Ask Jonathots … November 10th, 2016

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What role do you think the media played in the 2016 Presidential election?

Decide.

It’s the most important step each one of us takes in our lives. Decide what we think is important and steer our life in that direction.

Without this determination, we often find ourselves misled by the passing fancy of an overzealous press or an under-informed society.

Once you understand the function of the media, you can begin to comprehend how their input is valuable, and where it is detrimental to your own well-being. Here is the agenda of the media in the United States of America:

1. Dig up information–the fresher the better.

In the process of desiring to bring news-breaking stories, often truth and detail are compromised. So in order to be intelligent, you must realize that what you hear is not dependable unless it has survived 72 hours of scrutiny.

2. Fill time.

When the nightly news was only half an hour in length, there was no requirement to cover so many stories with so many angles, as with the introduction of the 24-hour news cycle.

It is similar to going to a party knowing you’re going to stay an hour, or going to a party knowing you will be forced into the confines of that environment for four hours. Under the one-hour limit, you don’t have to work so hard to fill the time, and therefore may actually be less likely to lie, exaggerate or gossip.

3. Make money.

Yes, the media is at the mercy of sponsors, and they often have an agenda. So the media finds itself subject to that agenda, and therefore they pad reports with stories which support the requirement.

So whenever you watch a news organization, you are getting their “take” on the news instead of an even representation.

As for me, I consider what the media is doing–having already determined three things for my own lifestyle

A. I will love my neighbor as myself.

B. I will take personal responsibility for my life.

C. I will be of good cheer.

I feel that the media during this Presidential election was instrumental in robbing us of a sense of brotherly love, personal responsibility and certainly a desire to have good cheer.

There were just times I had to turn it off  to maintain the integrity of my heart’s desire and mission.

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Ask Jonathots … November 3rd, 2016

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Organic and natural foods are extremely expensive–out of reach for the average American, including me. But packaged foods are full of additives, starch or high fructose corn syrup. How do you find affordable healthy food in America?

In the realm of groceries or food products, there are only three ways to acquire nutritious portions and avoid the additives, salts and sugars.

1. You can grow your own food.

It may sound a little ridiculous, but lots of people have a small parcel of land where simple vegetables can be grown with some ease–especially things like tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers and squash.

2. Look for mark-downs.

Some grocery stores are very willing to mark down produce and even meat when they are near expiration. Find those stores, learn their patterns and be there when these various products are discounted for a more reasonable price.

3. Adjust your menu for the week to what is on sale.

Sometimes produce and vitamin-rich products are set at a lower price in order to lure people into the store. They often keep those prices for ten or twelve days, hoping to “hook” people on the taste before they raise the cost.

Don’t lock into bananas when it turns out that strawberries are on sale. Don’t insist on grapefruit if they have a deal on tangerines.

And I guess I should add a fourth point:

If you’re going to get nutritious food at a reasonable price, you have to adjust to the fact that you probably will be traveling to more than one grocery store. Make shopping a joy by beating the system through finding the deals, taking advantage of the mark-downs, and then supplementing your choices with a few things grown from your own garden.

If you will do these things, you will find that your budget will permit much healthier choices.

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The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this inspirational opportunity


Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling!

An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

"Buy

 

 

 

Ask Jonathots … May 12th, 2016

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My daughter is in the first grade. She’s always been very shy and insecure, which her father and I have been trying to address with encouragement. But the school psychologist tells me she’s developing a neurosis and I should take her to a psychiatrist. What is a neurosis?

Being neurotic is having a fear of the edge of a cliff which is in front of you.

Psychotic is thinking that the edge of the cliff is chasing you.

But there is a situation where we become so afraid of the edge of the cliff that we keep backing away from it while increasing our trepidation and limiting our possibilities.

Although I am sure there are psychological and physiological reasons for people to be afraid, normally in the case of a child, these insecurities are caused by hesitation, which is accepted by parents who don’t want to “push” their children.

