PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant … November 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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If This Were 

If this were your final year

After shedding a needful tear

What would quickly cross your mind,

And what purpose would you find?

To keep your precious cheer

Blessings have come your way

Fresh and fruitful every day

With your portion of common pain

Your faith and hope still remain

To confirm the words you say

A partner in love and devotion

To share the deep-rooted emotion

A treasured husband or wife

Your children come to life

A divinely inspired notion

Your work is your good news

The evidence of your views

Your belief has the energy you need

To take the time to plant your seed

For love is what you choose

Yes, someday it truly will all end

Maybe not this year, my friend

But when it is your time to go

The curtain falls, the final show

Take a bow, but just your head

Born of God, you’re never dead

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G-Poppers … November 4th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop is insulted.

After six months of playground buffoonery passing itself off as a Presidential election, he finds himself feeling violated by the very same people who would solicit his support.

One of the candidates insults G-Pop’s intelligence and the other one insults his faith.

As Secretary Clinton touts her qualifications for the job of being the leader of the free world, listing numerous occupations which have prepared her for the position, she simultaneously pulls up lame, pretending that the technology of an email server is beyond her grasp.

She also has a litany of profiles to explain how four Americans in Libya–a very hostile environment–were lost on her watch.

On top of that, she continues to make excuses for a husband who certainly did his best to denigrate the gravitas of the job as Commander-in-Chief.

It seems that Hillary is incapable of comprehending that credentials need to be backed up with actions.

On the other hand, G-Pop’s faith is insulted by the lifestyle and urges of Donald J. Trump. Donald has taken one of the primary concepts of the Declaration of Independence–“all men are created equal”–and has whittled away, redefining the meaning of these words by placing special significance of one group over another.

He simultaneously has taken the respect, honor and equality that Jesus saw for women, attempting to turn our country back into a 1950’s philosophy, where it is assumed that men will step in to cover the inadequacies of the “ditzy female.”

But worst of all, Mr.Trump pretends to take on the mantle of faith in Jesus Christ, when three of the greatest principles in the teachings of the Nazarene are repentance, tolerance and forgiveness. By his own admission, he does not apologize, he does not view all humans as equals, and he would much rather attack those who cross his path and challenge him.

These two people are insulting.

If you have intelligence and a measure of faith, you will find their applications disheartening.

So what should we do?

Is it worse to have someone who insults your intelligence, or an individual who insults your faith?

Or is it more important for us to realize that as expected, no true transformation, revival or inspiration will ever come out of Washington, D. C.?

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

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

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An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

Only $5.99 plus $1.25 shipping and handling.

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G-Poppers … May 20th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Pop has certainly made a religion out of avoiding being religious or political.

It’s not that he lacks faith or devotion to America–just that he is leery of any club that insists on making all the rules.

So when G-Pop was waiting for his son to join him for dinner at a restaurant, as he sipped some water and tried to avoid the breadsticks they had brought to the table, he listened in to a nearby conversation among two men and a woman.

Remarkably, the trio was split among the three remaining candidates who have a chance to be the President of the United States.

  • The woman was for Donald.
  • The younger man was for Bernie.
  • And the older man was for Hillary.

G-Pop chose to quietly monitor their conversation because it was so fascinating.

The woman who was for Donald was attracted to him because he is an Alpha male, angry over all the unfairness of government and the lack of protection seemingly being offered the American people.

The younger man was also incensed by the greed of Wall Street, the unfairness of wages and income distribution, as the older man tried to make the case that Hillary was the safe choice and at least has some background in the internal workings of the executive branch of the government.

G-Pop was keeping score in his mind.

Let’s see now: Two “angrys” and a safe choice.

He tried to remember the last President of the United States who came into office angry or as the safe choice, who ended up doing much to benefit the common good.

So G-Pop took a moment to examine the basic premises of each candidate.

Donald: America is too nice, we need to get tougher and also stop trying to please the whole world. Matter of fact, he lives this out personally by sharing that he doesn’t particularly favor apologizing.

Bernie: On the other hand, he is angry because Wall Street billionaires are hoarding all the profit, leaving the working class nearly destitute.

Hillary: She thinks her greatest appeal lies in trying to get the American people to go back to the 1990’s, when her husband was President, to restore that age of alleged optimism, balanced budgets and job security.

