Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sweater weather

Image found via Flickriver, artwork from Ink and Dagger Tattoo Parlor's photo page.

cosy US, cozy [ˈkəʊzɪ]
adj -sier, -siest US, -zier -ziest
1. warm and snug
2. intimate; friendly
3. convenient, esp for devious purposes a cosy deal
n pl -sies US, -zies
a cover for keeping things warm egg cosy


It happened so quickly.
Yesterday was a balmy August day.
Up until then, I thought summer was going to stay forever.

It's as if someone found a giant thermostat in the sky and turned it to the setting: just chilly enough for a sweater.
Is it the season change that draws me back to layer my naked arms in warmth,
or something else?

It happened so quickly.
Yesterday was a baby toting, PTA Mom day.
Up until yesterday, I thought they were going to stay small forever.

Wrap me up tight cosy sweater,
this change is going to take some getting used to.

T.L. Eastman 2011'

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rest, recharge and create "True Sisterhood"

Image from official True Sisterhood website.

"True sisterhood began with "four fearless yet fragile women tackling the issues of life and relationship from a distinctively Christian perspective. Hosted by Constance Rhodes w/ Margot Starbuck, Sharon Hersh, and Paige Armstrong." says the official web page for True sisterhood.

Over this summer a group of Jamestown women began getting to know a little about this group of ladies and if all things work out well, our stated small but not so small group of over forty women interested in growing in faith, confidence and purpose might become and official chapter /partner with this greater organization of "True sisterhood and Finding balance." We hope to find out in the next month or so if an official partnership with this "big sister" organization will be possible.

Years ago, I was incredibly influenced by the author Madeline L'Engle and never wrote to tell her. Madeline passed away in 2007, and when she was gone I realized what an opportunity I'd missed in trying to correspond with her. After that, and with the accessibility of email and social networking sources; I've since tried to let painters, musicians and writers know when something they've given had connected with me. For the most part, this has been an enriching experience and in a few cases has led to meeting and organizing a public event for a few favorite authors. About a year ago, I came across Margot Starbuck's book, "The girl in the orange dress" and was so encouraged by it that I decided to send an email to the author.

Margot was incredibly gracious when I emailed her and generously sent me a copy of her then newly released copy of "Unsqueezed". One thing led to another after reading Margot's second book. This summer I worked with volunteers from my church to host a summer women's book club with this text as a springboard for our meetings. It turned out to be a great group of 41 women and I'm hoping to keep stirring up the energy started in the group by hosting a women's day retreat the weekend of October 14.

It's through the partnership with Margot and her involvement with "True Sisterhood" that our group is getting their feet on the ground. Along with Margot, there are some other wonderful ladies that have been supportive and helping to build the structure of this fellowship. Rebecca Hart, a pastor from Columbus Ohio and teacher for the Princeton Theological Seminary's Youth Ministry Forums is working to develop this retreat to be held on October. Enuma Okoro, speaker - writer - and my mentor through the Princeton Program is assisting with development of the overall ministry plan and Lynn Farrow has been helping me to develop projects to help women participating in the workshops to express themselves through creative means.

With all this support, planning and a home team ready and willing to help - we are planning a Friday night and Saturday morning retreat on October 14 and 15, 2011. If you would like to attend this event, please let me know in the comments. The general description of the event can be found below.

Isn't it amazing how God works when we function as the sisters and brothers we've been created to be?

"Join us for a Friday night and Saturday morning day retreat to recharge your batteries, enjoy the fellowship of others, work on creative projects, laugh and learn with Becky Hart - pastor and presenter for Princeton's Youth Ministry Forums and Tara Eastman Director of youth and family ministry @ First Lutheran Church of Jamestown. (Cost is $25.00 - includes Friday night snacks, craft and art supplies, two sessions with Becky/Tara and Saturday morning continental breakfast and closing session. Friday 6-10pm and Saturday 9-noon. This is not a sleep-over retreat, accommodations will have to be arranged for out of town travelers."

To RSVP on the Facebook event page go to this link: True Sisterhood Retreat.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

M and M's, Vampires and Library books

It's getting closer and closer to that wonderfully spooky time of year again. The grocery stores are filling up with Halloween candy, Tim Horton's is serving hot cider and I've begun day dreaming of what I'll be dressing up as for Halloween.

My family loves this time of year. We have an extensive collection of Hammer Horror movies and usually spend the month of October watching through their stories with delight!

I think at one point or another kids (and some grow-ups too!) become fascinated by mysterious tales about ghosts, vampires and UFOS. In about fifth grade, I went through a phase where the only books I'd borrow were ones filled with urban legends, ghost stories and other strange phenomena. I remember thinking how cool it was to read those books, but to be honest I think that part of the reason I'd read those books was to get a handle on what a true feared.

This page posted below was printed in one of the books I used to borrow from the library. Perhaps if I learned all I could about Vlad and his counterparts, (no matter how admittedly gory the details) I wouldn't be so scared of vampires and things that go bump in the night!

Image from Vlad Tepes.

What was so strange about this reading habit, was that only a few years before it was impossible for me to hear, watch or read anything slightly spooky - or I wouldn't be able to sleep due to night terrors. At one point, I was totally convinced the woman from the M&M commercial that looked like the Indian goddess (if you can find the video to this, let me know I'd love to see it now!) - with all the extra arms; was actually a vampire that lived under my bed. With all those arms and the powers of vampire-ism - no one in my house stood a chance!

