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Recipies, crafts, and Frodo.

ImageI keep thinking i’m going to turn this blog into something that I can use without being in another country. Maybe i’ll experiment with food, or decorate and then take pictures… make some new crafts and explain the kind of necessary glues it takes. But I haven’t reached that point yet. For some reason when I get on and look at this blog, i’m reminded of this time that seems kind of far away now.

Tomorrow April 13th… is the year anniversary of my accident. I haven’t been crazy emotional or trying to make it into some big deal, because it’s really not. It’s just a day that changed me. We have those days quite often. Some things change us for good and others we don’t turn out so well. I think sometimes i’m back and forth about how i’m still turning out. Still not sure of the end result. Guess I won’t know till my final days.

I think my accident was a bit like Frodo on Lord of the Rings. He was handed a significant burden (much larger than mine) and was asked to journey with it… some days without friends, shelter, or whatever. A difficult road. And there were times he wished he could just give it back, but at that point all he could do was decide how to move forward. We are all there. We can’t give it all back. Some of you are without companionship, finances maybe, or something secret that clings to your heart the way a stone does falling to the sea.

I just desperately hope that I never stop pushing forward because of the difficulty, but know the difficulty makes the end result even more precious… one day I will run 5 miles again. Not that I could do that before lol but one day I will make it happen. And one day there will also be a challenge bigger than this one. And hopefully by then, i’ll be a little bit stronger… not because of my personal strength, but because i’ll have learned to trust God a little bit more. He saved my life is several ways. Seems that is our theme lately. Christ defeating death.

Thank you to all who prayed for me this year and for those who have listened. You are appreciated.


Learning to be home.

I write stories in my head everyday. Doesn’t matter what i’m doing or where I am. Every experience takes root and plays like music.

Yesterday I was sweeping my back patio for the third time this weekend. The leaves never know when to stop ha. I started crying. What a loser. I’m sweeping and crying. But the truth is… I am learning to be home.

What a silly thing. Why would anyone have to learn to be home? Well I do. I love the life I have lived so far, but it hasn’t been an easy one. Choosing to travel often means choosing to be alone. I think at times I even push myself and stay super busy so I won’t realize that I am.

When I was a little girl my diddy built me this beautiful cabin. I loved it so much. Pretty much lived in it. I remember sweeping the floors of the cabin and then sweeping the ground all around the cabin. The dirt eventually got hard because of how much I swept. It was mine, and I wanted it to be perfect. I remember how colorful the leaves were laying around my cabin. It was the lining of a world where everything was good and everything was right. As I swept, I realized that is where I am right now. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but in my little back yard, everything was good and everything was right.

I am learning to be home. Taking joy in my pot roasts, my strange crafts, and cloroxing at midnight. It’s such a priviledge to just be alive in a place that mostly mine. Someone asked me the other day if I thought I might die tomorrow, lol because I did stuff everyday like it was my last. haha My reply was of course… why wouldn’t I live my best today. I’m very thankful for carpet in the morning, windows that open at night, and chairs that hug!

I won’t put off tomorrow what I can do today… which is be grateful for a home that is warm, food that is filling, and knowledge that you can be content whether you are in a little log cabin, crawling with spiders, or in a Meridian apartment with yellow leaves.

I love the process… of learning to be home.

Branded on my heart… Branded on my skin.

So this last Friday was my 27th birthday. And I decided to do something I had always wanted to do but never actually thought I would go through with. I got a tatoo!! Yep… small Hebrew Symbols on the back of my neck, right under my hair line. The only thing I was scared of was my poor diddy who is not a tatoo fan. And I love him enough to scrape it off with sandpaper if he never comes around 🙂 but i’m really hoping he will not mind so much since that would be an awfully painful process. In truth, after the accident and Vietnam i’ve come to a place where I know… don’t do tomorrow what you can do today. You are not promised that tomorrow. And though that does not changed your responsibility or give you the excuse to live “foolishly in the moment” I have opportunities and choices, and I hope that today I can make them well.


Some know me and my blog because of Vietnam, but pain, trial, struggle, determination, compassion, mercy… all things that started 27 years ago. And there was a time in my life when I finally realized the full meaning of the Gospel… when I read Isaiah 62.

The time I read this scripture was the same time all the fried apple stuff was happening, the reason I titled this blog as I did. And I had been reading about the nation of Israel and how they struggled. They constantly turned from God and became indifferent to God’s love. But Isaiah 62 resounds with fight… the fight in God for a people he loved and would not give up on.

Isaiah 62

Zion’s New Name
1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.
2 The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.
3 You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
4 No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.

If this scripture was true for Israel, it had to be true for me.

vs 4 “No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.”

See what especially caught my attention… no longer deserted… no longer desolate… a new name. I realized that is how I was living. As if I had nothing to give. I might have well just changed my name from Shelby to beaten down drop out. Some of you may remember Naomi in the book of Ruth. She was so broken that she changed her name to Mara, which means bitter. Many people without knowing, let their names change. Not what your friends call you, but what you call yourself. Or what you BELIEVE yourself to be.

