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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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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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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Cutting the fluff in writing…and in life

[A version of this was originally written for a message I gave at my church, House of Saints and Sinners.] By Amanda Cleary Eastep Endless tips for better writing exist, especially when it comes to “cutting the fluff” of adjectives and adverbs that leave an otherwise solid story looking like this: Photo Credit: ozfan22 via Compfight […]

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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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Why in the night sky are the lights hung?

Why in the night sky are the lights hung? Why is the earth moving ’round the sun? Floating in the vacuum with no purpose, not a one. Why in the night sky are the lights hung? Why is life made only for to end? Why do I do all this waiting then? Why this frightened […]

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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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Everything turn, turn, turn

I used to watch that 45 rpm record spin on the turntable, the green apple label a blur as Mary Hopkin sang “to everything turn, turn, turn…there is season, turn, turn, turn…” And as my garden finally starts to yield fruit at the far end of this cool summer, a change of seasons is obvious in […]

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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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