At some point though, I must have gathered up the courage to peel myself out from under the covers long enough to peek at what really wasn't living under my bed at all. By taking that first step, I made my way to the place where all I wanted to read was in the genre of "spooky". To this day, though I'd rather read something spooky, than watch it on TV. When things get too scary in a book, you can simply close the book and pull the covers over your head. If you are watching TV, you'll have to get up to turn off the TV - and that means eventually getting off the sofa.

You never know what might be living under there - right?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Thoughtful Thomas a Kempis

For more information on Thomas a Kempis and the source of this image, go to Society of Saith Pius X in Canada.

Last year I purchased a copy of Thomas a Kempis's "The Imitation of Christ" for my husband as a Christmas present. The reprint I have of this text was originally published in 1418. In the introduction, Steven James explains Thomas's writing and life to be a catalyst for reader to embrace, "...the "Jesus life" (as) one of faith rather than sight, simplicity rather than extravagance, moderation rather than indulgence, sacrifice rather than acquisition, and risking the ways of God rather than settling into the soul-numbing security of the ways of the world."

I'm only three short chapters into this text and feel Thomas's words and ideas directly challenging my perspectives ,yet compassionately inspiring authenticity in growth in learning how to closer walk with Christ in daily life. There is a great deal to contemplate in this short volume, so don't let it's brevity allow you to rush the reading, and thinking and reading again.

The following are excerpts from the text that already are working on my heart and mind.

"Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. (Pg. 1)"

"Often recall the proverb: "The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with hearing." Try, moreover to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring yourself to things invisible. (Pg. 2)"

"O God, You Who are the truth, make me one with You in love everlasting. I am often wearied by the many things I hear and read, but in You is all that I long for. Let the learned be still, let all creation be silent before You; You alone speak to me. (Pg. 6)"

"This ought to be our purpose, then: to conquer self, to become stronger each day, to advance in virtue. (Pg. 6)"

"Humble knowledge of self is a surer path to God than ardent pursuit of learning. Not that learning is to be considered evil, or knowledge, which is good in itself and so ordained by God; but a clean conscience and virtuous life ought always to be preferred. Many often err and accomplish little or nothing because they try to become learned rather than to live well... If only their lives had kept pace with their learning, then their study and reading would have been worthwhile. (Pg. 7)"

To find a copy of this text, go to Relevant Books or

Have you read this text? If so, what are your thoughts and how have it's insights illuminated your faith walk?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Song request savvy: What song should I sing?

This past Saturday evening, I had a great opportunity to play a music set for the 7th Annual Music Showcase to benefit Infinity Visual and Performing Arts Program in Jamestown NY. I had a great time playing some original and cover tunes, but I'm always on the trail of some new or old tunes to add to the set sheet.
After the show, I asked some friends if they would be so kind to give me some song titles they'ed love to hear me sing sometime. I received some great suggestions: Everyday is Sunday by Morrisey, Fastcar/Breakeven by Collie Callait, Suzanne Vega's "Small Blue thing" and an artist who is new to me - Adele with the song "Someone like you".

It's wonderful to be introduced to a vocalist of such unique and great quality, and an even bigger compliment that I should cover something so fine.

To hear a recent demo to my song "Home", click here. If you like what you hear there, visit my music page to hear some more. If you have a suggestion on what you'd like to hear me sing, please post your selections in the comment section below. Cheers!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Little things

Photo taken at the center of the labyrinth at Kirkridge Retreat and Learning Center.

Clutch notebooks, lip balm and matching socks prove that small things are the stuff that make room for:
scribbled pages filled with ideas to share,
talks among friends that sincerely care,
and long walks to ponder-
meandering over here and there.

Simple things are ingredients to create something grand.
How we use them, make or break the grandest of scams.

When little things are honored,
they lead to the:
out-there dream,
the hoped for change,
and that doosey of a plan.

T.L. Eastman Sept 2011'

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Use your hands

Original photo taken by Mencer Photography.

Two dear friends of my husband and I got married recently. They are a wonderful couple and I've been really excited to attend and take part in the celebration. What makes this day even more exciting, is that I've been invited to sing and play one of my songs for their reception. It's an honor for me to give something so personal to friends so dear to my heart.

However, it's always challenging to know what to give to newlyweds. This couple have their household already set up, so I don't think they need towels or dishes. I knew that this dear couple probably considered my gift of song to be their wedding gift; but I still wanted to do something more for them.

Later on, I asked my son's opinion on what card (funny or sentimental) to choose for them and he said, "You know, I really think they would like something that you made them instead." How is it that in the midst of giving a song, I'd overlooked the obvious choice of making them a gift?

My teenage son is very clever, so I took his words as a directive. I looked for the perfect periwinkle beaded photo frame, scanned through some photos of the couple and began working on a pencil sketch combining the song lyric I'd written and sketched an adaptation of the photo that another friend had taken ( of the couple several months before.

Here is a photo of the finished pencil sketch of my friends that I placed in a pretty beaded frame. I think they are going to like it!

The gifts we are given are the tools of creativity. The work accomplished with these God given talents are needed in the world. We only need to remember that when we have the opportunity to use these gifts - we need to use our hands.

Gifts like this are needed for weddings, funerals, and even in the commonness of a nondescript Tuesday afternoon. Maybe creativity is especially needed in the midst of the every day?

There is joy in giving our gifts to others: to celebrate, to remember and to bless.
It's my hope that my choice to use my hands will help my friend celebrate their wedding day and each day. Creativity helps all of us remember the power of love and to know what a blessing our lives can be - if we choose to use our hands.

Ideas to ponder:
What are some ways you can use your gifts to bless others? How does living to use your hands make a difference in your corner of the world?

PS.Please tell me about them in the comment section provided. Thanks!