Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year - Muppet style



Arthur H. Sulzberger

A new beginning is perhaps the best time to say…
It’s so nice to know you…
And here’s wishing our friendship
continues to grow in the days to come.


Happy New Year - be safe, be well. be true.

Tara

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Women Create 2012

February 2012, Creative Arts of Women of Western NY will be holding a juried exhibit to celebrate the 5th Annual SWAN - Support Women Artists Now!

I've submitted the following three painting to be considered for this upcoming exhibit -
Open wide the window of my soul


Leo's Pretty Tree


and my newest painting - Raven's Dawn


Acrylic/Watercolor on canvas. To view more images of my paintings, visit Tara Lamont Eastman Art/Mural Booking.

At a certain point he (Poe) was very popular, from THE RAVEN. He was never fully appreciated, never made the money, and you know he was looked upon with admiration by some people, but also as an oddball. But that was his point.
John Astin

Read more: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/raven.html#ixzz1i04SSJwo

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Drop me a line


(Image from arfsc. homestead. com)

"...I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers..."

Ephesians 1:16 is a great reminder of the importance of praying for others—and letter writing! Over the Advent season and into Christmas week, I've received many Christmas cards, letters and photos from friends and family all over the country. It's been greatly encouraging to hear from old friends, catch up on news and see what is going in their lives. If I'm totally honest though, I'd say what I love best about receiving these letters is the flood of warmth that rushes over me when I find them in my mailbox—it's such an encouragement to be remembered and connected with others!

In the New Testament, 13 of the 27 books are written in letter form. Letters were the primary means of early missionaries to communicate with their church members back home. These letters were used to encourage, redirect, challenge and help Christians to continue to grow in their faith, even when separated by great distances and challenging circumstances. This art of letter writing is one that has been adapted with the technical advances of email, instant messaging, social networking and Skype; but even as an enthusiastic participant in modern forms of communication, I still find there is something special about receiving a letter. The tangible action of holding, opening, reading, re-reading and saving a letter that reminds the recipient that they are cared for by the writer of that letter.

In this day of constant quick and instant communication, I've begun to think about reviving the slower but tangible act of letter writing for encouragement, faith formation, and mission. Who within our church communities are most affected by distance and challenging circumstances? I'd like to suggest that the largest population of people impacted by disconnect, distance, and separation is our College/Career/Young Adults. Due to increased need for higher and higher education, many young people seek economically sound work placement and education far away from their home congregations. These young people are striving to make their way in fast paced and new environments as a growing rite of passage.

In light of all this transition, young adults could greatly benefit from a connection to a caring, prayerful adult via the means of simple, old-fashioned, faith inspiring, letter writing! Adults have a great opportunity to reach out. The simple act of fostering Christian community through letter writing communicates the message that the recipient is: cared for, prayed over, and important enough to receive a tangible sign from his or her faith community. Letter writing reminds all of us who we are, who we are connected to, and how circumstance and distance don't have to separate us from our community of faith.

In this New Year, consider taking a chance to slow down in one form of communication. Write a letter to a young person that might be feeling forgotten by the distance, pace and challenge of transition into adulthood. The letter you write may be the lifeline they were looking for. Give it a try—drop a line.

If you are interested in participating in letter writing ministry to young adults with First Lutheran Church, please send an email—kind of ironic, I know—to eastman_tara@yahoo.com.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Whole hearted surrender

So here's the thing. According to "researching storyteller" Brene Brown (Visit her webpage at: www.brenebrown.com) - vulnerability is an important key to living our lives in the place of wholeheartedness.

This evening I took twenty minutes to watch her TED presentation. One: she is so engaging that the talk seemed to fly by. Two: The more I listened, the more my heart pounded a little harder - like the words were making something deep inside me sit up and take notice. Three: the topics of vulnerability and worth are very connected, but often very hard to dig deep and wrestle with. Four: I think I have some wrestling ahead of me. Five: The struggle for perfection, is a trap that I sometimes get caught in.

