Dudley … May 25th, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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DUDLEY’S DIET

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Cracked 5 … September 22nd, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Things We Want to Ask the Pope to Do While He’s in America

 

A. Give us permission to sell “Pope is the Dope” t-shirts.

 

B. Offer better refreshments for Holy Communion.

 

C. Request he begin all his speeches with, “Let me be Frank.”

 

D. Update Mother Mary’s Facebook status to “Single and Available.”

 

E. Remove all calories from barbecue ribs and caramel crunch ice cream.

 

Cracked 5 Pope Francis 2

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A meeting place for folks who know they’re human

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The Alphabet of Us: E Is for Eliminate… January 5, 2015

  Jonathots Daily Blog

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 Building block E bigger

All human beings possess a heart, soul, mind and strength. Nothing of any true significance can be achieved unless this is understood.

Overestimation of ability is the sure-fire way of draining energy. Human beings have very little will-power. Nothing will be achieved without understanding it.

For every magical story you can relate about someone who overcame difficulties through resolve, I can provide a million testimonials of wishy-washy results.

It is in the exaggeration of our goals that we cripple ourselves with the burden of too much anticipation, which is often followed by too much disappointment.

I can not eliminate anything. The minute I believe I can, I will make bold statements which I will be unable to achieve, causing me to want to lie. And I will tell you right now–even though we seem to be a society that condones lying, there isn’t a human being who will actually put up with anyone telling them one.

So what are we looking for? If I smoke two packs of cigarettes a day, can I really throw them away, go cold turkey and survive? Am I a hero, or am I setting myself up for an incredible fall which will make me fearful of reaching the heights of such conviction again?

Here’s the axiom:

Work on working on the work of simple progress.

If I could put that into the hearts of every brother and sister I encounter, I could lift the burden of expectation and replace it with practical approaches to making things a little bit better.

For instance, when I rounded the corner this year and wanted to lose weight, I realized that I needed to adopt an improved philosophy. Here it is:

1. Less of what I am doing.

Yes, if I can just do less of over-eating, I will be much acclaimed, even in my own mind. If every fat person would simply eat a hundred fewer calories a day, they would lose a pound a month. Remarkable.

2. More of what I want to do.

Once I stop chasing the rabbit of promises, which is wearing me out because of the futility of my efforts, I can settle down and just begin to do more of what I want to do. If every person in America smoked one less cigarette, ate one more vegetable a day and walked up that one flight of stairs, our health care costs would drop drastically.

3. And finally, just learn to tell the truth about both.

In other words, “This is what I’m doing that’s making me miserable, and this is what I need to do to make me happier.”

As people, we have a childish inclination to justify all of our actions, as if they’re really our aspirations.

Learn how to be pissed off at what’s hurting you, and delighted with what helps.

The word “eliminate” is impossible for human beings.

  • It is not our function to eliminate poverty. Keep in mind, the impoverished person must be willing to cease his or her condition.
  • We do not have the gumption to eliminate our bad habits. We can lessen them–and ultimately might convince ourselves that we don’t need them.

Arrogance is anyone who believes they have the capacity for scaring away all their demons. It’s just not possible.

The demons know us well, and have found clever hiding places.

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Somebody Should Do Something…. May 19, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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There are two simple ways to immediately improve your life.

First, get rid of all your committees.

Second, start doing some rendition of what resembles your dream and then be prepared to change.

Since our present society is completely unable or unwilling to pursue either of these options, then please settle in for a long winter’s nap of repetitive nonsense. And one of the main pieces of nonsense is the ongoing droning drivel that “somebody should do something.”

Let us understand–somebody already has.

  • We wouldn’t have cures for disease if they hadn’t.
  • Slaves would not be freed without somebody doing something.
  • Salvation for the human soul would never have been accomplished from a “do nothing” Savior.

It isn’t like we have to come up with our own idea or create a world unto itself–unique to our circumstances–to accomplish good deeds. There are many paths set before us, tremendous options and inspiring tales to thrust us forward in the direction of accomplishment.

We are reluctant–both as a species and then, as individuals.

Why?

There are two nasty principles that were ingrained in us at a young age, no matter what culture we came from.

