Friday, April 12, 2019

introducing me!


i figured it was time for a little "about me" post. there are a lot of fresh new faces around here + i want you guys to know me just a little bit better. these kind of posts are some of my favorite to read on other blogs ... so I thought i'd do it too.

i am 27. so we will go with 27 fun facts.

1. my middle name is elyse ... and i love it. i love all middle names. tell me yours!

2. i am the baby of the family. by 7 years. i have an older sister + brother.

3. i am not a big fan of commas - or capital letters. you won't see them here a lot.

4. if i could wear overalls every day i would.

5. my family has this thing called "the 3 things" ... our parents started doing it when my sister was born. but it has turned into our family slogan. we have said it so much so that sometimes my dad will just hold up 3 fingers and i know what he means. if you are wondering the 3 things are ... " i love you very much. i think you are special. and i am very proud of you." see? it's cute!

6. popcorn and organic cheese puffs are my favorite snacks.

7.  i moved to alaska 2.5 years ago after living in ohio for 25 years.

8. i have a rare genetic disorder called noonan syndrome.

9. i named my dog scout finch after the character in to kill a mockingbird. which also happens to be one of my very favorite books.

10. my favorite place in the world is sunset beach - in north carolina. it's precious.

11. i met my two very best friends in kindergarten. they are so dear to me. in fact. 95% of my close friends have known me since before the 6th grade. i guess you could say i'm sticky. if i love you i love you for life.

12. i hate bananas. and also have texture issues with food. and also don't like food to touch. except chipotle.

13. i love cleveland sports. andddd also the pittsburgh steelers. sorry ohio friends. stone me!

14. i am terrified of clowns + fuzzy costume people.

15. my hair is naturally curly. no i don't get perms. i'd like to thank my mama. my daddy + Jesus.

16. i learn best with music + remember almost every lyric to every song i've ever heard.

17. essential oils are my jam. they have given me emotional + immune support. if you would like to know more about oils feel free to email me or click this link!

18. redeeming love by francine rivers is one of my all time favorite books.

19. i laugh when i shouldn't + i cry more than i should.

20. i am 5 feet tall.

21. i have a brain tumor. it's benign. it's stable. i'm grateful. GOD IS FAITHFUL + KIND. also :: sometimes when people hear i have a brain tumor they freak out + are like "oh no she'll die in my house." but don't freak out. i'm fine. life is beautiful!

22. i have a tattoo on my left arm that says "daughter, your faith has healed you." it's from the story in the bible where Jesus heals the woman who had been sick for 12 years. she had FAITH that if she could just touch his clothes she would be healed. i wanted this for a long time. and finally got it two years ago. because one day healing will come. on earth or in heaven. it is a gentle reminder + a push to always have faith like that beautiful young woman did. but best of all ... it's in my parents handwriting. "daughter," is my dad's + "your faith has healed you" is my moms. oh friends. this story  YES friends. there is a comma on my arm. i can't believe it either. but i can't change the Bible.

also :: i have a whole blog post about it ... if you wanna read it DAUGHTER YOUR FAITH HAS HEALED YOU

23. Hosea is my favorite book of the bible.

24. the biggest thing i have struggled with in the past 10 years or so is probably my weight + staying confident even though my body doesn't look like i want it to. years of sickness and medications ruined me. and i have had to learn to be okay with the number on the scale. i had to realize that healthy doesn't mean stick thin. that God does not want me to be ashamed of what i look like. scars are beautiful + scales are brutal + it is okay to love exactly who i am. in the words of my friend Shauna Niequist [ okay not my real life friend - but my someday friend ] "my friends are not actually counting the days till summer to see if i finally turned into a supermodel..." HALLELUJAH FOR THAT!

25. i love to go to the movies by myself. popcorn. cherry coke. a blanket scarf to cozy up in. it's just the best.

26. i am a hopeless romantic. i just love love. and love people. and honestly i wish there were more words for love in the english language because i use it too much. but i just adore everyone and i think they should know.

27. Jesus is my very favorite. forever + ever.

i'd love to hear a fun fact about you! feel free to comment below!

be brave

shelby elyse taylor

Saturday, January 5, 2019

His watchful eye

[ i sing because i'm happy, i sing because i'm free ... for His eye is on the sparrow and i know He watches me. ]

i catch myself singing this song sometimes when i am anxious. as if i am absentmindedly telling myself everything is going to be okay. that the Lord sees me - that He has not forgotten about me. the truth is - sometimes i feel like He doesn't see me. sometimes i feel like He may have forgotten. i hate to even say it - because i know it isn't true - but it's how i feel. sometimes.

at the beginning of november i went to a writers retreat. 30 beautiful and unique women were there. i had a room full of mama's. Jesus was present. hearts were healed. stories were told. memories poured out of us like a fresh cup of hot coffee. some beautiful - some painful + some so raw it was hard to even write.

