Jubilators … November 11th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog



Sitting Ten

A Spirited Discussion

Lit was the last to light into the gathering, bouncing across the room, illuminating with a sparkle of personality and flair.

“Sorry I’m a bit late,” he beamed. “I was busy telling a joke to the North Star.”

For some reason, all of the spirits gathered found this completely hilarious–everyone but Everett Green. “Is it possible for you to arrive on time?” grumped the trunk.

“Well, to be completely truthful and on point, there is no time here, so therefore, Lit could have been early and us completely unaware,” dead-panned Kris Kringle.

Everett glared at the jolly old elf.

“I do keep time–as in rhythm,” said Christmas Carol. “And by the way, before I forget, Holly Sprig is unable to be with us today.”

“Why?” barked Everett Green.

“No need to be nasty, Everett,” replied Christmas Carol.

Kris Kringle stepped in to alleviate the tension. “Oh, she’s being a bit of a Mother Hen. Her earthly holly children are in a difficult phase–they’re just sprouting their red berries–and she gets a little fussy.”

Christmas Carol nodded in good measure.

Everett stared over at Santere, Mary and Joseph. “Why don’t they ever speak?”

“Well, technically, they do from time to time,” said Kris, “but they are the older, more experienced spirits of our troupe–over six thousand years of experience among the three.”

“I don’t understand. What’s that got to do with it?” asked Christmas Carol.

“Well, they don’t need to speak anymore. They just pass thoughts from one to another–which speeds things up,” explained Lit.

Everett Green frowned. “Wait–aren’t you older than they are? I mean, weren’t you there at the very beginning of Creation?”

“Yes. Third thing off the top of God’s head. Let there be light.”

“So why don’t you just…think your way along?” asked Everett, still sprouting a bit of leftover perturbed.

Suddenly the arena brightened. “Because I like to beam,” Lit said with a huge glow.

“Pardon me for asking, Everett, but you seem a little bit out of sorts,” observed Christmas Carol.

“Yes,” said Kris Kringle, chuckling over his own upcoming joke. “For an evergreen you seem somewhat blue.”

This caused Christmas Carol to giggle in harmony and Lit to flash and blink.

Everett Green, stung by being made fun of, tried to calm himself down and responded, “I’m fine. It’s just that I don’t exactly get it. And before you ask me what I don’t get, I’ll tell you. Almost all of it.”

Kris Kringle, still chuckling, replied, “Well therefore, maybe it would be quicker for us to discuss what you actually do understand.”

Christmas Carol just chorused with more laughter. This time she was joined by Santere, Mary and Joseph, who also seemed to be mocking the frustrated fir.

“What are they laughing at?” challenged Everett, pointing one of his branches in their direction.

“Who knows?” responded Kris. “I guess when you’ve been around for six thousand years, you have a lot of private jokes.”

“What we were laughing at,” inserted Santere, “was how you newer spirits become so impatient with how the whole process works.”

Everett, trying to regain some of his prominence, countered, “Yes, do please explain to us sprouts how this works, because I’m confused. The world is about to give up Christmas in favor of some new name and we spend a few minutes in Dream World with three kids, and then can’t really see what they’re doing, and we’re supposed to dwell in our eternal bliss of ignorance, waiting for these mortals to stumble into some sort of inspiration through their haze of dullness.”

“Yeah, that’s about it,” said Mary quietly.

“Well, there’s more to it than that,” said Joseph.

Kris Kringle moved forward, intrigued. “Tell us more about the more.

Joseph paused, turning to Mary and then Santere, who bowed out gracefully, allowing the Carpenter to spin the yarn.

“Well, I guess they’ve left it to me. Let me explain the best I can using my common-man logic and understanding. We are spirits. Therefore the spiritual is our reality. I was once a mortal. When I was a mortal, I touched things. The physical world was my reality. When people spoke to me of angels, heaven and even the Father, I tried to believe, but hidden in my soul was a gnawing doubt about whether that which could not be handled or seen could actually exist. Now that I’ve graduated to the world of spirits, the entire universe is at my disposal. The unseen becomes my daily view, and now it is very difficult for me to comprehend the physical world. Nearly as impossible as it was for my carpenter self to ever dream of one day talking to an eternal evergreen such as yourself, Mr. Everett.”

Everett Green spread his boughs, trying to understand a bit better. “So you’re saying that because we’re of the spirit world, everything vast, universal, eternal and spiritual seems real to us. And the physical world seems to be…how should I say?…”

“Elusive and unseen,” Christmas Carol trilled.

“Well said,” agreed Kris.

“I am the mistress of lyrics,” she intoned.

Santere spoke up, assisting Joseph. “Because we have had the opportunity to view the workings of the Creator over these many centuries, we have learned to discern small stirrings in the cosmos and interpret them as the real happenings on the physical world of Earth.”

Mary added her heart. “It’s just like when I was a woman, living in Nazareth. When I prayed, I would sometimes feel and sense that my words were being heard and that the answer was on the way. I had no proof, but there was this tickling in my soul that made me believe I had made a connection that was far beyond my worldly comprehension.”

“Well said!” thundered Santere.

“She may have said it well, but I’m even more confused than I was before,” complained Everett.

Suddenly, in unison, Santere, Joseph and Mary giggled.

“What are the three of you laughing about? Can you let us in on the inside joke?” Everett was not amused.

“Well, it was a private exchange,” said Santere a little nervously.

“No, really,” said Everett. “Tell me what you’re laughing at.”

Mary peered at Santere and then Santere at Joseph, who realized it was his turn to pipe up. “Well, basically, Santere thought in our direction that maybe, Everett Green…that maybe…you’re just a pine cone or two short of understanding.”

Joseph could barely finish his sentence before laughter overtook him. Santere joined him and concluded, “And Mary thought that perhaps we should be nicer … and stop needling you.”

Everett Green turned his branches away and pouted. “So this is supposed to be super-spiritual, mature humor.”

“Listen, Everett,” said Mary tenderly. “The more spiritual you become, the more childlike your perceptions.”

“So I guess that would make me the most grown-up one here,” said Everett, green with envy.

Kris Kringle intervened. “Well, I know that we are incapable of arguments–because that would be foolish and beneath us. So let me try to steer this ‘spirited discussion’ in a more helpful direction.”

All the gathered took a deep breath and exhaled, ready to move on and find better thoughts.

Kris proceeded. “Let me try to answer Brother Everett’s questions while simultaneously giving a report on our present situation. I do believe we all understand the limitations. For instance, we are welcome to influence. We are welcome to bring to remembrance. As spirits, we’re encouraged to edify. But as you well know, we are not allowed in any sense to intervene and rob the humans of their free will. If the Father wouldn’t even consider stepping in to rescue his Son when ignorance was prepared to nail him to a cross and terminate his mission, we must understand that no toleration will be granted for us to manipulate the minds of men, but rather, to use their hearts to try to enliven their sometimes-dormant spirits to be hopeful again.”

There was a hum of agreement among the spirited gathering.

“So what should we do, or perhaps I should ask, where are we in all of this?” sang Christmas Carol.

Santere spoke up. “When I was alive as a man, they called me wise. It took dying to find out how ignorant I truly was. But there were little pieces of knowledge eternal which peppered my temporal mind. Those exist today in the people we are trying to help. Let me assist those of you who are younger in the spirit to understand what is going on, and update you on the progress. We have found three children whose hearts are prepared to take a nightly dream and turn it into a vision of activity.”

“How delightful! What are the names of the little ones?” shone Lit.

Everett, still stinging, countered, “Excuse me, Lit. Are you ever depressed? Do you ever lose sight of your goal?”

Without any pause whatsoever, Lit replied, “That would be foolish. After all, everyone’s heard of being ‘lit up.’ But not ‘lit down.'”

A great laughter filled all the heavens over such a silly reply.

At length, Santere continued. “Now, as to the children. Let us know them by their first names. There is Harry, Shanisse and Golda–three very different children of God, who have just enough connection with the supernatural that they’re able to believe that it can be translated into their natural planning.”