There is a certain amount of jeopardy necessary if we want to grow instead of falling back into intimidation.

What do I mean?

Let’s say your little daughter takes piano lessons. She comes home at the end of the first lesson and says, “I don’t like piano.”

So you ask her to go a second week, but she has even less passion–so when she returns from the lesson and is nearly in tears over being pressured into doing this adventure, you give in and let her quit.

She’s relieved.

You feel you’ve done a good thing because she’s no longer terrified. But terrified is not a position of life–rather, it’s a reaction to it. And if you don’t live enough, you gradually become horrified by things that used to be enjoyable. This is where we develop a neurosis.

You’re catching this at the right time.

We’re not trying to turn all of our children into concert pianists, Broadway dancers or professional athletes. But we are trying to teach them to begin something, muddle through the middle and finish it the best they can.

Success does not go to the world’s most talented people. Success is achieved by those who are still around when the awards are handed out.

So let me make three quick suggestions:

1. Sign a contract.

In other words, if your daughter wants to take piano lessons, make her sign a contract that says she will stay with it for two months. Hold her to it.

2. Encourage what is encourageable.

Children are not stupid. They know when we’re insincere and when we really think they might have done something good. Point out what seems to be growing without criticizing what is lacking.

3. Learn to ask why.

If your child says she’s afraid, have her verbalize the source of her fear and explain why she thinks that is acceptable or why she believes it needs to change.

Fears are not alleviated by conquering them, but rather, by talking about them so we’re in the right mindset to begin to address the problem.

If you do these three things while she’s still young, she won’t become convinced that she’s just not “a particular type of person.”

I can always recognize someone who’s poorly trained. They will begin a discussion by telling you what they aren’t instead of stepping forward with what they are.

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Ask Jonathots … May 5th, 2016

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What causes some siblings to grow up to be friends and others not? I’m forty and I’m not close to my sister at all. I have two teenage daughters, and I’m wondering what I could do to help them grow up to be friends. Your thoughts?

Perhaps one of the more egregious errors in our culture is the notion that the nuclear family is meant to remain intact.

It causes more stress, misgivings, grudges, insecurity, mishap and even murder than any other predicament facing our species.

If I were a coal miner in West Virginia, was unfortunately involved in a cave-in and spent nine days under the earth with eight other people, we would become very close. Matter of fact, we would share dreams, aspirations, prayers and any food and water available to sustain one another.

Yet to think that after I left that cave of impending death I should continue those relationships with my fellow-prisoners outside the mishap would be ridiculous, forced and disappointing.

For a season we share common goals and aspirations with our family. That experience can range from survival to ecstasy.

But humans are meant to come out of this cocoon and bloom in our individual lives, to start our own families, sustaining our species with new possibilities.

Some sisters have memories of the time when they grew up in the same house, but their journey takes them in completely different directions, with new friends, causing the old encounters to bring fond memories but not needful continuation.

Other sisters stay in the same communities, and it’s like their new families are extensions of the older rendition.

One thing is certain–it evolves naturally and cannot be manipulated through false emotion or guilt.

We must understand that for some people, the memory of their birthing family is pleasant but irrelevant, pleasant but valuable, pleasant but in the past.

For others such recollections are unpleasant and degrading, unpleasant and unnecessary, and unpleasant and harmful.

It is always better to look at the family of our youth as the ship that brought us to the New World. Sometimes that ship can sit out in the harbor of our environment as a memory of great times. And sometimes the ship is so full of holes that it needs to be sunk.

You can’t help people to be friends. Friendship is always based upon mutual concerns.

But what you can do is maintain the better parts of every experience as you launch out into newness of life.

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Ask Jonathots … March 17th, 2016

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I’m twelve, and have had the same group of girlfriends since first grade. Nowadays all they want to do is talk about boys, flirt and hate other girls. Do all girls have to become boy crazy, and is there anything I can do to get my friends back??

No.

There’s nothing you can do to get them back–simply because you must remember that we are a species.

