1 Thing Santa Has More of Than You and Me

He’s jolly.

I looked up the definition of “jolly,” and quickly found several dictionaries which claimed that the word is so little used that it has become “archaic.”

In other words, “Move over, Grandpa. No one under the age of seventy knows what you mean.”

Jolly is not complicated.

Jolly simply means “to purpose to be exceedingly glad.”

We don’t favor that anymore. We have this idea that we demonstrate our true worth by appearing strained, overworked, busy—and just a little bit cranky.

We assume someone who’s jolly has no worries whatsoever and therefore can presume to be frivolous.

But here’s a clue: that would not refer to Santa Claus.

You’d have to agree that he has a pretty big job. He’s supposed to provide toys and gifts for all the children of the world. And even though the calendar says he has three hundred and sixty-four days to do it, that would still require manufacturing and packaging millions of toys every single day.

What further complicates the Toymaker’s pursuit is that his employees have very tiny hands. I don’t know why he chose to labor with elves, but I certainly hope there won’t be a scandal over how much he pays them.

Also, I don’t know why he’s jolly since he’s so fat.

It certainly doesn’t make anyone else happy, with its threat of heart disease and diabetes. Being jolly would almost appear to be insanely in denial.

Yet for some reason, he giggles his way through several million chocolate chip cookies on one passage across the globe. (I wonder what that does to his blood sugar…?)

Meanwhile, how do you keep up with the inventory? The budget must be frightening. And on top of that, he’s supposed to be involved with animal husbandry—caretaking a whole team of reindeer.

Did I mention the fact that he runs a mailroom? And supposedly the billion or so letters which come his way every year—well, it’s claimed that his eyes fall on every list.

Then, after all of this concerted effort, he also has to deal with a wide range of disbelief. Each one of us probably would groan and moan at the first suggestion that we aren’t real, or we’re “against Jesus,” or that it’s time to hang up the red suit and “put the old boy on a diet.”

Yet, throughout history, including literature, one of the first words used to describe Old Saint Nick is “jolly.”

It kind of makes you wonder what we achieve by trying to appear so adult and contemplative.

It certainly doesn’t draw children.

And it doesn’t make us the point of focus for one full month a year, while those on their way to Bethlehem to worship the Christ child stop off to see Saint Nicholas, requesting their hopes and dreams.

Joy to the world should never be stated or sung by a grumpy believer.

Go ahead–try jolly.

At the very least, it’ll give you a word that you have to explain to all the millennials.



Sit Down Comedy … November 1st, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog


Sit Down Comedy

“It’s simple.”

Remember when that was a positive statement?

Fear, anxiety or nervous energy might grip your soul, and someone would come along and reassure you that what you were about to do wasn’t terribly complex, and had certainly been done many, many times before.

Then…something changed.

I don’t know exactly what it was—you can sit around with your friends and develop all sorts of conjectures on what caused us to devolve from creatures who were grateful for simplicity to a more pompous, edgy and cranky configuration that seems to prefer difficulty and struggle.

Matter of fact, play a game.

Sit down and watch some television—the news, dramas and comedies—and count how many times you hear:

“Life is complicated.”

“It’s not gonna be easy.”

“Somebody just needs to grow up and realize there’s lots of twists and turns.”

“We need to be ready to take on the battle.”

Maybe I’m lazy, but I don’t like to work harder than I need to.

Maybe I’m stupid, but I don’t want to learn things I don’t have to learn.

And maybe I’m immature, but I believe life was bestowed upon us to find happiness, not to fester despair.

So if you’re in the mood to escape an overly tangled web, let me simplify things:

There aren’t thousands of different cultures, millions of different personalities and billions of unique individuals.

Human beings fall into two easy-to-understand categories:

1. I am looking for a world which will adjust to me.

2. I am learning to adjust to my world.

And when you meet people, you can tell immediately which of the two philosophies they favor.

Nervous energy, a tinge of anger, wringing hands over the problems in the world? This is a person who believes the world has a responsibility to adjust to him or her.

On the other hand, people who are easy-going and relaxed are travelers who realize that all the adjusting has to come from them—because the world was in business before they were born.

You can feel free to find another explanation. You can assume there is a possibility for eight billion pathways on this planet that has 27,000-mile waistline.

I would not criticize you or stand in your way. After all, it is your journey, not mine.

But for those “Simple Simons” like myself, who would like to find a more concise explanation, I offer the two-category primer.

So what will it be?

Are you going to keep seeking a world that will adjust to you? Or will you learn how to adjust to the world?

It is not an issue of good and bad. It is not an issue of righteous and evil, but rather, a simple determination on how many smiles you get to sprout in a given day.

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Jonathots … January 15th, 2019


Jonathots Daily Blog


handbook for touching

People decide whether they want to be touched by us by noticing how we handle our other four senses.

  • How do we look at things—the eyes?
  • How do we listen—the ears?
  • What do we think about the odors around us—the nose?
  • And do we enjoy new tastes—the tongue?

Truthfully, if you have nasty attitudes in at least two of these areas, you will notice that people will begin to pull away. Even if you’re in love, married or involved in a physical relationship, it will begin to cool.

