Wednesday, January 3, 2018

if i was 16 again.

i've been thinking about high school lately. who i was. how i acted. the choices i made. who my friends were. who i wish i had been friends with. and so much more.

and if i'm being totally honest with you. there are so many things i would have done differently.

i would have sat with the loner more.

i would have stood up for the kid getting picked on more.

i would have stood up for myself more.

i would have TP'd more people. haha but really.

when i didn't get asked to homecoming or prom i wouldn't have been upset.

i would not have tried to act different. because lets be real. it never worked.

i wouldn't have been embarassed about my learning disability.

i wouldn't have worn certain clothes or shoes to try to "fit in" because i wasn't born to fit in.

i wouldn't have told everyone who i had a crush on. because i ended up embarassing myself every time. and still being alone. why didn't i learn?

BOYS who i had a crush on - i'm so sorry i was so crazy.

because as taylor swift once wrote "in your life you'll do things greater than dating the boy on the football team." i shoulda listened to t-swift.

i wish i would have invested into a smaller group of people rather than try to be friends with every single person in school.

BUT - i also wouldn't have apologized for keeping my kindergarten 5 so close to my heart. because i wasn't trying to exclude - i was just holding close what meant the most.

i would have tried to protect myself more. and maybe trusted a little less.

one time i walked out of bible class because i disagreed so strongly with what my teacher was saying. if i had to go back - i don't think i would have walked out. i probably would have tried to have a discussion about it. but at the time i was grieving a loss and i just couldn't come to grips with what that teacher was saying. i still don't agree with what was said - but now i understand where that person was coming from. so i wish i would have stayed that day.

i would have listened to my mom and dad when they said " i don't think this friend is someone who will stick around. " OR " he isn't worth it. " OR " trooper don't try to be like anyone else. "

i wouldn't have straightened my hair.

i would have paid closer attention in spanish class.

i would have apologized more.

i would have complained less.

i would have been more grateful that i got to go to such an amazing school.

i wish i could go back to all the days i missed. because i was home sick so much. i feel like i missed out on a ton. i wish i had those days back.

if i could go back...

i would have invited the cheerleaders and the drama kids over at the same time. because i think they would have loved each other. maybe not. but i wish i would have done that.

i wouldn't have gotten upset when people called me annoying. because as a wise friend told me this year. all those people in high school were just confused. annoying wasn't the right word. i was just... confident. okay. maybe annoying sometimes.

i would have gone to visit my dad in his office more often. and coach spodnik. why didn't i do that?

i would have told mom that i couldn't keep wearing children's place clothes in high school. because it happened you guys. hahaha. oh man.

i would have told myself that most of what i worried about was trivial.

i wouldn't have worried that i was going to die before 20.

i would have told myself that depression would hit - but i would be okay.

i would have hugged my friends more.

i would have never missed an opportunity to tell my people i loved them.

i would have dreamed bigger.

i would have been braver.

i would have been a little more bold.

theres so much i would have done.

theres no going back.

but  how beautiful it has been to learn.

what would you tell your 16 year old self?

be brave

shelby elyse taylor

Sunday, October 29, 2017

daughter, your faith has healed you.

she had so much faith. that young woman in the Bible. [ if i can just touch His cloak, she thought, then i WILL be healed. ] i dream of having a faith like that.

her faith changed me. her faith inspired me. i can't wait to meet her one day in Glory. i have a feeling we will be bffe's. [best friends for eternity.]

i feel like sometimes i become a broken record here. talking about my trials. but i also feel that with each year comes new challenges - or new things i've overcome. similarly - as each year passes my brain becomes more able to understand what has actually happened. and i've had to unpack it all while trying to keep it together + live life like a "normal" girl. so i apologize if you are tired of reading about it. but honestly - it won't stop anytime soon. so i guess if it tires you out - don't read my blog? i don't say that to sound rude - it's just my honest advice. my trials have made me who i am - this journey has helped me discover who God wants me to be.

i can't change that. i refuse to try.

this year. my faith has been tested. in ways like never before. this year has been tough. i have felt lonely often + wished i could be more brave. i tell people all the time that i would rather be physically ill than struggle mentally and in my spirit. there is a certain kind of control i feel when my it's my body. but when it's my mind and spirit - it often feels out of control. so all of this "new" that has flourished the past year or so has been hard.

but i will scream it from the mountain tops until the day i die.

even when i'm doubtful. my Jesus is SO faithful!

you hear me?

