G-Poppers … March 27, 2015

Jonathots Daily Blog

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G-Popper

G-Pop was always pretty sure when his granddaughter had something to say or ask, but found that it was lodged in the back of her throat, nearly choking her.

There were tell-tale signs.

For instance, she would come into the room, sit down and fidget for a while, and leave–only to return several times, repeating the process.

So finally, on the fourth such visit, G-Pop decided to address the situation.

G-Pop: Something on your mind?

Granddaughter: No. Why do you ask?

G-Pop: Well, I ask because you’ve been in here four times in the past ten minutes for no particular reason, saying nothing–but kicking your feet against the coffee table.

Granddaughter: Are you mad because I’m kicking the coffee table?

G-Pop: (laughing) No. I just wonder what you have on your mind that you want to share.

Granddaughter: Not share. Ask.

G-Pop: Ask away.

(Granddaughter paused again. Apparently there was a big glob of something that was having a whole lot of trouble getting to the surface. G-Pop sat patiently, waiting for her.)

Granddaughter: (at length) You know I love you, G-Pop.

(G-Pop interrupted with a laugh.)

Granddaughter: What are you laughing at?

G-Pop: You always know you’re in trouble when somebody begins a conversation with “you know I love you…”

Granddaughter: You’re not in trouble. I just love you.

G-Pop: Thank you.

Granddaughter: What I’m trying to say is, I don’t understand why you aren’t rich and famous.

G-Pop: Which would you prefer? Rich or famous?

Granddaughter: Aren’t they the same?

G-Pop: Oh, no. One is fame and one is money. You can get money without being famous, and you certainly can be famous without getting any money.

Granddaughter: Really?

G-Pop: So which one? Do you think I should be rich? Or be famous?

Granddaughter: I want you to be both!

G-Pop: So let’s say I was. How would that help you?

(Granddaughter sat, thinking. So G-Pop offered an idea.)

G-Pop: If I had money, maybe I could buy you more things. And if I was famous, your friends might think you were really cool because your G-Pop was well-known.

Granddaughter: I suppose. Gee, that makes me sound really dumb.

G-Pop: No, it makes you sound human. It’s just that human sometimes sounds dumb.

Granddaughter: Why aren’t you on television? Or in the movies? Or on the news?

G-Pop: You ever go on a long trip?

Granddaughter: Sure.

G-Pop: Well, you’re young enough that you probably don’t understand that to drive the first mile of a long trip means you have to get your car ready, pack your bags, check the fluids on your engine, get some money, plan the trip, pick up some snacks…

Granddaughter: That’s a lot of stuff!

G-Pop: It is. And even though you might be heading for somewhere far away, your destination doesn’t make any difference, because what’s important right now is how well you plan and how much you enjoy it.

Granddaughter: What’s this got to do with being rich and famous?

G-Pop: Rich and famous is a dot on the map–maybe far away. Some people sit around wondering how they could take a rocket ship there, or be dropped in by helicopter. But since those possibilities are very limited, they usually end up going nowhere. But if you take the keys you’ve got and use the vehicle you own, and drive as far as you can, enjoying every mile of the way, you might just someday get to that dot. But if you don’t, you can sure help a lot of people on the highway enjoy a lot of scenery, and find a way to make everywhere you travel resemble that dot.

Granddaughter: I don’t quite understand.

G-Pop: I wouldn’t expect you to. But just remember this–it’s never about the destination. It’s about the journey. And as long as you’re having fun with what you’re doing, helping out folks along the way, and learning the precious value of planning, you will always be happy–which is actually the best impersonation of rich and famous.

 

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Do As: Heal … January 26, 2013

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Spirited set

6:52 P.M. last night–eight minutes until show time in Lake Worth, Florida. Above you see a shot of the stage, which I am about to enter. What do I know?

