Catchy (Sitting 18) Clippings … October 15th, 2017

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Michael Hinston sat back in a leather chair which had been a gift from a Congressman from Mississippi who had recently remodeled his office, had no need for the extra furniture piece and “saw no reason for it to go to waste.”

In Michael’s hand was a plain manila envelope–the kind you would buy at a dollar store. There was no writing on the outside, except in the lower right hand corner, in small letters, was the name, Milford Hayes.

It did not take Michael any time at all to recollect who Milford Hayes was. Ever since the visit in his office, when he was given the fifty thousand dollars from Caine Industries, he had recalled the conversation with the stranger many, many times.

He hated himself because he hadn’t kicked the bastard out the door.

He hated himself for being part of a political system that allowed such corruption.

He hated himself because corporations thought they could buy and sell politicians like sides of beef.

He also hated himself because he had already spent some of the money.

And unlike more noble souls who could suddenly possess a fit of conscience and give the money back, he had no such resource.

He was in.

Whatever “in” meant.

And apparently, with the arrival of this envelope, he was about to find out.

He picked up the phone and asked his secretary to hold all calls, though nobody was actually phoning him. This was another troubling part of his journey in Washington. He had been elected by rural hometown folks in Ohio, but nobody in the Capitol even knew he was alive.

He had thought he was going to be invited to dinner with the President, but when it turned out that his vote was not needed for an upcoming piece of legislation, apologies were offered and he ended up eating pepperoni pizza with his family.

So now, sitting in his cast-off chair, in his uncomfortable office, with the knowledge in his mind that his wife and children despised their new home, he slowly opened the envelope.

Pulling out the contents, he found a clump of press clippings held together with a paper clip, and a white business envelope with the words “For the Kids” written on the outside.

He set the white envelope to the side and thumbed through the articles. They had one central theme–they were tiny news announcements, reports, opinions and press releases about his friend, Matthew, taking on the Harts fortune to popularize Jesus.

Included was an 8 X 10 glossy picture of a young man with long hair. Scrawled in magic marker across the photo was the name, Jubal Carlos.

Satisfied that he had discovered the essence of the newspaper clippings, he moved toward the business envelope. He opened it. Inside was a note written on 20-pound typing paper, along with ten one hundred-dollar bills. The note read:

It’s time to do something. It’s time for you to earn your money. Your nosy friend has decided to take on the challenge and we must do what is necessary to stall his efforts. The picture is of Jubal Carlos, a freelance musician from Las Vegas who lives on the street with the homeless and the indigent. Your buddy from college plans on using him. Don’t you think it would be a good idea for you to use your congressional clout to have the local authorities investigate him? It couldn’t hurt, right?

I have enclosed some “pin money” for little Alisa and Bernice. Stay faithful. Milford Hayes.

Michael put the letter down and stared at the picture of Jubal Carlos. He didn’t know what to do. The young man in the photograph certainly seemed likeable–a bright countenance.

Why would he want to trouble someone causing no trouble?

Why would he allow himself to be part of some plot against an old friend?

Why should he care what a dead, old billionaire wanted to do with the rest of his money?

But what truly haunted Michael was the thousand dollars. Just twenty minutes earlier, his wife, Barbara, had called to tell him that the school was launching a field trip to New York City. There would be additional expense. The secretary from the school said it would cost $500 for each daughter. Barbara apologized for laying a thousand-dollar burden on his mind while he was at work.

Michael paused, shaking his head. Now, twenty minutes later, he was staring at a thousand dollars in cash. A coincidence? A miracle? A blessing?

Or did Milford Hayes and Caine Industries know too much about his daughters?

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Re-Spend-Ability… March 31, 2012

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How do you make meat loaf? Well, on a good week, you have the confidence to put in more meat and eggs. On a bad week, you sheepishly add additional bread crumbs and onions.

Good weeks and bad weeks. They accumulate until they become months of struggle. The problem with the American dream is that it works really well until you wake up to the reality. And what is the reality? If you stay at a job and continue to work, eventually your finance will peak, but your expenses will continue to climb. This leads to conflict.

So those “you’re kidding” folks, twenty-five through thirty-six, who have now arrived between the ages of thirty-seven and forty-eight, so concerned about whether their kids were well-fastened into car seats, are now confronted with ever-increasing expenditures and limited finance. They also discover that babies are not the problem—it’s teenagers. Cleaning up a mess in a diaper is much more “doable” than paying insurance premiums after your new young driver has had that first accident.

So suddenly two words that should never co-exist collide, creating the new family dynamic. The two words?Love and money. Matter of fact, the Bible says “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Whenever those two words inhabit the same sentence, there is conflict. So people who were once in love are suddenly at each other’s throats because all conversations seem to be at the kitchen table, discussing the budget.

Here is the train of events: over-budget, overwrought, overwhelmed.

That’s right. Even when she decides to go back to work, the application of that decision drains more finance from the family and actually sometimes doesn’t even create a break-even proposal. After all, she needs a car, she needs a wardrobe, she needs gasoline, she needs lunch money… And meanwhile, the school system that used to be better-funded by a concerned government now has to ask more money from the family because the government has dropped the ball on public education.

Everything is over budget. What do we do when we’re over budget? We become overwrought. At this point, our minds go to disaster instead of possibility. (Even though we know there are no debtor’s prisons, we keep an extra toothbrush just in case.) And when we’re overwrought—since we do love ourselves pretty well—we start looking for someone to blame. How about that person we walked down the aisle with? They’re handy. How about those wonderful children we birthed, who somewhere along the line have seemingly been struck by a spirit of “brat?”

