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