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Showing posts from 2015

When A Painting Comes Together

It happens on her clock, not mine.  After walking past the unfinished canvas every morning, she suddenly gives me the clue I needed - at midnight. It's like searching for the right word, to have it suddenly pop into your mind except it's in a foreign language.  It happens when you relax just enough to remember that creating art is a joy and playfulness is welcome. Playfulness is welcome in this "Dreamscape" and it's just what I needed to feel and see with my own eyes once again.

365 empty pages...

Luke 3:4-6 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Life is unpredictable, to say the least. We have hopes for our families, our friends, and for our work to inspire us. We desire to fill each day of the year with  memories  to hold on to. Mary Oliver, the poet, writes about this desire to live life to the full, in her well-loved poem,  The Summer Day … Who made the world? Who made the swan, and the black bear? Who made the grasshopper? This grasshopper, I mean- the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing ar

Slow as vinegar: Waiting for Christmas

Earlier this week I had the chance to wander down Hertel Ave. in North Buffalo and came upon a store called "The House of Olives" . The store was filled with metal barrels fill of fancy flavored olive oil and various kinds of vinegar. Each barrels was set up with a sample bottle and little tasting cups for unlimited sampling of their supply of oils and vinegar. I smelled and was amazed at the variety of the flavors available. This place could make cooking really fun! After my friend encouraged me to taste the vinegar -I did and was surprised at it's sweetness, but I was also taken aback by something else. While I expected the olive oil to be think and oily (after all it is oil), the flavored vinegar was incredibly sweet but it also was thick and syrupy. It's consistency I discovered, from the gentleman filling the small bottles for gift sets, made it necessary for him to slow down in filling them. No matter how he tried to hurry, the vinegar syrup would only pour so

Advent 2: Julian, Suffering and Peace

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” ―  Julian of Norwich It's the Eve of the second Sunday in Advent and "Peace" is our point of focus for the coming week, Julian's words meet us in a time where peace may seem far off... For refugees wandering... For victims of senseless violence... For those without a place to call home... For those suffering sickness and grief... it seems crazy to repeat her words. Some may even go so to say the her words are foolishness. But, there are some words we need to repeat - perhaps even more in times like these.Julian's words mean to assure each heart that in the midst of all circumstances that Jesus the Christ is always present. 1 Corinthians 1:18 speaks of how some might perceive the gospel message to be foolishness... " For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." Julian of

Color for the journey

Art is something that lifts my heart and helps my mind to stop it's spinning. Art is rest and release as well as a way to connect and interact with others. Art is an expression of spiritual matters in simple physical matter. Art (in all its forms) - from cooking a new dish to painting on a fresh canvas bring flavor and color to each day of my journey. I hope this colorful collage of text, watercolor and mixed media help illuminate a new shade of  hope for you too. "Color for the journey" is a mixed media original art piece integrating text, color and simple everyday resources.

Rilke's advice

Rilke advised me to "Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves..." I took his advice. I swallowed his words whole hoping they would take root and grow in my belly like the absurd possibility of eaten watermelon seeds. I watered the questions. I took risks. I went to places I'd never dreamed possible and met people that were easier and harder to love than the questions themselves. I got lost in their stories. I learned the unspoken language and the pauses in their speech. I saw that we shared the same questions and we all struggle to love them. Questions are hard to love. They are restless wanderers that leave as soon as you become used to their company and return to visit when you aren't prepared to face them. "Live the questions now", Rilke tells me. In their curvy strength I'm to live, to breathe and be content. Am I to ride wholeheartedly the uncertainty of this ro

Thankful for Dr. King's words

I can't tell you how many times I've thought about the following quote by Dr. M.L. King... "I have a dream that my four little children will oneday live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skinbut by the content of their character." When I was in sixth grade I was chosen to recite this well-known quote in for a musical that we were performing at my school called, "Kids for America". While I was excited about the singing and dancing and having a chance to have a speaking part in the play, this quote rattle around my young mind in a way that no other words had before. I grew up in a tiny town in western Pennsylvania and the community was lily white. There was no racial diversity to see or speak of. The only significant differences I recognized were religious ones, and this only happened because the kids who were Catholic were dismissed early on Fridays so they could attend  Catechism Class. From my perspective I could not un

Thankful for throwing bread

When one hears about food being thrown around, we often think back to elementary or middle school food fights. You would probably agree that food fights are wasteful, messy and ridiculous. This is not the kind of food throwing that I refer to. Several years ago, I read a story about two communities of Christians that were separated by to very high wall. The wall was too high to see over, but one day a person walked by the wall and heard a familiar hymn being sung. The music lofted over the wall and the person realized that even though there was a wall between the groups that they had something in common - their faith in Jesus Christ. The person was so excited about hearing the people on the other side of the wall singing and worshiping, that he gathered some friends from his church and went to listen for sounds of their worship. As they had hoped, they heard the singing and joined in singing with them. Even with the wall between them, the two groups of Christians were united in s

