Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2009

You've gotta' move

It's a brand new year. It's a totally new day. The number for this new year 2010, reminds me of many science fiction movies filled with exciting plots and never-ending opportunities. I'm not suggesting that this year will be one filled with flying cars and robots, although that might be cool, but I have this gut feeling that 2010 is a year for forward looking and brave step taking. While I write this note on the Eve of the new year, I find myself in the gear of looking back to what 2009 was. I keep thinking those thoughts like: what if I did this, that or the other thing? Would this last year have turned out different? If permitted to, I suppose I could spend all this upcoming year fussing over what could have been in 2009, but spending my time in this way would not be wise in light of the hope and newness of the year to come. Isaiah 43: 16,18,19 says, "This is what the Lord says, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!

SWB: Flickers from the North

Northern lights image from Redbubble . Throughout this last week, its been a combination of joy and struggle. Joy for the holiday and struggle for ongoing back problems for my husband. We're going on week 3 with the challenges of disk problems all during the busiest time of the year. Thankfully though, there have been flickers of joy and hope in the midst of all this. These may not be visible like the beauty of the Northern Lights pictured above, but they are reminders that all will be well. Flickers like: Family dinners where taking a prepackaged veggie/cheese tray is totally cool as a dish to pass. Opening gifts with my husband and kids after midnight worship leading into Christmas wee-hours. Seeing my husband happily distracted from discomfort by the books and music he received. Enjoying a salon therapy afternoon with my daughter. Play Wii games all week-end long. DJ Hero is the best! Reading a whole novel in a day. Making headway with the specialist, physical therapist, and

SWB Host Post: Giddy dinners, broken dish washers, alternative Christmas trees, and a new-old book

Image found at Life. The Tate Unveils The Alternative Christmas Tree LONDON - DECEMBER 3: A woman looks at Tate Britain's Christmas tree dressed by sculptor Richard Wentworth on December 3, 2004 in London, England. The traditional Norwegian Spruce tree is decorated with broken halves of plates and strings of dimmed domestic light bulbs also text panels on the base of the tree describe the histories of the tree's four elements: the light bulb, the plate, the Christmas tree and the plinth. There is so much preparation, anticipation and excitement in the days just before Christmas. Even adults become giddy with moments of child-like joy and frivolity, at least I know I do. I feel its effects in the holiday songs I find myself humming, in the flutter of joy in my heart, and in the smile plastered across my face as I sat down to share Christmas Eve dinner with this years entourage. I had been touched and filled with a healthy dose of the Christmas spirit. The faces around my ta

Follow the star

On this Eve of Christmas , thoughts turn to the wise men searching through the challenges of distance, obstacles, and the great unknown. Who was this Jesus that they were seeking? How would meeting him change their lives? How did they feel as they finally came to the place where he lay waiting for their arrival. There are many things we can desire this Christmas season. Out of all the things that could be on our wish lists, 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 list? May this Christmas bring you joy, peace and most of all Jesus; and the desire to seek him all year—just like the wise men on that silent, holy night when they found him too. More than/less than… What do you need more of in your life and in this upcoming year to draw closer to Jesus? What do you need less of to draw closer to him? Take a moment and write the things you need more of and less of in your life in the comment section. If it'

Dreaming of dancing in these sugar plums...

I have a unbridled love for shoes and boots, however I don't have much use for the walk the runway, pointy-toe kind of footwear. I prefer the kind I can run, play, and muck about in. Recently, while flipping through a magazine in the grocery checkout, I came across these lovely kicks. These fun-loving, let's go outside and play boots are available (for a pretty $120.00) from ; along with blue plaid and leather varieties. They look to me to be something that could stand up to the slush, ice and cold of a western NY winter, all while looking whimsical. That is a beautiful combination, don't you think?


