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Every Moment

blessings,

BrianLoging (Twitter)

thewannabesaint.com

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Difference between Misery and Happiness

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

Difference

Difference

This rainy Monday morning I had several errands to run. It was messy, wet and cold. Parking cars, dodging rain drops, running in and out of buildings is not a fun time. Finally, after it was all done I headed home making the comment; “There would have to be a big difference in this nasty weather for me to even think about going out again!” Unloaded the car, ate lunch, and fell asleep in a recliner. Woke up and the skies had parted and the sun was shining. I smiled to myself thinking; “What a difference stillness, rest makes!”

Still decided not to go anywhere but my outlook on the day was much improved.

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

Elude

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Elude

Mowing the grass today I crossed paths with a butterfly which seemed for a moment he would land on the lawn mower and I’d have a riding partner. Alas, at the last moment, he turned and fluttered away.

I like this quote (pictured). It’s a good reminder that happiness too can elude us quickly. There are many things in this world which promise happiness, contentment, satisfaction but few deliver and even fewer last more than a season. What’s interesting is we keep chasing after the new thing which promises us a better, more respected, fulfilled life but like the butterfly, it flutters away.

It isn’t wrong to seek happiness but in our frenetic, ever evolving, never steady world it’s easy to get lost in chasing trinkets and listening to voices on the wind. The more difficult way is to be still and allow happiness to find us. It takes trust and patience but most good things do.

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

Intimacy

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Intimacy

This evening, on my way into the classroom at the county jail for our incarcerated fathers class, I passed two inmates. One was sitting in a chair while the other cut and trimmed his goatee and hair. There was absolute trust, no shaking, or worrisome behavior, just an intimate moment between two men.

Intimacy, for most folks, means something other than what it meant for these guys. For them, and the other inmates, putting their hair, face, neck in the hands of another man is what they have to do if they don’t want to look like BigFoot.

I watched without staring and was reminded that we are to be intimate with each other. How many family members, friends, co-workers, acquaintances would let us cut their hair and shave their face? This type of intimacy is built over time and out of necessity.

Our world today could use more acts of intimacy, trust and moments that inspire others to do likewise.

blessings,
@BrianLoging (Twitter)
thewannabesaint.com

 

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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The Last Drop

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The Last Drop

Yesterday morning while sitting in the worship center and listening to the pastor preach I noticed a man probably in his mid-thirties drinking a bottle of Code Red Mountain Dew. That wouldn’t be my drink of choice but it might have more of a kick than my morning cup of Joe. He finished it, placed the cap back on the seemingly empty bottle and I turned my attention back to the preacher. However, it wasn’t long before my focus was back on this man as he began staring at the bottle in his hands. He brought it close to his face, began tapping on the bottom and working his way down the bottle. I had no idea what he was doing until he finally got to the upside down cap. He tapped a few more times, opened the bottle, put the cap to his lips, turned it up and drank every last drop of that Code Red Mountain Dew.

It was surprising to see someone so intent on being sure he got out of that bottle as much as he possibly could. However, the more I thought about it the more impressed I became with the man’s commitment to his drink. Too often we only use half of what we acquire, are quick to discard what’s old for the latest model, throw away, misuse, and take most things for granted.

What if we, like the man yesterday, decided we would wring out every drop of life? What if we didn’t give up? What would the world be like if the blessings and goodness that surrounds us all were appreciated in all their beauty? I’d like to think we’d take better care of the planet and each other.

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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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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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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Grudges

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Grudges

Man Repeatedly Vandalizes Childhood Friend’s Tombstone over 56-year-Old Grudge

…“The suspect claims that 56 years ago when the deceased was 10 and this subject was 12, he claims that the [deceased] stole money from him and 56 years later he was getting back at him,” Lieutenant Christopher Ward told NBC 10. “So for 56 years he lived with this grudge. He only realized that he had passed away within the last two years.” It was later revealed that the two had actually been childhood friends, until Donovan accused the deceased of stealing $300 from a wooden box in his room. I guess he never got over it…See rest of story here:  (http://www.odditycentral.com/news/man-repeatedly-vandalizes-childhood-friends-tombstone-over-56-year-old-grudge.html)

Grudges can be powerful things. The man in the story had been carrying around this weight for over half a century! His grudge, like most, come when we feel we’ve been falsely accused, taken advantage of, endure consequences of decisions we haven’t made, suffering because of the selfishness of others.

Grudges are heavy weights to carry. I once witnessed someone speaking on the weights we carry around in our lives. He asked for a volunteer to stand up and to begin walking around the auditorium. After each lap, when he passed the starting point, the speaker would give him something heavy and burdensome to carry. After 4 or 5 laps the volunteer was struggling to walk and couldn’t go any further following a few more.

We all have weights we carry in life. Some of us have illnesses to care for, relationships to heal or keep whole, responsibilities we can’t ignore and a myriad of other burdens we must shoulder for a limited or longer amount of time.

However, there are also other weights we choose to carry such as grudges, judgmental attitudes, bitterness, other bad, hard or ill feelings. Making the choice to let go of this extraneous baggage gives us more strength and freedom to travel the path of life.

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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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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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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Upside Down Blessings

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“A hungry little Hermann’s tortoise happily munched away on a pink flower, never letting the fact that she was upside-down get in the way of her yummy meal.”

