August 31, 2013

As I talk to you, I'm sitting on the deck of the cabin we're renting for the weekend in Bass Lake, listening to Martina McBride's Timeless album, wearing a cozy sweatshirt, and laughing as my dad and family friends tell jokes and other random stories. In the distance, I can smell campfire and other campers barbecuing dinner. The lake isn't too far from us, but you would never know it, because it's pitch black, but it's still comforting to know it's there and I'll wake up to it in the morning.

I always feel most inspired when I'm away from the major city and the hubbub of every day life. Yes, I've still been posting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...I mean, I can't live under a rock and I enjoy sharing what I'm doing. But, it's good to get away from home with some of the people I love most. I've said it before and I'll say it again..I'm a daydreamer by nature. I need somewhere that I can thrive and see a world of my own, and not just getting caught up in what's right in front of me. I want to see what else is out there and experience life.

Out here, I'm also reminded of God's constant grace and goodness. When I look up at the size of the trees in the forest and the overwhelming abundance of stars (though they're clouded by the smoke of the fires), I know that my God is bigger than anything I've faced and anything else that will jump out in front of me. I know who goes before me, and I know who's standing behind me when I fall or take the wrong exit. 

Well, I'm going to head back to the party and soaking up the moment and the sweetness of the air. And let's not forget the cooler weather. Just thought I'd share a few words.

That's all for now,
Shelby :)

August 30, 2013

Cool Nights...

30 Day Challenge (Day 9)

List 10 People Who Have Influenced You and describe how.

There have been many people over the years who have influenced me and inspired me to go after my dreams, to be a little more outspoken, and have helped shape me into the person I am today. Without any of them, I know my story and journey wouldn't have been half of what it is now.

My parents//

Obviously, my parents are first on the list and probably a given, seeing how close I am with them, and because they raised me. I am who I am and I think what I think because of them. That sounds so vague, but it's the truth. Without them, I have no idea where I would be, but I never would have had the courage or resources to experience all that I have throughout my life. They've influenced my taste in music, my beliefs, the way I treat people, why I haven't gone out and partied, and not only have they provided for me all the things that I need, but also all of the things I've wanted. They've taught me how to have fun, how to plan, how to serve God and put Him first in my life, and how to make the most of your days.

Carrie Underwood//

Carrie has influenced me in so many ways, but most importantly how you can express your faith, whatever your job may be. If you're a musician, like her, you can sing about it, and even if you're an average person just working at McDonald's, you can be outspoken about what you believe without FORCING others to feel the same way. She has introduced me to so many incredible friends over the years after joining her fan club and meeting up with other fans at her concerts. She's the reason I finally made it back to Nashville after years of hearing and dreaming about it, and I fell in love with it immediately. She's the biggest proof to me of what your life can be like when you surrender your plan to God's will and let Him guide you. Your life can be your message to the world, and I think that's what she has wanted to get across this entire time. I know my world would have been very different had she not tried out for Idol. Along with so many of my friends. 

Taylor Swift//

I can't tell you how much this girl has influenced me. I've always had a hard time feeling like I fit in, or because my dreams were different than most, I often felt like people didn't quite understand me, and I think she has reminded all of us "dreamers" out there to keep dreaming. We shouldn't feel like we have to change who we are to fit someone else's idea of us, but we should embrace those little quirks about us that set us apart from the crowd. She has introduced me to many fashion trends, brought me back to my love of country music, has helped me to keep believing in the beauty of dreams, and Prince Charming, as well as forgetting what the haters are going to say. She has influenced me in continuing to write my stories and thoughts, because maybe somebody out there someday will need to hear those things and it will help them, just as much as hers have helped me. She reminds me of what it's like to be a leader, to work hard and to go after what you really want.

Hunter Hayes//

"For the love of music and glory to God," is his motto and I couldn't agree more. He has such an incredible soul and his passion comes out through his music. He inspires me to be ambitious, just like the other artists I look up to. If you want something bad enough, you're going to find a way to make it happen. Nothing can stop you. There are also still good, southern guys out there that live life with a higher standard, and don't just write about the same typical things. He knows what true love is all about...Plus, we have a lot in common, so I guess I just sort of clicked with them. To me, he's the male version of Taylor Swift, so that doesn't hurt either!   

My best friends//

I haven't always been the girl who has had a lot of close friends, or if I did, I still felt like something was missing. So the fact that I have finally found several girls that I can be my complete self with and know that actually want to hang out with me is everything. I can let my guard down, share what's on my heart, rant about an annoying celebrity or having a bad day, and we can just make a lot of incredible memories together by going to a Dodger game or a TV show taping is something I'll always remember. They're all so totally different from one another, and I wouldn't have it any other way. One of them is a little more practical and calls it like it is, one of them is the life of the party and vibrant, another is soft spoken and quiet, yet some of our best conversations are when we don't have to say much at all, because we just understand, and another is eclectic and quirky and loves to talk, but we can also have complete silence and zone out on an episode of The Office. They help keep me in check and help put things into perspective, when I'm stressing and worrying; they've probably taught me the most about life, seeing what they've all had to overcome in their own lives and the fact that we're all just trying to figure out everything together being the same age is kind of a beautiful thing. I know that they'll be lifetime friends that 20 years from now, we can all look back and remember all the times that we had no clue where we were going to end up next. They give some of the best advice and they pray for me and with me. You don't know how good it is to have that kind of relationship with friends who will push you to be your best, but will also just give you a hug and love you at your lowest.  

