Peace . . .

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

Philippians 4:6, 7 (NKJV)

  • 6 — “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;”
  • 7 — “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

These are trying times. The coronavirus pandemic has been with us now for one year, and with the new variants cropping up around the globe, predictions of another year are being tossed around–even as new vaccines are being approved. The recent snowstorms, Uri and Viola, blanketed the lower forty-eight of the United States more completely than any in recorded history. Only three states escaped being covered completely. We know the world is sharing our experience with Covid-19 and its variants. We also know the weather over the past year has presented many trials and tribulations around the world. Our daily prayers include YOU along with people in the United States.

Economies are suffering with no definitive relief in sight, and the home fires seem to be dimming for many. It is during times like these, God can work in our hearts and bring us closer to Him–if we let Him. The scripture above, Philippians 4:6, tells us to “be anxious for nothing, . . . ” This may seem a difficult task when we are uncertain what the months ahead hold, but with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving we can tell God what we need, and He can lay upon us “His peace,” which “surpasses all understanding.” He “will guard you hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” The final phrase tells how God can fill us with peace during times like these. It says, “through Christ Jesus.” Thus, if we have put on Christ Jesus, we can be blessed with the peace that passeth understanding.

As a child, I remember singing a song in Summer Bible School and feeling my heart lifted from any sadness it might hold. The first verse of the song, “Down in My Heart” by George William Cooke, amplifies the “joy” we can hold inside if Jesus lives in our hearts. The second verse says, “I’ve got the peace that passeth understanding down in my heart, down in my heart to stay.” Thus, if we love Jesus and He loves us, and if He lives in our hearts, with prayer, supplication, and thanksgiving we can plea with God for this peace, and Jesus will provide it to us. In times of sadness, sorrow, and hardship, He will carry us–if we let Him.

My prayer today is that all will heed His calling and allow Him to provide the peace that passeth understanding in these trying times. I ask that He Bless YOU personally and guide you to this peace. Have a “peaceful” day! Stay well and Be safe!

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Photo Above: by Daniel_Mingook_Kim@Unsplash.com.

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Source:

Courtney. (8 September 2019). Write On My Heart Every Word. writeonmyhearteveryword.com. (28 February 2021). “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart” – Write On My Heart Every Word.

Holy Bible. New King James Version (NKJV). Philippians: by the Apostle Paul. (28 February 2021).

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Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

a quindecim triad
~~ by tkbrown ~~
As Thanksgiving Day approaches our minds reflect
upon those things for which we can be thankful.
This year, in particular, as we attempt to deflect
some of the year's more unpleasant, distasteful
aspects recently passed, perhaps our thought
might linger on those very things we would rather
forget. The coronavirus, for instance, has wrought
havoc on the entire world, and still it grows . . . stronger.
Many have lost loved ones as it ravaged our homes,
our lives, our nations, our world. Has it beleaguered
our universe too? Our losses seem greater in domes
fabricated by the quarantines and other featured
components of our lives. Can we see--e'en for a moment
that we are blessed to be alive and able to ruminate
and to formulate gratitude in the losses we repudiate.

E'en through the unpleasant times and events
occurring throughout the year, our world has paused
to focus upon giving medical care in hospital tents
erected by the armed forces, necessitated and caused
by a desire to save lives. In countries large and small,
pharmaceutical teams have hovered over petri dishes,
laboring hours upon end, striving to answer the call
for vaccine and treatment options to grant wishes
and supply clinical trials. The scientific world
pulls together, competing to be the frontrunner
in this race with death after being hurled
headfirst into a wall toward which time's gunner
attempts to take away more precious lives.
Children are losing parents, and husbands are losing wives,
hospitals are losing the battle in which each strives.

As we approach this special Day of Thanksgiving,
I implore the world to join with us in prayer--
bowed heads and humble hearts of the living.
While we collectively ask for strength to care
about the needs of those who are hurting,
and join together in prayers of uplifting praise,
offering thanks for the resources relieving
limitations on production, mending the frays
of education, entertainment, and self-care.
Technology, far more advanced than ever before,
has opened doors and built bridges o'er
land and sea to bring a hurting world together.
Let us bow our heads in a world-wide prayer
thanking God for bringing us together
and for the support we receive from each other.

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Photo Above: by Tom Barret @ Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Do . . . “Losses”

~~ by tkbrown
19 September 2020
Midst all the grieving and lamenting
with such intensity the heart doth ache.
Whom can I trust? The pain, the not feeling
is more than this old, feeble soul can take.
One disaster hits, and then another.
Before I can stand up straight, I smother
the screams of anguish inside, and I hide
the pain because my neighbor cannot find
half of her belongings. How can I scream?
I need to be strong and help mend the seam
the storm ripped open before something else
renders it irreparable. Immense
are the threats to my survival, but I
am not important right now, and I sigh--
deeply, longingly--and look to the sky.

