BURNING THE PAST

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By Lisa Huddleston

Leaf falling

I long to paint a portrait

I crave to craft a song

To memorialize my moments

To make them last for longer

Than just today

 

I know this is because

I miss the harmonies of my former life

The interweaving of the needs of others

With the desires of my heart

The constant giving and the taking and the weaving and the making

And now there is not as much

Not much giving nor much taking

And my days are clear and long and empty and full of significantly mundane moments

 

I think if I could grab the moments and

Throw them down on paper or canvas or track

Then they would live forever or

If not forever then at least for longer than for just today

They would matter more and last

 

But I have no right to clutter the world with moments

To fill the sky with falling leaves frozen in thick air

Full of meaning that may or may not be there

Once living creatures perpetually suspended in clear resin

To hold down my onion skin memories and images and dreams

 

Moments are fleeting and should leave when I do

Caught in the flames and lifted into the sky on wings of smoke

Not frozen

Not hardened

Not left as a burden to be carried by others

Fluid and lifting up into ever-thinning and evaporating rings

Finally gone and freed from both memory and artificial meaning

And carried away on smoke

RAINY DAYS AND MONDAYS

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By Lisa Huddleston

Little lamps can shed a lot of light when the day is dark.

Little lamps shed a lot of light on dark days.

It is both rainy and a Monday—actually it is the second Monday in the first month of this new year making it an especially dangerous day for those who like me have a love hate relationship with depression. The winter is a rough time with the gray skies and bare trees. Yeah.

Well anyway, it is nearly one o’clock in the afternoon, and I have done what I know to do. I read my daily Bible plan selections before getting out of bed–the same bed I have just now made. Between those two landmarks, I have knitted several rows on the scarf I am making for my husband, I’ve eaten toast for breakfast and salad for lunch, I’ve taken the lettuce and cucumber scraps to the chickens and collected three brownish eggs, and that’s about it.

Oh yeah, I also wrote a poem that I am afraid readers will not understand so I have carefully printed it and tucked it into the back of my new Monthly Planner to ponder for another time or more likely to lose in the scraps that will collect there over the next few months.

The poem kind of explained what I mean by a “love hate relationship with depression.” That cozy feeling of hiding in my fur-lined nest. And it really is like that, and this rainy day mirrors that feeling pretty well.

Soon I will head to the basement and walk on my old, well-worn treadmill that smells faintly of an impending electrical fire when I use it for too long. I will be sad to see it go. But today, hopefully, I will walk several stationary miles and digest a few more chapters of my current read, Wild. The irony of reading about the author’s journey on the Pacific Coast Trail while my feet count steps to nowhere in my basement will make me smile. It makes me smile even now.

After a shower and some more knitting, perhaps, it will be time to cook dinner and wait for my sweet husband’s return. Both the dog and I will be glad to see his headlights in the dark driveway.

All in all, it will have been a good day, a successful day. And that will be enough. Sort of like my lighting of little lamps to chase the gloom away–the very act that triggered this post. Nothing very special, but enough to light my way.

And tomorrow will be Tuesday, and maybe the sun will shine.

SLUBS, NUBS, AND OTHER BEAUTIFUL MISTAKES

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By Lisa Huddleston

Beautiful hand-thrown mugs!

Beautiful hand-thrown mugs!

This Christmas was the year of the handmade gift. My mother gave homemade chocolates. My mother-in-law gave homegrown fruit preserves and cucumber, green bean, and okra pickles. My daughter-in-law gave delicious homemade Russian tea cookies. I gave hand-knit wooly hats and scarves. We gave beautiful wooden bowls Chuck’s uncle made. And my daughter and her husband gave hand-thrown mugs. It was simple and unique and special.

Knitting a cowl for Christmas.

Knitting a cowl for Christmas.

And each day as I ate those goodies or every morning as I cup a comfortably off kilter mug in my hands, I think of their makers and celebrate their gifts and their talents and their love.

Homemade gifts are special. They aren’t quite as perfect as those you buy in stores. They have little flaws and quirks–we call them “design elements” to celebrate their specialness. They may not sit exactly flat on the table or they may not be the latest style, but you know that they say “love” with the raspy sometimes irritating voice of truth. And their nubs and imbalances and missed stitches remind us that while we’re not there yet, we are striving to make good things. There is beauty in the trying.

Midway into knitting a cap.

Midway into knitting a cap.

As this New Year begins, I find myself trying. I’m trying to get rid of the extra pounds I’ve collected over the past few weeks. I’m trying to get back into a consistent reading of the Word. I’m trying to spend time with old friends and to even make new ones. And I’m trying to lift my head up from my usual navel gazing in order to focus more on the grace of each moment. Yes, I am trying.