Wendy (from my church)//
For the longest time, Wendy was just someone I saw from afar at church, saying "hi" occasionally, and watching her speak on Sundays every once in awhile, and always someone that I had wanted to get to know. Over the past few years, as I've gotten more involved with ministry at church, I have also gotten to know her on a more personal level and she is just as incredible as I imagined. What you see is what you get with her. She tells things straight up, and sometimes it's tough to hear, but I need people who will be blunt. She is supportive and encouraging of dreams and living out your true calling. She is passionate and driven, and that has inspired me to want to be more outspoken and more courageous in pursuing the calling God has placed on my heart. She also has THE coolest style! She has a HUGE heart and has been such a blessing to our church!

My Pastors/family friends//
My pastors have literally been in my life since day one in the hospital when my mom had me. They had been friends with my parents for a few years before I came along and after that, I was just the newest addition to the hangouts. James and Lydia are a married couple that God called to move from Arkansas to California, as newlyweds with one son and another on the way to pastor a church here in town. They followed their calling and have been pastors at our church for the last 25 years, and I've known them for 21 of those 25. They have the most genuine hearts for the Lord of anyone I have ever known or met. They have inspired me in so many ways of living out your true calling and letting God direct you, because if they had given up years ago when things were tough, they never would have been able to see what God has done through them now. They love others and believe the best in people, and most importantly they love each other. Their marriage is everything that I hope to find someday, that even through all of the rough patches they hit, they learned to love and appreciate one another...And really are best friends/proof of God's love.


From the time that we were little kids, she was always everything I wanted to be. She was the sister I never had, and I just so admired everything she did. She had the greatest CD's, she could watch MTV (she was older than me), she got to do so many cool things, and she had been around a few years before me, so I felt like she had all of this wisdom that I could learn from. We spent SO much time together-rollerblading, going to concerts, making dance routines to Nsync and Britney Spears songs, and pretending we were Mary-Kate and Ashley. I have always learned so much from her, as she passed down all that she knows down to me, which has always been helpful. I'd say she has impacted my life the most, outside of family, because she has just always been there for me, no matter what the situation. When my mom was sick, when I needed help with a project, when I was signing up for college; she was always there alongside me.

LeAnn Rimes//

I was about four or five years old when LeAnn Rimes first came on the scene. I was a big fan of country music already; could pick up the lyrics really easily, and I could relate, even for being so young. Even if I didn't necessarily understand the words, I could feel it. I remember coming home from the park one night with my family to watch LeAnn's concert special on Disney Channel (Man, I really miss those days), as I ate my tapioca pudding and watched in amazement. Here was a teenage girl, not too much older than me, living her dream and singing, which was starting to be a passion of mine. From then on out, I decided that I wanted to be a singer just like her. I would put on concerts for my family and friends for hours on end, turned my bunk bed into a "tour bus" and dreamed of the day that someday I would travel the country, playing music for a living. That was all I had ever wanted to do, and I think it all started with LeAnn Rimes. Her music was something that my grandma and I bonded over, always, and now that she is in Heaven, I can still hear her music and smile, thinking back to the simple days of being a little girl singing for my grandma. I have also been able to talk with LeAnn on Twitter over the years and she recently followed me, which kind of completed part of my life! I would love to meet her again and thank her for her musical influence in my life and just how much she impacted my childhood! :)
My extended family//

This seems like another obvious answer, because of course, in some way or another, your family is going to impact you. They have added so much to my story throughout the years, whether it was spending time together at the holidays, going on trips, arguing because we can't see eye to eye, or just knowing at the end of the day, if no one else out there cares or loves me, I still have them and they're going to back me up no matter what. We've had our moments where we haven't always gotten along, and we've also had phases where we've done nothing but hang out for weeks at a time and others where we don't talk very much at all. Sometimes I'm closer with one person than another, but I love them all very dearly..And I guess that's what makes us family, right? I cherish their character and weirdness and the quirky comments and witty banter we exchange, even nagging at times. They do the things they do because they love me. And I do the same. The people that drive me the craziest are the ones I love the most. 

August 26, 2013

30 Day Challenge (Day 7 and 8)

What is your dream job and why?

I love the saying about, "Your dream job doesn't exist. You have to create it." If that is the case, I think I would jump around to different things, as long as it allowed me to be creative and to express the stories/lessons I want to share with the rest of the world. I've always love the arts--Acting, singing, drawing, writing...If I ever had an opportunity to do any of those, I would feel like I was exactly where I belonged. 
In strictly sticking with something that correlates with my major, then I would definitely say my dream job would be with E! News or Headline Country. What draws me to Hollywood and the entertainment industry in the first place is the people that make it up. Each and every artist and actor has a story to tell, not only through their music and film, but through everything that they've gone through. They've all had to face adversity, trials, setbacks, and road blocks to get to the path they're on today. I have always wanted to sit down and talk with those people who inspire me most for those very reasons, because I know that those things don't just happen and they don't just make it. A lot of divine intervention has to take place to get the ending it deserves.
 I want to be able to talk to them about the experiences that made them who they are, how they stay set on their mission, rather than the fame, the method that goes into their craft, and whatever else comes up at the time. I want to focus on the good of the industry, rather than someone else who decides to "twerk" in a video or someone else who cheated or got a divorce. Maybe if we didn't give so much airtime to the people that need help, they'd fight the "fame" thing and just get the help they need. 


What are five passions you have?

*Music/singing (especially country music...Tugs at my heart strings the most)
*Acting/performing/being dramatic
*Helping teen girls with self esteem issues

That's all for now,
Shelby :)