Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2014

14 Day of Courage - Day 1: Your Inspiration

Starting today begins a 14 day challenge to post images that inspire courage. For the next two weeks, I'll be posting one image a day to participate in this visual adventure in courage. If you would like to join in the challenge, just follow the guide for themes and add the hashtag #14DaysofCourage. Have courage! Day one image: Your Inspiration Title: Emmanuel "God with us"

Mr. Rogers and being thankful

One of my favorite TV shows as a child was Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. You may recall his catchy song, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood”, his cardigan sweaters, and his red toy trolley that traveled to the land of “make believe”. Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister who was unsatisfied with television programming for children and created the well-known TV program that has become an icon in children’s television history. Years after watching the program, I read a memoir by Tim Madigan called, ‘I’m proud of you’ . In this book, I learned how important compassion and thanksgiving inspired Fred Rogers not only to reach out to the children of world, but also to singular individuals. After an interview conducted by Tim, Fred  befriended  him and became an important friend and mentor throughout his life. What could have been a one time meeting turned into life-changing friendship. Fred Rogers seemed to have an amazing ability to connect with people – and stay conne

Monday Sleeping with bread returns - Run the race

It's been quite a long time since I've posted a Monday Meme of "Sleeping with Bread" . Every Monday a lovely group of bloggers would gather to post reflections of thanksgiving on the bread that God had given for the week as well as the bread that was needed for walking the week ahead.  Over the weekend, I have been working ahead for some bread to share this coming Sunday (Oct. 5th) at my home congregation at First Lutheran Church in Jamestown NY. What you find below is also a message that is part of my studies for an online Preaching class with Wartburg Seminary facilitated by Professor Samuel Giere  . All this said, I am thinking that the message below, connected once again with the "Sleeping with Bread" Meme  may be a good combination for conversation and encouragement to consider this question... "What do I need to let go of, and what do I need to hold on to in the week ahead?" If you like, take a few minutes to watch the vide

Use your hands

A reflection on Matthew 16:21-28 Do you know that there is something very special about your hands? There are 29 bones in each of your hands. Also there are 37 muscles that help your hands to move and pick things up. What is something that you do well with your hands? Can you think of anything else that is really interesting about your hands? Your fingerprints are really interesting! Fingerprints are the tiny ridges, whorls and valley patterns on the tip of each finger. They form from pressure on a baby's tiny, developing fingers in the womb. No two people have been found to have the same fingerprints -- they are totally unique. There's a one in 64 billion chance that your fingerprint will match up exactly with someone else's. Fingerprints are even more unique than DNA, the genetic material in each of our cells. Although identical twins can share the same DNA -- or at least most of it -- they can't have the same fingerprints. (Info from article at &q

Two tickets to childhood please

Yesterday I traveled about 2 hours southwest of my home to attend a class orientation for a new course in my seminary studies. The location I was headed was very close to a small amusement park that my family would visit each summer when I was a child: Conneaut Lake Park. While things never look the same as an adult as they did as a child, I was still anxious to stop by the park and see it - through adult eyes. The day before, I had another chance to unexpectedly visit my childhood, when I met my fellow classmates for the new class. I missed general introductions when the rest of the class had started before arriving, so I gave a short bio and introduction late. As I told the class who I was, where I worked and what I was hoping to learn a fellow student chimed in... Wait, you are from Warren County? Yes. Do you know where the Agway in Youngsville is? Yes - I grew up at the top of York Hill Road. York Hill? I live on York Hill!!! What? I'm Todd and I think I remem

Red Crock Pot

It's been almost 14 years we've cooked together. How may meals is that? What curry was the best? Remember the soup cook offs? Do you remember?  I do. Hopes were tossed in. Some spices and veggies too. So much hunger we have abated together. Choosing the temperature. Setting the timer. Let's keep on cookin. Tara L. Eastman June 2014