  1. Don’t make a fool of yourself.
  2. Leave well enough alone.

For some reason, as a race, we learned these much more easily than we did long division. Maybe it’s because we’re basically insecure, and both of these concepts feed that timidity, making it easier for us to remain stagnant.

Maybe it’s because indifference burns fewer calories and allows for more naps. I don’t know.

But the end result is a disgruntled multitude, complaining about the absence of leadership while simultaneously resisting any prophetic voice that would advance a new theory.

You have to make up your mind. If you want to extol the status quo, do so, but please never complain about the blandness of your grits. Or … prepare yourself for the shock that if anything is going to be done, to look any further than your own motivation is an exercise in futility.Abe

HitlerBecause there is really only one moving part in the human experience–only one thing that separates an Abraham Lincoln from an Adolph Hitler. Both men were bigoted in their own way. Both men took office believing that a particular sect or race of human beings was inferior. Both individuals had a certain dictatorial style to their rule. (Yes, Abraham Lincoln was called a dictator.)

The difference between Abraham and Adolph is that when information was given to Mr. Lincoln to prove that slavery was wrong, dangerous and god-forbidden–he changed.

On the other hand, when the armies of the Soviet Union and the United States were perched on the outskirts of Berlin and it was obvious to everyone–including Chancellor Hitler, that the war was over, he literally dug into his bunker and permitted the slaughter of an additional quarter of a million people to justify his foolishness.

Therefore, saying that somebody needs to do something is an ugly blending of self-pity and stubbornness.

And self-pity and stubbornness are the main attributes of all the inhabitants of hell.

A footrnote: muich thanks to my dear brother from yesterday morning at Algood, who told me his pet peeve was the phrase, “somebody needs to do something.”

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Arizona morning

heAfter an appearance earlier this year in Surprise, Arizona, Janet and I were blessed to receive a “surprise” ourselves. Click on the beautiful Arizona picture above to share it with us!

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Destiny’s Childish… July 21, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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destiny signThose who are not religious by nature call it “destiny.” The more religious among us refer to it as Calvinism.

It is the contention that there is some sort of “master plan” for every human being–that we find our purpose, value and joy in discovering this mystical path and following it fervently.

It is one of those strange areas where those who believe in God and those who don’t converge in a common mission of discovering an individual odyssey that was pre-determined for each and every soul.

There are many problems with the belief in destiny:

  • Often it removes the motivation to excel in our pursuits or experiment with new ideas.
  • It can make us bitter when misfortune strikes our journey and we are dumbfounded because our Benefactor has taken us down a darkened thoroughfare.
  • It can cause people to walk away from legitimately good relationships under the guise of pursuing the perfect soul mate.
  • And it can render us completely incapacitated as we wait for guidance that just never seems to come.

There are really three choices:

1. God has a wonderful plan for our lives, which we must follow if we want to be pleasing to Him and truly happy.

2.  God has a plan for our lives but we can take detours and even change it up a little bit, as long as we still get to the point He wills us to be.

3. We have free will choice and a Father who stays with us and will never leave nor forsake us.

Now I’m sure there are derivations, blendings and even differentiations but generally speaking, anything you would come up with probably falls within the scope of one of these three ideas.

My problem with #1 is that Jesus compares God to an earthly father. There is NO earthly father who would ever think about controlling the lives of his children–even if he felt it was to their betterment. In doing so he would weaken their wills and perhaps make them resentful of his interference.

When it comes to Choice #2, I become confused because random acts and accidental discoveries are frequently at the root of the progression of the human cause. People were searching for different cures when magnificent elixirs were stumbled upon. The Bible makes it clear that time and chance happens to all–and if we’re under some belief that God’s will is a straight line or even an arc, heading for a specific apex in the future, then we rule out the glorious possibility that our lives can be enriched and changed for the better. And even generational curses, which seem placed on some families by genetics and environment, can be breached and overcome.

The only sensible understanding of humans on earth is free will. That means there is a past, by the grace of God there is a present, but the future is undeclared. Why?

Because the future is in our hands.

Perhaps you would feel more comfortable to think that God was controlling everything, but in doing so He would be taking away any significance of worship–because we would not be selecting to follow Him, but instead, toeing the line out of fear.

I love God because He gives me free will. I love free will because I can choose God.

