Author Archives: thewannabesaint.com

Head On

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Head On

On Friday, my chores included riding the lawn tractor around the property picking up limbs, leaves, trash and other debris. I was finishing up just as it was getting dark. There were a couple of pieces of trash on the corner end of our yard which is next to the road. I stopped, picked them up, threw them in the trailer attached to the mower, checked both ways and drove the lawn tractor up and on the road. I had the headlights on and as soon as I made it on the road a semi-truck turned and began driving toward me. I was a spot where I couldn’t stop or pull back in the yard because of a steep grade and tried to figure out how far I had to go before me and the large truck would be at an impasse. I was going as fast as I dared and the semi didn’t seem to be slowing down. With my limited headlights on, while being blinded by the brightness of his, I searched for a location to pull back into the yard. Looking, longing, becoming anxious at the thought of being flattened by the truck I found a safe place to get off the road and avoid anymore; “playing chicken with motor vehicle” scenarios.

After breathing a sigh of relief I reflected on my; “Fast and Furious” moment. There are times, on the road of life, where there is little light by which to see. We are blinded by what’s coming our way and helpless to stop it. We do everything we can to find a safe place but disaster, danger, difficulties are looming and we don’t know if we’ll make it. Sometimes, at the last moment, we discover a safe spot a place out of danger. Other times we keep going, hoping, praying, there’s more strength, power, and courage in us than we’d ever imagine.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Think

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Think

Someone asked me today; “Why aren’t you more politically active in your social media posts? It’s hard to know exactly where you stand.” I explained, best I could, that arguing with people over the internet, or in person, using talking points heard on the radio, tv, podcast, seen on TV and online doesn’t seem a good use of time and time is what life’s made of.

Another friend asked his Facebook posse what Donald Trump would have to do to make him seem more favorable to those who didn’t vote for him. People quickly chimed in with compliments and insults, agendas and wish lists. I didn’t post but I’ve thought about it today and the answer for me was what I’d also like to see in myself, my friends, my acquaintances and certainly my president; humility, repentance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, kindness.

The last part of my answer would be; I’d like people to use their minds and their spirits. I’d like each of us to think for ourselves not regurgitate what we’ve heard or seen but use our brains and voices, filtered by wisdom and experience to speak and do good to each other.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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In Time

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In Time

I was talking with a friend the other day about getting older. She’s in her fifties and I’m in my middle forties. We were comparing grunts, groans, aches, pains, hurts, everyday stiffness and general uncomfortableness. I remember being told when in my thirties that once you hit 40; “It’s all downhill from there!” Admittedly forties have been rougher on my body than ever before but the fifty-year-olds are telling me; “Wait until you’re 50! It’s all downhill from there!” Just when I’m about to get to the top of the hill and ready to roll down the other side they keep adding more hill to climb.

I heard someone say the other day; “You just get used to some hurts and pains and learn to live with them. It’s life.” I believe there is a lot of truth in this statement. We all walk different paths, have dissimilar experiences and what we go through at a particular point in our lives doesn’t necessarily mean we can predict what others will encounter at the same point in their lives.

Wisdom tells us the aches and pains, joys and blessings of life are unpredictable and our only real choice is to accept or fight when and what the path brings us.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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The Other End

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The Other End

One of the key tenets of our incarcerated father and fathers with addictions class is the understanding that every choice we make has consequences. There may be huge, dramatic outcomes or little and benign results but there are repercussions to every decision. Most of the men in the classes understand they’ve made some big, bad choices to be locked up but in the class, we are discovering that often the momentous poor choice was preceded by smaller ones.

We conversed about this last night as we do each week, “What you do today determines who you’ll be tomorrow.” What they think about, talk to one another about, listen to, read, watch, everything has a deciding factor in the person they are becoming.

Self-awareness, is the discipline of truly knowing who you are; the good, the bad, and the in-between. Until you are honest with yourself about the person you are you’ll never discover how to become the man, the father, you’re supposed to be.”

