Sit Down Comedy …March 8th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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I recently moved, abandoning my old fortress of solitude for new digs, which I now comfortably call home.

In my whole life I have done this process twelve times. I was a little surprised to discover that this is statistically average.

Whenever I move, the first thing I do is go out and buy a box of garbage bags. Why? Because I’m going to give away a whole lot of stuff. These are the materials that crept into my life, were used temporarily, and ended up being stored in my closet or corners, where I intentionally forgot them.

It’s a very easy evaluation process. As I begin to pack things, I look at each item and ask myself the following three questions:

  1. Have I used this in the past three months?
  2. Will I use it a lot in the next three months?
  3. Is there someone who would really like to use it right now?

It makes things so easy. I not only end up moving but am able to bless a whole bunch of people who get the rejects I’ve been keeping around out of sentimentality mingled with laziness.

But you see, likewise, every once in a while, when something in my life needs to be moved, shifted or rearranged, I will dare to enter my closet of emotions and see what might be in there that is unnecessary.

There are three main culprits:

A. Worry

It gets shuffled to the rear and pretends it’s not there until you glance at it and then, the apprehension surfaces.

B. Pride

It always likes to be hung up high where it can be seen but does nothing to enhance my being except puff up my ego and is quickly deflated by reality.

C. And finally, self-pity

This one really likes to hide, like a cockroach surprised by turning on the light in the middle of the night. It likes to pretend it doesn’t exist, but self-pity literally “bugs me.”

When I look at these emotions—worry, pride and self-pity—I know deep in my heart that they’re worthless, but I keep them around for those times when others are not concerned, praising me—or they might even be ignoring me.

They suck. Yes, these fretting emotions literally suck the life out of me.

Because when I pose the three questions to them, which need to be asked of any emotion, they always fail. The three questions are:

  • Is this emotion making me money?
  • Is this emotion making me friends?
  • Is this emotion making me smarter?

Honestly, I do not feel old, but I am too ancient to waste time worrying pridefully in a puddle of self-pity. I need things in my life that make me money, friends and turn me into a smarter being.

So will you join me in grabbing a sack, finding your worry, your pride and your self-pity, bagging it up and giving it away for Goodwill?

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1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Increase Your Possibility of Personal Success


Fail Well

Yes—as an official member of the human race, you will spend most of your time failing. Sometimes it’s small. Sometimes it’s gigantic.

But there will only be one time that it will actually kill you.

So relax a little bit.

Understand that failure is the only way that Mother Nature can teach you the inadequacy of your approach and simultaneously place you in a classroom where you can learn to fare better with your second (or seventy-second) attempt.

We hate failure. It damages our ego—when really, it is our great “amigo.” It is our friend. It limits the amount of damage done in our lives if we’re willing to quickly acknowledge error instead of stubbornly and often angrily continuing to pursue a fruitless path. Two words must be learned:

Sustain or Complain

If you can sustain your abiding faith in the power of wisdom, the love of God and the practicality of effort, you can bounce off any failure, making it a rubber surface instead of finding yourself splatting against the concrete.

To achieve this, you must never complain.

Complaining is when we pretend that failure is unnecessary.

Complaining is when we tell everyone around us that life is not fair, when life itself often generates justice by seeming to be unfair but doing it to everyone.

If you can sustain your belief and refrain from complaining, you can attain your goal.

If you can’t, you will think of failure with words like:

  • Unjust
  • Cheating
  • Cursed
  • Or even Satan

So fail well.

Sustain the good parts, avoid the complaining, and you will live to succeed on another day.


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Reverend Meningsbee (Part 38) Gramps Creekside… January 22nd, 2017

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Reverend Meningsbee

The local mailman decided to enter the cabin when he heard the old tick hound, Queenie, howling.

He found Gramps Creekside dead in his bed.

Now, “Gramps” was not his given baptism name. His bank signature read “Benjamin Donnelly.” But everybody in town called him Gramps because he seemed to be more aged than anyone else they knew–and “Creekside” because many years before he built a small cabin by a creek about three miles outside of town.

Gramps had the legendary blending of cantankerous, kindly and wise. He always seemed to have a good word when it was needed and a little piece of sass when the world became too complacent.

