more.

anyways...

ohio is home. but alaska ... alaska is slowly becoming home.

glory glory hallelujah this month was grand. or these last two months. it's december now. sorry i'm a little late.

i have told multiple people this month [ man i gotta stop worrying - and i kinda feel like i should just stand still and watch God. ] because OH MY GOODNESS has my Jesus shown up big time.

BIG TIME PEOPLE!

do you have your coffee? go get some. and a cozy blanket. and your dog. if you don't have a dog i'm so sorry that your life isn't fulfilled. no. cats don't count.

okay. lets go. got your coffee? great.

so about a month ago i was having my quiet time. and simply asked God to help me find a house or apartment. i threw in there "if they love Jesus that'd be cool too."

so the following evening i hopped on craigslist. a little scared of it if i'm being honest ... because you know ... craigslist killers. you guys. i'm so serious! you know how monica potter gets murdered in patch adams by the crazy patient? that is my worst fear. besides clowns + costume people. anyways. i found this adorable little basement apartment in a person's house. with a lofted queen bed that looked incredibly magical. so i emailed them. went to see it the next day and HOLY SMOKES! just like He has every step of this adventure...

Jesus showed up.

when i got there + saw the landlord instantly i felt a sense of relief. she was a bright eyed redhead with a pixie cut + probably the most stylish person i've seen so far in anchorage. moments after i walked in i knew it was where i was supposed to live. it's almost as if it was designed for me. i instantly felt at home.

the first thing she said to me was "oh my gosh you are so cute!" so of course my self-centered side was like "haha awwww she's the kindest person in the whole world already!" LOL she also thought i was like 18 and not 25 so that was maybe part of it. when i said i was 25 her jaw dropped.

things just kept getting better from there. within 5 minutes we were talking about Jesus. she stated "i just knew you would be a Christian. i'm not surprised one bit!" we had both been praying for that! How cool is that!?

well ... after she showed me the apartment we ended up sitting on the bare floor for hours - talking about Jesus + church + life + shared our testimonies, and she invited me to her church for the next day. ironically - her husband is the pastor at that church. i mean. not ironically. obviously God would have me find a church through a craigslist ad for an apartment ... because nothing in my life is normal. ever. HA!

anyways. the next day i went + i instantly felt AT HOME. the church i HAD been going to was huge and overwhelming. i thought because my church in Ohio was so big that it made sense to find a huge church here - i was very wrong. in the 5 weeks i went to that huge church not one person noticed i was new. no one introduced themselves. i had to make every single effort. i was worshipping alone and i hated it. i sat alone. i went alone. i left alone. it was lonely. and let me tell you - if you are feeling lonely in a church - you shouldn't be at that church. your church should feel like home. i feel at home in my new church. i have already made friends. every week people approach me and introduce themselves because they know i am new. it is just a breath of fresh air to be there.

so my new pastor and his wife are also my landlords. and now my friends. they have kind of taken me under theirs wings - and i finally feel like i have found my footing here. the family i nanny for is awesome - and i feel so at home with them too - i just needed another safe place. i think everyone needs that.

i officially moved in but few things are decorated. i'm working on it. but when it's as cute as i dream it will be - i'll show you pictures! if i forget - remind me!

[ so now i will talk about all the things that have happened this month - or the things i've learned. ]

1. friends!!!! on the plane on the way here i wrote down that i wanted 3 friends by Christmas. and let me tell you - it is hard to make friends. i am SO thankful for all my friends back home and i'm realizing that the fact that most of them have been in my life for my whole life - is the ultimate blessing. because it's hard to just move somewhere and make friends. slowly but surely they are coming though. do i think i have 3 forever friends? not sure - is He giving me people for the now? absolutely!!!!

now these three all have to do with what you just read...
[ 2. apartment  3. church 4. more alaskan parents ]

5. adulting is hard. it just really is. LITERALLY this is my theme of my life the past few weeks. i told Joni - my new landlord/pastors wife/alaska mama that when you are a chronically sick kid people take care of you. not that i'm incapable. it's just what happens. and then you are 25 and you can't do real life alone because adulting is hard. she says it's okay and that everyone needs people. but i'm learning things like ... i'm too short to hang a shower curtain + internet companies are shady + it's possible to overstuff the washing machine. WHOOPS! anyways. sometimes things are hard. sometimes life is hard. and adulting is hard.