that weekend more dreams and hope for my future began to flourish. i felt God telling me that the path i am on is the right one - but He asked me to promise to let Him lead. He brought women into my life who spoke beautiful words over me - even further nailing in the truths He wanted me to hear. i walked through the doors of that weekend wondering if i was doing the right thing. "am i really supposed to write it all down God?" "are You sure i am cut out for all this?" and so softly and tenderly just as He always has - He answered - in big ways. HE SAW ME.

i called home to mom and dad one afternoon - while sipping a chick-fil-a iced coffee + began to tell them about it. but soon realized that some of the words i had written i couldn't even read to them.
and then it hit me like a ton of bricks - everything i write is not for everyones eyes. it was shocking to realize ... and at the same time i shouldn't have been one bit surprised.

i have always been loud with my story. screamed it from the rooftops. we have begged the nations for prayer from the minute i was born. and yet - as i sat there with my coffee i realized - i can keep some things to myself. you may be thinking [ it took you this long? ] but friends :: when your story has always been public - you just let it be.

i have been quiet here on the blog. a 6 month hiatus. because what i have been writing - is either waiting to be read at a later date - or tucked away never to be read because it is too sacred.

i feel like i need to tell you :: that i'm sorry for being a broken record here the last few years. the highs and lows of writing and stopping. and constantly telling you i'm writing my book but abandoning ship here at the blog... to be honest this book has been harder to write than i ever imagined. i have changed courses a few times. and the entire thing has been like one big therapy session without a therapist. some days i sit in starbucks and erase full paragraphs because they don't make sense. other days i just can't write because the memories are too hard to reflect on.

the other day i was sitting at my sister's kichen table and we were talking about my future. how i feel called to write and travel and speak - but i just don't know what it will look like. she got up to grab some water and said "shelbs i'm sure this book has been really hard to write - healing but still really hard to remember everything because none of what you went through was normal." she gets me.

so i'm sorry ... for abandoning + floundering + choosing not to share - even when so much life is being lived. sometimes it's just too hard.

there are times where i just need to be silent and reflect. and the past 6 months i just needed that.

i am not one for resolutions ... mostly because i don't like to disappoint myself. but this year i am going to try to write more. be present here. decide not to abandon ship. and welcome you in. even when it's hard.

the past few days i have felt extremely anxious. probably because i've been sick + so i get all weepy and feel cruddy + basically turn into a toddler. so between podcasts and naps - i've been praying and writing and asking God what i should do next...

i talk to God when i drive. i tell Him about my day. ask Him questions. cry. yell. beg. wonder. all of it. He can handle it. sometimes mid conversation someone will cut me off or i will have to slam on my breaks for a red light + i yell a bad word. and then i have to apologize to God because i cussed mid prayer. i imagine he just shakes his head like my dad does here on earth and thinks something like ...  " i raised you better shelby elyse ... but i forgive you." i always imagine God calls me by my first and middle name.

anyways ... today i had to run to the store because i ran out of elderberry syrup for my immune system #granolagirl ... and so i was talking to God and telling Him that i'm all done being sick... and i was like [seriously Man!?  i was just home with mom for 2 weeks and you let me get sick when i'm back here in the land of ice and snow all alone?]

and then it hit me ... HE SEES ME.

so despite not feeling good. despite wanting to shut everyone out. despite days when it is too hard to write. despite not knowing exactly what is next...

[ i sing because i'm happy. i sing because i'm free. for His eye is on the sparrow...
and i know He watches me. ]

He sees you too fam...

He sees you too.

Be Brave

Shelby Elyse

Monday, June 25, 2018

it's hard to have a heartbeat in two different places.

i have a question.

Q: have you seen those trendy t-shirts that have a map on them with hearts in two different cities with a dotted line connecting them? or maybe the dish towel version? or the coffee mug?

A: yes - great! me too!
     no - okay! just pretend!

my point :: i feel a lot like that dotted line lately. like i have a heartbeat in two different places. one in ohio. one in alaska. and perhaps a few teeny tiny pieces of my heart sprinkled inbetween.

this week ben rector released a new album. and one of the songs is called "old friends" and when i heard it a few weeks back i cried. he speaks of knowing your friends house phone numbers from memory + getting to friends houses on his bike. he shouts that "no one in his time zone knows what inline skates" he wore. that "no one knows you like they know you". "you can grow up - make new ones - but theres nothing like old friends."

there is one line in particular that says  "i've got some new friends now. but i've never seen their parents back porch." believe me when i say - when i heard it - i wept. it just about knocked the wind out of me.

if you want to hear the song - CLICK HERE

this year i have had friends back home get married. have babies. and go through huge life changes. and if i'm being honest with you - it's hard to be so far away. because my heart feels like it's still in ohio. walking around with people i love.

and although i've made new friends. they only just know who i am now. they know my story but they didn't walk through it with me. and while sometimes that is refreshing. sometimes it's terrifying. because it doesn't always feel safe. sometimes i feel safe. with a few people i feel really safe.  just not always.

