Blog Archives

Burdens

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Burdens

The fellowship hall which belongs to one of the two churches next to our house had a new roof put on yesterday. As I was doing yard work they were working under the hot sun with no hope of shade. A truck pulled into the parking lot full of shingles and the driver began unloading. After he finished another man grabbed a bundle of shingles, positioned them on his shoulders and carried them up the ladder to the workers on the roof.

Watching this man and the way he handled the shingles and the ladder you might think he would be broad and muscular but actually, he was smallish in size. However, the way expert way he handled the shingles let you know he’d been doing this type of work for a while.

Impressed with his agility and strength I reflected on the burdens that people carry. Mother Teresa once famously said; “I know God says; ‘He wouldn’t give us more than we could handle.’ I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”

Size, age, education, talent, and all the accolades the world holds dear doesn’t necessarily equal great faith or perseverance. It’s the elderly woman we pass in the grocery store, the young man with the earring in his nose,  the middle age woman with a tear in her eye, the man holding the door open for strangers, who carry burdens too heavy for most of us.

They are able to do this not because they are stronger but have been doing it longer.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Choices


Choices

Last night was our Spring 2017 Certificate Celebration for our Incarcerated Father’s class. On this night we give the men a nice graduation certificate, an official letter that can be used to help them progress towards parole, pizza and pop. We also talk about what they’ve learned and how they’re going to use this knowledge.

About half way through the class the speaker system in the room crackled and the voice called a name. The resident answered and the voice said his ride was here to pick him up. He was going home! All of sudden nothing mattered. Not the pizza, pop, or the celebration. It was his time to get out and he was taking advantage of the opportunity. I met him at the door and told him I’d he needed anything he had my contact information and looked him square in the eye and said; “Make good choices.” He smiled and said he would.

In life there are the important things and the real important things. He chose one last night and hope he continues to make the right choices.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Connected

 

Connected –

Last week a huge limb from one of our oldest trees snapped and fell into our yard. Today was clean up day. I started this morning hoping it would only take a couple of hours. However, it took all day and we’re still not quite finished. The size of the limb meant there were going to be numerous and large branches attached. We sawed and pried and twisted until we didn’t have any energy left. After we made the last trip to a neighbor’s who is trying to fill in a dried up pond to dump a truckload of debris we came home, showered and collapsed.

As we worked on the enormous project I noticed that most of the leaves had dried up and died. The storm, which had blown the limb down, had robbed most of the leaves of their nutrients by disconnecting them from their source of life. But, there were a few branches whose leaves were still green. Their life source had not been disconnected even though they had experienced the same storm.

I reflected on the similarities in people when their path takes them through a time of testing, a season of storms. Some seem to wilt under the pressure while others, in spite of the chaos of the present moment, continue to thrive.

Wisdom teaches us it is who, what, our source of life is that allows us to experience the worst and yet still live. Being connected to who, what is deeply rooted is the difference between life and death.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Deep

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Deep –

A few weeks ago Beth and I began planting several different types of trees. Some are fruit trees others are for privacy as land around us is being sold. We chose Leyland Cypress for this because they were recommended for quick growth and their thickness which is tough for prying eyes to see through.

However, over the last seven to ten days brown spots have begun showing up on the limbs. We’ve been watering the trees but this hasn’t stopped the brown spots from appearing. This week Beth talked to a landscaper who suggested cutting pieces of PVC pipe about 18 inches, drilling holes in them and driving them into the ground near the trees. Leyland Cypress, once they are rooted will take care of themselves, but until that occurs they need lots of water and for it to be delivered to the roots underneath the soil. The PVC pipes will distribute the water deeper to the roots that need it most.

The pipes will have to wait for this weekend but I reflected on the advice as we watered the trees tonight. I thought of how we live in a world where we water the top, take care of the surface, make what people see look good and too often ignore what’s deep inside of us. We are more concerned with what’s seen than unseen. As a result, we begin to die. What’s not being taken care of at the deepest part of our spirits, what counts the most, is not being nurtured and sooner or later it shows itself on the surface.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Small Things

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Small Things

An Israeli woman accidentally stepped on a Garden Snail and instead of ignoring it, kicking it to the side, wiping off her feet in disgust, took the small creature to the veterinarian to save its life. (Full story and link below).

