Archive for February, 2011

The sweetest thing about me was my pink shoes.

Helpful facts about me.

1.I like to go to the bathroom in groups.

2. I try to think of airports as a vacation.  I get to watch lots of people, eat Ben and Jerrie’s, drink Starbucks, read, and surf on the airport trains. (This is where you don’t hold on to anything and see if when the train comes to a very brisk stop… you can keep yourself upright and not land on the man standing behind you, who is already a little annoyed because of how giddy you are to be in the airport train.) BUT I don’t like airplanes.

3. I like attention when I am asking for it, I hate it when other people draw attention to me.

4. I am really afraid of very very steep hills. Not walking… driving up them. I freak out and feel like the car may flip over backwards.

5. My dad is the funniest man I know. He is also the most adventurous.

6. Bacon and cheese sandwiches and chocolate milk  make my heart happy.

7. Braveheart makes me want to fight, Beauty and the beast makes me want to sing, and Casablanca makes me want to fall in love.

8. When I step off the plane in any country, no matter where,  the first thing I think is…. “Today is the first day of the rest of my life.” Never fails.

9. I love Brooke Fraser

10. My mom is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met.

11. Just because I can have an 11 because why do have always have to stop at 10…. I have known since a young girl that I would follow God over the mountains and the sea.

I’ve been wondering how I would feel about this whole thing when it got here. I’ve felt so many emotions up until now. Why is it that now I feel nothing. Almost paralyzed. Maybe shock of the fact it’s actually here. The thought of traveling for 3 days alone doesn’t make me jump with excitement.

I went out with family last night, and realized I was almost having to force myself to talk. I was being a bit rude. My friend Matt even pointed out that I was acting a bit strange. I was walled up and closed off… I apologized and tried to work through my feelings.  I realized that the sweetest thing about me was my pink shoes. I was sorry.

There are the basic facts we all know about ourselves, it’s pretty unchanging. But the unknown will make you do and act in ways that you would never expect. I wouldn’t say I’m scared really, or horribly nervous, because I feel really confident about the whole thing. I know God has purpose. But it’s almost like, if I let a little emotion through, I may fall to pieces. If I don’t start being really tough now, then when it comes time for me to toughen up I might not be able to. I realized that is why I was quiet and closed. This is me being tough. I don’t speak too much or think to much because I refuse to let fear in. But in order to keep fear out, we often shut love out as well.

God spoke to me the other night after a very brief run through the woods. It was late and a bit scary. lol so it didn’t take long for me to give up and run back. I sat on the porch with my bible and tried to soak in the woods. The wind was blowing so hard that it scared me, but I didn’t go in, because it was more of an intriguing kind of scary… I opened my bible and began to look for a scripture that would be an encouragement. All week I had been reciting to myself the scripture from Psalms, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” But it was mainly because I saw many of my students had posted it. It’s a good scripture, but I don’t think I really listened to what it had to say. I had heard that scripture so many times that I didn’t take the time to actually READ it. I mean with my heart… So I was flipping through my bible and landed on one of the earlier Psalms. Then I noticed a sound that was different. I stared into the darkness expecting to see someone… but nothing. The wind was howling at me and I couldn’t seem to move. Just stared into the woods… my thoughts had run off. When It died down a little I went back to reading, but when I looked down I realized the pages had been moved. They had turned to Psalms 119:105…

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it,
that I will follow your righteous laws.

111 Your statutes are my heritage forever;
they are the joy of my heart.
112 My heart is set on keeping your decrees
to the very end.

God spoke a strong word to me that night as the wind shook the trees. I do not have to understand, I don’t have to be afraid of the unknown, and I don’t have to toughen up to follow. He will give me just what I need for that moment, for that footstep. I can see what is in front of me today. Loving family… and an opportunity. Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

Maybe it was just the wind, or maybe someone was telling me to look again… Look again, probably also a good word to remember.