There you go.

I can choose God in my dealings with human beings, I can choose my Father in heaven through the tenderness I express through my art–and I can even choose a divine sense of earthly understanding when I consider my calories and food intake.

I believe that the devotion to the notion of destiny has stymied our creativity, expansion, love and spirit of adventure.

It makes us childish–childish in the sense that we are afraid to displease an angry parent, while insisting that we love him dearly.

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Emotional Cabbage… February 22, 2013

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cabbageI had to laugh. The slender young woman on the television set was explaining that the key to weight loss was portion control.

Of course, dear friends, if I could control my portions, I wouldn’t be a big fat boy, now, would I? If I was able to put less food on my plate and convince myself that I was satisfied, I would certainly be slim. Unfortunately, I can’t do that.

So the key to my weight loss is to trick my body into believing that I am eating just as much as I was before–but making sure that all that food going into my mouth is much healthier and has many fewer calories.

Casseroles help–just taking a baking dish and throwing in a whole bunch of stuff that looks delicious, cooking it up together and knowing that you will be able to fill your plate up just like you used to, but with about one-third the calories.

And one particular thing to add to that goulash is cabbage. It is a great filler, it is absent calories and aside from adding a little gas to your diet, it makes your plate of goodies look robust and full.

Yes–the key to weight loss is to change the amount of calories without changing your desire to enjoy good food.

Of course, the body is not that different from the human emotions. Everyday of our lives, we need confirmation of our status, reinforcement of our ego and encouragement of our pursuit of happiness. If we don’t have this we will start getting depressed, fussy and critical of other people who seem to be improving their lives while we are standing still.

So just as you need cabbage in your casserole to make your dinner seem like bounty, each and every one of us needs emotional cabbage added to our everyday, repetitive chores, to make us feel full of passion. Without this, we start feeling starved and cheated, stealing dignity from other people to make ourselves look better.

So what is emotional cabbage? Every day we need:

1. An opportunity to use our talent. That may sound silly, but most individuals work a job and perform duties that have very little to do with their actual talent. It is something they have learned to accomplish to make a living, but their heart’s desire lies in other areas. If your quest is not being pursued daily in some kind of opportunity you have created for yourself, be prepared to go to bed feeling a little emotionally empty. Each and every twenty-four hours, we need an opportunity to use our REAL talent.

2. To keep that emotional cabbage churning, you also need a challenge to that same talent. Repetition–even of good things–often makes us believe we are spinning our wheels, going nowhere. We require a challenge–because a challenge gives us two very important things. It puts our abilities to the test and secondly, it gives us the chance to celebrate our victories and correct our mistakes.

3. And finally, to have emotional cabbage in your life, you need a good, hearty, DAILY cleansing laugh. It may sound silly, but I will tell you this–if you are seeking an opportunity to use your talent and you are challenging your talent, many funny things will come your way. Laugh. Good cheer is when your whole being confesses that nothing is too serious to ever bring you down.

I call it emotional cabbage. Without it, we feel hungry for more, even when we’re too exhausted to do anything else.

  • An opportunity to use your talent
  • A challenge to your talent
  • And a good laugh

It will keep you pure in your heart. It will make you believe that good things are possible. It will create a loving spirit.

It will make you valuable to your fellow-man.

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Fairfield’s White Unto Harvest… November 12, 2012

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Life is awkward.

Nothing of any significance will occur in the reading of this essay unless you understand this. Life is filled with moments of inconvenience which can either mount up in your mind and seem unconquerable, leaving you in despair, or can be taken on one at a time, with a tenacious sense of humor and be overcome.

It’s really that simple. Those who try to supersede the awkwardness of life by avoiding nervous encounters end up in a smaller and smaller world with fewer and fewer possibilities and more predictable friends and circumstances–which annoy them because of how bland they are.

Now, I had a fabulous Sunday morning in Fairfield, Ohio. It wasn’t fabulous because everything worked perfectly. It wasn’t astoundingly delightful because the cosmos came into synchronicity with my purpose. No–it was awkward.

Arriving at the gig, I discovered there were three big steps leading to the platform. Right now I don’t do steps. Sometimes I can successfully pull it off without looking like a worm ascending a plank–if there is a handrail available. You guessed it–no handrail.

