Wednesday, December 2, 2015

kate's crazy christmas

words from holly mcrae's blog

Thank you to those who have generously sent in gift cards already for these families! Over $5,000 has already been received in the last few weeks. I wanted to quickly make you aware of a new option for donating to Kate's Crazy Christmas drive. Friends of ours have set up a page for Kate's Christmas drive through their foundation allowing for online donations, which some have requested. First, any donations made online will be tax deductible. Second, they will match up to $5,000 that is raised online! So if you were desiring to get involved and were hoping to be able to simply donate online, please do! Simply go to 100% of the proceeds will go to benefit the families selected for Kate's Christmas drive. We are hoping to have received most of the donations via mail and online by December 15th, allowing us time to package and mail or deliver them before Christmas. Again, we are so grateful for your help in this endeavor of Kate's. Gift cards can continue to be mailed to: 

Kate McRae (or Holly McRae)
Kate's Crazy Christmas
PO Box 8278 
Alta Loma, CA 91701

*please email for an alternative mailing address if not able to mail to a PO Box.

We continue to have the need for Target, Walmart,Visa, gas (Shell, ARCO, Chevron, BP gas station, Phillips 66)and grocery cards (specifically Vons and Albertsons). All gift cards accepted. 

I will update in the coming days about Kate, as scans are approaching and some treatments have changed as a result of her recent admission. For tonight though, I wanted to share briefly about one of the boys you are supporting....
Our lives changed quickly the first week of October when our 11- year- old son, Brendan, was diagnosed with esthesioneuroblastoma  It is rarely diagnosed early since there are so few signs.  Brendan had a severe headache one weekend late in September and a few days later lost the sight in his left eye.  An eye exam showed nothing, so a quick MRI revealed the fast growing tumor.  
Brendan has undergone 5 surgeries in 4 weeks -- 1 biopsy, 2 major sinus and eye surgeries, 1 craniotomy and eye socket reconstruction, and a bi-lateral neck dissection to remove cancerous lymph nodes in his neck.  He is now undergoing 6 weeks of radiation while starting his chemotherapy simultaneously.  He loves life and appreciates all the things people are doing to help him.  His favorite thing is to be home with his family -- his parents, 8 brothers and sisters, and his niece and nephew.  This Christmas he can't wait until everyone is home together.
Thank you for helping Kate love others battling a similar fight to her own. We are grateful for you. And for more information on her Christmas drive please visit previous journal entries.

please keep praying for my sweet friend! 
Blessed by a heavenly Daddy

Shelby Elyse

Sunday, October 18, 2015


hello my beautiful friends!

i have missed you. i wanted to say sorry for not writing for such a long time. life happened. that is the bottom line. best friends weddings + days with the littles filled my summer. we took our annual trip to sunset beach. which you all know is my favorite place in the whole history of the world. + for the most part summer was wonderful. then fall came and i got a job! teaching toddlers. which is pretty great. and i just got busy. oh. and i have a social life. you know. i like to see people. so the blogging just like got put on hold. sorry. 

but that isn't what this post is about. SHOCKER right?! here it goes.

[ FIRST ACTUALLY I SHOULD SAY SOMETHING:: if you are new here. hello! welcome. i'm shelby. 5 feet of spunk trying to save the world. i have a white girl afro accidentally. i really love Jesus. i like to cook and sing and write and a whole lot more. i'm basically a mess of ideas a whole bunch of the time + i'm kind of annoying. but i'm totally okay with that. WELCOME! this is my blog. i don't like grammar. at all. so i don't use it properly. and if that bugs you i'm sorry. talk to my people if you must. but it won't ever change. okay nice to meet you. bye! ]

moving along...

i turned 24 this summer.

on july 18th to be exact. the best day of the whole year. obviously.

and you guys. 24 is weird. it just is. i feel old + young + just really confused about a whole lot.

in late august my moms crazy family came in for a family reunion. on friday afternoon we all went on a 7 mile kayaking trip. between the spurts of my uncles trying to LITERALLY kill me by shoving my kayak in the muck or making me run into a tree i had a ton of time to think + talk to God + just reflect.

the last year held many things. 23 was a hard year for me. beautiful in so many ways. but still very hard. many of you know i went through a bit of a funk + started seeing a counselor. apparently when you are in and out of the hospital your whole life + have doctor appointments instead of soccer practice it takes a toll on you. but you don't know until you are 23 and wake up one day in february and feel like you've actually gone insane. PHEW. so shout out to everyone who helped me through that. it was rough. but i've learned so much. and i grew in ways i never expected. and i'm still growing. because thats what happens in life. you grow.

[ the season has shifted and changed. and so i let go of what i am use to and walk bravely into the unknown because i know God is right beside me with each step. ] - a modern day ruth 

but i decided that i learned 4 big things before i turned 24. or. while i was 23. but i like the 4's together. so i went with that.

you all know how much i love lists.

so here we go...

1. what i have been through does not define me. but it has helped me become the young lady i am today. so it does matter.

2. it is okay to step away from friendships.

3. just because i'm a dreamer doesn't mean i can't be content with where i'm at.

