What's the Rumpus?
2020

Santorini Island, Greece.jpg

I'm looking forward to an 11-day staycation from Christmas Eve through January 3, 2021. Why not? A nice way to end 2020 from my perspective. An interesting year, to be sure...

While some dinosaurs of the men's movement might be positioning themselves as beasts who can sniff out a Mama's Boy at every turn, I don't fancy myself anything more than a man, a work in progress.

For this morning that's okay, enough for now. I sense the Spirit of God saying, "Easy does it, son. Slow down."

And so I will. Breakfast was good. Lunch? A story to be told. This world ain't got too much time. If I save a nickel here and there, is that too much to ask?

Ramen noodles and carrots. Enough to feed my belly, feels good. What do I care? It's wonderful, wonderful as the song used to go...

My credit's in good shape, and I have a 4-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend coming up. As far as I know, I don't have COVID-19, haven't given it to anyone, don't want to get it from anyone, nor do I really care.

It's Once Upon A Time in America, the fall fo modern Babylon. Who'da thunk it? Lotta day trippin' memory lane heavy shit goin' down in the fucking club, if you know what ima sayin, yo.

So, what's the rumpus today?

Maybe it's just a Dizzy Whizz kinda day, bacon double cheeseburger myself into a coma of don't give a shit meets sunny days and Mondays Hill Street Blues. Yeah, that's the ticket!

That's all I have to say about that.

Maybe I'll get to legally change my name back to my birth moniker in 2021. Let's hope so. All of this is daunting to think about, letting go of so much in the people/ places/things department and working with God to co-author some new scripts.

Dust in the wind.

I'm just round the corner 'till the light of day, yeah!

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

November 23 2020

brotherhood-mens-conference-oct-8-10.png

I'd like to think that something out of the ordinary - yes, an adventure - would be a catalyst for emotional change.

Three days back from Colorado Springs, CO and a men's conference at Discovery Christian Church, I find myself grasping for the three days on campus with a small platoon of men, mostly from DCC but a strong handful, like myself, from out of state.

Brotherhood. Lone wolves die. Wake up, nap time is over! Some of the messages I saw reminded me that I was above sea level here, nearly 8,000 feet and the sun was brighter and hotter. The trip itself came from the unfolding story with God, itself a wonder of wisdom, timing, faith, and fearlessness. 

I enjoyed myself. 3 of the 4 airline flights I had were with no one sitting next to me...not a bad way to relax as I jetted from Kentucky to Chicago and O'Hare, then into COS, while on the way home departed from COS, went to Houston, then home to Louisville. Window seats every leg of the trip. I loved watching the jet take off and land through the tiny rectangle.

So, what's the rumpus today?

Adventure don't have to be major productions...but they can certainly turn into them. As a friend and mentor, Bart Hansen from Wild at Heart, edified for the men on Friday afternoon, there can be three types of adventure: Casual, Critical, and Epic.

The trip out and back felt like all three. Not having flown in a plane for the last 6 years, navigating the airports along the way felt like a good challenge for both the Little Boy in me and the Young Man who never had much adventure. Fortunately, layover times and walking to the gate didn't lead to any stress.

There was an issue with my rental car at the Colorado Springs Airport, but a fortunate connection with ZTrip car service made the weekend even more hassle free (without the stress of driving a rental car in unfamiliar territory). 

My lodging at Fairfield Inn & Suites was pleasant enough during pandemic travel - a small fire pit and outside deck to record a beautiful Friday sunrise, along with a comfortable room and glass shower door that popped off its rail on Saturday morning (luckily I was present of mind enough though totally naked and grabbed the door before it fell against the wall, shattering, and lacerating my femoral artery, leaving me to bleed out in 90 seconds, not to be found for a day).

I bought a $4.18 bottle of Sprite in the O'Hare Airport between flights. The tuna melt at Quizno's in Colorado Springs Airport was worth the price. The flight attendants were all beautiful babies. 

I'm home now. No coffee, Hurt's Donuts, Blackjack Pizza or the church auditorium smoke machine. Brotherhood. I got the t-shirt, I like it. Had fun. Exactly what God, as Father, wanted me to have. 'Be Our guest,' I remember hearing on a Sunday back in early September. Everything flowed right and rapid from there. And now I'm here, back from there and back again. 

I took good notes. Blink and the dream is over. John Lennon would have turned 80 while I was in the shadows of Cheyenne Mountain. Imagine...

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

October 13, 2020

DCC_2019_Logo_horz.png

It's been a few short days since last walking the long and winding road of The Unfolding Story. In fact, it's been one of the most breathtaking and Spirit-led weeks of walking with God that I've experienced in my spiritual and masculine journey.

Randomly, but intentionally looking back over my shoulder, this past Sunday was a day of impact that shook my heart awake even further to the mystery and majesty of God as Father in my story.

There was a good sadness resting on the porch of my heart - after 16 weeks of helping shepherd a small Band of Brothers in a virtual Brotherhood of the Roundtable I had followed God this past Spring into creating and offering through the Wild at Heart Allies Network, it was now time for me to step out and away and pursue the more of God that my heart, story, and habitat were longing for.

As with any small group - and especially one centered on the concept of "What's Your Story?" that invited a gathering of men...in the beginning, all strangers to each other but now, after time and truth, had created bonds that they were fighting to keep intact - it did get messy. For me, that was normal, expected, and part of the process of both being a facilitator of men and a man on my own personal mission to advance the Kingdom.

For those sixteen Sunday mornings, we met virtually on Zoom at an early hour - this was to accommodate scheduling for several men in the United Kingdom as well as an ally and long-time friend of mine joining in from Australia. So here I was this past Sunday, now having the morning unscheduled and not impacted by preparation or hindered by lack of sleep. I decided to join an online worship with Discovery Christian Church located in Colorado Springs, CO. For the past few years, I had been a semi-regular attendee of their fellowship, deeply enmeshed in the message and ministry of Wild at Heart (whose Outpost is also located in COS). 

Joining in with them felt pretty random. It had been quite a while since I had joined the online worship opportunity; during the period of sitting with the Roundtable, it hadn't even been a thought crossing my heart or mind - in all honesty, after the two-plus hour virtual gathering, I usually just ate breakfast and went back to bed for some much needed rest.