First, if you don’t mind, let’s look at what I don’t know:

  1. I don’t know if anyone will be out there, in the audience. I mean, the event has been advertised. We tried to stimulate interest with an intriguing press release. But the slightest little thing can come along and keep people from showing up to ANYTHING–even free turkey sandwiches passed out on the street.
  2. I don’t know whether these folks are going to like me or not. I am not famous, so they feel complete freedom to reject me at will. “Reject” is a little strong, but you get the idea.
  3. The best thing I possess is who I am, free of lies.
  4. And finally, I don’t know if everything is going to work. The presumption of the status of all things being tuned and ready has often left me embarrassed, with my pants down emotionally.

So what do I feel eight minutes before the show? Invigorated, excited, careful, curious and humble. And here are the two things I know:  first, I need to walk out there and do what I do as well as I possibly can, without offering lame reasons for why I am not ready. Secondly, in pursuing what I do, if I am intelligent, I will perform my duties and mission as if I were doing it for myself. Yes, I always look out at the audience, viewing a sea of faces which all resemble me. I am not about to give folks less than what I would require for myself.

That’s why it’s important that I begin the process with feel–understanding that if I am not touched by the infirmities of life, admitting that I am tempted like everybody else, I can become a first-class jerk with no heart for mankind, just spouting a bunch a rules and pretending that I’m God‘s hall monitor.

Once I have purified feeling, I am ready to worship in spirit and truth–to symbolically kneel before my gathered host, letting them know that I honor the heavens so much that I’m trying to build a branch office here on earth.

Whenever I am in front of an audience, it’s helpful to be prepared not only to think, but to learn from them. In the process, healing occurs. Sometimes the healing is in them; occasionally it’s in me. But if I insist that I am the thinker and they’re the learners, they will quickly be repelled by my approach and protect themselves from the onslaught of my domineering attitude.

I am inclined to DO AS–to deal with what is going to happen and use it to my advantage instead of recoiling in fear because some unknown factor has surprised me. Yes, I will tell you good folks a simple truth: preparing is better than planning. Yes, preparing your heart, spirit and mind to feel, kneel and heal is ten times more effective than thinking you have covered every eventuality and closed the doors of difficulty.

Right now the stage is empty. In a minute, it will be occupied by the human-flesh spaces known as Jonathan Richard Cring and Janet Clazzy. We owe it to ourselves and those we are about to meet to feel, kneel, heal and finally–deal with what is available.

Are we ready? Have we made a plan? More importantly, are we prepared to be ourselves without shame?

Deal–the process by which we arrive in life with a pure heart, a truthful spirit, a healed mind, without any hidden agenda to control but instead, are grateful just for the opportunity to be alive and breathing deeply.

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

Party Planners… November 7, 2012

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Ellie and Don wanted to plan a party.

They decided to work together on the idea. It was exciting. But within a few days they ran into some problems. Don wanted to try some new concepts and experiment, and even though Ellie was intrigued by the possibility, she wanted to make sure she didn’t disinclude old friends. What at first was a casual conversation changed into a disagreement, became a conflict and ended up in a rift.

So Ellie decided to have her own party, and Don likewise pursued his. Ellie got all of her old friends acquaintances and they defined exactly what they thought a party should be. Even though they wanted the occasion to be rich with expansion and open to new encounters, they also were intent on maintaining the integrity of their lifestyles and positions. It was an intense discussion.

Meanwhile, Don got together with a few of his chums and began to assemble a format–or actually, more a direction–for their particular party. Don’s idea was different. He candidly told his gathered helpers that he really liked them a lot, but that he was also interested in trying to enlarge his surrounding host of friends to include new faces. To his amazement, his committee agreed.

So Don went out and bought a book on party planning, shared it with his little council of helpers, and they followed the guidelines meticulously. The first step in planning a party, according to this book, was to invite more people. So instead of relying on a Rolodex of names and telephone numbers, they spread their net out to welcome people from everywhere, most of whom they did not know personally. As Don read the book, he realized that it was impossible to make new, lasting relationships if you didn’t go out and meet new people.

Meanwhile, Ellie and her cohorts decided to limit the guest list of their party to people they knew or people who understood the style and approach of what this particular extravaganza needed to be. So it was agreed in Ellie’s meeting that each member would be given a couple of tickets to pass out to their immediate family or individuals they deemed would be comfortable with the scheme.

