Friday, January 07, 2011

Home tea home



I think I've found home. Seriously. Only in England do they combine the wonders of tea, a humanitarian effort and Wallace and Gromit. I do believe it's time for a holiday and a spot of tea, Yorkshire Tea.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The gift of rest


Last summer, the children of First Lutheran Church got excited about helping children in a small village in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. My friend Sally and her family are currently on a long-term mission there and she let me know that most of the children slept on the dirt floors of their family huts without any barrier between them and the ground. Sleeping directly on the ground can cause a multitude of health problems, but these children's families could not afford the $2.00-$3.00 cost for each child to have a bed roll or bed mat.

When our VBS kids heard this news, they knew there was a way to help. Over that week of VBS the children and parents collected enough money so that one-hundred mats could be purchased. This week was the celebration of Ethiopian Christmas and it was time for the bed mats to be distributed! How fitting that on Epiphany, the feast that celebrates the Three Kings giving gifts to the Christ Child, that these children would receive this small gift of a little comfort and physical rest.



What a blessing it is to be able to see the results of what seemed such a small effort. Isn't it amazing what God can do with even the small gifts we give?
To learn more about the Baer Family, visit their website at: www.baeressentials.org

(As a side note - today is my birthday as well and I can't think of a better way of celebrating than hearing and sharing this news!)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Eureka - painting is prayer!


(Image from Praying in Color blog - it is an example of a one person prayer.)
When I was small and very squirmy, my Dad used to give me offering envelopes to doodle on in Church. I would cover every square inch of the paper and even open the glued edges to have more space to draw on.

I never totally dawned on me that this act of drawing could in fact be a prayer practice. As a teen, I struggled to find a means of prayer and devotion that I would be consistent in participating in. Now that I think on it, much of my journals would be drawing and doodles. As an adult, I have had more consistent periods of time that I've journaled my prayers - and even then the drawings are always there! Even over the last few months, I've been contemplating on paint/praying the Psalms. Isn't it funny how serendipity brings things together?

I think this is a forest for the trees kind of moment for me. My drawings are prayers.
Really, no joke - no farse - it's not cheating. Drawing, painting, doodling - is prayer!

I came across the blog, Praying in Color, today after looking into some prayer resources for my church and was delighted to see that I'm not alone in this "prayer painting" practice. I'm so excited to see that there is a movement for this form of "active prayer".

Please let me know if this is a form of prayer is something you've tried. How had it helped you in your prayer life? How has it benefited others?

Monday, January 03, 2011

SWB: Moving out of Insanity's neighborhood



Albert Einstein said that Insanity is: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Some times I wish problems would simply disappear. The little Pollyanna in my head will distract me and by nature of the business of life; I am successfully distracted from dealing with what needs to be dealt with. The coming of the new year brings with it a multitude of resolutions for many people. Fill in the blank with whatever resolution has been buzzing about your mind..." This is the year that I will....: loose that weight, quit smoking, take that trip I've been dreaming of, and so on and so on.

I don't mean to come off as sarcastic, but there is a clue (often one I've honestly missed) generally right before the word 'resolution' when people use it and it's "new". In order for a resolution to make an impact, it require some new perspective or motivation. In the last year, there were some issues that kept dogging me that I did not take necessary action on and in the light of the new year I was coming to greatly regret. The detachment and ignoring of this problem was only causing me other avalanches of trouble. So, in the light of this new 2011 my new resolution was to step out into this problem and try to come to a means of solution.
Today, I took a step in that direction.

In Sleeping with Bread's history; we have always shared what things take away and give us life. The other day, I heard a message that challenged me in how I was approaching the less than and more thans of life. By the speakers words, I was encouraged to allow the first steps of the new year to be ones that more surrendered to trusting and walking with God. I was struck by how for so many months, I'd assumed that this problem was one I'd have to deal with on my own. In my fear, I was not allowing God the space to comfort and help me deal with the difficulty. Guess what guys, I was yet again trying to do things on my own.

God has been kneading my heart, in order that I trust him more - even in the places that I sometimes think are are too tough to work out.

So this place of bread baking is one that I pray you will share your stories of kneading and rising, of re-kneading and baking, of waiting and fulfillment. By means of grace, mercy and love; God has moved into all our neighborhoods - its up to us if we are going to open our doors, our lives and our bread to him. The bread for me this New Years week, is to embrace the truth that God always wants to be involved in my life; it's just sometimes - well a lot of the time - I want to have all the kinks worked out before he comes through the door.

