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


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


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


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)


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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A simple prayer from the woods


By Amanda Cleary Eastep The narrow path teaches obedience and strength and trust,   But be sure to make room for others. Be sure-footed, But remember to look up. Stay deeply rooted, But know there is forgiveness after a fall. Grow where you’re planted…even in dark places, But let the light in, too. Don’t follow […]

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Day 6: “Wander” what your purpose is?

I’ve been oddly obsessed with the concept of “purpose” since I was a kid. I had what I would call an “encounter” with God at about the age of nine, and I was convinced that when God “called” you, that meant you had to be a missionary to cannibals. Cannibals eat people. So I just lay in my bed and balled my eyes out.

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Day 5: Dropping Blessings like Breadcrumbs

Her sturdy frame was hunched as if the bag in one hand and the purse in the other held bricks not books. She reminded me of pictures you see of women from other countries, bent low beneath the weight of baskets or swaddled children…

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Day 4: Leaving Anger along the Path

Several years ago, a study of 70 million posts on China’s version of Twitter mapped the interactions of users and four key emotions expressed. They found that “anger spreads wider than any other emotion.”

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Day 3: Wandering into Surprise


I had barely mixed the pancake batter before my three year old had launched into her morning ritual. Indifferent to breakfast, and blonde, wispy hair still looking like a homeschool experiment in static electricity, she pointed at the back door and tugged at my hand…

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