Ask Jonathots … December 8th, 2016

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What do you think about the idea that people get depressed during the holidays? Do you believe in “Blue Christmas?”

The diagnosis of depression is applied to everything from copouts to extreme physiological disorders. It is a shame that such a legitimate concern is rendered questionable by people who simply want to feel sorry for themselves.

So when we talk about depression, we’re referring to three different regions of human behavior:

  1. Fear of the afar
  2. Fear of our surroundings
  3. Fear borne from a chemical imbalance within

So when dear hearts come to us and say they’re in no mood to celebrate Christmas because it leaves them sad, it is important that we listen to them and decide if they’re expressing some apprehension about the world around them, some feeling of a lack of appreciation by those they interact with, or whether the recent concern about the holidays is aggravating what seems to be an ongoing thread in their lives.

Those who are involved in conspiracy theories or worry about what’s going on in our world can often be comforted with good cheer, a sense of well-being and the knowledge that someone cares for them.

Others who are disappointed by their surroundings or who have been subjected to mistreatment are often healed right before our eyes by a spirit of gentleness and kindness.

And those who have physiological roots for their depression need our encouragement to see a doctor so they can feel better.

So during this holiday season, when you run across people who are expressing misgivings, start with some good cheer and give them a listening ear, and see if that doesn’t lift their spirits.

If it does, you are like the angels on high, who declared “peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

But if your attempts at healing still leave them feeling empty, you might use your holiday joy to encourage them to seek an answer and find out the source of their depression within.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … August 10th, 2016

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PoHymn Seated

Seated

I hope I did not scare

You with my wheelchair

It’s just my legs are sore

From all the weight I bore

Crossing this American scene

Since I was just nineteen

First appeared my song

Then the books came along

I saw my movies on the screen

A symphony born, sweet, serene

I raised a house full of boys

Suffered the trials, blessed by joys

A feeling–a calling within my soul

A deeper wish to make me whole

Yes, my heart is full of humble praise

My soul is young and quite ablaze

My mind reaches–ideas to seize

But I’m a bit weak at the knees

You might think I should rest a spell

A doctor’s care might do me well

But the fields are ripe and ready, you see

For laborers to come–is that not me?

Then please forgive my weakened frame

And not consider me a shame

I will tell you of good common sense

And soothe the terror that makes us tense

And find our hope in one another

You’re my sister, you’re my brother

So don’t you worry–all is well

Let’s join together … and change this hell.

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Ask Jonathots …December 10th, 2015

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I am the mother of a fourteen-year-old boy who is playing football on his junior high school team. I am concerned about him continuing because of the new information about concussions. He’s playing wide receiver and he’s very fast and talented, and my husband totally disagrees and thinks I’m just worrying about nothing. I don’t. What do you think?

  • Worry is useless.
  • Worry must take a journey.
  • Worry must become concern, which pursues knowledge and ends up with action.

Your husband, lacking worry, probably feels he is doing a good thing by being open-minded and willing, but it is only a good thing if it’s based on truth, and not merely wishing.

Here are the things you need to know about a young man playing football:

1. The position is everything.

If he is undersized for his position, playing against boys who are larger, stronger and hit harder, then it is not good. If he’s playing against boys his own size, then he has a much better chance of escaping injury.

2. Training.

To play football, you must condition your body to accept punishment for a given time. It also demands that you be smart. At fourteen years of age, he needs to understand that as a receiver, if he’s running across the middle of the field and the pass thrown to him is way over his head, there is no need to leap in the air, leaving himself vulnerable to a hit. Some coaches would disagree with me on this, but most receivers are injured because their quarterbacks threw them a bad pass, which they tried to heroically catch.

3. Don’t give in to pressure.

In other words, if your son experiences a hit that leaves him bleary or with a headache, he should get himself off the field and not try to be macho.

4. Realize that the better you play the game–the harder you hit–the less likely it is that you will be hurt.

5. Check out the equipment.

What is the quality of his helmet? Does it fit correctly? All of these things are important in protecting the brain.

6. Find out what your coach and your local league feel about the concussion issue.

Are they calling penalties for targeting? Are they making fun of the notion of concussions, or are they taking it seriously?

7. Check with your doctor.

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have your son checked before he plays football, to make sure that he’s sound and ready, with an exam that’s a bit more comprehensive than the normal athletic physical.

Football is a wonderful sport because it teaches teamwork. It also imparts the value of personal effort.

