By Lisa Huddleston


Days of births,

Years of service,remembering

Weddings and deaths,

We are all about such things.

So we mark them with stars on calendars

To remember and not forget.



What year did you build this house?

When did your daddy pass away?

Was it fall when she first learned the truth about her man?


Anniversaries—a ticking off of

Weeks and months and years.

Marking the hard work,

Rewarding the perseverance,

Remembering the pain as well as the joy,

Or simply acknowledging a lazy

Dislike of change.


Did you try to reach this milestone?

Was it more than breathing in and breathing out?

Did you believe the promise that time would heal all wounds?


Time, of course, does help; but stubborn scars remain.

White hash marks etched in small groups of five,

Silver lines cut in the thin skin of time,

Fading and fading but never quite completely

As long as we continue to mark the day

And call it, “Anniversary.”


By Lisa Huddleston

Pastor Jim read the 26th chapter of Acts for yesterday’s sermon and focused on three primary points:

  1. God calls us to testify on behalf of the Gospel
  2. Christian faith is both true and rational
  3. Christian faith reorders our priorities by putting God first, then others next, and finally ourselves last.

They were good points, and as always I took notes and pondestart-with-whyred my own thoughts throughout the message. Yes, I am prone to ponder—Lord, I feel it. I have lots of questions and sometimes wish I could raise my hand and ask, “Why?” Instead I satisfy myself by writing why or a big old question mark in the margin of my Bible.

Yesterday there were a couple of whys that caught my attention, and although I know I could pull out concordances and word studies, I think I’m just going to ponder freely.

First, when he is telling his conversion story why does Paul add the information that he heard “a voice speaking to me in the Hebrew language?” (vs.14). Does the language help to clarify that it really was Jesus who was speaking to him—in the Aramaic dialect as other translations note—rather than Greek or any other language? Is this detail included in order to point to Jesus? Maybe so.

And consider verse 16: “But get up and stand on your feet. For I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and a witness of things you have seen, and of things in which I will appear to you.” What did Jesus mean in that last phrase? How would he appear to Paul in future “things?” Jesus continues that he will, “Rescue [Paul] from the people and from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you to open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (vs.17-18). If I were Paul, I would have been asking, “What things, Lord? Why will I need to be rescued? How will I know you when you appear to me?”

I’m sure I would (and do) try God’s patience many times a day. But prone to ponderers are also prone to askers!

One statement that I jotted in my notebook Sunday stands out to me. “The question ‘Why?’ leads us to the question ‘Who?’” If I’m going to have a chance in—well you know where—of receiving true answers to my questions, I’m going to have to bring them to the only one who can possibly know the truth: the Author and promised Finisher of my faith. Please, keep working on me, Lord, and help me to be satisfied with the Who even when my Whys sometimes get in the way.



By Lisa Huddleston

Suicide is not the solution. Seek help!

Suicide is not the solution. Seek help!

On Monday evening I received a text message from a good friend telling me that my dentist had killed himself. His body had been found in his car parked behind a large car dealership near a line of woods. Curiously, my mother (who lives with us), Chuck, and I had been talking about this man during our dinner that very night. I had received a postcard reminder of my upcoming appointment for a cleaning, and we were extolling his virtues as a kind and caring man. And then this news.

It was shocking to us and also to the rest of our small town! Rumors began to fly almost immediately blaming such things as finances, affairs, business troubles, and so on. I still have no idea why he took his life, but I can say I have spent the week pondering the terrible affect suicide has upon those it leaves behind, and everyone I have spoken with in my hometown has brought it up everyday since. What will his employees do? Will the business close? Will his family still receive insurance money? Where will we go if we have a dental emergency? Is suicide an unforgivable sin? These are just a few of the many questions I have heard asked. Many of the gossipy questions being asked were none of our business, others were just practical (and selfish?) on our part, and still others showed genuine concern. In my defense, it took me years to find this particular dentist, and I trusted him—no small feat. I hate the idea of going anywhere else. I confess that was my second thought after I heard the news—after the shock and gasp of sorrow. Selfish, yes. I’m only human.

But I wonder what happened? How could this smiling, congenial, and very kind man we knew end up taking his own life? Mom had seen him two weeks earlier. Chuck had chatted about our children and his less than a week before. All seemed fine and ordinary and mundane. But it’s clear that was not the truth.

I have to confess I’ve thought a lot about suicide—what else would you expect from a depressive person?—so I can understand the urge. But to actually do it? It makes my soul ache. If he could have seen what a hole he would leave, you know, have a “Wonderful Life” moment, would he still have done it? If we who only knew him professionally feel so affected by his death how much more so are those who loved him as a friend or family member? It hurts my heart to imagine their pain.

