Tuesday, April 21, 2020

becoming a hugger

"umm i don't like hugs" i often tell people as i awkwardly pull away from their reach.

my close friends have learned to protect me. "don't touch her."...  "she doesn't love being hugged." they will say as someone comes for me with open arms.

if i do let you hug me. that means i feel extremely secure. i was built with a longing to be safe. i crave protection and safety at all times. if i don't feel that from you i flee. but if i know i am loved and known i let you hug me. and truth me told - you should be honored. i will hug my mama all day long if i'm allowed. i will hug most of my close friends. there are some friends that i still don't hug. because ... i'm not ready. or maybe i should say - i wasn't ready.

so often i don't have time to explain myself. i make a quick exit right and dodge people trying to touch me ... and if they don't know my background ... within minutes the jokes start.

"this'll be hard when you get married." ... "one day you'll love to be touched."

i laugh and say "God will give me a special grace." but my brain is thinking "who the heck says that to someone they barely know? ... only MY PEOPLE are allowed to joke with me like that."
let's back up.

you might be like "holy smokes this is wild." ... and it is. everything about my life feels wild.

you might also be wondering why in the world i wouldn't want to be hugged.

i decided i should keep it short and sweet. [ just like me. 5 feet probs. ] okay. i'll try my best.

# 1 - i have a brain tumor sitting on my thalamus. and while your thalamus is absolutely magical and controls so many things about our incredible bodies - it has a lot to do with our senses. so a lot of mine are heightened ... my dad says i have x-ray smelling and hearing. which is hilarious since you can't see those things. and my sense of touch is just on overdrive. when my doctor took the majority of my tumor out he was worried that if he nicked my thalamus all my senses would be - poof - destroyed. so he left some tumor. it was just too risky. right? right! but. leaving that little guy behind has seemed to leave my senses on overdrive all the dang time. it's wild. see. i told you!

# 2 - this one's is a little more complicated. basically i was poked and prodded my whole life. and then one day. my brain put her foot down. and she said to me "no more of this. you don't even like to be touched. it's actually really awful." and my body began to listen to her. because she's in charge up there and all. and then slowly it became a defense mechanism. and my body became entwined in this whole charade that my brain had set before it. slowly it turned from physical to psychological. so slowly i barely even knew it was happening.

i started going to a new chiropractor in february - and at my first appointment with her she raised my arm up to do some muscle testing. and all of a sudden i sat completely straight up. because my body remembered exactly what to do. my OT used to do muscle testing on me. but it's been years and years since i saw her. but every cell in my body from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head knew what to do. it was amazing. and as she's worked on me the last few months - she continually says "your brain is telling your body it doesn't feel safe. but your body is screaming for help." it's incredible to me that this brain of mine has tricked my body into thinking it hates to be touched. shame on her.

but lately. since this whole quarantine thing it seems that i actually want a hug. i am missing the people. when i am not allowed to hug a single soul - suddenly my brain is telling my body it is longing for it. funny how that works. shame on her again. like seriously brain? no one is asking for a hug. no one is touching your arm when they talk to you for no reason. and yet this brain of mine is like " i could really use a hug. " because. well. that's how we were designed.

we weren't created to be alone. God did not desire for us to feel alone. His desire was for us to always feel safe and protected and secure.

and so my friends ...

i hate to say it. i can't believe these words will leave me. but.

i might ... just might be...

becoming a hugger.

hahaha okay maybe not. we will see how i feel once this whole thing is over and i can actually have the option again. my brain - she is smart - so maybe she's just playing games with my heart.

if during this isolation you have the gift of being with your family - hug them. way too much.

and if you don't ... and you are missing hugs. i get it. and i am so sorry. soon this will all be over.

love you fam!

be brave

shelby elyse taylor

Friday, March 27, 2020

He is in your boat - a guest blog post


 missed you! i've got a few things in the works to share with you soon ... but i wanted to let you know something super cool!!!

 i had the opportunity to be a guest blogger over at Beauty of Barrenness this week. my piece is based off of matthew 8.

i would love if it you would go read!

i'm leaving the link below


be brave fam

and stay healthy

i love you very much - i think you are special + i am very proud of you

shelby elyse taylor

Monday, November 18, 2019

you have so much of her in you.

i have tried to write this for nearly 4 months. my grandma met Jesus on July 24th. with my handsome grandpa sitting strong by her side. she was days away from her 92nd birthday + their 69th wedding anniversary was just around the corner. in the aftermath i found myself being forced to sit in the grief. i didn't like it one bit. but there i was.

i have always felt things big. extremely big. some may call it drama. others crazy. but friends i'm a feeler. if i am happy - you will know it. and if i am sad - well. that one is a bit more complicated. if you love me + know me well - you will know when i am sad. but if you don't really KNOW me - you might not. if i am grieving something - i quietly retreat. spend as much time as i can by myself. and i cry till i can't cry anymore. i process the whole thing in one fell swoop.

in the weeks following her Homegoing - i hung out by myself SO MUCH. which is really unlike me.  i went for a lot of long drives so i could talk to God + listen to worship songs.

when i wasn't driving : i journaled + read my bible + slept a lot.

no :: i didn't feel depressed. i was just sad. i was just coming to terms with the reality that my spunky little hero was gone. i had to face these feelings. i had to. if i didn't face the music ... i knew one day i would have a random breakdown in the middle of target because something smelled like her.

i know myself really well. i had to process. the best i knew how.

a few days before my grandma died i was at my best friends house. we knew the day was coming and i got emotional thinking about it. i cried in their living room that evening. told them that i knew she was going to die soon + i was just so sad about it.

