Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two tickets to childhood please


Yesterday I traveled about 2 hours southwest of my home to attend a class orientation for a new course in my seminary studies. The location I was headed was very close to a small amusement park that my family would visit each summer when I was a child: Conneaut Lake Park. While things never look the same as an adult as they did as a child, I was still anxious to stop by the park and see it - through adult eyes.




The day before, I had another chance to unexpectedly visit my childhood, when I met my fellow classmates for the new class. I missed general introductions when the rest of the class had started before arriving, so I gave a short bio and introduction late. As I told the class who I was, where I worked and what I was hoping to learn a fellow student chimed in...
Wait, you are from Warren County?
Yes.
Do you know where the Agway in Youngsville is?
Yes - I grew up at the top of York Hill Road.
York Hill? I live on York Hill!!!
What?
I'm Todd and I think I remember you when you were a little girl.
Now it was my turn to say - What?
I tentatively asked - "Did you ride a bus called Y14?"
Oh my - Yes! He replied.

This classmate that was now in my seminary class, used to ride my school bus and still lives on York Hill - 25 years later.

Life is weird.

Just when you think you are going to a place where no one will know you, you will find an unexpected connection. Sometimes these connections bring your eight year old perspective to your forty something life. What you thought was long gone - returns to remind you of your roots as well as that people can grow and change.

The amusement park is not what it used to be. Many of the rides have been torn down. The Midway is not as sparkly as I recall, but my feet used to walk there when I was a child. For that fact alone, my connection to that place remains.

Time passes - people change - amusement parks become weary; but connections remain.
We all are connected.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pot luck Theology with Antioch Session

Today a piece I've written was published at Antioch Session. If you like the post below about the Red Crock Pot and are hungry for more, go to read more about the main dish at the Church pot luck here at Antioch Session.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Red Crock Pot


It's been almost 14 years we've cooked together.
How may meals is that?
What curry was the best?
Remember the soup cook offs?
Do you remember? 
I do.
Hopes were tossed in.
Some spices and veggies too.
So much hunger we have abated together.
Choosing the temperature.
Setting the timer.

Let's keep on cookin.

Tara L. Eastman June 2014

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sherlock Holmes, the tortoise, the hare, Dukan Diet and me

Pick up the phone and call Scotland Yard - I have a mystery for Sherlock Holmes!

My mystery was not a crime - but it was one of a nutritional and physical matter.

Last year due to repeated foot injuries, there came a time that I had to lay off the running habit that I'd established over a five year period. I'd gone from thinking I could never run a mile, to running a 5k and not thinking twice about running 2-3 miles 6 days a week. Progress had been made - and I didn't want to loose the ground I'd worked so hard to gain.



I'd never say that I was the "hare" kind of runner, but loosing my "tortoise" daily run was a difficult loss.

However, the injuries meant I'd have to rest from running. Unfortunately, that six months of  PT and rest led to me gaining the twenty pounds I'd lost from running over the last five years.

The mystery continues...

In response to the weight gain, I consulted a nutritionist, logged my calories and after 3 months had lost 7 pounds. It was progress, but not quite as much progress as I'd hoped for. Over the summer I tried a vegetarian diet, but did not see a significant change.By the fall, I was determined to find a solution so I could get back to running (less mass = less impact) and tried protein shakes two times a day for a month. At the end of that month I'd lost two pounds. After a year of food diaries and only nine pounds loss, I began to consider a plan that my friend Kathy had been working on with the help of her doctor.

Maybe with the group support and a doctor's insight - this mystery might be able to be solved?


Image found at Deviant Art


While I was amazed by her progress (she is now 60 pounds down from her starting place), it took some convincing for me to try this high protein, low fat, low carbohydrate plan. I decided to give it a month and see how the Dukan Diet worked.

In that month, I lost a little over ten pounds. My energy level was improving and my foot pain continued to decrease with the loss of mass. (less mass=less impact)

From December to the end of May, I've now lost 40 pounds and am approaching my goal.
Over the last six months I have lost weight, but my blood pressure (upper number) has dropped 25-30 points and I've discovered that I have some sensitivity to gluten. These are all good clues that lead me to think I'm getting closer to solving this mystery.


Let me clear to say that this change was not motivated to meet an ideal or accepted by the world around me. I have been and will continue to be a strong, sturdy, and healthy woman -it just turns out with this change in my diet that I'm a tad lighter than I thought was possible.

While I'm posting the before and current picture to show a physical change in my physical state, this change was not originally motivated to "change" my appearance. But the change in my appearance is conclusive evidence that there is a distinct difference seen over the last year to six months.

I'm happy to say that my love of running and being active are things that can continue to be a part of my life. Slowly, I'm hitting pavement - but (maybe this is wisdom from experience) I'm much kinder to my body than I used to be.

Slow and steady could be the answer to this mystery...

