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Image result for the founder


Last night Beth and I watched the bio-movie; “The Founder”, starring Michael Keaton. It is the story of Ray Croc, the “founder” of McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain. It is an interesting movie of how Croc took a hamburger stand, owned by the two McDonald’s brothers, and made it into a food empire.

At the beginning of the movie, Croc is a persistent, charismatic, but not completely successful restaurant equipment sales rep. While on the road he learns that a place in Bakersfield, California, has ordered six milk shake makers! He’s intrigued enough to find out what kind of restaurant needs this many and drives to their location. While there he sees the McDonald’s brothers “Speedy System” (where and how the workers are placed in the assembly area) and the unique layout of their restaurant which allows them to make “made to order” hamburgers in less than thirty seconds! Ray Croc is in awe and talks the brothers into letting him begin to sell franchises all over America. Initially, everything goes relatively smoothly but Ray Croc’s ambition, craving for money and fame, eventually drive him and the brothers apart. I won’t spoil the movie but it’s worth watching.

As I was reflecting on the story today I thought about vision and how it unites or divides people. It can be the vision of ourselves, family, community, church, organization, nation or world. Everyone has a vision of how things “should” be and some share the same vision while others oppose it. Competing visions can cause dissension and dissolution of connectedness and relationships.

Wisdom teaches us the more tightly we hold to our visions of things the more suffering we cause ourselves and others. Only when we are open and allow for the possibility of differing views can we be at peace with ourselves and others.

@BrianLoging (Twitter)


A New Vision

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A New Vision

Last week I wrote about sitting on the couch waiting for the “Bug-Man” to come and spray our house. This Thursday we are waiting for someone to come, take a look at and give us a quote on remodeling our bathroom.

The bathroom is a rough spot for me and Beth. She sees it looking one way and me another. It is a small space so I’m thinking no bathtub, only a shower, lots of counter and storage space. Beth doesn’t like the idea of not having “a place where she can soak her fins.” So, we’re hoping someone who knows more about bathrooms and remodeling than just our preferences can help us decide.

Vision can be a tricky thing. Long ago, I heard someone say;  “A person who pursues a vision without the support of his peers is just someone out for a walk.” Our hope is that someone with more experience and wisdom can give us a new way of looking at things. A new vision that meets both our needs.

@BrianLoging (Twitter)


No Earthly Good

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“One must be chaste, sober and merciful.
Exalt mercy above judgment,
that one may obtain mercy.
Hate vices;
Love the brothers and sisters.

In administering correction
one should act prudently and not go to excess,
lest in seeking too eagerly to scrape off the rust
one breaks the vessel.
Keep one’s own frailty ever before their eyes
and remember that the bruised reed must not be broken.”  

Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 64

No Earthly Good

I believe this is such a beautiful description of leadership. I have no idea how many times I’ve read this section of the Rule of Saint Benedict ( over the years that I’ve been a Benedictine Oblate, ( but each time it speaks to me in the deepest of places.

I think it stirs my spirit today because of the leadership changes we will soon have in our nation. No matter which side of the political landscape you occupy, it’s hard to make an argument that our President-Elect personifies the above description, or is a Christlike model.

This worries me. It worries me because of what it emboldens in others. Too often, harsh, rash, unbalanced leadership doesn’t cause people to reflect but to react. If you’re for a more “strong, forceful, expect respect, my way or the highway” type of leading and now witness that it can take you to the most powerful position on the planet you might be tempted to adopt the; “might equals right” attitude you are witnessing. If you’re on the other side you may take a forceful, coercive stance to object and resist.

I worry about my brothers and sisters who are so politically minded they aren’t much Kingdom good. They don’t, can’t see Jesus in our new leadership and don’t seem to be looking very hard.

So, I worry, reminded that the Master says; “Do not worry.” Though our Teacher does not personify worldly power his Kingdom will never pass away.



What do You See?


What do You See?

Last night after watering our garden and plants I sat down in an Adirondack chair and waited for Beth to pick a few vegetables. It wasn’t too long before I heard her say; “Look at the size of this creature!” Of course I knew this meant getting up and walking back to the garden to have a look.

When I got to her she pointed in a general direction and exclaimed; “Look!” At first I didn’t see anything but the more focused I became the more a giant green grub/ Tomato Hornworm ( came into view.

I almost didn’t see it.” She said. I could see why. The creature blended in seamlessly and if you weren’t looking for it you’d missed it. In fact I did a few moments prior when I watered that section of the garden. We left it alone, finished up our “harvesting” and went inside leaving the green grub in peace.

