Sunday, December 18, 2016

shelbulb takes anchorage:: month two + three.

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


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

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

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


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

okay. lets go. got your coffee? great.

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

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

Jesus showed up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

be brave

shelby elyse taylor

Monday, October 31, 2016

shelbulb takes anchorage:: month one.

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

okay here we go.

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

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

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

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

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

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

like having zero friends:: more on that later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. missing my church. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Brave 

Shelby Elyse

Sunday, October 23, 2016

moving to alaska:: a blanket - some boxes - bursts of tears + a bible.

hello from anchorage!

i decided to write about the few weeks leading up to my move here + some sporadic details of life here. i'm working on a post about my first month of living here! so stay tuned!

at the beginning of september i was sitting in my living room. surrounded by my best friends. yes. i have more than one. i think i probably have about 5 or 7. my one best friend since kindergarten elly looked at me + said "bulb - can i make you a new tie blanket? how old is this one?" i tell her ... "ummm mom made it for me the year kellie got cancer - i was it's 13 years old." the blanket is so pilly. is that a word? you all know what i mean. one side is orange + one side is yellow and white and orange leopard print. it has been through it. washed and used over and over again. taken to the hospital - to sleepovers - and on every road trip and vacation since i was 10. it is worn. it was time for me to get a new one. so a few days later in the midst of packing my life into boxes mama took me to joanne fabrics + i got material to make a new one. i picked flannel with little white dogs to remind me of my dog scout finch + the other size is robin egg blue. i texted elly to tell her that i got new material + she told me [i was going to make you a new one! that looks like a lumberjack] hahah. it is cold here ellyn so if you want to send me that lumberjack blankie go right ahead. my new tie blanket stays at the end of my bed during the day + at night i cozy up with it. it is warm + soft - but i miss my old one. it smelled like home + the worn fabric made me feel safe where ever i was. i'm excited to go home in a few months + sleep with that ragged old blanket + cozy up with a cup of coffee + watch movies with it wrapped around me.

some days i wonder though - if i was brought to alaska to become new. like my old tie blanket i am worn out. i often tell people this body i'm living in isn't the one i was supposed to have. it tires easily + doesn't fight sickness well. this past week i had off work - and the whole time i was fighting a nasty cold + napped every day. if i'm being perfectly honest with you - sometimes my heart feels like that too. like - holy smokes it's been through a lot and maybe i just needed a new place to come and heal. to become the best version of myself. like a brand new cozy blanket.

okay lets be real though - i WILL use my old blankie when i go home to visit.

moving here has been an emotional rollercoaster.

for the majority of the second half of the summer i knew i would be moving to alaska. i told everyone. but it didn't seem real. weddings filled my summer - so there wasn't much time to actually think about the reality of everything. in fact - it was kind of like a dream. and it didn't hit me until i started putting everything into boxes. i cried a little with almost every box i packed. it was incredibly overwhelming. my sweet mama helped me a whole bunch. somehow she held it together as i completely fell apart.

and then came the goodbye party ... i did okay for the first few hours. and then slowly i began to unravel. i would be okay + then i would find myself running to my mama like i was 4 years old again needing her to just hold me while i cried. if you know me - you know i don't really like to be hugged or held - i blame the brain tumor - but that day oh my heart i needed it so much.

[ side note:: my goodbye party was THE GREATEST PARTY! it was Alaska themed and there was a giant moose cardboard cutout and all the people i love came and it was just glorious! ]

when i said bye to mama + daddy in the airport we all wept. we held each other and cried and prayed and kissed and wept. it was terrible. walking away was terrible. mama said "don't look back okay?" daddy said "shelby brave!" and so i took my first steps toward alaska. when i reached the security check point the guy checking my id sweetly asked "are you afraid of flying young lady?" and through alligator tears i said "no sir i love to fly - but today i'm moving to alaska." he nodded and let me by. while waiting in line to go through the scanner the guy behind me said "can i get you anything? are you alright?" i simply said "no - i'm okay - i'm just moving today and i'm sad." he then helped me get all my things into buckets and up to the scanner. poor guy literally put my laptop in a bucket + helped me lift my carry on. i was a train wreck. i handed security my note about my metal in my head so i wouldn't get the pat down + i didn't! woohoo! sometimes having a brain tumor has perks. the poor guy behind me forgot he had wireless batteries in his carryon. he looked at me and just was like "ah man [ insert lots of cuss words ] and he had to go with the security people. i really wanted to be like "no mister security sir - he forgot cause he was helping me." while i was sitting waiting for my flight about 5 business men just stared at me while i cried + stared at my phone. on my flight there was a seat between myself and the guy next to me. i was so glad. he didn't say one word. i pulled my hoodie up over my head - curled in a ball - and sobbed the entire way to chicago. once i got there somehow i pulled it together + only cried once on the plane to alaska.