Chowder Thankfulness

Chowder, in its Western-New-York unique way, is something simple and wonderful. In the parish I serve, chowder is a part of the monthly community ritual that has come down from generation to generation to do what chowder does best - feed the hungry and connect people. While it may not be surprising for those that know me, but I love to connect with people AND I love food. So earlier tonight, when I was invited to stay for a bowl of chowder at a church member's home - I was delighted and the recipient of a lovely blessing. The chowder was wonderful. The carrots, potatoes, celery and corn danced in a tomato broth with tender pieces of chicken and beef dancing around my spoon. I heard about the origin of the recipe for this "chowder", I met some of the family's extended members, I learned how chowder was and is woven into the humble but persistent culture of feeding people with food and friendship. The space this chowder dinner created allowed all around the table

Thankful for "Peace Always"

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. One of the amazing and curious parts of serving as a Vicar is having the honor of leading worship - specifically communion. From the great thanksgiving to the preface to the words of institution and the invitation to the table; all of me becomes caught up in this beautiful and mysterious sacrament. Each Sunday as I pass out the bread and say, "The body of Christ - given for you." I'm amazed to hear these words coming from out of my mouth. It was something I longed to share with others for so long and now, suddenly, it's a weekly part of the worship experience that I have the honor to help facilitate. This is an amazing fact. There are times, in spite of my internal wonderment, that this practice starts to become more familiar and comfortable - like this is the place I'm meant to be. Then there are time that the wonderment of

Thankful for "Mitleid-Help"

Some days seem lined with words like, "Joy" and "Hope", but then there are the days that surround us with calls, conversations, and unspoken chats that long for "Mitleid-Help". Mitleid- Help for what is going wrong. Mitleid-Help to meet an impossible deadline. Mitleid-Help from ears to hear the story we long to tell. Mitleid-Help to share in when things get a little crazy. The call for "Mitleid-Help" does more than ask for our time and energy. These calls ask for who we are to show up, to stand up and give ourselves to the other. This is not pity, for pity only makes the distance between people grow. These calls are not one sided. They are reciprocal. They are not demands. "Mitleid-Help" is a request to be with the other - and the other to be with us. Mitleid-Help for me. Mitleid- Help for you. Help is the "Mitleid" - the compassion, that brings us together so that all can be held secure, no matter how craz

Thankful for Beth

Years ago, I had the pleasure to meet Beth Whitney when attending an Youth Ministry Forum at Princeton Seminary. Our conversation started over mutual compliments over headbands, scarves or some such nominal thing. While conversations like this don't often go past the day they happen, this one lived on. We live far apart. We work in different fields. But thanks to social networking and the strong relationships built with the Youth Ministry Institute's Cohort - we are still connected. Beth is an amazing musician as well as a friend, mom, spouse and human being. Today she shared a new video and song focused on the space for worry in life.  These words cut me to the quick... "If I fall...keep my picture on the wall." We all worry. But we also have people who hold us - and our pictures close. I'm thankful to know Beth and that our first conversation over pretty accessories was more important than we realized. I'll keep your picture on the wall,

Thankful for '"JOY!"

This a photo of my friend Pat Moser who created amazing pumpkin sculptures for years in spite of living with MS. (To view more of his "Grumpkins" click here .) Pat lived life in "Joy!" and challenged so many others to joyful living as well.  Just after I shared Pat's philosophy of "Joy" on Sunday morning, I came across a reusable cup at Starbucks that was for sale. It simply said the word, "JOY". While "JOY" is not something that erases the difficulty of life, it is something to carry (like my cup) to all aspects of living. "JOY" is, to me, the freedom to live knowing that God is always with me, understanding me, and patient with me in my failings. Living in "JOY" allows me to move into the sadness and grief that is a part of life -  Because I'm not alone in it. (Or are you.) While Pat passed away in 2010, his challenge to living in "JOY" remains today and every day. For all the challeng

Meeting with me

Seven months between meetings. Over Jasmine tea. Wondering how life can be so different. How did all this come to be? Some areas have moved forward. Some have moved back. There is peace knowing - that someone greater than me picks up my slack. Seven months in the future. I hope there will be Jasmine tea. But most of all I know that... You always are carrying me. October 2015 Copyright T.L. Eastman

Autumn days in WNY

From winding roads... To sun-shimmering mornings. From apples red as red can be, to beagles' happy to sniff a tree. To skies looking gloomy and threatening snow, and wood fit for wild things to grow... Autumn days are here. Sit near. Grab a good book. Happiness awaits if only you take a look.

