Deposit Yourself … February 7, 2013

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Bank of AmericaWithin the common folklore and tales of the life and times of Jonathan Richard Cring is the notion that I hate banks.

It probably sprang from my early years, when I was so poor that when I walked into one of these institutions, I always felt like everyone in the room knew that I was “weighed by my balance” and found wanting. Over the years I have moderated my feelings and generally speaking, I am fine to go to the drive-through window and put money in without too much fear possessing my soul.

Such was my mission yesterday. Arriving there, I discovered that two lanes were open at the drive-through, one labeled “commercial accounts only,” and the other  for us plebeians. In the lesser lane was a white mini van, which pulled in just in front of me. The driver reached for the magical tube, to begin the transaction. It was a woman. I pulled behind her (since I was not a “commercial account” customer).

And then it happened. As it turns out, she took the tube–not to place her deposit neatly inside, for a quick transaction–but instead to acquire a deposit ticket from the teller, which she would retrieve and sit in her minivan and make out her deposit while I waited behind her.

This is one of my pet peeves.

I thought about changing over to the commercial transaction lane. But you see, that’s where we get in trouble. We get frustrated with our present circumstances, caused by someone breaking the rules, we decide to break the rules ourselves. Then we either get caught doing it or we frustrate somebody else, who comes in, observing us breaking the rules.

I realized I had two choices. I could sit there, staring at her rear end intensely, with its “Baby On Board” bumper sticker (I assume a personal confession to her emotional status).  If I did this, I would discover that fifteen seconds would seem like ten minutes. In no time at all I would be convinced I had sat there for half an hour and would reach for my horn, to blare at the surrounding world, only to receive the edification of the lady’s middle finger.

My second choice was to turn off my engine, totally ignore the situation and do something I was planning to do after I left the bank–out-of-order from my Things to Do Today list. But after all, those little notes I jotted down for myself, to give guidance for my day, aren’t exactly the Ten Commandments.

So I turned off my engine, grabbed a book nearby that I was supposed to peruse, and became deeply engrossed in reviewing the material. So involved was I that upon finishing about eight pages, I looked up and the van had disappeared. The lane was open for my entrance.

As I started my van, from my rear came the honking of a horn. Somebody behind me had selected Choice 1.

I just laughed. “I know how you feel, fella,” I said as I rolled forward to make my deposit.

Here’s the truth–I can’t change the world. Let me go further. I can’t improve the world. What I can do is find a way to make my journey as pleasant, free of tension and forgiving as possible. In doing so, it will appear that the world directly around me has changed. If I can get several friends to join me in that quest, we can generate buffer “safe zones,” where other humans can come and not feel that they need to make excuses, lie, cheat and become angry.

This may be the best we can do. Each one of needs to deposit ourselves in an environment of our own creation, where we select to be who we want to be–no matter how frustrating the circumstances become.

Turn off your engine. Grab a book. And ignore all “babies on board.” This, too, will pass.

Then all you have to deal with … is the terror of going to the bank.

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

Re-Spend-Ability… March 31, 2012

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How do you make meat loaf? Well, on a good week, you have the confidence to put in more meat and eggs. On a bad week, you sheepishly add additional bread crumbs and onions.

Good weeks and bad weeks. They accumulate until they become months of struggle. The problem with the American dream is that it works really well until you wake up to the reality. And what is the reality? If you stay at a job and continue to work, eventually your finance will peak, but your expenses will continue to climb. This leads to conflict.

So those “you’re kidding” folks, twenty-five through thirty-six, who have now arrived between the ages of thirty-seven and forty-eight, so concerned about whether their kids were well-fastened into car seats, are now confronted with ever-increasing expenditures and limited finance. They also discover that babies are not the problem—it’s teenagers. Cleaning up a mess in a diaper is much more “doable” than paying insurance premiums after your new young driver has had that first accident.

So suddenly two words that should never co-exist collide, creating the new family dynamic. The two words?Love and money. Matter of fact, the Bible says “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Whenever those two words inhabit the same sentence, there is conflict. So people who were once in love are suddenly at each other’s throats because all conversations seem to be at the kitchen table, discussing the budget.