4. don't get lost in your story. it isn't yours. it's His.



epiphany 1: what i have been through does not define me. but it has helped me become the young lady i am today. so it does matter.

what i mean:: it took me almost a quarter of my life to figure this out. but i believe i figured it out exactly when i was supposed to. you see people. let me explain. now trust me when i say i'm not trying to throw a pity party for myself right now. i promise. because i am well aware that people have gone through much more than me. i think it will just help paint a picture of what i am feeling. help you understand my epiphany.

here is my reality::

i'm 24.  the day i was born they told my parents to name me so i wouldn't die without a name. hydrops was the diagnosis. in fact. they gave them choices of what they could do with me since i wouldn't survive. really sad choices. but mama + daddy chose to try + save my life. i am so thankful for that. no one expected me to survive. except my mom. she knew i would. no one else. oh. God knew! He knew + my mama knew. and i think my daddy secretly knew too. but if you ask him if he thought i was going to die he will say yes. hahah. okay. moving on. so i spent the first two months of my life in the hospital. they told my parents i would be on oxygen for the rest of my life. need a feeding tube. they said i wouldn't ever walk or talk on my own. they thought i might have down syndrome. they said i would be blind and deaf. and so much more. they basically said i would have no quality of life. they were VERY wrong. i came home on september 18, 1991. after beating every odd.

since then i have spent many nights + days in the hospital or in a doctors offices.

grateful always to be alive. yet hopeful for a day of healing.

[this is what the Lord says: I have heard your prayers and I will heal you.] 2 kings 20:5


i have had the following specialists in no particular order. cardiologist. ophthalmologist. nephrologist. neurologist. rheumatologist. hematologist. neurooncologist. endocrinologist. geneticist. allergist. occupationa/physical therapist. neurosurgeon. and a few more people that i just can't remember right now. oh! and the best pediatrician in all the land for 23 straight years. he retired last january. i am still in denial.

if you wanna read more about him:: click here ---> Dr. Johnson

i can't tell you the days of school that i missed. if i could even count them you'd think i was lying.

i have had 27 MRI's in the past 10 years. and a few before that.

because when i was 13...BOMB DROP...i was diagnosed with a brain tumor. okay soo...

5 eye operations. a few procedures here + there + a 22 hour brain surgery.

i had 4 years of growth hormones. 2 of which consisted of mama mixing the powdered chemicals with the liquid chemicals every night and drawing them out into a syringe + putting that into another syringe before sticking me with a needle that was...well...not small. then i got this cool pen contraption and could do it myself. and that became the normal. night time shots.

sing it with me... [ SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS ]

my immune system basically hates itself and let me tell you. it is not fun. at all.

[i will NOT cause pain without allowing something new to be born-says the Lord.] - isaiah 66:9

oh! so since i was born with hydrops + have all these insane health problems there has to be a reason right? right! well when i was 10 years old we found out...

i have a genetic disorder called noonan syndrome. that no one else in my family has. i am just so lucky you guys. my ptpn11 gene mutated when i was growing in my mama's belly. about 1 in every 2,500 people get noonan syndome. and it is even rarer in girls.  because no one in my family has it mine is called a de novo mutation. fancy eh?

so all my health problems are categorized under this whole genetic thing. other than mr. brain tumor. he  is just an add on. i am the only person on record to have noonan syndome + an oligodendroglioma low grade neoplasm brain tumor.

i am literally just that cool.


[before I was born God chose me and called me by His marvelous grace.] - Galatians 1:15

anyways. if you had all of that wouldn't you be a bit confused too?

don't get me wrong. it was no ones fault. but i grew up in this world of needle sticks + nurses. mama + daddy did everything right. they did everything they were supposed to. in fact. i believe that the Lord picked them so perfectly for me - i couldn't have done it all without them. my mama is the greatest momologist in the whole history of the world.  she was a teacher for 35 years. but the lady is one amazing nurse. my daddy is a doctor. but definitely wasn't destined to be one of medicine. the guy is a fainter. but he has always put on his big boy pants + stayed right by my side. [actually he has slept through many a nights of me being sick. but i forgive him. the poor guy. he can't help it.]


but you see - no one talks about the tough part. when you are all grown up + it hits you all of a sudden. it needs to be talked about. it just does.

because what happened is - the hospital + doctors offices started to feel like home. i felt like being the girl with the brain tumor was who i was meant to be. it was who i was. now don't hear me wrong on this. [holy crap i sound like my father. he says that all the time.] i'm not saying my identity wasn't being found in Christ. because it was. it is. i am His. i am saying that i felt like my brain tumor/other health problems defined me. that was not fun. i felt trapped. if i'm being brutally honest when we would pull into akron children's i felt like i could breathe again. how messed up is that? it was my real life you guys. it still kind of is. i'm working on it.

over the last year though. i have improved so much. learned SO SO SO MUCH. made lists and wrote pages + pages about who i want to be. what i want my identity to be found in. WHO i want my identity to be found in. there is still so much to learn. but i'm working every day. because my story matters. but it isn't all that i am. i am so much more than the girl with a brain tumor. but hear me when i say that i am grateful to have gone through what i have. because it is part of the story. part of His story. for my life. and if i hadn't been through any of it. i would probably be the most boring person in the whole history of the world. sitting and doing nothing with my life. i wouldn't be a writer. i wouldn't dream big. because life would have come easy. so thank goodness my immune system sucks. and thank goodness for the surgeries and sick days. because they have made me who i am.

and you know what? i can say this with complete confidence. i rather it be me than anyone else. i know it's been hard on the parents to watch. but holy freaking cannoli am i glad i didn't have to watch one of them or one of my siblings or friends walk this path. i know i can handle it. and i know WHO my strength is found in.

Jesus Christ brother!!!! the BIG JC. forever and always.

there have been many hard days. many where i begged him to take me Home. but i'm supposed to be here. and cling to Him in the meantime.

