1 Thing You Can Do This Week To Smooth Out the Wrinkles in Your Life

 

Fix the next thing

Although we may insist that problems come in piles, what they actually do is accumulate because they are avoided or feared. Then we suddenly find ourselves with a heapin’ helpin’ of horror.

Intimidation sets in.

Intimidation brings a friend. That comrade is worry.

Worry takes twice as much brain power as reasoning and planning.

Why?

Worry demands that you remember something from the past that you think is going to happen in the present and makes you wonder if it will play out in the future. It’s exhausting.

Reasoning, on the other hand, suggests that you take what you know and apply it to the ongoing situation.

When you start fixing the next thing, you find that you not only are repairing things, but also eliminating the overwhelming sensation of being drug down by your insistent problems. Rather, you’re enlightened by them and given the opportunity, through them, to prove your prowess.

Fix the next thing.

Keep your other problems waiting.

After all, some of them deserve to be snubbed.


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Ask Jonathots… June 16th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Three times last week, I heard national news spokespeople say, “People don’t change.” How did this philosophy become commonplace in America?

Just a quick note to begin this answer–whenever you seek counsel, you will normally get one of three approaches:

1. The cynical approach. “Based on the data provided, we can tell you that it is unlikely…”

2. The hopeful approach. “With God all things are possible…”

3. The practical approach. “Present trends do not bode well, but certain actions could change the outcome.”

So I would like to answer this question by explaining that normally people are cynical about human beings changing because they, themselves, are no longer hopeful of much transformation in their own lives, and when presented with alternatives, they reject them.

I think it is a problem for older people to change simply because they embrace three erroneous profiles:

A. “The best things in my life have already happened.”

In other words, if you contend that the most exciting parts of your journey are already over, it will certainly cause you to be less-than-motivated to make transitions.

B. “It’s worked pretty good so far.”

There is an abiding notion that the philosophy which has taken us to this point in our experience should be sufficient to carry us on through the times ahead. There is no basis for this conclusion, but it prohibits aging people from taking an hour to learn how to work a computer.

C. No one’s listening to me anyway.

As you get older, there is a tendency to believe that your influence has greatly lessened because the children are grown, the job is in the past, your appearance is more fragile and you’re cast into the role of a soul on the way out the door.

These three ideas can cause a human being to dig in and refuse evolution. Matter of fact, when we talk about individuals who have great repentant leaps, like Ebenezer Scrooge or George Bailey from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” these changes usually revolve around interventions from angels or spirits.

So to guarantee that a certain amount of enlightenment continues, consider three principles of power:

1. The best has not already happened or I would not still be here.

2. What worked yesterday will need some tuning for today.

And finally:

3. The best way to make sure people listen to me is to say things that are relevant to the moment instead of nostalgic about the past.

People can change. They just don’t naturally do it.

It takes a desire to live our lives all the way to very end instead of walking around in a misty haze of the past.

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PoHymn: A Rustling in the Stagnant

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Rich Path… October 31, 2012

(1,685)

A storm called Sandy. What’s next? A beach named Rainy?

I was scheduled to be in Richwood, Ohio. So you don’t have to grab your maps, it is a tiny community of 1500 people about one hour northwest of Columbus. Since the Buckeyes are experiencing their first major storm of the season, I opted not to take the freeway route, because I figured people would still be driving seventy miles per hour, running into each other and backing up traffic so that we would all end up going seven miles an hour. Instead, I took State Route 37–and opened up a treasure chest of memories.

Driving through Lancaster, I passed by the elementary school where my two young boys attended for three months back in 1980 when I was traveling the country with my Broadway-style show, Mountain, and they were staying with their Grandma, continuing their studies. I was trying to turn religious and classically-trained young folk into Broadway singers and dancers. I fell a bit short on the dream.

Just about five miles further up the road, I passed by the church where I shared just six days ago–and had one of those sweet memories of the dear hearts at New Zion.

In no time at all, I was driving along on 37 and came to Interstate 70–a truck stop where I once sat in a booth with my girlfriend and planned how we would escape her parents’ disapproval and some day be married. This monstrous achievement was discussed over waffles and eggs and ended up being pulled off–much to everybody’s surprise.

Putting my foot on the gas pedal, I was soon in Granville, the location of the first performance I ever did in my life, at a nursing home, when I was twelve years old, singing old hymns to old ladies on an old piano with three fellow young’uns. I even remember the first song–it was Kneel at the Cross.