It’s the smallest things which make the biggest difference. We forget this wisdom lesson so easily. We are wrapped up in our world, being the center of our own universe, the main character, and hero of our own story. Too often the small, insignificant, unnoticed and nobodies are ignored and unseen.

A friend asked me today; “Is there an objective reality?” I answered; “I don’t think so. There is the reality we exist in which for us seems real but is in fact shaped by nature, nurture, our experiences and expectations. We believe it’s real but in truth, our reality is no more real than another person’s.” I continued; “I don’t believe we can find an objective reality but we can be aware of our own limited knowledge, biases, beliefs and agendas. When we become self-aware we are able to accept that which we cannot know and humility is the path to wisdom.

A small snail crawling on the ground. An accidental injury. A reaction that seems extreme to some is empathy and kindness in this woman’s reality. To be aware of the small things, like snails and our own existence is to see and understand more than most.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Israeli Woman Accidentally Steps on Garden Snail, Takes It to the Vet to Save Its Life

(http://www.odditycentral.com/news/israeli-woman-accidentally-steps-on-garden-snail-takes-it-to-the-vet-to-save-its-life.html)

The life of one garden snail may not mean very much in the grand scheme of things, but for one Israeli woman who accidentally stepped on one, cracking its brittle shell, it was enough to warrant a visit to the local vet clinic.

It’s quite in rainy in Tel Aviv this time of year, and moisture-loving garden snails are very active. They sometimes venture outside their natural habitat, and, unfortunately, some of them get stepped on by careless humans. Most of the time the snail get squashed, but, in the most fortunate cases, only their shells get damaged. If they don’t suffer major injuries to their bodies, snails will usually fix their mobile homes by drawing in calcium, but one lady in the Israeli capital didn’t want to leave anything to chance after accidentally stepping on a slow-crawling snail.

Rather than simply ignoring the snail, the woman meticulously picked up all the pieces of its broken shell and took it to a local animal clinic. She was lucky enough to find a dedicated medical staff who, instead of brushing off her pleas for help to handle what other vets would probably consider more important cases, spent hours gluing the snail’s shell back together, using epoxy.

Photos posted on the Facebook page of Tel Aviv’s HaClinica animal clinic, show staff patiently gluing the shell to its original shape, while the “naked” mollusc patiently waits to move back into its home. “For the broken shell, we need a combination of patience and finesse with epoxy glue” the clinic wrote in a post. “We make sure the glue stays outside the shell and does not penetrate the inner patch.”

Luckily, their hard work paid off and they were able to not only fix the snail’s shell, but also mount it on the slimy owner. The operation was a success, and even though the snail will still need a few weeks, or even months, to fully recuperate, photos of it feasting on a bed of tasty vegetables in a glass tank suggest he’s doing just fine.

The staff of HaClinica have taken a liking to their tiny patient, and even named it Chevy. He’ll remain under their watchful eye as he recovers, and animal lovers are welcome to visit him during his recuperation.

 The life of one garden snail may not mean very much in the grand scheme of things, but for one Israeli woman who accidentally stepped on one, cracking its brittle shell, it was enough to warrant a visit to the local vet clinic.

It’s quite in rainy in Tel Aviv this time of year, and moisture-loving garden snails are very active. They sometimes venture outside their natural habitat, and, unfortunately, some of them get stepped on by careless humans. Most of the time the snail get squashed, but, in the most fortunate cases, only their shells get damaged. If they don’t suffer major injuries to their bodies, snails will usually fix their mobile homes by drawing in calcium, but one lady in the Israeli capital didn’t want to leave anything to chance after accidentally stepping on a slow-crawling snail.

Rather than simply ignoring the snail, the woman meticulously picked up all the pieces of its broken shell and took it to a local animal clinic. She was lucky enough to find a dedicated medical staff who, instead of brushing off her pleas for help to handle what other vets would probably consider more important cases, spent hours gluing the snail’s shell back together, using epoxy.