There are hidden gems, life enhancing experiences, miracles of the natural and supernatural all around us. Unfortunately we’re often too busy doing chores, keep schedules, meeting deadlines to see them. In a world where everything seems to move at a faster rate daily we must be careful not to let speed blur our vision and distort our focus.

@BrianLoging (Twitter)


What Reality?

What Reality-

I’ve never been an optimist. I’m not sure what, in my childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood happened to make me look on the dark side of things but I do. Psychiatrists say that people with depression and anxiety have different way of seeing and thinking. One of the ways we differ is expecting the worst out of most situations. This feeds anxiety which also leaves us open for a depressive episode. Black and white thinking, feeling guilty for everything that goes wrong, all or nothing thinking are other ways our minds try to make sense of the world around us.

It is difficult but learning not to automatically accept my view of reality is a lesson I am learning and trying to put into practice. Examining our way of thinking and seeing the world is also a wisdom discipline. We each have biases, paradigms, views of life that have been shaped by where, when and how we were raised and what we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. Our environments, cultures, religious preferences, and more result in a worldview which few people seldom question. We assume the way we see the world, life, is how it should be and when it fails to meet our expectations and preferences we tend to judge the people, institutions, whoever and whatever refuses to submit to our viewpoints.

No longer being prisoners to our way of thinking can be one of the hardest places to escape from but it can lead us to a freedom few will ever know.



How’s the View?

Woman back of head

Beth and I went to breakfast this morning and then ran a couple of errands. We went to one store and parted ways to retrieve our items. As I was looking at a shelf a woman pushing a cart toward me caught my eye.  I stepped back to allow her to pass and anticipated continuing to browse after she went by. However, she stopped right in front of me and began looking in the same place I had been. “Wow! Are you kidding?” was the first thought which flashed across my mind. Tempted to say; “Excuse me!” I instead, bit my lip, and waited for her to get what she needed and move on.

On this journey of life, as we look for purpose and meaning, there will be two kinds of people. The first are those who help us know where to look, teach us how to be focused, help us see and concentrate on the things which are most important. The second are those who distract us, block our view, attempt to take our vision off of where it needs to be and place it on them.

True wisdom teaches us the difference between those who helps us see and those who’d make us blind.

@BrianLoging (Twitter)


Who We Desire to Be


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.

@BrianLoging (Twitter)


Unseen Protector


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.

@BrianLoging (Twitter)


Going in Circles


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?

@BrianLoging (Twitter)


Foggy Reflection

Our little ol’ farm house needs a fan in the bathroom. Actually the entire bathroom needs remodeling but we can only do so many projects at a time and spend so much money.

When one of us gets a shower the compact room fills with steam and the mirrors become so fogged it’s impossible to see your reflection, much less shave, comb hair, or do other “getting ready” activities.

During the summer we got into the habit of putting a fan in the hall outside of the room and blowing cool air in. It worked well but with fall approaching the nights are getting cooler and so is the house. As a result, even with the fan, the mirrors fog more quickly and are more difficult to keep clear.

After getting dressed this morning I sat on the couch waiting for the Mrs. to finish. I began thinking about foggy mirrors and how life often reflects back to us what we think, believe, our preferences and prejudices. We see what we want, or have been conditioned, to see.

Then, we go through, experience, an unexpected event or perhaps encounter a person that distorts our worldview, challenges our perceptions, makes us question many of the foundations our existence is built upon.

At first we may resist, defend, hold tightly to our paradigms of the way the world is or how we think it should be. Wisdom, however, tells us not to be afraid to deeply examine our convictions, our vision and understanding of what surrounds us, what is beyond us and what is within us.

Oftentimes we discover it’s not the reflection which needs to be made clear but the eyes of our mind and spirit.



The Best We’ve Got?


They’re popping up everywhere! Like spring time weeds or blossoms depending upon your point of view. Presidential candidates are declaring their intentions to capture your vote and the white house in 2018.

As a middle aged man I remember a time when I passionately picked a side, slapped on a bumper sticker and did my best to persuade other folks to the join cause… that was a long time ago. Almost three decades later after countless scandals, lies and promises unfulfilled, anger and venom spewing from both sides I’m convinced politics, in its current state, can’t fix our troubled and deeply divided nation. I wish I had an answer. I do not.

Maybe a wise, humble, woman or man of conviction and vision will step forward. For the sake of the nation and the world, I hope so.



Smothered or Smoldering 


Trying to get a bonfire started isn’t easy when you have wet leaves from a heavy rain storm earlier in the week infesting your burn pile. This morning, however, I was determined to burn some debris whatever it took! After several matches and some dry leaves and sticks on top I finally got the flames flickering. The problem was that not long after the fire would begin to blaze a breeze or patch of damp leaves would reduce the flames to mostly smoke. 