It’s safe to say that everybody in the town, at least once a year, made a pilgrimage out to the little cabin to visit with the old man as he sat and mused over life, spitting tobacco in his ‘toon.

Meningsbee had made such a journey just three days earlier. Feeling the need to be around someone as old as the hills, with the possibility of receiving irreverent counsel, he headed out and sat in the old man’s only extra chair.

As always, Meningsbee tried to start out nice, but Gramps just didn’t like preachers.

His contention was that ministers didn’t have enough work to keep them busy, which caused them to get nosy about other people’s business. Gramps had only attended the church one time, on no particularly special Sunday, and walked out giving Meningsbee the sideways compliment, “You’re better than most.”

So when the news came to town that Gramps was dead, there was a shudder of grief and a reluctance to accept the reality. Deep in their hearts, people knew they would get over his departure, but the absence of his freewheeling style of observation would certainly deplete their world.

The pastor was asked to conduct the memorial service on Sunday afternoon. The church was filled with those who had been graced by the touch and the gruffness of the aging philosopher.

On Saturday, Meningsbee went out to the cabin and walked around, looking for hints as to what to say at the memorial service. There wasn’t much there. Apparently, the old man had savored tobacco and beef jerky.

Gramps had a Bible on his nightstand, what appeared to be a year’s supply of black coffee, three dozen fresh hen’s eggs in the ice box and many cans of Vienna sausages.

Meningsbee picked up the Bible, opened it, and a little slip of paper fell onto the floor. He retrieved it up and read the brief paragraph with a smile. He had found his subject for the service.

When Sunday afternoon rolled around and everyone had tearfully finished their tributes to Gramps Creekside, the Reverend stood to his feet and said:

“Searching through the limited belongings of Benjamin Donnelly, who we lovingly know as Gramps Creekside, I quickly realized that this was not a man who was laying up treasures on Earth.”

The audience laughed.

“Matter of fact, in the whole cabin I could not locate a second pair of shoes, though he granted himself the luxury of three pair of underwear.”

More laughter.

“What I did find was a Bible–a Good Book which had the strokings of many a finger-passing. In that Bible was a note, handwritten by Gramps himself. It read: ‘Am I starting? Am I done? Don’t rightly know. Guess I’ll go on.'”

Reverend Meningsbee paused for a second to allow the words to sink in, and then continued. “Just like you, at first I was perplexed by the meaning, but then it was so much like Gramps that it was like he was whispering in my ear. You see, here’s a man who wasn’t sure how much time he had or whether it was time to leave. But because he didn’t know, he thought the smartest way to live was to keep going full speed until something stopped him. When I read the words, they convicted my heart. I thought about all the things that have stopped me recently, just because they challenged my ego. I thought about all the matters I worry about, which don’t amount to more than dust on a country road. And I realized that Gramps sat out there, not totally convinced that anybody cared, but always prepared to receive a visitor and encourage a heart. We are too busy being busy to really be busy. That’s the truth of the matter. Let me tell ya’–we’ve taken the last few months and allowed the world around us to come in and dissect us like a bunch of frogs. They’ve looked at our insides and concluded that we’re pretty messed up. Well, so be it. Truth is, everybody sitting in this room could tell a nice story about Gramps–and a bad story about him. He wasn’t very bigoted but he was impatient with children. I once heard him tell a mother of a fussy child at the grocery store, ‘Why don’t you leave that little brat home so the rest of us can enjoy squeezin’ our favorite loaf of bread?’ She was offended. But I will tell you–she is in this room today. Because less than six months later, when her husband died, Gramps was out in her driveway, shoveling snow so she could get to work. You see, it’s not about being right. It’s sure not about being wrong. As Gramps said in his note, it’s about keepin’ the thing going until it’s over. He did not lay down for a nap on Thursday thinking he was going to die. Never crossed his mind. That’s the way it should be.”

The service concluded and the folks trailed off to the cemetery to lay the old man to rest. It was decided by the city council to leave the cabin as it was for a while, so people could go out to visit and reminisce.

For the next two months there was a sweet spirit of revival that swept across Garsonville. Not a “Holy Ghost shouting” kind, but a gentle reflection, where everybody asked themselves, “Am I starting? Am I done? Don’t rightly know. Guess I’ll go on.”