But I hope we all will imagine that pain. Suicide is increasing. I know of three people who have attempted it this year alone, and I really don’t get out much. So think! You fill a hole in the world that only you fit. Only you can sing off-key in just that odd and quirky way. Only you water the porch plants or teach that ESL class or sleep on the left side of that special person or have the same blue eyes as your daughter. Only you are you. And if you don’t care about you then, please, care about those students or friends or loved ones who will never be the same without you in their lives.

It may sound odd, but I will miss my dentist, and I will never forget how he left us. I pray I will also never forget the value of every life including my own. You do you, and I’ll do me. And let’s all keep on doing or being us for as long as life allows. And, please, SEEK HELP IF YOU NEED IT! People really do care.


P.S. I do not believe this kind, Christian man will be eternally condemned for his lapse of judgment. Jesus died for all our sins. Thank you, Lord! 


By Lisa Huddleston

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, I’ll bet you could have guessed this post was coming. Yes, I’m writing about our new rescue dog, Rosemary or Rosie for short. To my discredit I fear, I’m way too fond of the sarcastic saying—no good deed goes unpunished—but this time I think I’ve been rewarded. Rosie is an amazing dog!

The stand off

The initial standoff

Now, if you’d asked me how I felt about this “reward” on Thursday evening, the day I picked her up from Country K9 Rescue, I would have moaned, “What was I thinking? How could I have done something so stupid as to get another dog??” Dottie Pigbody was living up to her name in a brand new way. She was being piggishly selfish and attacking poor Rosie every time the startled dog got near to “Dottie’s people.” It was terrible, and I truly expected to see a bloodbath at any moment.

Dottie Pigbody or a.k.a. Dorothy Parker

Dottie Pigbody, a.k.a. Dorothy Parker

But now, over 48 hours into this adventure, I watched as Rosie tried to coax Dottie to play a bit in the yard, and although Dottie didn’t exactly join in—she at least didn’t try to eat Rosie’s face off. I was able to play fetch with both dogs although I still had to make sure they each had their own ball. That’s an enormous improvement in Dottie’s behavior. No attacks so far today, and it is 4:15 p.m. I wouldn’t have thought it possible two days ago!

And naturally, I see a lesson in this experience, a living reminder of one of my life mottos—A long obedience in the same direction. That is an abbreviated quotation, but what it says to me is that nothing worth getting happens without perseverance. Not physical nor educational nor spiritual achievement. Not even a great fur sister for Dottie like Rosie. And I know both Dottie and I will be better for the experience.

Rosie, a.k.a. Rosemary

Rosie, a.k.a. Rosemary

If you’ve ever considered adopting a rescue for your family, let me encourage you to take the plunge. After 4 rescue cats and 4 rescue dogs (2 currently), I can definitely testify that it’s a rewarding experience for both the animals and their people!


By Lisa Huddleston

vanderbilt-football-610x406Incredibly, it’s already September and football season is here AGAIN. Last night began the next few months of angst and woe over all the plays that should have gone one way but sadly went another. It’s hard to be a Vandy fan—and a Titans fan and even a Bears fan. My poor husband suffers, and in empathy with him, so do I. But in some ways, it just seems to be a part of the cycling seasons of the year. A routine that we’ve grown accustomed to. (Although I really wish we could win once in a while so the poor guy could celebrate a little!)

And with the arrival of football also comes—soon and very soon—the exhilarating weather and colors of fall. Oh, how I am looking forward to that! Beauty galore!

Then come the holiday season and winter and gray skies and my inevitable, predictable downward spiral in mood which unaccountably lasted far into summer this year … oy.

As a part of sharing my journey through the dark woods of depression, I realized this week that it would not be fair nor right to leave you with the impression that once you find a good therapist, a good psychopharmacologist, and the right mixture of medication and lifestyle adjustments that all will be roses and honey from then on. What reminded me to remind you that depression can be a chronic illness was a sudden crash in energy on Tuesday afternoon. I was working at my volunteer tutoring job (a job I love) when with about 45 minutes to go, I realized that I was sinking fast. Gladly I was able to stick it out—hate to be a bad example—but when I arrived home, I immediately crawled under a blanket and slept for two hours only waking then because I had a Spanish class to attend.

Nap time!

Nap time!

And therein lies yet another danger of life with chronic depression. When you begin to feel better it is so tempting to dive headlong into the hyper-activity that is common to our culture. And even when you begin to feel the undertow, to fight against it in order to show that you are not weak or lazy or defective. This desire is counterproductive to recovery, but the temptation is very hard to resist.

It was in my counseling session this week that I recognized what I have been doing and how it is working against me. I realized that it is important for me most of all, but also for the people around me, to know and acknowledge that I am still in recovery and that skirmishes in my battle with depression can arise at anytime. I have to give myself permission to rest when I need to, to schedule my days with my sketchy energy level in mind, and to expect understanding from those who love me. After all they really do love me.