So on Sunday I found myself having "time on my hands," which I filled with breakfast, a shave and shower, and a walk to a local store to pick up some DIY items I needed. The store, at nearly 11:00am, was still closed, so on the walk back to my Old Louisville apartment I asked Spirit, "What next?" His answer? "Go worship with DCC." 

At first, the entreaty seemed disruptive, my inner compass spinning in a direction I didn't want to trust. But I did, knowing that the Wild Goose was up to something in the request. Part of me felt the shame of religion, that critical voice that was crying out, "Phony! You haven't been to church in so long and you think NOW is going to make a difference??" I laughed and streamed the online service to my flat screen TV nonetheless. 

Turns out that DCC was doing things a bit differently - they were simply going to do a service completely of worship music and take communion (the first time in 25 weeks they had done so as a family due to the pandemic).

 

"Man," I thought to myself, "this might be interesting." I even did what I was asked by their associate pastor who was hosting via video - I got some bread and pomegranate juice to be my elements. 

 

Just a few songs into the worship, I found myself  holding back tears, but succumbed to the spirit inside of me and just started allowing them to fall as the music and they lyrics of the songs washed over my heart and soul. By the time I got to taking communion, I was ruined for Jesus showing up in such a mysterious way once again in my story.

 

By the end of the online service, I was feeling such joy and restoration in my body. I was getting ready to disengage the live stream (which I normally did when joining in online in the past once the service was completed). Instead, I listened to Jason (the associate pastor) begin to talk about an upcoming men's conference at DCC in early October. Entitled Brotherhood 2020, it was going to be a three-day (Thursday to Saturday) gathering at the DCC campus in Colorado Springs, featuring sessions on Thursday and Saturday led by Greg Lindsey, their lead pastor, as well as the Friday sessions being offered by my friends and mentors from Wild at Heart - John Eldredge, Morgan Snyder, and Bart Hansen.

My heart both leapt and sank at the same time. My first internal thought was, "Oh, cool but there's no way I can go. It's right around the corner." I went on another walk to the local store, and on the way back to my apartment I felt this subtle invitation from the Enemy to act out in old behaviors that I hadn't been giving the time of day to for a while. Once more, the Spirit of God came back into my heart, saying "I want you to go check this out." I thought He was telling me to go to the DCC website to look at what the conference would be offering, its cost, etc. Which I did.

And then the Wild Goose took flight...

I went to my living room in prayer, using the Pause App  from Wild at Heart...diving into their 10-minute option to seek some counsel from God as Father. More tears, more fire in the belly, more light and freedom in my soul. When I asked if I should go, Father told me, "Oh, yes, my son. Come, be our guest. This is an adventure you deserve and have earned. Yes, come!"

So, what's the rumpus today?

Longer story shortened up here, I'M IN AND I'M GOING!! Conference fee? Paid and booked. Round-trip airfare and tickets purchased? Done. Three days worth of Colorado Springs hotel accommodations made and reserved? Right on! Hey, why not live an adventure I've never lived? First time ever renting a car? Yup, did it! I'm even sitting here penning these words wearing a custom made Maximus Heart t-shirt I designed for my Friday session at DCC (I'm also bringing my spare box of Maximus Heart business cards to hand out to men I meet and network with).

I haven't been in Colorado since last attending my second pass at the Wild At Heart Advanced Boot Camp in the mountains outside of Buena Vista. Even though this conference will be in the City of Colorado Springs, both my Little Boy and Young Man inside of my heart and story are stoked beyond imagination with joy, anticipation, hope, and a deep sense of sonship in looking forward to traveling, attending, and walking deeper with God in His message of brotherhood to me. Jesus is my Brother...and I'm sure that He is so happy to see me SO HAPPY!

Much else happened this week, too...but some stories I like to keep to myself...for myself. And, as always, more will be revealed.

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

September 12, 2020

Breaking the Matrix.jpg

Time does fly...hard to imagine or believe it's been 4 years since I began to capture What's the Rumpus? here on the paths of The Unfolding Story. Such a joy and a gift - to share and receive the blessings of co-authoring my story with God.

It's Labor Day here in the United States. A day off from work. I've had this love/hate relationship with labor my entire life. If I did know what that was about, I'd say that it's because - in my own selfishness - I want something for nothing. But even that's too easy an explanation. A deeper truth i that I want to enjoy my labors - to reap the benefits and the blessings (not particularly financial or from a position of power, privilege, or title) of a job well done.

At 58 years old, I've had and held many positions of labor - 45 jobs all told, to be exact. From my high school days as a bingo worker for my Catholic high school in 1979 to my role as a Talent Engagement Specialist for a workforce solutions organization currently in 2020, I've worn many hats and been many things to many people and companies. 

If anyone would ask me what my real job is, I'd be bold enough to clank my balls and tell them, "I'm ME - I'm John the Revelator, the Keeper of the Stories That Matter the Most. I'm an initiator of men. I'm a Megaphone for the Kingdom of God. I am a Work in Progress!

If I were my resume, that's how it would be and what it would read.

Sadly, the world at large, Babylon falling on both East and West Coasts and sink hole deep into its own bloated heartland, doesn't give a shit about that. It wants me to be _________ (fill in the blank with whatever you want me to be). That's fine with and by me - I know the Kingdom is coming and I'm just perfectly content with going to sleep tonight and waking up to the smiling face of God at the foot of my bed, much like Frodo coming to in Rivendell and seeing his beloved Gandalf breaking out with joy and laughter before him.

"Job well done, my good and beloved son," would be those words I could never, ever find in a paycheck or in a 401k or in a promotion or through the Monday to Friday 40-hour or more fucking meat grinder of society's enslavement of every life that matters.

So, what's the rumpus today?

I'm going to end Labor Day 2020 with a full belly, go lay back and enjoy a good movie (The Illusionist with Edward Norton), and then recline in bed while continuing to read J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye (I haven't read it since my teenage years - and I am absolutely falling in love with Holden Caufield and the utterly raucous and sharp-witted, amusing prose of Salinger. What treasures for a job well done...today.