Photos posted on the Facebook page of Tel Aviv’s HaClinica animal clinic, show staff patiently gluing the shell to its original shape, while the “naked” mollusc  patiently waits to move back into its home. “For the broken shell, we need a combination of patience and finesse with epoxy glue” the clinic wrote in a post. “We make sure the glue stays outside the shell and does not penetrate the inner patch.”

Luckily, their hard work paid off and they were able to not only fix the snail’s shell, but also mount it on the slimy owner. The operation was a success, and even though the snail will still need a few weeks, or even months, to fully recuperate, photos of it feasting on a bed of tasty vegetables in a glass tank suggest he’s doing just fine.

The staff of HaClinica have taken a liking to their tiny patient, and even named it Chevy. He’ll remain under their watchful eye as he recovers, and animal lovers are welcome to visit him during his recuperation.

Calling Out

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Calling Out

This morning I woke before dawn and went into to the kitchen. Laying on his bed, not asleep but not fully awake, was our Siberian Husky, Trooper. Calling him, he slowly got up and followed me outside. I told him to go and do his business and he sauntered off. At first, I could see him as the first light of day was breaking but then he went over past my truck and I didn’t see him any longer. This isn’t unusual. I wait and when he’s finished he comes trotting back. However, this morning after a long while he still hadn’t returned. A few more minutes passed and I went looking around and didn’t see him at all! Calling out his name, hoping the not to wake up the neighbors, he came running from a field a neighbor owns and stood next to me. Along with taking care of business he also sniffs around sensing the other animals that have traipsed through the area overnight. I guess his nose took him to far off places but when his name was called he knew it was time to come back home.

In church this morning the message was from Gospel according to Saint Luke chapter 7:

The disciples of John reported all these things to him. So John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” When the men had come to him, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?’” Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them.  And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

Saint John had spent his whole life preparing and then declaring Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Messiah) who would set the people of God and the world right again. However, Jesus’ idea of Messiah and John’s, along with most of the other Jewish people, didn’t fit well. The above text describes Jesus’ Messiahship but John and God’s people expected a warrior king, a political figure, one who would sit on a throne and rule the known world from Jerusalem.

John, who’s in jail, tells his disciple to make sure Jesus was the Messiah. John wanted to make sure he didn’t miss something, was mistaken, had spent his life in futility. When his followers arrive they spend some time with Jesus and then call out to him; “John wants to know, are you the one?” Jesus tells them to report back to John all they had seen; blind eyes open, crippled people walking, diseases eradicated and the poor and needy given hope. In other words; “Yes!,’says Jesus; ‘I am the One. Not the One you were expecting but greater than you ever imagined.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Random Thoughts

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Random Thoughts

I am sitting on the couch waiting for a stranger to come and spray something that apparently kills bugs and keeps them out of the house. It’s amazing to me the trust we place in things we are used to and unable to trust others which we’re told will help us, improve us, make us healthier, live longer, etc.

A woman on a counseling webinar I was listening to today said; “It is our response, thoughts, about an experience that shapes our understanding of an event, not the event itself.” It was very Zen and has rattled around in my head all day.

Before my Incarcerated Father’s class last night the guys and I were talking about our day and during the conversation I asked what they had for dinner. They told me pizza and when I inquired what brand they said; “It’s the same type you get served when you’re in grade and high school.” Then one of them piped up; “We ate good tonight!” and the rest of the class agreed. It’s amazing how your circumstances impact the way you measure good and bad, positive and negative, tasty and not so much. Another reminder that I, and you?, take way too much for granted.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Reckless

Culpeper Reckless Driving Lawyer

Reckless

Yesterday, on my way to the county recycling and refuse collection center with a truck full of yard debris and household trash, I was descended upon by a small blue four-door sedan. I was going slow because of the junk in the back of the truck and then slowed down again when the speed limit was reduced to thirty miles per hour.  The car behind me was in a hurry and even though we were on a small, two-lane, curvy double lined road and there was a car approaching from the opposite direction the sedan began to pass me! He didn’t have room to pass and no reason to put us all in jeopardy so I sped up a bit to hopefully give him pause to resume his position behind me. This didn’t work, I put on the brakes, he flew past me with not much room to spare from a head-on collision with the car in the adjacent lane. I was more than agitated and honked the horn while giving him a; “What was the reason for that kind of recklessness” gesture?

