Saturday, September 26, 2015

Caboose Lessons




When I was little my Mom often read me story of the Little Red Caboose. The main concept of the story is that the small red train car feels overlooked and unloved as he's always coming in last. However, by the end of this story, the red caboose has an opportunity to save the day, and see's that his actions had always been appreciated. There is nothing 'little' about being the Little Red Caboose.

Earlier this morning, I had some time and a personal experience being a 'caboose' by assisting with a 5K race for the agency my husband works. At the end of each race, there is usually a sag wagon or truck to follow the last group of walkers and runners to assure all make it back to the finish line safely. This year, I was asked to be the 'last walker' in the 5k to assure that all were present and accounted for at the end of the race.


While I was walking with Owen, my grandson, we took in the beautiful fall day, chatted with the runners and walkers, and paid attention to all the details that are missed when one is in the front of the pack during the race. I heard a group of walkers share stories about their lives, I saw walkers/racers help one another out with water and one stopped when a young runner took a tumble. I saw that there is actually much to see and experience when you are at the back of the pack.


In life it's tempting to think that the front of the pack is the best place to be. There are medals, trophies and applause for crossing the finish line first. But today, I crossed the finish line with my grandson and was happy to be at the back of the pack. Little Red Caboose, chug, chug, chug, you taught me that finishing last is not a failure - it's finishing AND watching out for all on the road ahead of you. This is an award in itself.

Keep on chugging.



Friday, September 25, 2015

Peanuts lessons


Peanuts, it seems, are all the rage once more. All week long I watched as my Facebook friends created a Peanuts inspired profile picture. What is a Peanuts fan to do, but also to create an image of themselves in cartoon fashion. On November 6, 2015 the new Peanuts movie will be released for old fans and new to take in.


From the looks of this clip above, it seems that the heart of Peanuts will remain - a story of an underdog and his dog.

Doggone it, let's hope it's just Peanuts!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Simplicity lessons

Earlier this summer, I was gifted a copy of Simple Abundance, by Sarah Ban Breathnach. As I've learned from reading this day book regularly  - if you happen to have a copy of it you cherish it!

Day in and day out, Sarah writes about creativity - life - and all the everyday struggles each of us have. Somehow, every time I pick it up to read the book speaks to me. Sometimes I'd say it's a bit too close for comfort, but the fact that it connects so well, even on all things challenging, makes it well worth a read.

A few days ago, I found a SECOND copy of the book at a discount store and picked it up for a friend that I think will enjoy as well. As I've been told, its very unusual to find an extra copy, as people protect and save this book to be read and re-read throughout their lives.

Thank you to the person who passed on their copy - so I can pass it on to a friend that could also use the gift that is, Simple Abundance.



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Teamwork lessons

Photo of Pastor Becca Erlich, ELCA Bishop Elizabeth Eaton and your's truly - Vicar Tara Eastman at the conclusion of  today's Eucharist service at Notre Dame Retreat Center. 

Two days.
Five worship services.
One hundred people assembled - vicars, pastors, rostered leaders, and a few Bishops.
Meals, games, free-time, heart to hearts.
Sorrows shared, prayers prayed and songs sung in four part harmony.
This kind of effort takes teamwork - as well as the moving of the Holy Spirit.

Tonight I'm tired, but thankful.
For I had this time, with these amazing people.

It is an honor to be asked to lead in this space, but this space is one made better because we all took part and shared in the call to worship God and serve our neighbor.

This team included me - 
thank you for extending your community to me too.
All are welcome.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Light lessons


There are times in life that require some pause.
There is news that hits too close to home.
There is a darkness that does it's best to remove all memory we have of the light.

Today was one of those days.
With the death of a mentor and friend and terrible news concerning a colleague's family member...
there is too much darkness.

In the midst of the darkness, we lit candles, we sang hymns, we anointed heads with oil and laid hands on in a time of prayer and healing.
Today was dark, but the darkness does not have the last word.
The sun will rise.
Hope is hiding around the corner.
The light is coming - and this light is the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ -
who knows suffering 
and continues to walk with us.

Thanks be to God...

Rest in peace dear Phyllis - I would never have stepped onto this path without your faith in me. 

Photo Credit: Teresa Hooper


Monday, September 21, 2015

Timey wimey lessons

As I may have mentioned before, my family is all about Doctor Who. I was first introduced to the BBC TV Program in the reign of Tom Baker as the "Doctor" I loved his witty attitude, his long colorful scarf and the strong female characters that accompanied him on his travels in time and space. (Romana 1 and 2 as well as Leela)

In the new season with Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, followers of the show have been blown over by huge story arcs and dramatic changes. But this is the way of Doctor Who - things are always changing.
Image found at BBC



I tend to think that there is a great deal of truth to Dr. Who. Yes, there is an array of imaginative monsters and aliens as well, but the program's theme of change is one that strikes a chord with me.

One year ago at this time, I was serving a church in Jamestown NY, my son was in his senior year, I was wrapping up my last semester of seminary studies and headed to our Synod Ministerium Retreat to teach a workshop on prayer and creativity.

This year, I'm serving a two point parish in the Buffalo area, my son is off to college, my seminary studies are wrapped up (for now) and I returned to the annual Synod Ministerium to help lead worship and spend time with colleagues. 

The theme of change is not lost on me - and in fact the changing timey-whimeyness of Dr. Who brings comfort. 

Things are always changing - sometimes it takes one trip around the sun or watching an episode of Dr. Who to notice.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Melting lessons

That moment is frozen in a space that is beyond time or a running pace.
It's impact hit and ran ongoing tremors though every day that I wake.

Image of Berlin Ice People exhibit found at Pinterest

I'd like to remove it and live apart from that spring of sadness with its hurt of heart.
I'd like to ignore it but it keeps turning up, like Impossible glitter on a brow or
undefined residue in a cup.

It can't be un-lived.
It is what it was.
It should be long gone,
but it lingers in every pause.

It stings like lemon juice in a paper cut.
It's not a mortal wound, but one that I've had quite enough.

If I could take hold of that moment I'd move it out into the sun;
to see what comes of it's unfreezing and perhaps find it transformed into a helpless puddle -
now on the run.

Unfrozen and melted may this moment be,
so that tomorrow at sun rise I'll
be set free.

T.L. Eastman Copyright September 2015