[but for me it is good to be near God. i have made the Lord God my refuge that i may tell of all your works.] - psalm 73:28

fun fact:: last year i joined a small group. i decided before i walked in the doors that i would never tell the group about my tumor. probably 60 people came and went throughout the year. about 30 of us were together every week. the whole year. a few people found out along the way. just because. you know. life. but not one time did i sit there + tell of my health problems. i didn't play the victim. i didn't announce that i have a brain tumor. it was so nice to just be shelby elyse taylor.

to just be me. because what i have been through does NOT define me. but it has made me the young lady i am today. so it DOES matter.

[ i praise You for i am FEARFULLY and WONDERFULLY made! ] - Psalm 139:14

[ you are worth more than MANY sparrows] - matthew 10:31

it has taken me 24 years to realize this. it was worth the wait.

p.s. - i have to admit that i do occasionally play what we in brain tumor world call "the brain tumor card." and you know what i'll never be sorry about it.

epiphany 2: it is okay to step away from friendships. 

what i mean:: heres the thing you guys. the spice girls straight up lied when they sang "friendships never end." on their 90's hit wannabe. because friendships do end. a lot. in fact. i think they end more than they don't.

i feel like blessed is such an overused word in the christian world but...i'm going to use it. get ready.

i have been truly blessed with amazing friends. i would say that my friends all fall into 3 categories. i have my best friends. there are about 5 of those. you know. the ones who aren't going anywhere. most of them have been in my life since kindergarten or before. then there are the good friends. there is probably about 10 of those. the ones i keep in touch with. but that aren't the bests. i still love them a whole lot. but they just aren't the best best ones. you know what i mean. and then thirdly there are just friends. or acquaintances. the ones i occasionally see to catch up with. the ones i care about still but don't see too often. but i know they have my back. they know i have theirs. end of story.

and then there is a 4th category...i like to call it the fading friends.

you know exactly what i mean. we have all had them. they are the ones that you used to be great friends with but over the years things have just changed. you have grown apart. your differences have become way more apparent. your similarities begin to fade.

all of a sudden you are sitting in a room with them feeling so uncomfortable because there is nothing to talk about. or you are sending them texts wishing and hoping they respond but they don't. and you have to face the reality that they never will. these aren't friendships where you see it coming either. they are the ones that you grip onto for dear life but after a long while you have to face the music. they don't care anymore. or you don't care anymore. and its just...

well its just over. and it is a freaking gigantic and hard pill to swallow. every time i think about it i just think of these dang vitamin c supplements my mom used to make me take when i was little. they literally seemed as big as a planet. and its like swallowing a handful of those at once. thats what fading friendships feel like. when you gotta come to grips with the reality of the situation. it sucks so bad. it does. but you have to step away. for your own sanity. or your heart will hurt forever.

[he who walks with the wise grows wise. but a companion of fools suffers harm.] - proverbs 13:20

in the past year i have had to do this a few times. yes. it is awful and heartbreaking. but it is so needed. sometimes you just need to step away. look at the situation from the outside. maybe this person was in your life for a short time to fulfill a specific purpose. they did that. and you don't need them anymore. or maybe you were in their life to help them through something. they got through it. and now they don't need you anymore. whatever it may be. it is going to be hard. some harder than others.

Proverbs 27:9 remind us of this [ a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. ] 

it is a verse i have clung to many times over the last year. often asking myself a few questions along the way. is this friendship healthy? is it good for my soul? is it sweet? and if the answers were no it was time to deal and walk away. because no one has time for that.

i think so often we live in this world of thinking we have to be people pleasers. don't step on anyones toes. be careful not to offend anyone. and i think that in friendships this happens a whole lot too. you don't want to lose them so you put up with a lot. or try to pretend the friendship isn't falling apart. but soon enough the inevitable will present itself. and you will have to walk away. don't be afraid dear people. it will be oh so good for your heart in the end.

it is hard. it is sad. and it is brutal. most times anyways. but you know its the right thing.

a few weeks back a singer named jamie grace put this video on youtube. it was like she took the words right out of my brain and put it into a video. some parts beautiful. some parts heartbreaking. she is my soul sister. i'd like to think we are friends because we follow one another on Twitter + her music speaks to my soul. watch the video. it helped me realize even more my second epiphany...

[ IF YOU ARE ON YOUR PHONE YOU WONT SEE THE here is the link homies.]

cheers to you Jamie Grace. you are gold.


it is okay to step away from friendships.

trust me.

epiphany 3: just because i'm a dreamer doesn't mean i can't be content with where i'm at.

i have always been a dreamer. a big one. nothing wrong with that. the problem is i don't follow through on them. i'm always wishing for the next great thing.

when i was little i was sure i would be on food network one day. one time in 7th grade i wrote a poem about how all i wanted to do was meet oprah.

most of my childhood i was sure that if the actress who played ruthie on 7th heaven ever quit i could be her in an instant.

i always dreamed of being athletic so i could run track like my big sister. or play soccer like my big brother. waiting for heaven for those. literally though.

i've dreamed of moving to LA or NYC. i wanted to open a bakery. and a flower shop. and i was convinced that somehow i'd be on the ellen show one day.

i just wanna do big things.

[ delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart.] - psalm 37:4

i was convinced for roughly 4 years that i was going to marry a guy named Graham Bunn who was on the bachelor and really loves Jesus. but its not in the cards...

i always have wanted to do something crazy like...

be on the amazing race. or survivor.

and as a kid i was SURE i was going to have a disney channel show one day.

i want to...

be the next julia child

go to every continent.

release an album of all the songs i've written

[mostly about all the boys who never liked me back.] #watchyoselfhomies

open an orphanage.

adopt 5 kids.

or maybe have a few and adopt a few.

currently i'm writing a book with dreams of it being a new york times best seller.

and i'm pretty sure the Lord wants me to become a motivational speaker after the book comes out.


after that i want to start a foundation. the brave foundation.

but i also want to be a child life specialist.

and i also want to be a wife and a mom.

and a superhero.

i just want to help people and do great things.

