Alyssa Sellers


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Out Onto the Water

2014 River facing North BRIGHTFrustrated with the lack of productivity on a rare day-off, I walked down to the Willamette River, past the South Waterfront Garden and sat on a bench that jutted out over the river bank looking north toward the Hawthorne, Morison and Steele Bridges.

Looking out on the water, I recalled what I’d read earlier in a book about Peter walking on water to Jesus. In Rob Bell’s Velvet Elvis, Bell writes that when Peter started sinking below the waves, Peter lost faith in himself.  Jesus, on the other hand, never lost faith in Peter. Continue reading

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Peace, Piercings & Food: Jesus Speaks to Freaked-Out Disciples

fish food 2Last week a devotional I was reading pointed to a verse in Luke 24 as an example of the supernatural greatness of Jesus. In it, a very much alive Jesus appears to the disciples, after his death and resurrection and says, “Peace be with you.”

I read farther and discovered that the disciples petty much freak-out and think Jesus is a ghost. So he tries to calm them down by showing them the holes in his body, I guess like someone shows off his new piercings. And then Jesus says, “Do you have anything to eat here?”

Just when I thought I couldn’t love Jesus anymore, he says this. He just saved the past, present and future world then follows that up by appearing to women at his tomb, some dudes walking on the road out of town and then in a house where the disciples are hanging out. What does he do after all of this? Jesus starts rummaging around for some grub. Jesus is so my kind of people. Continue reading


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Blessed?

blessedA few months ago I looked around the room at my church and I saw a group of hurting people. Some of us had obvious physical ailments, others carried emotional wounds and a precious few limped around with both. I thought for such a small group, around 50, we sure do have a ton of pain happening at the moment.

And then I thought about who Jesus named as blessed:

The poor in spirit
Those who mourn
The meek
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
The merciful
The pure in heart
The peacemakers
Those persecuted because of righteousness

I venture to say that many of us don’t aspire to be the people on this list because, when we stop and really examine it, most of this list is just plain HARD.

It’s a wonder that at our most human, when it is impossible to do it all on our own, we are blessed.

 

For a fantastic essay on the misuse of the word blessed, check out Scott Dannemiller’s, The One Thing Christians Should Stop Saying: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-dannemiller/christians-should-stop-saying_b_4868963.html


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Because Even in a Group You Can Feel Totally Alone

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Alone.

I was in the middle of a three-day camping trip with 50 other people from my church whom I know and love and I felt alone.

It was Saturday; the second morning of our camping adventure and a new wave of friends joined us during the night. I arrived on Thursday afternoon along with three families with kids and one other singleton. Now, in addition, there were married couples without kids, couples at various stages of their dating relationships and a smattering of singles.

I was sharing an old-school canvas tent that I nicknamed Big Top, with a rotating cast of single ladies because most could stay one night but not another. When I woke up on that second morning I walked down the hill passing the tents containing the 50 some odd members of our group, out of the camp site and down the road to the day use picnic area. Continue reading


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A Letter to the Struggling Creatives

easter 004(In January 2013 I wrote a Facebook message to a dear friend to encourage her in her creative struggle. In March 2014 I stumbled back across it and felt as if my past self had written it for my future me. Very timey-whimey,  Doctor Who-ish. Today I want to share it with you, fellow struggling creative, with the hopes it will encourage you, too.)

I read your Facebook post yesterday and I believe the very fact that you are facing resistance is an indication that you are indeed on the right track. Have you read The War of Art? If not, you TOTALLY should. It’s short essays on the struggle for the creation of art. In it Steven Pressfield talks a great deal about Resistance. Resistance is the name he gave to the force that doesn’t want good and beautiful to exist. Resistance is the force that stops us from creating.

In times of resistance and struggle I cry out for help from the Master Creator; the one who made every good and perfect thing. Admittedly it sometimes takes me awhile to do so. Sometimes, more often than not, I’m afraid.  Continue reading


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Defining Faith and Becoming Dependent

faith: verbThe largest app on my phone is the Merriam-Webster dictionary. It takes up a ton of space, but I absolutely love it. I use it all the time because I’m a word nerd. This is one the things I’ve begun admitting to myself.

I love words. I love everything about them; what they mean, how they are used, where they come from and sometimes, because of this love, I fall down the rabbit hole.  Like when I discovered argy-bargy is a synonym for altercation. It’s British. It comes from argle-bargle under which M-W states: reduplication of Scots & English argle, alteration of argue . Isn’t this exciting?!

Somehow I got to here because I looked up the word faith.  The current definition of faith is listed as a noun; as if faith is something you own.

I think faith is a verb; it is only real if it is active. Continue reading


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Translating Thanks

TranslationWe don’t have enough words to express gratitude in the English language.

About five weeks ago I severely sprained my right shoulder and have been unable to use that arm effectively since. This means I have been in pain, out of work and, consequently, pay.

As a single woman, this could be an overwhelmingly frightening experience.

However, during this time I have experienced an incredible amount of generosity. A wonderful menagerie of friends have taken me to visit urgent care, physical therapy, and the emergency room, provided me with lunch, dinner and brunch, washed my dishes, swept my floors, vacuumed my rugs, listened to my rambles, taken me on random low-key adventures, and occasionally allowed me to convalesce in their air conditioned abodes. These people have extended kindness and love in beautiful, practical, and necessary ways and I am immensely grateful.

I have struggled to express my gratitude accurately; saying thank you doesn’t seem like enough. Continue reading