The Year of Living Courageously

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By Amanda Cleary Eastep I’m a little afraid to write the words. Be. Courageous. Writing those words in my journal means I can’t tell God it was only a fleeting thought. That I was “writing drunk,” as Hemingway said, and planned to edit sober later. And I can’t blame someone else. No one’s handwriting is that bad. But it’s […]

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The Fall: Beauty beyond the reds and golds

By Amanda Cleary Eastep You know that perfect fall day. Where the cool lays across your cheeks like a damp cloth, and the setting sun is a bullet of warmth above your right eye. You walk through freshly mown grass, speckled with decimated leaves that fell onto the dregs of summer, too soon to join the […]

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Finding meaning when things don’t make sense

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I didn’t plan on writing about actor and comedian Robin Williams’ suicide. Lots of people already have. Lots of people who have more inspiring words to say. And it was some of those words that stuck with me. “I’ve learned that there can be meaning without things making sense.” Photo Credit: […]

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In which I meet a man with a time machine…

by Amanda Cleary Eastep This photo was taken right before I met a man with a time machine. In the spirit of that, let me back up. I recently discovered an off-the-beaten hiking trail that winds along the banks of a lovely little stream and detours around a tree that reaches like the fingers of a cupped hand […]

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Build it, and the fairies will come

by Amanda Cleary Eastep My youngest step-daughter and I knelt under the huge pine tree in her yard in Kentucky. We were building a house for the fairies. Sticks, leaves and rocks formed walls, a door and places to sit and rest your wings. I hadn’t been with her dad that long, and this collaborative […]

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THIS Is Your Life–5 little ways to live it better

by Amanda Cleary Eastep I may have to dub this a “glorious weekend.” Between the weather, hours (!) to write, lots of digging in the dirt, and hiking planned for the last day of a four-day weekend…well, just…*heavy sigh of satisfaction.* Last night at church–which we moved outside among the trees–Pastor Chuck asked us to […]

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Planting spinach in a snowstorm

It’s only January 5. And day two of another snow storm in Chicago. Not one to be thwarted from anticipating planting season by a foot of snow, I remembered that I have these two lovely empty tea tins from Trader Joe’s just begging to be filled with dirt.   While shopping for storm supplies, i.e. […]

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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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A mother’s ode to wayward green children

As I dig in the dirt and plant seeds, yank weeds, water and watch things grow, I can’t help but consider how gardening is so much like raising children…the trials and the joys. I’m disappointed in my tomatoes. I started them from seeds. Watched amazed as they poked through the soil and cheered them on […]

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