And, of course, my trying is not perfect. Already I see nubs and flaws and design elements weaving themselves into and around my perfect goals. But that is okay. And that is real. And that is good.

Happy New Year to you. May you set your hands to the good works God has placed before you–and may I. And may we all keep on trying to make good things full of design elements we never dreamed of, but that seem to make the whole experience just a little more interesting and lovely.

 

 

Ponderous, Pondering

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Tempus fugit.

Tempus fugit.

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Ponderous

Pondering

Heavy and fraught with

Meaning

 

The final seconds of

The final minutes of

The final hours of

The final day of

This year

Tick off and

Away

 

Well spent or

Wasted

Meaning full or

Lost

 

Either way

Time is spent

Never to be

Recovered

 

Tomorrow begins a

New Year

The first seconds of

The first minutes of

The first hour of

The first day

 

Still ponderous and

Pondering and

Full of meaning or

Not

 

And the weight of

Hope is the

Heaviest weight of all

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and

Never brought to mind

Should auld acquaintance be forgot and

Days of auld lang syne

GATHERING GRACE

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By Lisa Huddleston

‘Twas almost the night before Christmas

And all through the house

Were mumblings and grumblings—

But not from my spouse!

It’s nearly here. I know—no, those multiple parties and gifting occasions you have already hosted and attended and cleaned for and cleaned up from do not count. There is still THE day to come, and yes, you do have to do it all at least one. more. time.

Okay, I promise that I start this season every year with true and righteous intentions to simplify the crazy, to keep my soul stress free, and to be a jolly old elf all month long. However, by the day before Christmas Eve, we have work-partied and family-partied and church-partied, and I am simply partied out. The thought of cooking even one more casserole or attending one more Christmassy event nearly does me in!

Chuck making his famous peppermint ice cream!

Chuck making his famous peppermint ice cream!

But my dear husband loves it all and I am his chosen companion so by December 23 I am just not as twinkly as I planned, hoped, and really really strived to be. Boo and bah humbug!

 

Thankfully God does not leave me alone in my depression and Scrooginess and has been working hard to impress on my thoughts a great truth which shall be good news for all people:

“God’s grace is sufficient for this day!”

I know this is a truth that all good little Christians know—but knowing is not always knowing, so here are a few of the thoughts I have been mulling over in my pre-post-pre-post-party daze:

  • Like manna, God’s grace is there for us every morning.
  • It is enough for whatever the day holds.
  • We can’t store it up for tomorrow.
  • It is our daily responsibility to gather the grace we need.
  • We need to eat it, digest it, and use it.

Ponder that. Not new. Not especially deep. But deeply satisfying.

Hope you are hanging in there like the holly and the ivy and gathering enough grace to make it through whatever is on your list today. You’re almost there …

Merry Christmas! (Really. I mean it.)

LEAVING CHURCH

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10150530_10204073712789811_99817716613549576_nNun-songs and carols cling to these corners

Catching my clothes and hair

Making leaving hard

I briskly brusquely brush at cobwebs to break the ties that bind and stick to my fingers

New homes aren’t always better homes

But they are newer

And cleaner

And have fewer ghosts and cobwebs

to catch you as you go

REMEMBERING TO GIVE THANKS

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Dad and me in 1961.

Dad and me in 1961.

By Lisa Huddleston

It’s been quite sometime since I’ve written–maybe the longest dry period since I started this blog. Much has been and is still going on in my head but much has not yet come together into clear thoughts that can be written down and then shared with others and so I have not made an attempt. It has felt pointless as it’s all been said before and there is nothing new under the sun or the moon or the stars.

But tonight is the night before Thanksgiving–not a good time to start writing as it is late and I am tired and we are expecting Chad, Heather, Nick, and Becky to come through the door any minute now and fill our empty and readied rooms so I may have to abort this half-hearted attempt at a post. But I want to and I need to take a moment to say that I am thankful.

My dad passed away just over a week ago and my head is swimming with muddled mysteries of life and death and afterlife and afterdeath. But I am thankful.

Ferguson is rioting and I am remembering my childhood and Detroit and dad’s being very very late that night and Martin Luther King, Jr. and fires on the news and rough stubble on a cold cheek when he would come in to kiss me good night. But I am thankful.

I am feeling disconnected and lonely and isolated and fearful but I know I have a wonderful blessing in the present in my husband and children and am considering that they chose to be “Team Lisa” during last weekend’s trip to my father’s memorial in Indiana and despite its being even worse than I feared they were with me. And I am thankful.

And since returning from Lafayette I have cleaned and cooked and will cook still more tomorrow and we will eat and talk and eat and remember and eat and forget and celebrate this life here together on Hudfarm. And we will be thankful.

Love and peace and joy and patience and selflessness and remembering and forgetting and blessing in all things be unto you. And may you all be thankful.