Here is Brene's TED talk. Make a cup of tea or coffee and really sit down and listen. I think you're heart may sit up and heed her challenge too!




This graphic is a part of her program to challenge folks to live wholeheartedly. I love the way it's presented as well as the connection to expressing wholeheartedness through visual art. Most interesting is that I have a print of this Kelly Ray Roberts painting hanging above my computer desk. Apparently - wholeheartedness has already been working on and in me. :)





"No matter what gets done and how much is left undone; I am enough." Brene Brown

In this very busy week leading up to Christmas - this TED talk and encouragement to live in wholeheartedness instead of perfection seeking - is a gift I needed to receive.

Thanks for the gift Brene!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The gift of catching my breath


Advent is a particularly busy time of year for me. I find myself getting frustrated when I can't keep up with my regular tasks. December kicked off with flu having its way with our whole household - just as I was recommitting to refocus and blog every day for the last month of the year. Needless to say, I have not kept up with that goal.

Each year, for about 11 years now, I have been working through Sacred Space's yearly prayer book. Sacred space provides both online, kindle version, and old-school book form of this prayer book.

Just as other things have seemed to fall behind already in December, I did not think to order my new church year prayer book until last week - but thankfully it's arrived today.

Here is the Celtic prayer I found as I first opened it's pages:

Deep peace of the running waves to you,
deep peace of the flowing air to you,
deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
deep peace of the shining stars to you,
deep peace of the shades of night to you,
moon and stars always giving light to you,
deep peace of Christ, the Son of Peace, to you.


There was no pressure, no strain, and no disappointment waiting for me as I started my "new year" in my devotional life.
Peace - deep peace - was the gift in those pages and the pages to come.
Prayer
Now, I can catch my breath.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

You are a gift

(Nigel - Fall 2011)

You are the gift that arrived into my life fifteen years ago today. You tried to arrive early, and once you encountered all that fuss, you decided it best to hang out where you were comfy until the last possible moment. But when you arrived, you wasted no time all. When you came into the room, you were bright, alert and unexpectedly calm. As your Dad held you in his arms for the first time, I called your name. "Nigel, hello there. It's good to finally see you!"

At the first mention of your name, you turned your head and eyes to meet mine. There was an audible gasp from the medical staff in the room. "He turned his head and looked right at you!" Everyone was impressed with how clever you were, even at that very tender age.

People still are impressed. They love your spunk, your concern for those in need, your depth of thought and yes even your sometimes-snarky sense of humor.

You are a gift that we did not deserve, and yet here you are. Thank you for who you are, who you are becoming. Happy 15th birthday, Nigel.

We love you and are proud of you - on the day you arrived, today and in the days to come!

(In this photo, Heather age 3 almost 4, Nigel about 2 months old and me - promo pic for Bubble Gum Machine rock band days.)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Stumble


Image found at NYpersonalinjury blog.

Walking where I've strolled before,
I stumble over unanticipated obstacles.

At first, I hardly flinch and land like a cat on my feet - feeling steady, feeling graceful.
Other times I catch my feet and have to take a minute to recover, but still land upright in the end.
Then there are the trip ups that lead to all out crashes - face forward on the way up the stairs or a butt bouncing trip all the way down.

In the washing machine spin cycle tumble - the world is a blur of color, sound and sensation.

Is there an injury?
Do I spring back up on my feet - embarrassed for the fall.
Up and down are shuffled in an unpredictable jumble of misdirection.
Are things really out of whack or do I just need some reorientation of space?
Is limbo where I belong?

It happens so fast and ends so abruptly,
like waking up startled and sweaty
from a dream -
of falling.

The chaos settles into fuzzy mindedness as the world tips upright once again.

Walking where I've strolled before -
unanticipated obstacles wait for me to stumble.

I need some grace to stroll with me on this path.

T.L. Eastman Dec. 2011"

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Canine wake up calls



What are the things that wake me up? Quite literally my alarm clock that goes off at 6am every morning to wake me up. Alarm noise is followed by a robust greeting from not-so-dainty 40lb. beagle cattle dog - Aggie. She plops on top of me with great anticipation of the great outdoor trek just minutes away from her Alphas feet hitting the floor.

