Monday, November 18, 2019

you have so much of her in you.

i have tried to write this for nearly 4 months. my grandma met Jesus on July 24th. with my handsome grandpa sitting strong by her side. she was days away from her 92nd birthday + their 69th wedding anniversary was just around the corner. in the aftermath i found myself being forced to sit in the grief. i didn't like it one bit. but there i was.

i have always felt things big. extremely big. some may call it drama. others crazy. but friends i'm a feeler. if i am happy - you will know it. and if i am sad - well. that one is a bit more complicated. if you love me + know me well - you will know when i am sad. but if you don't really KNOW me - you might not. if i am grieving something - i quietly retreat. spend as much time as i can by myself. and i cry till i can't cry anymore. i process the whole thing in one fell swoop.

in the weeks following her Homegoing - i hung out by myself SO MUCH. which is really unlike me.  i went for a lot of long drives so i could talk to God + listen to worship songs.

when i wasn't driving : i journaled + read my bible + slept a lot.

no :: i didn't feel depressed. i was just sad. i was just coming to terms with the reality that my spunky little hero was gone. i had to face these feelings. i had to. if i didn't face the music ... i knew one day i would have a random breakdown in the middle of target because something smelled like her.

i know myself really well. i had to process. the best i knew how.

a few days before my grandma died i was at my best friends house. we knew the day was coming and i got emotional thinking about it. i cried in their living room that evening. told them that i knew she was going to die soon + i was just so sad about it.

but later that night the conversation shifted ... we talked about how incredible heaven is going to be. what it will look like. the questions we have. all of it. and i got so excited for heaven i almost forget i was sad about death. there is so much to look forward to.

my dad called me on july 23rd saying he had just left my aunt's house and he thought my grandma was not doing great. i woke up on july 24th to the news that my grandma had met Jesus in the middle of the night. i hopped on a plane just 12 hours later + headed home to be with my family.

i spoke at my grandma's funeral. and thought that maybe i would share what i said here. this little blog is basically my diary. so i don't mind giving you a glimpse into that day.

it was beautiful. the day we celebrated her. the church was filled to the brim with people that loved our girl. every word spoken was precious. the entire day seemed so Holy.

the following is what i said at her celebration of life... 

i was told to keep things short. you would think that shouldn’t be hard for me : considering i am only 5 feet tall...but it was a feat my friends.

i was thinking about grandma this morning. i thought about what she would be doing in heaven. i like to think she’s rounded up as many people she can fit around her kitchen table + she’s stuffing them full of hot coffee + her homemade bread and raspberry jam. asking everyone what their favorite is so she can make it next time + giving that twinkle eyed wink to Jesus. but that’s just what I like to think - because it makes me feel better - because that’s the grandma i knew. but she’s probably actually sitting at the feet of the Father - singing His praises. Holy Holy Holy is the Lord God almighty. that is beautiful to me as well.

i decided i would share 3 things...

1. something i wrote about her last November ::

[my grandma taylor. her name is beulah. she is my twin - just 65 years older. we share curls + glasses + a love of cooking. she is as spunky as they come + she can’t remember my name anymore. even still - she grabs my hands + gets a twinkle in her eye + says [ hi sweetheart : i know you are one of mine. ] she has the heart of a servant + more zest for life than an entire orchard of lemon trees. how lucky we are to have her. what a precious gift she is. more precious than rubies i like to say. she is SO cute! my dream is to be just like her. raise 5 kids. break the mold. keep trusting in Jesus - even when it gets hard. but most of all : i pray i can love like her - she loves so well that all 11 cousins are sure they are the favorite. i pray i can forgive like her - for the little + the big. + i pray i can be as brave as her. she has always called me her brave girl ... but i promise there is no one braver than beulah lee.]