EVEN WHEN I'M DOUBTFUL - MY JESUS IS SO FAITHFUL.

the action from this young woman in the bible has always encouraged me. but what has been more special is what Jesus replies with.

[ DAUGHTER, your faith has healed you. go in peace. ]

it gets me everytime! Jesus didn't even touch her + she was healed. for just BELIEVING.

[[ you guys. i love it so much so that i got "daughter, your faith has healed you" tattooed on my arm last march. on the 12 year anniversary of my brain surgery. in my mom + dad's handwriting ... because obviously that was the only way they'd agree to it. hahaha. God Bless RT + LT for putting up with me. and letting me be my wild and free self all the time. ]]

anyways ... now - i know to some this is a sticky subject. it is for myself as well. for many years of my life i was pelted with the lies of "well if you have enough faith you won't be sick anymore." or "if you really had Jesus in your heart and were walking with the Lord like you say you are, you wouldn't be sick at all."

i beg to differ bro. because i love me some Jesus. and my immune system still doesn't love me.

but everything i have been through is so much greater than i think i even know now. there is an incredible purpose in store. and i think the older i get - the more aware of that truth i become.

i've said it before + i'll say it till my lungs give out - my complete healing may not come on this earth. it may come in heaven. but the healing will still come. i am sure of that. it's promised.

most days i long for the wholeness that heaven will bring. because if i'm being real with you - most days my body aches + i don't feel 100% ... but who wants to be the girl that is constantly whining about not having a perfect body? not me. that's for sure. so i just keep on trucking. because i know one day - my body will be perfect + whole + i won't even remember what this earthly one was like.

last month i spent a week in ohio. i flew home to stand beside one of my best friends as she married the man that God designed just for her.

since i knew i'd be home anyways - i scheduled my MRI + neurooncology appointment for that week.

i'm not sure if it was the fact that my alaska life is just busy ... or if it was really a total peace from God but in the weeks leading up to my MRI i wasn't a trainwreck like i normally am before a scan. i didn't have a ton of scanxiety + i didn't feel like i was going to burst into tears every moment of every day.

my mama and i made our way to cleveland clinic on a tuesday + can i just say that i will never forget that day.

the beginning of my appointment didn't go well. 3 of my veins blew just trying to get my IV placed + then they just kept bleeding and bleeding. they had to change my bandaids and gauze before i was even walked back to my MRI.

and my brain is so messed up that i sat there and thought to myself "great. i can't stop bleeding. i definitely have cancer. i have leukemia. i'm sure. can't wait to find out in an hour."

also:: i'm not a complete psycho - i grew up around oncology. i know a lot. i also am covered in bruises + noonan syndrome can have a predisposition to some kinds of leukemia - so i'm not a psycho but...

I AM A MESS. FIX IT LORD!

well. i slept through most of my scan. but at first i thought i was having some kind of issue because i SWORE that a woman put me in the scan. and then it was a mans voice the whole time coming through the speakers. when he walked in i was like "phew you are a guy!!!" and he's like "haha yes sorry we tricked you!"

anyways - after my scan we made our way to the pediatric oncology/hemotology office.

they took my vitals - and as always - they measured me - which i find to be absolutely hilarious. because i'm 26. like ... do normal 26 year olds grow? hahah.

within a few minutes my amazing doctor entered the room. she sat down. pulled up my scans + her next words were a blessing straight from heaven.

she said "theres no growth. everything looks stable. if your tumor were to ever grow again, it would be absolutely remarkable. in a bad way - but still remarkable. i feel comfortable having no scan next year. how does that make you feel?"

and holy smokes i wasn't sure if i should burst into tears or dance with my mama.

i said "thats awesome...but it gives me a little anxiety."

she said that pediatric neurooncology is kinda like the hotel california ... once you are there you never leave. HAHA! so she said i could come back and see her in a year + we could just make sure i'm doing well + not having any symptoms. that made me feel better.