Left side - May 2014              Right side - October 2013


Making changes can be a difficult. In the last year there were many times I'd wish the Sherlock Holmes of nutrition would have shouted, "The solution is elementary, my dear..." Tara. But finding a solution to this running and nutrition mystery was no sprint (tee hee) - it was and continues to be a marathon. 

That said, progress on this mystery has been made. 

From one turtle to another, the Dukan Diet has been quite helpful to me in solving some nutritional mysteries. It may not be a sprint to reach your health goals, but slow and steady...remember this.......
really does win the race of life.

(Please make healthy changes with the help of your doctor - don't just take my word for gospel. I'm not a nutritionist - obviously!)

Happy mystery solving and be kind to you!

Sincerely,
 Tortoise Tara

Friday, May 30, 2014

Unexpected ties


For Mel -

Unexpected ties

We try to walk the path alone.

The ties that bind us don't always seem to be a blessing.
These connections make us vulnerable to all kinds of impact.
Sometimes we are so wrapped up in ties that we can't budge.
But true ties that bind are not ones that make us captive, but hold us secure.
True bonds give a space for new life to be the ground we walk upon.

We should not walk the path alone
.
These ties are life lines - our rescue inhalers - and cool cups of water that make it possible to live.

Life-giving ties support and release us to travel to the scary growing edges, and take us to the places we are not sure we can get to.

We can’t walk the path alone.

Our tapestry of ties is not tidy or exact. There are snags here and knots there.
But this tapestry is a blanket that unexpectedly gives warmth to the chill of the autumn night, and just-right coolness in the balmy day.

Blessed be the ties that bind us to walking in newness of life, so we continue to take steps on the path where our feet have been placed.


We do not walk our path alone.                              

T. Eastman May 2013
____________________________________________

It's been over five years that Miss Mel and I have been blogging buddies. She tends her blog, Mel's Dream, as a faithful gardener in all seasons - except her harvest is words. Thank you Mel for sharing living, loving ties.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Coffee Klatch


It's been a while, but the conversation is one of ease.
Not that what is discussed is always easy, but the foundation is secure.
This space lets us stand strong - even in hard times.

Spoons clink and words swirl to fill the air.
Ideas breathe new life into spaces that were dusty and dim.
Hands move to punctuate important points.

If someone didn't know us, they might think this was an argument.
But it's not.

This dance of words and movement of hands is how we stay connected.
This is how we "talk".

Like a pen scratching on paper or nails tapping on a keyboard -
we are getting our message across.

With coffee in cups in hand, we face life's challenges and hold on to laughter.
Our eyes flash with treasure of these memories and all the times we've taken to sit down at the table -
face to face - eye to eye
together.

This is coffee klatch with a good friend.

T. Eastman  May 2014
Image found at: Jack and Friends

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Maya's words against prejudice is the balm we need to live with courage...

Over the last week there have been news reports, online commentary, and what seems to be a never-ending display of chaos, anger, grief, ignorance, and disbelief over the terrible loss because of the shooting in Santa Barbara, California as well as the feedback over Elliot Roger's actions.

While I rarely post responses to current events, this event is one I can't allow to pass. Sides are being drawn in the aftermath of this tragedy from every perspective imaginable. This account has lit a fire for so many people. The sheer tragedy of this story is beyond comprehension; but the root of its cause is something that people live and struggle with every day. Prejudice.

Maya Angelou, a brilliant poet, speaker and human being; who sadly passed away earlier today has this to say concerning the effect of prejudice:


"Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible."



At this very moment  confusion, threat and inaccessibility, are great descriptive emotions consistent for many people so effected by this backlash of this tragedy. Somehow, I think Maya's words concerning prejudice may be a clue to the root of actions like this. 

The person who carried out this crime felt judged by those who rejected him, the people attacked and killed received (more than) judgement for declining his attentions. The action of judging or being judged as one thing or another, as well as what we fall short of being is another ground for prejudice to be bred. The laundry list of prejudice is already too long: race, gender, orientation. There needs to be a tool to help dispel this tug of war of acceptance or not accepting one another;before there are any more casualties. 

Once again, Miss Maya gives some wisdom concerning what this protective tool against prejudice may be:

"One isn't necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can't be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest."


Today is a day where we all need more kindness, truth, mercy, generosity, and honesty; but these characteristics are not sustainable with out the foundation of courage. Courage, I pose, may be the very tool we most need. 

In the day's ahead, there is sure to be disingenuous and hurtful statements posted, commented, and shares related to this current news story. However,thinking and speaking with courage, usually is done out of the concern and benefit of others.  In light of the lives of so many that are impacted by this loss; may we all remember that these posts and articles are about real people, with real emotions and real families. 

Taking courage in the days ahead will call all to lay down their prejudices, threats and barriers and consider what might be possible for our communities with a strong foundation. If courage is laid first, then kindness, truth, mercy, generosity, and honesty could be a living reality; instead of a far-off ideal.



Peace, comfort and condolences to those who have lost friends and family in the Santa Barbara shooting. Thank you Miss Maya for your challenging and inspiring words. God speed. You will be missed.