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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Cracked 5 … December 19th, 2017


Jonathots Daily Blog

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Very Unusual Birthday Wishes

A. “Thought you were dead. Now that I know you’re alive, it gives me a chance to kill you.”

 

B. “I knew your mother. You could be my bastard.”

 

C. “We baked your birthday cake. Unfortunately, our dog, Fritzenrod, peed on it, so please don’t eat.”

 

D. “I was going to buy you a birthday present–then realized you were not that shallow.”

 

E. “The ancestors of John Wilkes Booth found out you had the same birthday as him. They changed his.

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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

Don’t Get Confused … July 17, 2012

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Driving along on Interstate 40 towards Knoxville, Tennessee, I was confronted with a billboard which read, “Where will you spend eternity?”

I had an immediate answer. “I don’t know.”

Now, before you start trying to evangelize me to grant me eternal security and awareness of my heavenly destination, let me explain that I do have aspirations, desires and even requests on where I would like to spend the afterlife. But since Jesus, himself, told us to”make sure our hearts were not troubled on the issue, and we only have stories, promises and opinions, I think it could be considered a classic waste of time to deliberate such a question. Matter of fact, I will go so far as to say it is the festering sore on the backside of humankind–our preoccupation with the future, life after death and what’s going to happen next. I have written on this issue many times, but I continue to be surrounded by those who feel it is all right for them to be inconsiderate in the moment as long as they are pursuing a path to consider what is best in the future.

It’s annoying.

I would like to set this to rest. I think to be halted between two opinions–one being that humans have complete free will and the other contention that there is a perfect will of God in which we all should try to center our lives–is what makes us totally inept, if not comical. I guess I don’t care which side you choose, but I would request that you cease to believe that humans have free will and then continue to worry about what God may have in store for the future.

If I have free will, there IS no future. It has yet to be determined by my next action. Even if you want to believe that God is all-knowing about what I will do next, you must admit that if He is going to honor His system, He somehow or another has to at least pretend that He is experiencing my choice for the first time.

But I’m not concerned about God’s part in this process, but rather, my involvement. We should be suspicious of destiny–a philosophy that really found its origin in fairy tales and is now being introduced into the realm of basic human logic and interaction. Perhaps Snow White was always meant to be a Queen–or was that Cinderella?  Perhaps they were pre-destined and merely went through some obstacles to be rescued in the end and reinstated to their purposes. But that’s why they call it a fairy tale–because it’s not true.

I am not destined to be anything. Even though I’ve lived a life of being a father, a writer, a composer and traveling troubadour, if I want to, I can go out and take a rifle and kill twelve people tomorrow–and become known as a serial killer. I can choose that. I can select to change my image at my own will–and it isn’t because I was destined to eventually become a serial killer. It’s because my gift of free will allows me to be spiritually motivated instead of manipulated. Yes, I choose to love God instead of loving God because He chooses me to do so.

So I just wanted to take a few moments today to see if I can help you to get through this nasty piece of confusion that continues to insult humanity by introducing falsehoods and fairy tales into what could be a really exciting life.

1. There is no destiny. There’s just opportunity. Once you comprehend that life is about asking, seeking and knocking instead of sitting, watching and waiting, you not only begin to fathom the power of the gospel of Jesus, but you actually tap into the natural energy and karma in our world. What happens next is how effectively I use what I have to my advantage.

2. There are no thoughts–just thoughtful. This is why Jesus told his disciples to “take no thought for the morrow.” How do I get myself in trouble? When when I have down time, begin to analyze my situation and how it relates to my perceived future. I become frantic, I worry, I may even tear up because I think there’s a futility to my pursuits. In my ridiculous nature, I might consider these times to be rich with ideas and introspection, but really, it’s a complete waste of time, because unless I use this particular moment effectively, my thoughts will take me nowhere but despair. I will tell you of a certainty that no one ever thinks himself into repentance. Nobody ever thinks himself into rejuvenation. We just normally think ourselves into a tizzy. That’s why the beautiful brain you’ve been given is supposed to conjure ideas about how to be thoughtful–right now. How can I express, in a physical way, my feelings of joy to the world around me–in this second? That’s what the brain is for. If you hire your mind to do anything else other than act in the moment’s possibility, it begins to think it has more power than it was intended to possess. No thoughts, my friend. Just thoughtful.

3. And finally, no future. Just now. There is no future. What is going to happen tomorrow is being determined right now by my choices. God comes along for the ride. It is similar to the game we used to play with our children when we told them that they could make all the decisions for the day–where we were going to go, what we were going to eat and what we were going to do. For this particular exercise in fun to succeed, we had to get rid of all of our adult preconceptions, become childlike and go for it. This is exactly what God does. Our Father, who has given us life, does not suddenly snatch it back from us when we begin to make choices that are different from what He might consider to be fruitful.

There is either free will or we are creatures of pre-destination. The in-between state that we try to propagate in our pop culture not only is erroneous, but causes us to run into walls in the dark. I am deciding the future by my choices in the present. It’s as simple as that.

I had a new grandson born last week. What will he become? Well, some folks get that far-off look in their eyes and say, “It’s in God’s hands.”  It isn’t. It’s in his mama’s and papa’s, family’s, friends’–and mostly, it’s in his own hands. What little Johann is going to turn out to be is eventually going to be up to emerging Johann.

And hopefully, if we learn to respect our humanity and the power of our lives, in that process we will often stumble into the whims of God. There is no future–just now.

So I don’t want you to get confused. And even though there are those who will argue with this position, in the midst of their discourse about my error in theology or reasoning, they will collide into so many contradictions that they will eventually end their report by saying, “Well, much of it is a mystery.”

Feel free to pursue life as a mystery–but please allow me and others like myself to pursue it as an adventure. In the long run, you will understand that an adventure is much preferable to a mystery.

Don’t get confused. There is no destiny, just opportunity; no thoughts, just being thoughtful, and no future–just now.

So go and enjoy your day, knowing that it is truly your day, and it is one that God has made available for you–to revel in your free will.

   

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

The Salina Solution … June 11, 2012

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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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