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to Lead

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to Lead

Last night I finished watching a movie about Winston Churchill  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill) and his role and his role in what would end up being the last year of World War II.  Churchill was against “Operation Overlord (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Overlord) also known as D-Day because of a similar strategy that went horribly wrong in World War I that Churchill had championed.

The movie focuses mainly on Churchill’s resistance to the Allies plans to invade France and his leadership being questioned until he was sidelined as only a voice to rally the people instead of being involved in the day-to-day fighting the Nazis in Europe. The crux of the film was whether or not Churchill would accept his diminished, but still needed, place in British society. Ultimately, he discovers that he was still a different kind of leader but one his country still looked to and found hope.

It was a good movie and a stark reminder of true leadership. Too often we see leadership as forging a new way, dragging people kicking and screaming in a direction they do not wish to go, or cozying up to the right people to get them and then others to follow. While leadership has some of each of these, lasting leadership is understanding what people need, how best to serve them, working and walking together on this path of life and taking on the challenges and difficulties united in purpose and passion.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Adjusting

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Adjusting –

Beth and I just finished moving furniture around in the living room. Couches, bookshelves, chairs, stools, everything. The reason we did this is that the bookshelves were given to us last week and the way we currently had our living room arranged wouldn’t work with them added. So, we moved and looked, moved and pondered, moved and finally have the room the way we think looks nice and is functional.

The last couple of hours have been a good reminder that anytime we add things to our lives, positive or negative, there is adjusting required. Each of us has a finite amount of time, energy and passion. The more stuff we have in our lives the less we have of the three. This is why mindfulness is so important. We must make sure what we add is worth the readjusting and investing of time, energy and passion.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Sore

Sore

I am sore today! Yesterday we spent most of the day trimming and hauling away a big limb from one of the four huge trees in our yard. Today I am paying for it with sore arms, back, and legs. I don’t think I’ve developed any muscles but trying to lift some of the pieces we sawed off yesterday gave me an appreciation of how strong the wind must’ve been to down the limb and how strong the tree was to support a limb of such great weight. It took a lot of energy, strength and time to remove most of the obstacle.

I spoke with a few friends today who are also trying to overcome a great obstacle. They are, like we did yesterday, dealing with it one piece at a time. When you’re faced with a huge challenge there is a part of us who’d like to get it over with NOW! However, life doesn’t usually work according to our time schedules. We must take each step, walk each mile, and hope the journey ends well.

I imagine a person who lifts and cuts wood as their job must be strong. I also know that those who face tremendous battles will develop the strength and energy necessary to see it to the end, what the end may be.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

The Chase

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The Chase

This morning, on my way to work, I rounded a curve and was met with two dogs. I could tell by the look of the younger one a chase was about to go down. The other, who looked much older, wasn’t so sure. As I passed the younger it took off running as fast as it could trying to match my speed. I’m not sure he’d know what to do if he caught me but he was giving it his best effort. The elder ran for a while and then gave up. He knew he wasn’t fast enough to catch his prize. I smiled at the younger dog and his stamina. He kept up for a long time and even after I turned a corner and accelerated he was still giving it a go. I never saw the older dog again.

It reminded me of life. When we’re young we chase after shiny things, fast things. Our attention is easily captured by whatever’s on the horizon. We put a lot of effort into obtaining things which never satisfy or give us the rush of the chase. As we get older we realize there’s only so much passion, energy and time to give to pursuing and, hopefully, we understand there are precious few things worth chasing after.

Wisdom teaches us to filter and to focus on that which satisfies and to leave the chasing of fast, shiny things to others.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Look Closely

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Look Closely

This evening, on my way to an Incarcerated Father’s class, I stopped by Goodwill to donate a few items. I went inside and noticed they were having a sale on CDs. It’s been a long time since I have bought a compact disc but my truck has a CD player so I began looking at what was available. I went down each row of CDs looking for anything familiar and as I did an older gentleman ambled up beside me and began looking. The interesting thing about this man was that he either needed glasses or forgot his because he was bending over and his nose almost touched the CDs as he previewed. I smiled, feeling confident he couldn’t see the grin on my face. He was quite the sight hunched over and slowly looking, carefully choosing.

After I left the store I thought about the older gentleman and how close he had to get to perhaps find something worth buying. I also reflected on the truth my hunchbacked friend was teaching. Too often we don’t look close enough at things before we invest our time, energy, time, passion and money. In our instant gratification society, we grab and go not even sure what we are grasping or its grasp on us.