As a species, we are men and women. And what you refer to as “boy crazy” is what keeps us going, alive, functioning and moving forward.

But there is no reason to copy what other people are doing if you aren’t prepared for it or if it isn’t something you desire.

There are only two stupid things to do in life:

  1.  Something someone else thinks you should do.
  2.  Doing it a second time because you’ve convinced yourself “it’s really your idea.”

There will be plenty of people your age who are not boy crazy or girl crazy, who are developing at your pace. Every once in a while, you need to find those people and spend a little of your free moments around them.

It doesn’t mean you reject your old friends–it just means that right now you need to include some other folks in your life who share your passions, your ideas, your hobbies and your pursuits.

In the process of doing this, you’ll probably end up blessing some younger folk and also discover a couple of new people you would never have known because we tend to hang out in our own circle of acquaintances.

But make sure of one thing: don’t be ashamed of your emotional make-up.

Beware of people who insist that you become their definition of “normal.”

Normal is how God leads you when you have a conversation with Him in your heart.

 

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Ask Jonathots … March 10th, 2016

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You hear it all the time: “She got that talent from her mother…” Is talent actually inherited?

No.

I suppose I could just stop there, but maybe you would like some clarification.

Let’s start off with a definition for talent: Talent is a capacity for success.

Simply having talent does not guarantee us prosperity.

  • It is a capacity.
  • It is a potential.
  • It is an opportunity.

It is an even playing field for those who are willing to work hard, allowing them to use some natural inclinations.

There can be physical attributes that are passed along through the DNA system. Maybe these specific “pluses” make it easier to pursue certain directions in life.

But talent is and always will be the realization of a dream through the pursuit of focused labor.

Therefore, people who have no history of music in their families can become dynamic examples in the art form.

All things being fair, our Creator never intended that privilege and preference would be infused into anyone. The gifts that God gives to human beings lie in the discovery of our inner strengths, our weaknesses, and learning how to balance these to our advantage.

Of course, if you surround a child with hammers and nails from the time he is five years old, the chance that he will grow up to be a carpenter is heightened. But he also might grow up to be an itinerant preacher who changes the world.

Be grateful for the fact that talent cannot be attributed to anything but your own faith, the desires of your hope and a really well-put-together and disciplined work schedule.

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Ask Jonathots … March 3rd, 2016

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The medical field keeps people alive much longer than it used to. Do you think this is a good thing?

Are you asking me, do I think more people should be dying? (Somehow or another, I think this is a trick question.)

For thousands of years, life offered only one possibility: quality.

Quantity was fairly unlikely, except in a few rare cases, where longevity was miraculously granted without any obvious effort by the recipient.

Most people, from the time they were children, grew up with an awareness of their mortality and the realization that death was not only present, but often imminent.

So over the years, through medical advances, we have succeeded in increasing the quantity of life without really doing anything to enhance the quality.

This is what I feel about long life: Long life is wonderful if it’s good life.

To me, good life has three elements:

  1. Purposeful work.
  2. Expanding, growing relationships
  3. A good balance of vulnerability and confidence.

The medical field does not address these situations, nor should it have to. This should be the responsibility of our philosophers, teachers and ministers.

If you’re only going to live longer to spend that time fussing about your health, well-being and treatments, then I’m not sure what you’re achieving by becoming a prisoner of your own body.

So I think pursuing a long life is an enriching experience as long as you avoid a trio of negative by-products:

A. Becoming obsessed with your physical health to the detriment of your emotional and spiritual health.

B. Allowing your concern about health to encompass your conversation to the point that you become irrelevant to younger people.

C. Living so long that you settle for a less-than-fulfilling situation, which is only a fragment of what you originally intended to have in your life journey.

Somewhere along the line we need to understand what life is all about. A great teacher once stated that “life is more than the body–what we shall eat and what we shall wear.”

So true.

So if you can give the same attention to your body that you have given to your heart, soul and mind, then I think it’s possible to live on for a long time…with joy.

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