As I continued on my rich path of discovery, rain pelting on the windshield, allowing for memories to flood my mind, I cruised into Alexandria. I drove by a church where Terry, the bass guitar player for our high school musical group, sat with me out in a car and told me that his girlfriend had left town to go become a nun. Pretty devastating stuff when you’re sixteen years old–so crippling that Terry went home that night and tried to kill himself by overdosing on aspirin. Fortunately, taking four of them does not have lethal results.

I arrived in Johnstown, Ohio, which doesn’t look any different from when I was a kid and played football against their team. I remember the game, because it was the only time in my brief gridiron career that I intercepted a pass. Linebackers don’t get to do that very often. And I must clarify this by telling you that it was NOT a great feat of athleticism. The quarterback of the other team was so frightened of me running in to tackle him that he threw the ball right at my chest, and somehow I ended up on the ground with my arms wrapped around it. Still, an interception.

Another nine miles and I was in Sunbury, the place of my birth. It now is a bustling little city, but during my tenure it resembled a sleepy little village. But still, there was the Sunbury Grill, which touted its $1.29 lunch special, complete with a fresh slice of apple pie, and the building that once held my dad’s loan company, where he used to sit in the back room, rolling cigarettes and trying to make extra money for the family by filling out tax returns for wealthy farmers.

I crossed Interstate 71, which used to be a place that had two restaurants, and now is populated with hundreds of businesses. By the way, one of those restaurants had a waitress who happened to be my mother, who selected to work at that profession after my father’s death, I think more or less because she enjoyed yapping with people. It is there that she met Eric Burton and the Animals in an era when they were roaming the jungles of rock and roll. I was not there for the introduction, but it would certainly have been fascinating to hear my mother try to talk to these English-born Bohemians.

The rain kept falling and I kept driving. arriving in Delaware, Ohio, and passing by Bunn’s Famous Restaurant. (You know it’s famous because the sign says so.) It was just a few short years ago that I went to that particular establishment to meet with my sister-in-law and nephew, just seven months after my brother passed away. They were devastated by the loss, but it is amazing what a good meal and some good humor can do in a short period of time.

On my way to Richwood to finish my odyssey, I drove through a little town called Magnetic Springs, where I once joined four other comrades from my local church to participate in what was called a Bible League tournament, which basically was Jeopardy!  focusing on the book of Deuteronomy. The reason I recall that particular event was that I was only thirteen years old and was not supposed to be permitted to join the senior high team, but because I objected, citing that there was no rule against it, I not only ended up on the senior high team, but by the end of the year was captain. It made me smile. For verily I say unto you, there is a certain amount of “trouble maker” necessary to end up doing good.

And then there was last evening. Brave Ohio souls came out in the rain, sleet and cold and huddled together for an hour so we could talk about good things, good ideas, good memories, and even some better choices. In no time at all I was back in my van, driving to my headquarters.

I was really surprised on my way back when I passed by the hospital in Delaware. I didn’t realize it was on 37. It’s where they took my wife and second son, Joshua, after he popped out as a big surprise in that loan company I mentioned before, in Sunbury. Yes, an ambulance arrived and took them both to this Delaware hospital, where they were put in isolation (since he was apparently born contaminated, outside the sterility of the medical complex).

I munched on a vegetarian Subway sandwich and drove on through the misty night. After about an hour, I was back in Lancaster, and there was the nursing home where my mother spent her last days. I recalled the last time I saw her. I took her to a shopping mall, bought her some of her preferred candy, and on the way home, we sang her favorite hymn, The Old Rugged Cross. My mother could never sing on key, but made up for it with vigorous pipes.

I was back. Mine was a rich path, full of memories. But it was not unique to this hometown turf of my youth. I have been a blessed man–to crisscross the United States at least a hundred times, and I could take one of these nostalgic journeys almost anywhere in this country. I have similar memories in California, Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Texas and even more recently–Utah.

As I nestled myself in bed last night, I realized that I had just spent an evening driving through a “Sandy storm” to discover a very valuable truth: Life is not difficult. We honor the past; we thrive in the present. And in so doing, we impact the future.

If you forget any part of it, you feel an empty spot somewhere in the corner of your heart. But when you do all three, life ends up being what it is–and that is always just enough.

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

Lower Seat… October 30, 2012

(1,684)

A storm called Sandy. What’s next? A beach named Rainy?

I was scheduled to be in Richwood, Ohio. So you don’t have to grab your maps, it is a tiny community of 1500 people about one hour northwest of Columbus. Since the Buckeyes are experiencing their first major storm of the season, I opted not to take the freeway route, because I figured people would still be driving seventy miles per hour, running into each other and backing up traffic so that we would all end up going seven miles an hour. Instead, I took State Route 37–and opened up a treasure chest of memories.