[i can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.] - philippians 4:13

[rise up-take courage and do it.] - ezra10:4

but right now ... right now i'm still living with my mama + daddy.

right now i'm teaching toddlers + loving it.

right now i'm thankful to have beautiful friends near and far. who support me in the now.

right now i'm single.

right now i'm living and loving and learning.

[I came so that you may have LIFE and live it abundantly.] - john 10:10

in the now.

and i have to be okay with all of this.

because HE has a plan.

one that would surely scare me to death if revealed too soon.

so i hold tight to my epiphany. even as delightful as my dreams may seem.

living purely is okay for now.

[be truly glad. there is wonderful JOY ahead.] - 1 peter 1:6

[perhaps this is the moment for which you were created.] - esther 4:14

epiphany 4: don't get lost in your story. it isn't yours. it is His. 

i'm honestly not even sure how i can elaborate on this one you guys.

it is just so simple.

it isn't about me

it isn't about me
it isn't about me
it isn't about me
it isn't about me


[He must become greater. i must become less.] - john 3:30

something that isn't always so easy to understand.

because you see people. my life has presented so many opportunities for the world to revolve...well...around me. we have pictures of me wearing a crown that reads "little empress" my dad's friends started calling me "the little general" when i was a little kid. i could go on.

picture this. we have an old video my dad took. my mama + i are standing in a beach house. i'm wearing a dress with ducklings on it with my head full of curls. i am probably about 3. dad asks me "whose the most special girl in the whole world!?" and without missing a beat i jump in the air and scream "ME!!!!!"

i didn't give it a second thought. because they had told me over and over again how special i was.

and i gotta be real with you. i still have that 3 year old mentality on so many days. thinking because of what my life has looked like i am some kind of amazing human. but i'm not. and somedays it hits me so hard that i am just kind of ordinary. but i don't think i'm that either. i'm just very unique. but sometimes i get wrapped up in it.

like for instance ... last year i took a personality test and before it started my friend was like "whats your worst trait its going to find?" and i'm like "oh i like to be the center of attention."


hahahah what is life.

okay back to reality.

i guess what i'm trying to say is this...

i've been through some crap. and also had a wonderful life. and it is so easy to pretend that this life i have lived has been filled with magical moments because of how great i am. or be confused and think i did something wrong to deserve to have a million things wrong with my body. but none of it is true. 

this story i have gotten to live out has nothing to do with me. and everything to do with my Jesus. 

it is a story about His love for a little girl. His plan for her life + His grace His Mercy + His faithfulness. it is all about HIM. 

[ blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her.] - luke 1:45

in the chaos of all that has happened the past 24 years. one thing remains true. my relationship with Jesus is the greatest thing to have ever happened to me. 

and this story He has written for me is the greatest one i could ever imagine. i wouldn't change a thing. 

[for we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus. so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.] - ephesians 2:10

and so i hold tight to this final epiphany. don't get lost in your story. it isn't yours. it is HIS!

i hope you hold tight to that as well...


thats what i learned the past year. well. the year before i was 24. 

remember this my people::

what you have been through does not define you. but it has helped shape you. so it DOES matter.

it is okay to step away from friendships.

you can be a dreamer and be content with where you are at

your story isn't yours. it is His.

thanks for reading my ramblings.

LOVE YOU more than 300000 gluten free waffles with chocolate chips....maybe.

thanks for loving me. thanks for praying for me. thanks for


never forget that.

BLESSED by a heavenly Daddy 

Shelby Elyse Taylor

Thursday, May 28, 2015

she can't stand anything that she can't change

[she hates the sound that goodbye makes. she loves sundays and champagne. she can't stand the winter. she can't stand anything that she can't change. she can't change. she is whatever she wants to be. she is a little of everything. mixed up so tough in a beautiful way.] - ben rector

lately life has been full of change. mostly good change. but change.

it is something i am not good at. change. i anyone good at it? or are some people just better at accepting it?

according to merriam webster change simply means "to become different."

now of course there are different contexts the word can be used in...but i'm not really interested in talking about all of that right now.

my point is ... this chapter of my life is constantly becoming different.
and you know what?

it kind of sucks.

change can be a beautiful thing. like:: metamorphasis is truly one of the most breathtaking things in the whole world. it is truly magical that a caterpillar spins itself a little cozy chrysalis and then one day bursts out and is a colorful creature that is beautiful and gentle. and i don't think people think about it often enough. we just see butterflies. but we forget the miracle that has just taken place.

i think this often happens. we forget that change can bring beauty. i think i am struggling to grasp that truth as of late. but as always i will try my best to draw near to the ONE that never changes. my Savior. my Papa. i think if i am being totally honest with you - i'm kinda stuck in that metamorphasis stage. like i've been wound up + i'm ready to burst out of my shell but i don't know what direction i'm supposed to fly + i don't know what colors i'm going to be. i hope i know soon.

[so now i will go on a dramatic rant about all the things that have been changing in my life over the past few months:: and you my beautiful reader will either read my ramblings or click the x because you might be tired of my dramatic rants. i ask you to give me a chance though.]

spoiler alert:: there are 7. because i was born in July. the 7th month. okay thats all.