Everett Green again spoke up, hoping to overcome his image of growler. “So explain to me, what do they know, what can they do and what can we do?”

Joseph piped up. “I’ll take the first question. What do they know? Just that they’ve been given an exciting idea in their dreams, which right now is still intact in their conscious minds because nothing has come along to steal their belief.”

“What can they do?” continued Mary. “Now there’s a good question. Many spirits have become aggravated throughout the eons of time due to rushing human beings toward some sort of completion. Here’s what they can do if they don’t lose faith: they can stall things. Get people to think better thoughts. It’s similar to when a few souls questioned slavery, and eventually slowed things down enough that others could catch up with their hidden angels and realize the truth of the universe–which is that no one is better than anyone else.”

Santere paused for a moment, allowing the beauty of Mary’s words to have the honor they deserved. “I guess it’s up to me to answer the third question. What can we do? We can do exactly what the Son taught us. In our patience we possess our spirit. Yes, we can lose our spirit by becoming impatient with the human beings that God loved so much that He gave His only Son. What we can do is continue to offer encouragement, opportunity, mercy and just a few simple signposts which will remind those who are working diligently among mortals that they are not alone. Hope is real, faith has a substance and the answers are on the way.”

Kris Kringle stepped in. “If you will allow this old Dutch toy-maker to offer a bit of advice, I was once one of the human walkers myself, and still understand their situation. We all must remember that doing good is not difficult. It just is viewed by evil as being self-righteous and by those who are starved for the good as being not enough. One piece at a time. I know some of us may feel foolish for believing that three children can affect a world of calloused grown-ups, but it will only be the faith of the young that will save the spirit of Christmas, as it took a single new-born babe to bring angels, shepherds, wise men and a star together at the same time, in the same place.”

There was a sweet silence that followed the speech of the one called Santa Claus.

“Won’t we need some sort of grown-up?” asked Everett, trying not to be cantankerous.

It was Lit who offered a final thought. “There is one. Such a precaution has been taken, and another soul who has not been tainted by the passing years has also been enlightened.”

“Who?” asked Christmas Carol.

“All in good time, my dear,” said Santere. “It is our joy as spirits, if we learn our mission, to not be in any hurry for human beings to become smarter.”


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Jubilators … November 4th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog



Sitting Nine

Park It

Fenswick Park was only two blocks from Harry Ventner’s home.

It was named in honor of George Robert Fenswick, who donated the money for the parcel of land from his fortune, derived by manufacturing rubber bands. A trust was also provided for upkeep, bi-annual improvementsand the yearly Rubber Band Half Marathon.

Harry was in a hurry. He gulped down the smoothie his mother had prepared for breakfast, begged to be excused and then ran out the door toward the park, barely hearing his mother’s final request, “Be back for lunch!”

Ever since awakening an hour earlier, he had been thinking about heading for the park to try to fulfill the dream he had had the previous night, which encompassed his thoughts.

Such a dream. It was about the North Pole, Santa Claus, his beard, and a great race. For such an endeavor, he would need to immediately begin training. After all, sometimes dreams come true. And he would have to know how to run one mile if he was going to run two.

Likewise, Shanisse Martinez arose early. So early that her mother yelled at her and told her to go back to bed. Rather than complying, Shanisse grabbed two of her favorite board games, meticulously counted the pieces to make sure everything was in proper order, and then sat in a big, leather chair near her desk, staring up at the ceiling fan, waiting for the time she could finally leave her room and head off to find the location for her board game extravaganza, which would include thousands—maybe millions—of people, in pursuit of sharing grilled cheese and tomato soup with Mr. S. Claus.

This had been her last night’s dream.

Not certain exactly where to head, Shanisse took off four blocks down the road, to the largest open area she knew. Fenswick Park.

Golda Linski awakened, enlivened by a dream, sitting straight up in her bed, with the lyrics of a Broadway tune from a musical named North Pole rumbling around in her head, begging to be sung.

North, north, north

We must go

To a land filled

With ice and snow

South, south, south

Bring the toys

To all good little

Girls and boys.

East, east, east

Hop the sleigh

Fly with Santa

For just today

West, west, west

Chase the star

Never complain

About how far

She was breathless–inspired. She was compelled by a force beyond herself to write a tribute to the North Pole. Never before had she considered writing a song of her own. She was completely satisfied to sing the tunes of other musical greats, but now, suddenly, she was a composer. The subject sacred to her soul—Santa Claus, North Pole, elves, reindeer, throw in a little Star of Bethlehem and baby in a crib to satisfy the adults. Then she would step into her role as Marjorie Claus, the secret benefactor and inspiration of all things Christmas.

She quickly ate a bowl of Rice Krispies, which seemed to add a percussive background to her creative thoughts. Snap! Crackle! Pop! She was so preoccupied that her mother was concerned that she might be ill. But Ms. Linski, the aspiring poet, musical genius-in-training, and the soon-to-be toast of Broadway, was feeling quite fine.

She headed out the door as her mother told her to return by one o’clock that afternoon. Golda needed a place to focus so she could write. Where could she go? All at once she remembered that Fenswick Park had constructed a big pole in the ground, where they hoped to someday build a complete playground. Perfect. She needed a pole. It would remind her of its Northern counterpart. So off to Fenswick Park she went, loudly singing her new song, her first song—the opening song of a musical which would set the world on fire, ablaze with the good cheer of the Christmas season.

Shanisse sat down at a picnic table setting up both of her board games, trying to figure out how much space would be necessary for forty thousand of them, all over a huge stadium.

As she tried to concentrate, a little boy came running by, over and over again. Each time he flew by her position, he screeched, “Swish, swish, one, two, three… Get that beard!”

The words were so full of nonsense that Shanisse was distracted, and soon accidentally did something that had never happened before in her life. She took the shoe piece from her Monopoly game and accidentally laid it on the Sorry gameboard next to it. She was mortified. How could she have done such a thing?

“Pardon me,” she said to the Sorry board.

“I will return your shoe,” she apologized to Monopoly.

Then there he was again. “Swish, swish, one, two, three… Get that beard.”

In a fit of fury, Shanisse reached out and grabbed the little runner, bringing him to an unexpected halt. She whirled him around, looked into his flushed face and screamed, “What are you doing, crazy boy?”

Taking a moment to catch his breath, Harry replied, “I’m in training. So I must train.”

He tried to wiggle from her grasp, but Shanisse held on tightly.

“You made me put my shoe on the Sorry board.”

Harry gave her a confused squint. “Sorry…”

“It’s a board game! You know? Have you ever played one?”

“What I meant was, I’m sorry…I, uh, confused you,” he said sincerely.

“Why are you running?” asked Shanisse.

“I’m training for a race. A great race. The greatest race.” Harry was so elated to finally share with someone who might actually understand, since she was sitting at a picnic table setting up board games in the early morning light.

“What race?” inquired Shanisse.

“You haven’t heard about it because it hasn’t been thought of yet, except in my dream, where it was not just an idea, but an actual happening. But of course, dreams don’t really work out unless you can take them and make them real. Am I right?”

Harry paused. So did Shanisse.

“I had a dream, too,” she said.

“Was it about a race?” questioned Harry.

“No. It was the world’s biggest board game tournament with nearly everybody alive—at least everyone who still wants to have fun—and the prize…Well, the prize…”

Harry interrupted Shanisse.

“The prize in my race is to get three hairs from the beard of Santa Claus so I can save the reindeer from being sent to Lapland.”

Shanisse huffed. “You interrupted me. The prize in my contest is lunch at the North Pole with Santa Claus.”

“Cool,” said Harry.

Just then, another young girl walked up to them. “Do you know where that big pole is that they stuck in the ground?” she inquired.

“What big pole?” asked Shanisse.

Harry jumped in. “I think she’s talking about that tall pole out near the wooded area, where they’re going to build some sort of jungle gym or something. I don’t know the details.”

“That sounds right, ” said the girl.

“Why do you need a pole?” asked Shanisse.

“Can you keep a secret?” replied the girl.

Both Harry and Shanisse nodded their heads emphatically.

