NO GUILT SERVED HERE

1By Lisa Huddleston

The menu is ready, most of the grocery shopping is done, and the out-of-town guests will be arriving on the farm sometime Wednesday. Yes, the holidays are fast upon us, and with the food, family, and large gatherings often comes guilt. Some want dinner at noon, but others can’t come until evening. Young couples have to juggle two or more family gatherings and stretch their stomachs to eat multiple meals.  And some family members can’t come at all, because they live far away or even have to work.

It can be hard, but one thing I hereby declare–no guilt will be served for the holidays here at Hudfarm!

I remember what it’s like to balance family gatherings and am thankful to be in the happy situation of having folks come here to our house to celebrate.  Yes, I truly will miss those who won’t be around our tables this Thanksgiving, but I understand and rejoice that they feel free to do whatever they need to–completely guilt free–and I’ll look forward to the next holiday when it will be our turn to have them here.

Yes, the planning for our feast is almost finished: turkey, ham, green beans, carrots, cranberries, potatoes, Yankee and Rebel dressings, pickles, and sweet potato pies.  Hmmm … I still need Panko bread crumbs to top the mashed potato casserole along with a few other random items. But absolutely, positively, guilt is one item that will not be on my list. Today, on Thanksgiving, and for the rest of this holiday season–no guilt served here.

Now go be thankful and make merry!

Baruch haShem. 

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MORE THAN GOOD INTENTIONS

What a wonderful feeling!

What a wonderful feeling!

By Lisa Huddleston

I don’t know about you, but it’s very unusual for me to have things this together this early in the day. Okay, it’s not that early for many of you. Ten o’clock may be late in your day, but for me, it’s amazing!

What’s so amazing? I not only know what we are having for dinner tonight, but I have already cooked the chicken and boiled the eggs that will be the primary ingredients in the “Baked Chicken and Dumplins” recipe that my daughter, Sarah, left in my recipe box when she married and moved into her own apartment.

Unheard of! I usually have no idea what I will make for dinner until at least late afternoon–and then only after I scour through the pantry and freezer for items that will come together in a recognizable dinner entrée. Oh yeah, I am way ahead of the game today.

This good feeling I have reminds me of the benefits of being more intentional in other areas of my life. This afternoon, I should write out my menu for Thanksgiving Dinner (only a week away) and make a master list of the presents I have already purchased for Christmas along with a “Gifts Still Needed” list. Oh baby, I’m on a roll now. And not only does intentionality help me, it helps my family and friends who have to live with me. This really is an awesome idea!

Yes, I’m feeling pretty great still sitting at the kitchen table in my nightgown and slippers … oops! Well, I never said I was perfect.

Wonder what other areas of my life would benefit from a little more intentionality? Exercise, yes. Housecleaning, always. Hmmm … Advent begins immediately following Thanksgiving this year.

Intentionality–not just good intentions. What a wonderful feeling!

 

ROOTS AND LEAVES, FRUITS AND NUTS

IMG_1522By Lisa Huddleston

 

The dry leaves gather in the corners around my house, up against the garage doors, under the porch and patio furniture, and across the driveway that was finally completed just this past summer. Although there are still cheerful pumpkins on our porches, it is nearly time to throw them in the garden as seed for next year’s crop. In just a week, much of the family will gather here for Thanksgiving dinner, and in the days after that, green and red will replace the warm browns and golds of Autumn.

 

IMG_1347

 

And like the seasons, our family tree also shows its own circles of growth. This year I am thankful for the older generation, Granddaddy and Gran and Grammy Sue, who will be here to root us to the past with rich memories and treasured stories of those who have already passed away and provide rich soil for our tree. I am also thankful for the new nests that have been carefully tucked into our branches through marriages, new relationships, and for the saplings of new family units. And I am especially thankful for the man who has been my solid, tree trunk for 29 years standing firm through all the seasons we have weathered. In just another few blinks, I know it will be our turn to root this tree. Not yet, but very soon, and then now — we will see the spring blossoms of the next generation and rejoice in the blessing of own grandchildren (probably fruits and nuts like the rest of us!)

But today there are dry leaves around my feet, reminders of this most recent summer and its rich blessings. And I am thankful.

PSALM 123

Adapted by Lisa Huddleston

Keeping her eyes on me.

Keeping her eyes on me.

This morning I rise to lift my eyes to You,

the One who sits on the throne of Heaven.

Like my dog whose eyes watch and wait for me to stir in my bed signalling that I am awake,

Like my cat whose ears listen just outside my door for a whispered, “Good morning” to exhale from my lips,

Let me keep my eyes and ears fixed on You,

Looking for your favor, Listening for your voice.