1. my small group ended. people. i LOVED my bible study this year. it was something that i accidentally ended up at one day in september when i was in a major funk and never looked back. but really. i was being a grump and my mama was in florida and called me and demanded that i stop being a grump and call one of my best friends rachel and see if i could go to her small group with her that night. turns out it was the first night ever. total God moment. i learned so much this year about who God is and the plans he has for my life. it helped that i got to learn it amongst some beautiful people. so that ended and that was a big bummer. it ended and it was change.

2. my best friend since the age of 2 got married. her name is Ana Maria. a few hours before the wedding she handed me a note that left me in tears. filled with memories of our childhood. precious words written about the deep friendship and sisterhood we have formed over the past 21 years. and i had flashbacks of moments. sweet sweet moments. you see we used to play dress up all the time. one of us would be the bride. one of us the maid. and our friend samuel the husband. actually - on more than one occasion samuel was the bride but we don't need to talk about his 5 year old confustion. hahah. those are days that i will never forget. but this wedding - on a beautiful day in May was real. and i was a real life maid and got to see my beautiful forever friend marry the love of her life. i will never forget those moments. yes marriage is a beautiful change. but i know full well that marriage changes friendships. it just does. it was such a beautiful day + something i will never forget. ana maria - i love you sister. even in the change.

3. i graduated from college! GLORY GLORY HALLELUJAH!!! miracles do happen my friends. if you know me well you know that school has been a real struggle my entire life. my brain doesn't understand a number when it looks at one. grammar isn't my thing. and don't even get me started on science. but i found my niche + being finished is SUCH a great feeling. i now have my BA in Child Development! Long term goal is to get my Masters in Child Life. For now i am excited to see what the Lord has planned for me next. Not sure what my next step is exactly but He definitely does so i have peace about it. but it is still change.

4. my big sister is moving HOME! and i mean home. she will be living exactly 1.3 miles away. this summer i get to watch the littles. i am eager to see how long it takes me to decide that my dream of 5 children is just that ... a dream. hahah just kidding. since i was little i wanted jordyn to move back + i am so glad that she finally is! i am eager to spend more time together + have the opportunity to watch malakai and shiloh. i don't know where the Lord is going to lead me next so i will treasure these moments. but moving guessed it...change.

5. babies. babies. babies. this spring a few of my cousins had babies. babies who were so fervently prayed for. my cousin Korrie had a baby girl named Taylor Jae. She is a beauty. My cousin Kellie had a baby boy named Milo David. He is pretty fresh and still an itty bitty. So grateful to serve a God that hears our prayers and blesses us in ways better than we could ever imagine. These babies are proof of His promises and perfect plan. beautiful living breathing change.
taylor jae 

milo david

6. in a week one of my best friends erin tesia is getting married + it is finally sinking in. i'm not sure that i'm emotionally prepared for the week that is ahead. like i said before...marriage brings just does. i am so grateful that she found Noel - her fiance. i couldn't have picked a better guy for her. he loves her well and is so very patient. i am sure that sometimes the two of us drive him a little crazy especially when we both sit on the couch and sob watching grey's anatomy. haha. [ rest in peace derek shepheard. ] but i am grateful that the Lord designed them for one another. erin - i love you sister and i can't wait to be your maid. i know you will be a breathtaking bride.

7. my big brother is moving back to California today. i realize i am often dramatic about such things. but in all honesty this one is really the biggest bummer. even on the days i am totally mad at him Seth Brooks will always remain one of my favorite people in the whole history of the world. there is just something so very special about growing up with a big brother. i definitely think the age gap helps us - props to you mama + daddy for accidentally getting pregnant with me. anyways. my best brother friend is moving away and this is a change i do not like very much at all. but hey at least i'll get to go see him in the golden state which is one of my favorite places. how bittersweet it is - this - change.

as you can see - nothing has been stable lately. the last few weeks i weep at the drop of a hat. more than normal haha. i guess i'm just learning to cope. cope with the changes at hand. i think eventually it'll get easier. 

there will always be something that is changing in this life. 

while things of this earth will be forever moving

i am so grateful that my loving Savior will always remain. 

my Papa will stay near. 

HE will NOT change. 



Blessed by a heavenly Daddy, 

Shelby Elyse 

Sunday, April 26, 2015


"it's a great day to save lives."

dr. derek christopher shepherd often said this.

he is a fictional neurosurgen. or maybe i should say was. he was a fictional neurosurgen.

but on thursday night - my favorite fictional neurosurgen died.

of a brain bleed. ironic to say the least.

i am still not over it. i will never get over it.

right now shonda rhimes is my least favorite person in the whole history of the world.

i am devastated. yes. devastated. yes. that is dramatic. but guess what. i don't care.

this weekend i have continually found myself getting teary eyed about it.

friday i was on the phone with mama + between my sobs she said "shel we have to remember he isn't real. derek is not real."

and all i could keep saying is "i'm so sad for meredith! what is she going to do!?" "oh my heart hurts i am so so sad for her." "they should have killed christina yang. yang got to leave in peace. why is derek dead!?"

you see people - derek shepherd was magic.

he was a freaking dream boat.

he was just so ... mcdreamy.

i had one amazing neurosurgen. don't get me wrong. but i would have given anything for someone with a face like derek shepherd's to operate on me. hahaha.

i think that was part of my love for him - it wasn't just the fact that he saved lives. it was how he saved them. he saved lives the same way mine was saved.

brain surgery.

if i am being honest - most of the time if derek was operating - i was under a blanket telling mama to tell me when it was over.

it's been 10 years since my surgery - but still i am unable to deal. understandably so.

when denny duquette died in izzy stephens arms i wept for a few days.

when george o malley died i was in complete shock. and it took a few days for the tears to come. he had been john doe for so long. i couldn't believe it. 007 himself was dead.

when lexi grey and mark sloan died i vowed to never watch again. - obviously that didn't work out too well - my vow i mean.

when henry burton died i decided the universe was out to get me. because i was sure that shonda rhimes knew i had a crush on him. and every crush from grey's i ever had so far was dead.

somehow i moved on from all the devastation.

but this. this just isn't okay. it never will be.

derek shepherd should not be dead.

it should have been a great day to save lives.

a great day to save his life.

they should have saved him.