2. something that made us laugh :: 

this is something we like to call "the macaroni salad story." 😂 ... when i was little my parents told me to eat everything that grandma served you + to say thank you more times than you could count. well. one day my lunch plate was set down in front of me + had a big old scoop of macaroni salad on it. like. noodles covered in mayonnaise with some crunchy veggies mixed in. now don't get me wrong. i'm all about noodles. and i'm all about mayonnaise. just not together. i think i must have been around 8 or 9 at the time. and i told her "grandma thank you so much for my lunch! mmmm i love this!" to which she responded "sweetheart thank you! you love that macaroni salad?" and i think i told her "yes it's my favorite." BIG MISTAKE!!! for the next 10 YEARS every time i went to grandma's she made macaroni salad. she would get that ice cold mayonnaise covered noodle goo out of the fridge and dump it on my plate. AND SEND US HOME WITH ANOTHER VAT OF IT BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT I LOVED IT!!!! hahahahahaha!!!! EVERYONE knew i didn't like it. mom. dad. my siblings. the aunts. uncles. and cousins. i think they ALL KNEW. but not grandma. we didn't know how to tell her!!! one day in the summer following my senior year of HS my mom casually told her "hey beulah i'm not sure shelbs loves macaroni salad anymore. but she sure does love applesauce and butterscotch squares." PHEW! end of an era. for the next few years ... until she couldn't cook anymore ... i went home with applesauce! HALLELUJAH! ... 

[this story is silly ... but i think you should know that was the only time i lied to my grandma ... and at the funeral i told grandpa " don't you dare tell her when you get to heaven! " haha!]

3. the most important things she taught me ::

that if bellies are full. laughter is abundant + you are walking with Jesus life will be beautiful. it won’t always be easy but it will be beautiful. my dad always grandma came from the school of hard knocks. and that is where she got her spunk. she raised my daddy, my aunts and my uncle to be strong + bold. she poured such Godly wisdom into me + my 10 cousins. she sang in the kitchen + prayed for us so fervently. she was strength under control. the perfect person to live alongside my grandpa. she was a proverbs 31 woman in real life ::

[strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. she opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. she looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.] 


last week i was talking with my alaska "family" and my bff mandy asked me if there was ever a compliment i loved getting. at first i gave a flippant answer. it was true but it was pretty general. and then after i sat there a while i remembered. 

at the lunch following my grandma's burial one of our dearest family friends grabbed me to talk. she told me how much she loved me + told me my speech was great. and then these words left her lips and i don't think i will ever forget them. 

she told me ... "shelby. you have so much of her in you."

she meant my 91 year old bff. my beautiful beulah. the one who i just lost. 

it was the greatest compliment i have ever received. 

the grief process seems extremely unkind at times. just last weekend my uncle posted a video of everyone celebrating my cousins' birthdays. and as the camera moved i scanned the room. and for less than 15 seconds i forgot. i searched for her. her petite frame wasn't standing by my grandpa's side. and then it hit me. she's gone. dang. it seems the moments you forget become the hardest ones. i think i will miss her every day for the rest of my life. i don't think what they say is true. i don't think time heals. but man. the time we had with her was filled with so much beauty. i will be forever thankful. 

i love you beulah lee. and i miss you a whole lot. 

till kingdom come. 


shelby elyse 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

be brave - a guest blog post

hey fam

i thought i had published this months ago. but i just was looking through my half written posts and realized this was still a draft. oops!


back in may i got to write a guest blog post telling my story + my testimony! it was such an incredible opportunity.

i am going to link it below if you would like to read it!

it's kinda long so you might want to grab some coffee ... or a snack! haha

be brave

shelby elyse

Friday, April 12, 2019

introducing me!


i figured it was time for a little "about me" post. there are a lot of fresh new faces around here + i want you guys to know me just a little bit better. these kind of posts are some of my favorite to read on other blogs ... so I thought i'd do it too.

i am 27. so we will go with 27 fun facts.

1. my middle name is elyse ... and i love it. i love all middle names. tell me yours!

2. i am the baby of the family. by 7 years. i have an older sister + brother.

3. i am not a big fan of commas - or capital letters. you won't see them here a lot.

