FIGHTING WORDS

Lone Cloud in Grey Sky

By Lisa Huddleston

I’ve been under a cloud of smothering, cottony grayness, and it’s time to either force my way out or just give up and breathe it in. Usually my best hope for escape is to write my way out, but without the right words I’m not sure I can muster up the energy. The only words I have today are weary and lonely and useless … not fighting words, not cloud-piercing words. I need words like purpose or creativity or community, but I can’t find them in my heart, and I can’t find the energy to stir them up.

I know I should do something. I should warp my loom. I’ve had lots of scrap yarn that I know would look pretty mixed together in a bohemian scarf, but it takes effort, and I am afraid to try. So many projects have not turned out as I imagined them.

I’ve also had good intentions to use my triangle loom to weave a bag. I can see it in my head, but I can’t seem to will it into my hands. It would be easier than warping the rigid heddle loom, and it may help to pull up those active words. But will I do it? Can I?

Even cleaning the house would be a stab at the cloud. But what a boring, repetitive task that is. I will clean the bathrooms and run the vacuum today because I must. But that may be the end of my efforts.

Somehow just writing these paragraphs, setting these pitiful thoughts into letters and words and sentences compels me to act. Knowing that someone may read them and know how lame I am makes me feel obligated to move. And that is a good thing, I guess. Even without the right fighting words.

 

ORGANIC DOESN’T EQUAL SIMPLE

Squash and onions. The fruit of the work in the garden.

Squash and onions. The fruit of the work in our garden.

By Lisa Huddleston

We tend to think that true friendship, true love, true relationship should be easy. We should be able to be ourselves, our truly true selves, and we should never have to change who we are to keep that relationship going. It should be organic, natural, simple.

But authenticity isn’t simple just as organic growth isn’t simple. Both take work–sometimes more work than the artificial kind of relationships do. After all, it’s easier to paste on a happy face, to look and act just like everyone else, to follow the crowd.

Being yourself is hard just like organic farming is hard. You have to be vigilant, to pull all the weeds you can find, to actually squash the bugs between your fingers, and to constantly be on the lookout for anything and everything that doesn’t authentically belong. As I said, it’s hard, hard work.

But it’s worth it. Organic farmers have the satisfaction of knowing that the fruit they produce is real, it’s authentic, and it’s healthy. Just like authenticity in relationships–it’s important to rid our lives of lies and artifice and besetting sins that rob us of who we were authentically created to be. Authenticity isn’t easy just like organic farming isn’t easy. It requires work, intentionality, and vigilance; but, it is always and ever worth it.

Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh, how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade,” Rudyard Kipling

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.

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!