Monday, April 20, 2015


so ummm...theres something you should know.

sometimes i write blog posts that could be mini novels...or huge novels.

that accidentally happened when i wrote this. so. you might wanna grab some coffee or tea. a blanket + a bag of popcorn + make sure you are in a really cozy spot.

i should also tell you that i set out to make a point. and it might have gotten lost in all my thoughts. i'm not exactly sure. you'll have to decide.

also...for new readers: i apologize that i have no grammatical skills. actually i do have skillzz they are just my own style. i missed a chunk of 7th grade and just never recovered. you will have to get over it.

you ready!? okay read on beautiful ones. read on.

[Though the cherry trees don’t blossom and the strawberries don’t ripen, Though the apples are worm-eaten and the wheat fields stunted, Though the sheep pens are sheepless and the cattle barns empty, I’m singing joyful praise to God.  I’m turning cartwheels of joy to my Savior God. Counting on God's Rule to prevail, I take heart and gain strength.]
 - Habakkuk 3:17-19 

it is april now.

april brings new life. the trees bud and flowers blossom. the birds begin to sing again + the sun is often shining. it is the time of year when rain seems to fall easy + mornings are filled with mist.

new life. i've been thinking about it lately. everything that it can mean. i think it means different things to different people. for me new life always means something is blossoming.  3 things come to mind.

not THE THREE THINGS just 3 things.

{ well now i need to explain myself on that one. HERE WE GO PEOPLE - bunny trail - if you have stuck around the taylor house long enough you know we do this thing called - the three things. sometimes we just say "three" and we know exactly what it means. when we were little mom and dad would tuck us into bed pray and then they would say the three things. they are:: 1. i love you very much 2. i think you are special 3. i am very proud of you. it is just our thing. the taylor thing. the three things. }

okay moving on.

3 is my favorite number. most of you know that. you also know i love lists. and you know that even when i don't plan it my blogs always have some kind of method tangled into the madness. yes madness. hey as the chesire cat from alice in wonderland said "we're all mad here"  thats how my brain works. we've been over this people. not my fault.

also - my pastor joe coffey uses 3 things a lot too during his sermons. i love it. because its easy to follow. and usually just as my ADD starts to kick in he's on to the next point and i'm reeled back in. again. a list of 3 not THE THREE THINGS. also - joe coffey if you are reading this: never change! 3 is a magical number.

following? yes. no? okay great either way! moving on.

so when i think new life i think

1. babies

2. walking with the Lord

3. forgiveness + healing

...these are a few of my favorite things. cue music.

[ bunny trail - the other day i was thinking about julie andrews and how i will be so upset when she leaves this earth. i have visions of myself lying in bed watching every movie she's ever been in while eating my body weight in assorted chocolates - throwing away the ones with weird fillings of course - and weeping. you might be asking yourself right now "why does she tell us these things?" because i'm crazy. and so are you. we are all crazy. i am probably a little more crazy. but you know what!? i bet my rant about julie andrews just made you feel better about your level of crazy. right!? SAY RIGHT!!!! also - if anyone would like to buy me some of those assorted chocolates i wouldn't mind ]

okay so babies.

babies babies babies.

i love them. a whole lot. i've never met a baby i didn't like. i have always loved them. i was the kid who always wanted to hold the new baby and visit the new baby. i never wanted mama to have a baby though because i loved being the baby. yes. i'll admit to that. i LOVE being the baby of the family.

for christmas this year i asked that all of our home movies be placed onto dvd's. it kind of backfired because while watching them it became very clear that i was the MOST obnoxious, loud, crazy curly haired little girl that ever lived. i was cute though so that helped!

as i sat and watched for hours...there was one christmas in particular that caught my attention. i got a new baby doll + apparently it came with diapers. i was so excited that for a good 10 minutes my 4 year old self yelled and i mean yelled [mommy mommy look my new baby has a diaper! daddy look i can change the diaper! sissy! the baby has a diaper!!! sethy look look at the diaper on the baby! mommy mommy mommy MY BABY HAS A DIAPER!!!] i kid you not. this happened. and no one was paying attention cause no one cared and because i never shut up.

also:: i couldn't say my r's yet so...that added an entire new element. i think i felt that day how most kids feel the first time they go to disney world. all because of my new baby.

as you see my obsession ran deep. it still does.

you guys. i just think new life in the form of babies is beautiful.

when i was little mama and daddy constantly told me i was a miracle baby. probably too much. if that is even possible.

in the more recent years i have come to know that every baby is a miracle baby. just in different ways. because it is new life. and new life is beautiful and truly miraculous. this truth has played out so beautifully in our own family. especially over the past 5 or so years. my sister had two beautiful littles + i watched in wonder as cousins that we fervently prayed for became pregnant against all odds + babies were born + babies are healthy + more babies are coming soon!

#GLORYGLORYHALLELUJAH the taylor/cowger family continues to grow.

and blossom. because have you caught on? there is a THEME here!