as soon as i stepped off the plane my heart began to race - i was in alaska. i told myself [ you can do this! ] and then i saw them. three precious littles. that i get to take care of. and all of a sudden being there was like a breath of fresh air. the mom hugged me and i felt safe again. and that night as i crawled into a bed with cars + trains on the sheets in a room with cars hanging from the ceiling and a spiderman night light - it was like everything was right in the world. total peace.

i have only cried a few times since i got here.

a few times because i just miss home + miss my tribe.

a couple weeks ago i sobbed because i had such a bad migraine. and i felt so alone. no one was here to help me. i was alone in this little apartment with a migraine so bad i thought i might have a seizure and there was no one to help. my mama couldn't pour every essential oil ever on my head, or get me more medicine or more blankets to block out the light. it was just me. and so i cried and i prayed. and i cried and i prayed. and finally i fell asleep.

the hand of Jesus has been so evident in bringing me here. it just about knocks me on my butt some days. so i let myself have my mini moments + then i wipe my tears + start praising Him again for bringing me on this amazing adventure.

on the plane ride here i wrote out short term goals for myself - one of them was to read more and write more. i have been doing that. and i hope to write more on here as well! i had told my dear friend + mentor + other mama that at my goodbye party and she made me promise to buy myself a journaling bible with the money she gave me. so when i got here i found an adorable little Christian book store + bought a journaling bible. it is my new favorite thing. what could be better than coloring while learning about Jesus? thanks mama lesa! MISS YOU!

and as i sit here tonight flipping through the pages of my new and beautiful bible i am quickly reminded of a great truth. Jesus loves ME this i KNOW. no matter how lonely i get or how afraid i am ... HE LOVES ME + it's like nothing else matters.

my new bible ... oh my  it is perfectly new. no pages are ripped. very few things are highlighted or underlined yet. it isn't falling apart. part of me wishes it was though.

it's like my new blanket...i love it...but i miss my old one just a little.

it's like alaska ... i love it ... but i miss my old home just a little. or a lot.

Be Brave

Shelby Elyse

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

[ I AM the wind in your sails... ]

amanda cook once wrote:

[ speak even if your voice is trembling. please - you've been quiet for so long. believe it'll be worth the risk your taking. you're afraid - but you can hear adventure calling. theres a rush of adrenaline to your bones. what you make - of this moment - changes everything. what if if the path you choose becomes a road? the ground you take becomes your home? the wind is high but the pressures off - I'll send the rain wherever we end up - wherever we end up. set your sights sailing far beyond familiar. in the rising tide you'll find the rhythm of your heart. lift your head - now the wind and waves don't matter. the path you choose becomes a road. the ground you take becomes your home. the wind is high but the pressures off. I'll send the rain - wherever we end up - wherever we end up. I AM the wind in your sails. I AM the wind in your sails. I AM the wind in your sails. I AM the wind in your sails. I AM the wind in your sails. I AM the wind in your sails. ]

i believe that the Lord has given me this song in this season to teach me how to trust better.

trust. it is just a small 5 letter word. but it holds so much weight.

it has been something that i have clung to + yet so often have refused to do well.

i think it is something that many people struggle with - but don't like to admit.

for me trust has meant many things.

i have trusted that my parents love me. i trust in a God that i can not see + believe that His plans for my life are incredible + that i am worthy in His eyes. i have trusted doctors with my life. to poke + prod + even dig deep in my brain. to test + retest + give me medications that people say have worked. i have trusted people with my story. i have trusted friends. i have trusted family. sometimes i have even trusted strangers. i have trusted so many things + so many people. sometimes too many things. + often too many people.

some haven't turned out to be good decisions.

friends have abandoned. medications have ruined. tests have failed. doctors have been wrong + although my parents are all kinds of wonderful...

there is only ONE things that i have trusted in + has NEVER failed me.

my Abba. my Father. my Papa.

so i do my best to trust in HIM. some days i haven't done it well. in fact - most days i haven't done it well. but i try and try and try. thankfully that is all HE cares about.

for the past few weeks He has spoken "trust me" into my heart over + over again. as hard as it is i am learning that it is the only logical thing. to trust Him.

a little under a year ago i sat in my sister's kitchen with her - she told me that it was time for me to go do my own thing - live a little - take an adventure. she told me [ put your sails up - God is the wind. ] i sat in her kitchen + i sobbed. because i knew she was right. but it totally terrified me.

the next day - the Lord gave me the song above + i have been praying ever since for Him to reveal to me where He wanted me to go. let me tell you. it took longer than i hoped it would. but it was well worth the wait.

over the last few months i looked for jobs all over the country basically. at first thinking i would just move somewhere + get any old job. then decided i wanted to be a nanny. i wanted to be part of a family. because i knew that leaving mine would be heartbreaking + really really hard. i wasn't sure that was what He had in store for me. i decided i was up for anything. i decided i would go anywhere...well sorta.

my prayer the whole time has been "okay God - i will go where You want me to go - but it would be great if i could stay in the united states. now God - hear me - if you want me to move to cambodia or the dominican republic or uganda i will - i will God - but i would really really like to stay in the united states."


apparently God has a serious sense of humor.


