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


  1. You're doing great!!! Just the fact that you can put your thoughts and feelings into words for us, that shows strength and resilience! You are a warm ray in a cold land!!!