I would die a happy man if it all ended tonight. Sarah McLachlan is singing "Angel" to me as I type these final lines. It's all good. I've punched enough clocks. It's not even fair - but sometimes the work of becoming who God meant when He meant me is truly the BEST JOB I'VE EVER HAD!

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

September 7, 2020

Love of Music.jpg

There's something about music that I'm learning I can not live - or survive - without. I don't sleep that well in this season of my journey. Story is always present in my heart, usually prompted by films I've recently watched or music I've listened to. 

A friend recently marveled that I can write and listen to music at the same time. I told them it's when I'm usually penning new pages to my Journal  collection or even working on fiction writing, website design, whatever.  Right now - as I'm typesetting this - I'm listening to my Windows Media Player jukebox, lingering in a collection called The Valiant of Heart.

It's populated with love songs, thematic score music from films, and timeless treasures of memories associated to decades of my spiritual and masculine journey.

Right now, it's Africa from the group Toto. This embeds my heart right back into the 1980's when the song was released. I was in love with a fiery young woman named Patty at the time - both of us were students at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York and madly, deeply in lust and love. 

It's also no coincidence that in the current journey to both harvest and process my 40 years of Journal collection, I'm smack in the middle of that story between us. In fact, I just began to dig into Journal Eight - Precious Time, the physical book actually a gift from Patty to me in 1983. She even was gifted with choosing the Journal's title and actually penned the first two pages of it as a tribute to me...something I had never allowed another person to do before or since.

So here I sit, on a Saturday night, awash in memory and letting the awakening of the Lover archetype in my heart and story listen to the songs play on. Here I am on Mercy Street by Peter Gabriel. Forever etched into my memory was the first time I heard this evocative song, playing in the background for a scene from the 1987 NBC television show, A Year in the Life. Every single time I hear it, I think about that scene. The relationship between Patty and I had ended the year before...and I was on the cusp of a new one entering my life.

The jukebox is on random play. Now it's Silver Springs by Fleetwood Mac. I had the honor of meeting the band while working at the Hyatt Regency Louisville in the late 1980's, now in love with a Southern angel named Angela. I remember chatting briefly with Stevie Nicks in her hotel room, telling her I always loved the "B" side to the group's massive hit, Go Your Own Way. She gave me a white candle and thanked me for my kindness. I don't remember walking out of the room - more like floated, I'd say in retrospect. She wrote the song about her dying love affair with guitarist Lindsey Buckingham. It still makes me weep remembering the death of my love affair with Angela...

Oh, my - Foreigner's I Wanna Know What Love Is. The choral climax that takes the song home still brings chills to my spine, memories dancing across time. "In my life there's been heartache and pain..." I've known what love is, I've felt what love is, I've given it and received it. My memories of this son, too, are etched into my consciousness and love of the culture changing show, Miami Vice, in the episode called "Rites of Passage." It was during its meteoric first season, and it fit perfectly within the scene with Ricardo Tubbs and his old New York City flame, Valerie.

So, what's the rumpus today?

A song from the Broadway musical, Rent, is playing. Your Eyes...Roger's lament for Mimi. I fell hard for a national touring company actress that played Mimi in the late 1990's. She, too, was from the Bronx. I have seen that show 14 times...a dozen of which starred her in the role. It wasn't meant to be, but that music is in my marrow forever.

How appropriate that George Harrison is belting out What Is Life? Such a rock and roll love song - he originally wrote the song for Billy Preston but ended up recording it for his own 1970 triple album post-Beatles break up, All Things Must Pass.

His words are a nice coda to this trip down musical lane:

"What I feel, I can't say
But my love is there for you any time of day
But if it's not love that you need
Then I'll try my best to make everything succeed.

Tell me, what is my life without your love?
And tell me, who am I without you, by my side?"

Some say he wrote it for a woman; some say he wrote it for a deity. Those words fit, for me, in the memories of my love for the daughters of Eve and in my awakening Sacred Romance for God in my current heart, story, and habitat. 

The journey - and the jukebox - continues...

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

August 29, 2020

Take Up Your Mat and Walk.png

As the journey to wholeheartedness continues, I've found the past two months since last checking in here to be filled with both the pleasures and the pains of becoming, with God, more free to live. 

I was led, in the Spirit, this morning to the Gospel of John , Chapter 5. In the story of Jesus healing the paralytic, he asks the man a question that, if I didn't know Jesus as my heart knows him, would almost seem cruel.

"Do you want to get well?" Jesus asks the man who is bound to his mat outside the healing pool of Bethesda.

Get well? This is one of those moments in Scripture that I, as a reader (not as some type of theologian) have to scratch my head and say, "Jesus, what the fuck?" The dude has been down for decades, coming to the healing pool for the miracle he needs, never making it in yet still coming back in a desperate hope.

And I love what Jesus says to him next most of all:

"Get up! Pick up your mat and walk" (John 5:8 NIV).

That's my Jesus!! And, oh, how many times and in how many ways in my own life and story have I been the man waiting at the pool - fully capable of getting up and walking away any damn time I well pleased.

"Do you want to get well?"

Jesus has been asking me this disruptively honest question about a major stuck-point in my heart, story, and habitat for quite some time now. And, like a good man on his mat, I've opted out of answering in fear that my only option to reply is, "No, I don't. Leave me alone if you can't help me."

Jesus is always the "Yes!" inside the darkest  despair of "No!"

Over the last few months I've been witness to another man's story that has him, I believe, down and comfortable on his mat. I sense he's waiting for the miracle of Jesus instead of the mandate: "Get up! Pick up your mat and walk."

Jesus, in my story, never rescues me the same way twice - and sometimes He never rescues me  at all. It's not cruel - it's a call to deeper initiation as a man,  an invitation to be Fathered by God, and a wrecking ball through my own fortress walls of ego and arrogance.

So, what's the rumpus today?

In my recent obedience to my King and Lord to "Get up!" I have found that my legs are really quite strong, healthy, and ready to go. One would think after laying on my ass for decades and not even considering it a possibility, the act of getting up would end well. "Pick up your mat and walk" is simply choosing now, each day, to walk with God...not before Him or behind him but right next to Him.

Just this morning, after nearly a month of doing this, I realized my hands were empty and I wasn't holding onto the mat any longer. It seems as if I've lost it, and I really don't care to look back over my shoulder to see where I did.

