Good News and Better News … September 12th, 2016

Jonathots Daily Blog

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milford-c-c-comp

There is certainly nothing more representative of the heart and mind-set of Jesus than compassion.

Arriving yesterday in Milford, I felt that gentle enthusiasm from Pastor Doug, his wife Marianne and the gathered souls.

They yearn to reach others.

Matter of fact, next Sunday they’re going to invite the community in to join them for breakfast, casting aside the trappings of religion, and making themselves vulnerable as human beings.

Yet in the midst of needful outreach to the community, we must be aware that the church was never intended to be a refuge to nurse the wounds or the grudges of purposely “little people.”

The message of Jesus is clear:

  • Heal the sick
  • Help them discover abundant life
  • And make sure everyone is free indeed

So even though we want to be forgiving and kind, we must remember three very important attributes of Jesus’ ministry:

1. Jesus refused to tolerate complainers.

The Pharisees didn’t have a good word for any good word. They didn’t realize that their hypocrisy was their problem, not Roman domination.

2. Jesus was not too available.

People had to ask about him. The lepers had to seek him out, and some determined souls even had to knock through the ceiling of the house to lower down a comrade for healing.

Jesus required people to make a personal emotional effort so he could make their encounter effortless.

3. Jesus was looking for faith.

Even though the dictionary may not agree, the opposite of faith is complaining. Once you begin to complain, you are proving that your circumstances determine your good cheer. Faith is the ability to deal with difficulty and laugh at it while waiting for fresh opportunity to come your way.

If we can incorporate this into our compassion for those who are non-complaining, seeking answers and bringing their faith, such as it is, we can become a church.

But when we extend grace to those who have been touched by the mercy of God and have decided to growl at the environment and people around them, then we’re wasting our time on souls who have plotted to be out of sorts.

The good news is that Jesus has compassion.

The better news is that compassion is much more effective with those who are not demanding it.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … September 7th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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pohymn-bacon

6:43 A.M.

I brush my teeth, scrunching my face at the first taste of sour grapefruit.

I hear a radio blare, “We are the Champions” as a car zooms by my open window.

I see a tiny spider crawl the length of the wall and disappear in a corner crevice, as I slow my chewing of jelly toast.

I smell burning leaves wiggling its odor through the unseen cracks in my door.

I touch my coffee cup to see if it is sippable, or cool enough to go ahead and gulp.

I taste, I hear, I see, I smell and I touch.

A sensible breakfast.

 

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Jesonian: Reverend Meningsbee (Part 10) “Ketching-Up” … July 3rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

“Maybe it’s your job to go talk to them.”

These were the words of Kitty Carlson, as she sat on the patio at the Four Heads Motel, talking to a bewildered and bleary-eyed Richard Meningsbee.

The previous day he had driven two hours when he passed Chadron and decided to keep going, ending up in South Dakota, very near Mt. Rushmore. He found an outdated Mom and Pop motel and decided to spend the night instead of braving the drive back to Garsonville. He was in no hurry to go to a home that no longer felt homey.

Shortly after arrival there was a knock on his door. He opened it to a young girl in her twenties–blue-jean shorts, t-shirt, long brown hair pointing to the ground, barefoot. She held out a styrofoam cup and said, “I was wondering if you might have some ketchup I could use.”

Sensing Meningsbee’s oblivion, she continued. “My little daughter…well, I microwaved her some french fries for dinner and she’s desiring some ketchup for dipping.”

Since Meningsbee didn’t have any ketchup and still had shoes on, he offered to drive to a convenience store he had passed on his way to the motel, to see if some of the good stuff could be acquired.

Sure enough, the folks at the Jiffy Thrifty Mart were happy to sell him a small bottle of ketchup, at $5.63.

Upon returning, he handed the bottle to her and she started to walk back toward her room.

Meningsbee was nervous. After all, he was a stranger.

So he called after her. “Maybe I’ll see you at breakfast in the morning. Do they have breakfast here?”

Kitty turned around, walking backwards, and replied, “If you like stale Danish. By the way, my name is Kitty Carlson. I’m not from around here. I grew up in Crosstown, Kentucky.”

She continued her backward walking. “My daughter’s name is Hapsy. It’s a blending of Happy and Sassy. I liked it.”

Then she turned facing forward and headed off.

Meningsbee called after her. “Richard. That’s my name.”

