Alyssa Sellers


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Single in the Summer is the Worst

single in the summer squareBeing single in the summer is the worst.

Sure, the Christmas/New Year combo could vie for the title of Worst Season to be Single. What with the constant barrage of songs telling you that Christmas just ain’t Christmas without the one you love and all the parties you have to attend solo with the faces of other happy families reminding you that you are a family of one.

Stealthy summer wins because of its tricky sneak-attack of sadness.

At first, the physical freedom from outerwear mixed with extended hours of daylight provides a certain kind of euphoria. Soon, however, you discover you have a tad too much time.

In the dead of winter, it’s dark all the time and you have no place you need to go so you feel no guilt staying in on a Saturday night watching an entire season of some show on Netflix. But in the summer, the sunny outside world beckons with promises of road trips, camping adventures, ball games of all sorts, hikes to majestic views, naps in lush meadows, seaside rambles, and so forth, you know what I’m talking about, you feel me. 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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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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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


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Jesus: Lonely Like Me

Salt Lake

In Still: Notes on a Mid-faith Crisis, Lauren F. Winner talks about her faith being somewhere in the middle; not in the excitement of her conversion but in the numb monotony of the middle. In one section she is reading her Bible in an art museum and she writes what she thought at that time:

“The story ends with Luke’s telling us that Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray. ‘A little like escaping to the quiet of a museum,’ I think. What can it mean for a place to be lonely?
‘A place, lonely like Jesus? Lonely like me?
Maybe I can make my loneliness into an invitation – to Jesus – that he might withdraw into me and pray.’” (page 141)

I have been thinking a good deal about Jesus’ loneliness. About how often he was misunderstood, even by his best friends. Continue reading


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Time Is On Your Side

726a9-books014lightA little boy is wailing in the courtyard of my apartment building. I live above a daycare and at least twice a day the children are brought to the courtyard to play. This child had been hysterically crying for well over 20 minutes. Consolation will not come. Many have tried, I’ve heard them, but it’s of no use.

I imagine this is what five of my friends have felt off and on over the last few weeks. They all have lost their mothers to illness; four of them after months of watching cancer ravage a beautiful body and one rather unexpectedly. The pain is fresh and deep for all.

All have also found hope in knowing their mothers are in a glorious place where they can yell with joy and see beauty again. I imagine these two wonderful women meeting each other in heaven, sharing stories of their families with joy and love. I hear their children talk with such hope about where their mothers are; the light in their eyes inspiring. I know that the ache in their souls is deep and will only be dulled over time.

I am really the worst at mourning. I want it to be over and done with at a pace that is inhuman. I encourage my friends to not be like me, to not rush through it but to embrace all that God wants to give them during this time; all the comfort, all the peace, all the love.

Time, after all, is a gift.

My friends all hold strong to the belief that this life is a staging area for the next. We are given time here to prepare ourselves and others for the next and longer, “here.”

In Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery, Anne sits up one evening with Ruby Gillis, a woman in her early twenties who will die the next day. Ruby says that she doesn’t want to die; she wants to go on living here.

“I’ve fought so hard to live – it isn’t any use – I have to die – and leave everything I care for.”

Anne sat in a pain that was almost intolerable. She could not tell comforting falsehoods; and all that Ruby said was so horribly true. She was leaving everything she cared for. She had laid up her treasures on earth only; she had lived solely for the little things of life– the things that pass–forgetting the great things that go onward into eternity, bridging the gulf between the two lives and making of death a mere passing from one dwelling to the other–from twilight to unclouded day. God would take care of her there–Anne believed–she would learn–but now it was no wonder her soul clung in blind helplessness to the only things she knew and loved. Chapter 14 ~ The Summons

After talking a bit more Anne leaves and on her walk home sums the evening up with this:

The little things of life, sweet and excellent in their place, must not be the things lived for; the highest must be sought and followed; the life of heaven must be begun here on earth.

Sue Erickson lived her life in that place. She left explicit instructions on how no unneeded expenses should be spent on her burial so that all of the money could go to help the people in India for whom she cared immensely.

In the summer of 2004 Sue and a few of my friends went to Hong Kong for a conference and service opportunity and met a man who was a spiritual leader in a community off the south east coast of India. They developed a grand relationship and when disaster struck in December of that year, our church community began to work to help that community. The first donations brought aid in the form of rice and fishing nets. The continued work over the last seven years has brought new life to hundreds of people in that area through teaching sewing skills, hygiene and the lifesaving word of God.

Sue worked an extra day a week giving that day’s wages to the impoverished widows, women, children and outcasts she loved and served in India. A memorial fund has been set up to continue that work.

The week she was supposed to leave for her second trip to India Sue learned she had cancer. She never saw India or the people she loved there again. I believe she will see those friends one day. Those friends and many more who found life because of her sacrifice.


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Seasons Of Love

Christmas Bells Are Ringing

As far as Christmas movies go, RENT may be the most depressing. I love it. I’ve been thinking about this musical a good deal lately. Mostly because I find myself needing to measure how I spend my days.

I work from home and am only really accountable to myself, but, man, I can be a pretty brutal boss. Yesterday I was entering my time spent into the Excel spreadsheet I created for me to track me and began to beat myself up because I had spent a small amount of time writing. I discovered in my data entry that instead of writing, I spent my time in some really wonderful conversations with some really fabulous people. Sometimes over cups of coffee, often in laughter and always in love.

I have decided to measure my life in love.