A wise teacher once told his followers; “When you pick up one end of the stick, you also pick up the other.” A good lesson for us all to learn and remember.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Wait a Moment

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Wait a Moment

I wore short sleeves today! That may not seem a big revelation but just four days ago the high was near 20 degrees and today the thermometer almost hit 70. I’m not sure what’s going on with winter this year but it seems as confused as I am. I was lucky to find a short sleeve shirt since I packed up all my spring and summer clothes a couple of months ago. There is a saying in Tennessee; “Don’t like the weather? Wait a moment!” It certainly describes what’s happened the last few weeks with severe cold spells followed by several warm days. Who knows what the rest of the season will be like. Will we seemingly experience all the seasons in one as we have so far or is winter setting us up for what comes next? Only time will tell.

As I drove to my incarcerated father class tonight I was thinking about my short sleeve shirt and the crazy winter we’ve been experiencing. I also reflected on how seasons of life can seem this way when everything happens at once. There’s good, bad, negative, positive, neutral and it can leave us crazed, confused with our heads spinning. Life is much like the saying about the weather in Tennessee; “…wait a moment, it will change.”

Life is transition. On the surface, this can be disconcerting but there’s also comfort in knowing even the harshest of seasons will not last forever.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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To Trust, To Share

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To Trust, To Share

This afternoon I was in Lewisburg, Tennessee for a meeting. I arrived early along with several other people and we were sharing with each other big and small life events which have happened recently. There were several birthdays which happened in January, someone had gotten married, another person was recently engaged and other good news passed along to the group.

We know deep down that other people have lives we know nothing about. We understand that friends, acquaintances, even family members are experiencing things on the road of life that we may never know unless they choose to share.

Too often we are absorbed in our own worlds and forget about the countless worlds of others which surround us.  Sometimes this focus on ourselves isn’t selfishness but survival. We are going through challenges, fighting battles and just trying to stay alive. Sometimes we are myopic and consumed with whatever is happening in our lives there’s not room for others.

Life is sharing, connecting, enjoying and struggling with those with whom we share the road of life. Good and bad, negative and positive or somewhere in between when we open our stories to others and they, in turn, trust us with theirs relationships happen.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Dashed Hopes

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Dashed Hopes

One of the incarcerated fathers I work with was told recently by the parole board that it would be at least another 12 months before he would be eligible again. The board didn’t think he was to the point where he was ready to be released. He was crushed by this revelation. “I didn’t want to get my hopes up,’ he said, ‘but they were raised anyway. Now I’m just down and lost.” We spoke for a while about making good choices while he was still incarcerated, using the time wisely by taking other classes the jail offers, hanging around the right people and not giving up. He agreed but I could tell he was coming to grips with dashed hopes.

Hope is a wonderful thing but it can also be devastating when what you desire, long for, remains elusive, out of reach. Hope can help us through the most trying of circumstances and drag out difficult and challenging seasons. Hope can be the driving force behind our survival but it is also the reason we burn ourselves up and out. Trying to figure out when to keep hoping and when to give up hope seems impossible to know. Perhaps giving up hope is not the solution but rather learning where to place our hope is true wisdom.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Memories and a Christmas Cactus

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Memories and a Christmas Cactus

My riend Mary, before she passed away, gave us a Christmas cactus. This year it’s finally bloomed. The simple beauty reminds me of her. My Facebook places memories on my start page and two days ago they were of the winter we brought Mary up to our house in Pennsylvania and she stayed with us for the winter. Mary, it seems, is making her presence known to us this Christmas season.

My wife had a birthday yesterday and we had a fun time joking she was rolling down the hill to a big age milestone. We also talked seriously of life and its quick passing. Death, whenever it comes, is closer than ever.

Wisdom teaches us to number our days. This is not a morbid discipline but a joyous one. Each day is precious, not one is to be taken for granted. We are to enjoy and embrace every day as a gift, like the Christmas cactus blooms and pictures which seem from a lifetime ago.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Warmth

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Warmth

The struggle is real! This morning it was 7 degrees outside. 7! Being Sunday this morning also means community worship at church. The blankets pulled up as I sat on the couch, the heating pad on high, a cup of coffee and the thought; “It’s too cold to go anywhere!” was running through my mind.

Beth, however, got up, began to get ready and this meant; “Up and at em!” So, on this frigid morn, we made our way over still partially snow-covered roads to church. We were running a little late but as we walked into the sanctuary we were right on time for communion. The pastor was quoting the familiar phrases and verses to prepare our souls for this sacred moment as we found our seats.