but later that night the conversation shifted ... we talked about how incredible heaven is going to be. what it will look like. the questions we have. all of it. and i got so excited for heaven i almost forget i was sad about death. there is so much to look forward to.

my dad called me on july 23rd saying he had just left my aunt's house and he thought my grandma was not doing great. i woke up on july 24th to the news that my grandma had met Jesus in the middle of the night. i hopped on a plane just 12 hours later + headed home to be with my family.

i spoke at my grandma's funeral. and thought that maybe i would share what i said here. this little blog is basically my diary. so i don't mind giving you a glimpse into that day.

it was beautiful. the day we celebrated her. the church was filled to the brim with people that loved our girl. every word spoken was precious. the entire day seemed so Holy.

the following is what i said at her celebration of life... 

i was told to keep things short. you would think that shouldn’t be hard for me : considering i am only 5 feet tall...but it was a feat my friends.

i was thinking about grandma this morning. i thought about what she would be doing in heaven. i like to think she’s rounded up as many people she can fit around her kitchen table + she’s stuffing them full of hot coffee + her homemade bread and raspberry jam. asking everyone what their favorite is so she can make it next time + giving that twinkle eyed wink to Jesus. but that’s just what I like to think - because it makes me feel better - because that’s the grandma i knew. but she’s probably actually sitting at the feet of the Father - singing His praises. Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God almighty. that is beautiful to me as well.

i decided i would share 3 things...

1. something i wrote about her last November ::

[my grandma taylor. her name is beulah. she is my twin - just 65 years older. we share curls + glasses + a love of cooking. she is as spunky as they come + she can’t remember my name anymore. even still - she grabs my hands + gets a twinkle in her eye + says [ hi sweetheart : i know you are one of mine. ] she has the heart of a servant + more zest for life than an entire orchard of lemon trees. how lucky we are to have her. what a precious gift she is. more precious than rubies i like to say. she is SO cute! my dream is to be just like her. raise 5 kids. break the mold. keep trusting in Jesus - even when it gets hard. but most of all : i pray i can love like her - she loves so well that all 11 cousins are sure they are the favorite. i pray i can forgive like her - for the little + the big. + i pray i can be as brave as her. she has always called me her brave girl ... but i promise there is no one braver than beulah lee.]

2. something that made us laugh :: 

this is something we like to call "the macaroni salad story." 😂 ... when i was little my parents told me to eat everything that grandma served you + to say thank you more times than you could count. well. one day my lunch plate was set down in front of me + had a big old scoop of macaroni salad on it. like. noodles covered in mayonnaise with some crunchy veggies mixed in. now don't get me wrong. i'm all about noodles. and i'm all about mayonnaise. just not together. i think i must have been around 8 or 9 at the time. and i told her "grandma thank you so much for my lunch! mmmm i love this!" to which she responded "sweetheart thank you! you love that macaroni salad?" and i think i told her "yes it's my favorite." BIG MISTAKE!!! for the next 10 YEARS every time i went to grandma's she made macaroni salad. she would get that ice cold mayonnaise covered noodle goo out of the fridge and dump it on my plate. AND SEND US HOME WITH ANOTHER VAT OF IT BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT I LOVED IT!!!! hahahahahaha!!!! EVERYONE knew i didn't like it. mom. dad. my siblings. the aunts. uncles. and cousins. i think they ALL KNEW. but not grandma. we didn't know how to tell her!!! one day in the summer following my senior year of HS my mom casually told her "hey beulah i'm not sure shelbs loves macaroni salad anymore. but she sure does love applesauce and butterscotch squares." PHEW! end of an era. for the next few years ... until she couldn't cook anymore ... i went home with applesauce! HALLELUJAH! ... 

[this story is silly ... but i think you should know that was the only time i lied to my grandma ... and at the funeral i told grandpa " don't you dare tell her when you get to heaven! " haha!]

3. the most important things she taught me ::

that if bellies are full. laughter is abundant + you are walking with Jesus life will be beautiful. it won’t always be easy but it will be beautiful. my dad always grandma came from the school of hard knocks. and that is where she got her spunk. she raised my daddy, my aunts and my uncle to be strong + bold. she poured such Godly wisdom into me + my 10 cousins. she sang in the kitchen + prayed for us so fervently. she was strength under control. the perfect person to live alongside my grandpa. she was a proverbs 31 woman in real life ::

[strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. she opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. she looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.] 


last week i was talking with my alaska "family" and my bff mandy asked me if there was ever a compliment i loved getting. at first i gave a flippant answer. it was true but it was pretty general. and then after i sat there a while i remembered. 

at the lunch following my grandma's burial one of our dearest family friends grabbed me to talk. she told me how much she loved me + told me my speech was great. and then these words left her lips and i don't think i will ever forget them. 

she told me ... "shelby. you have so much of her in you."

she meant my 91 year old bff. my beautiful beulah. the one who i just lost. 

it was the greatest compliment i have ever received. 

the grief process seems extremely unkind at times. just last weekend my uncle posted a video of everyone celebrating my cousins' birthdays. and as the camera moved i scanned the room. and for less than 15 seconds i forgot. i searched for her. her petite frame wasn't standing by my grandpa's side. and then it hit me. she's gone. dang. it seems the moments you forget become the hardest ones. i think i will miss her every day for the rest of my life. i don't think what they say is true. i don't think time heals. but man. the time we had with her was filled with so much beauty. i will be forever thankful. 

i love you beulah lee. and i miss you a whole lot. 

till kingdom come. 


shelby elyse