Amazing grace named Jessica

Unforeseen circumstances cause people to be literally stuck. Unexpected travel snafus, debit card ooopsies and distances too far to fix face-to-face or in the nick of time. In those moments, there are many unseen disasters that can happen. Nothing, it seems, can budge the stuck. For reasons I can't explain these hiccups that can turn into terrible things happen. Some circumstances leave stuck chaos... but others open a window for grace to enter. Tonight for my son stuck in Midtown , grace came walking by. She saw a need and softened a heart to help - and planted a seed for hope to grow. Where self and darkness could have won; light and kindness made it's way. Thank you Jessica from the Midtown Hilton. Your random act of service and kindness was a blessing deeper and wider than the miles that my college freshman son and I are apart. Your were the bridge we so needed tonight. Thank you Jessica, for your amazing grace.

Ecopsychology Resurrection

My daily reader (Simple Abundance)   had something to teach me about 'Ecopsycology' today. According to the author, Psychologists that embrace " ecopsychology believe that deepening our emotional ties to nature is vital to our well-being as the close personal bonds we pursue with family and friends. When we follow our instincts to leave the city for a weekend in the country, garden in the early morning...visit a zoo... we are responding positively to psychological and physiological urges to connect for survival." (Simple Abundance, Oct 16 entry)  In August of this year, I relocated to a more urban area than I've lived for twenty years, but thankfully where I live is surround by a considerable amount of green space. My living room also connects me to the outside world by a small terrace that looks out onto a green courtyard...this morning I noticed the sweep of fallen yellow leaves dusting its corners. This small change and contrast to the green delighted my

Wave of light 2015 - Courage dear heart

In 1995 I had a miscarriage of pregnancy surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday.  I was almost four months along, but on going to my first sonogram appointment it was discovered that there was no heartbeat and the pregnancy was not viable. For the days to come, I went through some serious medical risks and ended up having to go through labor to deliver the baby that I'd never really know. While I grieved the loss of my unborn child, I was thankful that my own life had been spared -  but some guilt remained for having survived it. Today this child would be almost 20 years old. I do not know its gender. To this day I have a tiny little knit hat tucked into the top drawer of my dresser as a means of remembering this little life.  That November, I never named this child, but somehow it seems right today to give this child it's name - Courage. For the losses we live through and the loved ones we miss, we move on in courage and hope. Today marks the annual

Question prayer

Some days, our feet hurt and our hearts are weary. Some days, our minds our worn out and our vision is fuzzy. In the midst of our questions, we find nothing more that more - questions. We wonder what the point of all this is. But somehow in the questions and uncertainty we keep on living. For me, I sense a particular presence of God in this uncertain space. The questions, for me, have become the space where the Spirit is a work -  glimmering hope here and there and calling me to a space of welcome where unrest usually resides. All are welcome in the questions. In the questions - God is present. God is present - where you happen to be. Peace.

Death is nothing at all

The following reading was w ritten by Henry Scott Holland (27 January 1847 – 17 March 1918) was Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Oxford... My friend Sarah shared this reading with me earlier today and I can't quite articulate why it cut me to the quick, but it did. Death is something that we often want to separate from daily life. We remove ourselves - or try to - from grief. But death and life are married. Death and life can't be separated. While I don't know the ways that death or loss have impacted you life,  I do know that death has impacted and continues to impact me. But death is a part of life that I can't live without - like the quote states... "death is nothing at all...All is well."

Messenger of "Peace"

Just a few days ago, a robin greeted me in an unusual way. As I opened my car door something brushed against my leg. I turned to see a robin hop into the front seat of the car and  settled on the front dash. Image is a cross-stitch that translates from Greek as "Good Morning" created by Penelope Panagopoulos The bird did not seem scared of me - but was looking for a way to head back into the beautiful sunshine and open sky. With a little help the robin made its way out into the parking lot and flew away. But after it flew away, I could not help but wonder if  this feathered friend had a message for me... In some native american traditions, robins are viewed as messengers carrying a message "Peace". This message is one that I'm happy to receive. Peace can hop into our lives when we least expect it - if we are willing to open to door.