[ don't worry - not from me!!! the other day i was in the kitchen with mama + daddy and i said "i have something to tell you! guess what!" and my dad said "you are pregnant!?" hahahahaha oh my goodness. that guy. NO CHANCE. ]

also - dad isn't gunna like that i wrote that. but you know what. oh well.

but babies are wonderful + babies are miracles + babies are new life.

okay so walking with the Lord

walking walking walking

i love my Jesus. so much. and the greatest thing about finding Him is that when you do you are given NEW LIFE! you blossom. you are made a new creation! YOU GUYS! how amazing is that!? we bloom when we find the Lord. just like the most beautiful of flowers bloom in the springtime. i don't think i will ever get tired of how amazing it is. or how amazing the Lord is. i mean how incredibly wonderful is it that we accept Jesus into our heart + we are made new!?

perhaps i shall tell you a story now:

a few weeks ago my friend and i were at dinner and we were talking about how when you go through hard times it is so easy to run from God or just start making our own path. i told her the hardest part for me is to realize he didn't ever let go of my hand. you see people. i feel like Jesus is always with me. i know i know i know what you are thinking. "duh shel he is in your heart" but really. i feel like he's holding my hand all the time. and when trouble comes my instant human response is "why'd you let go Bro?" [ someone is going to find it offensive that i just called Jesus bro - dear someone - keep reading i'm sorry. ] but really. i'm like "where'd ya go Jesus! come back!" BUT YOU GUYS! GUESS WHAT! he didn't let go.

honestly - usually it's me. i'm the one who lets go. it's like i'm a boat person sailor captain fisherman-woman pirate assistant all of a sudden [ i'm sorry you guys i couldn't pick just one nautical job word so i picked them all. ] and i'm like  "oh crap it's windy - a storm must be coming" and i lose all trust in my Boss and try to steer the ship myself. well let me tell you. IT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA!

because - having a relationship with the Father does not mean walking in front of Him or behind Him. it means walking with Him - but letting Him steer the ship.

the beautiful thing is i have found within the trials i have had to endure that sometimes we blossom in the storm. it is in the moments when we think He has let go - or we have let go + we are quietly reminded we are still right there in the palm of His hand. in the eye of the storm He is still with us. and we often grow because of the hard times. sometimes in the greatest ways.

also - if you are reading this and don't know Jesus - email me. lets talk.

Jesus is wonderful + Jesus performs miracles + Jesus is NEW LIFE.

okay so forgiveness + healing

forgiving forgiving forgiving + healing healing healing

i love forgiveness + i love healing.

forgiveness. it is hard. it is something that i struggle to wrap my mind around. for instance:: when i ask the Lord for forgiveness - He forgives. and He is over it. i imagine it's like when Cinderella twirled around and all of a sudden she's in a totally different outfit. it's like i ask for forgiveness do a spin or two and all of a sudden i'm forgiven. made new. and i am given another change to grow. often times i find that learning the hard way + having to go before the Lord only strengthens you. helps you blossom into the exact person He has created and called you to be. but that kind of forgiveness - eternal forgiveness - is so much different than earthly forgiveness.

when we forgive someone down here it's more like when Cinderella left the ball. The clock strikes 12 + we mess up and leave the glass slipper behind. Yes - we may have been forgiven by someone - but there is always that one glass slipper - that gentle reminder that something happened - and it is so very hard to forget. in fact - i find it almost impossible. a trait i don't like about myself. but hey thats because i'm emotional and take everything personally.

the great news is - we can grow through these earthly experiences too. one of my greatest friendships blossomed from a simple note of "i'm sorry - i thought i knew who you were but i don't." and we forgave each other and almost 6 years later we are two peas in a pod. two opposite peas. but still in a pod.

healing. one of my favorite verses in the bible is "daughter - your faith has healed you - you may go in peace." it is in matthew + mark + luke. not john though. i wonder why.
if i ever get a tattoo. that'll be it. this will be the time in this post were i tell my dad not to panic. - it's all good RT.

i think it is just a beautiful picture - because i think we blossom when we are healed. we grow. even if it is just a little bit. and i think when people witness healing they grow too. their relationships with the Lord blossom as well.

as most of you know this earthly body of mine is a mess and a half. i have longed to be completely healed. don't get me wrong. i am so so thankful for the healing God has performed on me already. hear that. but i dream of the day i could run miles and miles or be super coordinated or not be worried about my heart or brain or getting sick ever again. in fact - i day dream about it too much - to the point where i forget what my limits are and end up here writing this in bed with a lost voice + an exhausted body.

but i am so confident that the Lord heals. in miraculous ways. maybe too confident.

the other day i was talking with my friend about healing. she said that she believed people could be healed but didn't think it could happen to her. i said i had the opposite problem. because i have been healed i expect it everytime. i am still not over the fact that ian never got his miracle. i will never be okay with it. i understand that he is in a much better place and i long for the day i see him again in Glory but i don't think that he should have died. i still lay in bed every night asking the Lord to heal Kate. and i still don't know why it hasn't been done. i know He is listening. and i know He is capable. the magnificent thing is - that even in these moments - i grow.

this weekend i was a part of something spectacular. it was called dance marathon. i will probably write about it or post pictures another day - but i wanted to just give you a glimpse as i often say.

a few hours into the event a beautiful mother one of the miracles kids took the stage. and the woman began to tell about our wonderful Lord and how He healed her daughter. the lady got up on stage and straight up preached. she said that the same God who raised Lazarus from the dead healed her daughter and she wanted everyone to know how truly amazing He is. she left me weeping. afterwards i went up and gave her a hug. i told her that i was just so truly thankful she knows the Lord + has had Him to lean on during this trial. i told her that i was so thankful for the healing He has performed on her daughter up to this point and that i was truly confident He would completely restore her.

the lady grabbed both my hands in hers-looked me straight in the eye and said "He performed a miracle on you too didn't He?" SHE KNEW! i think it was one of the most beautiful moments i have experienced. she hugged me again and said "this is what we call a God moment sweet one"

and in that moment - in that spectacular moment - i grew - my faith blossomed.

i didn't need to say one word about myself - or what the Lord has done in my life - she just knew - because of the Spirit. it was beautiful.

forgiveness is wonderful + healing is miraculous + forgiveness + healing are new life.

and through all of these things we grow closer to the Father.

we might even...