Image found at Shepherd Pics . S eeing the trees heavy with new fallen snow, this street looks like something totally new. T aking a deep breath and watch the exhale as it curls and hangs like smoke in the air. I nside my mind the whirring wheel of worry begins to slow down. L ight is dim, but it bounces off the snow like glow-in-the-dark stickers. L etting go of concerns, I let the quiet enter my heart. N othing is moving, except the snowflakes that dance through the sky and land on my hat. E very house seems to begin waking up, to coffee machines and dogs that need to go out. S tillness surrounds me. S tillness comes to me in the gift of a new day wrapped up in an almost-Christmas snow. T.L. Eastman 2009'

SWB: Great Expectations

Image found at designstar . When did I feel most whole? Most fragmented? The pieces of amber glass scattered in a camouflage on the wood floor in the kitchen. There were "I'm sorry's" , there were "Let's get this cleaned up." , and there may have been a tear or two in the letting go of the tension and frustration of the past week. Just like the glass, the unpredictable emotions lay here and there. Some were tidily swept up and disposed of properly, and others expectantly lay in the cracks between the boards for a bare-footed victim to brush it's vulnerable toes along the jagged surface. Sometimes emotions help us press on in the face of a challenge, and other times emotions make us stumble and fall into the varied collage of life we are living. WHOLE It's the last few days before the arrival of Christmas. The shopping is complete, the kid's church Christmas Program came and went in a rush of activity and cute impish angel children, the co


Image at Montague County Historical Commission . A pod of two or three students gather in the slush and snow. Their breath entwines with cigarette smoke and chilled air and creates a man-made storm cloud. They scowl at the morning cold. They are waiting, for the friend in soggy sneakers to join them. Then the friend who forgot their gloves, and eventually the friend who always has some extra smokes to share. One by one, the pod of adolescents grows bigger, smokier, and louder. Laughter bounces off the huddle as they shake head to toe with the punch line of the newest joke. The group's grumpiness seems to melt away, with the addition of each friend trudging through snow drifts to join the almost mob. As snowflakes pile up on their eyelashes and scatter on the ground around them, they are content because they are all together in one place. They make a circle, complete now because not even one teen with snow soaked pants is missing. They are the many, that make themselves one hudd

SWB: Mice and Cookies

I have many kid's books that I adore... Miss Spider's Tea Party , One Fish Two Fish , Where the Sidewalk Ends , and yes even the cute and colorful, "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" . In this story, a tiny little mouse eventually wears out an energetic young boy by his never-ending request for cookies, glasses of milk, straws to drink the milk and more. This fun and somewhat exasperating story has had much in common with my last week. Only I don't have a mouse to blame on all the requests at hand. The one setting up all the extra 'requests' has been none other than... me, myself and I. After a month and a half of working on a large mural project, it was completed on Saturday. There was some holiday shopping for work and my family accomplished and Sunday was a marathon day of Christmas program rehearsal, Vespers worship, Lucia shopping, Lucia and then a neighborhood Christmas dinner/sing-a-long and vollyball play-off tonight. In the midst of all this, my

SWB: Stillness and Christmas Cookies/Host Post

It's that time of year that the days and nights begin to blur with a holiday buzz of activity. There are programs to go to, carols to be sung, cookies to be baked, presents to be wrapped (if they've been purchased yet.:)) and always one more thing to add to the to do list. A chorus of a favorite worship song of mine has been running through my mind all week... "Be still and know He, know He is holy. Be still and know he is God. " (Click on the title to hear the song, if you like.) Even in the midst of all the extra work and bustle, is it possible to be still in spirit? Sometimes I need to simplify, or be satisfied to do tasks in a few steps instead of in all one setting. Sometimes I need to say no instead of yes. Sometimes I need to take a deep breath and reflect upon the sweetness of days recently past. In these ways, I'm more still in spirit and less harried. Where have you felt the bustle in this last week, and where have you experienced a sweet stillnes

Red Bird

Image from Better Photo . Red bird, red bird what is that song? You sing it every morning, every day and every dawn. Red bird, red bird how do you know? The melody that you sing, how it moves me so. Red bird, red bird, will you teach me? To hold that tune close when my heart feels bleak. Red bird, red bird, what did you say? Sing it high or sing it low, but sing it all the way. T.L. Eastman 09'

Walking with Frosty

The happy snowman bounces in the wind as if listening to the "Thumpity, thump, thump.." chorus of the Frosty the Snowman song. I feel as if I'm going to blow away, but this glowing, fabric, lawn decoration is staying safely tethered to the frozen ground. This snowman doesn't have anywhere to be, people to see or work to get done. I on the other hand, have a list that seems way too long. Somehow though, I keep moving. Maybe the wind will be at my back today, just to help things along a bit. I think that would be wonderful as I bounce along in my own untethered way singing... "Thumpity, thump, thump...!"

