Planting gardens in us

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I pinch seeds like fuzz from a winter coat. It is the last day of visiting my cousin. Every one of his homes has seemed a retreat to me. He incessantly has his eye on some dilapidated structure full of hoarder treasure or bat guano, yet he somehow sees past the cracked […]

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When Worlds Collide…or just meet over Dunkin’ Donuts

By Amanda Cleary Eastep Recently, I wrote an article for Think Christian magazine, My Daughter’s Muslim-Christian Bible Study, about the coming together of Christian and Muslim students in the Bible study my daughter started at her local public high school. A better title would have been “When worlds collide…or just meet over Dunkin’ Donuts,” which better illustrates […]

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Who comes in when the world goes out?

Photo Credit: vintage ladies via Compfight cc By Amanda Cleary Eastep Tonight at House, Pastor Chuck talked about one of the most common regrets of the dying…that they didn’t spend more time with their friends. He focused on the friendships of Jesus and the traits good friends possess. The theme of friendship was also the focus of my […]

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Off the coast of Savo Island my grandfather floats

by Amanda Cleary Eastep Clinging to a barrel, my grandfather floats in the Pacific Ocean. His ship, burning, sinks into dark water. A Navy man who has never learned to swim now puts his hope in wreckage. Men he loved, men he didn’t, men he fought beside, die. Some, only brief survivors, escape the vortex […]

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Happy Mother’s Day to those who “life us up”

by Amanda Cleary Eastep It’s thundering. I’m sitting on my patio watching the first drops hit my just-planted hydrangea and clematis, gifts for Mother’s Day from my children. (Well, one picked them out, the other will contribute when she gets paid, and one is working and may have an Indie band mix CD waiting for […]

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The Blood Behind the Pink Cellophane

By Amanda Cleary Eastep They were Easter to me as a child. Aunt Millie and Uncle Roy walked into our living room, childless but carrying two Easter baskets wrapped in pink and purple cellophane, the kind of baskets you bought at the store, not the ones you made yourself out of strawberry cartons. Aunt Millie, bundled in a […]

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Life, Death; Sun, Snow; Hello, Goodbye

by Amanda Cleary Eastep February 8, 2014 My grandmother died this morning as I awoke. People share their sympathies with me via Facebook, “Liking” my post that announces my grandmother’s passing and requests prayer. On social media, we can broadly share our grief, reach out to friends and family and instantly receive condolences, assurances of […]

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The work of her hands

By Amanda Cleary Eastep As a child, my grandmother worked in the truck patches of vegetables her family grew on their rented farm in Southern Illinois. Whether from planting or harvesting or picking off bugs to drop into buckets of kerosene, the calluses that lined her palms like small pebbles were a source of pride. […]

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It’s a pickle

These are refrigerator pickles. They are delicious and easy to make, but they will only be good for 2 months in the refrigerator (if they aren’t eaten by then). They won’t help you survive the winter. They won’t make it until January when you might decide, on a warm winter night, to roast hot dogs […]

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She Heightened My Awareness of the World and I Didn’t Even Know It Until Now

[Written for catapult magazine’s Sensory Experience issue https://www.catapultmagazine.com/sensory-experience/article/she-heightened-my-awareness-of-the-world%5D From across the uncleared dinner table, my grandmother feeds me stories—how she ran opossum traps in the morning before school, how she gathered herbs on the Round Bluff, how she watched her little brother die of pneumonia. I listen to the same ones over and over, because […]

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