Here is the train of events: over-budget, overwrought, overwhelmed.

That’s right. Even when she decides to go back to work, the application of that decision drains more finance from the family and actually sometimes doesn’t even create a break-even proposal. After all, she needs a car, she needs a wardrobe, she needs gasoline, she needs lunch money… And meanwhile, the school system that used to be better-funded by a concerned government now has to ask more money from the family because the government has dropped the ball on public education.

Everything is over budget. What do we do when we’re over budget? We become overwrought. At this point, our minds go to disaster instead of possibility. (Even though we know there are no debtor’s prisons, we keep an extra toothbrush just in case.) And when we’re overwrought—since we do love ourselves pretty well—we start looking for someone to blame. How about that person we walked down the aisle with? They’re handy. How about those wonderful children we birthed, who somewhere along the line have seemingly been struck by a spirit of “brat?”

Yet, being over-wrought can seem cruel and put the household in a constant state of tension, so we try to cork up our feelings in a bottle and walk around morose, with a sense of dread etched across our features, completely overwhelmed.

We call this maturity. I call it “Suck on a Triscuit.” There has to be a better way.

Once you discover the truth about the American Dream—that it only works as long as you stay one step ahead of the increase in expenses—then you are better prepared to enter the years between thirty-seven and forty-eight, which I have dubbed Re-Spend-Ability – taking it on instead as a responsibility, which you can handle because you are prepared. Here are four suggestions:

1. Separate. I’m not talking about leaving your marriage.  I’m talking about separating love from money and never talking about them together. If you’re in the midst of a discussion about your relationship, never bring up money. And if you’re discussing money, don’t try to use it as a means to romance. (Can we be honest? Even mediocre sex is acceptable when the mortgage is paid.) Separate love and money, or be prepared for love and money to separate the two of you.

2. Negotiate. I’m talking about with your children. You cannot be a pigeon, flitting around your own household desperately trying to give your kids everything they want, and expect to keep your head above water. If they want something, they should be willing to investigate it, find the best price and work off “their half” of the expense in chores or tasks at ten dollars an hour. Don’t give into the pressure that your children are giving into. What they want has nothing to do with their investigation of good choices. It is a whim and a necessity to them of co-existing with other students at their school who are chasing what Madison Avenue has decided is the new “teen craze.” Negotiate. Will they be happy about it? Your children’s happiness is based upon your demeanor and solvency, not their wish list.

3. Regulate. Don’t yell at your kids to do anything that you are not already doing. Don’t tell teenagers to turn off the lights in the house. Just get a little exercise and walk behind them and turn them off yourself. Shop better. That’s why we have the Internet. Put in a request for a revision on your mortgage. Banks do not respond to applications, they respond to perseverance. Regulate your expenses in a way that the family is never aware of any change in your financial climate, but you benefit at the end of the month with the bottom line.

4. And finally, innovate. The American Dream is not energized by freedom. It is fueled by capitalism. Capitalism is a philosophy that unashamedly concludes “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Since that is the way the American culture works at this point, learn it well. Have some sort of extra project with the family that you entrepreneur—maybe on a Saturday morning—that brings in a little extra cash. It could be anything from garage sales to a small Internet business to one of your children picking up trash for the neighbors and offering half of their intake to the family income. The more you create community with money the less you will fight. You cannot live in the United States of America working forty hours a week and think you’re going to get ahead. Your boosts in salary will never cover the explosions in inflation. It is a time to be creative.

A good number of divorces happen during this period between age thirty-seven through forty-eight. These couples think they fall out of love. Actually, they fall into the money pit and can’t find a way to love each other enough to get out of it. But if we had taught them to be a chilled-hood, respecting each other as boys and girls growing up in equality, and had not allowed them to enter addled essence—adversarial to each other in their teens—and had balanced out the duty of parenting and birthing during the you’re kidding era, there would be a much greater savings account of affection to fall back on during the hard times.

Re-Spend-Ability. It’s when we foolishly think that love and money can be mingled and still maintain harmony.

(We will continue our series on Monday, to allow time tomorrow for Marketing the Big TE)

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Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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