The Art of Catching A Fish

Ok, so I wrote this a while back when I was off on a camping trip with my parents. I tend to write all the time and then hide away whatever i’ve written, until that fateful day when I clean out my closet. Thought it was fun and a helpful for this moment. So I wanted to share. (PS, this was in context of a boy at the time, but I think it’s in context of everything now)

The art of catching a fish.

Catching a fish is a technique … along with having a little faith. I mean you definitely have to do a few things to prepare to catch and a few things to make the fish wanna eat, however if you really think about it… You have no idea what’s going on in that murky water, and all you can do is believe and hope that what you are doing is what the fish wants and needs. Faith.

As to the preparation

Step 1- Be willing to walk a distance, and make sure your surroundings fit. You can’t catch a fish in a puddle, not a delicious one anyhow. Be willing to find that promising place. It may take a while to get there, but it will be worth it. What will it look like? That is up to you and also depends what kind of fish you are wanting to catch. Do the research. I Like the corner water, where the lake disappears off into the woods. Where the trees are fallen and the light is rare. That is where you will find me.

Step 2- Have everything ready for if you actually catch one. Have your dandy fish bucket ready, a knife in case you have to cut the line, or little pliers in case the hook gets caught in the fish. And of course your fishing poles and so on. This part has nothing to do with the fish, and has everything to do with you… so remember that. Not the fishes fault.

Step 3- Then think about the kind of fish you want to catch. If I want a bass, then I would probably use a worm and fish on a bottom, and I would cast out into the lake a little farther than normal. If you are looking for certain fish then you need to be intentional.

Step 4- JUST CAST THE LINE- this will take patience and humor. Well for me anyhow. First few times I looked to make sure no one was watching because I tend to embarrass myself. Don’t get discouraged if you catch a lot of grass at first. Just shake it off and cast again and again and again and again.

SIDE NOTE- fishing does not work for those who give up easily.

This is what is most important. The truth is… I’m still sitting here, having not caught any fish. In fact I’m  just sitting in the sunshine. What many people forget is that fishing maybe for a fun or a yummy dinner, but for many, including myself, fishing is really about me and my surroundings. It’s about where I am. It’s being in the sunshine, surrounded by the wild, watching the squirrels fight and listening to the wind call out and shake the trees. If I forget these things… I have forgotten why I fish in the first place.

Truth- there will be more time to fish… but I can’t have these moments back. The art of fishing is there isn’t an art really. People may argue, but I’ve met some great fishermen who did the right things, found the best spots, waited all day… came back with nothing. But even if they didn’t catch, they were still fishing, because it was just about them being there that moment and loving it.

Things will not always go our way, but love who you are and where you are. And if you get a bite, then it will be the icing. 🙂

Maybe this is a bad idea?

So when I was like 17 I went up to Mount Cheaha with a bunch of friends to go cliff jumping. There is this really beautiful spot at Lake Chinnabee where 3 different waterfalls collide into an area of about 50 feet. One of the waterfalls is about 10 feet  and an easy jump. But right above that is another jump of about 35 or 40 feet (but my mother argues it’s only like 30… but she jumped off in the 70’s and just doesn’t remember 🙂 Anyhow the 10 foot was a blast and I would usually stick to that one. No risk of injury. But one day while I was out with the boys trying to prove myself, I decided to move up. It took me about 10 minutes to decide whether or not I actually could do it. You have to clear 3 different ledges below to make the water, and it’s a very dumb idea. But once I decided to go, I just went. Looked to the sky and then ran as hard as I could. It wasn’t until I was falling did I realize that maybe this was a really bad idea. I hit the water and came up safe, with only a scratch from a deep water rock.

A friend emailed me about a decision he had made to start over new. He would sell his home and try for a new adventure. But he realized as he was starting the process that it would be harder than he first thought. And it made me think about my past decisions and my decision to go to Vietnam. I had been praying for a long time about being back overseas and especially in Asia. And once I felt that peace from God and stuff starting falling into place, I went for it. Talked to my pastor, staff perish, and then decided I was ready to give up everything in order to follow after God…

I was driving home yesterday. Hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long time. Every mile put a hole in my stomach, and I felt that I would have to turn around. I’m just not brave enough I thought. God should choose someone else for this. Then I argued for about an hour with Him about how i’m not ready and how unreasonable it is that he would choose me.