SHE ALSO SAID THIS:: that the parts of my brain they entered into to get to my tumor were totally healed + you couldn't even see where i had surgery.

at that point ... i almost totally lost my mind.

WHAT IS THIS LIFE!?

so the rest of the appointment we just talked about our lives. i filled her in on alaska + she told me about her kids. and then we went to leave...

so i gave dr. tekautz a big hug + she whispered in my ear "don't be afraid + don't take crap from anyone. if you are ever in ohio and need a nanny job - call me!" haha! she's the bomb.

minutes later me and my mama busted outta that place singing songs of praise + basically danced to the car.

we met my friend rachel so i could help her run some pre-wedding errands that day + she celebrated with me + i told her "this is awesome but also real scary." she helped me see the bright side of things but also didn't diminish my feelings. i love rach for that. she's so good at that. it's a beautiful quality.

that day + the days following, i just kept thinking ... when something is such a big part of your life + then all of a sudden it's not - it's weird.

like ... i've had over 30 MRI's in the last 12.5 years and then all of a sudden they say i don't need them anymore. ever. again.

and i'm supposed to just be like "okay. it's all good. i'll just forget i have a tumor in my brain."

that isn't realistic though you guys. i can't forget.

but that day the texts POURED in. everyone was so excited!

dad said "well you are just realizing what i've always known." ... his version of "your dad was in denial the past 12.5 years." hahaha. i love you papa.

my dear friend nina texted me and reminded me of my tattoo. she was like "shelbs maybe God is trying to tell you "daughter, your faith has healed you." it made me all teary eyed + then i said "maybe but it would be easier if it was just gone!" couldn't be truer! hahaha we laughed.

in all honesty - i'm still struggling with this. don't get me wrong. i'm thrilled. so grateful. but something about it is scary. everyone i've talked to that has experienced anything similar says these feelings are totally normal. i think normal is relative. but whatever i'm feeling is bizarre.

i told mom and dad that i think i want to have a scan in 5 years. just for my own sanity. and then after that maybe never again. whats scary for me is i don't remember what i felt like in the days leading up to my diagnosis. all i know is what mom and dad have told me. so it's not like i can be like "oh yeah this means my brain tumor is growing." so when i think of having a check up at the 5 year mark it leaves me with a little extra peace.

i still wake most mornings with that tiny part of my brain that goes "you could explode like a grenade you know?" and i'm like "NO! my neurooncologist said that would be remarkable." and my brain is like "but it would happen to you - everything about you is a mystery." and i'm like "SHUT UP BRAIN! i have a grand life to live!"

SO I'M SCARED! BUT YOU GUYS! I CANT HELP IT! IM TRYING!! #hotmessexpress

hahah. man. sometimes when i type things like this i feel like i'm actually insane. maybe i am.

at church recently we sang one of my favorite kari jobe songs called miracles. and as i stood there - worshipping in the 4th row my eyes welled up with tears + i almost had to sit down. because it was like Jesus was standing there - holding me + saying "DAUGHTER! don't you see me moving? don't you see that i'm the God of miracles? believe it shelby elyse!"

you know the feeling you have on christmas eve? where you are tucked back in your childhood bed and you can barely sleep because you know the morning will be so special? it will be filled with music + coffee + all your favorite people wrapped in blankets in the living room unwrapping packages that express your love? and you feel like you might actually burst!? and you want to sleep because you want the morning to come - but you also want to stay awake because you want to remember the moments?