sometimes i just need a hug from my best friends since kindergarten instead of advice from someone who didn't walk through the hard with me. and then sometimes i need someone who wasn't always there - who knows the person i've become because of the hard - to just sit with me as i sort it all out. it's delicate.

it's different with the ones you shared a childhood with. because we were young together. and we really KNOW each other. and then all of a sudden we are all on the verge of turning 27. but still we sit in my parents kitchen and reminisce when i'm home. we talk about the beautiful and the hard. the easy going days of elementary school. the brutal realities of junior high. the magic of high school. and the growth that college brought. we laugh about the teachers we had crushes on. because you know - everyone has a teacher crush. this time - dad was asking about our teacher crushes and since they are his colleagues it was HILARIOUS. but it is times like those where all of a sudden i'm transported back to childhood. the kitchen might look a little different. and we might look a little different. now there are husbands and babies to get home to. planes to catch to get home. even still - when we tell my mom we're going to grab Swenson's so we can eat it during the 4th quarter of the cavs game - she says "it's late be careful." our lives have changed drastically. but there will still be something that holds us all together.

but then here ... here holds so much new and so much growth. here i get to sit around a kitchen table on monday nights and make new memories with friends. here i have been adopted into the coolest family who actually genuinely cares about me. here i feel loved and known for who i am now. here i live above my friend's parents and when i get home from a trip they have me come sit on the couch and tell them about it. here i get to share bits and pieces of my story with people who know nothing about it. here looks so much different than i thought it would 23 months ago when i was preparing to come. here isn't anything like i expected. but i kinda love it here.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places.

a few weeks ago i road tripped from ohio to florida with my parents. if you don't know them you should. i call them mama brave + RT. we stopped to see friends in nashville, tn + birmingham, al. it was a blast. i made them listen to "love does" by bob goff because - well - who doesn't love bob!?

if you want to read bob’s book :: CLICK HERE

we were headed to a beach in florida that i have never been to. something hard for me. because i love tradition. i am nostalgic through and through. i'm not one for changing something that is good and lovely. but alas - here i was - headed to this beach.

my entire life we have gone to sunset beach, nc. i think we have been there 23 times in the last 27 years. maybe 22. and we have only really missed for weddings + my make a wish trip. sunset beach is so dear to me. if you'd like to read about it CLICK HERE!

this new beach was fine. but i missed my old beach. it didn't hold the nostalgia. or the memories. and while it was beautiful to be with my family ... it just wasn't as precious as it normally is. this part of the ocean didn't recognize me. also to give the beach the benefit of the doubt - it did rain all week. there was a depression in the gulf. but i promise you. the rain isn't why i didn't feel home there. i was thankful for the rain.

[ there is something about my little piece of the OCEAN ... i feel known there. like God shows me bits of who i'll become. in the waves i see His majesty unfolding + His love for me there ... GRAND.]

so while this new beach held beauty because of the people i was with ... my heart still longed for my old beach.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places.

a few days ago my dad called with some bad news. my 1st grade teacher was entering hospice care. less than 48 hours later another call came ... she had gone to be with Jesus. i am still processing it all. mrs. hershman was so so precious to me. i remember 1st grade pretty vividly. her room was bright and full of joy. smiley faces were a must + getting everyone to be an excellent reader was on her agenda. we had this giant book of words called victory drill. we would go up to her desk one by one and be quizzed on the pages and how long it took us to read them. when you finished the book - she presented you with a bible.

i remember the morning i finished. it was track and field day. the awards ceremony was one day away. she called me over and said "okay. we're gunna try one more time sweet thing." and she pushed that timer and i started reading. well. i passed. and the next day she gave me my bible in front of the school. one of the only awards i've ever won! haha. but her love for me didn't stop there. she sent birthday cards into my high school days. prayed me through the hard days. brought smiley face everything after my brain surgery. and consistently encouraged me up until a few months ago through facebook. i was trying to remember this week the last time i saw her. and i couldn't remember. and that made me emotional. but i suppose it's okay. because what i remember is a young vibrant lady who loved her family - friends - students - and especially her Savior well.

just about everyone i've talked to has said "she was my favorite teacher" "she is why i came a teacher" "i loved that lady." and the compliments just keep coming. i hope to leave a legacy like that.

truthfully - i wish i could have seen her one more time. i wish the letter i started writing her wednesday could have been finished in time for her to read it before she passed. i wish she could have gotten a little more time. but how selfish of me to wish that. for her to be back on earth when she gets to be in Glory. how selfish of me to want more time. when she is with the One who holds all time.

this week my heart is hurt. the sting of this earth is enough to bring you to your knees some days. but the promise of heaven is what i cling to.

here and there. my heart seems to be in both places. 

this week in my journal i wrote this::
when i'm here. i miss home.
when i'm home. i miss here.
and i try to be present in these spaces. be grateful for where i am. but i'll tell you...
it's hard to have a heart beat in two different places.

be brave

shelby elyse