Three Ways to Enjoy Family… December 25, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2454)

family

Sitting around a delightful Christmas Eve gathering with the members of my family, I was blessed and enlightened.

Family has provided some of the most treasured moments in my journey, and also a good parcel of the frustrations that have come my way.

Let us never forget that the sweet little family in Bethlehem, which birthed the Savior of the World, turned into a fussy, argumentative clan, which was part of the reason that Jesus was run out of his hometown of Nazareth.

Balance.

It is important for us to know how to deal with our families, or we will end up giving either too much emphasis or too little value to these kinsmen.

Let me give you three ways to always enjoy your brood:

1. Avoid too much reliving and instead, work on restocking.

There is a peril in sitting around reminiscing about the past because it makes us tend to live there. For every time you remember a special occasion, you should simultaneously work on creating a new one. Reliving can be beautiful, filled with tenderness, and is especially effective if you’re in the midst of creating new memories.

2. Honor boundaries.

Once I was Dad. Now I have sons and daughters who are performing their own task of parenting.

I need to find my place–pass the torch. Honor the boundaries.

For instance, my children do not believe everything I believe. I can spend time focusing on our differences or I can revel in our similarities.

My son is no longer my son. He is someone else’s dad. As long as I remember that I can continue a relationship with him which is rich, adult and free.

3. And finally, don’t stay too long.

Every family has a length of time which is perfect for peaceful co-existence. If you exceed this barricade, you will begin to try to heal old wounds but instead, open them up, creating pain and bleeding.

Stay long enough that you’re still enjoying yourself, disappointed to leave, but ready to commence your life, to return again.

Have a great Christmas, but do so by enjoying your family.

Restock your memories, honor each other’s beliefs and boundaries and have the wisdom of making a beautiful exit.

 

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Untotaled: Stepping 46 (February 14th, 1969) The Pain in Pleasure… December 20, 2014

  Jonathots Daily Blog

(2449)

(Transcript)

Her name was Belinda.

She was about two rungs down the ladder of popularity from me, promoted by the horrendous high school caste system.

She liked me a lot.

I liked her, but of course, I would never go against the feudal structure of High School U. S. A., to ask her out on a date. I would never survive the ridicule and humiliation.

But I got lonely around Valentine’s Day.

My dad was sick and dying. One of the guys in our music group quit because his girlfriend thought he was taking too much time with us, and I had no idea whatsoever on what geometry was all about.

So I quietly asked Belinda out on a date, hoping that because she was so devoted in my direction, there might be some necking involved. She was one of those farm girls, raised on Bible principles, but was willing to renegotiate some of the terms on a Saturday night.

I wanted to neck.

I had kissed girls, but had never sustained long sessions of smooching and my curiosity had overtaken me. So I selfishly decided to take advantage of poor Belinda.

She was thrilled and promised not to tell anybody about our date because I told her we “needed to see how it worked out.”

I took her to a drive-in movie, which in 1969 was code for “we’re gonna mess around.”

It took me nearly thirty minutes to work up the courage to put my arm around her, and then I was afraid to move it and therefore contracted some horrible cramps in my muscles, which continued through the entire evening.

It was easy to get her to start kissing. She had thin lips so the first couple of times I got mostly teeth. But after a minute or so we got the hang of it, and she started slipping her tongue in my mouth, which was relatively new to me.

Adapting the phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” I concluded, “When in France do as the French do.”

We were about ten minutes into the session when I realized that one of us had really stale breath. It wasn’t really horrible–that dried smell of garlic baloney and over-chewed gum.

I persisted.

She really got into it–so much so that she unbuttoned her blouse, inviting me to see how “alive the hills really were.”

I thought about it. After all, I was a teenager. Morals were something to discuss at church and feverishly avoid in your everyday life.

But something stopped me.

Maybe it was the ache in my bicep. Or it could have been the halitosis.

But I backed out of the encounter, tongue first.

I took her home. She wondered what was wrong. She practically pleaded with me to see her again. And rat that I was, I went mousy and never spoke to her.

It was an odd night.

Rather than feeling fulfilled, I felt like I had used another human being, who would suffer some pangs from the experience.