The North Wind

Image from the blog: Nursery Rhymes Online I used to have a big picture book of nursery rhymes when I was a child. It was a gift from my Grandparents on holiday season and when I received it, I was shocked that they would get a big kid like me a book of kiddie rhymes. Truth be told, I ended up loving the book and read and re-read it many times. The illustrations were bright and cheery and most of what I'd discredited as nursery rhymes were really a quite interesting collection of poems. This morning while clearing the walk of the slush and snow and being blown all over the road by the wind while trying to take my dog for a walk, I remembered the poem/rhyme "The North Wind doth Blow" by heart. Here is a excerpt on the history for the rhyme as well as the verse. Today this rhyme captured the rainy, chilly, slushy morning that I experienced. While at one point turning my back to the gusting wind,I kept thinking - "I wish I were the robin in the warm barn, instead of

Healing hands

This painting is called "The Healer" and it is painted by Bernard Mensah. I found his art work on the website Novica , an artisan website that promotes and sells artwork for artists world wide. I love in this painting how so many hands are working together for healing and that those hands are ones visibly work weary and realistic. This painting makes me wish those healing hands were both my own as well as being the person that they are being laid upon to promote healing. This painting really drew me in. What do you think? Bernard Mensah Born on December 24, 1978, Bernard Mensah started schooling at the age of six. After his elementary education, he proceeded to the College of Arts and Industry, where he acquired an in-depth knowledge of artistic designs that aided him in becoming what he long cherished and wanted to be, a prominent and prolific painter. Bernard's family has been the center of his life. Being the eldest of three children, his single mother – a trader

SWB: Bread that keeps me going

It's been an event filled week for me both personally and professionally, as I mentioned in the previous post. I've been attempting to balance on a tightrope that seems to keep bouncing and shifting with the winds of life. Staying on top of things in this constant state of movement can be tough at times, but I'm ever grateful to the people around me that help keep me upright and balanced. My blogging friend Lucy , must have known I needed a little boost of encouragement and has awarded me the "Honest Scrap" award. It's lovely when the thoughts, words and images that I post here really connect with people. Thanks to Lucy for letting me know she like what she sees here! Please say hello by visiting and commenting at her blog: "Looking for something deeper." Other things that have kept me going this week were: Finally seeing progress and things coming together on the large mural project I'm a part of creating. As you look at the following imag

SWB host post: Following bread crumbs

It's been and eventful week in my neck of the woods. I was in charge of organizing and getting a crew to decorate a Christmas Parade Float for our city's annual Christmas Parade, I'm continuing the work on a the large mural project and getting close to wrapping it up, and it was my son's 13th birthday. Sleeping with bread is one way for me to look back and count the small joys or bread of life and see the bounty that I'd often time miss. If if glazed over the small joys, I'd spend most of my time recalling and retelling about the times of feeling overwhelmed, overwrought, or frustrated. There are times in this last week that I began to feel lost in the dark and creepy woods, like Hansel and Gretel from that childhood storybook. Like Hansel and Gretel, I have to get beyond the easy fix of candy houses and daydreams and move to the place of leaving a following the bread crumbs of sustenance that are scattered throughout my life. In this last week especially, I

Star Poetry and Music

Sometimes looking at the stars has a lovely way of placing things in perspective. You feel so small, yet so embraced in the vastness of sky, light and sea. My own pulse calms, steadies, and becomes more in sync with the pulse of creation. Take in a deep breath and look up at the stars... Here are two very different perspectives on Stars. One is the poem "Stars" by Freya Manfred and the other is a video/song by the band Switchfoot called "When I look at the Stars." What happens to your heart when you go stargazing? What matters most? It's a foolish question because I'm hanging on, just like you. No, I'm past hanging on. It's after midnight and I'm falling toward four a.m., the best time for ghosts, terror, and lost hopes. No one says anything of significance to me. I don't care if the President's a two year old, and the Vice President's four. I don't care if you're cashing in your stocks or building homes for the homeles

VOCATION is a 50 cent word

Image for The Byzantine . I've loved words for a very long time. When I was little, my Dad would comment on my use of a big long word by saying, "Well Tara, that is a 50 cent word!" It seemed to me then, and sometimes even now that words have untold hidden value, if we take the time to get to know them better. When I was in first grade, I got the book "Greensleeves" out of the Bookmobile because it was the BIGGEST book they had in the four wheel mobile library. I remember reading the book, but not quite getting the full meaning of the words. I wanted to know the whole story and the meaning of the words of that big book, but at that point in my childhood, the fullness of it escaped me. It's one thing to be able to quote 50 cent words, it's quite another to truly understand what they mean. Sometimes a word will stand out to me and I will find myself looking it up to find out how it came to be. Recently the word vocation has been speaking to me. Yes

The Swell is coming...

