Alyssa Sellers


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I Marched Because I Love

img_0614-3Even though Dressember^ ended last month, yesterday I donned a special dress, Lady Liberty’s, and marched for the 20 to 30 million people, mostly women, who are today enslaved. January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and I was honored to march for women across the globe who were not free or able. I marched for women who are sold for $90. I’ve bought pairs of shoes for that price. I am sure many of you have, too. I marched for humans with no choice or voice. I marched because I love.

As a follower of Jesus, I am Jesus flippin’ tables outraged by Christian women and men who demeaned the march of me and my sisters.

Sisters like Tiffany who marched for “every woman who has ever been a victim of sexual, emotional, verbal or spiritual abuse. It is never OK. I refuse to let it be normalized.” Sisters like Rhonda who wrote “Today I marched for the marginalized. Today I marched for Hispanic Americans. I marched for the under-represented. I marched for their honor, respect, dignity, and rights.” Continue reading

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Knowing I Don’t Have to Know

Joy Ride New OrleansThere I was, ugly crying on the cypress wood floor in my uncle’s home in New Orleans. It was the summer of 2002 and, after watching a seemingly innocuous movie, I was an emotional wreck.

Not just because in “Life as a House” an adorable young Anakin Skywalker stood in the pouring rain and fervently cried out for Alyssa, the witty and wise girl-next-door, who happened to share my name as well as some of my pretty fabulous character traits. (Yes, yes, I know. Hayden Christensen was acting in the role of an entirely different character named Sam, but to me he was still the promising young padawan – you know, before he goes all dark side of the force – only NOW with bonus blue hair. Swoon.) No, I was sobbing because Anakin/Sam and the other characters in the film were ultimately searching for redemption, love, and an understanding one’s self, all the things I had journeyed to New Orleans to find.

And because I was failing miserably in my search.

My movie postmortem didn’t start with me lying in a puddle of tears on the floor. It started with me sitting upright on the step at the top of a staircase, looking out through a giant window at a warm summer sunset, and holding a pen and yellow paper tablet in my hands prepared to write a veritable masterpiece of emotion inspired by the movie I had just experienced.

As you may have surmised, that didn’t happen. Continue reading


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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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USPS: The First Five Months

I’ve worked for over five months as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.

I seriously never thought I’d see the day. People, delivering the mail is HARD. Way harder than you think. Well, at least harder that I thought, I really can’t speak for y’all as a whole, but I digress. What I can speak to is that I am much stronger physically, mentally and emotionally than I was on September 7.

For starters, I spent the week before Thanksgiving until the week after Christmas walking 13 miles in a hilly neighborhood carrying 20 to 40 pounds of holiday parcels and paper in snow, sleet, hail and 20 degree temperatures.

I spent the fall learning to parallel-park a right-side drive vehicle like a BOSS.

I have delivered mail on almost 40 different routes out of nine different stations in the Portland Metro and counting.  A few of those were on those super scary windy roads I was concerned about. I hit nothing and no one died, WIN! Continue reading


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Let The Sun Shine In

Portland, Oregon ~ May 2012

The truth is there were things I did know. But they were scary un-finished ideas:

I knew I had committed to raising my own support to work full time with my church to share God’s love with students at Portland State and the people of the Portland Downtown neighborhood.

I knew that I needed to continue to live downtown to do this, even though apartment costs are outrageous.

I knew I had already created my own plan to make this happen and I knew it had already failed.

When I wrote the previous entry I no longer knew what to do. 

Funny thing is God did. I ended up in the apartment I live in now. If I had every downtown apartment to choose from, I wouldn’t have chosen this one, that’s for sure. The first time I visited, the smell in the lobby – a mixture of old coffee and yakisoba from the restaurant next door, made me want to vomit. The doors on the apartments were a teal green reminiscent of 1992, a year of which I am not fond. The floor molding is industrial plastic and the Formica counter tops leave much to be desired. 

BUT…the apartment God chose has a lovely view of the Park Blocks and Downtown; a location that has been pivotal in wonderful new friendships. It has a steamed cleaned carpet with questionable stains, so it won’t matter what I accidentally spill on it and a purple door, which, if I may be permitted a church-nerd moment, reminds me of Lydia, the business woman who gathered the first believers who would later become the church in Philippi whom Paul spoke of with great joy.

Yeah, I still don’t know where exactly the money is going to come from to pay my rent each month as I live out this walk of faith, but I do know that through the Oregon Trail card, wonderful taxpayers will continue to help feed me for the next six. 

And I know why I live like this. I live like this because God asked me to. I live like this because I remember who I was and know I am better when I believe and trust in God. I live like this because even though most everything in my life is decidedly the most uncertain it has ever been, God isn’t. And for the first time in a long time I know what peace is. I live like this because God’s gifts are not just for me. I live like this because God wants me to live generously with my life, because this is how God has asked me, Alyssa Sellers, to be salt and light. This is how God has asked me to walk in love.

I have bad days; I have moments when all hope feels gone. But there are many more days and many more moments when I know I am not forgotten and I know that I am loved with an immeasurable love. Today is one of those days.