Not Long Tales … August 27th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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3.

The Assignment

Miss Tamara Taylor was thirteen days into her sixth year of teaching third grade at the John F. Kennedy Elementary School in Shimmering Pines, Virginia.

She was a single woman—not by design. She did favor the attention of a male admirer. Matter of fact, in her twenty-six years of being “the great American girl,” she had encountered three lovers, one actually a suitable suitor. He had been willing to share her bed and consider “wed,” until all at once, he got frightened by the specter of a never-ending future, and bought himself a one-way ticket to oblivion. He hadn’t been heard of since.

Tamara had not given up on possibilities but had learned the charm of dinner for one. She told her closest friend that she “didn’t mind dealing with children at work but did not want to come home to one.”

After six years of teaching, she found it beneficial to develop a philosophy. Some of her fellow educators were intent on the program, the knowledge, the books or the discipline. Tamara’s thoughts were much simpler. She decided the best way to teach young children was: don’t harm them and awaken something. She permitted her students call her “Miss T.” She didn’t mind at all, and being part of the present generation, they were absolutely enthralled with the abbreviation.

After thirteen days of cafeteria lunches, her class was gradually getting used to seating assignments and her style of conveying information. So Miss T decided to offer an assignment. She phrased it this way: Write two hundred words on ‘If You Had to Decide Today What or Who You Would Want to Be When You Are Old Like Me.”

The whole class giggled when they heard the title, which was her intent. It didn’t stop them from grumbling over the notion of having to put together a paragraph or two, but the subject matter certainly stirred their brains in the direction their hearts were already mounting a desire.

The papers were turned in yesterday, and she spent the night reading them. She found that the choices her students made fell into categories. When it came to the matter of who or what they wanted to be, king or queen were quite popular. Of course, President made an appearance. Ballerina and rock star were favored—one girl dreaming of being a ballerina by day and a pop diva by night.

There were a couple of firemen, a doctor, a nurse. Money was brought up quite often. Several wanted to be a mommy and a couple, a daddy. And for some reason, one student wanted to manufacture ukuleles.

Then she came to Andrew. He was a quiet, shy, frightened, bullied, smiling lad. Andrew was thoughtful. Andrew refused to follow the color scheme of the common playground. Andrew noticed bugs on the sidewalk. Andrew was the only one who observed that Miss T had changed her hair.

So Andrew’s essay was as different as his choices. It was entitled, “Not Sour.” It read:

My dad likes grapefruit. It is sour. One day he asked me to eat some. He had that smile on his face that told me it was a trick. I took a bite. My mouth puckered. He laughed as I tried to spit the bad taste out. He said, “Grapefruit is sour.”

Dad told me that people can be that way, too. He said that grapefruit needs something to make it sweet. Sugar, honey, that pink stuff, or the blue. Is there one that’s yellow? Or maybe green? Anyway, every sour needs a sweet. The Chinese people figured that out.

My Dad said it’s our job to make our grapefruit taste good. But remember, sweet isn’t good all by itself. It needs a job. It needs to sweeten something.

I don’t want to be sad about the sour in life. I want to sprinkle. I looked that word up. I want to be a sweetener. Maybe I can just go out and join the mess but make things sweeter. I hope that’s not too weird. I don’t think I want to live in a sour world, but I don’t think it will get sweet by itself. So I guess if I have to grow up and do something, I want to be a sweetener. Yeah, I think that’s it.

But maybe driving a limousine, too.

Miss T finished reading the essay and sat back, engulfed in smiling tears. It was so beautiful that she knew all the teachers and grown-ups would want to hang it up, print it or ask young Andrew to read it at some sort of assembly. This was a problem. He was already battling being different and bullied. What would the rest of the kids do if they found out that he wanted to be a sweetener? Clever is a wonderful thing, unless you live around people who are dull.

Miss T wanted to reward his beautiful thoughts.

Miss T wanted to stimulate his budding creative energy.

Miss T desired to have the essay read and understood by everyone at John F. Kennedy Elementary School.

Miss T even knew that the citizens of Shimmering Pines, Virginia, could profit from listening to little Andrew’s ideas.

But Miss T also knew that what was a solution for others could be a huge problem for Andrew.

She took a solid hour considering what to do. Finally, on his paper she wrote A+ Good Work, and tucked it away in her folder.

She needed time to think about it.

 

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Some Total … October 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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calendar

This morning it was egg whites, bacon and half a grapefruit. Yesterday, cereal, a few nuts and grapefruit.

Breakfast.

I mention the meal because it’s what I partake of right before I write this article to you every day.

Every day.

What a fabulous phrase. As much as we would love to take bows for sporadic activities, pointing to them as an indication of our progress, it is actually what we decide to do every day that energizes our character.

So in a sense, I’m a very selfish man. Even though it may appear that I am graciously offering encouragement to folks all over the world through my scribblings, the action of doing so affords me an emotional and spiritual cleansing daily, which transforms me into the man I am.

I will say this bluntly–if you don’t do something every day that is purposely accomplished, faithfully delivered and inspired by the rejuvenation of new ideas, you will eventually become convinced that life is pretty boring, which can lend itself to anything from lethargy to depression.

So here’s a simple little phrase to remember in becoming an “every day” human being instead of a hit-and-miss planet creature:

SOMEhow do SOMEthing for SOMEbody

Because SOMEday you will be SOMEwhere and need SOME more.

This is a fabulous philosophy, and makes twenty-four hours seem like a lifestyle instead of a waiting room for the next piece of “planned excitement.”

Matter of fact, I was shocked the other day when one of our potential sponsors said that he was going to “pass” on having us in this year, but “maybe next year.”