6. contentment is a gift - but you have to choose to accept it - this transition has been filled with so many emotions and they seem to vary by the day. i have told most everyone that i have experienced much loneliness - simply by just not having my tribe with me here. i have also experienced God's presence more than ever though, it seems to seep through the loneliness + cover it will love. some days have been awesome + i look outside and see the ocean + the mountains or my littles are giggling while we're playing a game and i feel like this is exactly where i should be. other days i find myself to be a disaster dressed in tears asking God why on earth He brought me here. it's a rollercoaster. i talk to my mom everyday. but when i talk to my dad i get a giant lump in my throat and end up crying after we hangup. some friends are easier to talk to than others. some haven't barely reached out - and thats hard. move across the country - you will find out who really loves you. i seem to be on a never ending carnival ride - i'll never know what i will feel the next day. i can't figure it out. but - God is still God + He is still good. i am confident that my purpose here will all unfold eventually. so i am learning to be content in the now - in the unknown future - and in what has already happened. it is not an easy feat. i told someone the other day that i think moving here has been harder than dealing with some of my health problems. and moving to alaska is not life or death. brain tumors are life or death. yes - it's been truly that hard. but i am learning. learning. learning. learning. and i'm not sinking. but i wouldn't say i'm swimming. i would say i'm floating in contentment.

also things happened like:: having my first thanksgiving without anyone i'm related to - and i survived. i had adventures with the littles + fights with the littles + days we weren't perfect but i'm so thankful for forgiveness. i started using a checkbook. i learned that alaska doesn't use salt on the roads and there are two kinds of drivers here:: turtles + superheroes. the superheroes end up in accidents. i am a turtle. slow + steady to get home safe. i experienced ice fog + it felt like i was in the movie FROZEN + was terrified at the same time.

and for all my ohio people:: if you say O-H here ... no one says I-O + then you feel stupid.

i'm hoping to get all of anchorage to love the CAVS this season though...

because it would only make sense for my home here to love my home team.

i'll write soon. gotta go start packing for christmas in california with my fam. CAN'T WAIT.

ohio - i'll be home in march. get ready! until then...

be brave

shelby elyse taylor







Monday, October 31, 2016

shelbulb takes anchorage:: month one.

[ before i begin i should probably explain something to my new readers... my friends call my shelbulb. or bulb - bulbybaby - bulbasaur - tulip - and just about anything else that you can add bulb to. in highschool my best friend chad called me shelbulb one day + it stuck. i hated it at first. tried everything i could to get people to stop saying it. and then one day i decided that maybe it was a term of endearment and the people who loved me most called me bulb because they loved me. so i got over it. thus:: shelbulb takes anchorage. ]

okay here we go.

today is october 30th. i got here on september 17th. some days it feels like i've been here my whole life + some days it feels like i stepped off the plane moments ago. my heart can't quite make up it's mind about how it feels on either day - but i think i'm finally in a place of pure contentment.

i believe the Lord has brought me here to let me flourish.

i'm not exactly sure why it had to be here - but for some reason it did. this past month i have been pulled completely out of my comfort zone. i am 25 but if we are being real until i got here i was basically just a big baby. and since getting here i have had no choice to be a baby. i have had to be a big girl in every way possible.

like living by myself:: i was thrown into living all alone within 24 hours of getting here for the first time in my whole life. the silence was torture. i think i left music on that whole first night because i missed the footsteps of my parents in the hallway and i missed the noise that came from mom watching tv downstairs when i went to bed.

like being responsible for 3 small children:: all of a sudden i was an instant mom driving a suburban + taking kids to swimming lessons and soccer + cooking dinner + juggling what seemed like a million other things.

[ my sister told me ' you can do this shelbs - you know how i know? because i do everything you have to do but i also work full time. ' AMEN! and God Bless all you working moms. and God Bless lorrie taylor because she had to do all this and work full time and deal with me. HA!

like having zero friends:: more on that later.

like having to use a gps to get LITERALLY everywhere. literally.

now hear me when i say this:: I KNOW THIS IS WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR! i'm not an idiot. but it has just been a whole bunch of change all at one time. and if you are thinking i'm a wimp. try it - you move across the country all alone and see how you do. yes. i'm being sassy. if that shocks you - we probably don't know each other.

[ okay now comes the part where i tell you my favorite part about every week that i've lived here. ]

week 1:: OMA! the first week i was here the kid's grandma [ who they call oma + now i call oma because why not. ] was here. SHE WAS SUCH A BIG HELP! she taught me how to back the suburban into parking places + showed me all around anchorage + dealt with my one million and seven questions like a champ. she was a gift sent straight from God that week. when she left i realized how lonely i was during the day without her. oma come back!! haha!

[ okay obviously hanging out with the kids week one was also fun but OMA wins week one. ]

week 2:: CHURCH! the second week i was here i found a church. the biggest church in anchorage. i walked in and there were people everywhere + it was huge + i felt complete peace. the first week i was here i went to a really small church and i just knew it wasn't for me. i knew in a big church i would be more likely to meet friend my age. which brings us to... okay actually the brings us to isn't until week 4. it's coming! i promise. don't quit on me now!!

week 3:: LITTLES! this week is where we all really started to mesh well. this week we baked together and we fell into a good groove. the shyness wore off + all the cards were on the table. i loved this week.