GET UP! PICK UP YOUR MAT AND WALK!

But it does start with the question:

"Do you want to get well?"

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

August 14, 2020

Journals.jpg

It's been 40 years since I began a journey with God to journal my story. It has been one of the fiercest disciplines I've ever had the privilege of living out. 

As I continue to capture my heart and story fully alive in each volume (currently on 48), I notice that each first week of June (when I started writing them in 1980) I reminisce about how many stories and how many paths those Journals have seen.

For many years, I heard that still, small voice of God in my soul ask, "When will you harvest them for Me?" I ran from answering Him for many years as well. It was in earnest several years ago that I entered the first page of Volume One in 1980 and have currently read through until the year 2000.

 

Along way, I wield a yellow highlighter to harvest certain phrases, memories, stories, epiphanies, or moments of clarity. Needless to say, I'm on another box of highlighters for the remainder of the journey.

The harvest has yielded many riches for me so far in the journey with Jesus to have Him come deeper into my heart, story, and habitat.

Over such an epic period of time, I've learned how to listen to the pendulum of my heart in when to write - and when not to. I tend to go in stretches...not every day, every month. Yet each month I get quite a bit of the story onto the blank pages of my current Journal volume.

Why is this a discipline? I learned early on in my life that story - a story, any story, a good story, a bad story, my story - can be a very dynamic force in the movements of the heart. Keeping "track" of it - in real time observation and pen to paper capturing of the cartography of my soul and its conversations with God - is the point of the discipline, the doing over and over again...especially during times when the story never seems to change.

 

And the story can - and will - change. One of the blessings of harvesting my Journal volumes is witnessing through my excavation that the story is always evolving - sometimes in the direction I desire, sometimes not.

 

So, what's the rumpus today?

 

Most likely, if given the life to achieve it, this monumental harvesting journey with God through my Journal collection will be completed sometime within the next year. Amazing!! And, yet, that will also signal a new crossroads to be standing at with Jesus into the real purpose and mission at hand: to go with Jesus into the parts of this massive and epic story that truly need His healing in order for me to become more of the wholehearted man He meant when He meant me.

 

This is surely to be dangerous for good frontier to enter with the Spirit, no need for me to have either a map or compass. It's about the desire to pursue deeper healing, transformation, restoration and breakthrough with Jesus in the places of my heart, story, and habitat that matter the most to Him and will eventually mean the most to me as man on mission to advance His Coming Kingdom.

 

For now, I'm choosing gratitude, faith, and the belief that being on the threshing floor with God within the harvesting of my Journals is exactly where He desires me to be right now. 

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

June 17, 2020

COVID Planet.jpg

Interestingly enough, as the world continues to be shaken by God (it's His world to shake - after all) I am much more aware of how much more shaken my world seems to be.

Enough to keep me up at night, wake me in the darkness more than I'd like to admit. What's the dread? To name it seems muddy, like it has a number of aliases to rely on and confuse me with.

Tomorrow, I return to my telework couch to begin Week #10 of being employed by COVID-19. I have a stash of face masks...too funny; no, not a stash of drugs like the "old man" in my story would have had in times like these. No, now I have face masks. I anticipate having to wear one for 8 fucking hours a day now when given the green light to return to our downtown office building. I may have to mix it up with a supply of colorful bandannas I also have stashed away from various times in the masculine journey.

Sort of feels like God is asking me (us) to go about life with veiled faces. Parts of the shame that wounded my Little Boy tells me it's perfectly fine - no one wants to look at my face anyway. Part of it feels weird - and I understand both sides of the need for and those who feel like they don't need them. Choice - one of the most dangerous for good gifts from God given to His children.

Focusing on the False Self, the Poser (the Masked One) is just an easy ploy of the Enemy to distract me, disqualify me, accuse me of being a sham and a shame.

So, what's the rumpus today?

Spirit is continuing to invite those younger parts of my heart and story to camp out with Him in gratitude. I'm grateful to be employed in this current economy. I'm grateful to have, presently, a steady and reliable income, a working budget and savings accounts begun. I'm grateful to be relatively healthy and with medical insurance. I'm grateful to have connectivity and appropriate technological devices. 

"Many is the time I've been mistaken, and many times confused..." (Paul Simon, American Tune).

Yet even that sense of gratitude is being shaken by God. Part of my False Self is the part of my heart and story that will be grateful but, in the end, somehow piss on the gratitude and God's feet as well.

I have a collection of some heart-shaped stones picked up during various walks around my Old Louisville neighborhood over the last decade. They feel right in the palm of my hand or being smoothed by my fingers. God invites me to bring them home, I think, to remind me that he's grateful for my heart...it's a treasure to Him.

One of them sits next to my laptop as I capture these moments, the rumpus sometimes getting the best of me and I overindulge in the luxury of thought. I wonder what God wants to do in all of the shaking in order to capture more of my heart and invite me to ask for more of His?

As this month of May comes to a close, and my journey through a pandemic as a working man continues, I am gonna check some tent pegs inside my story and make sure they are grounded well in gratitude.

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

May 25, 2020

Grace 4.jpg

All I know is that I'm now about to begin writing in Journal 48. Where has time stolen away to?

And, yes, there have been Battles. And Adventures. And more than my fair share of the Beauty. A lucky man, I admit. 

An empty cup really. Needing to be filled by God in more ways than I like to confess.

Journal Forty-Eight: A Work In Progress

Little did I realize when I started Journal One back in the summer of 1980 that I'd still be writing to this day. Not every day but enough days each month to matter, telling the story the way God writes it upon my heart.

I consider it a spiritual discipline, the art of concentrated writing over a long period of time. Since 2005, most of my entries have been letters to Jesus, God as Father, Spirit as a sort of consigliori to my constant questions. Breakfast calls to my stomach right now but I know that the passion to write even transforms what I am accomplishing here as well.

After five weeks of telecommuting on my job, this will be the first Journal in my nearly 40 years worth of writing them that is to be finished under such conditions. Interesting. The kielbasa's cooking and not a care in the world, honey wheat toast with salted butter and the world keeps going deep, like Brady to Gronk and no one sees it coming...

I wanna go deep...

