Wander on Purpose–A Collaborative Film Project

By Amanda Cleary Eastep UPDATE: Episodes 1-4! Episode 1: Healthy Habits Episode 2: Joy, Anxiety, Trust, Hurt Episode 3: Surprises, Purpose, Worthlessness Episode 4: Meaning and the Mundane Day 1: Finding Healthy Habits Day 2: Finding Courage, Giving Up Fear Day 3: Wandering into Surprise Day 4: Leaving Anger Along the Path Day 5: Dropping […]

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Taking the Warrior Bus to the Mount

About 10 high school students disembark from their “Warriors” mini-bus, like they’re stepping onto a questionably constructed swing bridge over a gaping chasm.

Do I look this unsure when I enter unchartered territory?

I can almost guarantee a deer-in-the-headlights expression when I step out in my faith, into unfamiliar spiritual terrain that demands something more of me, that stretches my trust muscles.

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The Joy of Snow Eaters — Defining the second half of life

woman-sparkler-snow

By Amanda Cleary Eastep The young girl was standing in the snow, wearing only pajamas and snow boots. My car had just rounded the curve in the road that separates our condos from the apartments. The girl, about 8 years old, stood in the strip of yard beside the apartment building, her hands cupped and full of snow, […]

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We, Like Sheep: On being shepherded into the new year

sheep-pasture

By Amanda Cleary Eastep As I travel the roads through the Scottish countryside, acres of pastureland carpet the space between my rental car and the horizon. Sheep meander across the green like earthbound clouds, and the setting sun turns their fleece golden. But I see no shepherd in this idyllic still life that has hung in […]

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A Communion of Chocolate and Generations

elderly-hands

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I break the chocolate wafer into pieces while it’s still in its holiday foil wrapper. Caramel oozes from the cracks as I carefully unwrap it and offer it up to my great aunt. “It’s like communion,” I tell her. She chuckles and says it’s sticky. We are visiting her in the […]

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I Will Welcome Winter as a Sabbath

fallen-tree-snow

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I have two memories of snow. They stick like individual snowflakes to window glass, their intricacies blatantly announcing God’s mathematical genius…his ability to condense the universe into a melting, faceted jewel (or the savior into a newborn)… I am nine and caroling with my parents and their friends and children. The sky is […]

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Just like a 1970s sleepover gone horribly wrong

cleary-eastep-writer

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I stuffed my overnight bag into my narrow grammar school locker, already counting the red-handed seconds until I left my 4th grade troubles behind and walked two blocks to my best friend’s house for a sleepover. My presence always caused a bit of angst for my friend’s mother since–although I was […]

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Of Warp and Weft…and being Deeply Rooted

weaving-board

By Amanda Cleary Eastep A few days ago, I joined about 100 other women at Wilson Abbey in Chicago for Deeply Rooted: A Gathering. My 20-year-old daughter was with me, and aside from a few friends, I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know their credentials, their triumphs, or their sins. I didn’t know if they were longtime […]

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Hitting the reset button on your life

By Amanda Cleary Eastep My breakfast was so pretty I took a picture. And posted it on social media, of course. I felt proud, like it was my kid, and this was her first day of Kindergarten. Ok, sure, it was just two fried eggs sprinkled with roasted and crushed kale, diced fresh tomato, apple […]

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When Your Kid Starts College: Saying goodbye with open hands

children-fi

By Amanda Cleary Eastep Before my eight-year-old daughter would leave for her dad’s house every other weekend, I would kiss the palm of her small hand, curl her fingers into a fist, and tell her to put the kiss on her cheek when she missed me. What I didn’t realize was that she tried keeping […]

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