If I don't move fast enough, doggy kisses are on the way.
Doggy kisses at 6am have an effective wake up call for just about anyone - espically me.

When I think about the awareness of my dog, and her ability to be present to the moment, I'm challenged. In my very human way, I will so often be in a moment but at the same time be thinking, planning, or working out the moment that has passed or is yet to come.

Dogs don't get caught up in the past or the future. Dog's live in the present. Even in the midst of a snoring canine sleep, Aggie will hear a noise and jump to attention barking at whatever has upset her rest. Often times, she will curl up in a ball, snore like she's sleeping, but her eyes will remain just open enough to be aware of her surroundings.

Wake up calls in life are usually big things. Wake up calls can be red flags that shout for changes that need to happen - and happen fast. Wake up calls can take the shape of a text, email or phone call from someone in crisis, that make us consider "What if this was me?" There is a song by Mat Kearney called Closer to Love with the lyric, "I guess we're all one phone call from our knees(in prayer, in grief, etc...)."



Just like this song says, wake up calls can also be things of great beauty that help us to see our world in ways we never imagined, help us take a step closer to living with great purpose in our lives and chasing after almost forgotten dreams. Wake up calls can help bring us closer to love.

Wake up calls are important in this way, but what if living in the moment and the space of love helped us stay in the place of awareness, just like my dog Aggie?

Waking up is so much more than rolling our of bed at 6am. Waking up is a holistic practice, that I need more practice in. Movement in life needs to be more than going through my paces. Each day, each moment, each opportunity, each conversation, each person is something/someone to be attentive and alert to.

Prayer:
God, help me to be on watch. Help me to be more aware of the grace and blessings you give in each moment of my days. Give me the ability to jump to attention more and go through the motions less. But even more than jumping, help me to live this life you have given to me with great anticipation and excitement every day. There is a great walk right around the corner, help me to hear and be ready to go when you call.
Amen


"Therefore, keep awake — for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake."

Mark 13:35-37

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

More than / less than - Advent


Image from 123RF.

During this season of Advent, our thoughts may turn to the wise men searching through the challenges of distance, obstacles, and the great unknown as they searched to find Jesus. Who was this Jesus they were seeking? How would meeting him change their lives? How did they feel as they finally came to the place where Jesus laid waiting for their arrival?
There are many things we can desire this Advent season. Out of all the things we could place on our wish list, what if what we desired most was Jesus? How would Jesus change, mold and impact our lives if he were at the top of our "wish" list? May this season of preparation for Christmas day bring you joy, peace and most of all -Jesus. This Advent, may we seek Jesus just like the wise men did on that silent, holy night when they found him lying in a manger. Jesus waits for us to seek him. Follow the star.

More than/less than Prayer

What do you need more of in order to draw close to Jesus this Advent season? How might you draw closer to Jesus in this waiting time? What do you need less of in order to draw close to Jesus? Take a moment and write the things you need more of and less of in your life on a piece of paper. Take the paper and place it in a place you will see it as a reminder of your true prayer and wish for this Advent season and Christmas to come.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The best gifts given are...

Image from Newsong.

The Advent and Christmas season is one of my most favorite times of the year. In the past several years, I've become more familiar with the liturgical church calendar which is, "...the celebration throughout the year of the mysteries of the Jesus birth, life, death, and Resurrection in such a way that the entire year becomes a 'year of the Lord's grace'. Thus the cycle of the liturgical year and the great feasts constitute the basic rhythm of the Christian's life of prayer, with its focal point at Easter.".



It has been a blessing for me to be introduced to this cycle in the last ten years and I've enjoyed thinking about and experiencing the holidays, seasons and focus on Jesus' life throughout the year. Every day of the year, in the liturgical calendar, points to the life, work and ministry of Jesus. By taking part in this cycle, I feel like I've become more aware of Jesus' presence in my own life - every day of each year. All in all, I think that this visual connection throughout the year is a great tool for helping bring spiritual matters and growth more into daily life.