For none of us want to be touched by a grouchy person, even though we would never articulate it in exactly that way. It’s why, when we’re little children, we run toward a gracious grandma and reluctantly hug a cranky grandpa.

We are human. Therefore, we have the seed of God in us. That seed demands watering—and the way we water our seed is by using our senses in a positive, Spirit-building way, so when it’s time for intimacy, people yearn for our touch.

When we open our eyes, do we see problems, difficulties, disaster, sinfulness and evil? Or are we looking for things that are promising? That alone makes us appealing. Simply to reject the darkness we see and find the light causes people to want to cuddle closer to us.

Do we listen to what’s going on around us, hear music and scrunch up our faces in disapproval, or do we boldly walk up when we hear glorious things and proclaim, “Sounds great.”

Once again, who wants to be around someone who complains about what they’re hearing?

If you want to win the favor of other humans, walk into the house and tell them it smells fabulous. Or you can walk in, sniff the air, twitch your nose twice in disapproval, and have them praying that you leave soon.

You’re invited to dinner and they offer you a food you’ve never tasted before—do you turn it down? Do you express your reluctance? Do you taste it and say, “Give me meat and potatoes?” Or do you partake and tell them what you like about it instead of what you hate about it?

Ninety percent of the reason that married people lose their affection for one another has nothing to do with physical touching. No, they simply get tired of seeing sour looks, hearing complaints about sound and pickiness over a smell, or the ongoing refusal to try anything new.

I want to touch.

I want to be touched.

Therefore, it is my responsibility to look for good things, to appreciate wonderful sound, to rejoice over fragrance and to be thankful for the variety of delicious tastes that the Creator has offered.


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Prince of Pieces … December 22, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


big pharisees

Little fellow, what happened?

Prince of peace

Good will toward men

Come and see

Good tidings of great joy

Welcoming working-class stiffs

Wise souls heading westward

Excited young virgin

Questing young man

Simple and free

Do unto others

NoOne is better than anyone else

Judge not

Whosoever will may come

Then … the message was altered, the guest list trimmed.

Over the passage of time, those creaky patriarchs of purposeless passages, who once provided for a wicked king insight about your life and birthing locale, so that he could go and take his evil might in an attempt to slay all innocents–yes, those notoriously negative ninnies who sit around dusty books with dirty minds and prohibit gentleness to permeate the cause, indeed, religionists crept in and gradually ate away at the peacefulness of the baby and replaced it with the growling, garbled language of self-righteous philosophers.

Of course, such self-proclaimed notables are never satisfied with one another, so discussion became debate, which raged into a debacle and devastated everything once laced with good cheer.

Even though you told them to “remain as one,” they defiantly disintegrated into hundreds of pieces, holding fast to their own traditions, proclaiming them to be the commandments of God.

What happened, sweet baby?

Where is your holy loneliness?

Where is the message of hope?

Why is it replaced by doom and gloom?

Are we the light of the world?

Or are you the only beam provided?

Are we the salt of the earth?

Or do you deem us tasteless?

Prince of pieces

I fear, young heart, that we no longer listen to the angels of our better nature

Or follow the star in the sky

As you spoke to an aged, cranky Pharisee so many years ago, warning him of his loss of identity and true heart, I must tell you, Babe of Bethlehem, with all the gentleness I possess and humility of my soul … you, too, must be born again.


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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

The G Series: G-1 … December 6, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog


G SeriesIt’s going to be very difficult to have faith that moves mountains if you attempt to maintain a positive attitude that fails to recognize the “rise” in difficulties ahead.

Likewise, if you contend that every Tennessee “smoky hill” is Mt. Everest, you probably won’t do much earth rearranging, either.

For after all, one of the great comedies-in-error is the fact that human beings require a certain amount of balance that they rarely find, or for that matter, are willing to pursue. So instead of analyzing our feelings to find shreds of quality within, we relegate certain emotions as “bad” and others as “good.”

For instance, boredom is normally considered to be a negative in the human family. When we’re bored we become grumpy and immediately try to alleviate the condition by grabbing onto the first roller coaster that zooms through the amusement park.

Yet we consider confidence to be a positive attribute which will propel our wishes and dreams to a conclusion and manifest an obvious victory.

Here’s the truth:

  • When I’m bored it’s because dissatisfaction has warned me that I’ve begun to settle for things that are less than I hoped or are inferior to my abilities.
  • The purpose of confidence is to remind me, in my dissatisfaction, that I have been successful in the past when I’ve ventured into the wilderness of possibility, without every eventuality covered.

I can’t be a complete person if I’m just dissatisfied–I settle into a muddy pit of mediocrity and complaining.

But in like manner, if I have confidence all the time, it will soon be dashed by the reality of competition, trial and tribulation, leaving me running to the corner like a little whipped pup.

It’s the balance of the two.

Every Friday in this G series, we’re going to discuss this balance, which will be one thing we consider to be negative and another we think is positive–which really need to be blended, to generate our human effort through creativity.

I’m dissatisfied, so I will consider, with confidence, what more I can do.

Without dissatisfaction, my confidence is just boasting. And without confidence, my dissatisfaction is merely cranky.

