Free Tree Street Kids devo for anxious kids

Are your kids feeling as anxious as you are these days? This past year, maybe like no other, has been a test of…well…everything. My kids are grown now, and I can only imagine what 2020+ has been like for parents of young children. Oddly enough, my children’s book Jack vs. the Tornado, which released April […]

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“eggplants”–a way to teach kids about Jesus’ death and resurrection

My six-year-old proudly held up his Styrofoam cup full of dirt. I knew his teacher was using the planting of marigold seeds to teach the children about death and resurrection. “They’re my flowers,” he announced, despite no sign of life. He then pointed to the wooden barrel sitting on the corner of the patio where, […]

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Animal Tales and Tails: A review and reflection

Amanda Cleary Eastep I don’t recall how old I was when I realized Aslan the lion was an author’s fantastical version of Jesus. I had been raised in church and Sunday school, so although this connection should have been obvious, it didn’t quite dawn on me. But once it did . . . I felt […]

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The power of your naming…

As much as I hate the “tell us your name and something about you” exercise, I planned for this time of introduction with teen writers to be a little more creative . . .

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Take a deep breath and let go of your consonants

“Breath is the percussion of language…” The tall, willowy yoga instructor said this to the class in a lilt that hinted at her formal actor’s training and enviable diaphragmatic control. At my age, with quadriceps straining to sustain my squatted “goddess” pose, I was just happy to control my bladder. The morning class was the […]

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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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