Tag Archives: thanksgiving

26 to 26: Birthday.

Today the countdown ends.

Today is my birthday.

I always feel like birthdays are supposed to be a big deal, like maybe some insanely life-altering moment is just around the corner. But birthdays are just that—days. Normal days filled with normal hours and ordinary minutes and common seconds. They tick away just like average Fridays.

I’m not sure what I was thinking today would be like when I started all of this. I guess that I imagined that I would wake up to a kick in the stomach and a neon “26” looming over my bed. I guess that I thought that life would feel different or time would feel different and really none of that is true.

In reality, I took a nap and carried grudges and brushed my teeth, all like a normal day.

Yet today has been a time of reflection on this journey that I created for myself. I have learned a lot along my path to 26, seeking out and uncovering lessons in the cracks and crevices of the daily grind.

I have felt full and empty; lonely and cared for; hopeful and disheartened. I have laughed and cried and regretted words spoken and actions taken.

It has all been an adventure for me. At different times, this journey of “26 to 26” has felt like both a burden and a privilege. It has forced me to express my feelings and confront some of my fears. It has forced me to cultivate writing as a discipline.

As I bring this series to a close, I am thankful that God does not finish with us until the day we finish this race set before us. I am thankful that life leads us down roads and alley ways lined with lessons in grace and forgiveness and selflessness and humility. I am thankful to be walking down those roads. Even now. Even when they seem too hard, too narrow.

Today I had breakfast with some of my lovely lady friends (the best!), snuggled with my pup while catching up on The Walking Dead (too cute!), noshed on a delicious (gluten free & vegan!) chocolate raspberry cupcake from Esselon Café (drool!), at a dinner of Riceworks chips (glamorous & health conscious!), and finished the day out with a massage (yesssssss!)

It was quiet and lovely.

As I look upon today and the last 26 days, I feel full. Full of so many things: memories, gratitude, dreams, love. I feel nourished in a way, like in leaking words into the blogosphere there’s been some fullness attained, some vision realized.

I want to thank all of you (aka my gramma, Auntie Chris, & Aunt Vicki) who have read along, learned along with me. I am so grateful to have had you all there, cheering me on, nodding your heads in support. I love you for more reasons that just you reading my silly blog.

Another year older, another day wiser. Here’s to making 26 count for the Kingdom!



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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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