Blog Archives

Grow where You’re Planted

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Grow where You’re Planted

Yesterday, Beth and I began prepping the yard and our plants for winter. Most of our summer plants have dropped their leaves and the ones which won’t be blooming again, or didn’t grow at all, we threw into a ditch next to the fence on our property we’re trying to fill. We’ve done the same thing the last three falls and yesterday I noticed there were plants growing and as I looked closer I saw there were some that we had tossed. There were Tomatoes, Elephant Ears, Blueberries, Palm fronds, and more. It was amazing to see what we thought were used up or no good plants find root and begin growing again, or for the first time.

There’s a lesson in there for those who are going through times of change, transition, difficulty, and loss. Seasons of life, when we are uprooted and seemingly thrown somewhere random, chaotic and left for dead, can still lead to growth. I told someone a few weeks ago, who had begun a new, uncertain chapter in their life, “bloom where you’re planted.” It’s not easy and there are certain to be trying moments where the effort to put down roots might seem to take more than we can give but the result; life, peace, acceptance, will be worth the effort.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Changing Course

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Changing Course –

Changing course is never easy. I was speaking with some men today and we were talking about our ability to make course corrections, live life in transition, embrace the transient nature of reality.

Even though I lecture on the changes that life is made up of, I am one who is not comfortable with transitions. Some people are; “go with the flow” kind of folks. I am a dam up the stream, stop and enjoy the view type of person! However, I also know that water becomes stagnant, contaminated, stale and useless.

Life isn’t made to be still which is why the stillness we seek needs to be deeper than what seems real on the surface. It is in the depths of our souls where peace and strength are found to handle and perhaps even enjoy the quick pace and fast changes life brings our way.

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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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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Upside Down

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Upside Down

Today, I cleaned out our garden boxes in which we grow fruits and veggies during the summer. We are going to recycle the soil and the dried out vines and stalks were placed in the burn barrel. As I was placing some of the soil into my lawn tractor’s trailer I saw spied something light-colored against the dark brown of the dirt. I looked closer, wiping away the soil and discovered it was a Salamander (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salamander). At first, I thought it was dead but while removing the rest of the debris it began to move. I held it as gently as I could and took it to another place where there was ample space to find a new home.

Returning to my work I thought about the Salamander and how, like it,  there have been times in my life where my whole world was turned upside down. Snuggled in the normal rhythm of everyday life, minding my own business when someone or something turned all I knew, trusted, relied upon on its head and before I knew it, home was neither home nor sweet.

It takes time to get used to the “new” normal. There’s a grieving process when we accept that what once was will never be again…ever. Wisdom tells us that life passes, changes, transitions, grows, dies, moves, is never stagnant. In spite of this, we still take for granted so many people and things which are fragile and destined not to last.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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Weightlessness

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Weightlessness

It’s cold today! Yesterday was mild but it has turned and now it’s a “see your breath” every time you go outside. Today is sunny but the days are getting shorter and it’s near dark at 5:00 PM. I feel like hibernating, going into my bedroom, turning up the mattress warmer as high as it will go, snuggling into the covers as deep as possible and not coming out until warmth and long light have returned.

However, I know this isn’t possible. The world doesn’t stop because the season I dread the most, which isn’t even officially here until next Wednesday!, descends upon our part of the world and brings with it cold, barren, colorless, darkness.

One of the hardest lessons to accept from Wisdom is that; “Life keeps moving.” It doesn’t stop. All things transition, nothing lasts, everything has its place, for a while, and then dissolves so another thing will take its place and the cycle is never-ending. It’s a beautiful, frustrating, paradoxical, primordial, truth.

It’s cold today. I breathe out then in, accept with open hands, feel the weightlessness of the present moment and know it is not forever.

@BrianLoging
BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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A Scent of Hope

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A Scent of Hope

In the summer our Lemongrass (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cymbopogon) come in many beautiful shades of green. They shoot up to the sky, ever so bent at the top, reaching heights of almost 6 feet. They are wonderful. If you break off a portion of the blades or are in the vicinity,  you can smell the lemon. In the late fall, before winter, now, they turn a bland shade of brown, droop over and are unsightly. When they look like this it is time to trim them. What once was a gorgeous herb is now kindle for the fire.

One of my chores today included trimming the Lemongrass in front of our backyard wood fence so Beth can hang her garland for the Christmas season. As I grabbed each plant near the ground and cut away at the dying, dead herbs my mind and spirit filled with thoughts of the summer, my favorite season. Once I had finished I raked all the brown blades into a pile and set it  ablaze.

As I stood there, watching the flames grow higher a familiar scent filled the air. It was the lemon from the Lemongrass burning. I inhaled and was both brought back to the summer now gone and the summer to come.

Wisdom tells us that there are seasons of life which we enjoy basking in the warmth and the light. We are blessed and receive the gifts which come with open heart and open hand. Wisdom also teaches that no season of life lasts. Everything is in transition. All things which come, go. Sooner or later we find ourselves in a dry, cold season. The blessings and gifts are but memories. We watch as what we held dear burns in the flames of adversity and find ourselves digging through the ash after trials by fire have done their worst.

It is then, if we are mindful, centered, focused on the truth that this too will pass, the scent of a new season will fill our spirits with the hope of tomorrow.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabsaint.com

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Life and Moving On

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Today I had to make a most difficult decision. It’s been coming for a long while but sometimes its easier to put off uncomfortable choices than to ultimately choose, especially when your decision cannot be undone. Our Golden Retriever, Belle, came into our lives almost 15 years ago. She has been a faithful companion, a good friend and has given us unconditional love in many ways. The last couple of years she’s lost her hearing, vision, her back legs became extremely weak and she’s had trouble standing. These issues along with heart, breathing and other difficult health maladies have greatly diminished her quality of life. The past few weeks she’s taken a major turn for the worse; not being able to stand without assistance, stopped eating and so we made the decision to take her to the vet one last time to be euthanized.