Through this introduction of the liturgical church year, I've discovered a gift that has given me a greater connection to my own spiritual formation on a daily basis.
Gift giving and receiving are a big parts of this holiday season. If Christians reflect on the original reasons for Christmas gift giving, we are pointed to Jesus life, death and Resurrection. This was and is God's ultimate unselfish, loving gift to humanity! Simply put, God gives us these amazing gifts and we give to others in response to what we've received. If we take a moment to consider the spiritual gifts God gives, we can be sure to grow and use them in our faith - all year round!

As I mentioned, any tool that helps bring spiritual matters into the space of everyday life is a great gift! Throughout this year, First Lutheran Church has been making an intentional effort to provide opportunities for adults, youth and children to learn about, experience, try out, and be provided with resources to help our community to grow spiritually. We have learned: new ways to pray, how to turn an art project into a spiritual practice, encouraged parents and children to take more responsibility for their own prayer and devotion times, given challenges to read Scripture on a daily basis and time to discuss how this process is going in group devotions. The church has been working to help each person to take steps to grow in their faith and find prayer and devotional practices that work for them. In the new year, we will be taking bigger steps to provide more weekly resources for faith growth and development for all ages.

While there are many wonderful groups, organizations, and clubs that provide activities to participate in and ways to serve - their call is different than the church's. We, as Christians and representatives of the church have something unique to give to our community and world - a space to feel welcome, a space to ask faith and life questions, a space to grow closer to God, and a space where we are not left alone on our journey. The spiritual gifts that are introduced and made a part of our lives, are gifts that never wear out, go out of style or break. These gifts from God, last eternally.

The church's greatest gift is to provide the space, time and opportunity to be introduced to God and grow in our faith, so that each day of the year is one day closer to better knowing and loving Jesus. Spaces like: Sunday Worship, Sunday School, Confirmation, Youth Group, Bible Study, Service Projects, Inter-faith Clubs, Small Group Fellowships, Camp and Church Retreats are spaces where a faith life is fostered can be compared to 'Santa's workshop'. Everyone who is on hand helps with assembly of the gifts, tools are provided there to develop needed, wanted and desired gifts that come out of the workshop to shine God's light, hope and love into the world - as nothing else can.



The spiritual gifts that Jesus brings into our lives are not only important during this holiday season, but taking note of the season can help us to refocus and refuel our need and efforts to grow closer to God. May you receive some tools this season to help you and yours grow in faith and shine God's light into the world - just like the liturgical calendar - 365 days a year!

God's grace and blessing -
Tara

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanks for the memories

Recently, I received a email from my cousin Adriane that contained an old family photo.

In this photo, (from left to right) is my sister Heather (14), me (age 10), and Adriane (3-4). This photo was taken in May at my Grandpap and Grandma's home in Irwin, PA. At the time this photo was taken, I was and probably getting excited to head to Burton Ohio for summer camp in July. My sister. Heather, was 14 here. There is a great deal of emotion tied to this photo, as the summer of 1981 was the last full summer of her life. She passed away from heart problems the following summer after years of struggling with her health.

While the context and story behind this photo are bittersweet (this is possibly the last photo of my sister and I together), the beauty of finding it after all these years makes me so thankful. Thankful for Aunts who save old photos, cousins who scan and send them in emails and the love of my family. This photo has jogged my memory and helped me to recall a very happy and pivotal time in my childhood.

Have you ever "found" or were "found by" a photo that jogged your memory? Were you thankful for the returning memories? How did remembering effect you? How does the attitude of thankfulness effect all aspects of you life?

1 Chronicles 16: 34
34 Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.


Prayer:
Dear Creator - Help us to hold on to an attitude of thankfulness in all things. Your love overflows into our live in so many ways. Please help us to take notice of these things found in time capsules and everyday life!
Amen

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Seeking wellness one step at a time


Image from chestofbooks.com


Seeking wellness is a holistic journey.
It causes an individual to look at all aspects of their life and ask the question -
"Does this look and feel healthy?"