Sherlock Holmes, the tortoise, the hare, Dukan Diet and me

Pick up the phone and call Scotland Yard - I have a mystery for Sherlock Holmes! My mystery was not a crime - but it was one of a nutritional and physical matter. Last year due to repeated foot injuries, there came a time that I had to lay off the running habit that I'd established over a five year period. I'd gone from thinking I could never run a mile, to running a 5k and not thinking twice about running 2-3 miles 6 days a week. Progress had been made - and I didn't want to loose the ground I'd worked so hard to gain. I'd never say that I was the "hare" kind of runner, but loosing my "tortoise" daily run was a difficult loss. However, the injuries meant I'd have to rest from running. Unfortunately, that six months of  PT and rest led to me gaining the twenty pounds I'd lost from running over the last five years. The mystery continues... In response to the weight gain, I consulted a nutritionist, logged my calories and af

Unexpected ties

A woman's prerogative /mixed media by T.L. Eastman  For  Mel - Unexpected ties We try to walk the path alone. The ties that bind us don't always seem to be a blessing. These connections make us vulnerable to all kinds of impact. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in ties that we can't budge. But true ties that bind are not ones that make us captive, but hold us secure. True bonds give a space for new life to be the ground we walk upon. We should not walk the path alone . These ties are life lines - our rescue inhalers - and cool cups of water that make it possible to live. Life-giving ties support and release us to travel to the scary growing edges, and take us to the places we are not sure we can get to. We can’t walk the path alone. Our tapestry of ties is not tidy or exact. There are snags here and knots there. But this tapestry is a blanket that unexpectedly gives warmth to the chill of the autumn night, and just-right coolnes

Coffee Klatch

It's been a while, but the conversation is one of ease. Not that what is discussed is always easy, but the foundation is secure. This space lets us stand strong - even in hard times. Spoons clink and words swirl to fill the air. Ideas breathe new life into spaces that were dusty and dim. Hands move to punctuate important points. If someone didn't know us, they might think this was an argument. But it's not. This dance of words and movement of hands is how we stay connected. This is how we "talk". Like a pen scratching on paper or nails tapping on a keyboard - we are getting our message across. With coffee in cups in hand, we face life's challenges and hold on to laughter. Our eyes flash with treasure of these memories and all the times we've taken to sit down at the table - face to face - eye to eye together. This is coffee klatch with a good friend. T. Eastman  May 2014 Image found at: Jack and Friends

Maya's words against prejudice is the balm we need to live with courage...

Over the last week there have been news reports, online commentary, and what seems to be a never-ending display of chaos, anger, grief, ignorance, and disbelief over the terrible loss because of the shooting in Santa Barbara , California as well as the feedback over Elliot Roger's actions. While I rarely post responses to current events, this event is one I can't allow to pass. Sides are being drawn in the aftermath of this tragedy from every perspective imaginable. This account has lit a fire for so many people. The sheer tragedy of this story is beyond comprehension; but the root of its cause is something that people live and struggle with every day. Prejudice. Maya Angelou, a brilliant poet, speaker and human being; who sadly passed away earlier today has this to say concerning the effect of prejudice: " Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future and renders the present inaccessible. " At this very moment  confusion, threat and

Tree mural is coming to life

It's a work in progress, but I wanted to share a glimpse of what I've been working on for the last several months. The mural is located at First Lutheran Church in Jamestown NY and has been a community effort of the True Sisterhood Jamestown group . It is a rendition of the seasons of a year represented by a tree and landscape scene that changes within the piece.  It's to help depict the Sunday School theme of, "Growing and known in Christ.  Thank you for all your help team TS. We are 90% done! By Easter week this project will be complete! Stay tuned art friends...