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This morning I took her outside and we walked around the yard. I snapped a few pictures, petted her, talked to her and tried to let her know I’ve appreciated the blessing of her companionship. I helped her into the truck and on the way to the veterinarian continued to tell her how much she’s meant to me and stroked her head. She looked so tired and worn out. Arriving, we slowly walked into the waiting room and a few moments later were put in a room where we said; “Goodbye.”

Life is about transition. Bidding farewell to loved ones, furry and human, is never easy. However, it’s what needed to be done. To hang on any longer would’ve been selfish and cruel. As I sat alone with her in the room gently running my hand across her face one last time, I could hear the receptionist answering phones, folk walking back and forth down the hall. Laughter and life continued on the other side of the door. I got up, left the room and walked outside into the beautiful sunlight.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

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The Scent of Something New


Last week I ran out of body wash. My brand is generic, housed in an unassuming white bottle with a pale yellow lid, inexpensive and has worked for me for years. Later that day my wife was going to the store and asked me if I needed anything. I mentioned body wash along with a few other items. The next morning, getting ready for work, I hopped in the shower and saw a green monstrosity staring back at me! It was Irish Spring, Moisture Blast, body wash. My first response was confusion and I looked for my usual non-brand behind the viridescent behemoth. I called out to Beth; “Where’s my body wash?!?!” “I got you something new. Just try it.” was her reply. “Sigh.” The old was nowhere to be found and once again change, transition, newness had entered my life without permission.

I picked up the plastic bottle and mocked the name; “Moisture blast?” I chuckled and taunted it with one of my favorite Zen quotes; “The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence, but by oft falling.” Thankfully no one could hear the exchange over the running water as I popped the top, squeezed the horrid looking blue gunk onto the scrubber and lathered up.

To my surprise the scent was not at all unpleasant and the wash cleaned me up just fine. I even remarked to the Mrs. after getting ready; “Come and smell me! Don’t I smell good?” “You like it?” she asked. “It’s not too bad,” I quipped. She smiled and I’ve enjoyed the scent of change all week-long.

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

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Change is Brewing

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My wife bought a new coffee pot yesterday and I don’t like it. It’s fancy. Lots of lights, buttons, dials, even a clock, but I don’t care for it. There’s nothing wrong with it per se but I had a great relationship with the old one. It was a simple coffee pot with only an ON/OFF button. It made wonderful java for many years. It’s brew kept me warm on cold winter nights, awake on mornings when I received early emergency phone calls, helped me stay alert on road trips and made a particular gurgling sound when the coffee was ready. It was perfect, well perfectly suited for me.

However, the last few weeks it stopped cutting on when the switch was flipped. Sometimes it took several tries and a good whack before it began to percolate. Since I am the one who usually makes coffee for the family I didn’t mind the extra effort because of the history we shared but yesterday morning my better half attempted to make our morning brew and wasn’t at all pleased. Sigh, out with the old, in with the new. This morning I fought the urge to pull my old friend from out of the trash and instead, again, accepted the reality of change, transition, dissolution and impermanence.

Change bothers me. I don’t deal well with it even though wisdom teaches me all of existence is in a constant state of flux. So, I breathe deeply, let go of attachments to material things and take a big swig!

blessings,

@BrianLoging

http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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Moving to a New Place

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This morning I needed to transplant a tree that was growing on the side of a steep embankment. It needed to be moved if it was to remain healthy and reach its full potential. Digging at an angle is precarious work and there were times when I wondered if it was worth all the trouble but it was too late to stop. If the tree was going to live I had to finish. Finally, I was able to remove the tree and planted it in a nice sunny, even spot.  Hopefully, it’ll take root and be happy in its new home.

As I was digging, and sweating!, I thought about some of the families I work with and the environments where they’re trying to grow. What they need is someone to come and put in the hard work of helping them move to a brighter, more balanced place. It isn’t easy but if they aren’t given the opportunity a negative outcome is almost certain. Growth, health, reaching their full potential isn’t guaranteed but giving up isn’t an option. After all, there were folks who never gave up on me and if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t have the life I have today.

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

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Aloft, Alive

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I watched it dance, flutter, dip and rise in the wind. This kite was doing it’s best to find a smooth ride but the weather front that’s moving through today made it almost impossible. This inanimate object looked alive as it struggled to locate a steady breeze in which to catch it’s breath, cross winds pulling it to and fro. The dark skies highlighted the colorful fabric as I watched from the hill behind our house this morning.

I reflected on the last fourteen months of my life and understood the kite’s struggle to locate calm in chaos, fight for steadiness in a season of upheaval. I have to catch my breath when I think of what I’ve lost and gained in such a short time. It’s hard to fathom this path of burden and blessing I’ve walked. Old friends I miss, new friends I’m making. A vocation I was comfortable with, a different way to serve and help those in need. Uprooted from a place and people I loved, transplanted to an unexpected, uncertain, unique opportunity.

Eighteen months ago I thought I had an idea of how my life would play out. Now, like the kite, I’m trying to stay in the sky and not crash and burn. I took a deep breath as a strong breeze swept over the field. The kite was still aloft and so am I. One day, one moment at a time. Let the path unfold. Don’t fight against the winds of change. Trust.

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

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