When Your Kid Starts College: Saying goodbye with open hands


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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Mother’s Day with all the vowels


By Amanda Cleary Eastep Sometimes on a day you could and should sleep in, you wake up at 4 a.m. instead, because, well, that cup of peach tea at 8:30 p.m. …and that thing or 10 on your mind that you need to pray about. So you wake up God, too, who like a patient […]

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Celebration: A marriage of joining and loosing


By Amanda Cleary Eastep On September 20th, CELEBRATION… …will be a banquet hall garden with neat rows of white chairs and flowers and a white runner separating the bride’s and groom’s families until we are joined like the teeth of a zipper as she marches up the aisle… …will be a bride who will be more beautiful than she ever […]

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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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How to Pray Like a Refugee


By Amanda Cleary Eastep From out of the desert of Africa, my daughter brings home the custom of praying with your eyes open and your hands held out, palms up, as if you are just that expectant, that trusting, that bold. The first evening she is back at our house church after five months of perspective […]

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When Your Power Ain’t So Super, Woman

By Amanda Cleary Eastep He wants me to wear a cape to the grocery store. “I don’t have a cape, Sweetie.” My four year old streaks out of the kitchen, the red cape I sewed flying out behind him. My next door neighbor regularly ridicules me. How the hell can I let my son run […]

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Half of a #WholeMama? The weird transition from Mommy to Mother

By Amanda Cleary Eastep My 18-year-old and I lay in the grass taking Instagram selfies (which I liken to showing vacation “slides” to the entire world). This youngest daughter returned to my arms recently after five months away, two of those in N. Africa. She wanted to show off her armpit hair, which is not nearly […]

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What He’ll Be When He Grows Up

At 7, my son is in earnest. Gripping the back of the seat as we drive to the grocery store, he asks, “What should I be when I grow up?” This is not a “why is the sky blue?” kind of question. The almost pleading tone in his voice begs me to answer; not a […]

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Tribal Parenting

A moment of leading the tribe instead of managing the children

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