He is sending me to...


anchorage - alaska.

+ i leave soon. in september.

no - you are not being punked. i am 100% serious. no - my brain hasn't been removed. no - i do not need a psych ward. i am simply - moving.

going on an adventure - to alaska. i am going to be a nanny! for a really beautiful family. the Lord literally sent the job straight to me.

i had stopped looking. decided maybe i was wrong + He didn't want me to leave yet. that i would stay right where i was for the time being. + literally a week later - daddy came home saying someone told him about an opportunity. and now here we are about a month later + i am getting ready to move.


and this is the part where i have to learn to trust better.

because as much as my adventurous little heart is so excited for this - parts of it ache knowing everything i'll be leaving here.

i don't want to leave my friends.

the other night while eating dinner on the patio dad said "the problem for you is all these friends you have. when i was young we had friends but they weren't like yours. you have crazy stuff like friendship thanksgiving and your friends are like family. that is what is going to make this so hard."

no truer words have ever been spoken. my friends are my people.

i was told once [find your tribe. love them hard.] and i think i have done that well.

a few weekends ago one of my best friends since kindergarten got married. to a boy we went to school with since kindergarten. life is crazy you guys. the night before we the wedding we were on the roof of the hotel having a rehearsal dinner. we had wine + laughed + took pictures + it was just great to be together. well - one picture that was so special was of myself and 4 other people that have remained my friends since kindergarten + we were all in the wedding together. 2 were the bride + groom. 1 was a groomsman + 2 of us were bridesmaids. because my brain loves everything to be precious and nostalgic - as soon as we took the pictures all i could think was "thank you God for this moment." because. i knew in that moment without Him i wouldn't have been in it. + that in itself is an extraordinary thing. but my point is. my friends aren't just my friends. they are like my family. they have walked the unimaginable roads i have been asked to walk - right along side me - and they have done so beautifully. so leaving them. - all of them - is going to be hard. i'm just trying not to think about it.

i don't want to leave my family.

my brother is in california. so i have a feeling i'll be seeing just as much of him as i would if i were in ohio. he + bryna will come visit. i'll go to them. i'm hoping we can meet in hawaii at some point. sethy roo has always been one of my greatest friends. so i'm hoping i can see him more since we'll at least be on the same side of the country. so i don't really leave him. but i mean he is my family. my best big brother friend. so i couldn't leave him out.

my sister is currently 1 mile away. so i won't be seeing her too much. i am so so grateful that we had the last year together. what a blessing it is that the Lord brought her and mark and the littles back to the 330 for a little while. before He called me to leave i mean. it is going to be sad to leave them. i can't even think about leaving the littles without getting teary eyed. i am SO GLAD i got to watch them last summer - of 2015 i mean. morning donut dates will always be one of my favorite memories with them. my bubba and shy baby will always be my two favorite kids in all the land + i will miss their giggles and hearing them unexpectedly walk through the door.

my parents - well they are just right down the hall. and this goodbye is going to be all kinds of heartbreak. mama + daddy have been my besties for 25 years. i turned  25 on july 18th. i have never lived without them. + i'm sure they can't remember life without me. haha just kidding. i imagine it was boring :) but really. the past few weeks my heart has been just aching at the thought of being without them. but at the same time that makes me feel like it is the right thing for me to do. i'm making it sound like i depend on them for literally everything. which is seriously not the case. but holy cow they have taken care of me for 25 years + it is just going to be hard. dad wont come pitterpattering down the stairs in the morning to ask if i need to take coffee to work. mom won't be there to watch dancing with the stars and grey's anatomy with me. i won't hear them arguing over the sink in the bathroom. they won't be eating dinner with me. it is just going to be a really big adjustment. + a really sad adjustment. oh my heart you guys i'm literally weeping writing this. granted. it is the middle of the night. and i'm sleepless. but holy cannoli i'm a wreck.

also ... i'm sad to leave my puppy too. YES. i know. pathetic. but at least i'm honest.

and there are a whole bunch of other ohio things i'm going to miss. but they aren't as important as the people.

so it is going to be hard.

but it is going to be beautiful + new + a time of growth.

the Lord has much in store for me. that I am sure of.

I am not alone. He is with me.

He is ...

the WIND in my sails.