Listening for every breath I take.

Listening for every breath I take.

 

Show me your favor, Lord, let me hear sweet favor from your lips,  O Lord.

For I have more than enough contempt in my life,

More than enough scorn and arrogance and contempt and pride.

Show me your favor, Lord.

TGIF!

By Lisa Huddleston

Brrrrr! It’s a chilly November morning here at Hudfarm. Well, I don’t actually know that yet, because all I’ve done so far is walk to the bathroom and back to my bed where I am now lying under the covers wearing my slippers and robe and typing this post on my raised knees. Lazy, you say? Hey, I did walk all the way to the bathroom … oh, never mind.

Friday morning coffee--mmm mmm.

Friday morning coffee–mmm mmm.

But it’s Friday! That always makes everyone a little more laid back. And I do have some fun, more ambitious plans for this weekend: a concert at Trevecca (where I’ll listen in amazement as my son rocks the house), another yarn adventure with some fiber friends tomorrow, and Sunday’s usual: church and family time. Okay, not the most ambitious plans, but more than what I’m doing right this minute–I really do love weekends!

So c’mon ya’ll. All together now, “Thank Goodness It’s Friday!”

Ok … time to make some coffee and get this show on the road.

I named this piece "Random Roving."

I named this piece “Random Roving.”

P.S. I actually got out of bed and got something accomplished: a handwoven wall hanging using my very first hand spun yarn with navy accents of the roving that came in my “Intro to Spinning” class kit. Hope to hang it in my studio one day. Fabulous Friday fun!

THANKFUL FOR THE QUIET LIFE

Learning to spin.

Learning to spin.

By Lisa Huddleston

For many years I’ve had a special attachment to some words in a letter sent by the Apostle Paul to the Christ-followers living and worshiping in Thessalonica:   “… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (I Thess. 4:11-12).

These words have meant different things to me over the years as I worked to raise my children, take care of my family, home school, serve at church, and live a purposeful life. Sometimes I didn’t want my quiet life. Where was the glory? Where was the glamour? Surely not in the laundry room or the kitchen or the schoolroom. And most surely not in the empty nest that was left behind when my chicks flew off. Sometimes I mourned the careers I could have had if I had not stayed at home.

My first handspun skein. Lumpy and luscious!

My first handspun skein. Lumpy and luscious!

But at other times, I just felt blessed. And that is the feeling that lingers today and keeps me pushing on in the path of my Quiet Life–blessing. My work has changed but my calling has not, and it makes me smile to find myself more and more drawn into literal hand work in the world of fiber arts. From knitting to weaving to spinning, I have discovered a deep satisfaction and sense of quiet purpose that is pulling me deeper into this woollen world of peace.

Surely, we (Chuck) can do this!

Surely, we (Chuck) can do this!

 

 

I’ve already written about the vision that is growing in me, about a studio full of creative work, about raising animals, and shearing, spinning, weaving, and knitting their wool, and about the ways my husband and I will be able to work together in these creative new endeavors. I am excited to think about our future, but I am also thankful for the work I have today and blessed by this Quiet Life I’m leading right this very minute. Even if none of my vision actually comes to pass, I know I will have business to mind, work to do, and a Quiet Life to live.

And today I am thankful for the words Paul wrote, thankful for the many different ways of living them out that are weaving themselves into my life, and thankful for the new works my hands are discovering.

Baruch haShem.

SIMPLE THINGS ON A LOVELY DAY

By Lisa Huddleston

It’s a blustery fall day, and through my windowpanes I see a steady snowfall of golden leaves. Days like this make me think of Winnie the Pooh and other cozy, childlike pleasures. Even the intermittent sound of the wind chimes seems to remember days gone by and sing a lazy lullaby. Today is a lovely day to rejoice in simple things.

Pulling a dragon's tail from a ball of yarn.

Pulling a dragon’s tail from a ball of yarn.

It is still mid-morning, but I have already been knitting on a new project, my first Hitchhiker scarf (pattern by Martina Behm, http://www.strickmich.de). It is a delight to watch the beautiful yarn I bought on “I Love Yarn Day” take shape and become a dragon’s tail. Each new color I pull from the middle of the Crazy Zauerball reminds me of the sweet day I spent on an adventure with my friend and causes me to smile. Blessings pulled from a softly woven ball of wool.

I hope you have a simple, blessed day, too. Look for beauty. Listen for music. Touch the soft texture of this gorgeous fall day. And give thanks.