Shelbyisrad

I am most simply a soul navigating a world of other souls in desperate need of love…. I hope this blog is a place for souls to gather hear my story and find inspiration, courage and abundant love.

Loneliness and Throwing Away the Vodka Bottle

20131003-112406.jpg

Maybe it’s just me, but fall feels like the loneliest season. Actually that sounds so damn cliche, I know it’s not just me. Fall is the season of pumpkin patches, cozy flannels, and warming your hands around a coffee cup. And man if it doesn’t feel so much better holding hands with a cute boy through the pumpkin patch, snagging his flannel to get cozy in and sipping coffee together. Together, that what it is… fall calls for togetherness and sometimes you’re just sitting by yourself, wearing your favorite old sweater, sipping your coffee alone and sighing at the pictures of the cute couples in the dang pumpkin patch on instagram. And it’s just really, really lonely.

But there’s something different about my loneliness this year. Maybe because it feels like I chose this loneliness. I could be in a relationship if I really wanted to. I could’ve stayed in that routine I was in, of not feeling 100% happy with my life, but hey at least I had someone to hold my hand. I could’ve picked up a new routine with a new boy since deciding to step away from the last one. I’ve had offers, I’ve been taken out to dinner. I’ve put on a pretty skirt to go out with the nice guy to a lovely dinner and I still have felt loneliness. And I think feeling lonely in a relationship is even worse than just being lonely on the couch by myself.

So maybe this part of my life isn’t a lesson on loneliness, but learning to love loneliness (or at least be okay with it and stop giving loneliness the death glare). Maybe this is a lesson on learning to enjoy being myself alone, not defined by my relationship to another person. Or maybe it’s just a lesson to hide their posts in your newsfeed, get rid of that bottle of vodka (or whatever you’re still holding on to) he gave you as a gift that makes you sigh every time you see it in the freezer, to put on your favorite dress and go love the world and all its perfect loneliness.

 

Let’s Be Writers

20131001-122834.jpg
Image by Mandy Steward

If you click on the link of my navigation bar that says ‘the ones I adore’ you’ll find a list of women who encourage me and inspire me to dream big dreams. Most of that group is my tribe, the women I confess my deepest secrets, dreams and desires too. The ones I go to when I am angry, joyful, sad, or depressed. They are the ones who truly know me, they are the ones I am 110% myself around and they are the women I hope to be like in some way as I get older.

I am the youngest in our group, which at first was kinda daunting but now excites me. These women are braving the world ahead of me, they have already seen and experienced so much and they continue to create their own paths through the wilderness. I know they will allow me to venture down their trails, they will offer me wisdom and a hand to hold, but even better they will nudge me onto my own path. They will help me blaze my own way through the wild world and they will cheer me on, assist when the spider webs tangle my hair and the branches scratch my fair skin. But they won’t let me ever get knocked down for long because they will be whispering reminders to keep being brave.

Our tribe, we believe in chasing dreams, doing the seemingly impossible and doing it undaunted. We believe in speaking our truths, without apology. We believe “No” is a complete sentence. We believe in the holy, in magic, in secret messages and art. Oh do we believe in art. That is the purpose of this whole post, its to introduce you to three of these warrioress’ new books.

Three of my lovely sisters from this have become published authors recently and I wanted to share with you their incredible work:

“Every Shattered Thing” by Elora Ramirez

Stephanie fights reality every day. The voices inside, the ones declaring her worth, deem her broken, used and dirty. She is an object. A toy. Something to be tossed aside when bored. Who will believe her if she whispers the truth about her wrecking ball of a family? Eventually, her secret explodes and the person who means the most to her knows just how shattered she is and why she’s so afraid. But rescue is closer than she realizes. Hidden in plain sight, her horror hasn’t been ignored by everyone. Racing against the truth of what she faces, forces are joining together and developing a plan to free her from the hell in her own backyard. And while she’s at her lowest point, she’s hit with the beauty of love at any cost – redemption in the face of ruin. Will it be enough? *Warning: Contains mature content that may not be suitable for younger audiences*

“Saving Katie Baker” by H. Mattern

Katie Baker is a twenty-one-year-old single mother trying to live a quiet, introverted life, in her little Alabama cottage. With her happily-ever-after already come and gone, Katie has convinced everyone, even herself, that this is the story she wants to be living. But one night, a series of tornados threaten the life of Katie and her daughter, sending them into the arms of Blake Quinn, the biker dude next door. From her very first encounter with Blake, Katie is determined not to like him. She blames him for the death of her husband and decides to keep her guard up while waiting to be rescued from the unpleasant predicament of needing his assistance. Though Katie attempts to remain distant from Blake, his persistent kindness starts to wear on her heart. Only by leaping fearlessly, and facing the nightmares from her past, can Katie find the peace and happiness she realizes, she still craves.