Time for beautiful things

For the first time in forever I was home from worship because I was under the weather. I'm resting and doing some fun internet wandering finding some lovely music that met me where I was today - in my jammies, drinking lots of fluids and cuddling with my dog, Aggie. I came across two bands I'd not heard of before: The Rend Collective (Experiment)   and Gungor . If you follow the link to Rend you'll find the song "O my soul" (it's time to look up) that got this thinking all going to result in a long-needed post here. I had intended on talking with the children this morning about playing the game "I spy" during the children's message. This week's lesson was about a blind man who was healed and able to see the world for the first time. The questions I was going to ask them was, "What do you think was the first thing the previously blind man saw when he regained his sight? How do you think he felt suddenly seeing the world? The truth

True Sisterhood: Breaking and Rebuilding

This week the True Sisterhood group in Jamestown met and we tested out a art/prayer/project from my friend Lynne . We have also been reading Laura Truax's book "Undone" and had come to a place where this hands on project fit perfectly. We did our best to " Ring the bells that still ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack - a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." (Anthem by Leonard Cohen) . We broke clay pots. We wrestled with re-gluing the broken pieces. We laughed, encouraged, and cheered one another on. We rebuilt. We painted. Here are some pictures of our project where we embraced brokenness and discovered beauty. Balance Beautiful Mess Beauty from brokeness Works drying Definitely not perfect  Exposed rough spots Peace Rebuild Rest Sharp edges Superman's house - Fortress of Solitude  

Happy Heart

The only kind of proverb or wisdom that I’m used to getting in addition to my Chinese food is the tiny paper that comes out of a fortune cookie. At the end of the meal we ceremoniously hold up the tray of cookies and carefully choose the cookie. We bite into the cookie to reveal the fortune that is tucked inside of it. Then we read our fortunes out loud and ponder how they could come true. Often we save each fortune to decorate the bulletin board at home. Wisdom - it seems, is something we all are hungry for. “You can be skinny and you can be pretty, but you have to feed a happy heart.” When I first heard these words, my first reaction was confusion. All I had been trying to do was pick up some Chinese food for dinner, but in addition to my order and fortune cookie, I had been given a personal proverb from the cook.  This conversation with the cook had started when I had asked specific questions about how the dish was prepared. “What sauce is it served with? Can you go

Join the Jesus Dojo

In the last year or so, my nephew Eli has been taking karate lessons at a martial arts school. When he goes to class he wears a special suit called a Gi and has even earned two different color belts as he’s grown in his skill. Eli has learned all of this by going to class, looking at the sensei (teacher) to see how to practice the exercises and he follows his teacher’s instructions.  Over time Eli showed he had a gift for endurance. When other students were getting tired, he still had energy to burn. Each student in his class excelled in different ways. Some were good at jumping high, kicking, and rolling. Have you ever been in a class like this – what were you good at? In John 1, we have a chance to look, see, follow and come along with Jesus as he becomes the teacher to new students. Just like karate students, we all have God-given gifts. In addition to gifts like running, jumping and energy you also have spiritual gifts. Some examples of spiritual gifts are: wisdom, faith, or

A writing project is starting to take shape - The Best of Uphill Idealist

For a long time I've considered developing a collection of writings from the last 12 years (really? YES!) of into a cohesive book (also in a Kindle format for easy download). So, with some trepidation and excitement I'm beginning on the sorting and organizing stage of this project. There is much to consider,but I'll be filling you all in bit by bit as things develop. I may even use Kickstarter as a means to expedite finding resources to help with printing costs. Upon first steps, I'm already amazed at the sheer quantity of writing that has taken place over this period of time. (2004 had 200 pages alone!) At this point, it looks like there will be at least three volumes in this project - but I hope to have the first one available by summer of 2014. Thanks to all the 18,679 readers that visited Uphill Idealist in 2014 and to all the readers before. This would never have been possible to even consider without you. If you are interested in ordering a copy or have favo

A Hercules inspired poem for January 2014

On Tuesday morning I was inspired by the recent cold, blowy and frigid weather to write a little poem/prayer. I hope it warms your heart and puts a smile on your face. (By the way, remember to wrap that beautiful mug up in a sweater and hat!) Keep the heat in my house - keep us warm like a  mouse. Keep the heat in my house today. May the pipes freely flow - despite the cold and snow.  May those pipes freely flow all day. ( and night) Not only for me, but all people let this be, not only for  me today. Heat, water and shelter for all humanity, for  all humanity I pray. Stay warm folks - and happy 2014!