that's kinda how i feel about being healed. i want it to come. i truly do. but there are pieces of me that don't want it to. don't take this the wrong way people. i don't want to be sick. i don't want to have a brain tumor or a genetic disorder. but i think that if they all went away i would forget who i was without them. just like i want to fall asleep on christmas eve for the morning to come. i long to be healed because i want a new body. and just as i want to stay awake to remember the moments - i want a part of me to not be healed because i want to remember who Jesus wants me to be IN this.

so maybe for now. i stay in the space of drifting in and out of sleep on christmas eve. maybe for now i'm okay with still having a brain tumor and not needing scans. maybe for now i'm okay with still having a genetic disorder and having issues because of it - but i stay thankful for the things we have under control + the small things that have gone away. maybe for now i'm okay with my days being filled with aches + feeling yucky - but i stay thankful for the good days when nothing hurts + i feel like i am wonder woman.

because one day ... one day it'll be like christmas morning.

because one day ... one day i will stand before my FATHER + He will look into my eyes + say "DAUGHTER! your faith has healed you!"

and i hope that young woman is waiting beside him. and i hope she can take me hand and show me around. and i hope she can get a glimpse into my story + i can hear all of hers. and i hope that Jesus will sit with us both + i hope that He will tell me what i have always known.

that her pain - that beautiful young woman's pain - meant something because it helped me. and that my pain. it means something. because it is going to help someone.

and that her healing - her precious and miraculous healing - meant something because it helped me. and that my healing - it will mean something. large or small. because it is going to help someone. 


[ the One who made the blind to see. is moving here in front of me. moving here in front of me. the One who made the deaf to hear. is silencing my every fear. silencing my every fear. i believe in You. i believe in You. You're the God of miracles. the one who does impossible is reaching out to make me whole. reaching out to make me whole. the one who put death in it's place. His life is flowing through my veins. life is flowing through my veins. i believe in you. i believe in you. You're the God of miracles. i believe in You. i believe in You. You're the God of miracles. the God who was and is to come. the power of the risen One. the God who brings the dead to life. You're the God of miracles. i believe in You! i believe in You! You're the God of miracles! ]

be brave

shelby elyse

Monday, August 7, 2017

he loves me like i love summer.

i love summer.

summer is my sweet spot. the sunshine makes everything in my being feel good. i feel more alive in summer. summer always brought the best memories. mama had her summers off from teaching. which was such a blessing. we had pool days and lazy days. my friends and i ran wild through cul de sacs and ice cream was a staple food. vbs was my very favorite week to look forward to + i loved visiting my family + swimming with the cousins. we caught lightning bugs at dusk + left all the windows open all night.

we spent every july at sunset beach in north carolina. my entire life we basked in the sun at my favorite place in the world. everything about being there brought healing and it felt like home. the car rides to and from were filled with james taylor + michael w smith music + holding our breath in the tunnels through the mountains. sunset beach - get ready - after a 2 year hiatus for weddings + all things alaska - the taylor gang is coming back in 2018.

in junior high my 3 best friends and i - along with our moms adventured all summer. zoos and cedar point. pool days and matinees. we must have gone to geauga lake 5 times that summer. [ rest in peace geauga lake ] i remember loving every moment. i remember laying in bed at night exhausted - yet filled to the brim with happiness + still feeling like i was on a roller coaster. [ ya'll know what i mean. right? also: why does this happen to us? ] i loved that summer. i hope to never forget it. i hope to never forget any summer.