I believed I was no longer worthy of love. It’s true… I actually believed that at a time in my life, and have struggled even since.

Isaiah 62 gave me hope… read on.

But you will be called Hephzibah,[a]
and your land Beulah[b];
for the LORD will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
5 As a young man marries a young woman,
so will your Builder marry you;
as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride,
so will your God rejoice over you.
6 I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem;
they will never be silent day or night.
You who call on the LORD,
give yourselves no rest,
7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem
and makes her the praise of the earth.

8 The LORD has sworn by his right hand
and by his mighty arm:
“Never again will I give your grain
as food for your enemies,
and never again will foreigners drink the new wine
for which you have toiled;
9 but those who harvest it will eat it
and praise the LORD,
and those who gather the grapes will drink it
in the courts of my sanctuary.”

10 Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.

11 The LORD has made proclamation
to the ends of the earth:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your Savior comes!
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.’”
12 They will be called the Holy People,
the Redeemed of the LORD;
and you will be called Sought After,
the City No Longer Deserted.

The words made me feel the way you do at the end of the love scene when braveheart rescues his girl, or when Hugh Grant gives his speech at the end of 2 Weeks Notice… like I was worth something…

I was sought after By God

Given a new name… A new name. I say it over and over and remember the tears that dripped down my face when God whispered those words in my ear. I was no longer reading this scripture but hearing God sing it over me. I can never get across the way I felt that day. The way everything I had ever learned about God became real… real in the flesh.

It was not something I could change or understand fully. But even after Isaiah was long gone… Jesus came and died so that I could be fulfilled and completley Redeemed. He is the end of my love story. He rescued me. Making everything that God said true… bringing his words of promise to completion. Making my new name legit.

Now I call myself redeemed, rescued, loved… no longer deserted. And if people ask

Sought after.

Sought after by God. A furious love that no man can change… not even I, even when I falter.

In Hebrew- דָּרַשׁ

My love story. It’s branded on my heart… and now on my skin.

Match Stick Destiny

Saturday night. I was falling asleep at 5:30 and my face is the color of something you left in the oven to long. And something I thought I could do in secret and for some reason have decided to share… I ate 5 honey biscuits for dinner. YEP… 5!!!! No regrets at all. I figure if it goes to my hips, at least my waste will look smaller. My great philosophy anyhow.

No plans, no dates. 26, and actually finally quite content with the way I look in sweat pants. I decided to make up my bed before I actually got in it tonight. It’s a way of being nice to myself, so I don’t have to spend the night struggling for the covers that are already fallen off the right side of the bed. (Which of course means I spend most of my sleeping time on the left.)

Billie Holiday comes on my pandora and sings “It Had To Be You” Which of course makes me think of some sweet Meg Ryan movie where the man finally catches her up and kisses her the way we always hoped he would… makes a woman think no matter if you are married or single, I sure could use one of those.

I have been up and down in relationships since I was 17. And there are moments i’m finally content, and moments where I just can’t seem to understand what a single man is talking about. Well this post has nothing to do with men, but simply as I have said before… You have to learn to appreciate yourself. Even if you think no one else has. Say nice things, believe that you are what your momma says you are, even if she is bias… tonight after I made my bed I decided i’d make myself some hot tea, listen to a little Ella Fitzgerald, and light a candle. You know, that thing 26 year old girls do at night when they feel a bit romantic… I walked into the bathroom to get the pack of matches, but couldn’t find it. For a moment I was like “really?” All I need is a match. Well good thing I finally saw the box in the cabinet. But it was light-weight, meaning empty. But I opened it up, and saw but one match left. It made me smile. The gesture was the same as someone handing me a dozen roses. Some are lucky in love, and I am lucky tonight. Even with a little candle light tuck in… God see’s and cares… even about your secret bedroom moments. He knows what you need when you need it. Maybe not always extravagant, but extravagant can’t be measured by size of the article itself, but how it makes the recipient feel. And how it changes them… sometimes piece by piece.

Corny maybe… lol I’m glad I can be.

Sometimes… and listen to the crickets.

The woods made me think of the Robert Frost poem “Stopping By The Woods On a Snowy Evening.” The trees closed in around me… close to sucking up any oxygen that was graced for me. All I could do was run and look at my feet. It was dark and lonely. But I deserved dark and lonely… at least that is what I felt at that time. I understood the meaning of compassion during this moment in my life. The moment where every kind of human grace should be dismissed, then somehow you sit under the night sky and feel raptured by nothing but grace itself. The simple sound of crickets sings you to sleep and makes you feel whole once more, even if it is only for a moment. A moment of safety… isn’t that what we sometimes scream for. One moment to feel safe, secure, loved, cherished?

