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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The Dance of the Elders

By Amanda Cleary Eastep That summer night on the rain-shiny driveway, we danced like crazy people…   …and we sang, all of us happy remnants of the Sunday afternoon party that celebrated the graduation of my three kids. Their whole lives lay ahead of them as we friends and family honored the big steps of […]

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Because Your Good Friends Will Follow You Out the Window

By Amanda Cleary Eastep One after the other, the six of us crawl out my friend’s apartment bedroom window and onto the flat, tar paper roof of Wilma’s Cafe where the farmers gather on Saturday mornings to drink coffee and eat Western omelets after milking or plowing or planting, depending on the season. To me […]

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You wouldn’t believe the stars

By Amanda Cleary Eastep “You wouldn’t believe the stars.” My daughter tells me this in one of her voice messages from the refugee camp in north Africa. She and her friend had dragged their bedding out onto the desert sand, staying up until 2 a.m. as if this was some junior high sleepover, chatting and “wow”ing and awestruck. We live 30 […]

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Don’t quit…just keep hanging your mantle in the sun

clothesline

By Amanda Cleary Eastep I think about quitting. Letting go of writing like it’s some wild mammal I’ve tried to raise and train only to have it piss on the furniture and snap at my hand when I try to feed it. But who would I be if I didn’t write? I have announced, “I am a writer” […]

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Surprised by April and Sharp Turns

snowy-tracks

By Amanda Cleary Eastep The ground is confused and awakening groggily, because it is too warm today for December. All those organisms aroused by the surprise of sunshine and high 40s stir, unaware that their future holds a predicted “swath” of 3-6 inches of snow that will unravel a 3-6 inch ribbon of white across northern […]

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Peace Is Giving Me that Look

By Amanda Cleary Eastep “You have that look.“ My daughter says this as we hold each other in an embrace that sighs, “Don’t leave home,” and responds, “I have to go.” She’s taken to glancing sideways at me when we hug to make sure I’m not crying. I am on the inside. Wailing like a mad […]

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The Advent of Impact

By Amanda Cleary Eastep We are parked in the middle of a dark road in the Wisconsin countryside on our way home from my first ever grown-up New Year’s Eve party in my cousins’ basement. Cousin #1 is wondering why cousin #2, who may have sucked down a few too many Pabst Blue Ribbons, isn’t behind us […]

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Thankfulness from Behind the Rubber Mask

By Amanda Cleary Eastep As the days grow colder and closer to change in my life– children stepping outside the radius of a mother’s embrace, the loss of income that helped put a roof over our heads, separation from my daughter as she leaves for the mission field– emotions rush beneath my skin, which I wear loosely like a rubber Halloween mask […]

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Fleetwood Mac and landslides that lead to blessing

Well, I’ve been afraid of changing ‘Cause I’ve built my life around you But time makes you bolder Even children get older And I’m getting older too Oh, I’m getting older too – “Landslide,” Fleetwood Mac By Amanda Cleary Eastep I had been singing these lyrics in the shower for weeks in anticipation of the […]

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