Tag Archives: One Thousand Gifts

26 to 26: God is in the tremors

Ann Voskamp has been speaking Truth into my life, through her book One Thousand Gifts, for the last three years. I’ve read it and reread it and reread it again. Each time I work through it, whether with my small group or on my own, I am struck by different parts of the text, different principles.

This felt close last I read. I need this Truth in my heart and my flesh and my bones.

‘When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand util I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back’ — (Exodus 33:22-23)

“Is that it? When it gets dark, it’s only because God has tucked me in a cleft of the rock and covered me, protected, with His hand? In the pitch, I feel like I’m falling, sense the bridge giving way, God long absent. In the dark, the bridge and my world shakes, cracking dreams. But maybe this is true reality: It is in the dark that God is passing by. The bridge and our lives shake not because God has abandoned, but the exact opposite: God is passing by. God is in the tremors. Dark is the holiest round, the glory passing by. In the blackest, God is closest, at work, forging His perfect and right will Though it is black and w can’t see and our world seems to be free-falling and we feel utterly alone, Christ is most present to us, I-beam supporting in earthquake. Then He will remove His hand. Then we will look. Then we will look back and see His back.” –Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, p 156


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Thanksgiving Tuesday

Apples to Apples with members of the Board; making dinner as a staff; doing dishes at 10 pm as a staff & the madness that ensued; playing the role of a second Hun Bun while watching The Walking Dead with Ian & Emilia; snuggling Jack & House; remembering and giving thanks for 10 cute years with my puppy dog, Molly; the healing that comes with tears; friends that still like you even after they’ve seen your cry face; the small, yet wonderful, group at the Ladies’ Retreat; Janet’s testimony; Melanie Krumrey; new blood at camp; reading One Thousand Gifts again and again and again; the power in the practice of thanksgiving; making frozen yogurt; dreaming of and planning for summer; the opportunity to do what I love; deals on seltzer at Big Y; marking up books with notes; making an appointment for allergy testing; every song that Josh Garrels has ever written; my mother’s nurturing nature; my dad’s hugs & incessant I love you’s; realizing that my brother is not a robot; re-reading old blogs; memories- that our brains contain them and replay them and immortalize moments.

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Senses in the Morning


Slow down. Sip your coffee. Give thanks.

Breathe deeper.

Listen to the quiet. Hear the house creak. Hear the heater roar. Hear the refrigerator hum. Hear the coffee pot click. Hear your heart beat.

Be still just a while longer.

Do not hurry into life. This is a moment that you can never have back, as simple as it may be.

The simplest moments are often the sweetest.

Drink it in. Taste the coffee. Taste the cinnamon and ginger and nutmeg. Taste the cream. Taste the warmth.

Feel the mug between your hands. Feel the comfort in this home. Feel the fullness of this life.

Pour another cup.

Close your eyes. Breathe.

Be content. Be satisfied. Smile.

This. This is a day that the Lord has made, has gifted. To you. To me.

Rejoice and be glad in it.

© Alyssa Bell; February 5, 2013.

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Oh, taste & see!

I’m posting today over at A Vessel for Honor- A blog for women of faith in the Pioneer Valley.

Check it out!

Thanksgiving: a word we usually hear but once or twice a year. A thing we’ve confined mainly to a single Thursday in November. And it’s easy to give thanks when you’re dressed up all pretty and there are 5 different kinds of pie on the table and your Southern grandmother has made sweet potatoes smothered in butter and brown sugar.

It’s easy to give thanks on good days, the days when our bellies & hearts are full.

But what about the days when we ache and groan in emptiness? What then?

Read the rest here: A Vessel for Honor

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Thanksgiving Thursday

The fullness of our staff; the energy in the office; the release of sealing & mailing important letters; the grace of God- always full & always flowing!; Camp Day at Cairn; my new blog; funny YouTube videos;  old friends who live 1,000 miles away; old friends who are always within reach; time with Pastor Sanjoy & a challenge from God’s word; finally crying while writing a long, emotional, & necessary letter; my fail attempts at froyo; the sound of a pencil dragging across a page; a quick chat with an old work friend; cooking by head lamp; the adventure of independence; God’s perfectly thought-out plans and opportunities to experience them; sweating a lot at the gym; gluten-free macaroni & cheese; creating camp culture; making PowerPoint presentations (such a dork!); 1 John 4- over and over and over again; not being able to count the number of times that I cried laughing this week; lots of coffee- good, strong coffee; productivity; piecing together words to craft lovely things; buying my first snow boots; freshly fallen snow

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Dog Days of Summer

A drought.

Days marred by relentless heat, oppressive humidity. And not one drop of rain.

My flowers wilt, my herbs grow thin and yellow.

The land is parched. It aches for rain.

And my heart. It aches. Burns. Like and dry and weary land. I pant for you.

I long for your pitcher of goodness to tilt and spill towards me that I might catch a even just a splash, a trickle of You.

Yet there comes another day in the desert. And another. And another.

My tongue cracks and my lips bleed.

My mind reels with falsities, deceiving itself with empty promises of satiation.

I’m reminded of the rivers that flow beneath my feet. The wellsprings of life below me, within me.

I tear, I gouge to reach the cool, crisp core. Tearing through every doubt that tells me it’s all a lie, that You are not good.

But You are.

You are good.

And it begins to spill out of me and pour into me all at the same time.

I am full to the hilt and overflowing and I can hardly breath in the midst of Your goodness.

Will I ever be truly quenched? I hope not. Will I ever not burn for more of Your gifts, more of Your goodness? Will I ever find fullness in Your giving of gifts, even the slight ones? 

Your love, Your gifts, Your graces.

Like an unexpected and long awaited storm.

Flash flood warnings in effect for all of Your people. For me. All the time.

Especially today.

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