“My name is Golda—Golda Linski.”

Shanisse countered. “Oh, I almost forgot! My name is Shanisse Martinez.”

Golda continued. “Remember my name. You’re going to need to know it someday when they interview you on television about the first time you met the great playwright and composer.”

“Who?” asked Harry.

“Me! I am going to write a Broadway musical. You want to hear part of it?”

Golda didn’t wait for their consent. She launched into the words of her new song. She was right in the middle of the “west” part when Shanisse interrupted.

“How can a little girl write a musical for Broadway?”

“Yeah. Or…how can a little girl think she’s gonna put together a board game for thousands of people in this park?” sneered Harry.

“I like board games,” shared Golda.

“I like musicals,” agreed Shanisse.

“I don’t like either,” cited Harry.

“So who shouldn’t be here?” said Shanisse, with a sly smile.

“I don’t want to be here,” replied Harry. “I’m training.”

Golda turned to Shanisse. “What’s he training for?”

“He’s training for a great race to the North Pole, to…I don’t know. Why don’t you explain it to her?” Shanisse turned to Harry.

“I already explained this once,” said Harry, annoyed. “I have to race to the North Pole as quickly as I can to take three hairs out of the beard of Santa Claus and bring them back so the reindeer won’t be shipped off to Lapland.”

“Where’s Lapland?” asked Golda.

“I don’t know. It was just what the guy said in my dream,” replied Harry, shrugging.

“Hold on a second!” said Shanisse. “Let me get this straight. I had a dream. This boy had a dream…”

“My name’s Harry,” he inserted.

“Nice to meet you, Harry,” said Golda.

“Don’t interrupt my deep reasoning,” said Shanisse, scolding the pair.

“Yes, mother,” said Golda sarcastically.

“Where was I?” mused Shanisse. “Oh, yes. I had a dream. Harry had a dream. And you had a dream.”

“Golda Linski. I told you to remember the name. You can probably sell an interview to the Daily Post.”

“Right,” said Shanisse, deep in thought.

“Well, I already told you I had a dream—about writing a Broadway musical,” added Golda.

Harry scratched his head. “So I don’t get it. What’s the point?”

Shanisse looked at the pair in front of her. “Well, I may be the youngest of the three of us…”

Harry interrupted. “I’m eleven.”

“Well, I’m twelve,” said Golda with some gusto.

“As I said,” continued Shanisse. “I am the youngest of the three of us—ten and-a-half but darned close to eleven—but I’m putting it all together. We all three had dreams. Last night?”

She paused for a response. Harry and Golda nodded in agreement.

Shanisse continued with great authority. “We all three had dreams. They all had something to do with Santa Claus. And look at us. We’ve all ended up here at the same park on the same morning, having never met each other before in our entire lives.”

“So? What’s your point?” Harry said, bewildered.

“My point it that Dream World is trying to bring us together!” said Shanisse.

“Is there such a thing as Dream World?” asked Golda.

“I don’t know. You come up with a name for it,” countered Shanisse.

“I will admit it’s a little freaky, but it’s like my Uncle Jackson once said. ‘One person’s miracle is another person’s lucky penny.'” Harry stood back proudly with his proclamation.

The two girls paused and then turned to Harry and wailed in unison, “What?”

“What I mean,” explained Harry, “is that maybe it was just one of those things.”

“Or…maybe it’s a thing that only has one,” said Shanisse.

“Oooh, that’s deep,” admired Golda.

“Deep in stinky-poo dumb,” said Harry as he turned away from them and walked over to the bench to look at the game boards.

“Stay away from there!” said Shanisse sharply.

“Why?” demanded Harry. “You said there was gonna be a whole bunch of people playing these games.”

“But not yet,” objected Shanisse. “I’m still thinking through the thoughts.”

“I know what you mean,” said Golda. “Words keep popping into my mind but they just don’t want to glue together to bloom my second song.”

“Are you two joining together to pick on me?” questioned Harry.

“No,” said Shanisse. “Don’t be such a…boy.”

Suddenly Golda sat down on the ground, put her elbows on her knees and both of her hands under her chin, as if deep in thought. Harry and Shanisse stared at her for a moment and then joined her in the seated position. Golda just hummed.

Harry turned to Shanisse and quietly said, “What do you think she’s doing?”

“Humming,” replied Shanisse.

“I know that,” said Harry. “Why do you think she’s humming?”

“I’m trying to get some music with the universe, so we can stop our arguing and see if there’s a reason why we suddenly are together,” said Golda in an other world voice.

“So you feel it, too!” said Shanisse.

“I do,” she replied simply.

“Then I do, too,” said Harry, not wanting to be left out.

They sat for a long time—at least, it seemed to be a long time in the realm of the minds of those who are too young to want any time to pass without a thrill.

Finally Golda spoke. “I think I’ve got it.” She pointed at Harry. “You had a dream about Santa Claus.”

He nodded. She pointed at Shanisse. “You had a dream about board games, but the prize was time with Santa Claus.”

“I guess so,” Shanisse responded.

“And of course, I had a dream about writing the best musical ever—which involves…” She held out her hand, waiting for them to respond.

“Singers?” offered Harry.

“No!” said Golda impatiently. “Santa Claus.”

“So…we all share Santa Claus in common?” surmised Shanisse.

“Yes, I think so,” said Golda.

Harry jumped to his feet. “This is getting spooky! All I know is that I’m supposed to train for a race!”

Shanisse also got to her feet and walked over to the table with her board games. “Well, all I know is that I’m supposed to plan this huge competition with board games.”

Golda remained seated. “Calm down. I have to write my musical, too. But you can’t miss what’s happening now by thinking about what may happen next.”

Harry was about to run off, but instead put his hands on his hips and replied, “So what’s going on here?”

“I don’t know,” said Shanisse. “Remember? I’m only ten.”

“So now you choose to act like the baby,” replied Golda.

“I know this is going to sound weird,” said Harry slowly. “But for the first time in my life, it might be nice to have a grown-up here to help us figure this out.”


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Jubilators … October 21st, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog



Sitting Five


Sometimes the clouds of the sky gently descend and cover us with the dew of the heavens. We call it fog.

As the day winds to a sleepy conclusion, we retire to our beds to revel in night visions free of mortal limitations. These are our dreams.

Strolling along, sensing a pending danger, we pause to reflect, later to realize that this supernatural inkling spared us immense pain. A premonition.

The spirit world, like a great cloud of witnesses, engulfs us with merciful loving care, unseen, but of great worth.

In a place which does not truly exist on any map, invisible to the naked eye, an aged man sits, suspended in time, all alone, staring into a snow globe, the circumference of an elephant’s head, viewing the dilemma of a young woman squeezed by a fretful situation, hard pressed to please her superiors, yet trying to somehow justify her endeavors from an unsettled soul.

This aged seer is a toy maker–Kris Kringle by name, Santa Claus by fame. Tears come to his eyes as he ponders the turmoil of Shelley Claibourne. Her assignment? Change the name of Christmas.

He frowns. Will it lead to other unforeseen revisions? What will be required? What can be done?

Being a wise spirit, Kringle realizes that such contemplation is better ruminated with friends. So he calls a meeting–an invitation breathed through the air to spirits near and far, to come and fellowship.

Everett Green, the spirit of the forest and the Prince of the Tannenbaum.

Holly Sprig, the jolly saint of the season, green with promise and red with celebration.

Christmas Carol, the melody of a joy to the world through a silent night which commands the angels we have heard on high.

Santere, the leader of the wise few who followed a star through the darkest night to see the Babe of Promise.

Mary and Joseph, the adolescent pair who insisted that their pure love was ushering in pure peace.

And of course, Lit–the light of the world that sheds illumination on every continent, religion, culture and color.

Kris Kringle simply closed his eyes, envisioned each friend, and softly said, “It is time to gather.”

A sweet fragrance rose to his nostrils. A rush of wind. A warming in the soul. A giddy sense of well-being. Soon he was surrounded with the comrades beckoned. Opening his eyes, he looked into their childlike, expectant faces.