This can be a very hard question to ask and an even harder one to ponder and then take action on.

Some areas of health and fitness have been slipping recently due to two different foot injuries - one in August and one in October. Sad to say the scale has been sliding in the wrong direction since consistent cardio work has been off and on again for the last few months. I'm slowly getting back to it, but there is work - more than I'd like to think about and do - to be done.

What are some ways you re-energize seeking wellness in your life? Are there any tools or encouragement that helped get your feet back on the road to seeking health without perfectionism and regret dogging you all the way?

It will be a one step at a time journey - and I know that it's important to pay attention to where the strengths already exist and go from there -
but, I thought I'd already tackled this part of the road once or twice before.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Animoto makes PR work fun!

Earlier this week I posted some photos from the last weekend's women's retreat. I was introduced to Animoto, by my husband, which offers a simple format for making 30 second mini-movies. I use this kind of resource to help promote youth, church and art events.

Here's the first try flick with Animoto - I hope it's a helpful and fun resource for you too!

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

Monday, November 07, 2011

There is joy


Image found at gapingvoid.com - by cartoonist Hugh MacLeod

There is joy in the moments filled with:
warm cups of Earl Grey Tea,
puppies so happy they get to go for a car ride they speak to you,
insight in an area that you've been looking for illumination - for so long,
and witnessing a connection and blessing for another person - in something you've done, written, or said.

Joy is all around us.
Joy want to invade the dark corners of our minds - from the smile, warmth and caring action of another.
Joy can fill the cold and hungry with what they need - from that hands that have the means to meet their need.
Joy will make a way that leads to hope - if only we wriggle the door open a little wider.
Joy dosent' need much room to make a difference in life,
but she makes all the difference once she's made herself at home there.

THERE is joy.
There IS joy.
There is JOY.

THERE IS JOY!


T.L. EASTMAN copyright November 2011

Sunday, November 06, 2011

A year of status - facebook that is.



To make your own go to Year in status

True Sisterhood Women's Day



Take twenty women with ages ranging from 17 to 65,



add a catered breakfast and tasty lunch,



some inspiring readings and discussions,



lots of laughter, an opportunity to build a stronger community,



hands on art and craft projects,



some quiet time,



some not-so-quiet time,




and you have a day retreat for a lively sisterhood of women; committed to growing in their faith - cross generational friendships - and a great future together!

Thank you to everyone who supported, helped with and attended the first women's day retreat at First Lutheran Church of Jamestown. Keep posted for the next one to come Spring 2012.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Exhale, inhale


Image from vi.sulaise.us

Exhale all the worry, the doubt and fear,
Inhale peace, being present and things that help us draw near.

Exhale frustrations over triangulated tones,
Inhale respect for who we are to become known.

Exhale to let go of all that burdens your life,
Inhale what lifts up and makes you feel light.

Exhale expectations that no one expects,
Inhale inspiration that make better best.

Exhale whatever seems to block the way to
inhaling the goodness at the break of each day.


T.L. Eastman November 2011

Friday, November 04, 2011

Little toes make a big difference


Image from Sunday morning blog.

Two weeks ago now I injured my right little toe. In a morning rush, I ran up my stairs and spot on kicked the base of the exercise bike with my right foot.

It was quickly clear by my tears and yelp that I had done some damage to my toes, but not wanting to make a big fuss over "little toes", they were buddy taped and I was on my way.

Over a few day there was growing annoyance with the whole development. I could not run each morning, as is my routine, due to the throbbing in my foot. Each morning I'd put my foot on the floor and hobble about clumsily as my canine jogging buddy looked at me in confusion. She was not happy with the development either! A week and a half in - it was not feeling better so I decided to give my chiropractor a call.

Chiropractor? You see, in the past my chiropractor has been able to work on other joint issues I'd had. I had confidence that he could fill me in on at least how long this healing process was going to take.