week 4:: SMALL GROUP! so my second week going to my church i went and talked to the small group people so i could get plugged in. i found a community group of people my age called young professionals + i decided i would go the following week. i had been bold and found a group + this week i knew monday i would be exhausted so i decided that the next week - when i wasn't working i would go. [ also sometimes i need time to give myself pep talks. it's hard doing things all alone all the time!!!! ]

week 5:: FRIENDSHIP! so this was the week i went to small group i was so nervous and some people said hi but i felt so out of place still. so then i was talking to this guy + we went and sat by his wife and then i made my FIRST FRIEND IN ALASKA! well ... that i didn't know about before i got here. technically now i have 2 friends in alaska! BOOM! thanks God! [ side note:: hey Jesus - next time i move - please don't make me be lonely for 4 weeks before i have a friend. okay cool thanks. ]

week 6:: NETFLIX! okay you might be like [she's joking right!?] i'm not. i am so thankful for netflix. my extrovert bubbly sassy self has been an introverted normal human since i got here. you see i'm normally the life of the party. if i could i would hangout with someone every night of the week. but not here. i usually work till 6 - come home - shower - make dinner and then read a little or watch netflix. and hulu. or both. HA! don't judge me. last weekend i was facetiming with the dalton family and mama diane was like " are you going out tonight?! " and i was like "out where? no but i'm watching grey's anatomy" hahahah.

[ okay now comes the part where i tell you the three hardest things about being here. 3 is a magic number. thats why i chose it. pastor joe would agree. ]

1. not having the people i love the most here with me. holy smokes it is so hard. SO SO HARD. 

 * i miss my mama + watching our favorite shows together + fighting in the kitchen + bothering dad together + shopping + all the things we do together. i think i'll miss her most when my winter bronchitis sets in and i can't breathe and there is no one to give me all the essential oils or tell me to go sleep in the basement so they can sleep. HA

 * i miss my daddy. no one can make me laugh like RT can make me laugh. i miss the wrinkle he gets on his forehead when i say something i shouldn't. i miss talking politics and bugging him while he watches the news. i miss him making me coffee. and i miss him talking about all his favorite people. and simply just talking to him.
[ i call mom way more than i call dad. dad makes me more weepy. i am not sure why. when i talk to him my eyes start welling up. i love you papa. ]

 * i miss my sissy and mark and the littles. ugh i miss them so much. when i left home my nephew was a crabby bub and wouldn't even hug me goodbye. and since i've been here he has been so sweet and isn't a crab anymore and wrote me the sweetest letter. and my niece - oh my heart the other day on facetime she started crying. i can't wait to see them in february. i'm going to meet them in hawaii i think. because why not. because if hawaii calls you answer.

 * i miss my tribe. my best of friends. not having them near has been kind of terrible. i can't lie about it. i miss watching bachelor on mondays with the girls [ and the boys ] ... i miss weekends at erin + noel's watching movies and going to burntwood with erin and then complaining to noel about the food every time and yet we still go back. and then hanging out with beyonce and hank [ the animals ] HA! i miss watching stupid old movies with elly + going to dinner or baseball games with andrea. i miss church dates with eva + man cave hangouts with my rach. i miss just being together. my love language is quality time. i love just being with the people i love the most. and being far is hard. so so very hard. i've watched people move before. but usually they have someone with them. or know someone where they were going. i had neither. and it has been super hard. and a real bummer.

2. missing my church. 

* Sundays have been hard. probably my hardest days here. the loneliness has been thick. i miss walking into a place where faces are familiar and worshipping with my parents and friends. i miss being with people. i miss my pastor. worshipping alone is weird. seeing oceans of strangers in weird. not understanding your pastors jokes because you are new is weird. having no one know you are new is weird. being the person who is sitting alone is weird. it is all just so unfamiliar to me to be the new girl. i don't like it. it makes me miss sunday mornings at home. it makes me miss my church. i am sure my church here will become that place eventually. but it just isn't yet.

3. missing things at home. 
 * like people getting engaged and other fun activities. theres not much to elaborate on here...but i just am having some serious fear of missing out. pray for me. LOL okay but i'm kinda serious. fomo is real people.

[ okay now comes the part where i tell you all about the fun little things i've learned during my time here. ]

1. there are more round abouts here than i have ever seen in my whole life. picture miniature tallmadge circles on every freaking road. many times the littles have giggled while we loop around again because i'm lost or missed our exit.
2. moose are HUGE
3. they have blockbuster video here. it still exists. i tell the truth.
4. i hardly ever see police. it's so weird. but i am used to silver lake police patrolling my street at home like a bunch of barney's. so maybe the police here are just sneaky.
5. you will never get used to the sunsets. they are magical.
6. they have earthquakes.
7. there is no chipotle. or chick fil a. so i've saved about $300 so far.
8. the highways just like end sometimes and all of a sudden your at a red light + you praise the Heavens that you aren't dead. and then all of a sudden you have to make a right hand turn to be on the highway again. it is so confusing.
9. i'm the only one who cares about cleveland sports. i've tried to get strangers on the bandwagon. they just don't get it.
10. you should come visit me. [ i had to say it. ]

i'm sure i'll discover many more quirks.

okay that is all for now. the sun has gone to bed and so must i.

Be Brave 

Shelby Elyse