Today I took a step out of fear's neighborhood, and moved a little closer to a space of mercy and trust. May you be blessed with lots of kneading and rising with the Baker. He's just waiting for you to open the door -
one step at a time.

How is New Year's Bread for you? Please share your comments - The thing about bread is it's better with community. We all can share in the efforts and struggles of the kneading process as well as savor the taste and smell of just-baked fresh bread.

God's grace and peace to you in 2011!

Sunday, January 02, 2011

3rd Street Canvas Project for 2011!

The Arts Council of Chautauqua County is calling all writers and artists to get involved with a unique creative arts project mash-up.

The Arts Council For Chautauqua County is accepting submissions for “3rd Street Canvas – An Urban Literary Trail”, an initiative that will display the writing of community members on buildings and other structures on and around Third Street in downtown Jamestown. The goal of the project is to give the community an opportunity to participate directly in a public art installation created from their own writing. The 3rd Street Canvas project will be the first art installation of this kind in Jamestown.
Submission details:
All entries must be received by February 9th to: 3rdstreetcanvas@gmail.com.

• Submissions should not exceed 125 words and can be of any genre: poetry, prose, micro-fiction, autobiography etc.
• Each piece must have a title
• A brief 4-6 sentence narrative describing the author and the inspiration behind the submission is also necessary. ( For example, “each evening’s sunsets over the lake inspired this piece”)
• Only original material will be accepted.
• Please include your name, address and telephone number with your submission
• Only two submissions per person will be allowed.

A panel of community members chaired by Catherine Way from the Prendergast Library will review the entries choosing up to 50 for downtown display. Ten to twelve of the submissions will also be visually represented by local artists. Others will be printed on the Arts Council website. No prior professional writing experience is necessary.

By submitting a writing sample, the creator acknowledges that the work may be edited for grammar and punctuation but not for content. The sample may be used in a commemorative booklet, artwork, calendar or other written or media based productions along with other
submissions and could be seen outside of Jamestown if the installation travels.

Beyond reprinting for the installation and booklet, the creator will retain ownership of the submission. Work will not be sold individually, however it may become part of a collection that may be sold to raise funds to support the arts in Chautauqua County. Credit for all work used will be duly noted.

There is no guarantee that every submission will be used. No feedback from the review committee or the Arts Council will be provided to those submitting. The chosen work will be displayed as part of the 3rd Street Canvas beginning in late March and continuing through July of 2011 and may be displayed in other installation or works of art in perpetuity.

Here are two short poems that I'm submitting for the project. Cross your fingers and please submit your own work for the project!

Tara Lamont Eastman, a resident of Jamestown NY for the last 18 years, has been writing poetry, essays, songs, spiritual writing and painting since she was a child. Tara is married, has two children, and works in the fields of youth/family ministry and the arts. Tara has been an avid blogger for the last ten years at: lamont-uphill.blogspot.com or google: Uphill Idealist. Tara studied writing and graduated from Empire State College with a Bachelor in Arts in Writing, literature and psychology in the Spring of 2007. Tara is currently enrolled in a Certificate in Youth and Theology studies program with Princeton Theological Seminary.
(Red is a poem written in honor of Mrs. Hodak, Tara's fifth-grade teacher, that inspired and encouraged Tara in her first efforts in writing poetry.)

RED
Describe a color. It all started there.
With the color red, my fifth-grade teacher that looked like Mrs. Claus and a composition book.
That day, I passed through a door that would always lead me home.

That home was new to me then, yet now it seems to have always been.
It's a place I can always travel to, no matter where I am. It's never too far away.

To make this journey, all I need is a pencil, a notebook, and the memory of Mrs. H, my teacher,
smiling as she expectantly reads and finds what I've written on the pages inside.

(Green light is a poem inspired by the human desire to make progress while living with the tension what that looks like in daily life.)

Green Light
So many pieces to fit into place, so many options in the daily race.
There are so many reasons to want more to say, and so many seasons to live every day.

Green lights are calling me to take the next step.
Green lights are hinting of what will be, but isn't yet.
Green lights are shining from a long ways away.
Green lights are calling, while I watch and I pray.

Sometimes they are shrouded in the fog of night, and other times I squint to see them through beams of daylight.

So, caught up in all possibility of my green lights;
I press the accelerator and say, "Yes", with both my feet and my heart.

Both poems written by T.L. Eastman 2010