Over her shoulder she replied, “Good night, Rick.” (Meningsbee hated being called Rick but chose not to be fussy.)

The next morning he went down to try one of those infamous Danish with some lukewarm coffee and sat down next to Kitty and her daughter. The little lass was frightened in that Southern-child way, connoting that all strangers need to run away or learn the customs more quickly.

Kitty told her story. She was married at seventeen, divorced at nineteen due to domestic violence, and couldn’t seem to get away from her oppressor. So she had moved to this little village, where she works at a diner during the day and does a desk shift at the motel in the early evenings, which covers her room. The managers were gracious enough to allow her to bring Hapsy along, who, by the way, appeared completely thrilled with stale pastry.

“No, really. You haven’t given these people a chance to get used to you, but instead, you came into their town like an unwelcome tornado.”

Meningsbee–or Rick, as she knew him–had shared his dilemma with her, careful not to mention too much “God stuff,” to scare her away.

“No one wants to hear from me,” he droned in self-pity.

“Well, if that’s the case, then they probably don’t want to hear you preach either.”

The statement stung Meningsbee. She of course was right. Since preaching was the last thing most people wanted to hear, it might be good to learn how to chat them up.

She rose to her feet, determined to leave. She stuck out her hand, with a piece of Danish dangling from her teeth, and mumbled, “Nice to have met you, Rick.”

He shook her hand and then reached in his pocket to retrieve the twenty-dollar bill he had set aside as a gift for Kitty and Hapsy. She shook her head.

“No, thanks. We’ve got enough. If I start taking twenty-dollar bills, it just makes me think about what else I don’t have.”

She smiled, waved, took Hapsy’s hand and walked away.

Meningsbee watched them as they headed back to their room. How much had he taken–and still wanted more?

He turned in his key, grabbed a cup of coffee for the road and headed for his car. He pulled out onto the highway and began his drive back to the source of his struggle.

He had a lot to do.

This time, the drive seemed longer.

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Three Ways to Get Yourself Going… July 17, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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lake

When procrastination and fear get together, they certainly do resemble laziness.

Matter of fact, millions of people castigate themselves for being lazy, practicing deep breathing exercises and trying to walk on the treadmill, only to end up, when the day is finished, with the task incomplete.

I really don’t think most people are lazy. They are victims of a common human emotional disorder:

“I’m putting this off because I’m afraid I’m going to fail.”

Now, I suppose you can try to kill your fear or fake enthusiasm, but I think that’s just placing a band-aid on a gaping wound.

Here are three suggestions on how to get yourself going when procrastination and fear have done their best to make you look lazy:

1. Begin your day with a good conversation.

Honestly, the worst place to live is in your own head. It may be where you store wisdom, but it shares the room with your doubt and fear. It’s just good to hear another voice say something different from what you’re thinking. It’s the purpose of fellowship. If you live by yourself, pick up the phone and make human contact. It isn’t good for us to be alone and when we are, we fall victim to our own insecurities.

2. Start out doing something else.

Don’t begin by working on your main project. Life is a lot like waffles–the first thing you do is never going to be as smooth as the second through the last. So do something else. Practice efficiency. Ease your way into excellence.

If you have to go to the dentist at ten o’clock and you’re not looking forward to it, then do something else at nine o’clock to give yourself a sense of well-being and accomplishment before you get drilled.

3. And finally, get away from the common.

Repetition is really noisy. It’s also where we make the most mistakes. When we believe we know something really well, we remove the valuable tension that creates the kind of focus that generates success.

  • Drive to work a different way.
  • Have a unique breakfast.
  • Do something uncommon in pursuit of your everyday activities.

It places a little jeopardy into the situation, which makes for a very good mind exercise.

You’re never going to get rid of your procrastination. Likewise, chasing your fears is similar to trying to hold jello in your hands.

But what you can do is hear fresh voices from other folk, pursue an alternative idea to get you warmed up, and choose a unique path to travel to where you’re going.

Because the secret to life is not overcoming our foibles.

The secret to life is learning how to avoid them and not put them in the controlling position.

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Some Total … October 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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calendar

This morning it was egg whites, bacon and half a grapefruit. Yesterday, cereal, a few nuts and grapefruit.

Breakfast.

I mention the meal because it’s what I partake of right before I write this article to you every day.

Every day.