The elements (small pieces of unleavened bread and grape juice) were passed around to everyone and together we celebrated the; “The Lord’s Supper.  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eucharist).” As we digested the tiny morsel of bread and the taste of the grape juice was dancing on my tongue I felt, as John Wesley famously said; “My heart strangely warmed. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldersgate_Day)” and was thankful to be among the people of God this cold, wintry morning.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Going

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Going

The sight and sounds of it are everywhere. Even though it has been cold today with temps staying in the low 20’s, the sun has shone most of the day and the melting of the snow we received Thursday and Friday has begun. Each time I take the dog outside, more and more of it has retreated from the rooftops, tree limbs, sidewalks, and grass. The frigid air cannot stop the heat from the light of the sun, cannot stop the snow from going.

There’s wisdom in the mud and leftover, soon to be gone, snow. Nothing lasts. Whether beauty or ugliness it all will pass and soon there’ll be no trace of it. It’s the same with the storms and seasons which we encounter on the path of life. Whether attractive like the snow or repulsive as the mud, all must be accepted and allowed to endure for their time.

Life is nothing if not always transitioning. Each moment, season, lifetime, is fleeting. Welcome with open hand and do not grasp as it goes away.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Covered

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Covered

It snowed last night and today. It’s not a lot but a few inches and everything is a pristine white. The other day I was complaining about the brown, gray, dead look of winter and today the season revealed it too, can be beautiful. I’m not a fan of snow but the way it covers everything, makes it all look different, changes and challenges my outlook, even for a short moment, is wonderful.

The quote in the picture also reminds us that we have the power to change a difficult season for ourselves and others with acts of kindness. I would add; love, grace, forgiveness.

I told someone this week; “You sure are complaining a lot!” I now wish I would have blanketed them with compassion and compliments and perhaps, in their difficult season, their outlook on life would’ve changed, even briefly, and the world would’ve been better for it.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
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The Cycle

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The Cycle

I thought of someone today, a person I haven’t thought about in a long while. It was a song that stoked images, feelings, pain and regret. It’s been years since we’ve laid eyes upon each other and both of us have moved on but it is amazing how quick hurts begin to ache, old wounds begin to bleed, prejudices come out of the dark. After the song was finished, the emotions faded too and the rest of the day was typical.

Wisdom teaches us that forgiveness isn’t a one-time act, a single recitation of a phrase. Forgiveness is an ongoing process that takes years, perhaps even a lifetime. Forgiving the other is to also recognize our own injured ego, the part of us that still longs for revenge or recompense. When we forgive, especially those who have grievously mistreated us is not just accepting and then letting go what was done to us but recognizing and releasing what were still holding on to.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Standing Still

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Standing Still

Tonight was the first class of our winter semester for incarcerated fathers. When I arrived at the corrections facility I was busy getting my things together before opening the truck door because a cold front has moved into the area and for the first time in a while it feels like winter. I shut the front truck driver’s door, turned around and saw a deer about 30 feet away staring at me. Then I saw another and another. Three deer standing, looking at me as I looked at them. I didn’t want to disturb the moment. I kept expecting them to run away but they stood their ground and me, cold and shivering didn’t want to do anything to spook them. Finally, after what seemed like several minutes I knew I needed to get inside and prepare for class. I moved slowly and the deer watched as I opened the back truck door, took out my supplies, and shut it. I began walking toward the entrance, turned around and they were gone.

It was a perfect moment which happened all by happenstance; the deer and me, right time, place and spirit of awe. I hope 2017 brings more of these because my soul desperately needs them.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Out of the Loop

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Out of the Loop

I had a meeting this morning, at least I thought I had one. I missed this monthly meeting in December because of a scheduling conflict and apparently it was decided that there wouldn’t be one in January. It’s not a big deal. It gave me an extra hour to catch up with a couple of other items which needed to be done.

On my way back I set the cruise control and enjoyed the feeling of not being rushed. Into my bliss came an old small blue Ford pick-up truck driven by a young man in a hurry! He rode my bumper for a while and then finally passed me. Several miles up the road I caught up with him as he waited to turn into a shopping center. I drove past him thinking; “All that rushing and nothing to show for it.”

The canceled meeting gave me the time to drive thoughtfully, carefully and do my best to enjoy a bleak, gray, overcast day. I saw cows, hawks, Turkey Buzzards, businesses closing and others opening, people working, walking, talking, going to and fro. I was in the moment, my mind was present each mile and not jumping ahead to my next appointment and whether I would be on time.