Learn the ways of your human days.

Come face to face with the nature of the race.

And understand that a dissatisfied soul who is able to tap his or her confidence notices that the mountain is small enough that the faith provided …, just might move it.

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

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about scheduling SpiriTed in 2014.

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

click to hear music from Spirited 2014

259 Steps… October 19, 2012


Live from October 1st filming

Her name was Sada. She was my grandma.

Looking back, she was about as cranky as they come. I guess she wasn’t terribly thrilled about having three daughters of her own, so the second crop coming out of the field didn’t exactly impress her. She did two things really well–kept her house clean and she made blackberry pies.

I thought they were the best in the world. Of course, being ten years old, I had no point of reference, nor had I ever attended a bake-off. So about every two weeks, I asked her if she would make one of her delicious pies for my enjoyment. Her response was always the same. “If you want a pie, you’re going to have to go pick the fruit and bring it to me.”

I hated this. I never enjoyed picking blackberries. Built into the consciousness of every blackberry is a decision to reap as much havoc with its thorns as possible in exchange for being extracted from its home. Hanging around the patch were also bees, which scared me to death because I was ten years old and a had the backbone of a jellyfish. In addition,  it takes quite a few blackberries to make a pie and often I brought back only enough blackberries for my grandma to sneer at, saying, “Humph. There’s not enough there for a tart.”

I didn’t know what a tart was, but assumed it meant I was not going to be eating any pies soon. So I eventually discovered that a little orange pail I used for Halloween candy was the perfect size to make two pies when filled up to the top. But every time I asked her if we could just buy the blackberries from the store, she would just shake her head and repeat,”You bring the fruit and I’ll make the pie.”

This story came back to my mind over the past twelve days while I’ve been battling with my legs and walking. As I have told you, at first I fully intended to exercise my God-given right to be discouraged over my ailment. Then I took some time to think about it. You see, thinking is an annoying process. When you get to the end of reasoning out some matter, you always discover that it wasn’t what you thought it was in the first place, and that much of the problem is you.

I believe this is why most people skip the step of thinking and immediately leap to worry. Worrying grants you the dignity of blaming everything under the sun except yourself. As I did my thinking, I realized that at sixty years of age, being extremely obese and continuing to pursue my lifestyle of travel and sharing with great vigor, I was accidentally killing myself off.

It’s not that I have a death wish. (None of us actually has to wish for our demise. It will eventually come.) Rather, it was a piece of stubbornness that insisted that I should be able to freeze my mission in time because the end result of doing it was helpful. Therefore, God needed to overlook my age, my weaknesses and the fact that I was a “fatty-fatty-big-butt” and honor me with reasonable health “because I was doing my best to bless others and serve Him.”

It was downright bratty.

But it didn’t feel that way. I called it faith.

How can you know when you have bratty faith? Bratty faith is when you demand that God do something for you that He is not doing for someone else because you think you’re prettier. I realized that with my temporary setback in walking, that God, like my grandma, was telling me to “get the fruit” so that He could legitimately make the pie.

I believed His phrasing would be more like: “Stop dying and start trying.”

I was asking God to keep me safe from my own devious plan of excess stupidity and ignorance, and make my only responsibility to be there for the show.

Yes, the first step for everything in life is to stop dying.

And of course, there are many ways to die. (Anybody who has ever gone on stage can tell you that.)

  • You can die in your excesses or you can die in your lack.
  • You can die in your ignorance and you can die in your arrogance.
  • You can die in your hope and you can die in your doubt.
  • You can die in your religion or you can die in your agnosticism.
  • You can die in your lifestyle or you can die in your bad habits.

Death is whenever we pretend that we don’t understand the wisdom that has been provided for us and instead, we wait for a different explanation so we can escape change.

I didn’t realize it, but inch by inch I was dying, and expecting God to do daily miracles to do CPR on my gradually decaying corpse. He, being the Gentleman He is, simply took my legs out from under me so I could use the brain half of my body instead of the feet portion. Through that, I learned to start trying.

I am on my twelfth day of an exciting food regimen which has already borne “blackberries in my pail.” Yes, I am on my way to making a pie.

I was able to get out of my van yesterday in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, and using a shopping cart, I walked 259 steps without falling over. More blackberries.

I have not missed a performance–because I have found a wheelchair which will haul my backside from place to place, to continue to impart the little bit I know to those sent my way.  Avoiding the bees, I put some blackberries in my pail.

And I have focused on health as the leading virtue towards wealth and being wise, thus avoiding the thorns and deriving fruit.

If you want to understand the ways of spirituality, you must comprehend that you have to stop dying to start trying. If you want to wait until God is forced through Mother Nature to intervene and cut you off at the knees, you may feel free to do so. Or you can look at the little pieces of death that are going on in your heart, soul, mind and strength right now–and stop the emergency before your situation becomes grave.

259 steps may not sound like much to you, but in my spiritual over-exuberance, I envision a heavenly cheer from a legion of angels.

“Bring the fruit. And I’ll make that pie.”


And the words from God to each and every one of us are, “Stop dying and start trying.”

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