Driving through Lancaster, I passed by the elementary school where my two young boys attended for three months back in 1980 when I was traveling the country with my Broadway-style show, Mountain, and they were staying with their Grandma, continuing their studies. I was trying to turn religious and classically-trained young folk into Broadway singers and dancers. I fell a bit short on the dream.

Just about five miles further up the road, I passed by the church where I shared just six days ago–and had one of those sweet memories of the dear hearts at New Zion.

In no time at all, I was driving along on 37 and came to Interstate 70–a truck stop where I once sat in a booth with my girlfriend and planned how we would escape her parents’ disapproval and some day be married. This monstrous achievement was discussed over waffles and eggs and ended up being pulled off–much to everybody’s surprise.

Putting my foot on the gas pedal, I was soon in Granville, the location of the first performance I ever did in my life, at a nursing home, when I was twelve years old, singing old hymns to old ladies on an old piano with three fellow young’uns. I even remember the first song–it was Kneel at the Cross.

As I continued on my rich path of discovery, rain pelting on the windshield, allowing for memories to flood my mind, I cruised into Alexandria. I drove by a church where Terry, the bass guitar player for our high school musical group, sat with me out in a car and told me that his girlfriend had left town to go become a nun. Pretty devastating stuff when you’re sixteen years old–so crippling that Terry went home that night and tried to kill himself by overdosing on aspirin. Fortunately, taking four of them does not have lethal results.

I arrived in Johnstown, Ohio, which doesn’t look any different from when I was a kid and played football against their team. I remember the game, because it was the only time in my brief gridiron career that I intercepted a pass. Linebackers don’t get to do that very often. And I must clarify this by telling you that it was NOT a great feat of athleticism. The quarterback of the other team was so frightened of me running in to tackle him that he threw the ball right at my chest, and somehow I ended up on the ground with my arms wrapped around it. Still, an interception.

Another nine miles and I was in Sunbury, the place of my birth. It now is a bustling little city, but during my tenure it resembled a sleepy little village. But still, there was the Sunbury Grill, which touted its $1.29 lunch special, complete with a fresh slice of apple pie, and the building that once held my dad’s loan company, where he used to sit in the back room, rolling cigarettes and trying to make extra money for the family by filling out tax returns for wealthy farmers.

I crossed Interstate 71, which used to be a place that had two restaurants, and now is populated with hundreds of businesses. By the way, one of those restaurants had a waitress who happened to be my mother, who selected to work at that profession after my father’s death, I think more or less because she enjoyed yapping with people. It is there that she met Eric Burton and the Animals in an era when they were roaming the jungles of rock and roll. I was not there for the introduction, but it would certainly have been fascinating to hear my mother try to talk to these English-born Bohemians.

The rain kept falling and I kept driving. arriving in Delaware, Ohio, and passing by Bunn’s Famous Restaurant. (You know it’s famous because the sign says so.) It was just a few short years ago that I went to that particular establishment to meet with my sister-in-law and nephew, just seven months after my brother passed away. They were devastated by the loss, but it is amazing what a good meal and some good humor can do in a short period of time.

On my way to Richwood to finish my odyssey, I drove through a little town called Magnetic Springs, where I once joined four other comrades from my local church to participate in what was called a Bible League tournament, which basically was Jeopardy!  focusing on the book of Deuteronomy. The reason I recall that particular event was that I was only thirteen years old and was not supposed to be permitted to join the senior high team, but because I objected, citing that there was no rule against it, I not only ended up on the senior high team, but by the end of the year was captain. It made me smile. For verily I say unto you, there is a certain amount of “trouble maker” necessary to end up doing good.

And then there was last evening. Brave Ohio souls came out in the rain, sleet and cold and huddled together for an hour so we could talk about good things, good ideas, good memories, and even some better choices. In no time at all I was back in my van, driving to my headquarters.

I was really surprised on my way back when I passed by the hospital in Delaware. I didn’t realize it was on 37. It’s where they took my wife and second son, Joshua, after he popped out as a big surprise in that loan company I mentioned before, in Sunbury. Yes, an ambulance arrived and took them both to this Delaware hospital, where they were put in isolation (since he was apparently born contaminated, outside the sterility of the medical complex).

I munched on a vegetarian Subway sandwich and drove on through the misty night. After about an hour, I was back in Lancaster, and there was the nursing home where my mother spent her last days. I recalled the last time I saw her. I took her to a shopping mall, bought her some of her preferred candy, and on the way home, we sang her favorite hymn, The Old Rugged Cross. My mother could never sing on key, but made up for it with vigorous pipes.