Wisdom tells us that what we choose to make a part of our lives should be looked at slowly, closely if we are to make choices that don’t just fill our lives but fulfills them.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Passion

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Passion

Earlier today I attended a Health Council meeting where one of the featured speakers was a woman who worked for a non-profit agency that collected and supplied blood for hospitals and clinics. She was a good speaker and the story she told was full of passion and emotion. She related how her son had been born with Downs Syndrome and Autism. For her and her family, this wasn’t a burden to bear but a lesson to be learned on how to love differently yet still unconditionally.

When her son was 4 months old, however, he was diagnosed with Leukemia and needed many blood transfusions over a period of time to fight the disease. The problem was not enough of her son’s blood type was available to give her son the help he needed. So, the mother decided to call up the local Red Cross and see if she could put together a blood drive event where people would come and donate blood. The Red Cross said; “yes” and she went to work. She wasn’t simply collecting blood for someone anonymous but for her son who needed it so desperately.

Thankfully, her son has been in remission for the last 6 years but the woman still sets up blood drive events for her non-profit all over the state of Tennessee. She explained; “I know what it is to be in need and if I can help meet other’s who have the same needs I just can’t say; ‘no.'”

A good lesson in wisdom and grace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
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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No Dumping

No Dumping

The other day someone mentioned a piece of juicy gossip to me. I replied; “Hmmm…didn’t know that.” and quickly exited the conversation by finding something else to do some place else. One of the things I enjoy is; “Being out of the loop.” I don’t have any desire to know secrets, troubles, and provocative nuggets of information about other people. The truth is I have enough junk of my own  and enough problems to deal with that folks can keep others’ tidbits out of my life.

If someone is going through a hard time, facing unfortunate circumstances and needs an ear to bend, or a shoulder to lean on, mine are available but those who are only spreading family and friends’  business all over can stay away. I only have enough passion, energy and time to deal with what should be in my life not what others want to dump there.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Hate

Hate

Someone asked me today to define hate. I knew what they were asking. They were wanting to know if their dislike of another had gone far enough, grown enough to call it the “H” word. I described hate this way; “…an intense feeling of disdain, a lack of love and grace toward another, a set of blinders placed over one’s eyes and soul to stop from seeing anything good about the person.”

I’m not sure this is the best definition but it was one which resonated with my feelings of someone several years ago who had hurt me into the depths of my spirit. I couldn’t please this person, who focused on what I did wrong and rarely noticed what I did right, complained, criticized, isolated me from others and used up everything they needed and then threw me away like an empty beer can, never looking back.

If I’d ever hated someone this would be the person, but as I thought about them today the intensity was no longer there. It takes a lot of energy, passion, time, to hate someone. Hate occupies a lot of space in your brain, emotions, spirit and life. You dwell on the other, fueled by your extreme contempt. Hatred consumes you and there comes a point when you have to make a choice; “Will I allow my pain and scorn to become who and what I am? Or, do I begin to let it go?

It’s not an easy decision but its the only option which leads to wholeness and peace.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Effort

Effort

I finished mowing the grass a few minutes ago. Last week’s rain did its work and the grass has exploded over the past 7 days.

This past fall, winter and spring, Beth and I added several objects to the back yard. Trees, bushes, grape-vine trellises, garden boxes, fire rings and more. While beautiful and adding character the yard they do make it more difficult to mow this year. There’s a lot bobbing and weaving, dodging and not quite being able to reach every spot of grass with the riding mower. As a result I have to also use a push mower, a weed eater and sometimes even my hands. After I’m finished I look over the yard and wonder if it’s worth all the extra effort?

Wisdom teaches us the more stuff we have in our lives the fuller they become and the harder they are to manage. While some things such as healthy relationships and productive hobbies are needed its prudent now and then to examine how much passion, energy and time all the extras take and if some need to be cut or trimmed out of our lives.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Where and Where Not to Look

This morning my Daily Office Reading had two sections dealing with focus. One was from the Old Testament, one from the New;