What a fabulous phrase. As much as we would love to take bows for sporadic activities, pointing to them as an indication of our progress, it is actually what we decide to do every day that energizes our character.

So in a sense, I’m a very selfish man. Even though it may appear that I am graciously offering encouragement to folks all over the world through my scribblings, the action of doing so affords me an emotional and spiritual cleansing daily, which transforms me into the man I am.

I will say this bluntly–if you don’t do something every day that is purposely accomplished, faithfully delivered and inspired by the rejuvenation of new ideas, you will eventually become convinced that life is pretty boring, which can lend itself to anything from lethargy to depression.

So here’s a simple little phrase to remember in becoming an “every day” human being instead of a hit-and-miss planet creature:

SOMEhow do SOMEthing for SOMEbody

Because SOMEday you will be SOMEwhere and need SOME more.

This is a fabulous philosophy, and makes twenty-four hours seem like a lifestyle instead of a waiting room for the next piece of “planned excitement.”

Matter of fact, I was shocked the other day when one of our potential sponsors said that he was going to “pass” on having us in this year, but “maybe next year.”

My mind nearly went into a spastic seizure. Next year?? Doesn’t this fellow know that’s three hundred and sixty-five days away? Three hundred and sixty-five opportunities to gain value, produce emotion and advance the cause. But you see, he’s convinced that he’s mature by being a big planner instead of a simple doer.

Every day.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t even have to be meaningful. It is a quality ritual wherein we prove our belief in the value of life by setting off moments for intentional endeavor.

In doing so, you go from being a victim to a victor.

You transform yourself from haphazard to motivated.

And you start appreciating the power of the rising of the sun and the setting of the same as a great barometer for self-inspection.

Let me say it one more time:

Somehow do something for somebody because someday you will be somewhere … and need some more.

 

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Great Combos … August 8, 2012

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sunshine, shade tree, cool breeze, frosty glass of drink

good friends, no place to go, conversation, peace of mind

warm tortilla chips, chunky salsa, a dribble of guacamole, a funny movie

a quick prayer, chill down the spine, a possibility, hope

a homeless friend, two bucks, stop for a moment, honked at from the rear

an idea, a better thought, recalling, avoiding stupidity

a favorite song, singing loud, hitting the high note, rock star

a kiss, warm and tender, sweet breath, lingering

watching a kid, see him play, giggle inside, time travel

bad television, change channels, no luck, grab a book

church, humming hymns, candles won’t light, laughter and God

driving, country roads, take me home, to a place I belong

me, you, honesty, clean

steak, charred, medium rare, a little salty

tight pants, two weeks, try again, a passable fit

love, misunderstanding, discussion, greater love

birth, life, children, immortality

sleepy, silly, dozy, passed out

Johann, Wyeth, Justice, Lily, Isabella, GRAND KIDS

morning, twenty ounces of water, breakfast, jonathots

an idea, an opening, a flurry of words, a screenplay

GREAT COMBOS

like …

Father, Son, Holy One … and little ole’ me

 

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Motelin Just What … May 29, 2012

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Somewhere between $35.95 cents and $169.99 is the average cost of a motel room in this country for one night. Of course, there are places where you can pay much more for a room based upon locale, special events or some little extra accommodation advertised. But generally speaking, most motels will blush with embarrassment once they go above that top dollar.

It is probably one of the most diversely priced items in this country. For instance, if I told you that a gallon of milk ranged between $1.23 and $18.55, you would be up in arms and ready to lynch some dairy farmer in Wisconsin. Yet the motel industry seems to get by with it by maintaining some dubious rationale in its advertising.

I will tell you right now, after having traveled nearly forty years staying in these establishments, which the top fifty dollars of every price is paying for the name, the location, or the privilege of eyeballing staff wearing coats and ties rather than t-shirts and jeans. If that is relatively important to you, then you should pull out that money and spend it heartily.

Thirty dollars of the price of a motel room in the higher range is for the privilege of being with clientele of your particular social ilk. Yes, I am saying it out loud—cheaper motels tend to draw people who don’t have as much money and unfortunately, in this country we contend that those souls are the source of our crime and violence. (Obviously, not so.)

Motels that charge you a lot of money for the rooms refer to these cheaper establishments as “flea bags–infested with bugs, or dens of drugs and prostitution. Of course, once again, very little truth in the matter (although I would not recommend taking out a motel room adjacent to an adult bookstore.)