Everett, appropriately donned in greenery

Holly, festive and alive

Carol, completely encompassed by bouncing musical notes which burst like soap bubbles, releasing sweet tones

Santere, removing his turban and embracing Kringle for a lingering exchange of fellowship

Mary and Joseph, quiet, patient but prepared

And finally, Lit, sparkling an iridescent beam of welcome and cheer

Kris surveyed his friends and spoke slowly. “Shelly Claibourne is in turmoil.”

Some nodded. Others listened intently–all spirits present.

Kringle continued. “We have known for all time that the humans we love and cherish are losing their faith.”

“It is not their fault,” whispered Everett Green. “They spend too much time at work and too little in the forest.”

Holly Sprig spoke up. “We all know they need to feel no guilt, but failing to find the blessing of color to decorate the plainness can leave you in despair with the gray.”

“On this we agree,” intoned Kringle.

“A song is a prayer that brings melody to the heart,” sang Christmas Carol.

Santere inquired, “What is the source of Shelley’s pressure?”

“She has been asked to rename Christmas,” answered Kris.

“Why?” challenged Joseph.

“Why, indeed?” agreed Kris Kringle. “There are those who feel the holiday could be just as festive without all the traditions of meaning.”

“Without Jesus?” said Mary solemnly.

“That is part of it,” said Kringle. “But there is more. They feel that one man’s joy and salvation is another man’s condemnation.”

“There is no condemnation in the light,” said Lit.

A complete and reassuring assent was followed by a long moment of silence.

At length, Santere offered counsel. “We must do what we always do.”

The entire assembly understood. For in the midst of a mass of humanity, there are those who have greater sensitivity to the spirit world. They are free of guile. They are not possessed by deadlines. They are absent prejudice. They are curious about the “possible” which lives within the “impossible.”

They are children–or have at least honored and given permanent home to a child’s heart.

“Yes,” said Kris. “We need a champion.”

“But how?” asked Everett.

“A mortalation,” replied Joseph. “I had one in the midst of a sweet sleep one night, which told me to take Mary as my wife.”

He squeezed her hand and she nestled into his warmth.

“A good idea!” said Lit. “I will light the way.”

“I will offer the wording of wisdom,” inserted Santere.

“I, the music,” chimed Carol.

“But who?” questioned Kringle.

Silence. Thought. Contemplation.

Who is always the problem,” said Holly Sprig.

“We shall watch and pray. Pray and watch. And then watch some more,” replied Kris Kringle, the Santa Claus.

The meeting was over.

The spirits dissolved into forces of the universe, zooming in diverse directions to fulfill personal missions.

A solitary Kris Kringle peered into his snow globe.

“Who…shall it be?”

Sitting Six

Charrleen and The Jubilators

It was Dunleavy who proposed that a song might be the best way to inspire the public with a new name for Christmas.

“Yes, a tuneful transition,” he concluded.

Shelley was once again placed in charge, this time of finding a pop star who would be willing to write and record a song entitled, “Great Jubilation.”

She was provided a handsome stipend to offer to the artist, but even with the incentive of cash, many musicians were reluctant.

The most famous band in the land, The Payload, was already busy in the studio on a new album. Rhythm and blues superstar, Fairmont, wasn’t confident that it fit his image. Several other recording artists turned it down on principle, not wanting to be the “pied pipers” to lead the departure of all the rats from Christmas.

Finally, Shelley got Charrleen to agree and sign a contract. She was a rising vocalist in the adult contemporary market. Although only twenty-two years of age, she already had three number one hits to her credit. She was perfect.

Her mother was Jewish and her father, Greek Orthodox. She was also dating a black rapper. Everything covered.

Shelley explained to Charrleen that a song was needed, and the concepts that were involved. Without hesitation, the young recording star leaped into the project.

Meanwhile, an all-star band and chorus were formed from many past-blazing-stars and promising nova, and dubbed The Jubilators.

Shelley was completely shocked when three days after her meeting with Charrleen, she received a call telling her that the song was finished. Matter of fact, Charrleen sent her a copy of the lyrics to the chorus, explaining that the melody was the blending of a traditional Christmas anthem and “Old Motown.”

Shelley perused the words:

Great Jubilation

A tune of celebration

We lift our voice

Knowing it’s our choice

Young and free

With love, you see

The name we sing

The song we bring

Love to one another

Sisters and brothers

Our generation

Our revelation

Great jubilation

Shelley absolutely loved it–partly because it was so easy to understand, but mostly because it was done and she didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

Two weeks later, Charrleen and The Jubilators went into the studio and within a month, the song was pressed, ready to go and being aired on the rotation.

A slow start. Then, some TV promotion, and suddenly sales soared. People really liked the song. They seemed to be accepting the name, Great Jubilation.

Some religious groups objected, but they were quickly portrayed as outsiders, old fogeys and behind the times.

Even the four members of the committee agreed. Charmaine thought it was a catchy tune. Lisa admitted that it was the least offensive of offensive ideas. Mike surprised everyone by saying that the church kids were already singing it. And Timothy added his two cents by saying, Charrleen is hot.”

Great Jubilation was growing in popularity. Christmas was already beginning to sound a little old-fashioned.


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Jubilators … October 14th 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog



Sitting Three

The Report


Shelley had read an article that catering a business meeting with delicacies was a great motivator and conversation-ignitor. What to provide? She considered her options:

Mike Caruthers was a southern boy, barbecued and sizzled. Deep fried with a side of hash browns.

Lisa Lampoy was a vegetarian who periodically consumed exotic seafood if there was some plum sauce available for dipping.

Then there was Charmaine Thompson. She liked almost anything that wasn’t fried, soul food, chicken or any other grub that stereotyped her as a black woman.

Timothy Barkins scarfed sweets.

So with all that in mind, Shelley catered shrimp cocktails, baked kale chips, salsa, cream-filled donut holes and mozzarella sticks. (It wasn’t a compromise–just her favorites. She figured that someone might as well be happy with the menu.)

The two thousand word reports had been turned in from her team. She had read each one thoroughly.

Mike’s read like an edict from a prophet, forecasting doom and gloom from Dixie if Baby Jesus even had his diaper changed.

Lisa’s document was speckled with numerous details which failed to connect together to form a conclusion. Her final sentence summarized the confusion: “You’ve got to be Jewish to be this unexplainable.”

Charmaine, as it turned out, became quite anti-Kwanzaa, which made it difficult to ascertain an informative reading. She repeatedly pointed out that although she was a black woman, she had no interest Africa, confiding that she once refused Broadway tickets to The Lion King because she didn’t favor the plot or the locale.

Now, Timothy’s two thousand words were like bouncing bubbles of effervescent holiday intoxication. He was the most optimistic of the four investigators, but could only offer one example of a woman who was in favor of a name switch–and as it turned out, was because her mother had named her “Christmas.” “Christmas Jones.” (So much for the theory of a mother’s natural love…)

The reports were absent many ideas for new names for the holiday. After eliminating some of Timothy’s outlandish possibilities, it came down to four options:

Sowlstice (with the “w” for winter)

Joy Forever


Great Jubilation

So as the “investigators four” perused the catered food, bewildered, Shelley passed out paper and pencils for the discussion she hoped would ensue after the cream-filled donut holes (which became the preference of the gathered) were devoured.

She had a prepared speech but it seemed a bit too much for the casual setting. So instead, Shelley posed a question:

“In one sentence, would you please summarize your findings?”

Everyone glanced at each other, curious about who should start. After an awkward moment (made even more bizarre when Shelley spilled her coffee on top of the baked kale chips) Mike spoke up.

“People hate the idea.”

Charmaine and Timothy nodded in agreement, so Shelley probed Lisa for her opinion. “Well, Lisa, what do you think of that?”

Lisa frowned. “Jews don’t hate. It demands commitment.”

For some reason, there was a universal, affirming nod from all four–everyone but Shelley. She sighed and continued. “Let’s get to the names.”

Lisa liked Sowlstice–her concoction, placing the “w” in the middle, to focus on winter.

Mike: Joy Forever. His invention.