I once saw The Moody Blues in concert - front row left of center seat with my fiance, Angela. She was the one who turned me on to Justin Hayward and the lads. Growing up, for sure, I had heard them quite enough from my older brother, Jeff. Being that close to rock and roll legends was, well, pretty heady. LIke other times, other rock stars. Fleetwood Mac. Duran Duran. Stevie Ray Vaughn. Sha Na Na (hey, those guys did a killer set at Woodstock, so don't laugh).

Breakfast done, kind morning. Calling Gloria...listening to some music and taking it easy with this before that. Relaxation this weekend - movies (Man of Steel, Batman v Superman Ultimate Edition, and Justice League) and TV streamed online (Chicago P.D. & The Blacklist of course). Working hard, ca-ching ca-ching, who can it be now?

Gotta chillax before Monday morning. Have a training that afternoon, and then I have to...

Oh, snap...see where it's all going already in my brain?

Not even enjoying the moment! Here. Right here, now.

So, what's the rumpus today?

My hearing is getting better! Allergies abating or what, I'm not sure but it's nice to be hearing with a bit more clarity

Simple life. Grace. Thanks, Jesus. I love You!!

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

April 25, 2020

Crooked Lines.jpg

I've been thinking a lot, in both my head and heart, about my story lately and how God - as my True Father and Author - has been scripting out the details of the plot.

Since the age of five, I've been writing stories...some I've shared with others yet many that only God Himself has seen or read. Right now - in these particular times in His Larger Story - I find myself also thinking quite a lot about His Coming Kingdom, the End of Days, and Jesus returning to take His rightful place.

Not all of my wounds have been healed. Not all of my heart and story, as a man, has been fully integrated. Yes, there has been massive amounts of healing and integration as well as deep initiation further into the manhood that God wants for me - as a son. Yet I'm always seeking...somehow with words...to put all of this into a perspective (a plot) that I can readily follow and comprehend.

Sometimes I don't like the stories that God writes for me. I don't relate to the characters He introduces or the themes He sets up to unfold. Maybe it's the settings that annoy me more than anything...the unknown, the uncertain, and sometimes the dangerous. Villains?  Too many to count, too legion to fight sometimes.

And, I admit, the hardest part is in realizing that He is the Hero of the Story, not me.

I've been desperate for heroes - a Hero - my entire life...from boyhood until today. I've always wanted to be one - maybe, in the Larger Story, I have been or maybe my time is still to be. That's why God is never out of the business of coming to my rescue...to rescue my heart, my story, my habitat. He never fails at being the Hero...because it's His Larger Story.

So, what's the rumpus today?

It's Sunday night. I'm not feeling great physically...not even concerned about what may be ailing me. Is it seasonal allergies or COVID-19? My heart is heavy...major characters, it seems, are being written out of the story by the Author Himself. Plots are changing. I enter into my fifth week of working from home tomorrow...some of this I like, some of it really doesn't matter. One minute I'm grateful for what I have and the next minute I don't really seem to give a fuck. Loneliness seems to be my new drug of choice...that or food or sleep. 

I see many people wearing masks and I say to myself, "What took you so long to see what I've known all along?"

A I continue to write my stories - for His glory - I'm also going to continue harvesting my stories in the hopes of the harvest bearing fruit that matters. I can't stop writing. The words matter, to God if to no one else but me. And the story - His Larger Story - always ends with the Hero being Who He is.

Maybe that's what God is trying to tell me about me

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

April 19, 2020

Rocky V.jpg

"That's the measure of a man..."

At the end of "Rocky V," as the final credits roll, there is a beautiful montage put together in black and white of vivid still images portraying Rocky Balboa's story from the first film ("Rocky"), along with the subsequent four sequels. 

Every time I see it, tears come to my eyes - I'm not sure if it's because of the story being told through the pictures or the overlay of Elton John's "Measure of a Man" as its soundtrack.

God Himself only knows the days that my life here is numbered by; I am starting to feel that measurement in my heart, my bones, and my balls. Honestly, I can't wait to enter the Kingdom!! Being with Jesus? Oh, my - much better than anything I can stream or binge watch or overeat or feed to any of my addictions. 

I don't really have friends. Most of what I would call friendships, like most anything else in this temporal existence, have been fleeting and more so than not partially shared experiences that - if memory serves me correctly - always left me in the foxhole on my own. 

That's one reason I love Jesus - He's always been in my foxhole...and He ain't going anywhere without me!

Sound like a lonely life? Of course, yes - but after surviving the fucked up and abusive dysfunctionality of my family tree, being the lone tree on the quiet hill isn't such a bad place to be.

That's what makes the presence of the Holy Spirit - the Wild Goose as the ancient Celts called Him - such a blast! Recently, and somewhat out of the blue if I was tracking my own heart and story correctly, I began to pray that God would begin to move my heart, story, and habitat towards connection, friendship, romance, and love with a fierce and captivating woman of God. And , no, I'm not talking about the nice girl who teaches Sunday school class at the local Baptist church. Picture Wonder Woman who's in love with Jesus, is up for adventure, will fight back to back with me in battle if called upon but who is also cool with me riding in with full armor to rescue her from the assaults against her own heart and story.

What kind of man would the measure of that dream coming true take? Can my prayers really move mountains and clear the way to that first encounter?

Lately, I've been wrestling with God about how to go about this - and the answer keeps coming back: 'Clear away the deadwood and light the fires of your creativity with it. Rest - the beacon of that kind of light will draw her to you.'

So, what's the rumpus today?

Maybe it's time I got the fuck out of my own way and let God into the writer's room of my existence...that inner sanctum where all of the magic happens in the mind before taking the road trip towards the heart.

He knows exactly the measure of the man He created when He created me. He knows every strength that the Enemy has stolen, killed, and destroyed inside of my heart, story, and habitat over decades of time. And He knows - really knows - what the deepest desires of my heart are...and this pleases Him.

Right now I'm blasting my music until the paint starts to peel, not really concerned if my neighbors call the cops. I'm looking up at a huge photo mosaic Spirit had me create last week of The Daughters of Eve - images of real and imagined heartbreakers who captured the heart of my Little Boy, my Young Man, and the Man I've Now Become. I'm gonna kick back tonight and watch Edward Norton's film, "Motherless Brooklyn" - and I'm not sure why except the Spirit says, 'Cool.'