My mind nearly went into a spastic seizure. Next year?? Doesn’t this fellow know that’s three hundred and sixty-five days away? Three hundred and sixty-five opportunities to gain value, produce emotion and advance the cause. But you see, he’s convinced that he’s mature by being a big planner instead of a simple doer.

Every day.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t even have to be meaningful. It is a quality ritual wherein we prove our belief in the value of life by setting off moments for intentional endeavor.

In doing so, you go from being a victim to a victor.

You transform yourself from haphazard to motivated.

And you start appreciating the power of the rising of the sun and the setting of the same as a great barometer for self-inspection.

Let me say it one more time:

Somehow do something for somebody because someday you will be somewhere … and need some more.

 

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

Small Grapefruit… September 30, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2021)

breakfastI don’t think they know.

Matter of fact, I’m pretty sure of it. I don’t really WANT them to be aware because it’s a decision of my own.

When you’re traveling on the road with two other people, it’s important to have single-mindedness, but it’s also essential to make your own personal choices so as to control the quality of your work–maybe better stated, the quality of your life.

It is my job every morning to slice the grapefruits in half. Since there are three of us, every other day it requires the division of two such orbs. Although I have practiced for some time, I can never quite get the grapefruit cut completely evenly, so that the halves are identical. (I know this is my lacking, so you needn’t inform me.)

So then I have a decision: who gets the small grapefruit?

Honestly, my inclination is to view myself as the physically largest person in the room, so therefore it stands to reason that I should get a larger grapefruit. E-h-h-h–not for me. The notion of passing out grapefruit based on massiveness really turns me off.

I thought about having somebody else slice the grapefruit, but then I’m depending on their good nature and sense of fairness to be superior to mine–and therefore end up with the small grapefruit anyway, right? So the only way to guarantee that the grapefruit will be distributed to my liking is to carve it myself.

So back to the question: who gets that inevitably smaller half (which ends up being kind of a third by the time I finish mutilating it)?

It didn’t take me long to come to a conclusion: I always take the small grapefruit.

It’s not because I’m a martyr. It’s not because I’m trying to win points in heavenly places. It’s just that the decision to choose any other option is so selfish, stupid and ridiculous that I don’t even want to entertain it.

I wouldn’t want to think that I’m better than anyone else so I get the bigger grapefruit.

Now you may find this really silly, but I think it’s supreme.

Matter of fact, if I were transported back in time and could give counsel to Adam and Eve, I would say: “Listen. Take care of the small grapefruit, and the apples will take care of themselves.”

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

Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

First Night … June 6, 2013

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Primrose UMCWe spend entirely too much time debating the flavor, freshness and texture of our bread instead of being energized by the fact that it is shipped daily, as a gift.

When I arrived last night at Primrose United Methodist Church, there were not a lot of people there. Perhaps to the outside cynical viewer, it might even have appeared that there were SO few individuals present that NO possibilities existed.

That’s because we live in a society that bounces between religious fervor and “live in the moment” agnosticism. Sometimes people get all worked up about their journey, their need or their family, and for a brief season “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” Then some trial or tribulation comes in from an unexpected angle which attacks the house of cards of that belief system, and they tumble down in bewilderment, not sure why God has forsaken them.

The confusing, back and forth representation of spirituality makes people overly dependent when they need to be energized, and vibrate with worry when they should be relaxing in their accomplishments.

If you want to find out how things work, you need to go back to how it began instead of looking at all the patches on the well-worn tires over the history of religious practice.

That’s where we tried to go last night. A handful of us got together and decided to talk about returning to Eden with our faith instead of hanging around the cross, discussing the blood and salvation, the tomb, shouting and hollering about the resurrection or staring into the Eastern skies, pleading for the second coming.

Eden was where God came up with the idea for human beings to be created in His image. Once you place yourself firmly within the Garden philosophy, you realize that God walked in and said:

“Look. I made all the trees. They bear fruit. There’s food everywhere. The ground is fertile. I’ve given you gorgeous bodies–not because they’re physically attractive, but because they work so well. You see the little parts that give you pleasure and also make other human beings. You’ve got work to keep you busy. You’ve got fruitfulness IN that work to make you overjoyed–AND you’ve got each other. Have a great day. I’ll see you tonight.”

That’s right–God didn’t show up for breakfast meetings. God didn’t have lunch with Adam and Eve. God didn’t come in the late afternoon to save the day because they couldn’t figure out how to pick the grapefruit.

God showed up in the cool of the evening–to talk, fellowship and celebrate the victories of the day. God was confident in what He had provided. God believed in His own daily bread.

Somewhere along the line, we have to teach people who believe in God that God believes in them.

We aren’t the screw-ups that religion insists we have become. We aren’t without potential. We aren’t rotten to the core. We are just lazy, always looking for a shortcut by eating the “fruit of the knowledge of good and evil” so that we don’t have to actually work anymore. Once we get over that we become excited about our lives again, living within the twenty-four hour period, and we become powerful instead of weak.

So I’m going to tell them tonight, as I close out my time at Primrose, that your faith can be hanging around a cross all day, lamenting the death of Jesus or you can look for the signs of the times that point towards the end of the world.Primrose sign

But I would recommend that you come to Eden. Get your daily bread. Work with it. And meet God at closing time–to laugh about your follies and rejoice over your advances.

First night is done. Now it’s time for a new day–an exciting day.

This is a day that the Lord has made.

 

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

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Jonathan’s thinking–every day–in a sentence or two …

 Jonathots, Jr.!

Click below

https://jonathots.wordpress.com/jonathots-jr/

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Please contact Jonathan’s agent, Jackie Barnett, at (615) 481-1474, for information about personal appearances or scheduling an event

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