It sucked.

I did learn, though, that there is some pain in pleasure.

The reason most people never pursue their goals is because along the way, there are some shards of glass strewn in the pathway which either need to be avoided or walked over.

If life was easy, dumb people would rule the world.

Well, maybe they do.

But life isn’t easy. With every pain comes some pleasure, and the pleasures that arrive our way do require that we survive a bit of discomfort.

 

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Quatrain of Overeating… November 25, 2014

 Jonathots Daily Blog

(2424)

overeating bigger

My food is lonely

I see its pain

Come to me, sweetie

Dwell in my tummy.

 

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*****

Check out Mr. Kringle’s Tales…26 Stories’Til Christmas

The Best Christmas Stories You’ll Ever Read!

Click on Santa to browse "Mr. Kringle's Tales ... 26 Stories Til Christmas"

Click on Santa to browse “Mr. Kringle’s Tales … 26 Stories Til Christmas”

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G-21: Blame or Bloom… April 25, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2213)

holding hands… and then a remarkable occurrence …

Man and woman, expelled from the Garden by choosing the knowledge of evil and good over life, were thrust back out into the jungle for survival.

They were ill-suited.

Being monkey-angels, they had limited capacity for the grit of everyday sweat and pain involved in scrounging on their own. This introduced many scenarios–most of them dire.

But the remarkable part of the story is that rather than becoming extinct in an environment contrary to their natures–instead of sitting around blaming one another for misdeeds and weak character–they took the one enduring ingredient of the Garden which was formerly their home and carried it into the next part of their experience.

Love.

Man and woman loved each other.

Escaping the foolishness of finger-pointing and accusing arguments, they returned to the essence of why they came together in the first place. Realizing they knew too much and that this burst of information only made them feel despondent and worthless, they turned to one another to discover purpose.

  • They didn’t blame.
  • Instead, they sought to bloom.

Like “grandparents” of the entire human race, they acted out a living lesson of what makes our species valuable:

1. Who are we?

Not “who do we want to be?” Nor “who do we think we should be?” But instead, “who have we become?” minus shame over our nakedness.

2. What do we know?

Lacking pomposity and false bravado–just a simple inventory of the knowledge we possess that enlightens us instead of diminishing our capacity.

3. Where do we start?

First with each other. We aren’t going to make it out here in the jungle, to someday be worthy of the Garden, if we are constantly alienating ourselves from one another.

Man loved woman. He called her “the mother of all living.”

Woman loved man.

They trusted each other to be strong and were fully cognizant of each other’s weaknesses. They undergirded one another’s efforts.

And even though their bizarre selection of choosing to include evil in their thinking set the human race on a precarious journey into unnecessary failure, their love sustained us, pointing in the direction of life.

I know it is popular to glorify the Creator for His genius and generosity. Certainly He is worthy of all praise.

But let us not forget that our salvation story did require human beings to survive and prosper until such a time that the restoration of all things could be offered back to us … from another tree on a hill far away.

 

 

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The Money Brick … January 11, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2117)

Some people are stained glassbrick of money

Others, just stained

Either way, we’re hurtin’

Our flaws bring us pain

Or is it that our pain invites the flaws?

Who knows?

Stained-glassers focus on the flaws

Stainers, on the pain

But both remain

And it is useless to counsel a leper

And mean-spirited to offer a good book to a blind man

I awakened in the middle of the night, finding myself deep in thought. I like that. I believe life should be a balance between discouragement and satisfaction, exhorting us toward greater discovery. As I was quietly lying in my bed reflecting, a sense of well-being and warmth filled my soul.

Some folks would become cynical if I suggested God was speaking to me. They would insist I was just being prodded by my own conscience. To each his own.

But the revelation was that it is beautiful that I am traveling, excellent to share my life with tens of thousands of people, smart to write daily columns and ingenious to always be trying to update the material and the message to reach a specific gathered audience.

Then a yearning came. I don’t know how else to describe it. It was the realization that even after all these projects and outreaches are done, I still have time on my hands. After all, the bills are paid. I often have a little extra money.

Time and money–the dynamic duo. When they work together, lives can be changed.