I arrived at the refuse and recycle center, unloaded the truck and on my way back to the house I thought about the sheer ridiculousness of the driver. He put his life, the life of the driver of the other vehicle, and mine in danger to arrive mere seconds ahead of when he would have arrived if he’d chosen to drive safer acknowledging the value of his life and those around him.

What if there had been a wreck? How many people, family, and friends, would’ve been impacted because of his impatience? Too often, we are only concerned with our agenda, our list, what we “have to” get done. Driven by our busyness, our over packed, over-stuffed schedules we lose sight of others and ourselves. The eventual result is wrecked lives, a loss of what’s most important and the love and grace we should have for one another.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Helping Those Who Hurt

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Helping Those Who Hurt –

I have a friend who did something nice for someone last week and instead of being thanked was criticized for not doing it the way the person who needed assistance wanted it done.

We live in a world that is more divided every day. People are scared and worried about the political climate, climate change, terrorism, being harmed by one of more of the countless painful and hurtful things which exist in our world.

The only way to combat the darkness of our world is with the light of kindness, grace, presence and giving. Humility, gracefully receiving another’s selfless gift, is key to our life’s candle being lit so we can, in turn, light another.

We cannot do this if we are critical of the way our needs are met. This is like blowing out a candle being offered in the darkness.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Flies and Sweet Tea

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Flies and Sweet Tea

On Friday, midway through raking and mowing the front lawn, I stopped and went inside, fixed myself a ham sandwich, a large cup with a lid, of iced tea, and went outside to have lunch on the porch. After finishing the sandwich I still had some tea and let it sit while wrapping up the chores for the day. Heading back inside I grabbed the cup of tea, took a big swig of drink satisfied with the accomplishments of the day.

Inside I took a shower, went back into the kitchen and refilled my cup with ice and more tea. For the next hour or so drank, worked on my blog and other things waiting for Beth to come home from work. When she arrived we discussed what to have for dinner, decided on something easy and fast, cooked it and was ready to eat. Before heading into the living room with my dinner plate I took the lid off of my cup of tea to add some ice and that’s when I saw it! A fly had somehow gotten into it, I assume by crawling through the straw when I had left it on the porch. From then until I spied it I had been drinking while the fly, and all that came with it was drowning. At least I didn’t swallow it!

I showed it to Beth and she was grossed out. I thought it was funny. We both thought I should get a new cup. I’ve thought about that insect several times over the last few days. What’s interesting is I didn’t know the fly was in there and so it didn’t bother me having a drinking buddy. However, when I finally did see it, something needed to be done.

Wisdom teaches us that we are learning, absorbing like a sponge, whatever we come in contact with, surround ourselves with every moment of each day. I often tell my clients; “WHAT you do, think, choose today is WHO you’ll be tomorrow.” Self-awareness comes when we are humble enough to take the lid off of our closed lives and look inside. What we find there will be good and not so good. True self-awareness is doing what we do well and improving upon what we could do better.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Blue Friday

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Blue Friday

While many folks spent battling crowds and taking advantages of sales today, I raked and tried to make our brown yard look presentable. During the summer months, the colors are so vibrant, the blossoms and leaves, limbs and blades, all bespeak the glamor and glory of the season.

When fall arrives the final burst of color and collages of nature adorn the hills and the dales. Then, everything turns brown. One of my least favorite colors. Most of our tropical plants and trees are inside and dormant. The remaining ones are outside with dull or no leaves which is why I spent the day raking.