Yet, being over-wrought can seem cruel and put the household in a constant state of tension, so we try to cork up our feelings in a bottle and walk around morose, with a sense of dread etched across our features, completely overwhelmed.

We call this maturity. I call it “Suck on a Triscuit.” There has to be a better way.

Once you discover the truth about the American Dream—that it only works as long as you stay one step ahead of the increase in expenses—then you are better prepared to enter the years between thirty-seven and forty-eight, which I have dubbed Re-Spend-Ability – taking it on instead as a responsibility, which you can handle because you are prepared. Here are four suggestions:

1. Separate. I’m not talking about leaving your marriage.  I’m talking about separating love from money and never talking about them together. If you’re in the midst of a discussion about your relationship, never bring up money. And if you’re discussing money, don’t try to use it as a means to romance. (Can we be honest? Even mediocre sex is acceptable when the mortgage is paid.) Separate love and money, or be prepared for love and money to separate the two of you.

2. Negotiate. I’m talking about with your children. You cannot be a pigeon, flitting around your own household desperately trying to give your kids everything they want, and expect to keep your head above water. If they want something, they should be willing to investigate it, find the best price and work off “their half” of the expense in chores or tasks at ten dollars an hour. Don’t give into the pressure that your children are giving into. What they want has nothing to do with their investigation of good choices. It is a whim and a necessity to them of co-existing with other students at their school who are chasing what Madison Avenue has decided is the new “teen craze.” Negotiate. Will they be happy about it? Your children’s happiness is based upon your demeanor and solvency, not their wish list.

3. Regulate. Don’t yell at your kids to do anything that you are not already doing. Don’t tell teenagers to turn off the lights in the house. Just get a little exercise and walk behind them and turn them off yourself. Shop better. That’s why we have the Internet. Put in a request for a revision on your mortgage. Banks do not respond to applications, they respond to perseverance. Regulate your expenses in a way that the family is never aware of any change in your financial climate, but you benefit at the end of the month with the bottom line.

4. And finally, innovate. The American Dream is not energized by freedom. It is fueled by capitalism. Capitalism is a philosophy that unashamedly concludes “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.” Since that is the way the American culture works at this point, learn it well. Have some sort of extra project with the family that you entrepreneur—maybe on a Saturday morning—that brings in a little extra cash. It could be anything from garage sales to a small Internet business to one of your children picking up trash for the neighbors and offering half of their intake to the family income. The more you create community with money the less you will fight. You cannot live in the United States of America working forty hours a week and think you’re going to get ahead. Your boosts in salary will never cover the explosions in inflation. It is a time to be creative.

A good number of divorces happen during this period between age thirty-seven through forty-eight. These couples think they fall out of love. Actually, they fall into the money pit and can’t find a way to love each other enough to get out of it. But if we had taught them to be a chilled-hood, respecting each other as boys and girls growing up in equality, and had not allowed them to enter addled essence—adversarial to each other in their teens—and had balanced out the duty of parenting and birthing during the you’re kidding era, there would be a much greater savings account of affection to fall back on during the hard times.

Re-Spend-Ability. It’s when we foolishly think that love and money can be mingled and still maintain harmony.

(We will continue our series on Monday, to allow time tomorrow for Marketing the Big TE)

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Listen to Jonathan sing his gospel/blues anthem, Spent This Time, accompanied by Janet Clazzy on the WX-5 Wind Machine

 

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Below is the first chapter of Jonathan Richard Cring’s stunning novel entitled Preparing a Place for Myself—the story of a journey after death. It is a delicious blend of theology and science fiction that will inspire and entertain. I thought you might enjoy reading it. After you do, if you would like to read the book in its entirety, please click on the link below and go to our tour store. The book is being offered at the special price of $4.99 plus $3.99 shipping–a total of $8.98. Enjoy.

http://www.janethan.com/tour_store.htm

Sitting One

 I died today. 

I didn’t expect it to happen.  Then again, I did—well, not really.

No, I certainly didn’t expect it.

I’ve had moments of clarity in my life.  Amazingly enough, many of them were in the midst of a dream. For a brief second I would know the meaning of life or the missing treatment to cure cancer.  And then as quickly as it popped into my mind it was gone. I really don’t recollect dying.  Just this unbelievable sense of clear headedness—like walking into a room newly painted and knowing by the odor and brightness that the color on the wall is so splattering new that you should be careful not to touch it for fear of smearing the design. The greatest revelation of all? 

Twenty-five miles in the sky time ceases to exist.

The planet Pluto takes two hundred and forty-eight years to circle the sun. It doesn’t give a damn. 

The day of my death was the day I became free of the only burden I really ever had.  TIME.

Useless.

Time is fussy.  Time is worry. 

Time is fear.  Time is the culprit causing human-types to recoil from pending generosity. 

There just was never enough time. 

Time would not allow it.  Remember—“if time permits …”

Why if time permits?  Why not if I permit?  Why not if I dream?  Why not if I want?  Why does time get to dictate to me my passage? 

It was time that robbed me of my soulful nature.    It was time that convinced me that my selfishness was needed. 

I didn’t die. The clock in me died, leaving spirit to tick on.  

So why don’t we see the farce of time?  Why do we allow ourselves to fall under the power of the cruel despot?  Yes, time is a relentless master—very little wage for much demand.

I died today. 

Actually … a piece of time named after me was cast away.

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