Awkward.

On top of that, before we came on to share our bits and pieces, there was a march of children bringing in boxes of toys for the needy and a very well-produced salute to the military by the chancel choir, complete with veterans standing up in correlation to their particular armed services song.  Let’s review: marching children, a salute to supporting our troops.

Awkward.

Following the introduction by our dear sponsor, we received no greeting of welcoming applause, so I had to begin my show in total silence. It would be difficult to explain to you how awkward that feels without placing you in that position–which I mercifully do not desire to do.

Did I mention that life is awkward?

At the end of my program, during my final song, the ushers suddenly decided to start collecting the love offering used to defray our expenses. I have a particular hatred for this. It makes me feel like I’m either singing for my supper or I’m trying to drain the audience of finance by emotionally stimulating them with one of my musical selections. I gently requested that they stopped passing the plate, but they ignored me. It bothered me enough that I missed one of my lyrics, but then I shook it off and completed the song.

I want you to understand that this is not an indictment of Fairfield or an attempt to get you to feel sorry for me. This is life at its best–awkward as hell, waiting for me to bring a little heaven.

If you’re going to live on a planet that decides to rain whenever it wants to, using machines that have parts that break down, surrounded by fellow travelers who are convinced they have the right of way and subsisting in a body that is racing towards death, you might want to adjust your thinking and be prepared for a bit of evolution.

I loved those people yesterday–but what I want them to understand is that our country will never be what it was or become what it needs to be without them first learning to take awkward and change it into possibility. As long as you run away from awkward, you will run right into the arms of defeat.

Life is about overcoming awkward moments.

Take this morning: we are packing up our headquarters, loading it into a van, and driving down to Louisville, Kentucky, to unpack it and start another week. There are folks who would be convinced that is virtually impossible, and if not impossible, certainly a hassle– and henceforth unwarranted. As long as you maintain that mentality, you will be at the mercy of tribulation and under the control of those who have figured out a way to survive a moment’s fussiness.

Nothing is easy. I have been on a food regimen now for a month. So yesterday, I decided to go to the pot luck dinner provided by the church. It was lovely, generous and delicious, but NOT low-calorie. So the amount of food I was able to put on my plate and still maintain my regimen would have caused a hummingbird to complain to the restaurant management. It made me a little grumpy in the afternoon when I didn’t have any calories left to consume.

Awkward.

We as human beings have no way of gauging our success unless we can look back on how well we handle ourselves in awkward moments. I was hesitant to write about this today because I don’t want the folks I fell in love with yesterday in Fairfield to think I am complaining. Quite the contrary–I relish them. How will I ever get a chance to prove the value of my philosophy of life if what I believe and think isn’t challenged?

I feel good this morning–not because every aspect of my plan came off with utter precision. It’s because I devised a scheme through a series of well-placed chairs to mount the stage and get to my keyboard and off the stage and into the wheelchair, cruising on to my book table, without falling flat on my face. Glory be to God and praise the Lord and pass the ammunition (in honor of Veteran’s Day).

I am grateful that when the offering plates were passed, completely against my wishes, that my wilfulness did not win out, but instead, I went with the flow and the sun still shone and the earth revolved. Not everything has to be done my way in order to end up working out for my good.

I am overjoyed that I survived a church potluck and somehow or another made it to 5:15 that evening, where I was once again permitted to be a consumer and enjoy additional nutrition.

Life is awkward.

As Jesus said, the fields are white unto harvest but the laborers are few. Why are the laborers few?

Is it because people are lazy? Absolutely not.

Perhaps people are looking for a handout and don’t want to work? I don’t believe so.

I believe it’s because people are scared hopeless over the prospect of the shifting sands moving beneath their feet, changing their circumstances and creating an environment they were not prepared for. So they try to play it safe.

You have to decide–is life a shooting range where you stand at a distance and aim for paper targets, hoping to achieve a bull’s-eye? Or is it a forest where deer hunting season is in full progress and you’ve just discovered you’re a buck? Yes, the buck starts here.

Thank you, Fairfield. I am so grateful for you proving once again that love is not a confirmation of what we believe, but rather, an extremely awkward process wherein we continue to believe, often without ANY confirmation.

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