I was back. Mine was a rich path, full of memories. But it was not unique to this hometown turf of my youth. I have been a blessed man–to crisscross the United States at least a hundred times, and I could take one of these nostalgic journeys almost anywhere in this country. I have similar memories in California, Alabama, Florida, Arizona, Texas and even more recently–Utah.

As I nestled myself in bed last night, I realized that I had just spent an evening driving through a “Sandy storm” to discover a very valuable truth: Life is not difficult. We honor the past; we thrive in the present. And in so doing, we impact the future.

If you forget any part of it, you feel an empty spot somewhere in the corner of your heart. But when you do all three, life ends up being what it is–and that is always just enough.

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

The Salina Solution … June 11, 2012

(1,542)

The early explorers landing on the shores of the New World were often astounded to view the natives entering caves to excavate rock, only to emerge with specimens of fine, gold ore, which they chipped at until they freed the rock from the gold, placing the rocks in a pile for use and casting aside the golden nuggets. When the bewildered Europeans asked why the locals were throwing away such valuable material, they would look at them with perplexed expressions. Pointing at the pile of rocks, they replied, “These build houses.” And then, similarly referring to the golden pile, they noted, “These are too soft. They don’t.”

I tell you that story because sometimes that’s the way I feel when I go to churches. In the pursuit of humility and salvation, we often are guilty of mining rocks and throwing away gold. Is it really important for us to continue to believe in our perpetual inadequacy in order to give true glory to the awesome nature of God? Does He want to see us get better? Or is He happy with our floundering–being the tail instead of the head?

As I interacted with the precious human beings in Salina, Kansas, yesterday, I just wondered if they knew that God’s people should be smart. God’s people should be the most creative. God’s children should be at the top of the list in generosity. God’s followers should be leading the way in understanding, mercy and diversity. God’s favored should understand that they’re only given that status because they continue to pursue belief instead of settling for the common.

Yes, in a church environment, I often feel that we’re mining for rocks and throwing away the gold. I sometimes sense that futility has become the symbol of our faith, rather than our faith dispelling all futility.

So after having a wonderful embrace with my new brothers and sisters in Salina, I was encouraged to teach more to the natives about the true value of gold over merely extolling the rocks.

Here are five questions. How you answer these questions determines whether you view your earth journey into a festival of worship or a drudgery and march in despair towards eternal salvation.

(1) Who am I? (2) What am I? (3) Where am I? (4) When am I? (5) Why am I?

We have to start getting better answers than just “secular” and “religious” ones.

Because if you ask a religious person, “Who am I?” they more than likely will respond, “A sinner–in constant need of salvation.” On the other hand, a secular person might tell you that he is a valuable human being with great potential and no limits. Honestly, both answers are incomplete, if not erroneous.

What am I? Religious response: “Trusting God for my needs and waiting for my heavenly reward.” Secular: “Trying to keep ahead of the game and get a little bit ahead.”

Where am I? “On the earth, filled with trials and tribulations,” replies the religious person. “With my family, trying to do the best we can and have a little fun”–a secular perspective.

When am I? If you are of a religious thought pattern, you are constantly reminding yourself of your past sins and your present inadequacies, believing that the future is in God’s hands. A secular person is more than likely trying to ignore the past, have fun in the present and hope for a better future.

Why am I? Even more ambiguous. I guess the religious answer would be that humans are here to give glory to God. A more “street born” philosophy might be some variation of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow you may die.”

The religious and secular worlds square off against each other, each one believing the other is absolutely lost and confused. There has to be a better way.

So in honor of my dear, sweet brothers and sisters in Salina, I offer the following proposal, which I shall dub The Salina Solution. It is an attempt to stop mining for rocks and throwing away gold. And what is the difference? How do I know when I’m picking up the rocks and throwing away the gold in life? Anything that makes me cynical is a rock. Anything that stimulates my belief is gold.

So here you go. I will take on the same questions, but give you what I think are more Jesus-based–Jesonian–answers:

1. Who am I? A human being–nothing more, nothing less, no apologies.

2. What am I? Heart, soul, mind and strength–and if I ignore any one of them, they cry out at me like an abandoned baby.

3. Where am I? In this place, needing and giving grace.

4. When am I? Now. I live in the now. I learn from the past, understanding that because of free will, I will determine my own future.

5. Why am I? I have only one mission–to bring heaven to earth and to take as much earth as I can to heaven.

That’s it. It is The Salina Solution–an attempt to cease mining for rocks, casting away the gold. (Otherwise, you find yourself literally “caught between a rock and a hard place.” Religion will break you down in an attempt to make you humble, and the world will lift you up, only to mock you when you tumble from your own lack of ability.)

It is time to dump the rock and save the gold. Are you up to the challenge?

Are you ready to take on The Salina Solution?

   

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

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