As I was finishing and putting up the rake and other garden utensils I rounded the corner of our house and spied a beautiful Blue Bird (http://www.tnwatchablewildlife.org/details.cfm?displayhabitat=grassland&sort=aounumber&typename=GRASSLAND%20AND%20SHRUB&uid=09041708094293898&commonname=Eastern%20Bluebird). It’s color was stark compared to the browns and grays which dominated my vision for most of the afternoon. It didn’t stay long but the sight of it was enough to remind me that life’s vibrancy is never gone.

The season we may be passing through might be one lacking in stimulation and passion but perhaps, just around the corner, is a splash of vigor and vitality that gives us the hope of new life and a new season.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Not Easy

Not Easy

I sat on a stiff wooden pew this morning, in a small Lutheran church, among a few committed Christ followers. The pastor, an elderly gentleman who’s been filling in as the church searches for a new, permanent pastor, pulled double duty this morning playing the piano at the back of the sanctuary and leading prayer and preaching at the front.

As he began his message this morning I could tell he was a bit out of sorts with going back and forward between the piano and the pulpit. After a few moments, he got himself sorted and began to speak regarding the difficulty of being a faith walker in our world today. His words were seasoned with those of a long time follower. He spoke about how life, living out our faith, is tough. Period. There are many questions and confusing cultural conundrums that exist. There’s a lot of pain and suffering and knowing how to handle some, certainly all of them, is hard if not impossible.

His answer was simple; “be like Christ.” There wasn’t any lamenting about; “the good ol’ days” or how the new generation of faith walkers doesn’t have what it takes. His point was that it has always been a strenuous, at times; exhausting journey to travel the path of Jesus. There were no 10 steps to a stronger faith, an acronym to remember when you’re discouraged, a conference one should attend, a book to read that’ll explain everything. Nope. A man who has many more years behind him than ahead telling folks it was okay to struggle, to feel drained, to not have nearly all the answers, to keep the faith of those who’ve walked before us; “Again, to be like Jesus.”

For me, someone who seems to know less and less about everything as the years pass by increasingly fast, it was a needed and hopefully heeded message.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Be Still

20 Thought Provoking Quotes2

Be Still

On her way out the door to go to work this morning my wife gave me the following orders; “Don’t go outside. Don’t mess around the house. Stay on the couch or in the bed. Got it? Good!” Men don’t like listening to nor following orders but the kiss I received afterwards softened the irritation. My wife is smart. She knows I have a hard time sitting still. I need to move, do something, be working on a project. However, the Oral Surgeon wants me to take it easy for a few days following my surgery on Wednesday. So, I’ve been a good husband today and did, or rather didn’t do, what my wife told me not to do.

When forced to be still for whatever reason we begin to think. We reminisce about the past, hope for the future, try to ease our apprehension of the present. Forced stillness takes us on a journey inward and we wonder about roads not traveled and wander along bi-ways of what might have been.

Serenity also allows us, if we dare, to take a focused look at our lives. We examine it, hold it up to the light, turn it over and see if what we’re doing, the events and experiences which make up our existence, are meeting our purpose, fulfilling the reason for our being on this planet, at this time in this space.

Distractions are one of the greatest enemies of wisdom, truth. Being still, examined, measured, isn’t easy but its better than realizing, only when the stillness of death comes, that we missed our reason for being.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Journey

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Journey

Last week, in Hohenwald, TN (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohenwald,_Tennessee), I spotted these canoes for sale. I didn’t have a trailer to haul one or a place to put it when I got home but the temptation to buy one was real! Fantasies of a lazy summer day, floating down a river or on a lake, surrounded by beauty and quiet filled my mind. Alas, I resisted the temptation to purchase one and saved myself the trouble of explaining to Beth why we owned a canoe!

In earlier times a frontiersman wanted to know how to build a canoe. He had seen the natives paddling beautiful wooden canoes and decided to ask one to teach him. He approached a native man and in broken native language did his best to relay his request. The elder man smiled and indicated he wanted the frontiersman to follow him. The two walked into the forest and found a large tree suitable for a canoe. Working together they felled it and dragged it back to camp. The frontiersman took out a book to carefully write down the instructions. The native, in broken English, took a sharp axe and said; “Make canoe by chopping away the wood that’s not a canoe.” The native then handed the axe to the frontiersman and walked away.

