Alyssa Sellers


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Ready to Write

2014 Rose Fest and  more 116

When I was leaving full-time professional ministry for the second time I read Fahrenheit 451 for the first time. A speech given at the end of the novel pretty much summed up what I felt about my existence at that moment (I’d say spoilers but it’s on you, this bad boy’s been around for decades):

“Now, let’s get on upstream,” said Granger. “And hold onto one thought: You’re not important. You’re not anything. Someday the load we’re carrying with us may help someone. But even when we had the books on hand, a long time ago, we didn’t use what we got out of them. We went right on insulting the dead. We went right on spiting in the graves of all the poor ones who died before us. We’re going to meet a lot of lonely people in the next week and the next month and the next year. And when they ask us what we’re doing you can say, we’re remembering. That’s where we’ll win out in the long run. And someday we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddamn steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. Come on now, we’re going to go build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them.”*

I’d written a memoir about surviving physical and emotional hurricanes and had secured representation by a reputable Christian literary agency and hoped that it would only be a matter of time before my manuscript was published.   Continue reading


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Coming Out of the Clarkson Closet

closetI was a closet Kelly Clarkson fan.

American Idol premiered my senior year of college. I saw pieces of a few episodes and saw enough to know I hated it and everything it stood for. My friend Dee, on the other hand, was a huge fan, so I heard Kelly beat out Justin via the TV in Dee’s Mom’s minivan while we were stuck in traffic moving out her college stuff.

Dee, of course, bought her first CD and I rolled my eyes every time we listened to it that summer. But by album number two, Kelly was winning me over. And I found myself, a few years later, one slow Friday afternoon admitting to my cubemate, Casey, that there was that one Kelly Clarkson song I kinda liked. He, in turn, begrudgingly admitted to digging one of her tunes, too.

Casey and I are both music snobs and so this mutual admission was sorta a big deal. And the follow up online search to figure out which two songs we actual liked was on the side of scandalous. So much so, that when a team manager walked in and ask us what we were doing, we both averted our eyes and turned brilliant shades of red.

I came out of the Clarkson Closet in 2011.

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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Yelling with Strangers: The Magic of New Year’s Eve

New Year's EveI guess I could have stayed home last year/night and welcomed the New Year in solitude and contemplation; but that probably wouldn’t have been what happened.

I would have either A. fallen asleep before midnight because I worked nine hours at the USPS or B. watched the New Year’s Eve celebrations on TV and lamented my singleness. You know, because television and movies tell us something magical should happen on New Year’s Eve.

Instead I contacted my friend Jessica, we put on cute festive dresses and we went out; first to dinner at Zeus Cafe where my friend Lori was serving for the evening and then to the Boiler Room for Karaoke. And that’s when it got weird. Not the normal partying with Teletubbies, Care Bears, Elvis Impersonators and Nearly Nudes Portland weird, (which I’ve done and can totally handle) but frat party karaoke weird.

I’ve done a decent bit of karaoke in this town and never encountered a crowd such as this. I’ve also never been hit on with such frequent ferociousness, either. Continue reading


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Thanks For Being Lost

Sorry I haven’t written in a while, I’ve been lost.

When I started delivering mail for the USPS I spent a few weeks in a super hilly, sorta windy road, neighborhood. I was lost a lot. On the first day, in the middle of a neighborhood, around one in the afternoon, I stopped and yelled, “JESUS! I DON’T LIKE THIS!” And then, after a bit, “Help me. Please.”

I don’t like not knowing where I am. I don’t like not knowing where I’m going. I don’t like feeling like I’m not in control/charge of my life. Continue reading


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Just Call Me Ms.McFeely – Speedy Delivery*

First US Post OfficeIt’s not in my nature to wake up at 5 AM.

It’s also not in my nature to willingly take on something that I’m not absolutely positive that I’ll be fairly exceptional.

This might sound a tad braggy, but really it’s more about my fear of failure and rejection.  And maybe it is about my pride. I’m sure it is.

It’s all wrapped up together really: fear of failure and pride.

Because what am I afraid of? That people will judge me and not think I’m awesome? Because mostly I’m not talking about life or death stuff, I’m talking about everyday life stuff and more specifically my post -ministry employment choices.

I started work with the United States Postal Service on Saturday. Continue reading


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Living is Hard: Podcast on Traversing Transition, Climbing Mount St. Helens and Loving People.

Mount Adams

Normally, I would have written out a blog post about my climbing Mt. St. Helens and it applications to EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE, instead, thanks to technology and friends who wield it, I am sharing this story audibly.

To listen, click here: The Groves – August 25th, 2013 

This podcast also includes some additional thoughts about God and love and life that I was given the opportunity to share with my friends at The Groves.


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Trust in Transition

Trust In Transition

 

Two years ago I decided to actually fully trust Jesus with my WHOLE life. Like for real.

I mean, I’ve been a follower of Jesus since I was a wee lass. And that choice was real and life altering and such, but as I grew up, so did our relationship. We had some rocky times in college (who doesn’t) and then just about 10 years ago I moved 3,000 miles from everything I had ever known and I thought “Jesus, I totally trust you. You’ve got this.”

But what I realized a little bit over two years ago is that I didn’t really believe that. Or to put it more precisely, the aforementioned “this” was a small portion of my tiny life. Things happened in my formative years that made me believe that no one, not my family and certainly not God, would ever be able to TRULY protect me or take care of me, so young 6ish Alyssa set out in life to take care of herself. And super independent Alyssa did a fairly kick-ass job, if I do say so myself. By most measures, I was indeed successful.

But then, just about the time I turned 30, Jesus and I decided it was time I learned some lessons in dependency. God revealed to me this HUGE section of my life that I hadn’t handed over. Like pretty much my entire lively hood. I didn’t trust him to provide for me, to take care of me, to feed and clothe and shelter me. You know all the things a decent parent does. Continue reading


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Making Peace with Psalm 23

greenpasturesandstillwaters

Where I grew up most, kids learned the 23rd Psalm. I think they had to in catechism. Where I grew up, all the school buses altered their routes to include a stop at the Catholic Church on Mondays for catechism classes. Because of where I grew up, I heard that Psalm recited as rote and therefore I didn’t much care for that Psalm. Also it talked about valleys of death and rods and staffs, and hearing that over and over and over again sorta creeped me out.

Where I live now, I do full time ministry through my church by encouraging and supporting university students and other transients of my downtown Portland neighborhood in a variety of ways. To do this work, I raise my own support. I sorta suck at this aspect, but that’s another story for another time. And now I have an agent for my book so I’m retooling my book proposal which means an enormous amount of research and writing and editing and feelings of inadequacy. Again, another story for another time. And I also have a life full of relationships with people not connected to anything mentioned above that I try to maintain. I guess you could say I’ve got some stuff going on. Continue reading


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Waiting isn’t for the Weak

Pink Tree of Portland

Today is the 30th Birthday of one of my favorites. She is handling it way better than I did.  Today, she posted on Facebook: “I’ve been looking forward to 30 since 25 so I’m über-excited about this particular birthday.”

I, on the other hand, went a little, “Oh-my-pants-I’m-turning-30-and-I’ve-failed-at-life,” kind of crazy. I went for a walk on the waterfront along the Willamette River and admitted to God that I felt like I had failed because I didn’t have an awesome career or a fabulous marriage/family. In fact, I was nowhere close to either of those realities and I was a week away from 30 – unemployed and severely single.

God gently replied, just on the north side of the Morrison Bridge, near the pink tree where I often hear God’s responses;
 “You’re wrong. Failing, for you, would be already having those things. You are waiting for a reason. For something better. For me.” Continue reading