Children of the water

How often is it that a ten year old boy says to his great aunt, "I want to be baptized. Will you baptize me?" Earlier this summer my great nephew Eli asked me this exact question. His question came on the heels of he baby brother, Atticus, birth. Days passed, but Eli would not forget his question about baptism. He got the ball rolling and kept it going until October 11, 2015. This story gets even better as Eli continues to ask for what he desires and requests my husband Ian and I to stand as godparents for himself and Atticus.  We were honored. We said yes! The day arrived. The Eastman and Sullivan clan arrived in full force. We were so proud, of Eli's desire to be called a child of God and carry his three month old brother to the waters of baptism with him. This was a day to treasure - and remember. Elias Robert Eastman and Atticus Joseph Sullivan  are publicly and forever children of the water. In Gratitude - Auntie Vic

Road Trip NY

This weekend we had a chance to hit the road and head to  SUNY Purchase  to visit our son for Family Day. The round trip was well over 800 miles in two days but was filled with some lovely Autumn colors and topped off with a lovely stay over at Doral Arrowwood . Cheers to two days with my two fellows and time to hit the road with time for a family adventure.

Calling cards for a vicar

There is something fun about business cards that have unexpected dimension and image. As I've been meeting so many new people here in the Buffalo, it was necessary for me to get some new cards to help make some connections. Last week I ordered some square cards with the use of some photos from my Instagram account -  Vicar Tara . What do you think of them?

Gratitude for a logo

What feelings do these images stir up for you? What actions do they imply? After a struggle with concepts - and almost being run over with a mason jar display at Michael's, this idea really is one that hits my thoughts about the upcoming mission fair home... The jar is filled. The jar is an everyday item. The image is neither too feminine or masculine... What do you think? Which jar design do you prefer? What about the extra text below? Does the earthy wood grain work? Thank you for your feed back! 

Filling the page

Some projects fall into place - ideas pop and images land on the page in perfect space. Then there are some that are restless. Frustrating. Filling the page with eraser pills and re-writes. Somewhere in this mess of space and trace the idea will be born. This idea will take form. This idea will somehow come to center and fill its space on the page. T.L. Eastman Copyright 2015

Wholeness is fullness

There is a longing to live life to the full, that tugs and pulls. It draws a breath deep and keeps me far from sleep. I don't want to miss a thing. From dreams not dreamed and hopes just starting to gleam this glass-always-half-full draws me to drink deep. So much to see, and do and be - the limit is beyond the time of each day. Through the dawn of bright to the fall of night - wholeness is fullness seeing every hue shades each step along the way. Copyright T.L. Eastman 2015

Trading a "Kingdom" for cardboard boxes

Mark 10:2-16 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) 2 Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” 3 He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” 4 They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” 5 But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. 6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,[a] 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” 10 Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. 11 He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; 12 and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Jesus Blesses Little Children 13 People were bringing lit

For wild October days, peace from Wendell Berry

A dear friend posted this poem via Facebook the other day,  and it found me in the midst of a wild day.  I'm not familiar with the author, Wendell Berry , but I hope that my re-post of the image will be acceptable. Here also is a link to this particular poem, 'The Peace of Wild Things' at the Poetry Foundation website . Thank you Wendell for sharing the peace - you helped me on a wild day. If you would like to listen to Wendell read some of his own poems, visit his podcast here.

Seven word prayer for October

Breathe. Trust. Play. Rest. Create. Love. Be. These are the words that I need. These are the words that I will hold close. These are the words that are a prayer -  when I forget to breathe, when I don't remember to trust, when I need to play, when rest is far from me, when I don't feel like being creative, when love is what I long to feel and when "being" needs to be enough. Be. Love. Create. Rest. Play. Trust. Breathe. Thank you Jesus...  for these seven simple and profound words. No matter the order - these seven words bring light and life. Amen.

Just like that... it's October

Image found at Infinity Institute Newspaper Just like that... The air is crisp so that the windows need to be closed at night. Just like that... I've worn more sweaters and hoodies in a week than I've worn all summer. Just like that... Soup and stew sound like the perfect thing for dinner. Just like that... The harvest moon hangs in the sky and autumn is here. Just like that... there is pumpkin spice flavored EVERYTHING available! Just like that... it's October.

Composition lessons

I can't remember when I learned about Nablopomo , but it can tell you that it has been a major means of encouragement in my regular writing habit. While it's hard to believe that I've been blogging for over fourteen years , I've been writing since I was in elementary school and was given a black and white speckled notebook in English class. On the day I received my first composition book, I was thrilled. The pages were empty, the lines were straight and my pencil was sharp. What a beginning that was.  Every day when I open my page (on paper or on my computer screen) to write, I don't always feel excited. Sometimes my pencil is not very sharp and my mind wanders for a while to have something read-worthy to write. There are days that life gets away from me and the regular writing time has to be used in other endeavors, but when I loose writing time I miss it. Writing has a way of re-centering my heart and mind - and  hopefully gives others a chance to catch