 

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Ask Jonathots… September 29th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am always suspicious of superstition–blaming resistance on outside forces and nefarious entities. But at the same time I believe the blessings in life are always wrapped in hassle and difficulty. How can you tell the difference between the resistance that comes from a bad idea and the resistance that come from the brink of greatness?

In the moment of conflict, our personal reaction cannot be controlled.

Even though people insist they can “count to ten, take a deep breath” or “breathe a prayer” to muster a mature response to difficulty, we have already locked in our profile.

This is the essence of “turn the other cheek.”

Jesus is saying that we must literally choreograph our reactions. Otherwise we will spill out the abundance of our emotional turmoil.

Therefore, it really doesn’t matter if something comes from a nefarious source or if it’s just an inconvenience.

Our reaction determines if it will be elongated or eliminated.

So we should be working on an emotional sense of security. We are heart creatures. We don’t answer tribulation from our spirit. All communication comes from the abundance of our heart.

So where should we start?

We should work on the dance–the ability to know how to move when life tries to stop us. To do this we must learn to recognize the triggers that cause us to fall back into genetic or pre-programmed training instead of making our own pure choice.

1. If I’m angry and I do not reveal it, it will turn into frustration, which will make me incapable of handling any unwanted surprise.

2. If I feel cheated and don’t voice my concerns, I will accidentally look for ways to diminish the ego of others to match my depleted profile.

3. If I’m tired of trying, I will stop doing the necessary steps that make my effort productive and start acting entitled.

4. If I believe that I’m supposed to find my enemies in order to isolate and avoid them instead of love them and overcome them with wisdom, then I will become paranoid and find myself making new adversaries.

Even those evangelicals who fear Satan and his wiles need to realize that the punishment of the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was to be cast down to Earth. In other words, evil has to work with Earth-bound fussiness to get at the believer.

So any way you look at it, the more you prepare for life by choreographing an emotional outlook that is not shocked by the arrival of setbacks, the better the chance that you can conquer problems–whether you believe they are natural or supernatural.

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G-Poppers … April 15th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Jon close up

G-Pop’s grandson was a bit spooked by the notion of evil coming from the hearts of humans, so G-Pop continued his discussion with a little more sensitivity toward a little boy’s tender consciousness.

“Let’s put it this way,” said G-Pop. “If evil is out of our control, then who’s to say that goodness is available for us to choose?

The power in life is in having power in your life.

If the devil can defeat you and the angels have to rescue you, you kind of become the classic damsel, constantly in distress. So here’s where evil comes in:

  • Our appetites. We’re just too hungry.

We keep looking for adventure. And the more advertised forms usually involve risk or deceit.

Our true adventure is life. And when we screw it up the first time, fortunately for us, we usually have another chance to revisit the location with a better travel plan.

Our appetites drive us to do stupid things. It’s good to be hungry, but just as we adjust our physical diet to include nourishing portions, we should do the same with our emotional, spiritual and mental buffet.

  • Our second problem is ego. It’s when we are too selfish.

There is certainly nothing wrong with loving yourself if you make sure to leave enough time to grant your neighbor the same courtesy. But if you believe you must destroy, out-flank, cheat or curse your brothers and sisters to get your portion, you will eventually hatch some form of evil.

  • And finally, there’s delusion.I’m too important.’

Finding our true worth is our greatest achievement. Otherwise we start thinking we’re more valuable than we really are, making us pompous, or less valuable, which causes us to become defensive over our deteriorating worth.

This allows delusion to come to the forefront. We convince ourselves that we have a greater capacity than we can prove, and become quite infuriated when anyone challenges our assessment.

When our appetites make us too hungry and our egos cause us to become selfish, then our delusion makes us insist that we are primarily important.

There you have the formula for evil.

Goodness is when we let our appetites lure us to righteousness, our egos make us generous to the needs of others and our delusion is eliminated because we know exactly who we are and who we aren’t.”

G-Pop finished explaining this to his grandson. Amazingly, the little fella appeared to understand.

He turned and said, “I think I’ve got it, G-Pop. Don’t eat too much of anything.”

G-Pop smiled.

A pretty good analysis.

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … March 26th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Man: Cooperate.

Dear Woman: Is that an order?

