JUST PRESS ‘RESTART’

By Lisa Huddleston

I love beginnings! New class? Sign me up. New craft? Can’t wait to learn it. Anything involved with something new, and I’m your girl. So naturally–I love new years!

As I wrote in my last post, I made it through the holidays with no visible scars, and I actually managed to enjoy a lot of the events I was part of. Some of this surprising peace came about because I made quite a few changes this holiday season. And that is also the case with this New Year’s activities. Chuck and I rang in 2016 alone. We had some yummy snacks, some champagne, and a sweet midnight kiss, and it was great. No party, no guests, no fuss. (Although I think I would have been equally happy to have shared our time.)

And most unusual for me, I hadn’t really thought about any goals or resolutions for 2016 until I was in a yoga class on Saturday morning–that shows you how relaxed I’ve become. But in my class, the teacher asked us to hold our open hands in front of our hearts and to picture an idea or a word regarding the New Year resting there. In just seconds, I saw the concept of balance, an idea I have valued for a long time. I smiled to myself: balance and yoga do seem to go together. And so that was it–balance it is, and hopefully, balance it will be. Body, mind, soul, and spirit. I pray that I can find ways to make this vision a truth in my life.

starting-overWouldn’t it be cool if I could just press “restart” like we do with computers, and suddenly my life would operate exactly as I hope it would? “Restart” is a great concept. Even God has taken advantage of it! My designated reading for Saturday told me so. Genesis tells us that God’s new world “had become corrupt in God’s sight, and it was filled with violence. God observed all this corruption in the world, and he saw violence and depravity everywhere. So God said to Noah, ‘I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. Yes, I will wipe them all from the face of the earth!'” (Gen. 6:11-13). God was ready to press “restart!”

It encouraged me to read this familiar story in a new way. It was refreshing to think that even God sometimes started the same work over in another way. I am not alone in this desire, and I can even hope to presume that God has set an example for me in starting over.

So that’s where I am right now. I’ve hit the “restart” button, and I am doing what I already know–and have known–to do when my operating system is working properly. Tomorrow I return to my work at the Adult Learning Center. I truly hope to continue my return to reading God’s word and to my practice of yoga and other physical exercise, and here I am right now returning to the reflective, spiritual practice of writing my thoughts in this blog.

Beginnings are very good, but sometimes restarts can be just as good. Happy New Year!

LEAVING THE CHICKEN HOUSE

By Lisa Huddleston

Here in Tennessee we are experiencing a rare time of ice and snow, and everywhere I look I see a picture-worthy scene–as those of you who follow my Instagram and Facebook accounts can attest. Sorry for the overload, but there is just too much beauty to keep it to myself. I see that others of you feel the same, and I’ve been enjoying your pictures of snow angels, icicles, sledding, and cozy food!

"What's this white stuff?"

“What’s this white stuff?”

Of course, along with all this loveliness comes the stress and worry of interrupted schedules and dangerous travels.

My musician son who was anxious to head home Monday to finally celebrate Valentine’s Day with his sweetheart has been stuck in Dallas. Naturally, he’s not too happy. Also, there have been countless accidents on slick roads, people have been without power, and some of us are just plain stir crazy (I won’t say who–COUGH COUGH). Even the chickens are freaked out and had to be coaxed with treats to step onto the new white carpet in their yard!

Venturing out.

Venturing out.

This unusual wintry event–and our chicken chickens–have got me thinking about an insight my daughter recently shared. She works at a rehab center where she gets to know many elderly patients, and one thing she has recognized is that everyone is going through whatever stage of life he or she is in for the very first time. Sarah says that reminds her to be more patient with people–some of us just handle change better than others. That’s kind, deep, and very true. And it makes me think.

Some of us see fresh-fallen snow and want to make angels; others of us envision every potential slip and risk and decide to hunker down for the duration. As usual, balance is best, and I’m reminded to try harder to see both sides as well as to give those who can’t just a little more grace.

Good stuff to ponder on a cold, wintry day as I sit by the fire sipping from a hot cup and listening to the dog snore.

Baruch haShem!

ROACHES AND THE VERNAL EQUINOX

Balance is the great spiritual illusion--light triumphs forever!

Balance is the great spiritual illusion–light triumphs forever!

By Lisa Huddleston

Today, about 8 hours ago in fact, the planet we live on did something remarkable. It arrived at a tilt on its axis that allows for an equal amount of daylight and dark. This balance arrives twice a year: one time announces the arrival of spring (Vernal Equinox) and the other heralds fall (Autumnal Equinox). Imagine it (or actually record it–it’s not abstract but concrete)–light and dark each having equal time. Isn’t it an interesting balance to consider? Half light, half dark. Neither trumping the other. Yin and yang. Balance.

However, if we were to consider these phenomena in spiritual terms (as many on the planet do), we really would need a great imagination. While there is an apparent peace in the physical balance of the earth, such a peace in the spiritual realm is simply an illusion. Light and dark can never balance one another spiritually. Dark always flees from light. Just a pinprick in the night sky can dispel the whole canopy of black. Light always always wins–so why is it that we humans so often seek the dark?

Jesus put it like this, “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is” (John 3:19-21, The Message).

Ever turn on the lights in a roach-infested kitchen? That’s what we look like when God’s light first floods in. Scurrying and running for cover. Skittering across the hard surfaces to dive under the cabinets. We prefer to hide away in the dark, and if we really are roaches, that’s probably a good idea. Someone really is looking to flatten us with a shoe.

Can you relate?

Can you relate?

But we are God’s children–not bugs! His loved ones. His light doesn’t seek to destroy us, but to find us and make us the people he has created us to be. We have to trust him and trust ourselves, our terrified little selves, to his God-light. Only then, when we clearly see and are seen in the light of truth and actually welcome its revelation, only then can his God-work shine through the darkness we think we love.

“It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself–Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration” (John 4:23-24).

God is shining his light into the darkness looking for us–the real us–even if we look a little roachy right now. It’s safe to come out of the dark. Welcome to the Light of the world!

#LentChallenge

BALANCING ACT

Yeah ... this is me. (Next post will be about my obsession with lying.)

Yeah … this is me. (Next post will be about my obsession with lying.)


By Lisa Huddleston

Balance.  Uh huh.  That again.  Okay, even if one does manage to gain some balance in one’s life, why is it so difficult to maintain?  And can we ever take a rest from all the exercise?

It is pretty obvious to compare what I’m talking about (the whole package kind of balance) with the physical work it takes to reach and hold a yoga pose.  And sadly, no, one can never stop exercising if she hopes to maintain balance.  You know what I mean?  I mean, I don’t want to go to the gym or mow the grass or even find a quick and easy menu to prepare for dinner tonight.  I want to lie in the hammock and sleep.  I don’t even want to read–really.  I want to do N O T H I N G.  But nothing will get me nowhere PDQ!

Before my enlightened friends chime in to tell me that doing nothing can be a part of my balancing act.  I know!  But, nothing is all I want to do.  All.  And that just won’t cut it if I want a thin body, a clean house, and a freshly mowed lawn.  Balance requires work or one will quickly find her dainty little butt flat on the ground.

So I will finish mowing the yard that yesterday’s storm prevented (just a bit left).  I will do some kind of physical exercise (may not be at the gym but it will count).  I will take time to relax (this shouldn’t be hard, but it often is).  And I will feed us something edible for dinner (lofty goals here).

Keeping it real.  Keeping it simple.  Namaste.