i love the laid back - no schedule feeling that summer brings. i love being outside in my bare feet + tank top. i love being sun kissed. i love dinner on the patio + spontaneous picnics + having bonfires with the people i love the most. theres something special about it for me. i love hanging out with your friends + the feeling you get when the boy you had a crush on talks to you at the bonfire. i love sitting on front porches playing cards + going to drive ins + cleveland indians games. theres just something about it. i love heat lightening and warm thunderstorms - the ones that made you crawl in bed with your big brother when you were little. i love concerts at blossom music center. and dancing with dad at them without a care in the world. i love festivals and fairs and all the food at them. i just love summer.

but this year ... it just hasn't been the same. much like every other major change in my life over the past 10 months - this summer was different. i don't eat dinner outside every night + i barely have a tan. i have eaten ice cream exactly two times. there are no pool days and no spontaneous picnics. and i haven't had one sleepless night because i feel like i'm riding a roller coaster. HA! also: alaska doesn't have lightning bugs. or lightning - or thunder.

however...

this weekend i was with my friends who have adopted me. [don't worry - mama t + rt approve of the adoption. everyone has met and everyone loves each other.] but saturday was probably the most beautiful alaskan day i've experienced. we went to garage sales + berry picking + hiked and walked and we were just together.

together is my love language.

i was driving in the car with amanda + her kids + i thought "what does today feel like? why does this seem familiar?"

and then it suddenly hit me

TODAY FEELS LIKE SUMMER IN OHIO.

because when i was little we went garage sale shopping with grandpa herman all summer long when he'd come visit. because i picked fruit and veggies from grandma + grandpa taylor's garden whenever we went there. and then grandma taylor showed me how to can them. because i go on walks with my friends. and no ohio people - you can't call cuyahoga valley national park hiking. if you think it's hiking - come to alaska - then you'll understand. it is a walk. because the sun was shining + i wasn't cold + we walked around a farmers market + it just. i don't know... i guess

it just felt like ohio.

last week one of my precious doctors died. he was my geneticist. i met him when i was 9 years old. his name was dr. haynes robinson. and that man was a gentle giant. dr. robinson brought joy and hope to work with him. and i am so sad i didn't get to say goodbye. when i saw the press release from akron children's hospital my eyes welled up with tears. it is a strange feeling when someone who helped you stay well dies. i remember my days with him well. he walked with us in the thick of heartache.

he helped diagnosis my genetic disorder - noonan syndrome. he was there when i had to get test after test. he would joke "i think you shrunk." when i would see him after weeks of growth hormone shots. i remember the way he spoke to mama + dad. exceptionally brilliant + yet extremely tender hearted. pediatric doctors are special that way.

he was with us in the days leading up to my brain surgery - and the days after. i remember having an appointment a few days before my brain surgery with him. he had to check my entire body for freckles and moles and more to make sure i wasn't going to start growing tumors all over. apparently that can happen with noonan syndrome. and i remember feeling relieved to see him. because he was a familiar face. i knew no one else in this scary world of pediatric neurosurgery i had just been thrown into. but i knew him. and i remember hugging him as i left his office that day - sad that i had to walk out of the familiar + into the unknown + totally terrifying world of brain tumors again.

seeing him that afternoon was like a summer day in ohio when you've been drowing in alaska rain.

i will forever be grateful for that day with him. i hope to never forget it.

i will forever be grateful for this weekend too. i hope to never forget it.

this weekend was like a summer day in ohio ... this weekend God gave me a hint of home.

oh my heart. i long for the day when every day will feel like summer in Glory. do you think heaven will have a type of season like we've never experienced? like maybe God is holding out on us. summer - fall - winter - spring won't exist. but a 5th season of absolute bliss will instead? i sure hope so. but man i hope there is a beach. because if i'm being real with you - i'd like to go for a walk with Jesus on the beach. hold His hand and walk to the pier like i used to do with daddy. cause boy do i have a lot of things to talk to Jesus about.

[ these are the things that keep me up at night people. wondering if there is a 5th season in heaven. and coming up with questions to ask JC on the beach. ]

Jesus loves me this i know ... for the Bible tells me so.

He loves me like i love summer.

be brave

shelby elyse






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