[ i would greatly appreciate all of your prayers as i embark on this new adventure. my heart is full of joy + ache all at once + i'm feeling all kinds of emotional. my brother getting married a few days ago isn't helping these tears. now i know how women feel when they are 8 months pregnant and their husband forgot to get the pickles from the grocery store. ]

i will probably be blogging more in alaska. one of my goals is to get my book finished. so keep reading!

BLESSED by a Heavenly Daddy

Shelby Elyse Taylor

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

fearfully and wonderfully made

[ O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; When I awake, I am still with You. Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God! Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men. For they speak against You wickedly; Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. ] - Psalm 139

six simple words in the middle of this beautiful sonnet have forever changed my life.

fearfully.and.wonderfully.made - honestly. they are enough to bring tears to my eyes some days.

psalm 139. a scripture my mama + daddy have quoted often. especially on the hard days. in fact - just the other day mom sat across the bar from me in the kitchen and read the whole thing out loud.

fearfully and wonderfully made..

you all know how much i love words. so i decided to look up the definitions of these precious words. 

biblically - fearfully means [ in awe of or in reverence ] + wonderfully means [ marvelous - excellent - great - astonishing - amazing. ] OH MY GOODNESS! the God of the universe has made each and everyone of us with reverence + He is in awe of us + He thinks that we are marvelous + excellent + great + astonishing + amazing! ] HOW COOL IS THAT!?

however. i have struggled. so often.

how can i be fearfully and wonderfully made and yet this physical body of mine is so mangled. and always has been? 

it doesn't make sense. 

or maybe it does...

i'm 24 now. i was sure by now my immune system would have started working properly. i thought i'd outgrow all of it. maybe be totally healed. i thought maybe i would become a teenager and it would catch up. like everyone around me. or maybe i would turn 22 and the geneticist would tell me that it was all a big mistake + i don't have noonan syndrome + there is no risk to my children getting it one day. i dream of laying in the MRI machine + the techs thinking they have the wrong girl. because my tumor has miraculously disappeared. but that isn't my reality. so many nights i have begged God to take it all away. so. many. nights. tears and yelling in my head kind of begging. but He didn't. it isn't the plan. it was never the plan. but then again. the plan was to have perfect bodies. 

and so i imagine Jesus is just as disappointed as i am.

...and yet even in the dark days of not feeling whole His works are marvelous. and i know that full well. 

[ 11 years + 6 days ago i was diagnosed with a brain tumor. because the story is long + i don't want this post to have you reading until april - you can read about that right here! DIAGNOSIS ...]

[ 11 years ago today i had a 22 hour life saving brain surgery. because the story is long + i don't want this post to have you reading until may - you can read about that right here! SURGERY ...]

each year in march i reflect on what the Lord has done. and this year He has so loudly shouted that what He has done is use my story + He has boldly revealed that He will continue to do so.

something i am so thankful for - but something that is still very hard. 

probably around 2 years ago someone said something to me about being so public with my suffering - and that she didn't think it was...appropriate. for lack of a better word. i was confused. i didn't ask for any of this. and if i'm being real with you - I DON'T THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE THAT SHE SAID THAT TO ME! it was hurtful. so very very hurtful. yes there probably have been times where i could have held back. but the reality is that we have let everyone in for 24 years. and don't get me wrong hasn't been easy to do so.

there have been so many times i have wished we could take it all back - the words i mean. i wish i could have curled up in a ball. locked the door and not told a soul what i was dealing with. keep it all hidden. and choose to suffer silently. but that isn't what we were called to - in fact - from the moment i was born mom and dad knew that wasn't what we were called to. i don't think we could have done it had we not been surrounded by so many people praying. i really don't think i'd be alive.

but...sometimes in the midst of all the suffering. i find peace. knowing that this body of mine is not the final story. and even when i don't feel it - i am still fearfully and wonderfully made. 

one of my favorite pastors said this:: [there are things you learn in the valley that you can't learn on the mountaintop.] - chad veach

amen amen + amen.

the valleys may be dark but oh my heart i have learned so much while walking through them.

so back to what the Lord has revealed this year...

first:: the Lord has used my story...

a few weeks ago i got a facebook message. from someone i haven't seen since i was probably 5 years old. her little boy is currently battling a vicious type of cancer + someone had told her about me. she confessed to stalking my facebook + wrote me one of the most encouraging notes i have ever received. as i sat and read it. i realized ... if my story can help just one person. just one. it was all worth it.

that is just a small example. i believe that i - along with many of my family members have been able to encourage other people with this journey we have all had to walk...

second:: the Lord will continue to do so...

He has so clearly shown me that writing my story + putting it into a book is something that He has had planned all along. and while writing about things i've never told anyone or really discussed is hard - it will all be worth it - because He will use it for good.

so. i guess you could say that i have been...

blessed with a brain tumor.

and so much more.

but i will continue to PRAISE the One who made me.




Blessed by a Heavenly Daddy

Shelby Elyse Taylor