On Monday he took one look at my still bruised and swollen foot and ordered an xray. Tuesday the xray came back clear and I was scheduled to come back later in the week for a follow up. I was back to walking by the end of the week and doing the stretches that he's taught me before when I had a running injury. Today was the day for an adjustment.

He worked on the ankle and foot for a little while, tried to adjust the still angry toe a little and sent me on my way - I will return again on Monday.

Amazingly, the ache is subsiding. The swelling is going down and the bruising has faded dramatically since Monday. I'm not quite up to 5k condition again, but I'm thankful for being somewhat free of pain with every other step I take.

Healing is on the way. For that I'm grateful - and for humble little toes that make a big difference indeed!

All this experience with cotton balls, moleskin, and flexible medical tape has me thinking more about the small but important things in life. Little things are the building blocks of our lives. I too often overlook the small things - because I'm so used to them working as they should. I should not take the little things for granted.

As long as I'm still hobbling around a bit, taking notice of the small supportive things in life won't be as hard - but what about after I'm back to running condition again?

1 Corintians 12:15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.


I need my baby toe and my baby toe needs the rest of me. Thank you God for the little, humble, un-thought of things in life - we can't keep upright without them.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Eyes to see

Image from Rivercity Church page.
Mark 8:18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't you remember?

On Thursday, I had the unique opportunity of being able to visit with a large number of high school students. Over the last ten years, I've been a part of an ecumenical team that helps to organize, encourage and assist a high-school level campus fellowship. Earlier this week, I had been invited to come back for a "Club Day" and promote the Campus Fellowship Club.

From 10:30 to 3:00, I witnessed a visual and auditory feast of diversity and variety. The appearance of all the students was as varied as the rainbow of colors on a painters palette. As you might expect, specific social groups became obvious throughout the day - but what I think I was most impressed with was how different each person was from the other but how they all wanted to make a connection with someone else.

Each one of us is unique, but we as humans like to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We love to belong. We love to be appreciated for who we are. We love to be loved.

I was overwhelmed by those ideas as I looked at the living mural of high-school culture before me yesterday. For a moment, I was able to see and hear beyond what the kids were trying to portray and catch a glimpse of each persons intrinsic value and beauty - no matter what they looked or sounded like. In that moment, I understood in a small way how much God loves each one of us and even was reminded of God's love for me.

I'm thankful for that moment of being given a "God's eye view" of the teachers, administrators and students in that high school. God help me not to forget how precious each person is.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Recharge


Image from Nontoxic reviews.

Just when you thought all the energy was sapped.
Just when you think it's all in the past.
Just when you want what you had back then...
a spark is charged and a new fire begins.

Wondering how it changes will only cause you to scratch your head.
Be thankful for the spark that helped you and me start again.

T.L. Eastman Nov. 2011

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Yesvember to remember with gratefulness


Image November by Giovanni Pascoli found at blog Able Muse.

Some folk don't shave for the month of November.
Some try to focus on saying "Yes!" to life instead of "No!" for the whole month.
Others, being that Thanksgiving is a part of the month, focus on gratefulness for the month.

I've been in need of a November blogging muse, so I've decided to work in the vein of thankfulness and gratefulness. I need to do some upward, thankful, joyful musing. Would you like to join me?

So, thinking in this frame of mind, I'm thankful to have the space and time here at this blog, as well as those who pop by for a visit, and comment too!

Thanks to those who read, write, comment and take part in this month of gratitude.

PS. By the way, I won't be giving up shaving.
Gentlemen, have fun with that one!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tick-Tack-Treat Game



Supplies needed:
Pumpkin
Lolly-pops
Foam core board
Color Paper
3 Bean bags
Three sets of 2nd chance questions.


Cover white/black foam board with color paper in three rows of three alternating colors.
Lay completed tick-tack-toe board on floor.
Stick candy lolly-pops into a pumpkin for a centerpiece.

Allow players to toss the bean bags in order to get 3 in a row.
If they win - allow them to choose a lolly-pop.
If they miss or would like to try for a second one, offer them the chance to answer a "Brain Teaser" question, Halloween trivia question or a "Do you dare" challenge.