If you like independent/folk/poetry/story as much as I do and if you have had the chance to see the film Once , you surely fell in love with the music and plot and that was enfolded in a quirky and unique love story. It was one of those rare occasions that I literally went out a few days later and bought the soundtrack to the film. The music from this film and the new CD release Strict Joy is the duo called "The Swell Season." The Swell Season are Glen Hansard (from the Irish band, The Frames) and Marketa Irglova (classically trained Czech pianist and vocalist). Musicians that have appeared on their albums and accompanied them on tour include: Marja Tuhkanen (violin), Bertrand Galen (cello), John Carney (bass guitar), Thomas Bartlett (keyboard), Joseph Doyle (bass guitar), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (violin), Rob Bochnik (guitar), Graham Hopkins (drums), Javier Mas (guitar), Chad Taylor (drums), Steven Bernstein (horns), and Clark Gayton (horns). This is unique and lovely mu

Wear, give and shop (RED) for the love of it...

December 1st is World Aids Day . Organizations are encouraging folks to wear the color red in agreement that help and support is needed to overcome this crisis worldwide. The excerpt below is from the blog "(Red) One Color Unites Us" and more information on the sponsors and vendors involved can be seen there. At the least, wear some the most use your holiday shopping budget at some of these vendors to help make a global difference this season. DECEMBER 1 IS WORLD AIDS DAY - ONE COLOR UNITES US. Did you know that 33 million people in the world have HIV. 22 million live in Africa. It costs around 40cents a day for the 2 pills that are needed to help keep someone living with HIV alive. Yet, more than 70% of the people in sub-Saharan Africa live on less than $2 a day. Because of supporters of the (red) campaign, to date $140 million has been sent to Africa through (RED) partners and events, which has supported programs that have helped reach 4 million people. Than

SWB: It's Alive!

It can be funny what things make you more aware of living. Last Friday evening, I went ice skating with my family and my brother's family who was visiting over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was not our plan to go skating, we had banked on going bowling - but when we arrived it was leagues only, so we had to come up with a plan B. Plan B's are always interesting. When we left to meet up with my brother and his family, I admittedly was a little nervous. While we try to keep in touch via Facebook and such, it had been a long while since we'd seen each other in person. On my husband's suggestion on going ice skating, we both initially thought that the kids would go; but the adults? Nah! Well, upon everyone's arrival at the ice arena we all got into the spirit of things and EVERYONE decided to go skating. Was that my voice saying, "Sure, I've never done this before. But I'll give it a try!"? Surely, that could not have been me, right? Well, it was

SWB: Waiting for what's coming round the bend

This piece written by Mark Twain, was the focus of today's vignette for The Writer's Almanac for November 30th, 2009. I love the artful blend of this excerpt that follows because it captures the sleepy restfulness of the small town, and the jarring excitement of what new thing is soon coming down the river. On this second day of Advent, it is a time of expectation and waiting. If we allow it, Advent can also be a time of rest in preparation for the joy and light of Christmas to arrive. So on this Monday of expectation and waiting, what moments of the last week made you feel most alive? What ones made you feel most drained of life? Do you sense something new and exciting stirring in your heart? Is there something that needs to be released to the churning river waters so that the next step in the journey can be freely made? As you read this short piece by Mark Twain, let the mighty Mississippi roll around in your heart. We never know for sure what a wade in the water can s

Grateful for bread and the bakers

Image from the blog Closet Cooking. There are days that I wonder - Why am I in this place? Where is the reason in all of this? How can this hope ever be reached? Then there are the glimmers of light and joy that break through the doubt and worry. Like a hot knife through butter, my spirits taste buds are called to attention to just-baked-bread slathered with real-sweet-cream-and-salt-butter. There is no room for margarine on bread this good. It's like working on a painting and seeing how it needs to come together; but that requires taking risks and stepping into the scary place that is almost in sight, but not quite in clear view. Sometimes I wish I had x-ray glasses to help me to see more clearly. On second thought, never mind the glasses. There is more joy found in seeing the dream come to reality - only when it's time has fully come to shine through in it's completeness. Until then, someday it will come to pass. Thank you to the SWB Bakers that faithfully shar