Charmaine? Unitree. You guessed it. Her thought-child.

And Timothy, Great Jubilation, although he was a bit surprised that his acronym of S. E. R. J. A. H. (Santa, Elf, Reindeer, Jesus, Africa and Hanukkah) had not made the cut.

Voting seemed futile. Debate would be comical and clumsy. Shelley needed to make an executive decision.

“I favor,” she began, peering at the list before her. “Well…Sowlstice or Great Jubilation.”

She blurted it breathlessly, as if she had just finished a lengthy race.

“I prefer Christmas,” spat Mike with his arms folded across his chest, as all the patriarchs, disciples and priests of history mumbled their approval from the celestial realms. The others concurred.

“Well, we need something,” surmised Shelley. “I’m stickin’ with it.”

The rest of the meeting was spent planning the division of activities and duties leading up to the Big-Wig convention. Also mingled in were growling objections to kale chips, shrimp and salsa.

Shelley looked around the room, feeling a sudden rush of doom and gloom, as Timothy blithely popped the last donut hole into his mouth.

Sitting Four

Flipping the Big-Wig

Shelley knew she was in trouble when she arrived at the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel and the food on the banquet table included shrimp and kale chips. She was early.

She liked arriving first. Time to think. In this case, quality time to worry. Very soon she would be presenting her findings before the two big bosses, seven executive vice presidents, fourteen core managers and one hundred and twelve stockholders.

One hundred thirty-five people in all. Two hundred and seventy eyes on her, with one common demand: “You better make it good, girl.”

What was she going to say? She wasn’t quite sure because she wasn’t positive what she was looking for in the first place.

Her heart wasn’t in it. Although she was not a religious person, she did like Christmas–the season, the traditions and even the name. Especially when you added a “Merry” to it. Shelley thought “Merry” brightened up anything. (Except, she supposed, an operation. “Merry Amputation” does not take away the sting.)

Yet her mission was to provide a new promotable name for Christmas and suggest ways to advertise it. With this in mind, she added a third possibility to Sowlstice and Great Jubilation–of her own making. Not that she had come up with anything better. She just believed that three options sounded more corporate.

Her possibility was Winterfest. It wasn’t ingenious–barely passable. Yet, if they ended up liking it, she would claim complete credit. If not, she would insist that it was the winner of a contest of fifth graders who were asked to join into the renaming process for fun and prizes.

It seemed like she had everything covered.

People were beginning to trickle in slowly. Three members of her committee of four came sheepishly through the doors. They cautiously explained to her that Mike was refusing to participate due to religious objections and was at his home, fasting in protest.

Shelley sniffed disaster in the air–the mixture of an overheated room, shrimp which had set out too long, and perspiration odor emanating from her armpits.

It stunk. Yeah. That summed it up. While she was contemplating her business suicide, the room suddenly was completely full and ready to go.

It was time. After some opening remarks from Mr. Dunleavy, he turned, with extended hand, and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you our spearhead, Shelley Claibourne.”

Mr. Dunleavy turned to her and said, “The floor is yours.”

Shelley didn’t want the floor unless she could use it for passing out. Yet this was her job. Doggone it, her future. She began.

“Christmas means different things to different people. Even to some, it means nothing. Therefore, is there a way to give it more of a universal interpretation?”

She paused. They were very still, staring at her. There was the obligatory coughing spree from the back row, giving her a much-appreciated delay. At length, she continued.

“I had four of my cohorts investigate all the possibilities. I want to ask them to sum up their discoveries. There are only three here. The other one. well … is home. Can’t hold anything down on his stomach. Anyway, let me start with Timothy, who was sent out to peruse and interpret the traditional market.”

Timothy leaped to his feet like he was attempting to catch a departing bus.

“Does anyone like candy canes?” he posed. About half of the room slowly raised hands.

“Me, too,” he said. He stood, smiling at the gathered, stalled.

Shelley stepped in. “Tim, tell them about your journey.”

Tim nodded. “I went to the world’s largest Christmas store. Thirty-four acres. Fifty thousand items. Do you realize, you could feed a city of six thousand people with the crops that could be grown in one season in that particular space?”

Shelley felt the need to interrupt.

“Wow. Crops and feeding. Great, Tim. Could you tell them a little more specifically about what you uncovered concerning Christmas?”

Shelley smiled at the audience, attempting to convey continuity.

Tim, on the other hand, looked puzzled. “What I uncovered…? Well, I tell you right now, Santa Claus needs to have a real beard or the kids will lose faith in his prowess.”

An ugly, agonizing pall fell over the room. Shelley turned quickly to Charmaine.

“Charmaine! Charmaine Thompson! How about you?”

Charmaine slowly rose to her feet, conveying the reluctance of a fourteen-year-old ordered to clean her room.

“Ms. Claibourne asked me to check out Kwanzaa, because…let’s see. Oh, yeah. I’M BLACK! I hated it. Don’t bother about that Kwanzaa thing unless you like Africa. Any of you white folks dig the Dark Continent?”

Fewer hands.

“Let me step in,” said Lisa with some uncharacteristic gusto.

“Thank God,” said Shelley under her breath.

“Jews are grouchy, Hanukkah’s too long, I don’t know Yiddish and a menorah has too many candles. I ain’t gonna be lighting all of those.”

Lisa sat down to a surprising smattering of applause. Shelley found herself stuck between stunned and mortified. She took a deep breath and shared.

“My suggestions for a name -lift for Christmas…”

She stood for a moment, expecting to hear some approval for her play on words. Yet the room seemed to be crickets in the midst of a vow of silence. So Shelley cleared her throat, deciding to finish quickly.

Sowlstice with a “w” in the middle. Winterfest. And Great Jubilation.”

“I like Great Jubilation!” said Mr. Markins with a spirit of real enthusiasm.

Well, that was it. After that, the one hundred and thirty-five people took over.

Shelley was relieved. Timothy was pumped that his name was selected. Charmaine pouted. Lisa tried the shrimp and then ran to the bathroom to throw up.

As Shelley quietly sat, trying to disappear into the taupe walls, decisions were being made. It was no longer a project.

It was becoming a plan.


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Jubilators … October 7th 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog



Today we begin a novel called “Jubilators,” which over the next twelve weeks leading up to Christmas, will put us in the Spirit, with a comedic, romantic romp, often speckled with poignant and tender moments.

Hope you enjoy.

And now, here’s “Jubilators.”

Sitting One

The Assignment

 Shelley knew this was her moment. She squinted, peering around the windowless, confinding office, taking stock.

At twenty-four years of age, she was a newbie at the prestigious public relations firm, Dunlevy and Markins. To assign such a project to her was certainly a test. She knew this. More importantly, they knew this–“they” being Mr. Roger Dunlevy and Mr. Ronald Markins.

Shelley didn’t want to blow it. She needed to project the right balance of confidence and serious contemplation over the magnitude of the project. For the hundredth time, she picked up the memo. Was she sure she understood the task?

“Find a new commercial name for Christmas that merges the many existing holiday observances of a variety of faiths with the more traditional approach, while still emphasizing the Santa Claus imperative for the children and the marketers.”

A part of Shelley was bewildered by the job. For years there had been a growing conflict between the religious and more conventional advocates over the holiday.

The believers wanted more “Jesus” included or emphasis for Hanukkah. Of course, then Kwanzaa came into play. The rest of the country seemed to be looking for a festive season free of Middle-East theology.

Of course, the great problem was the money. The December season was a financial boost to business. Some retailers made as much as ninety percent of their earnings in the twelfth month. Much on the line. A bottom line.

And for Shelley, a career maker.

She was informed that she could hire four other people for her team. She had already decided on her quartet.

Mike, from accounting, was an evangelical Christian. He could bring the perspective of the church community.

Lisa, an executive assistant, was Jewish. She should know about Hanukkah.

Charmaine, an admin… Well, she was black. Chances are she might be able to tap the Kwanzaa sentiment.

And Timothy, a tech, was a Christmas nut–a historian of sorts concerning all things Santa, elf, North Pole and tinsel.