Always remember, every temporary solution looks better than a permanent one. That’s what makes it temporary.

Donald doesn’t want to apologize, yet we have a fellow who’s been around for two thousand years who tells us that as we forgive others, we will be forgiven.

Bernie wants to equalize the finance in the world, when that great thinker from two thousand years ago told us that those who have will get more and those who haven’t may very well lose what they have. That’s why we should be sensitive to the least of our brethren. It never equalizes.

And as far as Hillary’s contention regarding going back to the 1990’s, the same teacher instructed us that you can’t put new wine into old wineskins. 2016 is not 1995. Matter of fact, there’s little similarity anywhere in the mix.

So as G-Pop waited for his son to arrive, he thought to himself, two angry people and a safe choice will not prepare our nation for the problems we will be facing, which will demand strength mingled with diplomacy, force tenderized by forgiveness and devotion tempered by an evolution toward needful change.

Obviously, the three people at the table nearby were unable to come to any conclusions.

But G-Pop wants his children to know that unless one of these three candidates steps out of his or her present format and starts forgiving, being more realistic about wealth distribution and admits that we can’t live off a Presidency that is twenty years gone, we will have more problems than just a close election.

We will end up with leftovers in a world that demands main courses.

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Ask Jonathots … April 28th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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I am a “young married,” age 25 and my husband is 26. We both work, have student loans and other debt we’re trying to pay off. We’re working really hard to become financially solvent. It seems like all my friends are in this same boat. So I found myself wondering–what is the connection between money and happiness?

Let me start off by saying that money is a commodity and happiness is a state of contentment.

So it is difficult for me to answer this question unless I know how the commodity of money affects your state of contentment.

For some people it does and for others it does not. So I will answer briefly for both arenas.

{By the way, there are many people who counsel on financial matters and do it much better than I can. Just punch up on the Internet “Balancing Budgets” or “Creating a Family Budget” and you’ll be inundated.}

My answer will be more general: how much is money involved in your state of contentment?

Give yourself a quick test. Two questions:

1. When I have enough money for my needs, do I feel more grown-up and delighted?

2. Do I have an occasion when I haven’t had money and still felt delighted?

And I should probably add a third question:

3. What do I find that delights me most of the time?

If money gives you an aura of well-being, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it, but you must create a budget that is always achievable, because this will determine your peace of mind.

If money is something you can handle in small or large quantities, with equal affect on your psyche, then you can vary your budget, allowing yourself a week to splurge and a week to go without.

Feeling dependent on money is not a bad thing. After all, it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Money itself is not only essential, but is quite pleasurable.

Now, keep in mind, though–you have a second person involved. Your husband. His sensations may be completely different.

So the first thing is for both of you to sit down and discuss what money means to you, what you feel about the pressure of bills, and whether you are more comfortable earning more money or trimming your budget.

These will be the two choices.

For magical checks don’t come in the mail, banking institutions don’t suddenly become generous and give you lower rates of interest and no pot of gold has ever been found at the end of the rainbow.

“Will we be more content earning additional money to satisfy our desires, or will we be equally happy with less money, trimming our budget and buying Brand X popcorn instead of Orville Redenbacher?”

There is only one thing to remember in life: if you try to live off somebody else’s experience, you will end up devastated.

  • What does money mean to you?
  • What do you really require to feel content?
  • And are there ways to achieve that magical amount of money by either working harder or cutting the budget?

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“Ifing” Way: Part 3… November 3, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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What if a voice of sanity had risen up at various stages in the story of human history, to offer a challenging view when craziness was about to win the day?

If …

He called a family meeting.

Such gatherings are essential–otherwise misunderstandings will turn into squabbles which eventually spill out into the community as a whole. The dilemmas we now consider to be international were once mere unresolved conflicts between brothers and sisters.

Sitting before him was his wife and the surrogate mother of his other son. He had two boys.

For when his wife decided that she was too old to bear children, she offered her servant as a stand-in for the opportunity of procuring a lineage for her beloved husband. The young man was born, and everything seemed fine for about thirteen years–until the Mama of the house got pregnant.

After she birthed her son, she felt threatened by the presence of another male offspring, and also by the female who deemed herself important because she had contributed in such a personal way.

The two women fought.

At first it was what you would call “quibbling”–a nasty glance followed by exiting the room in a huff.