“When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. 2 Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.”  But Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.  3 The company of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and asked, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”  “Yes, I know,” Elisha replied, “so be quiet.”  4 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here, Elisha; the Lord has sent me to Jericho.”  And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went to Jericho.  5 The company of the prophets at Jericho went up to Elisha and asked him, “Do you know that the Lord is going to take your master from you today?”  “Yes, I know,” he replied, “so be quiet.”  6 Then Elijah said to him, “Stay here; the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.”  And he replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So the two of them walked on.  7 Fifty men from the company of the prophets went and stood at a distance, facing the place where Elijah and Elisha had stopped at the Jordan. 8 Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up and struck the water with it. The water divided to the right and to the left, and the two of them crossed over on dry ground.  9 When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”  “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.  10 “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.”  11 As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his garment and tore it in two.  13 Elisha then picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and struck the water with it. “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.” Book of Second Kings, Chapter 2

“Then the disciples gathered around Jesus and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.  10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 1

As I reflected upon these texts I thought about what we keep our eyes trained on also determines what slips by us as we watch other things. Knowing where not to look is just as important as knowing on what and where to keep our focus. Elisha was waiting, anticipating, looking for something predicted and present to happen. The disciples were staring at what once was and had now passed. To keep ourselves facing forward, living in trust that our purpose and passion are before us, never behind, we make sure what we’re looking for is worth seeing.

blessings,
BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Worth it?

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Earlier today I watched a documentary about the man who discovered and excavated King Tut’s tomb. Howard Carter, after many years and many failures made this “most famous of all discoveries” in 1922.

He wasn’t the most pleasurable person to be around, he was rude, condescending and had a short fuse but his passion was uncovering an undisturbed burial chamber of an Egyptian Pharaoh and he succeeded. It was said that when he died there were few people who attended his funeral. In his latter years someone asked him if it was worth all the effort with precious little to show for it and he answered; “it was.”

I want to have the passion and purpose to give all my life, my strength, my courage my everything in pursuit of a deep, inner longing. Not for fame, riches or other meager treasure but simply because I know who I am, whose I am and what I am made for. At the end of my days I want to be able to answer the question; “was it worth it?” with a smile, a nod and a confident; “it was.”

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

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Who We Desire to Be

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If humanity made a 2016 resolution to quit being rude and allow niceness and kindness to rule they must’ve changed their mind.

My first stop this morning was taking my push mower to get it serviced. The person behind the counter acted like I was asking him to fix it personally and came up with several excuses as why he couldn’t fulfill the extended warranty. Finally, he relented and I was worn out with the hassle. My next stop was to buy a kerosene heater and a cashier refused to answer a question I had about the product. I figured out the answer myself. My last stop was to buy kerosene and the line inside to prepay was long. When another cashier opened up a woman cut in front of me without any hesitation. “Oy!” I was thankful when I pulled into the driveway to be greeted by the smile of my beautiful bride.

Being kind, nice, peaceful, in a world seemingly intent on being anything but, can be difficult. In these trying times we must remind ourselves we do not base our emotions, words and actions on what others do but on who we desire to be.

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

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Hopefully

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It was mumbled under his breath. Almost indiscernible but I caught it. “Most of them are just using the class to have something to do, get out of their cell.” My insomnia has hit almost 3 weeks with precious few hours catching “Zzzzzzzzzz’s” and my reaction could’ve been harsh but I took a breath of calm and let out a silent exhale of exhaustion and experience.

I’ve heard it before. “You’re not doing any good. You’re just wasting time. They should be doing hard labor. They’re using you.” I was too tired to counter with my usual; “Maybe you’re right, but as long as they’re coming to class, shouldn’t we try? Maybe, possibly, they’ll hear something, learn something, feel something which changes their lives forever?

I didn’t have it within me to go back and forth with him so I simply said; “Hopefully. Hopefully they’ll learn how to choose better, learn how to be better, learn how to live a life of purpose and progression instead of impulse and regret. Hopefully.” I hadn’t convinced him. I wasn’t try to. I smiled, turned around and left. I believed what I had said and that was enough…hopefully.

blessings,

@BrianLoging (Twitter)

http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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Keep the Wood Dry

One of my favorite things to do is sit by our fire pit after a long day and watch the flames light up the night sky filled with stars.

On Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon we had several rain showers move through the area. Finally, Sunday evening, they scattered to the winds leaving a damp chill in the air. I went out to the fire pit and uncovered some wood in a holder that’s protected from nature’s elements. The ground in and around the fire pit was soaked but placing the dry kindling in and putting a match to it I soon had a roaring fire that chased the dampness away. The area around the fire was wet but the wood was dry and this made all the difference.