If you will allow me to put it into perspective for you, a motel room is a simulation of a master bedroom.  Bed, dresser, closet, television set and adjoining bathroom. And nowadays, most of them have microwaves and refrigerators for convenience, which is a consideration we all might have in the future for our own home unit.

There are really three questions you must ask yourself about your motel room for the night that are essential for a good stay:

1. How much room in the room? Unless you have become very familiar with your traveling companion or don’t mind cramped quarters, being able to walk around your room without running into walls or furniture is a plus.

2. Can I park in front of the door or near to my room? One of the biggest misconceptions is that motel rooms that are enclosed, with a parking lost adjoining are safer than those where you can pull up to your door with your car. Honestly, if I were a criminal, I would not want to rob from cars that are right next to the windows of the owner. I would find a nice, large parking lot far from the front desk–and take my pick.

3. Now, this may surprise you. Staying in a motel room is all about the bathroom. You should be careful of those establishments that miniaturize everything in the toilet area so as to condense space so the room can look larger—because all of the plumbing may look Snow White, but it is best suited for the seven dwarves. Especially beware of toilet seats that are round instead of oblong. They tend to be very uncomfortable and are usually encased by a wall on either side, giving you the feeling that you are being wedged into your experience. The bathroom is the key to a motel room. Good lighting, double sinks a plus–or even a sink in the bathroom and one outside the bathroom is really handy. The shower should be easy to get in and out of and have good pressure.

Once you discover these pieces of information, you understand that the most you should probably pay for a motel room is about $75 a night. Everything above that is advertising name, location, staff or a hot breakfast which is offered to you, including eggs, bacon and sausage (which, by the way, is completely unnecessary unless you’re a lumberjack felling trees in the Yukon.)

As you find with everything else in life, there are ways to save money without losing quality. That seems to stymie a lot of folks, including the U.S. government and Congress–because at least half of what people refer to as quality is name-brand assurance that you will be taken care of if something goes wrong.

So the Holiday Inn wants you to pay extra money for their good name over “Bob and Mary’s Motel” down the street–because in the case of some unforeseen difficulty, they want you to believe they would handle it better than Bob and Mary. But since we don’t know what that unforeseen difficulty would be, and no one knows what anyone would do, you end up spending a lot of money for absolutely nothing–similar to buying extra insurance coverage on a car rental.

So I pulled into Denver yesterday and went to my motel, and as always, it ends up being a mixed bag. The room is small but has a lovely bathroom with an accessible shower AND throne. The air conditioning unit needs some work, but we’ve already met the maintenance man and he seems congenial and willing to try. The television set is too big for the room, but that hardly seems like something one should complain about after simply noting it. And the furniture is not made of oak or covered with leather, but instead, looks like your Uncle Charlie made it out in the garage because he’s hoping to someday leave his job at the factory and start a business.

I feel very good every week upon discovering a diamond in the rough and saving money that people have given me so that I can travel—to use it wisely to buy quality instead of merely a name or false assurance. If we could teach the financiers of our nation the same concept and we would begin to barter once again for better pricing on items instead of signing lifelong contracts with companies based on their previous reputations, we could begin to emerge from this dark cloud of indebtedness and arrogant spending with some dignity–and even have a little fun in the process.

Fortunately for me, I have a traveling companion who enjoys cutting a corner here and there as long as she doesn’t lose and arm or a leg. If we could just find people to elect to be our representatives who had similar mindsets, we would be all set.

So those are my discoveries about moteling. To sum it up, if you need a name, or if you are afraid of being next door to someone who makes less than 50K a year, then you will probably end up paying for the higher priced institutions, for the powdered eggs in the morning, convincing yourself it was worth it. But if you realize that buying a name doesn’t mean guaranteeing quality, or sharing the neighborhood with people who don’t have late-model cars but do have contemporary standards and morals–then you can shop around and save yourself upwards to fifty or sixty dollars a night.

Last week I met some of the most interesting people at the swimming pool where we were staying in Grand Junction, Colorado. They were young enough to be my children or grandchildren, and I befriended them, loved them and enjoyed them, discovering many twists and turns in their ever-evolving lives. It was fascinating.

So “motelin’ just what you’re looking for,” as you stay overnight somewhere, realize that money can be easily spent pursuing a security–that is never pre-ordained.

 

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