Friday, July 03, 2015

Framed days

If I could, I'd take all of the favorite days and place them in a frame.
This would be perfect, except there are too many moments to fit any size frame.

There were dreams - and they came true.
There a people I longed to meet - and did.
There are songs that were written - and played.
There were paintings painted - and displayed.
There were broken hearts - and they were mended.
There were strangers - and now they are dear to me.

All of this - all of these people are infinity.

They can't fit into a frame,
but they can reside...
in my memory,
in my heart 
in my pockets...

I'm taking you with me.

Poem and image by T.L. Eastman copyright 2015

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Verklempt tree

When words don't cut it
and emotions run deep.

When life is shifting
in all the places feet sweep.

When hearts are full
and beats loudly bleat.

This is the place that verklempt and I meet.

For family.
For friends.

For foes who once were friends and those no longer foe...

when verklempt comes to visit -
you pray for the shortest stay,
this about
I know.

T. Eastman

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Community Foundation foster community space with First House Outreach

Over the last two years, First Lutheran Church has been making an intentional effort to reach out into their surrounding neighborhood by using their parish house, “First House” as a place for community gathering and outreach. Since January, First House has been open to the public every Friday afternoon for a time dubbed “Friday’s with Friends”.  “Friday’s with Friends” is a free coffee house that offers youth and adults coffee, cookies, and comfortable-supervised space for conversation, reading and playing board games.

(Janet Wahlberg, Kairie Williams, and Jim Wahlberg)

Every Friday is run with a team of volunteers from the church and community. The summer time hours will be from 1-3pm each Friday or when our open sign is placed outside by the sidewalk to the front and kitchen entrances of the building on 116 Chandler Street.

Earlier this year, First Lutheran Church was awarded the Karl Peterson Field of Interest Fund by theCommunity Region Community Foundation to help the “First House Outreach” meet its goals to offer greater community connection and offer educational opportunities. With this grant, “First House Outreach” will be able to better serve our neighbors and meet our needs.

The Friday outreach has grown to also host a once a month neighborhood dinner and music/art/program night. So far this year we have had chili, soup, and cook-out dinners with entertainment by local and regional musicians/artists: Adam McKillip, Ade Adu, Tara Eastman, Debra Eck as well as naturalist Katie Finch. The next cook out dinner is scheduled for July 24th from 5-8 pm.

It is with much gratitude to our team of church and community volunteers as for the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation that First Lutheran Church and “First House Outreach” can continue to reach out to our neighbors as a place of rest, care and friendship. For more information on “First House Outreach” please call the church office at 716-664-4601.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Light a candle

For the warmth,
for the pause,
for the need beyond words,
for the joy bubbling to the surface...
light a candle.

Because of the news we read,
because there is news we can't bear to read,
because there is news we can't wait to share...
light a candle.

In loss,
in abundance,
in the in-between,
in the hopes,
in the pits of despair,
and in the embrace of love...
light a candle.

For its flickering,
because it's light carries on even in the darkest of times,
in the way it reminds us that we are loved by a God that uses tiny things like
wax and wick
 to connect with us...
light a candle.

Image and poem by T.L. Eastman copyright 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Elephants, birds and other wily things

I've heard the way to eat an elephant - something bigger than life -
is "bite by bite".
Anne taught me to tackle overwhelming walls of words with this simple advice...
"bird by bird".

Today it all seems wily...
like herding kittens
trying to stuff blown bubbles

I need an elephant to chew on or a bird to define, because these wily creatures that are running amok...
are not defined,

For now I have lists,
post its,
and conversations
that are so bittersweet.

I can't consume them.

These wily things leave me longing for days filled with
Amy's elephants,
Anne's birds
my familiar kittens.

T.L. Eastman copyright 2015

Thursday, June 18, 2015

For Charleston

For the old streets,
for the many feet that walk them,
for the hands clasped in prayer yesterday and 
the hands that join in prayer with and for them now...
Gather together, hold each other close, for today is a day where 
words fall short...
but in support and love we pray and hope for justice.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 
Romans 8:26

Charleston - we stand with you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Go on your way...

A few years ago, several art friends and I were part of an art project at Rogers Elementary School that helped say farewell to the school. The usage of the school would be shifting to a place of storage and office space and the students would be moving to other locations for classes. Over the course of a month, each student and staff person was invited to create a painting on canvas cloth to mark their favorite aspects of the school: memories, people, classes, and what they learned in their time there.  The image to the left was my painting. The girl in the image is taking a cutting of the plant that grew there and taking it with her as she continues to "change, move and grow."

Over the past three years, I've been in the ongoing process of studying with the Theological Education for Emerging Ministry with Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, IA. This July, I will complete my studies with the program and continue on my journey towards ordained ministry.

In going forward in my process to ordained ministry, I've served as Youth and Family Director and Pastoral Assistant at First Lutheran Church for almost eight years in September. As of August 2015, I will be moving to the Tonawanda area to serve as the Vicar at St. Mark and Good Shepherd Lutheran Churches. It has been my honor and blessing to live and serve here in Chautauqua County and I'm thankful to each and every person that has been a part of my journey to become a pastor. You have all been instrumental in my growth, change and learning. Thank you for your care and support in every step of this journey.

The winds of change sometimes come upon us when we are expecting it, and sometimes when we are not. God's Spirit is at work here and will be the strength that carries each of us in the calling that we have for each of our lives. The image below is an art piece by my friend Shannon Newby. Eight years ago, Shannon traded me this art in exchange for a copy of my music cd. She gave this to me as a reminder that God is with us no matter were we go. God is our home and shelter in the new places and the familiar ones. It seems right to leave this image with you as my family and I move into this time of transition, replanting and change. God bless you and yours on the journey ahead - and thank you for sharing this wonderful stretch of road with us. Go in peace, to love and serve God.
Go on your way...

Luke 10:1-3a

After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
 3 Go on your way.