I smiled as the flames leapt into the air and reflected on the storms that often come into our lives. They deluge us with difficulties and pain, heartache and despair, hopelessness and powerlessness. We may wonder if our lives will ever burn again with passion and purpose. The key to being reignited is to protect our spirits, a layer of shielding around our hearts and minds, to know at our center the rain cannot penetrate and when the time comes we will be ready to once again be set aflame and light up the night.

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

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Fill It Up

This morning I stumbled into the kitchen to get my “go-go” juice ready to help me wake up and face the day. I replaced the old filter containing Monday’s coffee grinds with a new filter and a mix of fresh Colombian and Breakfast blends. Pressing the start button I began to walk back to the bedroom. However, within a few seconds the; “beep!” which signals the coffee is ready to be served went off. Our coffee maker is fast but not instantaneous. For a moment confusion, then realization. I had done everything needed except put the water in. There was nothing to mix with the grounds to make the java. The coffee maker was empty and there’d be no coffee until I filled it with water.

It was a; “DOH!“, face-palm moment but also a wonderful reminder that no matter how prepared we think we are, how many pieces we have in place, how assured and confident of success and the inevitable fulfillment of our plans and purpose, without the flow of wisdom, passion and spirit into our lives, coursing through everything we do, all we desire will amount to nothing.

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

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Going in Circles

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Yesterday evening,  the sun was setting as Beth and I we’re covering plants in preparation for a heavy frost. As we finished up our outside work, I spotted an inch worm slowly making its way around the rim of a flower pot. I watched him stretch forward and pull the rest of his body up and repeat the process. I wondered where it was going? It was a lot of effort to just go in a circle. Sooner or later it would need to change direction if it was ever going to get anywhere.

I then begin to think about my journey and the journey of others I’ve known. There are paths we choose to take that lead us no where. Dreams and what we hope for don’t happen. Plans for our life go awry and yet stubbornly we cling to our desires trying in vain to control, coerce, make life fit our vision. We try and fail, using great effort and passion but never getting anywhere.

The choice becomes do we keep going in circles or decide to change direction? Can we let go of what we want our life to be, take a new path trusting it will lead us to the life we need?

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

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Speaking Truth to Power

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This afternoon I watched an interesting documentary on Anita Hill. It included bits and pieces of her life but mostly focused on the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, her accusation that she was sexually harassed by him and the fall out from the decision.

I hadn’t thought about Anita Hill in twenty plus years. I remember watching the hearings in college and not really understanding what was going on. As I watched the news footage I was struck by the image of this small black woman being interrogated by a group of middle aged white men. I admired the fortitude it took for her to sit in front of them and millions of Americans for nine hours answering embarrassing, intimate, shameful, humiliating questions. Her life was placed under the harsh spotlight of the press, the United States judicial system, tabloids, political pundits and private investigators. She endured this pressure and scrutiny because she dared to speak her truth to power, to confront an injustice, to not back down in the face of enormous odds.

Speaking truth to power isn’t easy. Facing persecution because of a belief takes an assurance that the pain is worth enduring and the cause is worth the hurt. In our lives we may never be called to capital hill, involved in a national controversy, have our life dissected by TV news anchors and radio hosts but we may one day need to choose either to stand by what we say we believe, speak truth to those who don’t want to hear it, to risk it all…or not.

The question of course is; “will we?”

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

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Full and Useful?

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It happens about every two weeks or so, we run out of ice. Our refrigerator doesn’t have an automatic ice maker and so we use about twenty of those plastic ice holders. You put water in, wait a few hours, and “voila!” ice. We have more than enough holders to always have plenty of ice… IF…the trays are refilled once they’re emptied. Therein lies the flaw in the system. Instead of taking a few moments to pour a little water in the tray and stick it into the freezer they get placed on the kitchen counter. Finally, the last cube is used from the last tray and then someone needs a glass of sweet tea chilled and the trays sit empty mocking the hot drink from the counter.

It doesn’t take much time to refill the trays but because of distractions, hurries  appointments, exhaustion it’s easier to leave them on the counter empty. It’s easier until we run out of ice. This morning I couldn’t ignore the empty trays any longer and refilled them. As I did I reflected on how life can do this to our energy, spirit, passion. We know we should take time to refill, pour in what has been taken out and if we do this we stay full and useful. However, oftentimes we allow life, its demands and difficulties to empty us until there’s nothing left.

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

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