“Thrashing About with God” by Mandy Steward

What if Jesus didn’t die so our lives could look perfect? What if He died so we could stop feeling like our lives have to be perfect to mean something? What if we simply live out our own story, even if it doesn’t look as others say it should? Mandy Steward set out in pursuit of these what-ifs. She didn’t find answers so much as she discovered a messy grace that knows no limits and a God that was and is willing to thrash about with her no matter her questions or struggles or doubts. What she found was abundant life, but it didn’t look like she thought it was going to. It was far different, and much deeper. This is a book without “easy” answers that lets those struggling with faith and searching for more know they are not alone.

I cannot recommend their books enough and would really love if you supported these artist author friends of mine as they chase their dreams.

On friendship

20130911-213652.jpg

Sometimes, you’re in the middle of a time where you feel kinda miserable and alone. Maybe you’re wondering if you’ll ever have an extremely close friend again, maybe you’re wondering if you’re even capable of being close to someone in ‘real life’ anymore. You are in the midst of a dating relationship you’re searching for the bravery to end, your summer isn’t what you expected, you’re trying to figure out what’s next in life and then suddenly there she is. She’s been near for a while but suddenly God nudges and you both click and you are wrapped up in this answer to prayer.

20130911-213643.jpg

A friend who sees you, loves you, and knows you better than you know yourself. You can look at each other and have a conversation without ever saying a word, and you can spend hours laying in the same room, or riding around in the car talking endlessly about everything. Life, love, your fears, your regrets and your dreams. In a matter of two months you’re finishing each others’ sentences, you have inside jokes, and your own string of lingo. You see each other almost every day and miss each other when you’re apart at all. You still leap into each others arms with huge hugs when you’re together again. You have automatic routines when you’re in the car. It’s all kind of miraculous.

20130911-213030.jpg

This is exactly what happened to me this summer, I was slipping into a depression, hating so much that was and wasn’t happening in my life. I was praying for something, anything that would help. Little did I know Melissa was praying for a friend at the same time. And though we’d been close, even pretty good friends, neither one of us imagined that God would brings us together so quickly. In exactly the time when we needed it. I wouldn’t trade her for anything. I treasure her for a million reasons, she is the most kind and encouraging person I know. But she’s not afraid to call me on my crap, she tells me when to be careful and she is honest with me.

20130911-213006.jpg

I know without a doubt how much she loves me, we mutually invest in each other and in our relationship. We carve out time to spend together and make each other a priority. I cannot tell you how incredible it is to have a friend that cares just as much for me as I do for her. and its not that my other friends don’t care for me, I don’t mean that at all, but with Melissa we both are able to mutually care for each other through all the good and the bad. I know if I’m down, she’ll support me, and when she’s down i’m right there for her. I don’t ever feel like I have to be anything but myself around her.

20130911-212741.jpg
We both are still kinda dumbfounded and know that this friendship, is totally, 100% something God knit together and I am so eternally thankful for it. I don’t know how I could’ve thrived these past couple of months without Melissa’s love and support or without being able to provide her support. I think thats what gets me about it, I gain so much from being able to be there for her, not simply how she’s been there for me. I wouldn’t trade this girl for the world. I’ve often heard you’re the average of the people you surround yourself with and being close to Melissa has made me an infinitely more loving and kind person. She makes me fearless and brave.

20130911-212800.jpg20130911-213702.jpg

I will fly

photo (16)

These dreams stirring in my heart

Don’t need to fit into your life plan

They won’t

They can’t be contained and

Neither can I

I will be my own hero.

With kindreds by my side,

A mermaid heart

And feathers gathered to build my own wings

I will fly.

I’m writing a poem a day for the month of september. You can follow along on instagram with the hashtag #mypoetryseptember