Sunday, August 28, 2011


Jennifer and Ron got me a FSU shirt with a card that said I will need to wear this when we go to the FSU game next weekend! Best present ever. I left Tallahassee 15 years ago yet still consider it HOME. I fit right in to the city's culture...academia, art, advocacy (lobbying), athletics, and acceptance. Find your home...don't make your home, discover who you are, be true to you, then fit in accordingly. Go where people celebrate you, know you, and are glad you came.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene

Aug. 26th 2011

palmcoastmark Mysteriously Unnamed
by Oceanpoet
I don't get all of this hype??? Down here in Florida all we do for a cat2 hurrican is break out an umbrella and thats no joke!

This guy’s tweet conveys my thoughts as I watch TV. People in New England are panicking over a category 2 hurricane. Category 2! Because I grew in Florida, the only time I panic over a hurricane is when referencing college football (albeit Hurricane Charlie WAS terrifying…). I am reminded how experiences shape us. We compare events to what is familiar or unknown. I have a friend who plans his whole day around the weather. I teased him when he said he had to hurry home at noon before the wind and rain came. “You better hunker down!” I jokingly said.

I feel bad for minimizing other’s anxieties – we need to respect people’s ability to persevere through events that have no impact on us. Last winter, I had no heat and was incredibly frustrated at friends who complained about the cold yet had a warm house to sleep in. And when I had no food, I’d cringe at those who said they were starving when I hadn’t eaten in 2 days- and they had a buffet lunch 3 hours ago.

Now that I am in a much better place, I remind myself not to minimize other’s ‘problems’. Circumstances and events shape us. A lady told me today how baffled she was by her boyfriend’s negative reactions when she gives him gifts. He was living on the streets with no help from his family. I could relate. I told her “his own family won’t help him, so when you do something nice for him, he probably wonders why are you helping him? What is your ulterior motive?” She said he had asked her those very questions. Yep, I’ve been there.

People in Hurricane Irene’s path… I’m praying for you. It must be very scary to face unknown. It’s going to be alright though – take it from someone who has been there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

FSU vs. Levenger

I'm still waiting for my birthday present from Jenn. I have a feeling she may be giving me tickets to a FSU game OR something from Levenger...  So in anticipation of my birthday surprise, here's a glimpse at two of my passions:
Florida State University

And my favorite store, Levenger:

I looooovvvveee both of these things!! Forget "Oprah's Favorite Things"... These are "Shelly's Favorite Things!" I actually went to the Levenger store in Delray Beach and I could swear I felt like a kid at Disney World! Check them out!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

*Note to self... Pink ink does not scan well. I wanted to scan my paper journal for this entry but used the wrong ink. So... imagine this written all frilly and girly with stickers such as, "And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln.

My written entry:
Happy birthday, Shelly! 42 years ago today, God brought you into this world under strenuous circumstances, miraculously saving your life when "man" (i.e. doctors) had given up all hope of your survival. SURVIVING despite man's odds, TRIUMPHING against all strife, PROTECTED by GOD'S MIGHTY HAND... symbolizes MY LIFE. 
Let the triumphing continue...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pictures from Ft. Desoto

 Truly happy with Jireh and her cousin, Mia. Goldens have a special place in my heart.

All Smiles!

Jireh LOVES Aunt Jen!
Playing HARD!

Jennifer's Eyes Are Likely
Shut Too!

Love Jireh's Facial Expression!

Ocean Lovers

Telling Jireh to look for Dolphins

One Day, Jireh, We'll Go Boating!

My Favorite Picture!

Best Friends!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Weekend Review

Fort Desoto beach was paradise. The dogs played the entire time in the water. In fact, Jennifer and I made them rest periodically since they were swimming full force. Jireh has grown much more confident compared to when we took them 2 months ago! She swims out to where her feet won't touch the ground when Jennifer or I are with her. Mia puts her head under water to blow bubbles, and even dives to fetch toys. Pictures will be coming soon. 

God met me at church as I expected... I felt His presence. This church is more traditional than my former church and I love it! There are pews, offering plates, hymns... It feels like a place of worship. It is much easier to get my heart before the throne as soon as I walk in the sanctuary. Going from a church where I knew the Worship Team and pastors to one where I know no one is a major adjustment, yet I find I have less distractions, allowing me to focus on God... Eventually, I'll get to know people. I already know I am among people who share my love for Christ. People who I will spend eternity with. May as well get acquainted with them now.     

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Living the Life

I woke up to Def Leppard's Rock of Ages on Tv, Addy on one side of me, Jireh sleeping on the other. Peaceful, calm environment...the nicest place I've lived. Thinking about the day ahead...a 2-3 hour car ride with my friend who shares my interests (FSU grad, golden retriever lover, God's girl, child of the 80's...), playing with our dogs on a gorgeous beach where dolphins swim by, then the drive home where we will laugh about the fun we had...our dogs sleeping from exhaustion...

Then, church tomorrow where I am sure God will give me a profound message... I'll meet some new friends....

Then, Wednesday, I begin helping in the 'ministry helping people who feel hopeless' as I start the 42nd year of my life, ending the day with my favorite home cooked meal at Jennifer's...

God is truly good. I am living the life of my childhood dreams... I never thought I would be happy again, and I am authentically happy.

Martina McBride's song, "Anyway" says it all:
"God is great, but sometimes life ain't good. And when I pray, it doesn't always turn out like I think it should. But I do it anyway..."

Do it anyway.    