I’ve decided it would be great to have an extra hour between all my appointments. I’m not sure this is possible so this year I’d like to try being more mindful, less in a hurry, more observant and less focused on the clock, more present less worried about what’s next.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Resolute

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Resolute

Ah! New Year’s resolutions. A rite of passage for most folks as they walk into the new year filled with the hope and promise of new beginnings, fresh starts.

Several years ago I quit making New Year’s resolutions. I forget what I was reading or whom I was speaking with but it led me to the conclusion that most resolutions are ego, self-focused. A lot of losing weight, less TV, reading more, exercise, quitting smoking, getting more sleep, etc. While none of these are bad or negative in any way it’s hard to see how they improve anything else but ourselves and perhaps other’s opinions of us.

January 1st, after all, is an arbitrary date. It is not different from any other date. The universe doesn’t know it’s a new year, the cosmos didn’t throw a party. Any date can be used to strap on a pair shoes and go walking, choose to eat better, chew gum instead of lighting up a cancer stick, turn off the telly, etc.

If the New Year is to have true, lasting meaning then what we need is self and global awareness. The ability to see the world, its need, our abundance and be empowered to do something about it. A diet for ourselves doesn’t abate world hunger, quitting smoking doesn’t stop smog hanging over cities and global warming, getting more sleep doesn’t help those with no bed or home, exercise won’t put shoes on those with dirt covered feet living in poverty.

Our New Year resolutions are often self-absorbed and myopic because we aren’t globally minded. We live in the richest society ever in history. Most of us don’t want for much. Perhaps this is the year we begin to give some of it away.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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A Little Quieter

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A Little Quieter

Our Siberian Husky, Trooper, has a bed in our living room. When Beth and I are sitting watching the television or messing with tablets or the laptop most of the time he is the room with us. We haven’t always had a bed for him here but after we had to put Belle, our Golden Retriever, down we knew he would need some extra attention. Everything has worked out fine until the last couple of months. For some reason, he has become extra sensitive to noises coming from the TV. Explosions, gunfire, yelling or loud music in a movie rattles him and he begins to get up and wander around the living room. We’ve tried turning down the sound on the television as much as we can and this helps. We’ll also watch a documentary where there is mostly talking and this works. However, any type of movie or show with startling noises and/or blaring musical score and he gets up and we tell him to get back on his bed and this scenario is repeated until finally one of us takes him into the kitchen.

I was thinking about him today, this behavior which has developed, and decided maybe he’s not the one with the issues. When I think of 2016, the year which has passed, I think of noise. Most of it came as a result of the political season and the candidates, the talking heads on television and radio, the choosing of sides by almost everyone and a cacophony of opinions, predictions, debates between candidates and their followers, accusations, lies and boisterous babel that still hasn’t stopped.

I’ve decided, like our dog Trooper, I want a quieter 2017. Please…and world peace would also be acceptable.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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The End

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The End

Today is the end of 2016. Fittingly it is a rainy, messy, lazy, stay inside type of day. 2016 has seemed to be filled with more bad than good, negative than positive, a seismic movement towards evil leaving good behind. Even as I write the last sentence images of natural disaster, murders, political theater in the absurd, and the death of people everyone knew and those who impacted lives on a less grand scale but no less important to the ones who still mourn their loss.

Also, as I blog this post it is my understanding that not everyone sees 2016 the same way. Some people had a worse year than what I’m describing and others a wonderful year full of blessings, answers to prayer and enjoyment.

My feeling of the year which has passed is a general feeling of woe for our country and world. Myopically 2016 wasn’t a bad year. Personally, I am still blessed with the most wonderful wife a man could be married to, a job that has seen a lot of changes but an enormous amount of good done for others, a house far from perfect but feels more like home each day, and cast of good people I consider my family and friends.

I continue to pray, hope and seek help for my Major Depressive Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. For the first time, I feel my meds, therapy, and personal recovery are headed in the right direction. The diseases I fight are not and will never be easy but having people who care enough to keep fighting with you makes the battles less scary and victory more likely.