4. if i could wear overalls every day i would.

5. my family has this thing called "the 3 things" ... our parents started doing it when my sister was born. but it has turned into our family slogan. we have said it so much so that sometimes my dad will just hold up 3 fingers and i know what he means. if you are wondering the 3 things are ... " i love you very much. i think you are special. and i am very proud of you." see? it's cute!

6. popcorn and organic cheese puffs are my favorite snacks.

7.  i moved to alaska 2.5 years ago after living in ohio for 25 years.

8. i have a rare genetic disorder called noonan syndrome.

9. i named my dog scout finch after the character in to kill a mockingbird. which also happens to be one of my very favorite books.

10. my favorite place in the world is sunset beach - in north carolina. it's precious.

11. i met my two very best friends in kindergarten. they are so dear to me. in fact. 95% of my close friends have known me since before the 6th grade. i guess you could say i'm sticky. if i love you i love you for life.

12. i hate bananas. and also have texture issues with food. and also don't like food to touch. except chipotle.

13. i love cleveland sports. andddd also the pittsburgh steelers. sorry ohio friends. stone me!

14. i am terrified of clowns + fuzzy costume people.

15. my hair is naturally curly. no i don't get perms. i'd like to thank my mama. my daddy + Jesus.

16. i learn best with music + remember almost every lyric to every song i've ever heard.

17. essential oils are my jam. they have given me emotional + immune support. if you would like to know more about oils feel free to email me or click this link!

18. redeeming love by francine rivers is one of my all time favorite books.

19. i laugh when i shouldn't + i cry more than i should.

20. i am 5 feet tall.

21. i have a brain tumor. it's benign. it's stable. i'm grateful. GOD IS FAITHFUL + KIND. also :: sometimes when people hear i have a brain tumor they freak out + are like "oh no she'll die in my house." but don't freak out. i'm fine. life is beautiful!

22. i have a tattoo on my left arm that says "daughter, your faith has healed you." it's from the story in the bible where Jesus heals the woman who had been sick for 12 years. she had FAITH that if she could just touch his clothes she would be healed. i wanted this for a long time. and finally got it two years ago. because one day healing will come. on earth or in heaven. it is a gentle reminder + a push to always have faith like that beautiful young woman did. but best of all ... it's in my parents handwriting. "daughter," is my dad's + "your faith has healed you" is my moms. oh friends. this story  YES friends. there is a comma on my arm. i can't believe it either. but i can't change the Bible.

also :: i have a whole blog post about it ... if you wanna read it DAUGHTER YOUR FAITH HAS HEALED YOU

23. Hosea is my favorite book of the bible.

24. the biggest thing i have struggled with in the past 10 years or so is probably my weight + staying confident even though my body doesn't look like i want it to. years of sickness and medications ruined me. and i have had to learn to be okay with the number on the scale. i had to realize that healthy doesn't mean stick thin. that God does not want me to be ashamed of what i look like. scars are beautiful + scales are brutal + it is okay to love exactly who i am. in the words of my friend Shauna Niequist [ okay not my real life friend - but my someday friend ] "my friends are not actually counting the days till summer to see if i finally turned into a supermodel..." HALLELUJAH FOR THAT!

25. i love to go to the movies by myself. popcorn. cherry coke. a blanket scarf to cozy up in. it's just the best.

26. i am a hopeless romantic. i just love love. and love people. and honestly i wish there were more words for love in the english language because i use it too much. but i just adore everyone and i think they should know.