In that moment of quiet, I was strongly impressed to take a small purse of cash–what I now refer to as a “money brick”–each and every week and invest it in human beings.. Here’s why:

  • Some people will not listen to words.
  • There are those who refrain from partaking of a melody.
  • And very few individuals will tolerate a sermon.

But everyone appreciates a few dollars offered as encouragement and evidence that they are not alone.

I don’t have much; I’m not going to pay off people’s debts. But sometimes what the stained-glassers and the stainers need is just a dollar or two–to let them know that someone sees them, cares and wishes them God speed.

Money does talk. It speaks a universal language.

So I thought that the generous folks who contribute to my cause would not mind me setting aside a specific amount of coinage each week, to bless the folks I encounter on a daily basis. I have requested that God send such individuals my way.

We shall see.

I will offer the brick … and ask God to provide the mortar. 

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click to hear music from Spirited 2014

Hurt, Heal, Praise … June 29, 2013

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dancersThe most difficult road to take to achieve humility is the highway of humiliation. Yet for some reason, it’s the most popular.

Many years ago, I wrote a musical called Mountain. Humbly I offer to you that the composition was really quite good. I had some friends in Columbus, Ohio, who let me use their studio very reasonably and we put together the music for the production. In the process of doing so, we stirred up a lot of interest in the community. So when it was announced that a two night premiere would be held,  tickets sold quickly and we realized we were going to have a hit.

Our job? To come up with a cast who could perform the piece and portray the material adequately. We selected our individual members but failed to consider that most of the young folk we had placed in the roles had grown up believing that dancing was “of the devil,” and the rest of them were just hellish dancers.

The musical required some choreography. Even though the music itself came off very well, and the acting was sufficient, the instructors we selected to teach our entourage how to do live stage movement were far too advanced and left our fledgling foot-flyers completely confounded.

So on opening night, the portion of the show that required choreography was an absolute disaster, leading one observer to refer to it as “collisionography.”

Unfortunately, the theater was nearly packed. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. I was young, impetuous and unfortunately, too quick to want to give up.

But from somewhere down deep in the bottom of my socks, I found the faith to get up the next morning, realize we had another premiere to do, and instead of being angry or frustrated, took the cast and worked on simplifying the dance portion of the show.

We were all hurt.

Life is not a journey of avoiding hurt, but rather, a continual odyssey to be healed.

The only way my cast was going to be healed was by believing they could actually find something to do onstage that was within their grasp, and that they could have another opportunity to prove their ability.

The second night was fantastic–night and day difference. Unfortunately, the crowd had shrunk due to the bad reports about the faltering footwork. We didn’t care. We had been hurt the night before and it was time to heal. And heal we did.

Our confidence soared and we went out on a tour to twenty-five cities, getting better and better each night–because our healing turned into praise.

I will never forget that experience. It is a constant reminder that being hurt has absolutely zilch nobility or value unless you immediately set a process in motion to be healed. All healing is then confirmed by the presence of praise.

We have to learn this in our society:

  • Hurt people are determined to hurt. They don’t mean to–they just duplicate what’s inside themselves out to others.
  • Healed people seek healing.
  • And people of praise are always looking for reasons to praise.

So the next time you get in a  mood and think there’s nothing that’s any good anymore, take a moment and trace back in your life to find that unhealed hurt. You will be surprised at how much brighter the world looks when you have shed some light … on your own pain.

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******

 Jonathots, Jr.!

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7

Three Ninnies… April 13, 2013

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lily

Worry, scurry and flurry

Always in a hurry

Running to and fro

Grumbling as they go

Afraid to take it slow

Wanting you to know

There is pain in their gain

Fretting in the brain

Insisting life is rough

The path to success quite tough

Demanding we all admire

Is what they do require

Life on earth is hard, they say

Even anxious as they pray

Worry, scurry and flurry

Your future is truly blurry

When always on the run

Refusing to have much fun

Consider the lily, how they sprout

They do not toil, they do not pout

So stop the worry

Rest the scurry

And let the flurry cease

For God loves you, my nervous ninnies

And wants to grant you peace.

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