As Don read further into his book, he discovered that the second step to having a great party was to serve good food–lots of it and different types. So as they sat down to plan a menu with the caterers of the event, the party planners for Don’s little foray actually picked delicacies that many of them had never even tasted. They were a little bit nervous, but also excited at the prospect of spicing up their lives through variety.

Ellie also planned a menu. It was decided to go with foods that were tried and true–possessing the quality of the taste of time. A couple of suggestions were made to Ellie that they include a few unusual recipes, so cautiously, they inserted one or two of these unknown quantities, but in very limited amounts.

Meanwhile, back at Don’s party, the book suggested that the party have easy directions to a known location. The point the book made was that it’s ridiculous to have a festive occasion if people have difficulty finding it or they are completely unfamiliar with their surroundings. So Don and his little group found a lovely facility right off the freeway, well-lit, with lots of parking.

At Ellie’s session, one of the members mentioned that there was a beautiful mansion available up on top of a hill, about twenty-five miles outside of town. It was practically abandoned and they could probably get it for a song, and people would enjoy the adventure of finding this remote location and strolling around the old halls, viewing the ancient architecture. Everyone was thrilled.

So Don’s party was held–right off the freeway in a simple building–and Ellie’s was out of town, but in an elegant, traditional setting.

Finally, as Don read the last chapter of his book, he concluded that the overall message he received from the volume was that the party should be a place where people could have fun. Of course, everyone had a different definition for fun, but it was generally agreed by one and all that having fun had something to do with pursuing your own happiness without being restricted by others.

Ellie brought up the same subject to her friends. They agreed that fun was a wonderful idea, but in the process of trying to achieve this levity, they should be careful not to lose control of the situation and to make sure to put enough guidelines in place so as to avoid the danger of activities that might be beyond acceptability. Matter of fact, a huge discussion ensued, which raged into the night, about what actually WAS permissible. They decided to make a list of forbidden practices and include it in the invitation sent out to the chosen few.

All was prepared. Both Ellie and Don finished their preliminaries, dates were set and advertising was put in motion.

Don trusted his book and invited all the people he could find, served good food and lots of it to stimulate any taste bud, printed out easy directions for their common location and advertised clearly that all those who came could have fun as long as they didn’t infringe on the rights of others.

It was uncanny that Ellie actually ended up reading the same book that Don pursued–but her conclusions were quite different. The guest list at Ellie’s party was more trimmed and tailored to the specifications of her existing friends. The menu was limited, but tasty. The directions were quite complex, but there was the promise that upon arrival it would be well worth the journey. And fun was so well-defined that confusion and rabble-rousing were absolutely eliminated.

Don’s party was packed. It was disorganized, rowdy and at times bordered on a bit of confusion. Ellie’s party was less well attended, but much more specific to taste, and proper in its proportions.

Over half the people at Don’s party were strangers–unknown to the committee which had originally initiated the idea.

Ellie knew everyone at her party and actually was related to most of them.

Ellie and Don caught up with each other a week later and shared their findings. Of course, each of them put a bit of “spin to the positive” on the affair. Don shook his head as he explained that his results were a little rowdy, but certainly filled with inclusion and excitement. Ellie smiled and said she was glad that her party was much more orderly and contained, even though not nearly as unpredictable and crowded.

But the biggest shock was when they realized that both of them had consulted the same book to plan their parties. It was a volume that had been around for thousands of years and was available to anyone who was willing to learn and receive.

It was the Bible of the party, and from this Bible, Don had learned to invite more people, serve great food, make things easy and have fun. Ellie gleaned from the message to limit invitations, go with tried and tested formulas, make it a little more difficult to get to the destination, but reward those who made it, and to carefully define what was acceptable pleasure so as not to end up with undesirable results.

Two parties. One book. Different ideas.

The amazing part of the whole endeavor was that the book that Don and Ellie consulted did contain information to support both of their assertions, so it was no longer an issue of who was right and wrong–but rather, which idea bore the most fruit to benefit humankind.

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

Here You Got–November 10, 2011

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EC + W = IND.

