ROCKING THE ENDING WHILE ROLLING ON

And one sticker is missing. Oh yeah, this daddy rocks!

And one sticker is missing. Oh yeah, this daddy rocks!

By Lisa Huddleston

Not that anyone is waiting with bated (baited?) breath or anything, but I just wanted to stop by the old blog to say that I am nearly finished with my classes–FOREVER. (Remember, you promised to stop me if I get the bug to take any more.)

I just completed my last assignment and have ONLY one final presentation and one final written exam to complete my final semester. Hallelujah!

Magna Cum LOUDLY!

Magna Cum LOUDLY!

 

But before then my youngest son, Nick, will graduate from Trevecca Nazarene University with a bachelor’s degree in music performance. Woo hoo! We are proud of you, Mr. Magna Cum Laude! Well done.

And I am proud of you, too, Super Dad Chuck Huddleston! You did it–four degrees financed by your hard work and support. You totally rock!

 

So … parties this week and finals next. Then? Time will tell.

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A PRODUCTIVE STRUGGLE IS WORTH ITS COST

struggling-ducklings1By Lisa Huddleston

I know. I’ve whined a little about taking two classes this semester in order to renew my teaching license. Sorry–but it has been quite a bit of work and everything hasn’t exactly gone smoothly and I really won’t need much of what I have been working to learn. Would you like a little cheese with that? Okay.

That being said (and still being absolutely true), learning is always a worthwhile pursuit. Even when I doubt I will be doing an Informal Reading Inventory or writing a unit plan any time soon, my classes have provoked me to wrangle with some interesting concepts and to synthesize the parts of what I have been reading and researching into new learnings that I can take away from my trials and travails.

Did you know there is even a term for this learning process? Neither did I until I heard it in one of my classes last week. It’s called “Productive Struggle.” Isn’t that awesome?  I can take that phrase and apply it to every area of my life. In fact, it’s almost worth the price of admission for the whole semester. Almost.

“Productive Struggle” is the fight to comprehend, to make sense, and to fit knowledge into the mental constructs we hold. When a struggle is productive, it is worth it. We remember the learning it uncovers. We appreciate the understanding it reveals. We value what our struggle has produced.

Everything of value costs somebody something. And the same is true of learning. Even when the immediate rewards may not be evident, the truly productive struggle is worth every step–or stumble–along the way.

What is your struggle producing in your life today? 

THE LONELIEST LONELY

Written on April 19, 2014

IMG_1116By Lisa Huddleston

This is the day that lies between the cross and the resurrection. The tomb is silent. No one yet can visit the battered body to prepare it properly, because it is the Sabbath; no work allowed. Jesus’ body lies cold, silent, and alone.

Can you imagine? Jesus had never been alone. Never. From the beginning he was the Word, and he was with God. An intrinsic part of the Trinity, of the Three that is One. Forever. Until that awful moment on the cross. “Father,” he cried, “why have you forsaken me?” And he was alone.

Although I often choose to be alone, I despise feeling lonely. It is like death.

But because Jesus suffered, dying a real death not only a symbolic one, I can run to a Living Savior who knows my pain. And when I do, I am truly never alone. I am a Holy Temple filled to overfull with the presence of a Holy God.

Because of Jesus. Hope will come, is already here, and will come again.

Yes, yes, and yes!

JUST THREE WEEKS AND COUNTING

Beautiful Cumberland University … but why am I stuck inside?

Beautiful Cumberland University … but why am I stuck inside?

By Lisa Huddleston

Some days are so packed with “have to dos” that it seems as though I can never get around to my “want to do” list. And that’s exactly where you’ll find me right now. I just left the Adult Learning Center (work I enjoy when I have time) and am sitting on the lovely campus of Cumberland University to borrow some internet. Country living is great, but not for providing internet–no signal, again. Ironically, I am here because I need to work on a project for my on-line class, but I have decided to squeeze some blog time in for good measure and just because I want to.

Ahhh … let me settle in to this a little bit. Feels good. Feels right. So why did I feel a need to upset my life by taking classes this semester? I was beginning to find my stride in this Second Half life I’m now living. I was working out, creating, writing, volunteering, and enjoying my days. Now I am checking assignments, making deadlines, and designing presentations–all things that add stress to my life. Again I ask–why?

Believe in who you are!

Believe in who you are!