At first I tried relighting it but to no avail. I thought about getting some gasoline but then I heard the crackling of a small flame and decided to wait and see what would happen. It wasn’t quick but eventually the smoke subsided and the fire roared. I stoked it, added kindling and a few more dry limbs and “voila!” a bonfire! Patience is easier to teach than practice.

While I’ve watched the fire today I’ve reflected on how life can also drench us with chaos, confusion, change and transition. Our spirits, emotions, passions and vision can be reduced to mostly smoke from the downpour of life’s unpredictability. We may wonder if our internal fire is smothered or smoldering. Our first response might be to try harder, do better, force the flames. Many times though if we’ll wait, pause, trust, we will burn again.




Warnings Signs & Planning Ahead


A mighty storm front moved through our area last night, snapping a few big limbs and uprooting a few small trees in our area as it passed. Fortunately we were spared any real damage save a couple of lawn chairs blown off the porch, some empty flower pots scattered in the yard and a big limb laying beside our driveway this morning.

I didn’t realize storms were in the forecast until my wife informed me after she arrived home from work. I quickly finished mowing the front yard and coming into the house I noticed the Mrs.’ car needed to be moved. She had parked it under a large tree to unload some flowers she had bought. I considered leaving it overnight but thought, with the heavy winds and rain coming, it might be best to park it elsewhere. It was a good decision. This morning, where the car had been, was a large branch broken off during the storm. Whew!

Too often storms, without warning, come crashing into our lives, leaving damage and destruction in their path. Today I am thankful not just for the warning but also the ability to think and plan ahead.



Seeing Each Other Clearly

It happened the week of my birthday. I had a headache and needed to take some meds. When I grabbed a pill bottle I seemed to bring it up closer to my eyes than ever before to read it. Uhoh! The thought struck me, one day, maybe soon, I will need …gasp…bi-focals! So I headed to the eye doctor to get checked out. It had been a while so the following week my wife and I visited a place called “Total Vision” (the perfect name for a contemplative!)

After checking in we looked at glass frames and waited for the doctor to call my name.  Have you ever noticed that when you are waiting for your name to be called when it finally happens you feel like you have won the lottery? You jump up and walk with your nose a little higher in the air? Almost as if to look down upon those unfortunate ones who are still waiting?

We followed the assistant to a machine where I was instructed to place my head like so, rest my chin here and relax. I did what I was told and the machine blew air into my eye! I am sure the lady told me this was going to happen but I wasn’t paying attention. Following this I had to sit in another chair at a different machine and look at a kaleidoscope that focuses and un-focuses. This wasn’t too bad and was like being on an “acid trip” without the acid, I guess.I was then led to another chair and was told the doctor would call me when he was ready.


My name was called, I jumped up and went into the examination room. Eye exams are strange events. You sit in a chair, they turn off the lights, lower another weird contraption in front of your eyes and the doctor asks “can read this?” My first thought is always “not without my glasses. My eyesight is so bad I can’t even read the big E at the top of the chart without my specs! Doesn’t he have my file in front of him?”

After realizing just how impaired my sight is the doctor adjusts the lenses and repeats “is this better or worse? Number 1 or number 2?” At first all this does is remind me I should’ve gone to the bathroom before I sat in the chair but with a little patience and experience the examiner begins to help me see more clearly. The exam doesn’t take long but this time the doc seemed to go faster than usual. Rather abruptly the examination ended and he said “your right eye needs an adjustment but not your left.” I said “OK,” thanked him, picked out my frames and left.

A week later I had my new glasses and almost immediately I noticed that my eyesight on the right was crisp but my left was still blurry. Figuring it would take a few days to adjust I waited. Several days later and still no change, I was concerned. Going back I inquired with the receptionist if someone could see me and described the problem. He asked for my glasses and checked to see if the prescription and alignment was correct. They were good to go but I wasn’t leaving before the optometrist gave me another look.

After waiting, again, I was called back, again, eyeball blowing, again, pretty colors, again, more waiting, and the doctor called me back…yes, again. I informed him of what was happening, looked through the lens machine, answered the chart questions and he took his time. He not only used the machine but also handheld lenses. When it was over he said “I think we need to increase your prescription in your left eye as well.” I thanked him again, ordered a new lens and now everything is just peachy.

I wonder if I do that sometimes? Someone comes to me for clarity, wisdom, guidance and I just rush them through, hurry them up? Maybe someone doesn’t even want advice just to be listened to?

What if we took our time with everyone we met? What if we didn’t see them as an obstacle, an appointment, a to-do item, but rather was fully present for them in that moment? If we did that for each other maybe we would all see a little more clearly.

light and wisdom,


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