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Jumpy

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Jumpy

It came out of nowhere this morning when I was mowing the grass! I have seen a lot of small frogs the last couple of weeks and try to be aware of them but this little guy jumped up on my lawn mower and before I could stop it, it hopped on the engine! I was afraid it was going to fry itself, but a nanosecond later he jumped off and into the grass.

Isn’t it interesting how worried we can get over little things? Surprises which suddenly appear and there’s no time to prepare but our anxieties, stress, negative thoughts spike and we ask perplexed; “What am I going to do? What should I do? What can I do?” Sometimes the troubles disappear as quickly as they come and other times life comes to a halt while we figure out the best way to handle it.

What’s interesting is that whatever jumps into our lives is often beyond our control. We couldn’t have stopped it even if we knew it was coming. The second truth is we can only do what we can and let the rest just happen. It’s not comforting to know we can’t always stop or change, difficulties, and challenges that appear in our lives but instead of resisting we can accept and continue to move forward, even if it’s in a different direction.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Want to See

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Want to See

Last spring my wife planted some Petunias in a steel bucket that sits in our front yard. This spring she’s been too busy. In place of the beautiful flowers we had last year there are several weeds growing. This afternoon, while mowing the grass, I looked in the steel bucket and there was one single pink Petunia. It was small, crowded and shadowed by the weeds but it was there none the less. If I wasn’t looking in the right place and the right time I would have missed it.

Life can be similar to the small flower in that bucket. There are plenty of weeds; stress, schedules, emergencies, life changing decisions, habits, hang-ups, and hurts. It can be easy not to see the good when we are surrounded by so many things which crowd our lives and shadow our hearts. However, if we keep looking, daring to hope and dream perhaps we will see the beauty of kindness, grace, and love blossom before our eyes.

blessings,
@BrianLoging
thewannabesaint.com

Next?

Next?

A friend and I were discussing the wisdom proverb; “In each rain drop the universe is contained in full.

As with most wisdom sayings, there are many interpretations but we focused on the truth that in each moment all of life is contained. When we try to grab for more it’s like grasping water, nothing is there.

We prefer a life which is predictable. Things to be, and stay, normal. However, what we are after is control. We try to make life stay much the same as it was in the past if we’ve been relatively satisfied.

We’d prefer not to dwell on the truth that life can change in an instant and never be “normal“, the same, again. We don’t like the idea of unemployment, sickness, death, other stresses, tragedies and heartache may be what the next moment holds.

We’d rather ignore this insight and live in oblivion until life ceases to grant us this illusion. This moment is ours, nothing more is promised, nothing more need be if we treasure our only possession; now.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Urgency and Stillness

Stillness

This morning I woke up about ten minutes before the alarm was scheduled to go off and noticed my bladder was telling me to; “get up!” The bed however was giving me another message; “be still, stay, relax.”  I compromised. Normally I hit the snooze three times before dragging myself out of the bed but today, because of my bladder’s urgency, it was only twice.

Life is filled with experiences in which we try to find the balance between stillness and urgency. There are moments, times, seasons when urgency is not only needed but necessary. Emergencies, crises, or other situations may require us to be more hurried in order to avoid dire, serious or even grave consequences. However, mostly our days are filled with the temptation to turn ordinary, normal occurrences and happenings into times of great stress and anxiety. Instead of allowing the usual to become the urgent wisdom teaches us to take a breath and let go of that which is not truly critical so we can embrace the crucial.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Under Pressure

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A few weeks ago a belt on our vacuum cleaner broke turning it into a large, useless, piece of plastic, metal and wires. Hoping to repair it without taking it to a shop I found a store which sold belts and looked for the one I needed. Unfortunately the manufacturer no longer makes the model nor the belt. So, I began to look for one close to the size of the broken one I had brought with me hoping for a suitable replacement. After finding and purchasing the belt I brought it home.

Last night I decided to try and fix the vacuum cleaner. I noticed the belt was a very tight fit, requiring a good deal of stretching to get it in place. After getting all the other pieces correctly attached I turned on the machine. For a moment it seemed to work. However, a few more swipes over a rug and a smell began to permeate room. There were also pieces of plastic which started coming out from the bottom of the vacuum. Uhoh! I quickly shut it off and turned it over only to discover that one end of the roller, the one which the belt was next to, was destroyed. The belt was too small, and the pressure from it so great, it disintegrated the part and made the vacuum cleaner inoperable. I ended up throwing it away and we’ll be shopping for a new one this week.

As the smell diminished, while picking up the pieces, I reflected upon the truth of how pressure can also break us. If we aren’t aware of how stress, anxiety, the burdens and difficulties of everyday life and especially chaotic seasons can wear on us down, grind us to a nub, we may discover too late that we’re unable to continue to find and fulfill our purpose.