Then I thought about the sermon that morning in Church. Larry talked about the verse in Deuteronomy 30. This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

Now i’m not saying that everyone should go jump off a cliff. But, sometimes to stand still and make no choice is choosing a slow death. One that you can’t see because you replace it with the word “comfortable and easy”. It would have been easy to stay in Meridian… but as Larry reminded me, Bravery is not the absence of fear. It’s ok that you question, but believe that as scary, hard, and painful as it can be… that it will be worth it. That one day you will look back and see something incredible, and it will give you the nerve and courage to do it again. Basically….

 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James must have been on to something.


PS…. I love you. Yes that is a chick flick. For some reason when girls are having a sad moment, they have a need to go do something that would make them more sad. Not sure why we do this, but it happens. So I love this movie, but when I watch it, I end up using a whole roll of toilet paper (i’m to cheap for tissues) It’s about a girl who loses her husband and spends the whole movie trying to get over him. He sends her letters through the whole thing, and ends every letter with PS I LOVE YOU.

We don’t tell people enough what they mean to us. One of my dearest friends at the end of high school was Matthew B. He made me feel like a jewel and when I would see him he would hug me until my worries melted. 2003 my friend got her car stuck in the mud of a cotton field, total freak Alabama kind of accident. He came to pull us out before the farmer had us put in jail. I drove up to my house covered in mud and had to face my mom, ugh. lol He just laughed at me and told me how beautiful I was. I looked at him and said, my Matthew, how I love you. We sat in the swing and he held my little mud covered hand… the next week, my friends took me outside and told me that they were sorry to tell me, but my Matthew had been killed in an accident. He was a hero. A firefighter going to fight. I was broken for a long time. But you know what raised my heart from the place it was… Matthew knew how I loved him. How I loved him and still do.

Sometimes I tend to say things I mean. Yep. I like to say what is on my heart. NOw this can be a very bad thing and does get me into trouble. But at the same time i’m really glad I have this ability. Have you ever thought about what  the PS actually means. You smart people know, but for those of us who weren’t sure, here ya go.

In a written communication, “P.S.” stands for the Latin phrase post scriptum, which means “after writing.” It is meant to reflect the fact that the text marked with “P.S.” was added after the other material had already been written, as an afterthought.

  This week people have been amazing and gone through the works to make me feel loved and special. They even gave me a suprise party, which I loved.  I have no reserve to say I have cried much because I know how I will miss everyone. There is a cheesy line from The Wedding Date that I love and think it applies. The cute guy says “I think i’d miss you even if I had never met you. It is true. Nothing can bring experience like the characters you meet as you walk through life. And without them, just know i’d never be this Shelby.  For those of you who have supported me and those of you who have believed in me even for a second, just wanted you to know without the PS, not as an afterthought.

 I love you.

Be still??? No way!

Amy Carmichael said “where He led she’d follow, what He fed she’s swallow.” This same lady who was a incredible missionary to India in the late 1800’s said, “perhaps no part of the cost of being a foreign missionary is greater than the loneliness.”  And though Amy was willing, she would struggle with this most of her days.

One of the hardest things for us to do as Americans, or just as humans in general, is to be still. To be alone. To listen. I think the truth is, sometimes we don’t want to be quiet or alone because we may hear something we don’t like. When you start to focus on something you notice the details, and often, impurities. There is a quote I can’t really remember, but talks about integrity being who you are when you are alone. Who you really are seems to come out when you have nothing to hide and nothing to fake.

So as willing as I am to go, to follow and to swallow… it is much harder to think about being alone. I am torn because I am so excited about the change that will happen in my heart, but i’m afraid at what I may find. Just like when you go down in the basement after months to clean out the corners… but it has to be done.

But as it says in the Psalms, I will lift my eyes to hills. I will watch for God. And I will wait as he works around and in me. I pray to be steadfast. I will be still, and alone, and will be incredibly full of gratitude as HE washes over me with grace.

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