SWB Host post: Gratefulness

Image created by the blogger Lauren's Life. How do you do Sleeping with Bread? Sleeping with Bread is a Monday meme that is hosted by my friend Mary Lue and I at the blog location Sleeping with Bread . You can participate in one of two ways: 1) Pick one of the examen question sets and answer it in the comments section of my SWB post; or, 2) Create your own Sleeping with Bread post. You are welcome to right click on the Sleeping with Bread button and save it to your own computer before uploading into your post. Then, make sure you come back and put the link to your post in the automated Mr. Linky form at the end of the current SWB post. We hope you will join in with the fellow bakers as we Sleep with Bread on Mondays! After a very busy October into November, I feel as if I'm running full steam into the Thanksgiving holiday this week. Thankfulness is something that I try to think about on a daily basis. It is good to look back at every day and trace the lines of grace and

Hide and seek faith

Image found at the blog Social Probiotic . When playing the game of hide and seek, it is important to be good at quietly hiding once you've hidden and switching up the places you hide, so that whoever is it won't know where to look for you on the next turn. If each time it's your turn to hide and you go to the same place, like say the hamper in your Mom and Dad's room with all the clothes piled on top of you, chances are your siblings are always going to find you first; no matter how many dirty clothes you hide under. Sometimes the church can think it has the corner on the market of faith. There are times when church-goes become so comfortable within the walls of the church, that they find it hard to comprehend finding any remains of faith outside the walls. From behind the church was, it can be difficult to see where God is at work in the world. If we the church and its members want to get a better glimpse of what God is up to, then maybe we should follow Jesus exam

What's under all the wrapping?

Image found at How stuff works. As I sit on the living room floor, the Christmas music plays on the radio as I look to the already collected gifts sitting all around me. I begin the process of wrapping up each one carefully. I'd gather the gifts for each person, wrap them in shiny paper and then stack them one atop the other and finally tie them with curling ribbon that I'd take my scissors to and make piles of shimmering ribbon curls at the peak of the gift pyramid. With all that wrapping around the gifts, it usually was impossible to guess what was inside. It was only when the wrapping would be torn open, that the true identity of the gift would be made known. The process of shopping, organizing, and wrapping the gifts was always fun. Waiting for Christmas morning to give and have the gifts get opened was always difficult. I always want to give my gifts as soon as I wrap them, but somehow I manage to contain my excitement and wait until Christmas morning. In 1 Corinthi

Pretty is as pretty does

When I was a kid, I recall my Mom saying to me at moments I was not behaving so gracefully - "Pretty is as pretty does." I used to pour over Seventeen and Young Miss Magazines to see the latest fashions, make-up tips, and trends. I'd read those magazines from cover to cover and back again. Everything inside of those pages seems controlled, fun, beautiful and well... the ideal. At that time I remember being frustrated by my big bone structure, because no matter how thin I'd wish and try to be, but with my German/Welsh/Irish/Native American heritage -I would never be the magazine ideal. Over the years, I've become much better about loving myself the way I am. It was not an easy or simple process, considering the pressure most women feel to become the ideal picture of western beauty, but it's better than it used to me. Sometimes I think as we get a little older, its a little easier to feel comfortable in the skin that you're in. However, it may not be t

SWB host post: Beauty for ashes

This last weekend I had the privilege of helping with a local community beautification and clean up projec t in Jamestown, NY. The group cleaned up debris and painted under a train bridge and then got to work on the start of a mural 12 feet high by 20 feet wide that will be fixed to a central area of the downtown. The mural is the first of what we hope to be many community art projects to help build home-town pride and to help dissuade the graffiti tagging that has been occurring at increasing rate recently. When the dump truck pulled away from the underpass on Saturday, it was filled to the brim with dirt, garbage and debris that had built up over time. This underpass is located close to our city's high school and many students pass through it each day. This morning, I wonder what their reaction was as they walked through a cleaner, freshly painted path in contrast to what it had looked like prior to the hard work of the volunteers on Saturday? Sometimes you have to see