Looks like a formula, doesn’t it? I guess it really is. We do live in a material world, chemically charged, and we are part of that process. So what is this little formula? Let me break it down for you: EC stands for “emotional counting.” The W signifies “worry” and the IND is “indecision.” So what IS emotional counting?

Emotional counting is when we fail to come clean with the feelings from the previous day and carry them over without self-discovery into today’s activities, allowing them to color how we view our possibilities.

In other words, if I had a bad day yesterday and failed to clean myself out emotionally with God, the mirror or a friend, and then I look at the little dab of what I have, that little pile of potential will always look insufficient.

Yesterday’s unresolved problems always make today look impossible—and when we think things are impossible, we commence to worry. Worry, very simply, is pitching a fit that “life is unfair.” Let me tell you—life is unimpressed. Life does not care that we are spoiled brats who threw a temper tantrum because we didn’t get what we wanted.

Next, when worry fails to produce inspiration, we choose the dastardly position of indecision, which causes us to finish our day in greater frustration, compiling our emotional upheaval. This is why those who have problems continue to be plagued by more problems, which we deem to be bizarre and unrighteous.

You cannot count your blessings or even assess the value of what you presently have if you’re still distressed over yesterday’s failures. Looking back on yesterday causes us to worry about tomorrow, making us squander today. Just go back and read that sentence to yourself again. It is a powerful thought.

Emotional counting is allowing ourselves to be ungrateful for what God has given us and what has been provided by our own hands because of fear of yesterday’s inadequacies following us into this 24-hour period. It makes us lose all faith in ourselves and God to supply the need.

So emotional counting produces worry, which is the arrogance of thinking that things should be different, which incapacitates us with indecision.

 And what is the danger with indecision? Is it necessary to make decisions every day? Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s a jungle out there?” It’s true. And when we choose to be indecisive because we’re worrying over our lack, due to being emotionally clogged up, we leave much of our destiny in the hands of others—who just go ahead and decide for us.

Emotional counting is when we cease to believe that we have enough if we just can come up with a very good angle. So can I give you a better formula? How about this one: C + P = A

Yes, simply Counting what we have and know instead of coloring it with a dark crayon energizes us to do a bit of P—Planning. How can I take what I have and make it work for today without allowing myself to be overly concerned with tomorrow? And when you legitimately count what is available to you and permit yourself the grace of planning instead of worrying, it always leads to A: action.  Yes, as human beings we just feel better when we’re in motion. “And a body in motion shall remain in motion and a body at rest shall remain at rest.” Likewise, a body that’s emotionally distressed will remain that way and one that is worrying will eventually turn into the proverbial wart.

Ingratitude is not merely acting like we don’t appreciate what has been provided. Ingratitude is also believing that it’s just not enough.

God does not have any victory in making us look stupid. God does not receive glory by abandoning His friends in the middle of the desert. But God is quickly rejected by those who will not deal with their emotions and begin to view their possibilities through a clouded lens which produces worry, causing them to land with indecision.

“Here you go” is when we allow ourselves to be emotionally clean by speaking out our worst fears to God, the mirror or our friend. And “here you got” is when we view what is available to us in a positive light because our cleansed emotions do not prompt us to begin to worry and become indecisive.

If I will clean up my emotions, I can count my blessings and plan to use them well in this day’s period, which will prompt me towards action. Remember, often our problem is not that we are destitute, but rather, that we look beyond today’s need and project what tomorrow will demand.

Counting + Planning = Action. 

But to count with a sense of joy what God has given us demands that we remove all the emotional frustration of the previous day … and give God a good chance to bless us right now.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

A Tiny Step–November 5, 2011

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Packed up.

There’s no feeling quite like it and I wish you could all be there to experience the sensation. The program is done, folks are greeted, the equipment is loaded and you find yourself prepared to journey back to where you have selected to headquarter yourself while on tour. There’s a little chill in the air that’s able to reach your soul because you’ve allowed yourself to be open to other human beings.  It prompts a bit of giddiness.

