Not me!

By Lisa Huddleston

This morning I took the risk of pushing my 56-year-old body up into a backbend. It took a lift from my yoga instructor and a lot of courage from within to accomplish, but there I was, upside down looking back at the wall. I had been afraid to try, afraid of the brittleness I’ve been experiencing, the stiffness of my self. But the stretch felt good as I let go of my practical doubts and pushed up.

On my drive home, I listened to NPR’s “On Point” host a discussion of the television series, “13 Reasons Why.” I will not get into the debate over whether or not the series is positive or negative in this post, but I do want to record a small epiphany that occurred as I listened to a high school student share why she was drawn to the idea of suicide. And this may be obvious to everyone but me, but she said that she had contemplated killing herself in order to gain control over her situation. It was all about control!

Aha! Control, my old familiar nemesis, rears its ugly head once again. As I said, although it may have been hiding in plain sight, I have missed it before this morning. And, big duh, suicide really is the ultimate step of mastery over one’s situation—at least for that moment.

So much (God?) has been pointing out to me my desperate desire to have self-determination in a world that feels so out of control. We humans search for purpose and meaning and happiness and beauty and wealth and power–whatever will control the fact that we are from dust and to dust we will return. Pippin’s four weeks of dying naturally were a microcosm that let me vicariously (and actually as one who could have chosen to end his life) experience letting go. And yesterday I attended the funeral services of a wonderfully warm and brave family member (Jerry Denton) who chose to forego extreme medical intervention and let nature take its course in his dying—or rather living all the way until he died. I remain so moved by his courage and example of trust. I know it must have been unbelievably hard to let go of the reins of control, feeble though they are.

And this morning this aha. Control is a mirage anyway. Fear is a faker. Letting go and pushing into the moment is the courageous choice and the only honest way to live all the way stretched up and into the space of the day. Why is it so hard to do?



By Lisa Huddleston

I think I am going through an identity crisis! I’ve always scored high on the controlling or “bossy” end of every personality test I’ve ever taken until today. Today I took the Enneagram test and scored as “The Peacemaker” with “The Investigator” and “The Helper” rounding out the top three.

What? Who have I become—or who am I becoming?

Until recently, I would have blown these results off as just being an error, but now I’m not sure. Today I wonder if maybe I have changed. And I don’t think that would be a bad thing.

Dogs gotta be dogs.

As I’ve noted before, I often have to see something multiple times to really get it, and the lesson I’m currently being taught is that I am not in control—not of others’ happiness nor their health nor the world’s condition nor the lifespans of the animals in my neighborhood. I am not in charge.

This weekend the dogs found a skunk’s den near the driveway in the ditch under the iris bed. It is a place in which skunks have built before, and both Chuck and I knew what would happen if we let nature take its course. So Chuck tried to keep the dogs away. Every time the dogs headed down the drive, he would call them back until I finally said, “Are you going to be out here watching them every time they go outside? Because I know I’m not, and if we aren’t, then the dogs are going to dash down there and dig that skunk right out of the ground.”

Chuck looked at me for a few seconds then said, “You know what? You’re right. There’s nothing we can do about it.” And so we just relaxed into the patio chairs and drank our coffee. About 30 minutes or so later, Dottie came running back up the driveway with purpose in her steps. Yes, she had been sprayed right in the face, and she couldn’t wait to share it with us. And, yes, it was upsetting, but it was inevitable. Dogs chase skunks. Skunks spray dogs. And that’s part of what makes the world go round. Could we have stopped it? For a little while, we could have—but not forever. We are not in control! Dog nature and skunk nature ruled that situation, and there was nothing we could do effectively to change that.

And that’s the truth about so much of life. No matter how hard we try, we can’t stop every bad thing from happening. And it shows wisdom to stop trying to control what is not mine to control. Yes, I have my choices to make and for them I will strive to be responsible. But many, if not most, things do not really fall into that category. And just maybe I am finally learning to make peace with that.


By Lisa Huddleston


Days of births,

Years of service,remembering

Weddings and deaths,

We are all about such things.

So we mark them with stars on calendars

To remember and not forget.



What year did you build this house?

When did your daddy pass away?

Was it fall when she first learned the truth about her man?


Anniversaries—a ticking off of

Weeks and months and years.

Marking the hard work,

Rewarding the perseverance,

Remembering the pain as well as the joy,

Or simply acknowledging a lazy

Dislike of change.


Did you try to reach this milestone?

Was it more than breathing in and breathing out?

Did you believe the promise that time would heal all wounds?


Time, of course, does help; but stubborn scars remain.

White hash marks etched in small groups of five,

Silver lines cut in the thin skin of time,

Fading and fading but never quite completely

As long as we continue to mark the day

And call it, “Anniversary.”


By Lisa Huddleston

6a00e55031d3a38834013487aefb3b970cTonight as I lay in bed

I fell

Out of a raft

Into white water.

Pick your feet up and float.

I remembered:

Don’t fight it;

Trying to stand

Will only catch your feet

In the rocks.

4709679_origGive up,

Let go, and



The current will carry you

To stiller waters

Where surely you can

Climb in or be lifted up

Into the raft.


And gentler waves will lull you back to sleep.


Relationships make me chicken!

Relationships make me chicken!

By Lisa Huddleston

Okay–tomorrow is the big day we finally get our first little chicks! Ameraucanas from Watertown. I am really excited, but also nervous about this new venture. Some people have told me how easy and care-free chickens are. Others are talking about “paste up” (ew!) and pecking orders and (gasp!) roosters. I probably have no idea what I’m getting myself into, but I’m sure we (yes, WE) will learn what we need to learn along the way.

Speaking of learning along the way, I have learned something really important in my education courses this semester. I am still a homeschooler! I may not have kids living at home any longer, but institutional school just isn’t for me. So much time wasted doing things that just come naturally at home. Oh well … I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone, but it sure was and is for me! Tonight’s class reminded me who I am, and for that I am grateful. Maybe not grateful enough to make the time and money worth it, but grateful still. (Hmmm, maybe it is worth it after all.)

Back to the chickens, it’ll be interesting to see how chicken relationships compare to human ones. I mean do we humans jockey for power positions all the time, comparing ourselves and pecking at each others’ weak spots in order to make ourselves come out on top? Probably so. At least that seems to be the case. Either way, I bet I’ll learn a lot. Books give me good information, but I bet the real deal will be even more enlightening.

What the cluck?

What the cluck?

And, speaking of the real deal, relationships in the human realm are really difficult. I think I may do better as a chicken. I’d just peck a few eyes out every once in a while and move on. As a human, and a Christian human at that, I have to be compassionate and nice. Empathy is simply going to be the death of me! Really.

Okay. Long ADD day. Hope you were able to ride that train! And now I am trying to let go of it all–school, relationships, misconceptions, judgments, worries, and all–so that I’ll be able to sleep tonight. Deep breath in, and blow it all out.  Let. It. Go.

Here chicky, chicky, chicky …