If it's cool with Him, it's cool with me!

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

April 13, 2020

Bible.jpg

For the past few days, I've been - with intention - unplugging from the media maelstrom churning out the news of the pandemic at every turn. Death, disease, economic uncertainty, unemployment, and all of the horrors of social distancing on the upended lives and habits of society.

Really don't think I've missed much, but that's just me. If I'm tracking all of this correctly, people (...the United States, you know, like Obama called us, "One nation, one community...we are one people...") seems to think that this moment in time is something to be survived - the great test of our generation. It almost feels like a mindset of surviving survival

Personally, I think this is just the Caesar salad of suffering before the main course(s) is served to the masses. Don't worry about stocking up on toilet paper - when the food runs out there will be no need to take a shit or wipe your ass afterwards. Dog will eat dog and chaos will be the red-headed step-child of terror.

Pretty bleak and horrible of me to say, no? As a foreigner in a foreign land, spiritually, I've long waited to see the dominoes of American culture and pomposity begin to fall into each other. Did God or Satan tip the first one here with COVID-19? Interesting to see with all these experts changing their mind and their patter with each passing news cycle, I'll just put my money on Jesus Christ and let the croupier of coronavirus spin its wheel of waste and desolation in the casino of what's coming behind this pandemic.

What - do you really think in a couple of weeks, a  month or so, everything resets to the god and idol of normal and all of this one nation who don't really ''...in God we trust..." will go back to its comfortable shoes and Starbucks and Whole Foods and Alexa-this and Google-that and stop coughing into the collective elbow of prosperity? I don't think so...

So, what's the rumpus today?

I'm the poster child of the spiritually messy follower of Christ...never have done it perfectly, theologically or practically. When Jesus called The Twelve, each and every one of them was a hot fucking mess, knuckleheads every last one of them. Yeah - #MeToo!

I'm sure the Creator of the Universe and everything and everyone in it (...sorry, Darwin, you and your ilk are straight boo-trippin' on this evolution Ponzi scheme that has Greta Thunberg crying herself to sleep every night...) isn't quite particularly happy in those of us (...every one of us...), His image-bearers, having fucked it all up six ways to Sunday. Jesus ain't waiting for us to join Him on a Zoom call here. His Kingdom has always been advancing - and it sure as shit is Coming. Soon.

Is it too late? Not for me. My name is written in the Book of Life and I'm ready right here and now for Him to call me home...from COVID-19 or getting hit by a bus, it really doesn't matter to me. As imperfectly as I've preached the Gospel to others, I've more imperfectly modeled the love of God and for God to enough people since 2005 proper when I was washed in the baptismal waters of the Wild Goose.

So, instead of ordering your food for take-out or curb service right now, go dust off that Bible (...if you have one...). HINT: You can actually read it on your phone, tablet, laptop or PC if you don't have the tactile version. Start with Genesis and don't stop until you reach the end of Revelation. Oh, yeah - read the lines with the black print on them and not lose yourself in the lines with white space in between!!

The Greatest Story ever told? Don't worry about not being a theologian or a scholar - humble yourself, pray until your eyes bleed, and let God guide you through His Larger Story...the one He wrote where Jesus is the true Hero of the story and is the same - yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Maybe the Beatles were right: All you need is Love. No, not love of self...or an end to this pandemic. Love LOVE Himself. Right now, He's the only port in the real shit storm that's coming where - if you truly give your heart to Him and believe - you can find comfort, peace, and, yes, all the toilet paper you could possibly need for eternity!

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

April 4, 2020

Jeremiah Johnson.jpg

"Watch your topknot."

Words of wisdom that the old mountain man and Rocky Mountain mentor, "Bear Claw" Chris Lapp, gave to his young apprentice, Jeremiah Johnson, in the 1972 film Jeremiah Johnson starring Robert Redford and directed by Sydney Pollack. 

By God's grace, I was was invited to draw this chestnut from my DVD collection on a restful Sunday afternoon during this particular moment in His Larger Story. The inspiration came from an 11th hour phone call with a man I had become disconnected to well before COVID-19 came knocking on America's front door.

It is actually one of my favorite movies to linger with - its story, settings, plot, music, and characters remain in my heart for quite a while after each viewing. Ultimately, I relate to Jeremiah and his calling to leave behind life in "...the town..." and follow his heart in the wildness and ruggedness and dangerous paths of the mountains.

Personally, I'm grateful that Clint Eastwood (the star hired to take the lead role after Lee Marvin passed) couldn't get along with Sam Peckinpah (the original director slated to helm the pic) - for me, this is classic Redford. NOTE: Because of this, the world got Dirty Harry from Eastwood. The God-created majestic beauty of Utah should have won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Director Sydney Pollack even mortgaged his own home to keep production costs going. He nailed the effect of the film on my own heart and story by saying, "It's a picture made of rhythms and moods and wonderful performances."

That's one place I still run to meet the Spirit - His rhythm, pace, and way. And on the other end of that 11th hour phone call with my friend, I realized that - much like Jeremiah - I am a man who is looking to leave the town behind to find myself in the mountains

It's been nearly six years since I've found myself in the glorious beauty of the Rocky Mountains. I was last there on my second journey through the Ransomed Heart Advanced Boot Camp for Men, and when I was alone in the mountains of Buena Vista, Colorado there was something in my marrow and story that didn't want to leave. I'm not a great hunter or trapper or even a mountain man - I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York and have lived now in the metropolitan safety of Louisville, Kentucky since 1984. 

In the film, I see Jeremiah get off the Indian riverboat as a war veteran with stars in his eyes and the call of the wild in his heart. All he really wanted to own was a .50-caliber genuine Hawken rifle (which, ironically, he ended up being provided with providentially when discovering the frozen body of "Cactus Jack" high up in the mountains). But God had to send him a mentor to learn how to hunt with it - and ultimately survive on his own either with or without it.

As my story intersects with an unseen pandemic, I recognize the survivor in me. Part of me laughs it off - I've lived such an unhealthy life for so long that I imagine if COVID-19 came anywhere near me it would tuck virus tail and run its ass off to avoid me. That being said, I also realize that much of the real-time impacts so many others are facing and fearing and panicking about right now aren't of concern or issue to me or my story. 