Tonight I heard a song on the radio, and it took me back to that very moment in the woods. I relived it all over again as we sometimes do. But even tonight… I was thinking about the word sometimes. Sometimes can be a negative. Sometimes I greatly dislike my nose. Sometimes I don’t want to stay, I just wanna fly far away. Sometimes I wish that one person had not said that one simple thing that I let take control of my day. Something they probably didn’t not think twice about. Sometimes…. sometimes happens. But then in all the bla and junk of our day, we come home and hear that one song. We sit in the chair on the porch and look up at the stars… and SOMETIMES, we once again feel that the very oxygen is being taken from our lungs, but given back with more strength and courage. Maybe that is why when you get stressed out people say take a deep breath. You let it all go thinking to yourself “no I can’t, I won’t, please don’t let me fall.” But when you start to draw in you hear “You can and I will for you, and I’ll never let you fall.” It’s a flood of compassion.

When I sleep tonight, HE will sing over me. Glad I understand fully what that means. I’m getting to that place where I finally realize that it is worth the trouble it went through to get there.

I hope you listen to this song tonight before you crash. Breath out and in… and dont worry about mastering life. Let him sing over you the way you wish your grandmother still did… back when you still needed sometime to hold you.

The “I knows” and the truth!

I’m one of those people, who when my mom tells me something I think I know, I simply repeat the words “I know” over and over until she gets the point. I’d hate for someone to think that there is an ounce of truth that just maybe I haven’t figured out… but is it possible there are many things that hang in front of our faces and we never actually get the point… see the truth.

Tonight in our girls group we were talking about being authentic and ok with the place we are in. And Renee threw out the question, “Who is it that you are SUPPOSE to be?” Now I knew this question might be important so I scribbled it down on my hand. But it didn’t click until I was scrubbing the river out of my hair. (As I had taken the kids canoeing earlier) I looked down at my hand to see the few words still evident and realized that I was trying to be everyone else, because somehow they were all better than me, than Shelby. Example- (You will probably think of your own as I write this) I have always thought that girls with straight long hair were beautiful. And in my mind to be beautiful, looked like that. So for years I have struggled with my hair to make it look like, what I deem, as beautiful. That was the me I wanted to be. Another, I love to watch Brooke Fraser on the Hillsong worship team. She is someone who I aspire to musically I guess you could say. Her voice, her grace, the songs she writes… all of it is so beautiful and refreshing, and in my mind I often think that if i’m going to be a good worship leader, I must look like that… the shampoo was now burning my eyes because I was having a clouds parting, light bulb flashing kind of moment. All those times I had told people “I know” but I didn’t. I even had an exercise for my youth girls where we picked someone who they held in high esteem, and have them write down all the things they liked about that person. (This was supposed to be so they could study what they liked about characteristics, which was not a bad thing) however it is so wrong to look at someone and think “man if I was just like them, or had their hair, or their voice, or their heart, or their life… I just might be happy.

It was like a tornado of truth tearing into my life leaving a bit of a mess… but not a bad mess. I’m actually excited to expose those things I used to want to cover, because i’m excited to see what Me actually looks like. Now i’m not saying i’m a great pretender, i’ve been Shelby, but at the same time I’ve been torn and beaten down for so long by the many pains and struggles we deal with daily. Indluding lies that the greatest pretender, Satan, wants us to hear. Romans 12:2 Be transformed by the renewing of your mind… As I read the scripture and God speaks in my weakness, my mind, heart, and soul are slowly and forever changed.

The secret of Life? Good cup of coffee? Piece of warm apple pie? Or maybe as Paul said in Philippians 4:11-12 The secret to life is being content in any and every situation. Seeing that you ARE fearfully and wonderfully made. And being ok with those days you didn’t make the choice you should have. A tornado of truth is Jesus, and seems to speak to us when we aren’t sure we can do anymore good. The great thing is, he is Good, and as long as he is mine and I am his, then I can do great things… Philippians 4:13 😉 which I think you know.

Rail Road Track Christmas Trees… The Way To Discover.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

A quote I’ve used before, however its relevance in my life is fresh. I’ve seen things in the past month I’ve never noticed before. Things about myself, others, and the world around me.

It’s funny sometimes how when I am sitting in my car at a long light, I start to notice things around me that I usually wouldn’t. I look down at a stone on the ground or a group of flowers in the median. And I wonder, “has anyone ever seen you before?” Now I’m not talking to the rocks, lol but just the idea that there is life around us that will never be recognized. This applies with people as well. We see men and women everyday and have never actually SEEN. But if we took a few concentrated moments, we might just discover something that is incredible… someone incredible.

When I was a girl, we always had what I like to call “rail road track Christmas Trees”. Dad and I would take a wheel barrel down the tracks and find the closest cedar with the least amount of branches missing or at least small enough holes that we could cover. There is no way I would have ever traded those moments or that smell. The smell of a new cut evergreen. And honestly, it was beautiful. It wasn’t perfect, the only price we paid was the sweat to cut it down. And I loved to show it off to people. But at night when no one else was around I would go and lay down under the tree and stare up through the lights and branches. I still do this. I’m seeing something in a way no one else has ever seen my tree. And from the most simple act, joy seeps into my life. Learning to discover what others could not see, because we think with the logical mind. We expect people to think we are silly. And you are right, I am silly. You are silly. lol But that is where it starts right. If we could see as a little child again. Discovering a cardboard box could be more entertaining than the all-sufficient Iphone. Guess it comes down to what we choose to see is what we choose to discover.

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