Well, something in me always rises to a challenge. I like to achieve goals, and that is a good thing. In fact, I believe if I’m not growing then I’m dying. But this time I let other people pick my goal for me, and I’m too old (although clearly not too wise) to let that happen. Goals are great, but I only enjoy them when I care about reaching them. This time all I have really learned is that I do not fit into institutional settings very well–and I already knew that! That’s why I’m more comfortable with odd, quirky people, with home-made learning, with non-denominational gatherings, and so on. My daughter says I’m a nonconformist, and I gleefully respond, “It takes one to know one!” And maybe it also takes one to truly appreciate one.

Yes, I will finish well. I will do the best I can to complete my assignments, and I will take away the learning that I can use–perhaps not in ways that others would like me to, but no learning is wasted. And that is a good thing, too. I am thankful to affirm who I am. I love the new people I have been able to meet. And I truly have enjoyed the exercise for my aging brain. But I am who I am, and here in the Second Half I need to make time to be just that.

Three weeks and counting …. Next time I mention doing something that everyone knows is NOT me–and we all know it’s bound to happen–somebody, please, stop me!

EXPECTING GOOD NEWS

Had to sneak some chickens in here somewhere.

Had to sneak some chickens in here somewhere.

By Lisa Huddleston

Have you ever texted a message to someone and have them take it completely differently than you meant it? I have, and I bet if you haven’t it’s only because you don’t text. People today seem to be looking for a fight everywhere you turn. TV news programs, Twitter, Facebook, blogs–the comments often read like nuclear warfare.

That’s why I’ve decided to make a concerted effort to start looking for the best in the people around me. You know, when in doubt, expect good news. Choose to stay out of meaningless arguments: I don’t comment on threads that are headed down the tube, I block consistently negative or argumentative people from my newsfeed, and I don’t allow myself to get sucked into dark holes of negativity. No one is helped, and many are discouraged–including me!

Spread joy.

Spread joy.

Therefore, I was especially aware of a similar approach in Paul’s letter to the Philippians in my lenten reading for the day.

I plan (according to Jesus’ plan) to send Timothy to you very soon so he can bring back all the news of you he can gather. Oh, how that will do my heart good! (Phil. 2:19)

Even in prison, even when Christians were being persecuted, Paul expected good news from the church in Philippi! How much more should I as I sit here in my study in freedom and comfort? Good news! After all, it really is all around us–especially when we look for it.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious–the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse (Phil. 4:8).

Amen.

THANKFUL FOR ALL THINGS BRIGHT AND BEAUTIFUL

All creatures great and small … God made them!

All creatures great and small … God made them!

By Lisa Huddleston

Tonight I’d like to borrow a poem that has been running through my head all day since I sat in church this morning and thought of how happy the Quiet Life on Hudfarm makes me. The joy of the people, animals, and beauty of all the growing things around me–each reminds me of the Creator who made them, and each in his, her, or its own way tells me more of the greatness of our God. For all things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, I am thankful.

All Things Bright and Beautiful

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Trillium growing in the woods.

Trillium growing in the woods.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.

The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them, high or lowly,
And ordered their estate.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning,
That brightens up the sky;

This is Goldie. Who know chicken's had so much personality packed into their little selves?

This is Goldie. Who knew chickens had so much personality packed into their little selves?

 

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

Written by Cecil Frances Alexander and borrowed by me all day long. Amen.

 

“THE SKY IS FALLING,” AT LEAST I THINK SO

Doctor and chicken farmer!

Doctor and chicken farmer!

by Lisa Huddleston

The chicks, or “peeps” as Chuck likes to call them, are here. Twelve little beauties that we hope are mainly girls, but only time will tell. Right now they all look roughly similar in size, but their colors and personalities are already evidence of their coming differences. It’s hilarious to watch them run around examining everything they can get their beaks on–including one another. We noticed one is especially bossy and often runs right over the backs of the others. Another one is the loudest, constantly “peeping” her (or hopefully not his) little head off in either delight or complaint, “The sky is falling!” It all sounds about the same to us right now.

Not too surprisingly, I have already made connections between my little flock and my #LentChallenge reading. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us much about the variety found in the body of Christ. Each of us gifted in different ways but all for the glory of the same God.

God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit. God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! … He decides who gets what, and when. (12:4-11)

Really into her food--I can relate!

Really into her food–I can relate!

Some of the peeps’ traits are already on full display; others will show up as they mature. Likewise, some of us are currently fully displaying the gifts God has given us through his Spirit, and God is receiving all the glory; others of us have yet to discover and/or take the steps to reveal our true colors. Truly God decides what and when! But it is our responsibility to be true to who we are, to be what he has gifted us to be: wise counselors, compassionate healers, proclaimers of truth, clear-sighted visionaries, confident teachers, and so on. Just like the peeps, we need to give less thought to what we should be and more action to who we really are.

Peep!