So, what's the rumpus today?

I'm grateful for the initiation that God - as Father - has led me through in my life and story. In the film, Jeremiah didn't want any trouble with the native Indian tribes he was crossing paths with...yet when his tribal bride, Swan, and his adopted son, Caleb, were slaughtered in the cabin he had built for them, Johnson's heart turned cold and vengeful as his wrath manifested in revenge and hand-to-hand combat to the death.

There's something mythical and epic about this story that speaks to something deeper inside of me as a man. Do I have what it takes? God says, "YES!" A lot of times I don't believe that - most likely because I've chosen to ignore the many times He's sent mentors into my story with those wise and discerning words: "Watch your topknot."

As I mature in both age and faith, I'm finding that God is always calling me into the frontier exactly because it's wild, dangerous, unfettered and free - just like He is. As a new week of social distancing, telecommuting, and the unknown approaches me, I'm going to heed this wisdom and watch my topknot. 

And stay close to God as Father, mentor, and the wisest mountain man of them all...that will definitely help me to not lose my topknot to all of the fear and uncertainty and unknown of life in the town.

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

March 29, 2020

Be Still 3.jpg

As a friend of mine just said in a social distancing-inspired phone call, "Look what the coronavirus dragged in!"

While it's been 58 days since my last Rumpus (...but, hey, who's counting?...), I feel like the past 8+ weeks have been French-pressed down from the soaked grounds of my head, heart, and soul into the deeply rich yet frothy brew of some healing, transformation, breakthrough, and restoration that is just the trail head of a sojourn I've been seeking to undergo for quite a long time in my heart, story, and habitat.

Oh, yeah - quite interesting times that are unfolding and I am living in, with no opportunity to binge watch this drama in order to find out the dramatic conclusion.

Today was the first day of telecommuting on my full -time job, and you can bet your bottom dollar, Daddy Warbucks, that I'm damn glad to be in that position. At nearly 58 years of age, I know it's unprecedented for me to live through such an experience - and one that is truly global. It makes me think of my father and his service in World War II. Is it fair of me to compare this time to then or my journey to his? Maybe...maybe not. The end of the story will tell the truth of the tale.

Part of me is very bummed out to have the rest of society stealing a page from my relational handbook - that  of the chapter entitled, "How to Maintain My Sanity by Steering Clear of Others." Oh, well - I guess it's fine and dandy for the party to get a bit crowded now that the DJ named COVID-19 is dropping beats with a nasty bass thumping in the background of fear, chaos, panic, speculation, and the thrill of hoarding toilet paper (?!). 

Another part of me is quite happy, knowing that the dominoes had to begin falling into each other at some point and, like a little boy, I get a kick out of seeing the whole grand construction topple this way and that and increase in speed and complexity until it's all done and the last ivory tower falls. Hey, what can I say? Glass half full...glass half empty - you get to choose whether to suck air or gulp water at this point.

None of this took God by surprise. Jesus is still advancing His Coming Kingdom and is doing just fine. Spirit is moving, just as Spirit does and just as Spirit will. 

So, what's the rumpus today?

"He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God...'" (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

Just a heads up...this isn't a call one wants to let go to voicemail. This isn't a text message where one should blindly delete before reading and contemplating. Nor is it an email that should nest in your Spam folder until the Matrix automatically ships it to Trash after 30 days. It certainly isn't just going to pack up after 2 weeks of shutdown and go its merry way into the stratosphere never to drop trou again.

The Gospel offers life - I'm not talking 'bout the magazine or the cereal. Think Bread of Life, Wellspring of Life, River of Life. There's still time to choose, and I'm not talking about self-isolation or  keeping 6 feet between me and the next walking wounded out there. Jesus won the war by surrendering Himself. 

Sure, God gave me, you, and all the chillun's self-will. Ever think that was for a great good than selfishness?

I absolutely love Sons of Anarchy - brilliant and provocative television. Sadly, many people out there still live by its theme song, "This Life" from Curtis Stigers & The Forest Rangers:

"Ridin' through this world
All alone
God takes your soul
You're on your own.

The crow flies straight
A perfect line
On the devil's path
Until you die.

This life is short
Baby that's a fact
Better live it right
You ain't comin' back.

Gotta raise some hell
Before they take you down
Gotta live this life.

Gotta look this world
In the eye
Gotta live this life
Till you die.

You better have soul
Nothin' less
'Cause when it's business time
It's life or death.

The king is dead
But life goes on
Don't lose your head
When a deal goes down.

Better keep your eye
On the road ahead
Gotta live this life.

Gotta look this world
In the eye
Gotta live this life
Till you die, yeah."

Songwriters: Bob Thiele / Curtis Stigers / David Kushner / Kurt Sutter

This Life lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Fox Music, Inc.

I'm perfectly content and ready to enter the Kingdom of my King. I pray the distance between that day and today is truly as short as it now seems to be!

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

March 23, 2020

Spirit Sun.jpeg

Saturday morning. Feeling semi-alive. Cold and flu season. Now coronavirus. Sounds like I should be having a beer and a lime instead of a life-threatening sickness. Oh, well, I guess worldwide panic will now ensue, with mass global quarantine of citizens and cessation of basic human services and standards, where martial law will take over as the New World Order and the war machine will begin to print its currency of death across the known world.

Or maybe Super Bowl Sunday will come and go with all the commercials intact.

Been listening to a lot of Rush since the news of Neil Peart's death recently after a long battle against brain cancer. When I was much younger I had a second-hand set of drums that I loved playing. Right around that time, at the age of 13, I discovered Rush's music and brilliance.

The longer I live the more I realize how God's fingerprints were all over those moments and memories. That's the whisper of eternity in my ears, the promise of the Coming Kingdom. Life wants to drown it, the Enemy wants to simply fulfill his resume: steal, kill, destroy.

There is always more to the story.

Coffee and hot buttered biscuits for breakfast. Listening to Hold Your Fire from Rush's impressive album discography. Good background music, now finished (...take me home...), and yet there is always more to listen to. Especially when I am needing the direction of God's Voice, the counsel of the Father in which I am always learning and being apprenticed in more.