But eventually the wife made it an issue with her husband, that the other woman and her child must go. He was tempted. In a moment of weakness, he considered sending the surrogate away with a bit of cash and a heartfelt apology.

Then he stopped to think–one of the more powerful things that human beings do.

He made a decision–one he was about to share with the two dear ladies.

“We are having a problem,” he stated clearly. The two women looked at each other, feigning a bit of surprise. It was so phony he had to giggle.

“Oh, don’t try that with me. You both know what I’m talking about, and frankly, I am in no mood to discuss the specifics of your feelings or misgivings. Let me explain my position. I have two sons. I love them both. I also am deeply appreciative of the two women who bore these sons. I don’t care if anyone understands our relationship. And I am certainly not going to try to please one of you to destroy the other. Here’s what I know: if my two sons cannot grow up together and be at peace because their mothers are being silly, then what would make us believe that their children will get along with each other any better?

He paused, gazing into their eyes.

“In no time at all, a couple of generations pass, and the story of your little tiff with each other is completely blown out of proportion, and rather than being a family foible, it becomes a national offense, leading to war. For my dear ladies, all wars begin in the kitchen. They spread to the dining room, and are further inflamed in the bedroom before they head out the door and hurt the innocent.”

“So it would be unfair of me to call this a discussion. I am telling you that my name is Abraham, and for me and my house, we will have two sons, and we will serve the Lord together.”

Sarah and Hagar looked at each other, knowing the resolute will of the man before them. He would certainly follow through on his words.

They were not happy … but they knew they needed to learn how to be so.

 

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Reservations… December 16, 2013

Jonathots Daily Blog

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angel light“Behold, the handmaiden of the Lord…”

These were the words uttered by the Virgin Mary of Nazareth upon hearing that she was to be the human incubator of the Messiah. Of course, she had no idea what the project entailed, nor exactly how God works with people to perform greatness.

  • Jesus was an idea.
  • God loves ideas.

The problem with our comprehension of the Divine is that we believe the “idea person” should jump in and do all the work. It doesn’t happen that way.

Actually, if you study the story carefully and put it into the context of Mary’s lifespan, it is a tale of unfulfillment, punctuated by obedience and highlighted by very brief moments of encouragement.

For after all, getting pregnant in a small town when you’re not married is not pleasant whatsoever–especially among people who consider stoning. Being a teenage girl going through morning sickness, swollen legs and a growing belly leaves little time for reflections on angels and promises.

And then to discover that your family is about to be taxed and you will have to leave town during your third trimester to journey over a hundred miles away–only to have your water break right outside the town of your destination, while your husband is unable to find any kind of lodging without situating you next to an animal–well, it certainly takes the glimmer off the original statement of acceptance and willingness.

But it didn’t stop there.

She was chased out of Israel, lived for at least five years in a foreign land, returned home to renewed gossip from non-forgiving-nor-forgetting townsfolk, and settled into what seemed to be a quiet life with a normal family, with no signs of her “miracle son” being particularly special, except for the one time when he was twelve years old and disobeyed her by hanging out in the temple.

When he was grown, she watched his erratic behavior as he lived among wild beasts and fasted, preached against religious intolerance and was rejected by his home town and nearly killed.

Shortly after that, his execution was completed on a hill–hung between two thieves and thrown into a tomb, where to her amazement, he was resurrected. But even at the point of her death, his movement and words had not traveled much beyond the borders of Judea. Hardly confirmation for a world-wide savior.

All of this was initiated by an angel’s proclamation and the only further confirmation she received to give strength to the original promise was an occasional dream, which she had to choose to believe was significant.

The Christmas story is a beautiful insight into the mind of God. It reminds us that everything which is eventually deemed heavenly is brought to pass … through earthly sacrifice.

 

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Putting Her Finger On It… November 1, 2012

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She didn’t get the promotion.

She had allowed herself permission to think about it, but had not yet said the words out loud to herself–let alone to her mate and husband of twelve years. It was just too painful–too real in a way that forbade revision.

It was a classic American injustice. She had entered into competition for this new position in the company with a younger man who was her subordinate–and everybody knew it. The idea of her receiving “the boost” was not hers alone, but held by everybody around her, who just took it for granted that she was the next in line to be … well, the next in line. Suddenly it was over and her young fledgling apprentice was promoted over her.

There seemed to be only one reason. He was a man.