Dear Man: No, I was just thinking about the word. Co, meaning the two of us, and operate … well, I guess that implies working together.

Dear Woman: The two of us working together. That’s cool.

Dear Man: Well, the trouble is, it’s not cool. We are taught to be independent. Self-sufficient. We’re working on our own biographies instead of a human story. Somehow we feel diminished if all the praise doesn’t come our way but instead is given to a cooperative effort.

Dear Woman: I see what you mean. Yet that’s always been my problem with collaboration. Rather than everybody standing back and rejoicing over the end result, each person has a tendency to point out his or her part in the process.

Dear Man: We can’t help it. Society tells us if we don’t toot our own horn it won’t get tooted.

Dear Woman: It is possible for somebody to blow your horn. After all, it is a horn.

Dear Man: That’s funny. And oh, so true. I guess we need to remember that we were created to be in a garden. It’s a co-op. No person is sufficient unto themselves without a common humanity and a common good.

Dear Woman: I have to be honest. I’m resistant to that concept. I mean, I understand it but it’s like I feel I need to have autonomy. Otherwise I don’t have my own thing.

Dear Man: I’m the same way. I would like to include you, but I really don’t want you to feel like you’re necessary.

Dear Woman: But it’s all over nature. If you don’t mind me bringing it up, even sexuality is kind of comical. The male and female parts are not competely compatible with each other unless the man and the woman talk, discuss and share.

Dear Man: So true. Yet at the same time, we feel like we should be complete within ourselves. It’s important to acknowledge what we have, otherwise we don’t know what we require.

Dear Woman: And it’s not stereotypes. Not all men are strong and all women emotional.

Dear Man: Absolutely not! Sometimes the female is the strong one and the man brings the emotion. It’s knowing how to co-op. In farming, one person plants, another waters and God and Nature give the increase.

Dear Woman: So why are we so damn afraid of this?

Dear Man: We’re taught to look at each other sexually, not practically.

Dear Woman: I can see that. Sometimes I’m just nervous talking to a woman because I’m afraid…I don’t know…that she doesn’t find me attractive.

Dear Man: What can be more attractive than an intelligent exchange? Or the realization that somebody has brought some information to you that completes one of your goals?

Dear Woman: So what can we do to initiate this co-op?

Dear Man: I think what stumps people is that in order to become strong, you have to know where you’re weak. And to use your weakness is to learn to recognize what you need before it’s pointed out to you.

Dear Woman: I think I could actually do that, especially if I had a friend to remind me when I was stumping around advertising my ego instead of being honest about my limitations.

Dear Man: Men and women were meant to cooperate–joining together to operate a plan that is only enhanced by their dual efforts.

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Confessing… October 10th, 2015

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XXIII

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

In an attempt to avoid guilt, we have generated many words and terms to escape the responsibility of telling the truth.

It’s really lying, but now it comes under the guise of “padding your resume, misinformation, mis-spoke, you misunderstood me” or what I call promo talk.

Promo talk is when the real story is not big enough to match our ego.

So we elaborate, and in the process we end up proving that we’re ashamed of the extent of what we’ve done.

It all comes from a basic insecurity which is grounded in a deception:

God, you and that damn piece of bad luck screwed me.

Because it’s not proper or kind to be so blatant, we choose instead to embellish the details of our successes and deny the elements of our failures.

I am guilty.

I have known it for many years, and I have gradually attempted to pull myself out of the abyss of the procedure.

But it’s tricky.

  • I’ve lied about my education.
  • I’ve lied about my relationships.
  • I’ve lied about the extent of my impact.
  • And I’ve lied about not lying.

It’s all because I refuse to look at the beauty of my journey and realize that God’s grace is sufficient for me–without addendum.

I’m sorry. Yes, I am so sorry that I haven’t let the facts speak for themselves.

After all, I will not become more powerful by flexing mythical muscle.

I will not become more intelligent by claiming false degrees.

And I will not become more valuable by elaborating on my qualities.

Promo talk is lying. It doesn’t seem that way because everybody does it. It appears to be just good business.

But good business becomes bad business when we have to cheat ourselves out of the simplicity of standing on our record instead of jumping up on the soapbox and screaming to be heard.

 

Confessing barbershop singer

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