But make sure your worry becomes concern and pursues knowledge, for the more you know about it, the better off you will be.

Don’t teach your son to be afraid.

Frightened people get hurt.

Teach him to be smart and respectful of others who share the field with him.

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“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

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Ask Jonathots … October 22nd, 2015

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I am a senior in high school and they want me to declare my major for planning my college career. I can’t make up my mind because there are too many things I like to do. I play piano and french horn, I’m very good with computers, and I also love to write. How do you decide “what you want to be when you grow up?”

If you don’t mind, I’d like to give you two parts to this answer.

First of all, it’s difficult to know, when you’re a senior in high school, that the reason family and adult counselors are trying to push you to discover your major for college is that they want to brag to other people about it.

It has little to do with you. The relatives want to say, “Well, Brian is going to be an attorney…a doctor…a professor…an engineer.”

It allows for the “oohs” and “aahs” which cause grown people around you to feel they have succeeded in raising you up to be a fine young person.

Yes, I’m asking you to be a little suspicious of people who are in a hurry for anything. You’re on the verge of making two major decisions which will determine your peace of mind and your sense of soul satisfaction:

  • How do I make a wage?
  • Who am I going to live with for the rest of my life while I make that wage?

Making the wrong decision on either of these proposals is the main ingredient in unhappiness.

So don’t be in a hurry. There are people who do not declare a major until they’re juniors or seniors in college, and as long as they’re willing to buck up to the course requirements, it doesn’t make any difference.

But as to the second part of your question, “What do I want to do when I grow up?”–that is a bit more intricate and a deeper issue.

It’s a good idea to peruse what you enjoy, but I believe there are three things that go into picking an occupation or answering a calling:

1. Can I do what I want to do for long periods of time without complaining, while still finding new ways to enjoy it?

Boredom is your worst enemy in life. It is the source of poorly timed accidents, and bad choices which can lead to all sorts of misfortune and sin. Make sure that what you choose to do evolves enough that it keeps you interested.

2. Is it going to help anyone else?

If you are able to make money and make blessing for other people at the same time, you will never have any trouble sleeping or have any misgivings about your choice of work.

3. Does it offer a branch?

Here’s a fact: if you go into a line of work that allows you to branch out into other aspects of your interests at the same time, it is most excellent.

So of the things you listed–music, computers and writing–use your great intelligence to find a direction for your efforts, where all three of those might come into play.

Just a thought.

But since you’re in the thought process, also remember: thinking, by its very nature, requires that you slow down and not be in any big hurry.

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

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle's Tales...26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

Click here to read all about Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories Til Christmas! Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

 

“The best Christmas stories I’ve ever read!”

From the toy shop to the manger, an advent calendar of Christmas stories, beginning on November 30th and ending on Christmas morning.

We need a good Christmas this year.

Mr. Kringle’s Tales will help you make it so.

Buy today.

"Buy

 

 

Untotaled: Stepping 22 (May 14th, 1965) Jack Smack … July 12, 2014

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(Transcript)

School was nearly out. I cannot tell you the relief I felt to finish out the year.

Having survived my infatuation with Jennifer, I had disguised my feelings by using revenge or attempts at ridicule, to make it seem that I no longer cared about her.

We were two days prior to summer vacation, in the midst of a school-wide festival, which had loosened the reigns on the tight restrictions usually imposed on us by teachers and principals.

I was feeling so darned good that I felt like I could say “damn.”

I was in the hallway with my friend, Craig, when we both noticed that Jennifer was standing next to the boy’s locker room door, absent-mindedly staring out the window into the school parking lot.

I had an idea–another way to embarrass Jennifer and therefore appease my male ego from her rejection. I whispered my inclination to Craig and he giggled.

So we ran forward, grabbed Jennifer, opened the boy’s locker room door, and pushed her in. It seemed hilarious in the moment. We lodged our bodies against the door as she pounded and screamed to escape. Her pleas sounded a bit comical to us, so we were in no hurry to set her free.

Suddenly she stopped crying out and the pushing on the door ceased.

So both Craig and I ran back into the festivities, hoping to blend into the crowd so that our misdeed would go unnoticed. Little did we know that in the boy’s locker room was Coach Swartz–and that he had walked out of the shower to discover that Jennifer was there, peering at him, creating what could only be the personification of an awkward moment.

He quickly covered himself, ran around to the other door, to peek and see who was keeping her from escaping.