So, what's the rumpus today?

Not giving into the Spirit of the Age. If you'd like to hear John Eldredge and some of the Wild at Heart ministry team speak about this subtle area of warfare against the heart, story, and habitat of those advancing the Kingdom, please scroll back towards the top of this page and you'll find some audio content about this very topic. 

Even as I type, some sort of foul spirit is attaching the Internet bandwidth speed on my laptop that is a bit frustrating as I create this content. What? Like this is some sort of major problem that I am having to deal with - like something that innocuous would be of concern to me at all. 

Life is learning the workarounds.

In one of the many Rush songs that Neil Peart was primary lyricist for, I love Spirit of Radio where, near the end of the song, bassist and lead vocalist Geddy Lee wails, "But glittering prizes and endless compromises shatter the illusion of integrity, yeah..."

I don't have to get caught up in the spirit of anything that isn't of the Spirit in the first place. Much of the world, the flesh, and the devil consist of just those things that offer relief...not restoration. I get to choose more of God in more of my life today, knowing that I am much more confident to let go of the Spirit o the Age and walk more in in the Spirit of God.

That's also why I like to think of my journey as a man - there I be, walking along, walking onward, walking somewhere with God. Can't see, might not know where I'm off to, but can trust that the Spirit will guide each step of the way.

Not a bad place to be on a Saturday morning in January.

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

January 25, 2020

Wild at Heart Logo.png

Hello, it's time to play "What's the Rumpus?" I'm your host (fill in the blank).

Life, at times, feels like a game show or an old television rerun...familiar, cookie cutter, plain, boring.

I gave away two copies of John Eldredge's Wild at Heart yesterday. Both books went to younger men in their journey of recovery. It wasn't until just now that I began to think about what first reading that book back in 2008 meant to  me.

Not only did it blow me away with it's invitation to a spiritually-based masculine journey with God, it also led me to discover the great hearts and mission at Wild at Heart. Having been chosen in their lottery to attend a Wild at Heart Boot Camp (2009) as well as two Wild at Heart Advanced Boot Camp retreats (2010 & 2014), I've also had the honor of leading men through intense multi-week  small group studies of Wild at Heart, Fathered by God, Epic, and Beautiful Outlaw.

There was something about John's message in Wild At Heart that pierced a deep place in my soul and story back then. I read the book in one night - and clearly remember that it felt like some ancient, masculine drums beating deep in my heart and calling me back to the spiritual and masculine journey.

I've also spent many years slowly working my way through John's other  books and additional resources from Wild at Heart. Along with men's work in the ManKind Project from 1996 through this year, I've been active in this ministry as an ally and intercessor too. 

Giving the books away yesterday reminded me that I am an ambassador for Christ, no matter how flawed I am as a man. He is continuously fathering and initiating me. For that I am both humbled and grateful.

It's been a while since I've taken the book cover to cover for yet another reading. Right now, I'm content with also slowly working my way through the Wild at Heart Field Manual, a journal companion guide to John's book. As I make my way thorough the final pages of that expedition, I also think back to how my heart, story, and habitat were impacted after reading Wild at Heart.

So, what's the rumpus today?

In being open to God bringing me that book, I found my whole life being changed. In a way, it was back in that time I literally became dangerous for good. I become a megaphone for God's Kingdom. In giving away those books yesterday I found myself reliving those first days after first reading Wild at Heart and feeling on fire for God, men's work, the spiritual and masculine journey.

Experiencing the Boot Camps out in Colorado were also life-changing events. My 2009 Boot Camp was at Crooked Creek Ranch in Fraser and both my Advanced Boot Camp visits were to Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista. Both camp locations were owned and operated by Young Life and were breathtaking in scope, size, amenities, and natural Rocky Mountain majestic backdrops. Every time I'm out there I go hiking alone on the deep mountain trails. It is eerily both adventurous and dangerous but I like it because it calls me up to rely upon God and be called up and into something deeper as a man. Do I have what it takes?

I'm thankful to God for the ability to walk with Him and others in this ministry that truly is small and tribal but has a huge impact in my heart and story and so many others around the world.

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

January 19, 2020

Spirit.jpg

So I'm gonna try and keep up with myself here...

Lot going on. Feel a bit wonky. Not sure, but think God is mildly pissed at me. Why? I'm just a sinner, saved by grace aren't I?

Early on a Saturday morning. A friend is celebrating 6 years of recovery - don't really feel like going to the meeting. Why not? He's just a guy trying to get by just like me no?

Just started a new job. Nice place, good opportunity to help people, great hearted staff. I guess I'll play it day by day. Even had a few companies calling me up for interviews. A good feeling, to be sure. This new gig had God's fingerprints all over it - especially the timing to rescue my heart and story from financial insecurity. And fear of people - leading me to a job where my primary purpose is to help other people all day long.

I'm definitely in the new kid on the block phase. But feeling alive. The challenge in front of me - for the theme of 202 - will be giving myself permission this year to live FREE for one full year and work to be dangerous for good in the story of advancing the Kingdom.

But something's still out of balance.

Sunday - worship at a local church.

Monday through Friday - work.

Monday - Every other week a men's group meeting. Wednesday - AA homegroup.

Saturday - Another recovery group

Tuesday through Saturday - Creative writing and nonprofit ministry work in the evenings where possible.

Too much? Not enough? As Simon & Garfunkel sang, "Nothing but the dead are dying back in my little town."

So, what's the rumpus today?

Breathe. Benevolent detachment. Let go. Pray. Prayer harder. Breathe. Relax. Give everyone and everything over to God. Pray. Forgive. Love. Laugh. Have fun. Live fierce. Be disruptively honest. Be fiercely intentional. Live free. Love God. Be armed with faith. Fight Battles. Live Adventures. Rescue Beauty. 

Write. Write some more. Pray. Pray harder. Try life on, try it out. Practice, blunder about with God - but don't go to shame or self-reproach.

How am I hiding my glory?

Maybe an even better way of looking at it is:

If I only had 10 Post-It's to tell you my story, what would I say on each one?

I'm sure 2020 will be a Dangerous for Good new year...

John Fontaine (aka Jamiolkowski)

January 4, 2020