And that is really all I have to say this morning. Remember that life with depression needs to be managed—just as life with diabetes or cancer or arthritis must be managed. It’s not a one time fix and then back into the race.


My plans for today are to mow the grass (a two-hour job) and to begin a new weaving project on my recently purchased loom. If need be, I will give myself permission to nap. It’s been a full week, and it’s likely I will need it.





By Lisa Huddleston

11710000_10207014882917226_657832549666094067_oI love living on a Century Farm here in Middle Tennessee. It is green and private and lovely, but there are occasional drawbacks. It’s hard to find a good restaurant that’s worth paying for anywhere nearby, it’s a very long drive on the Interstate to many of the events we choose to attend—including our church—but one of the worst things about living here happens when the young man who owns the cattle who share this farm with us takes away the older calves to sell.

The mommas are just pitiful. They holler all day and all night—and I can only imagine how bad the calves feel. Separation from those we love really sucks, kind of like a calf on an udder or an udder that misses its calf.

Anyway, today there was a big, black cow looking directly at me over the back fence while I drank my morning coffee on the porch. She bawled and looked. Bawled and looked. I really felt guilty as though she thought I knew where her baby was and if she just asked nicely enough I would return it. To make matters even worse, old Dottie Pigbody had to get into the act by ferociously barking at the grieving mother and running her off.

No, I don’t make a good farmer, and, yes, I cried. And that experience set my mind off and running down a sad trail.

11227401_10207349081111972_7173172355244987238_oNext, I saw the bright, red cardinal who daily frequents our bird feeders—most often with his less colorful mate. I imagined one saying to the other, “Where would you like to have brunch today?” and then flying in to light on the chosen feeder. I told Chuck that it makes me sad to see birds who are always with mates because I worry that something will happen to one of them and then the other will grieve. He laughed and said, “Well, let’s just shoot both of them now then and get it over with.”

Of course, my tender-hearted husband was just kidding, but part of me agreed with that plan. Wouldn’t it be better to take them out together? I sure don’t want to hang around if Chuck goes before me.

And that is part of my problem. (“Aha,” you say. “We definitely knew you had one!”) I see everything through a filter of impending death and separation. Sad but true. The beauty of spring inevitably leads to winter. The puppy you fall in love with turns gray before you turn around. The kids you plan and hope for grow up and move out. People leave and seasons end and everything eventually fades.

My therapist laughs when I tell her that I know I’m the one with depression, but I really think it’s everyone else who is suffering from delusions. My preoccupation with death is only realistic thinking. If you’re living, you’re dying, and vice versa.

11887989_10207341387999649_4245004405750835629_nSome days this truth helps me to appreciate the value found in moments. Beauty in a golden leaf hanging suspended on the breeze for seconds before gently floating to the ground. White clouds in blue skies. Calves skipping and playfully butting heads. Unexpected fish fries that bring the kids home. Countless millions of things for which I am truly thankful, but which also carry with them the knowledge that too soon they will be over.

No pretty bow or cherry on top of this post. Just my observations.

I see you, sad Momma Cow, as you look to me for answers, and my heart goes out to you because I have none. Hopefully new babies will be born to you soon, and I pray that you will not see what’s coming.


By Lisa Huddleston

I know that no one cares to hear my daily complaints about my struggles with medications or lack of sleep or general sense of anxiety; however, I do think that at least a few of you would like to hear how my journey through the dark woods is going.

I am happy to report that my doctor and I feel that I may finally be on the right track regarding my medications–few side effects and a slowly improving appreciation for life. It has taken many months of starts and restarts, but we are hopeful.



And in what may be an even clearer assessment of my improvement, I am happy to report a recent desire to return to some of my former loves. I purchased four new books that I look forward to diving into–in fact the smallest one was consumed last night. I haven’t been able to read due to my lack of concentration so this is a wonderful sign.

Loom room.

Loom room.

Also, I have ordered a new 7-foot adjustable tri-loom and rearranged our former music room to serve as my “loom room.” I am glad to sense the urge to create catching steam and look forward to starting on a new project.



And, finally–and most surprising to me–I truly experienced some moments of worship in Sunday’s service. I have grown so weary of going through the motions that I was genuinely surprised to feel my hand lift in union with my voice as my heart cried, “Hallelujah!” I was reminded that the joy of the Lord is my strength and that its return represents a true healing of my soul.

No–the journey is not over. Monday was not good as I fought tears and anxiety and felt covered by the dark cloud of death. But Monday is not every day, and new books, new projects, and a new taste of joy give me a hope I have not had for some time.

Therefore, the take-away I seek to give you is that if you are still in the dark, please, do not give up. The odds are in your favor–as is our God. Keep doing what you know to do: see a good psychiatrist and follow his or her advice, continue to talk with a good therapist, exercise if you can, give yourself freedom to rest and to heal, and never give up.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,

But I have promises to keep.

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.