We can often feel like the frontiersman at the end of this story. We are given a life and told to find a purpose. When we inquire; “How?” a lot of folks have suggestions but when it comes down to a concrete set of instructions we discover each person can only tell us how they found or didn’t find theirs.

It is by experience we realize our reason for being most often by eliminating what isn’t our purpose. This way of discovery is called; life. There are no shortcuts. Remember, the destination isn’t where we find our purpose, it’s found in the journey.

blessings,

@BrianLoging (Twitter)

thewannabesaint.com

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Not the Same

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Not the Same

The grief in her eyes was impossible to miss. She had lost someone near and dear to her. One who was young, full of life, seemingly with many years left and then one day he was gone. We spoke in hushed tones almost afraid our usual tones would make this terrible truth more real. “I don’t think life will ever be the same again. Normal seems so far from here. How do I get back?” I looked into her shocked and sorrowful eyes and said; “You don’t. Life, as you knew it to be, is over. There is no going back. In time, with healing, you will learn to live in a new normal.”

There are moments, events, seasons in life which guarantee we will never be the same again. Tragedies, awakenings, epiphanies that change everything. What we held to, put our faith in, who we loved are lost. Our rhythm and sense of normal is disrupted. We long to go back, make everything; ‘as it was,’ hold on to that which seemed solid, lasting but it sifts through our hands like sand. Our desire to return is admirable but futile.The way back has been closed off to us forever.

Finding a new normal takes patience with ourselves. We must grieve not only the loss but the difficult path of newness. Even in these darkest of times there is a light in the distance, a rhythm faintly beating, a new normal waiting to be discovered.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

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Searching

All this week, and especially tomorrow, parents will be taking their kids to local church, community organizations and family events for a traditional Easter egg hunt. Children of all ages will be given a basket, plastic bag or satchel and set free to find colorful shells with candy, money and other prizes inside. For the little ones who might not be able to find carefully hidden plastic treasure chests their job will be quite easy but for older more experienced hunters eggs will be placed in all types of crevices, beneath rocks, up in trees, covered by leaves and grass. For the smaller children the goal for the adults is that the wee ones find as many colored eggs as possible but for the older kids most adults believe the game to be more cunning. The goal often becomes finding the perfect hiding place where the egg will not easily be discovered.

Life is also be this way.  When young we’re able to find beauty, blessing and hope everywhere we look. Nothing seems hidden, at least not very well, and spotting the things of life which bring us joy is easy. However, the older we get the trickier it becomes to find that which will bring us enjoyment and the gladness of simply being alive. The question becomes; “Are beauty, blessing and hope becoming less or is what brings true blessing, true hope and real beauty harder to discover?” I believe it is the latter. As Saint Paul says;

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

a blessed Good Friday,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Not According to Schedule

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My morning started fast with an early appointment. I anticipated it would only take a certain amount of time, however, not long after arriving, I was informed it would take much longer. UGH! All of a sudden my entire day had to be altered.

I have (what I think) is a good habit of planning out my schedule to make sure I can accomplish what needs to be done in a timely and manageable manner. However, I’ve also come to realize that my idea of how my day should go can be rather inflexible. When appointments, events and calendar items go longer, forcing me to adjust, it causes stress and anxiety. I know intellectually that life is about change and adapting when it doesn’t work the way we plan, which is almost always. However, knowing isn’t the same as accepting and understanding not the same as believing.

So, I took a breath, thankful I brought my laptop for work, and simply let the day unfold without trying to force my will upon it.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Protection

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The wind from a mighty storm front howled, pushed, shoved and knocked me around yesterday. I arrived home from work and the dogs were ready to go outside. I grabbed an umbrella and we made our way to the yard so they could do their business. The gusts were so strong that my umbrella knocked me in the head, pulled to the right, left leaving me soaking wet, and was basically useless. Once I was back inside I decided to do it differently next time I ventured out. A couple of hours later, the wind still shaking tree limbs and throwing branches and debris around, I bundled up with a raincoat and hat. My hat blew off my head but the raincoat protected me better than the flimsy umbrella.