If they get tick-tack-toe and the question they get two candies. If they get tick-tack-toe and choose to stop there they get one candy. If they get tick-tack-toe and miss the 2nd chance - they loose the first candy (double or nothing). If they miss tick-tack-toe but win the 2nd chance question they win one candy.

Hope you enjoy this all-age activity for your upcoming Halloween parties!
BOO!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A friendly Halloween invite...


Image found at Hayward Library website.
This Thursday Middle and High school youth will be visiting Lutheran Social Services residents from 6:30-8:30pm and holding a costume parade followed with group time in the Chapel. (Please wear friendly costumes that would be fun for the residents as well as youth.) This activity is coordinated with SLYM: Shared Lutheran Youth Ministry. If you need more info on SLYM, click on the following link: SLYM.

This Friday (October 28th) First Lutheran Church's Member support and outreach committee will be hosting a community Halloween Party from 3:30-5pm. This party is geared for kids 12 and under, but if you are older you are welcome to attend or help. We will be having games, snacks and a parade of costumes.

Happy Halloween - it's going to be a beary fun time!For more information call 969-3950.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween is looking 'Rosie'!


Image from Free Historical Stock Photos.

This year for Halloween, I'm happy to be dressing as "Rosie the riveter". I've alway' loved her look as well as her determined "We can do it!" frame of mind. It's also wonderful that there were and are many real life 'Rosie's" out there in the world. Thank you for all the it you have done and continue to do!

Thursday evening, I'll be heading to a nursing home with youth group members to visit and share some happy Halloween cheer with the residents. Do you think there will be any "Rosie's" there? For now I have to wait and see.
But for you, here's a peek at your's truly - in Rosie fashion.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Reboot "Artist's Share" and show and tell


In August of 2007, I helped to found a group designed to encourage, foster and help to better develop artistic efforts in the Chautauqua County area. This group was coined "Artist's Share of Chautauqua County", in response to the group's focus on sharing creative gifts in a safe, affirming, and motivating environment.

To watch a video on how the group started and what kinds of events the group has been working on, vist our page at Facebook here.

This group is one that is very dear to my heart - and I'm so happy that I've connected with two other art's advocates, including Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, who are willing to help re-boot the group sometime around November 5th.

News on the next show and tell will be posted soon!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Farewell



Farewell dear friend.
As you take this next step,
know that God goes with you on the journey.

This "rest stop" is a better one for having you spend some time here.
Your caring words, ways and challenge to keep growing - is one you exemplify in how you live.
Thank you for all you've given.

Growing edges need to be cultivated.
You have helped to cultivate the lives of many here
and so it is right and good that you move on to a new space.
This new space provides you with great room, sunlight, and rain - to grow.

Once upon a time I wrote this phrase,
" One question, is life about finding where you fit or fitting where you are?".
We all are searching for something.
Success, love, and purpose are the big ones.
But that feeling of fitting with a group of people,
no matter the location, can help to make the most of
the most challenging of circumstance.

Please know that as you take the next few steps,
that we are holding you and yours in our hearts.

This space is a place where you will always fit,
you always are welcome and where those present
will support you in the challenge and
cheer you on in the victories.

You will always fit in this space,
no matter where the road takes you.

Fare well on your journey,
as we will fare well in ours - with the help of God.

We will carry on in the effort of living in ways that point others to the love of God - as you showed us.
We will hold out hope, light, joy in persistence and against what would oppose it - as you showed us.
We will become walking rest stops for the weary and be found in all places - as you showed us.

The journey is never too hard, when we carry God's rest in our hearts.
Thank you for showing us the way.
This place is brighter for having had you with us.
We'll help to keep the lights on while you are away.

Farewell dear friend.
The Light is shining just ahead of where you are headed.
Your journey will fare well.

Copyright T.L. Eastman Oct. 2011

Image found at Redbubble.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Trust wall/shelf


I have this shelf in my office where I collect trinkets, photos and notes of encouragement. Many of the items are gifts from youth or adults that I've had the blessing of getting to know in ministry. Earlier today I looked up to the middle of the shelf to see the words - trust in God.