Shelley told her team that they had three weeks to deliver a report to the boss and major stockholders. Here were the questions that needed to be addressed:

Will all the parties involved consider a new name for Christmas?

What can be retained, what evolved and what discarded of the traditions?

What is the best approach? A sudden transformation?: Or a gradual revelation?

Will it damage sales?

How can we make everybody happy?

Shelley decided to give the four of them ten days to investigate and deliver a two thousand-word report on their findings. Simultaneously, she would troll the waters of all four environments to acquire a consensus.

Shelley was nervous. It wasn’t just the new assignment–she wondered if she wanted to be the Madison Avenue chick who snuffed out Christmas–at least the name. She had a vision of herself in a Grinch costume, tallying numbers on an old-fashioned adding machine, as Baby Jesus was carried away by Children’s Services and elves cried over “reindeer for sale.”

She looked horrible as a green monster. Yet…it was her moment–an opportunity to enhance her personal profile and give Christmas a name-lift. She suddenly grabbed her pen and paper and wrote that down.

Name-lift. She could sell that.

It was a good start.

Sitting Two

The Investigation

Mike went home to Tarshift, Alabama, to do his research.

Tarshift was a suburb of Birmingham if you don’t mind driving forty-five miles to get your hot buttered popcorn at the Metroplex.

Mike arrived in time to attend the worship service at the Community Faith in Action Non-Denominational church just four blocks from his homestead.

When Mike shared the substance the project, two old ladies and a grumpy deacon stomped out of the Sunday School class. The remaining faithful were respectful of their favorite son, but grouchy over the liberal West Coast atheists attacking Holy Christmas once again.

“Why cain’t they just see that it’s Jesus’ birthday?” one woman snarled.

Yet persistent to a fault, Mike continued his questioning. “What name would you accept other than Christmas?”


No one in the classroom wanted to betray Baby Jesus. So Mike asked the gathered to think about it and slip him a note of suggestion after church.

After the sermon, as he walked by the pastor, offering his appreciation, and headed to his car, Mike got three crumpled pieces of paper thrust into his hand, and one whisper in his ear.

The first note read, “How about Bethlehem Day?”

He unfolded the second note, which had scrawled, “I thought of Birth Boy.”

And the final suggestion was, “Jesus Fest.”

By the way, the whisper in his ear–Old Lady Wilkerson. She said, “I’m praying for you.”

Lisa also returned to her home, which was in Connecticut, near Hartford. She went to synagogue. She hadn’t been there since high school graduation. The new rabbi, Conrad Turtsky, was delighted to talk to her about Hanukkah. She explained in some detail about her task as the rabbi’s countenance remained unchanged, sprouting a reluctant smile.

At length she asked him what he thought.

“Well,” he began hesitantly, “I have always been content with Hanukkah getting the crap beat out of it by Christmas. After all, candles being lit…well, don’t hold a candle to angels, wise men and a heavy-set Dutchman giving toys to little ones.”

He concluded their visit by giving Lisa a pamphlet on the subject, half of which was written in Yiddish.

Charmaine, on the other hand, made a decision to research by going to the Internet and look up Kwanzaa on Wikipedia.

Kwanzaa: an African-American holiday first celebrated in 1966-1967 as an alternative to the “white” Christmas. It is one-week-long and honors African music, folklore and art.

Charmaine shook her head. She closed the program, rolled her eyes and went to her bedroom to take a nap.

Timothy made a trip to Bronner’s Christmas Village in Frankenmuth, Michigan–the world’s largest Christmas store. He was in heaven, which he viewed as only slightly above the North Pole. Reindeer, elves, lights, tinsel, Christmas bulbs, Santa Claus, snow globes–row after row.

He asked one of the floor managers what the biggest sellers were.

“Anything with Claus, mangers or sparkles,” he answered, as he hurriedly chased a little boy who had a huge box of ornaments in his grasp.

So Timothy decided to conduct his own experiment. He had personally compiled a list of six possible “safe” new names for Christmas. It was his plan to walk up to shoppers at Bronners, say one of the new names, and gauge their spontaneous reaction.

“Wonderful Winterfest!” A blank stare.

“Satisfying Santa Day!” A giggle.

“A Joyous Snow ‘n Glow to you!” A frown, and then a grandpa stomped away.

He was particularly proud of his next incarnation.

He had formed an acronym of Santa, elf, Jesus, reindeer, Africa and Hanukkah.

“Happy S.E.J.R. A. H!”

The old woman stared at him with sympathetic eyes, reached into her purse, pulled out two singles and gave it to him, saying, “Young man, get a sandwich. You’ve got low blood sugar.”

He only had one idea remaining. So Timothy decided to try it out on the in-house Kris Kringle; Father Christmas–Santa Claus himself. Arriving in the tiny workshop provided for the local jolly old elf, Timothy leaned into his face and said, “Great Jubilation!”

Santa squinted. He slowly tugged his beard and deadpanned, “Ho. Ho. Ho.”

Mike prayed that Shelley had better luck. He had barely escaped crucifixion in Tarshift.

Lisa was baffled, although the rabbi did convince her to buy a Menorah and two raffle tickets for the Prius being given away to raise funds for the needy.

Charmaine was frightened–first to report to Shelley, and secondly about being black and not caring one tinker’s dam about Kwanzaa.

Timothy was more optimistic. Or maybe just on a sugar high from a candy cane overdose.

The four of them headed back to headquarters.

It was time to report to Shelley.


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Catchy (Epilogue) Stuck Moving… September 30th, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog


Sitting on the edge of the king-size bed in the master bedroom of her comfortable condominium in Alexandria, Virginia, Jo-Jay was adorned only in a matching tie-dye bra and panty set. It was her tribute to a foregone era.

Perched right next to her was Matthew, in what appeared to be an over-exerted pair of white boxer briefs, which was his tribute to a fear of buying new underwear.

If a stranger walked in on the scene, it would be assumed that torrid love-making was either completing, or soon to commence. But instead, Jo-Jay and Matthew, (once again, barely clothed), were sitting and discussing their relationship.

“Here’s what I’d like to know,” said Jo-Jay. “Do you even get an erection when you see me sitting here like this? I mean, I’m curious.”

Matthew lifted his leg so as to turn and look at her and replied with a bit of disgust, “Of course I do. Do you want to see it?’

She held up her hand to cease the reveal and replied, “Good. Because I’m a little wet.”

The conversation stopped at that point. They both nodded their heads, a bit relieved that each was sufficiently aroused.

“Are you still in love with Leonora?” asked Jo-Jay flatly.

Matthew lay back on the bed. “Oh, Jo-Jay… I was never in love with Leonora. Leonora was an idea. She was like thinking about going out to get blueberry pancakes at three o’clock in the morning. She was the unreachable star and I was the Man of La Mancha.”

Jo-Jay lay down next to him. “So would that make me buttered toast? Or am I being too generous to myself–adding butter?”

He leaned over and kissed her, and she kissed him back. It was very satisfying.

They had times when they had explosive make-out sessions–often on the plane, as they flew around the world, trying to bring the Gospel in the forms of water, food, medicine and opportunity. It had been seventy-seven days since they had departed together from the Haven on the Mount on the jet . There had been no contact whatsoever with that Shangri-la, but instead had cast their lot with Jubal, Jasper, Sister Rolinda and Soos, attempting to coordinate the efforts, which had spread so quickly that it was impossible to keep control of the movement–even with a GPS.

Jubal put it this way. “I think people always wanted to do something better, but all the television commercials told them they were too much in need to be generous.”

Matthew and Jo-Jay could not have been any happier as a couple, but still had not found the proper ignition for coupling. Both were tired of talking about it. Both of them knew there was a great fear that they would be so clumsy in bed that they would have to walk away from the possibility of mating for life.

It was comical, pathetic, nerve-wracking and adorable, all at the same time.

Jo-Jay turned her head toward Matthew and asked, “What is it that works for you?”

Matthew likewise turned his face to her, the two of them nearly nose-to-nose. “What do you mean?”