Back indoors I dried off my head and reflected upon the storms of life and how at times things we hope will protect us fail, become useless and broken. It’s hard to accept what we’ve placed our faith in has let us down and can’t keep us safe. Letting go of what doesn’t work, finding new places of safety and stillness can be difficult but is also necessary.

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

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What We Have

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This morning I witnessed a man throw a fit because the driver in a certain parking space wasn’t backing up his truck fast enough. There was no one else waiting for the spot, the anxious driver wasn’t competing for it, he was just in a hurry to claim what he wanted. What made the scene even sillier was the open space two slots down, directly beside the impatient driver. The worked up man was in a lather over saving, maybe, ten feet. If he would’ve taken the time to notice, parked in the open spot, he could have been in the store by the time the driver of the truck had backed up and could’ve saved the fit for another time.

I can’t judge the man too harshly because I must admit there have been times I was so focused on what I wanted I didn’t notice what I had. Life is full of blessings and fortunate choices and happenstance. Wisdom tells us that if we’re obsessed with what we don’t have, what we want, we’ll never truly appreciate the miracles which we’ve been given.

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

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Between Thankfulness and Grace 

The other day I heard someone tell a group they were an anxious person. They then spoke of a recent meeting with a friend who prayed for them stating; “their anxiety wasn’t from God, to believe His word (Bible) and replace the anxious thoughts with ‘God’s truth.'” The person telling the story then declared she was thrilled with this revelatory prayer and her belief in the power of God and His word.

I was thankful for the woman’s relief from anxiousness and a friend who cared enough to listen, empathize and pray for her. I also thought about people I know who suffer from anxiety disorders, clinical depression, post traumatic disorder and other mental health issues. They pray, believe, hope, trust in the promises of their faith and scripture but permanent relief seems elusive.

For those who carry the burden of persistent mental health issues, stories of quick, permanent healing can be discouraging. Others who speak to them of; “having more faith, claiming the victory, believing God’s Word, praying until healing comes, be stronger, don’t let yourself be a victim of the devil/satan,” may be trying to help but often this type of advice does the opposite.

People with long term mental health issues often struggle with feelings of loneliness, doubt, self worth and long to be free of the struggle of dealing with basic existence. They may wonder; “Why have others received release and not me? Am I doing something wrong, being punished? Does God hear or care?

Some of the hardest places and groups for people to share their struggle with mental illness can be churches, other faith communities, or with believing friends. Whether it’s a fear of being judged as weak willed or lacking faith, a misunderstanding of the reasons and causes of mental illness, or the stigma mental health issues sometimes engender in people, it’s a risky move to share such a deep, intimate issue.

Finding the balance of rejoicing with those who’ve experienced healing and relief while being mindful of those who continue to struggle is the middle way of grace and thankfulness.

Blessings,
@BrianLoging
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

Drive By

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Earlier this afternoon I took the dogs outside and noticed an elderly couple parked in a church parking lot that is adjacent to our house. The man was changing a tire while the woman stood over his shoulder watching, supervising (insert joke here). Several cars were leaving their church parking spaces at this time but none of the ones I saw stopped to offer help.

Once the pooches had done their thing we went back inside and I went out the front door to see if I could lend them a hand. However, by that time someone had already pulled over and was assisting them. The person helping looked as if they were headed to a lake or pool.

I was thankful for the good Samaritan but concerned by the perceived apathy of the “Sunday morning crowd.”

The last several weeks I’ve seen plenteous Facebook posts, listened to loud complaints, witnessed brothers and sisters in Christ speaking and acting in non-Christ like ways as they’ve lamented gay marriage, attacked Planned Parenthood, berated the Muslim faith and lambasted politicians on both sides.

Some of these issues are worth our concern, prayer and action to be sure but if we drive past folks who obviously need our help, without even a second glance, I just don’t understand what we’re doing or who we’re actually doing it for.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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