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

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Unseen Protector

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Yesterday, on my way back to Columbia, TN from Bedford county, I passed a cable laying company and noticed a large empty wooden spool. I pulled into the business’ parking lot, walked in and asked if they would sell, or even better, give it to me. The owner was willing to part with it at no cost and helped me load it into the back of my truck. There were already some other building materials in the bed so we positioned it on top and I tied it down. However, because of the other materials the tailgate was lowered and the spool couldn’t be turned sideways. I am fairly confident in making a knot that’ll stay secure but I kept a close eye on the big wooden spool all the way home. There were two fears; one that it would roll out the back and into another vehicle, two that it would roll forward and break out my back window. Slowly navigating the back hills to my home I held my breath on every incline and decline, turn and stop. Finally, I pulled into the driveway and exhaled! “Whew!” I gathered my work things from the crew cab and started to go inside. I walked around the truck and to my surprise and amusement I spied the chrome metal toolbox that’s attached to the bed of the truck just below the back window. I’ve owned my vehicle for almost a year and a half and have used this toolbox many times but today completely forgot it was there. The back window was never in danger of being broken because this forgotten protector would’ve stopped it from getting that close.

My worry was that my knot, my ability, my attempt to keep myself and others from pain and loss wasn’t enough. I was so concerned and focused on this obstacle of potential destruction I never considered there was something else stronger, sturdier, in place to keep me from harm. Looking through my rear-view mirror I only saw the spool, never the toolbox.

It was a needed reminder that our focus determines our state of mind, emotions and overall well being. When our vision is obscured because of forgetfulness or refusal to look at other things our minds, bodies and spirits are tied in knots, our energy strapped, living itself becomes a labor. However, when we remember our protector, even though unseen, is keeping us safe we are able to let go and trust even in the most anxious and stress filled circumstances.

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

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Identifying with Others

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This morning I read about a Dad who had a tattoo of his daughter’s cochlear implant imprinted upon his head. Now whether you’re a tat person or not that’s pretty cool.

I was talking with my neighbor last night about a schizophrenic man in Nashville who was killed this week by police after he tried to shoot with a gun and maim with a hatchet a group of people in a movie theater. Fortunately no one else was seriously injured.

It’s hard to understand why a person would do such a thing!” He said to me. I knew this wasn’t the time to go into mental illness and it’s effect on individuals and families but I did tell him that often it’s the people who inflict the greatest amount of pain on others who are suffering the most themselves.

We may not comprehend the hurt and actions of others. We aren’t able to climb inside their minds and spirits to sort out motivations and intentions. However, what we can do is not judge, not dismiss, not shake our heads with condemnation and contempt.

Too often the struggles and difficulties of another separate us, especially when we can’t identify with the particular hell they’re going through. However, using our ignorance as an excuse eliminates our ability to hear their cry, help with their need, bring healing to their wounds.

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

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When Life Keeps Going & Going & Going

This video fascinated me yesterday. The washer kept going and going and going. I kept waiting for it to quit, thinking it might just fall apart, expecting it to explode but it simply held up under extreme hardship and duress.

I think this video captured my attention, in part, because I haven’t felt good the last couple of weeks. However, life doesn’t stop because I’m not at my best. It just keeps churning. I’m not sure which I identified with more; the washer or the piece of metal thrown into it.

Life has a way of testing us, pushing us to our limits, seeing how much pressure, stress, anxiety and chaos we can handle before we quit. We like to think we’re similar to the washer’s motor which, even after everything else crumbled, kept spinning, never surrendering.

Truth is however, no matter how much inner fortitude, grit, resolve and will we have sooner or later the plug will be pulled and our energy supply ceases. The washer motor was willing but without the power to make it go it was only another piece of metal.

Making sure we can keep going isn’t about toughness and stick-to-it-ness, it’s making sure what powers us can’t be disconnected.

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

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How are you?


Part of my work with fathers involves leading a group of dads dealing with the disease of addiction. During these sessions I help them focus in part on assessing their mental health and understanding its importance. We begin with each member of the group answering the question; “On a scale of 1-5, how is your mental health?” Usually this goes smoothly but this past week an unusual thing happened. One of the men, in the middle of our session, yelled at me; “AND HOW ARE YOU DOING MENTALLY?!?!” Startled, I took a breath, smiled and spoke softly to him; “It depends on the day. Today, I’m probably a 3.” He smiled and we went on with the group.

The next day another longtime friend asked me; “How are you?” The question was repeated again later that same day by another person dear to me. I began to wonder and reflect on my original answer given to the group of dads. I told Beth about the multiple inquires and my response. We also talked about the stress and busyness of the last few weeks and the importance of keeping myself honestly aware of my emotional and physical health.

Too often we dismiss needed queries, tune out discussions, give flippant replies regarding our state of being. Wisdom tells us to listen to what’s being asked for in the question we may find our answer.

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

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