“Oh, come on,” said Jo-Jay. “Don’t make me say stuff. You know what I mean. What should I do to get your fire started, so we’re burned up in sexual pleasure before we ever realize we’re in danger?”

Matthew frowned. “Uh…I don’t know…”

“Work with me,” said Jo-Jay. “I’ll tell you mine. I like to be licked. Not immediately, though. I like it when a man teases me, like he might do it…he might not…it’s kind of a moody thing. It drives me crazy.”

“So,” posed Matthew, “you want me to lick you?”

“Not now, you idiot! I have to be surprised. Titillated.” Jo-Jay sighed.

“So you want to know mine?” he asked.

“Only if you’re comfortable releasing such a deep, hidden secret,” she responded sarcastically.

“Well, it’s gonna sound weird, so don’t laugh,” said Matthew. “It’s not that I’m a girl, or gay or anything. But I like it when a woman…”

He stopped in mid-sentence.

Jo-Jay leaned up on her elbow and came closer. “Whan a woman what?”

“Do you promise not to laugh?” asked Matthew.

“No,” said Jo-Jay. “I can’t promise that. We laugh at each other all the time.”

“Good point,” acknowledged Matthew. “Just promise not to laugh more than…say…five seconds.”

Jo-Jay nodded. “I think I can do that.”

Matthew cleared his throat, closed his eyes tightly, opened them again and said very quickly, “I like to have a woman suck my nipples.”

Jo-Jay burst out laughing. She couldn’t stop.

“It’s been more than five seconds,”said Matthew.

“I’m sorry,” Jo-Jay said. “You didn’t tell me that you were a nipple boy.”

Matthew sat up, stood to his feet, turned and pointed at her. “And you wonder why we haven’t had sex.”

She glanced at his dissipating underwear. “My goodness gracious,” she commented. “You do have an erection.”

Matthew looked down and pointed, “See? I told you.”

Jo-Jay grabbed him by the front of his boxer briefs and pulled him toward her. “Now, now…just relax. Bring those little nipples to Mommy.”

“Gross,” he said. Yet carefully, intentionally and purposefully, he followed her instructions.


In the deserts of North Africa a young boy, only nine years old, awoke shortly before dawn, and in the darkness, found a chunk of unleavened bread, opened up a jar of peanut butter and made himself a snack.

His name was Ramish.

It was morning, and it was his job to walk the two miles through the desert sands to the recently constructed air strip, where people he knew only as “Jesonian” flew in supplies every day to feed the villages.

Ramish knew he could wait until the trucks came by to bring the food, but his family had become accustomed to awakening to fresh water, food, medicine and even, every once in a while, some candy.

So every morning he made the trek, jubilant to do so–because even though he was only a young lad, most of his days had been spent fending off the pangs of hunger and wondering if drinking the water in the ditch would make him sick.

As he walked, his eyes filled with tears because he was so grateful for the boxes and bags he brought back on a make-shift sled he drug behind him. All of the boxes and bags had pictures of a young man with long hair and a beard, smiling.

The people at the landing strip told him that the young man was named Jesus, and that he loved Ramish and his family. Ramish felt no need to argue about it–it was obvious that this young man had taken great steps to ensure that Ramish and his family would be cared for.

The workers examined Ramish often, to make sure he was healthy and free of disease. And they closed every session by laying hands on his chest and saying, “In the name of Jesus.”

Ramish didn’t know much about Jesus, but everything he had experienced was so positive that he wanted to know more.

Arriving at the landing strip, he was overjoyed to discover that they had jelly. He had never eaten it until two weeks earlier, when one of the nurses offered it to him as she was treating a cut on his arm. It was so good–and now he could take a whole pouch of the stuff back to his family.

He felt like a king. He felt like a great king–because he was taking care of those of his own house.

Ramish had learned several words in English–words he needed to use, wanted to use and frequently applied.

“Thank you.”

“It is so good.”

“God bless you.”

He repeated the three phrases over and over again as the workers put together his supplies and he prepared to trek the two miles back to his anxiously awaiting family.

As he drug his make-shift sled across the sand, laden with supplies, he stopped and looked up at the sun that was rising before him.

“Thank you, Jesonian,” he said. It was a real feeling.

He felt the need to be grateful to the One who was providing his daily bread.



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Catchy (Sitting 67) Just When You Realized the Donkey’s Ears Were Not As Long As You Originally Thought… September 23rd, 2018

Jonathots Daily Blog


The name of the restaurant was Vous L’Appelez, which was French for “You Name It.”

It was one of nine restaurants at the Haven on the Mount which offered all sorts of fine cuisine at very reasonable prices since money was not an issue.

The frustration of cash had been removed from the compound by using credits and bartering as a way of distributing goods and services instead of passing around American currency, which really had no relevance. Each family maintained their own personal accounts in other parts of the world, depending on whether they wanted to be “missing in action,” or “presumed dead.”

But Vous L’Appelez had a wonderful advertising scheme of offering anything you wanted to eat–as long as you phoned ahead. Matthew had rented the entire facility for the evening, for what he hoped would be a very special night.

It was the six-month anniversary of his arrival in the mountains, and he felt it was time to sit down with Leonora, offer a ring and a proposal he hoped she would not refuse. Their relationship was sweet. It was well-thought-out. It was without contention–for after all, everything in the region was minus strife and the pursuit of vanity. Their romance was clean, free of obstruction.

But there were moments when Matthew felt that the energetic young woman, who had a tendency to lose interest very quickly, was absent and that her mind was floating to other concerns, even during their times of intimacy.

He had no way of proving it. Every time he brought up some problem with their connection, she cited a hundred examples of bliss and joy. So pushing past his own foolish insecurity and overbearing need to throw a wrench into all great works, he set up this dinner–this meeting, this moment–to once and for all enter a relationship with a woman that would last for more than a night.

It had been an amazing six months. Although he had seen Michael Hinston for some meetings and luncheons, and made sure to connect with Jo-Jay, and even had a coffee a time or two with the billionaire king himself, most of his daytime hours were spent being mentored and emotionally healed by Joshua Jackson.

Joshua was a large man–formidable. Almost frightening. Had it not been for his gentle eyes and warm embraces, Matthew would have been intimidated.

Joshua knew everything.

He knew all the stories of what led up to Matthew’s arrival at the Haven on the Mount and he seemed to have a unique way of taking the cumbersome Bible scriptures and bringing them down to common sense and simplicity for the often-cynical former marketer.

They developed such a deep friendship that several of the residents mistook Joshua and Matthew for lovers. So Matthew was careful to spend his days with Joshua and his nights with Leonora. He wanted to at least appear bi-sexual.

Joshua filled in many of the blanks. He explained a phenomenon that Matthew had never considered–that in every organization there always existed a subversive core of individuals who wanted to use the power of their authority to gain wealth, even if they had to hurt other people.

It made no difference if the organization was a library, a country or a bank–tucked deep into the underbelly of every business or corporation were the radicals who desired to manipulate.

Joshua had been hired to find those under-bellies. It was his job to join them, fellowship with them, drink their favorite booze and learn how to prevent their nasty plans from destroying the movement.

Therefore he often appeared to be the enemy, when he was actually the stopgap who kept tragedy from befalling the lives of those who were trying to bring a little peace on Earth, goodwill toward men.

Joshua had planned the abduction of Jo-Jay, rescuing her through that kidnapping from being murdered by a car bomb. He had carefully placed her in the Amazon forest, knowing full well that another member of the team, Reverend Paulson, would be nearby for the recovery when the time was right.

(Matter of fact, the Paulson family, with both children, were currently dwelling in the Haven on the Mount–a blessed retirement for years of bringing the Gospel to the ignored.)

Joshua had also quietly saved Jubal’s life several times, and had even set in motion a plan to foil the plot in Salisbury, North Carolina, killing believers, by joining up with the three assassins. Joshua’s plan was to murder the trio right before the attack. Unfortunately, his fellow-assassins got nervous and antsy, and decided to instigate the job before Joshua arrived.

When Joshua came to Salisbury and saw the death and destruction around him, he was overcome with grief and took his pistol and aimed it at his head to take his own life, feeling he had failed.