It was Thursday night in Summerville, South Carolina, near Charleston, and I was about two hours from a good night’s rest. I got on the freeway and did what I always do. I set my cruise control at 65 miles per hour … because that was the speed limit. You would have thought I was rowing a boat in the middle of a muddy creek. Everyone passed me–and some of them even honked at me because I was presumptuously driving too slow for their taste.

At 65 miles an hour, it was going to take me two hours to get home. Driving 70 miles an hour, I would have gotten home in one hour and fifty minutes–ten minutes sooner.  Driving 75 miles an hour I would have gotten there twenty minutes earlier. This is a big deal to some folks, or at least it seems to be.

Also, it annoys me when I am driving along at 65 miles an hour and I have to suddenly slam on the brakes because the guy driving in front of me, going 75 or 80 miles an hour, suddenly notices there’s a police car ahead. So we go from the ridiculous to the sublime. Yes–he drops all the way from 80 to 50, sheepishly creeping by the police car and hoping that radar has not caught his errant behavior.  I pass him, continuing to drive 65 miles per hour–the big, fat tortoise that I am.

I don’t feel self-righteous about this issue. I just think we need some place to start–yes–to begin to have integrity as a bulwark for our character. We are constantly bombarded by examples of lying and cheating on television and in the movies–and especially on the scandal-ridden news programs which pepper our minds with negative images of our fellow-man. I think we’ve actually begun to believe that most lying is inevitable and some lying is even necessary.

Here’s what you have to do to drive 65 miles an hour home from Summerville, South Carolina, and not get frustrated or be tempted to speed:

1. Make a plan. The reason most people feel the necessity to break the law and drive too fast is that they’ve convinced themselves that they’re way too busy to spend time in a car, scooting along to their destination. The art of planning is the essence of escaping worry and frustration. Just being able to leave ten minutes earlier saves you from having to slow up in front of policemen or eventually get that ticket when they inevitably catch you. Planning has become a negative in our country, associated with anal behavior, female tendencies or even poor mental health due to fussiness over meticulous detail. And boy, does it show up! We have people who can’t keep their word on deadlines, government in gridlock and organizations that repeat the same activities over and over again until people totally lose interest. Yes, I had to plan my trip to Summerville AND back. Yes, I went into much detail. Yes, I prepared myself physically for the excursion. And yes:

2. I surrounded myself with pleasantness. The reason most of us are in such a hurry is that we’re trying to get away from unpleasant activities we have failed to transform into reasonable joys. I am the great benefactor of sitting in a van and traveling with two delightful women who converse with me and I with them instead of staring out the windows, acting like we’re looking for icebergs on the Titanic. Because folks don’t plan well, they miss the opportunity for great pleasantries with one another. Matter of fact, you can do some of that planning for the next day while riding in your car, going the speed limit.  How about a book on CD? I have a couple if you’re interested.  How about music of your choice instead of the radio? Once again, I have some of those also. How about a cup of coffee and a really tasty, cheap hot dog from your local convenience store?  (Everyone knows calories consumed in a car in the pursuit of a journey don’t count on your waistline.  At least, I heardthat’s what I’ve heard …) By simply driving the speed limit–a small step–you will learn to be a better planner and surround yourself with desirable possibilities, causing you to use a great human attribute:

3. Patience. Patience is not gripping the steering wheel like it’s a life preserver in an ocean storm, but rather, relaxing in your planning and pleasant environment, knowing that what’s up ahead isn’t any better than what you presently have. Jesus said, “In your patience you possess your souls.” A powerful thought. Is it possible that this entire human journey is going to boil down to God evaluating how willing we were to drive the speed limit, patiently evolving our plan, in a pleasant mood? For the sake of many of my dear friends, I hope not.

Take a small step.  Take one day of your life and drive the speed limit. Take a few minutes ahead of that to plan your day so it’s feasible. And then reward yourself by surrounding yourself with really neat things, so you can happily enjoy yourself when others drive by and honk at you.

We need to take some small steps to move toward honesty so we don’t have to frown at ourselves in the mirror.

But instead, we can look clearly … into our own clear eyes.

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Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

Jonathan sings “Let”

Jonathan Sings “Spent This Time”

Jonathan and his partner, Janet Clazzy, play “The Call”

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