Travels with a Plantser

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I dragged the line on the Google map from the A1 highway to a road along the coast of the UK that looked like a long piece of birthday crepe paper that had been crumpled up and (uselessly) stretched out again. According to Google calculations, taking that squiggly route will add […]

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Being Pierced and Embraced: an Easter book review

At our house church gathering on Good Friday, our spirited group quieted as the evening’s message was shared and our pastor said, his voice snagging on the sharp edge of truth, “You can’t believe…and not be changed.”

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Book beauty is only cover deep, but truth goes to the bone

bookcase-secret

By Amanda Cleary Eastep Have you ever seen a beautifully decorated cake and thought, “Wow, that’s too pretty to eat”? Well, if you’re an avid reader and on Instagram, you will at some point see gorgeous “bookstagram” posts of popular fantasy novels. These still lifes are composed of almost-too-pretty-to-read hardcover books strung with tiny lights […]

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Childhood Dreams, Second Callings

scotland

By Amanda Cleary Eastep This is a dream come true moment. I remember crawling up there and asking my traveling companion to capture my “I’ll never forget this place, this lake, this rock” moment. Well, I’ve forgotten. I mean, I know I was in Scotland, but exactly where, I don’t recall now. But that’s OK, […]

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9 of the Most Important Books I’ve Read

book-steps

By Amanda Cleary Eastep In the corner of our fifth/sixth grade Lutheran classroom was a narrow bookshelf full of books that were ours alone. Our parochial school had a library, a place I loved to visit despite the taunts of the older students who worked the desk: “You’ll never read this book. . .it’s too […]

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Obeying a Call (even if it means fishsticks)

children-running

By Amanda Cleary Eastep The Small boys lived next door to us in the “new subdivision,” one round block of bi-levels and tri-levels on the outskirts of a small farm town. In the summer, all of us children scattered, bike wheels and skinny legs carrying us all the way to the other side of the […]

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Friendly Advice 5 cents

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I had settled into a comfy writing spot at a tiny coffeehouse & bookstore in Fairhope, Alabama when two older women toddled in pushing a stand just like the one Lucy uses in the Peanuts comic to dole out “helpful” advice. They asked if they could take one of the chairs […]

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This is us: the story of midlife writers and co-conspirators

By Amanda Cleary Eastep It was a year ago November that Michelle Van Loon and I met for the first time. I was attending the Deeply Rooted conference in Chicago with my daughter and two friends, and Michelle was a speaker. She delivered her message about restlessness (which just happens to be my middle name) […]

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