27. Jesus is my very favorite. forever + ever.

i'd love to hear a fun fact about you! feel free to comment below!

be brave

shelby elyse taylor

Saturday, January 5, 2019

His watchful eye

[ i sing because i'm happy, i sing because i'm free ... for His eye is on the sparrow and i know He watches me. ]

i catch myself singing this song sometimes when i am anxious. as if i am absentmindedly telling myself everything is going to be okay. that the Lord sees me - that He has not forgotten about me. the truth is - sometimes i feel like He doesn't see me. sometimes i feel like He may have forgotten. i hate to even say it - because i know it isn't true - but it's how i feel. sometimes.

at the beginning of november i went to a writers retreat. 30 beautiful and unique women were there. i had a room full of mama's. Jesus was present. hearts were healed. stories were told. memories poured out of us like a fresh cup of hot coffee. some beautiful - some painful + some so raw it was hard to even write.

that weekend more dreams and hope for my future began to flourish. i felt God telling me that the path i am on is the right one - but He asked me to promise to let Him lead. He brought women into my life who spoke beautiful words over me - even further nailing in the truths He wanted me to hear. i walked through the doors of that weekend wondering if i was doing the right thing. "am i really supposed to write it all down God?" "are You sure i am cut out for all this?" and so softly and tenderly just as He always has - He answered - in big ways. HE SAW ME.

i called home to mom and dad one afternoon - while sipping a chick-fil-a iced coffee + began to tell them about it. but soon realized that some of the words i had written i couldn't even read to them.
and then it hit me like a ton of bricks - everything i write is not for everyones eyes. it was shocking to realize ... and at the same time i shouldn't have been one bit surprised.

i have always been loud with my story. screamed it from the rooftops. we have begged the nations for prayer from the minute i was born. and yet - as i sat there with my coffee i realized - i can keep some things to myself. you may be thinking [ it took you this long? ] but friends :: when your story has always been public - you just let it be.

i have been quiet here on the blog. a 6 month hiatus. because what i have been writing - is either waiting to be read at a later date - or tucked away never to be read because it is too sacred.

i feel like i need to tell you :: that i'm sorry for being a broken record here the last few years. the highs and lows of writing and stopping. and constantly telling you i'm writing my book but abandoning ship here at the blog... to be honest this book has been harder to write than i ever imagined. i have changed courses a few times. and the entire thing has been like one big therapy session without a therapist. some days i sit in starbucks and erase full paragraphs because they don't make sense. other days i just can't write because the memories are too hard to reflect on.

the other day i was sitting at my sister's kichen table and we were talking about my future. how i feel called to write and travel and speak - but i just don't know what it will look like. she got up to grab some water and said "shelbs i'm sure this book has been really hard to write - healing but still really hard to remember everything because none of what you went through was normal." she gets me.

so i'm sorry ... for abandoning + floundering + choosing not to share - even when so much life is being lived. sometimes it's just too hard.

there are times where i just need to be silent and reflect. and the past 6 months i just needed that.

i am not one for resolutions ... mostly because i don't like to disappoint myself. but this year i am going to try to write more. be present here. decide not to abandon ship. and welcome you in. even when it's hard.

the past few days i have felt extremely anxious. probably because i've been sick + so i get all weepy and feel cruddy + basically turn into a toddler. so between podcasts and naps - i've been praying and writing and asking God what i should do next...

i talk to God when i drive. i tell Him about my day. ask Him questions. cry. yell. beg. wonder. all of it. He can handle it. sometimes mid conversation someone will cut me off or i will have to slam on my breaks for a red light + i yell a bad word. and then i have to apologize to God because i cussed mid prayer. i imagine he just shakes his head like my dad does here on earth and thinks something like ...  " i raised you better shelby elyse ... but i forgive you." i always imagine God calls me by my first and middle name.

anyways ... today i had to run to the store because i ran out of elderberry syrup for my immune system #granolagirl ... and so i was talking to God and telling Him that i'm all done being sick... and i was like [seriously Man!?  i was just home with mom for 2 weeks and you let me get sick when i'm back here in the land of ice and snow all alone?]

and then it hit me ... HE SEES ME.

so despite not feeling good. despite wanting to shut everyone out. despite days when it is too hard to write. despite not knowing exactly what is next...

[ i sing because i'm happy. i sing because i'm free. for His eye is on the sparrow...
and i know He watches me. ]

He sees you too fam...

He sees you too.

Be Brave

Shelby Elyse