Alyssa Sellers

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It’s Not Easy Being Green

University of Maryland ~ October 5, 2011
Jim Henson’s Alma Mater

On a particular downer of a day when I was struggling with the tension of creation and production and plain old purpose I read a book about Jim Henson entitled “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” This short book uses quotes from colleagues, family, friends and Jim’s own creations to provide a picture of who Henson was; incredibly creative and profoundly productive.

I began my journey with Jim on page 55.

“There are no rules, and those are the rules.” ~ Cantus Fraggle

I looked at the previous page and it is a quote from Jim, “Many of the things I’ve done in my life have basically been self-taught.” He goes on to say this helped him “approach puppetry from a different angle,” and that he “learned as I tackled each problem…if you learn too much of what others have done, you may tend to take the same direction as everybody else.” He created an entire world of happiness, a world that continues to encourage and educate people around the globe, out of something close to nothing.


I went back and read the whole chapter and then the whole short book; about 200 pages. Frank Oz said Jim was “an extraordinary appreciator.” I need to be the same. I need to appreciate what I have and not squander my time in what it is I want. Appreciate and move forward in the path and work set before me.

In the book of Genesis, Abraham had all sorts of stuff, but not the thing he wanted – an heir. He knew God promised but sometimes he struggled. He was impatient and untrusting and occasionally tried to do things his own way. But in the end, God’s plan and promise prevailed.

After all, God did create the heavens and the earth. Even when Jesus was walking around as a human the sea still responded to him. God is power and love and a million things I don’t and never will understand but, because of my relationship with Jesus, he sees me as his perfect child. Perfect. He’s given me love, joy, beauty and a sense of wonder. So, if I move forward in his promise, I can’t muck it up too much.

“All of this stuff is about mankind trying to see himself in perspective. That’s what literature is about, that’s what art is. It’s trying to figure out what you are and what you’re doing here.” ~ Jim Henson page 164

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Dream On

I am a part of this awesome church called The Groves.

If you know me, that sentence carries a lot of weight.
A. Because I don’t just go throwing compliments around. If I say, it I mean it.
B. Because I don’t take publicly aligning myself with people, places, things or ideas lightly.
C. Because I have a lot of opinions, some of which are about churches.

All that being said, I love my church. Thanks in part to some excellent sandwich board marketing I stumbled into a Groves Sunday service a year ago today. By the time I left that afternoon, I knew I was home. Since I moved here 8 years ago, my heart has been for my neighbors in downtown Portland. I want them to know what true, unconditional, never-ending love is, that, that love is God and through his son Jesus, brokenness is transformed into good. The Groves shares my heartbeat.


Yesterday in our Sunday service we continued our journey through Genesis and read about Joseph’s dream. And while I tried hard to get the vision of Donny Osmond in a technicolor dream coat out of my mind, Paul and Sunia spoke about God dreams. Here’s my take away: Joseph’s dream eventually came true but this was after his character was developed enough to catch up to it. A number of people scoffed at his dream and were pretty mean about it. But you can’t hold a good God dream down. Mary the mother of Jesus had a God dream, too. She was a little more reserved in whom she told and found encouragement in her cousin. Over time God prepared both Joseph and Mary for the actualization of their dreams.

The Groves Church is full of dreamers. I am one of them. Sometimes I encounter scoffers, oftentimes my scoffer is myself. Lately lies have tried to swoop in and snuff out my dreams. But, yesterday, I was once again reminded that I can’t let them. A couple of weeks ago I began a practice of beginning my day with dancing. I get up, turn on some tunes and shake out the lies. It’s a good time my friends. You should try it. One of my favorites, Florence + the Machine, sings it well, “It’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off.”