I like this video. The turtle, obviously in an awkward spot, didn’t let the predicament stop her from enjoying the tasty pink flower. Her view may have been skewed, her world topsy-turvy, but she still knew a good thing when it presented itself.

This resourceful tortoise reminded me of one of my favorite wisdom parables;

“One day, while walking through the wilderness, a monk encountered a vicious tiger. He ran for his life, and the tiger gave chase. The monk came to the edge of a cliff, and the tiger was almost upon him. Having no choice, he held on to a vine with both hands and climbed down.

Halfway down the cliff, the monk looked up and saw the tiger at the top, baring its fangs. He looked down and saw another tiger at the bottom, waiting for his arrival and roaring at him. He was caught between the two.

Two rats, one white and one black, showed up on the vine above him. As if he didn’t have enough to worry about, they started gnawing on the vine. He knew that as the rats kept gnawing, they would reach a point when the vine would no longer be able to support his weight. It would break and he would fall. He tried to shoo the rats away, but they kept coming back.

At that moment, he noticed a strawberry growing on the face of the cliff, not far away from him. It looked plump and ripe. Holding the vine with one hand and reaching out with the other, he plucked it. With a tiger above, another below, and two rats continuing to gnaw on his vine, the man tasted the strawberry and found it absolutely delicious.”

Life has a way of knocking us for a loop, turning everything upside down, distorting our view, putting us in uncomfortable places and positions, not going according to plan.

Too often all our energy and passion, our sole focus becomes trying to get our lives back to “normal.”  We long to be comfortable, safe and stable. However, when all we’re concerned with is getting to the place where the hard, difficult, uneasy and painful parts of our journey are over we often miss the blessings the trials and tough times bring.

blessings,
@brianloging (twitter)
http://www.thewannabesaint.com

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On Death and Meatloaf

Last night my wife made a delicious, mouth-watering, sumptuous meatloaf. It was wonderful! It’s one of my favorite dishes and she makes it just the way I like it. It was so good we began planning on how we’d eat the leftovers before we went to bed. Maybe with dinner rolls one night, meatloaf sandwiches for lunch? We had our meals set for the next few days.

However, when we the alarm went off this morning, and we stumbled into the kitchen to make our coffee, we made a horrible discovery! After washing the dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, putting (almost) everything in its proper place we forgot one thing…the meatloaf. Somehow we’d missed it and on the counter it sat, all…night…long. We couldn’t take the chance it hadn’t spoiled and so, with sadness in our hearts and stomachs, we threw it away. “Oy!”

Included in my Facebook notifications today, under the; “On This Day” memory and nostalgia page section, was a link to an article I wrote last year only a few days after my friend Mary had died. It was entitled; “Lumped Together, Fading Away.” As I read back over the post a portion resonated in my spirit;

“Wisdom tells us that everything, if we are willing to see, bears witness to the transience of this mortal life. All is constant change, everything is fading, dying, dissolving into nothingness. It is a truth inescapable. To accept this, one of wisdom’s greatest lessons, is the key to appreciating, and fully living in, each moment this ever so brief life has to offer.”

I thought about Mary and I thought about meatloaf. Life isn’t lived tomorrow. We are only given the present moment. If we’re too busy thinking/planning ahead we’ll miss feasting on what life offers today.

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

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You Have What You Need

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I was talking with a friend a couple of weeks ago who just started a new job. Her last one didn’t end well with hurt feelings, ill will on both sides. After a short break of recovery and reflection she believed it was time to accept another position. We were conversing about how to heal, move forward, let go of the past so that we can embrace the present.

Will you pray for me?” she inquired.  “What would you like me to pray for?” I asked. She replied; “that I would be able to do well, my confidence would return, that I wouldn’t be haunted by what’s been.” I told her I would pray for her to realize that now, presently, she has what she seeks. Her confidence, abilities, talents and gifts have never left. Grief, difficulty and pain can obscure who we are, what we can do, but this doesn’t mean they’ve disappeared.

Even though it’s dark the path is still present. Though we may not see, we still know they way.

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

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Complicated Simplicity

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Some of the most memorable people I’ve met on the road of life whose existences have lodged in my mind and spirit have a few notable traits.

There are those who’ve loved me no matter what I’ve said, what I’ve done or who I am. They’ve simply showed me acceptance, kindness, grace and expected nothing in return.

I also remember those who have hurt me, who I could never seem to please, who judged me harshly, spoke to me rashly and discarded me when there was nothing else I could do for them.

Others have imprinted their gentleness upon my soul. By soft-spoken and tender lives they taught me more about what it is to be good and holy than all the books I’ve read, sermons I’ve heard.

There are also ones who’ve stomped all over life’s path, raised a ruckus, overpowered, controlled, manipulated and coerced me and everyone in their path to create and sustain their version of reality.

Perhaps the fellow travelers who’ve inspired and challenged me the most are those who’ve let go, stopped struggling, understood how not to cling to life’s illusive treasures. I’ve witnessed them sacrifice time, treasures and talents to benefit others. I’ve sat by them as they allowed others to receive the praise due them. I’ve heard them take blame, accept criticism and move aside so as to engender peace, stop the fighting and be the one to show love in difficult and unjust circumstances. I’ve been by their bedside as they let go of this life because it was their time, their moment to journey to the other side.

Life is either simple and we make it complicated or complicated but lived with simplicity.

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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