I don't know why it seemed different today, but the words seemed to be saying they were capable of caring for everything and everyone represented in my shelf/and wall collection.

I like that - very much. I really needed to be reminded that God can be trusted with the concerns on my own heart as well as all the lives that touch mine too.
Holding on to "trust" and G-d.

PS. When I posted this first picture, more youth/young adults from my church took notice of my shelf/wall and started adding to it as well. This is just one more way for me to pray for and entrust more of who and what I care for to G-d.

To be continued...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dear Grandmother Rain


(Myrtle Susan Rain around twenty years of age.)

Dear Grandmother Rain,

You're son Gary gave me this photograph of you a few years ago and I keep it on my shelf in my office. I don't know very much about you except that you passed away after and illness, when my Dad was about three years old. Dad(Gary) has very strong feelings for you and to this day will get misty when he shares those early-childhood memories with me. Years ago, I'd meet some of the great Aunts or Uncles when we'd make a trip to Pittsburgh for a reunion - and they would comment on how I resembled you. Dad always says I looked a great deal like you and from the photograph, it's easy to see that we have a close physical resemblance.

But I wonder if we are similar in any other ways?



I've wondered if you liked to read or paint?
Did you like to talk as much as I do?
Were you a writer as well?

By the strong connection Dad has with you to this day, I know you were (and are) a greatly loved Mom. All his brothers and sister always said you were a lovely caring person. French, George and Elmer (Bud) have passed away as of now and I only have my Dad's and Aunt Charlene's memories to sift through in order to know you better, but they were so little when you passed away there are only bits and pieces to be known.



You wore a bob, and oddly - so do I. We have the same high cheekbones and both our kids love us. You were tall and sturdy - and I am too. I'm proud to know we have this and probably much more in common.

But I wish I knew even more.

Even though I never met you, I see you a little when I look in the mirror.
You are missed.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spicy meatballs put the fun into fundraising



Two weeks ago, First Lutheran Church hosted a "Spaghetti and Meatball lunch" collaborative fundraiser for the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering. The team of over twenty people helped to cook and serve five gallons of sauce, five-hundred meatballs, thirty pounds of pasta, and six cases of sliced Italian bread with the addition of raffling off 40 donated baskets to raise $1350.00 for the effort. The volunteers and donations came from people from St. Timothy's Lutheran, Bethel Lutheran, Holy Trinity Lutheran, Immanuel Lutheran and First Lutheran Churches.

In July 2012, twelve youth and five adults will be traveling to New Orleans for worship and mission and fundraisers like this will be our main resource in achieving the goal of making this trip.



Until November 10th, our team will also be selling coupon books for the Bon-Ton "Community Days" for $5.00 each. These coupon books are worth up to $200.00 in the Bon-Ton during their holiday kick off sale on November 11th and 12th. The $5.00 donation will fully go to our cause to raise funds for this upcoming summer mission trip. We currently need help selling coupon books in the store on Nov. 4th from 6-8pm, and Nov. 5th 10am-noon. If you would like to help volunteer on these days or assist in selling booklets, please call 664-4601 or 969-3950.



This spring we are planning a Mardi gras celebration fundraiser dinner as our third collaborative team event. More news of upcoming fundraisers will be on the way soon. If you would like to make donations to this fundraising effort, they can be sent under the description of "Jamestown Area Lutheran Youth Fundraiser 2012 Youth Gathering" to Bethel Lutheran Church at 904 West 3rd Street, Jamestown, NY 14701-4614. For questions concerning the 2012 New Orleans trip and future fundraising events, please contact Tara Eastman at 664-4601 or 969-3950.

Thank you for your support in our efforts to provide this life-changing ministry and mission experience for are Lutheran youth and their adult leaders. With your help, we will have the joy of learning more, growing in our faith and having this unique opportunity to serve the community of New Orleans in a hands on way.

Grace and peace,
Tara