It was Carlin Canaby who stopped him; otherwise he would have been marked by all eternity as one of the deceased murderers.

This was before Carlin became known by the group, standing on the sidelines to make sure “the edges didn’t curl up.”

Joshua told story after story of his work among the more sinister, rebellious elements around the country–how each secret counter-culture had manufactured an America in their minds that was run either by Satan or greed.

Time and time again he stepped in to fill the need–a space which was fortunately unknown to most people because of his effectiveness.

Notably, the Christian Liberty Operation (the CLO) used him as an operative and because of his work there, he was able to expose an errant terrorist group within their own ranks, preventing disaster–thereby legitimizing what turned out to be a worthwhile organization.

Matthew fell in love with Joshua–a brotherly love he had never experienced before. He had never known anyone like Joshua. Joshua was candid. Joshua was self-effacing, without being frightened or imbalanced.

Joshua loved people.

After he was convinced that Matthew could be trusted, Joshua shared the story of Prophet Morgan. He did so quietly but defiantly. Joshua still questioned what happened to the young preacher. He believed that Arthur Harts had made a hasty decision because of his dislike of the Southern boy.

Joshua explained that there was no doubt that Morgan was a drug addict. He had started as a boy–to try to keep up with his father’s tent revivals, to stay alert and energetic, but then he was never able to get out from under the monkey on his back, which gradually turned into a gorilla, smashing him into the ground.

Joshua worked with him. Because Prophet Morgan did not know who Joshua was or why he was there, Joshua was able to take him on like a little brother. But the Prophet was determined to fulfill his own dark self-prophesy.

When it became obvious to Joshua that the boy needed help and rehabilitation–perhaps to be brought to the Haven on the Mount to heal–Harts refused.

He explained to Joshua, “To everything there’s a season. This is not a season for the young Prophet.”

Three days later, Morgan took his car out into the middle of the desert and found a way to kill himself. Even though many people in Vegas thought it was a murder, it was, in fact, a horrible suicide.

Joshua closed the story by saying to Matthew, “I do understand. And I do appreciate the importance of the decision. I just don’t agree.”

Matthew had six months of rich conversations and revelations in his mind as he sat down to dinner with Leonora.

He had requested all forms of baked and broiled seafood along with tropical fruits. She loved that mixture and so did he. They dined, they giggled a bit, and they both chilled with joy over being together in such a safe utopia.

Dinner came to an end and Leonora was growing a bit impatient from hanging around the restaurant. Matthew knew he needed to make his move.

What was stopping him? Why didn’t he just reach into his pocket and pull out the ring–a family heirloom provided by Billionaire Harts for the occasion–and place it on her finger?

There was one question–an unanswered, festering notion–that he needed her to explain. It was so awkward, perhaps petty. But still–he wanted to know.

Matthew geared up his courage, guzzled some mineral water, took her hands, looked into her eyes, and said, “I have a question.”

She nodded her head, maintaining her eye contact.

“When I was so sick,” he began, “and it was obvious I needed a liver transplant–but more importantly, I needed you–why did you choose that moment to go away?”

She surprised him. She bristled, stiffened and pulled her hands back.

“Why are we going into this now?” she asked. “I thought…”

Then she stopped.

“You thought what?” asked Matthew.

She shook her head. He leaned forward, drawing closer to her face.

“No, Leonora. Tell me. You thought what?”

Leonora stood to her feet, stepped behind her chair, pivoted and spoke. “I thought you were going to propose to me tonight.”

Matthew leaned back. “What gave you that idea?”

Leonora stepped a couple of feet away, and then turned and replied. “You know what gave me that idea. My grandfather said he gave you the family heirloom ring, and also permission to ask. I thought that’s what this dinner was about. Why are we talking about old silliness when we have our lives ahead of us?”

Matthew craned his neck to stare up at her.

“So which part of this is silly? Me being sick? Me being weak? Me needing you? Or you disappearing?”

“It’s all silly,” she said, moving back into her chair. She took his hands again. “Come on. The past is the past. Why are we ruining this moment, worrying about what’s already happened?”

Matthew took a deep breath and spoke words he had only whispered in his heart in the middle of the night.

“Because, Leonora…I don’t think you love me.”

He shocked himself when he heard the words. They were so lonesome as they hung in the air, without any support; abandoned, needing a place to find rest, but orphaned in the silence.

“You don’t think I love you?” Leonora said. “Haven’t I shown you I love you? I’ve never loved a man the way I love you.”

Matthew interrupted. “I believe that. I do. I just don’t know…Well, I just don’t know if that’s enough for me.”

Leonora stood to her feet again, repeating her pivot around her chair.

“Matthew Ransley, what is it you want? What do you want from me? Am I to be your devotee? Am I supposed to cheer your every move? Should I lessen myself so you feel better?”

Matthew jumped in. “So you think you have to lessen yourself to be my equal? Is that what you’re saying?”

Leonora walked across the room with all the appearances of departing, but stopped a few paces from the exit.

“What I’m saying,” she spit, “is that I don’t like complications. You see what I have to offer. You see who I am. You see how I function. You know my height, you know my depth–and if it isn’t enough, then fine. But don’t ask me to pretend to be your dream girl. I’m nobody’s girl. I am Leonora. I don’t plan on changing that. I am just like my instrument–the oboe. Yes. I’m just like the oboe. You put the right reed in me and you finger me correctly, and add the breath, and I will play you a beautiful tune. It may sound like a silly analogy and it probably is. But not nearly as ridiculous as this conversation. So do you love me? Are you going to give me the ring? Or are we going to sit and talk about this all night?”

Matthew sat and stared at the self-aware but also self-serving lady before him. She was perfect. That’s why he couldn’t be with her.

“Yes,” he said. “I will give you the ring so you can return it to your grandfather. You deserve better than me. Privately you know that. It’s just that sometimes your private thoughts get in my head.”

Leonora walked back to the table, took the ring, thought about speaking, but decided to just walk away.

Matthew sat and stared for a long time at the space once occupied by the woman he desired. He realized that desire is just not enough.

He took his phone out of his pocket, dialed a number and spoke.

“Plan Z.”

The owner of the restaurant, realizing that things had not turned out the way Matthew had anticipated, came over and gave him a tender, Christian hug, and said the meal was free. Matthew patted him on the shoulder, stepped out into the night air, climbed onto the golf cart which had been provided for his needs, and drove the one mile to the airport.

His jet was waiting for him.

Matthew realized that he could stand to live in the Haven if he and Leonora could have had a life together. But a sanctuary of safety was never what Matthew wanted in his life. He would much rather be in the chaos, and try to find a way to tie two ends together, to create some wholeness.

He did not belong at the Haven in the Mount. He was more of a Jubal, a Jasper, a Rolinda. He was going home.

But he was going home with a change in his heart–a belief that Jesus was not only popular, but brought a message and a lifestyle which was essential for Planet Earth.

Matthew was returning to his life–but this time as a believer.

Arriving at the airport, the pilot loaded his bags into the plane, and as he was about to climb up the steps and leave Paradise forever, he heard a voice.

“What’s your hurry?”

He turned around. It was Jo-Jay.

“You didn’t think you were gonna leave without me, did you? I want to tell you, Matthew. This place is so good it makes me feel bad.”

Matthew laughed and gave her a big hug.

“Are you sure?” he asked.

“Am I sure what?” inquired Jo-Jay.

“Are you sure about going back?”

“Well,” said Jo-Jay, “when I was coming here to the airport, thinking I was going to leave by myself, I felt pretty good about it. But now that I know I’m leaving with you–well–I still feel pretty good about it.”

She burst into laughter. He joined her.

They climbed into the airplane, and taxied down the runway, taking one final look at the Eden of the Hills.

“Maybe we’ll visit sometime,” said Matthew, looking over at Jo-Jay.

Jo-Jay chuckled. “Hell, Matthew. There’s no maybes in our world.”

The two leaned their heads back, feeling completely at peace.

It was time for them to go into the world and live the Gospel.


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