Friday, August 19, 2011

Writer's Block

Gotta be honest – I have nothing to write about. Since I am determined to write daily entries, I’m staring at a blank screen, hoping my brain spills out into something witty, creative, inspiring… anything! Free association… let’s see… I’ve outgrown my celebrity crush, Dr. Drew Pinsky. Mind you, I still think he is a brilliant, handsome man… but either I have changed or he has… or (likely) both. He was criticizing a politician who quoted the Bible about wives submitting to their husbands…saying it was disturbing or crazy or something.  (I tell you, I’m GRASPING for something to write about!). Dr. Drew has said other things recently, which didn’t seem Dr. Drew-like, leading me to believe one of us has changed. So my celebrity crush is over. Okay… now I have closure.

Maybe here is the ‘useful’ information for the entry…I believe the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. You can’t pick and choose which parts to believe, nor can you take verses out of context. My pastor, Dr. Joel Hunter, once said someone told him they didn’t believe Jonah lived inside of a whale – that would be impossible. Pastor Joel said we are talking about GOD, who created the universe!! The whale could’ve had air condition inside it! God can do anything! Amen!

Whew. There is my blog entry for today. Definitely not one of my best, but hey, I broke through writer’s block!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jireh Understands CP Talk

Videos never align on here but I'm going to try because this is so cute. My second favorite place in the world is Fort Desoto Beach. (Okay, my third favorite - Tallahassee is #1, Cape San Blas is #2.) My birthday is next week so Jennifer just emailed, asking if I wanted to take Jireh and her golden retriever, Mia, to Fort Desoto this weekend. I asked Jireh if she wanted to go with Aunt Jennifer - here is her response. I think she wants to go.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Peace Out

Peace is seriously underrated. Addictions result from the inability to effectively manage discontent, anxiety, and pain. One of my biggest regrets is the time I wasted being paralyzed by anxiety and depression. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe some people with mental illness truly are paralyzed by their disorders. And we all have different levels of resiliency. Never will I claim the ‘lack of faith’ is the sole reason for anxiety, that one should ‘pray’ or ‘just trust God’ and all will be peaceful again. It’s not that easy.

However, I do believe true peace must include a loving relationship with God. How could a nonbeliever be at peace in such a crazy, uncertain world? Knowing God, trusting God is in control helps us release our need to constantly be on guard. No matter what life brings, we can find peace when we feel ‘right’ with God. Isaiah tells us even though God knows our ways, he will guide and comfort the righteous, yet there is no peace for the wicked. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be ‘right’ with God than have a problem-free, easy life.

Peace out.
Isaiah 57:18 I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
 19 creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”
 20 But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
 21 “There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Because I Love You

My dog, Jireh, is a 10 month old PUPPY. She weighs 64 pounds and has grown so much that I forget she is still a PUPPY. I’ve been allowing her more leeway by not putting her in her crate and walking her without the gentle lead leash. The past week, she has chewed my leather Bible cover, two shoes, and Addy’s cat mat. She also has a tendency to want to run toward dogs, BIG pit bull dogs, just to say ‘hello’ while pulling me behind. Jireh doesn’t understand angry, BIG dogs have no interest in greeting a 64 pound golden retriever with a staggering lady running behind.

So I’ve been putting Jireh in the crate and making her wear the gentle lead. You would think she is being tortured the way she pouts! She looks like those sad dogs on the Humane Society commercials when I put the gentle lead on her. I can imagine her thinking I don’t love her anymore…

Truth is, it is because I love her that I restrain her from chasing mean dogs (trucks, trains, etc.) and will not allow her free access to electrical wires, medications, etc. When God puts restrictions on us, it is because He loves us and wants to protect us. We can pout, resist, and disobey, but we’re going to get hurt in the end. We need to remember God’s ‘no’ isn’t because He doesn’t love us… rather, it is BECAUSE HE LOVES US.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Book

This is not just a new chapter in my life, it’s a new book.

No more looking back. My future is looking astounding. I am living in a beautiful home where Addy and Jireh are flourishing, the new church I started attending is warm, Biblically based, and centered around God’s grace, and the friends I have are true, genuine friends.

Yesterday, sitting in Starbucks after church with my best friend, I was speechless. Tears welled up in my eyes as I stared out the window. Jennifer found the words I was searching for: “I think you are overwhelmed…” she smiled.

She was right; I am overwhelmed. Overwhelmed at how God works in life when we pay attention. Again, I am no longer looking back… but readers need a frame of reference as I start anew. Three weeks ago, I was days from being homeless. My relatives all turned away, no one wanted me except for Jireh’s trainer, PJ, who said I could stay with her. Everyone has their own lives, their own families, and while I know not to take it personally that people were unable to take me in, I felt so alone. I wanted to die. I thought of various ways to kill myself. But God pushed me through… God used Jennifer, Rob, PJ and Sherry to ‘hang on for one more day’. Then, the next day, ‘hang on for one more day’ until my eviction notice was replaced with a lease to a gorgeous, peaceful home with neighbors who smile and greet me and talk to Jireh. How it happened is no short of a miracle. So that is my past.

My future is my writing… now that I have a safe environment, my writing flows. I am starting a new BSF class next month, along with a Bible study at my new church. I've been helping PJ with her dog obedience classes and applied to volunteer at Arnold Palmer Hospital, working with families and kids with disabilities. And starting tomorrow, my counseling background will be used again as I begin volunteering in a ministry working with hurt people who need to know there is hope. People who have nothing who need to know life can get better…and I can promise people, life CAN get better. Hang on to whatever hope you can muster. Just hang on. Sometimes you have to let go of the life you had to experience the life God has for you. Believe me, His life for you is infinitely better.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Place

Really love my new place - Anxiety, step aside!
New chapter, new book... No more reason to hide.
Satan - GET OUT! You've done nothing but lied...
Jehovah God will provide.