Blessed by a Heavenly Daddy,

Shelby Elyse

Thursday, March 19, 2015

in the moments i forget...

march always brings memories.

if you have been around long enough you know exactly what i speak of.

if you haven't ... i'll say this ... march 9th i celebrated 10 more years of life! something that was never promised but something that we are so so thankful for!

anyways...people listen::

nothing about me is ordinary...which i'm okay with. i rather be extraordinary.

something most people pick up on quickly is that...

i have always remembered the little things. birthdays. middle names. specific days when i met people. and other fantastical moments. it is just another one of those things that makes me quirky. but i think its important. to remember.

i believe...

birthdays are beautiful - probably because with each one i have had we have rejoiced. my birthday has always been extra special. when i was little the house at the beach would fill with the ones we loved + we would celebrate. it became such a big deal that i was convinced we went to sunset beach just for my birthday. as i grew older it became more apparent that it was truly a blessing that i got another day. because there could have been so many times those years were stolen from us. so i like to remember other peoples birthdays - because it is a blessing they get another year too. and everyone should feel special.

+ middle names are a magical -  while most parents used full names as a sign of punishment - mine used them as a sign of love. shelby elyse is a term of endearment in my house. so much that sometimes daddy just calls me elyse. mama calls me shelb-a-lee. some of my uncles call me the leester. you get the picture. one of my favorite writers jen hatmaker would say "middle names...they are a whole thing."

all the other little memories - i don't know why i remember them. i just do. its just the way HE wanted me to be i suppose. i seem to remember the things other people don't see as a big deal. i guess i just want people to feel loved.

the downfall of this is - i don't remember the things that i should.

things everyone else would coin as important. things like:: how to do math and how to write a proper sentence. things like what i learned last week in class or the explanations of theories i've learned for 4 years straight in child development. as you all know very well i have no idea where a comma goes. [one of my professors last semester told me she loved to read my papers cause she could hear me talking but she wanted to know why i never used commas. she said " just put it where you would pause in a sentence." i said "mrs. a have you ever heard me pause in a sentence?"] i can't do math - everyone says its not my fault. dyscalculia they tell me. basically dyslexia with numbers. the list goes on.

school is just a struggle my friends...always was + always will be.

i also don't remember things like - emptying the dishwasher - or moving my laundry to the dryer - or the cookies in the oven. - SORRY MAMA.

you know how men have selective hearing? i feel like i have selective memorization. only unlike men-it's not all my fault. i feel like my brain just decides "ehh that doesn't seem too important today" and so it just slips away. and mostly never returns.

and yet - there is an inbetween - an inbetween of moments and memories that seem to fade in and out. some are tucked away for later + begging to get out. some i wish i didn't have to think about + yet they creep into my mind. they won't let me forget.

but there are moments that are the best + worst thing all at once.

the moments i forget.

a few weeks ago my friend stephen asked me "what is a good day for you?" i told him "the days when i don't remember there is a tumor in my brain until i lay down at night...those are the good days."

that night i layed in bed and thought about that question. and my answer. and i stand by it.

because...the moments i forget that there is a monster in my head that could turn on me at any moment...those are the greatest moments. and yet - they are also the worst - because then when i remember it hits me like a ton of bricks. you'd think i'd be used to it by now. but i'm not. i never will be. because it isn't normal.

there are moments when i forget that people i love are in heaven. you know. the moment when you are wondering if they'll walk through the door + then you remember and it takes your breath away. you know. it's awful.

and then the worst of all ... are the moments when i forget Who is in control. the moments that i think somehow this story is mine. those are the worst.

last saturday i got a migraine...probably my worst one in the past year. but as it had barely begun in the stillness i layed in bed and begged my body to calm down + prayed to be able to go to sleep so i could begin to heal. and then i said to God "when? when will the suffering end? when will you say enough?" and i got angry and i hate when i get angry. but i began to get angry and i said "i know my story is changing people-but does it have to be this way? today-this is too much papa"  tears filled my eyes + then within seconds my FATHER quietly reminded me of something He said "this is My story - I am doing something still" And as His voice left i fell asleep. 

i woke up the next day-15 hours later

welll...kinda. around midnight (6 hours into the migraine) I ate some gluten free pizza and texted some people - apologies to all of you. i am crazy haha. - and then i went back to sleep. 

 [ as jen hatmaker would say:: Migraines:: They are a whole thing! -- and i would say -- especially when they are because of a brain tumor. ] 

anyways. i woke up + began to thank Him. because it is His story. + how quickly i forgot. and i felt bad for a moment and then laughed to myself + told Him. "sorry i'm such a i'll try again." I imagine He laughed too. 

so i am thankful. thankful HE is in control. 

and thankful

HE still loves me.

even in the moments i so easily forget. 

Blessed by a heavenly Daddy

Shelby Elyse