She suspected that the male-dominated company reasoning was that this young fellow had recently impregnated his wife for a third time and that his financial responsibilities were more excessive than hers, since she was childless with a working husband. Of course, this was not stated aloud. That would be an admission to favoritism and sexism. But once again, as is often the case in business-driven America, the sperm whale swam away victorious while she was relegated to being a “mummy,” declared corporately dead and shoveled into a neglected tomb.

She felt bruised. Her whole being had the sensation one experiences the day after a car accident–seemingly free of injury, but the morning after, displaying the creaks and twinges of unexpected damage.

What was it that bothered her so much? The rejection? The unfairness? Was it the loss of money? It was certainly all of them–but mostly the money. There was just something magnificent about continuing to do excellent work and knowing that the paycheck reflected a better return.

Now she found herself sitting next to her husband, partner, best friend–or maybe just roommate–in their smoke-gray BMW, driving away from her job in silence. She wanted to talk but her lips were sealed because her heart had declared a moratorium on all further emotion. And she wasn’t quite sure that the man sitting next to her was prepared to be the sympathetic ear instead of the instructive father. Yes, it seemed that every time she came to share her ideas or sentiments with him, he took the profile of the professor encouraging the flailing student instead of just going eyeball-to-eyeball with equality–to embrace her as himself.

So the silence continued. The only sound in the whole car was this man of hers, tapping his fingers nervously on the steering wheel as if playing percussion for a rock and roll tune, unheard.

She was angry. She was disappointed. And she was distressed.

All at once she noticed a big, black van up ahead, with its turn signal flashing, sporting Florida license plates, trying to get over in front of them. Her melancholy and bitter spirit sprang forth.

“Don’t let them in!” she bellowed at her husband. She didn’t know why she suddenly wanted to release the pain from her own heart onto these Sunshine State strangers, but her husband obliged, speeding up and forbidding the Floridians to get in front.

As they drove by, she looked over and saw a fat, bald, aging fellow with sunglasses, who was smiling at her. She determined it was not friendly, but rather, a smirk of condescension, similar to the look on her boss’s face earlier in the day when he had gently explained how much he valued her work and that the next opportunity available would be hers.

She couldn’t take it anymore. How dare this stranger smile at her?

She rolled down her window, extended her arm and gave him the middle finger of disapproval. She tried to accentuate her disdain and displeasure with the biggest frown that her memory could manufacture.  The driver of the van just tapped his horn, waved at her, and pulled in behind them–the beneficiary of a nicer couple to the rear. She continued to keep her finger pointed to the heavens in defiance for another few seconds before yanking her arm in and restoring her window to the closed position.

All at once, she had transformed from a promising forty-year-old woman with a great future in her company to an angry peasant, hurling insults at the king who had already escaped into the castle. She became the princess at the snack bar at the bowling alley. She was the dim-witted young lass who couldn’t watch reruns of the Beverly Hillbillies without becoming homesick. She was the young mother toting her eight-year-old daughter to beauty pageants, discussing the slight differences between brands of hairspray. She was Bonnie, sitting next to her … well, in this case, Claude.

And worst of all, that big, black van with that big, bald man kept following along behind them. Was he harassing them? Was he gong to continue to tail them all the way to their home, to produce some sort of confrontation with her husband, whose virility seemed to peak at the point cheering for his favorite football team? She thought of calling the police, but what could she say?

“There’s this big, black van with Florida tags, driven by an older gent, who seems to be following us because I gave him the finger, and I think we might be in danger …”

Fortunately, her apprehensions were alleviated when two blocks later, she and her husband turned right and the van continued on its merry way. She had squandered part of her arsenal of fear for no good reason. She had given a nasty gesture of disdain and hatred to a stranger–an action she would later have to justify by embellishing a storyline about this innocent driver’s supposedly untoward behavior.

She was going home without a promotion, without a conversation with her husband–but  with a little less dignity.

Meanwhile, the black van rolled on toward Richwood, Ohio. The incident was long gone in the memories of its two passengers. They had laughed it off and moved on to more congenial pursuits.

The reason I know the story so well, of course, is because I played the part of the tubby character in the dark van. And the reason I constructed the story about this woman who gave me the finger is that I always find it easier to forgive people when I understand that they don’t know what they’re doing.

A friend of mine taught me that.

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