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SUREFOOTED AS A DEER

By Lisa Huddleston

God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping. (Psalm 18:32-36, NLT)

I recently read this psalm in a Bible study group, and it immediately reminded me of an event from last spring. My husband, a couple good friends, and I took a wonderful trip to Yosemite National Park. It was our second visit there, but it was just as beautiful and awe-inspiring as the first.

Due to the pandemic, crowds were down, and we were able to enjoy the trails with few distractions often breaking into hymns inspired by the views. The waterfalls were roaring, and it was a fabulous, active week. Until we decided to take an off trail hike to the foot of El Capitan. Signs warned of the dangers of falling rocks, and the ground was totally covered with all sized granite boulders. But we were not dissuaded and awkwardly made our way to the imposing wall that is El Cap. We gave it hugs and kisses, took goofy pictures and lay at its foot to stare up its impressive, smooth height. It was utterly breathtaking.

Then something happened that really took my breath away. As we climbed back down from El Cap, we could barely find any ground to step on. My husband, who could possibly be part mountain goat, bounced down with no trouble. But I was carefully feeling my way slowly and hesitantly. At one point, Chuck reached for my hands and said to relax and just jump from one stone to the next. I honestly did ponder the idea which seemed a little risky to me, but I grabbed his hands and jumped. The first footfall was perfect but on the second I quickly slid down and whacked my right shin on the knife-like edge of granite. In seconds, my sock, boot, and pant leg were soaked in blood.

Since I am writing this you know I survived. My husband applied pressure, tied a shirt around my leg, and gave me an arm to lean on as we hiked back to the smooth, wide trail that led to the car. Seven or eight stitches later and a ugly dippy scar on my leg, we can laugh about another one of my klutzy vacation adventures: rogue pacific waves, a fast downhill Segway tour, a near fall from a very tall horse … I’ve done a lot of crazy things.

But back to Psalm 18, besides the need for surefootedness, I also recognize several other important lessons from my experience. If I had been stronger, my hike may have been less eventful, my arms wouldn’t have buckled, and my foot may not have slipped.

And most importantly if I had stayed in the wide path, I wouldn’t have fallen at all!

Thank you, Father, for the strength you provide when I lean on you, for the training that makes me surefooted, victorious, supported, and firmly walking on the wide path you have prepared for me.

THERAPEUTIC DOSES

By Lisa Huddleston

You can’t drug the dark away

Only light can make it stay less of black and more of gray

The day or a candle or a flame

A drug can never do the same

Another name I just can’t say

Needs to be a better way

The “ines” and dreams of sunshine just can’t do it

Just a candle or a flame or a matchbook with a name on its paper cover

Aw give me another

It won’t cheer me up, brother, but it may help me through from the gray to the blue

Til I know what to do to let sunlight break through

There there now, it’s another way to try to keep the dog at bay

So what do you say?

Okay

WITHOUT EXCUSE

by Lisa Huddleston

Satan strives to eat the earth with fire, floods, and every kind of destruction that will mask the face of God.

But dilution is the solution to pollution.

Are you washed in the blood?

Are you sowing seeds that lift our eyes to heaven?

Plant trees that clap their hands.

Stand firm on stones that cry out the truth.

Let everything that hath breath or creative inspiration praise the Lord.

KILDY DREAMS

By Lisa Huddleston

New dreams drop like kildy eggs

Perching at edges of driveways

And hiding among their dusty gravel imposter twins

Tires unknowingly pass over and around

These stony seeds of hope

Never seeing their nestless beds

And occasionally crushing all hope of life

But sometimes, a flapping, falsely broken wing detours that random death

And tiny dreams mature to peep and run to the cover of the verdant world of grass

A Pandemic Christmas or The Gramma Who Ran Away

By Lisa Huddleston

It was weeks before Christmas

And all through the land, 

Pandemic was raging

And little was grand.

But here on HudFarm

The goats and the ducks

The chickens and donkeys

Did not give a buck.

They had all the hay

That they wanted to eat,

And Doodaddy came every morning

With treats.

The great grandmas were saddened

Because of the change,

But we all did our best to

Make things feel the same.

The fifth generation who’d built on the land 

that had been in the family for centuries of days

Were doing their all to stay safe and not  stray.

But LiLi was having a terrible struggle

To fill all their stockings

With bangles and baubles!

One day she declared, “I’ve had just enough.

I’m hitting the road. This pandemic’s too tough.”

She packed up a bag, threw it over her shoulder,

Stuffed in a scarf cause the day had turned colder. 

Then head down the road she did in a hurry

With a huff and a puff and a gravel dust flurry.

When little than yonder from home she arrived

She noticed a funny scritch scratch at her sides.

Turning her head to the left and the right 

She gasped to see chickens had join in her flight.

“Now what will I do?” LiLi questioned herself.

“I’d meant to be solo, but this is a mess. 

I guess chickens can fend pretty well for themselves.”

And down the back roads LiLi fled from the rest.

“Now what?” LiLi flustered as to her surprise

Two donkeys appeared with their big loving eyes.

“It’s Essie and Latte. Now what will I do?”

But LiLi was stubborn and picked up her shoes.

“Oh my!” LiLi cried when along came the goats.

Blaise first, Bert, then Ernie, and Lil Buddy, the poke.

She knew that they loved her, and that she loved them. 

But how could she lead this whole mess from their pens!

Then off in the distance there came a sweet cry.

“It’s Quinnie,” she said. “There’s no way I can fly!”

Now turning around wasn’t easy to do with 12 chickens,

2 donkeys, 4 goats—quite a zoo.

But it was the right thing. She knew all along. 

And here came 2 cats and 3 dogs to prove she’d been wrong.

So back to the farmhouse, sweet smells, and bright lights.

Merry Covid Christmas to all and to all a good night.

EMPTY FOR EASTER

By Lisa Huddleston

Birth-days

Birthdays

Graduations

Anniversaries

Gathering with friends to discuss books, to knit, to pray, to sing

Family reunions

Funerals and grieving together and alone

Will it ever be normal again?

Will we be able to hug each other and hold hands?

How many links will be missing?

Whose faces will we miss?

But God split the seas when armies followed.

He sent the manna to those who starved.

He saw our loneliness and came to be One of us.

And He canceled our burdens at the cross.

Death is dead.

Neither famine nor war nor virus nor despair; He will hold us in strong arms and nothing will tear us apart.

Death is dead, and Jesus Lives.

He is risen. He is risen indeed!

And the tomb is empty for Easter.

Eight Months Young

Wrapped in a black plastic bag

Like so much trash

Sweet Peanut was carried to the necropsy lab

But he was not trash

He was tender hearted

And loved to be loved

He pressed his knobby forehead into my palm

And delighted in a rough and tumbly rub

My knotty knuckles rattling across his poled knobs

As long as I pet him he stayed

Death came too soon but his sweet soul will be remembered

I only wish I pet him longer