So, here’s to 2016, may it rest in peace.  2017? Here’s hoping you’re better than I’m expecting.

blessings,
BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Getting Rid of the Clutter

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Getting Rid of the Clutter

My workshop has gotten out of control lately. Because of outdoor projects, it’s mostly been used to house tools, scraps and other materials needed for whatever I’ve been working on outside. So, today I spent the afternoon cleaning it up and out. There was a lot of stuff which needed to be thrown away, some went to the burn pile, other to the local junk yard. I picked up tools and put them back in their place, wood went to the wood bin, lawn care to their place and replaced a table in the middle of the workshop with a long shelve on the side. This created a lot more space to work. I’m tired but it was a which needed to be done and one which will benefit me in the long run.

Wisdom tells us a decluttered life is also necessary to possess peace of life and spirit. When there are too many things occupying space in our minds, emotions, lives we seem to always be in a rush, stepping over, shuffling around, putting things where they don’t belong and not paying attention to a life filling up with many useless trinkets. Wisdom also reveals that the more things in our life the less time we have for those things. Our attention, love, relationships all suffer when our lives are cluttered.

Perhaps the New Year might be a good time to discover what is and what isn’t important. Accept the truth we only have so much energy, time and passion to whatever is in our lives and do some decluttering of own.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannbesaint.com

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Small

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Small

Last night a front of mighty thunderstorms came roaring into our area. They were complete with strong winds, many lightning strikes, hail and a couple of hours worth of a drenching rain.

There are not too many other things which can make you feel small like a thunderstorm. The sheer power puts you in a state of awe. The four elder trees on our property which are at least 40 feet tall were shaking as though they were saplings. The water which fell made a stream where there had been only dry land. The wind blowing loosened and felled many branches while shaking the house.

Beth and I could only watch, listen and hope nothing would be damaged by the storm. We were safe as possible and everything else in our lives is replaceable. After a while, the storms passed and this morning I walked out to survey any lasting impact from the night before. Nothing more than a few limbs downed and dirt from the driveway moved about.

Wisdom teaches us that storms come into the lives of the “good” and the “bad”. They blow us around and seem to shake the very foundations of where we place our faith and hope. Storms make us feel small, insignificant and powerless. Wisdom tells us that’s one of the benefits of experiencing storms. Too often we forget how weak we truly are and storms bring; humility, silence, and teach us appreciation for what we should value and a thankful spirit when what we love most isn’t swept away.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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Nipping At Our Heels

Nipping At Our Heels

Monday I watched the documentary; “Weiner.”(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTpnBDu6Y6Q) It is the story of Anthony Weiner’s rise and fall on the political landscape not once, but twice, both times because of a sexting scandal. Anthony Weiner is a flawed character that could come straight from a Greek Tragedy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_tragedy).  The sexting wouldn’t work but the narcissism, short-sightedness, being your own worst enemy, destroying everyone and everything you love, certainly would make a fitting template.

The question I came away from the documentary is; “Why?” Why would a person who is obviously charismatic, appears to care for the people of his community, is by all accounts a decent person, except of course the giant gorilla in the room…his addiction to receiving attention no matter the damage, and there’s the answer.

SPOILER ALERT

In the end, it cost him the mayoral race of New York, his reputation (again), his marriage and his child. He’s now a television mercenary, for hire to anyone who’ll interview him, put him on a TV show panel, feed his need to be in the spotlight.

Wisdom teaches us the demons of pride, envy, wrath, gluttony (the insatiable want of things), lust, sloth (laziness), and greed are always nipping at our heels waiting for us to think we’re invincible, can control them to sink their teeth into our soul and destroy us and everything we love, hold dear.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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In the Air

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In the Air

A couple of weeks ago the Mrs. and I were sitting by the firepit talking about our day with our Siberian Husky, Trooper, laying beside us. One of us were in mid-sentence when he popped up and began sniffing the air. He smelled…something. We weren’t sure what. We hadn’t heard, seen or smelled anything but he has the stronger; “sniffer” so his alertness got our attention. I grabbed the flashlight and began shining it all over the area and sure enough, there was a possum ambling through the yard. Possums aren’t dangerous but I wouldn’t want one to waddle through my legs and Beth might still be running today if it had scurried past her. Thanks to our dog’s senses we had ample warning of the encroaching critter.

Wisdom can give us an extra sense of perception, a radar of sorts, which alerts us when something isn’t right, a correction needs to be made, or heightened alert is in order. It’s in these times we want to shine a light in the dark places, be vigilant, ready to make a course adjustment, be still or move forward cautiously. Finding our way can be difficult. We must be sure that every sense is used and heeded.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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