Now for a moment let me talk about Coach Swartz. He was a collision of cool, crazy and confusion. He was cool because he was very handsome and all the girls in the school thought he was dreamy. Crazy, because he taught health class, and thinking that he was a doctor, passed out some erroneous advice. And confusing because he once told us at football practice that black people couldn’t play quarterback because there was extra oil on their hands, and they couldn’t hold onto the ball.

We also knew his first name was Jack because he had a paddling board which he used to punish students, which he had surnamed “Jack Smack.”

Returning to my story, Coach Swartz, with his hair still wet from the shower, ran into the festivities, found Craig and me, took us into his office and explained his overexposure to dear Jennifer.

He wasn’t mad, but said we would have to be punished. He wasn’t even mad as he took the Jack Smack board from its perch on the wall and hammered us both on the ass, seven times apiece.

Matter of fact, from that moment on, I think he liked us more, winking at us in the hallway as he reflected back to his one-man Chippendale show for Jennifer.

Even Jennifer never complained about our prank.

So you see, even though I got my butt whipped, I didn’t learn anything about being a better person through this experience … whatsoever.

 

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A Spring in My Step … January 12, 2014

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Cypress Trails

Two words. Just a pair of words, which if applied well, makes life so much easier, happier and smoother.

Don’t complain.

“Easier said than done!” squalls the cynic from the back of the room.

Actually when it comes to complaining, the solution for this malady is easier done than said. For no single action has created more sour pusses, disgruntled souls and unwilling participants than complaining. It deteriorates every situation down to a sad conclusion, where you not only are failing to do what you want, but you’re miserable stuck doing what you’re doing. doctor tongue depressor

I would suggest we all become a doctor–an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist:

Eye: stop rolling your eyes and squinting every time something comes along that looks like it’s a little different from your normal purview, and instead, be flattered that you get to try something in a fresh way and maybe for a noble reason.

Ear: stop listening to negative sayers, who have lost all hope in anything excellent being achieved and settled in to pursue the mediocre, strongly suggesting that you join them.

Nose: get your nose out of the air and stop following the ridiculous notion that you are better than anybody else or that your pedigree gives you a pass on the kitchen duty often required in the household of humanity.

Throat: if out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, you might want to build a toll booth in your throat to approve all words passing northward which have an attitude to drag down everybody in the room, southward.

And by the way, you could work on the abundance in your heart. If you change it to good cheer and hope, your words will follow.

Complaining is the exhausting, unnecessary trip around the block, only to end up back where you started, more frustrated.

As I spend the day in Spring, Texas, at Cypress Trails United Methodist Church, I will suggest that they gain the ability to be doctors of the eye, ear, nose and throat.

It will give you a clean bill of health, free of complaining. And once you cease to have anything to fuss about, your load will be lightened and your steps will be more joyful … in Spring, Texas.

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Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

Click for details on the SpirTed 2014 presentation

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Starting Position… November 10, 2013

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leechesNo young woman interns in a hospital, training to be a doctor, struggling with leeches, a mustard poultice and liquid opium to make sure that she fully comprehends the history and journey of the medical field.leather helmet

Likewise, no young rookie in the National Football League is given a leather helmet and sawdust to stuff in his pants to protect him from the numerous collisions on the field.

Wouldn’t it be silly to give a young man completing basic training a revolutionary war musket as he heads off to battle, to honor and salute the forefathers who founded this country?

flyingAnd I don’t think a person who is training to be a pilot needs to attach wings to his arms and jump off a cliff, trying to fly, just to have an appreciation for the trial and error that transpired in the pursuit of aviation.

So let me be blunt–I am not a follower of Moses. More power to Jonah, Job, David, Goliath and all the other characters in the stories, but they are experiments on a quest to find the real heart and spirit of God.

I am not a Muslim. I don’t need to know all the dictates of Sharia Law, which to me are superseded by the liberty given by our heavenly Father to all humanity.

I signed up to be a Christian because I believed in Jesus and found the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” to be the only logical axiom to energize our planet to maintain human life. I want to take the Golden Rule and dig for MORE gold.

Christianity suffers under a foolish need to teach history rather than encourage research. When we finally tire of defending a book that is evolutionary in its message, and is fulfilled in the life of Jesus, we will actually be able to offer something to mankind that meets the need instead of accentuating our differences.

“For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”

I am working for that day.

I won’t settle for less.

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