There is death and dying all around me.
Ash and charred wood, far as the eye can see
and I wonder, how will it ever be
the same; and I just want to run, to flee
and forget the loss stretching, engulfing
all. No home, no  business, no feeling
to express the emptiness entrenching
the dried riverbed; ash coating, drifiting
between the stones--gray, forlorn, seemingly
afraid to hope for better day. Achingly
eyeing the chard remains, desperately
recalling beauty--incongruently.
This is not a scene one would ever want
to revisit. Even new growth could not
erase the scars, the memories so scant.

As I contemplated the losses our country
and my fellow-citizens have experienced this week--
from fires and storms,
I grieved with them--for them;
and I penned these words
as an expression of my condolences.

To those not suffering loss at this time,
if you are ever in the path of such powerful forces,
evacuate!

Leave hearth and home!
No material belongings are worth your lives!
This cannot be stressed too much. 

The country, the world is already reeling
from unfathomable loss,
and the grieving process has begun.

The five stages of grief:
Denial,
Anger,
Bargaining,
Depression,
and Acceptance
have begun.

No two persons experience them in the same order
or to the same depth.
Oftentimes more than one can be seen at the same time.

Therefore,
no two countries will experience them the same.

Denial is not yet past--for us--
here in America!
The Anger has begun,
mostly in the form of rioting,
looting,
violence,
and mayhem
focusing on other areas
rather than the death and dying
all around us
directly related to coronavirus--

in our families
and in society.

So, the Denial has not passed.
It is still going on
along with the Anger,
and some Bargaining.

Expressions of Anger are being blamed
on events not truly related
to society's loss from the pandemic.

It is hard to separate personal loss
from societal loss.

Is that even possible?
I don't think so. 

Be strong enough to feel--more than the anger!
Be strong enough to heal--more, more than yourself!
It will take introspection refueled
to collectively grieve and to rebuild.

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Photo Above: by Dylan Nolte @Unsplash.com.

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Source: Kubler-Ross, M.D. and D Kessler. (August 2014). “On grief & grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss.” Scribner. New York. (16 September 2020).

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My Morning Do . . . “Loss and Grieving”

~~ by tkbrown

18 September 2020 — The loss being felt by every person in America is unmistakable, but indescribable. The amount of economic security that existed, for the most part, prior to the onset of coronavirus was more than ever known. A mental review of our nation’s good times–and bad– show an economy never so fully engaged with the world. Now, the trust linking countries and economies has been severed in many cases. Some–stronger–are weathering the storm, but so much worse for the wear. This loss is not limited to that of individuals within the country. This loss is of the country. Our nation is hurting right along with every citizen, resident, and alien. We are not alone in this loss. Every nation in the world is reeling with us.

The sheer number of deaths in the six months since the pandemic struck American soil are unprecedented. For many, there has been no time to truly grieve for want of trying to survive. Those in the health professions have been too busy trying to save lives to properly grieve losses in their private lives. The illness is so insurmountable, neither individuals suffering from the virus nor those caring for them have been spared the trauma of long-term suffering. Post traumatic stress disorder is a given for many of the survivors and for their caregivers.

Here in America, a “lockdown” perse could not be implemented. Such is the cost of freedom. Most other countries do not enjoy “freedom” to the extent Americans do. Our constitution engenders the right to refuse such imprisonment, and our citizens did just that. The consequence of that refusal has been the insurmountable death toll we are seeing because that refusal brought with it a spread of the virus not seen in other countries where true lockdowns could be enforced. Our government has told its citizens, “you are free to choose; so, you have the responsibility to choose wisely or suffer the undesirable consequences that accompany poor decision making”. The whole country has this freedom, and much of the country did not choose wisely.

The losses associated with preventive efforts, such as self-quarantine, has been the closing of many thriving businesses. Even with efforts to minimize the impact, the individual lives scarred by sacrificing all will never be the same. Jobs, businesses, schooling, production, productivity as a whole has been limited to such a degree it may take years to overcome the setback.

No one saw it coming. No one had a plan because there was no guidebook. Nothing outlined before even came close to including all losses being experienced today. It is a “one step at a time” endeavor. We have made mistakes, but much has been done right too. For every choice, there is a consequence. When we do not know what the consequence will be for a particular action, we make regrettable mistakes. However, we do not have the time to moan and groan over those mistakes, and we do not have time to point fingers regarding mistakes. No one is immune; everyone has made mistakes.

The blame game wastes precious time. It is a form of denial regarding the true severity of the situation. Our citizenry must stop the infighting and admit the feelings associated with the losses without hurting self or others. The anger being expressed in the violence and rioting must stop. It is hurting innocent people, and it is hurting those inflicting the harm.

These societal losses are experiencing the same stages of grieving seen in individual loss, but on a much larger scale. The anger is a symptom of being ready to address the underlying feelings. So, it is time to begin communicating those underlying feelings. To do this, it is necessary to understand the stages associated with grief. Our society, as we knew it, has died–worldwide–and it is left to us to pick up the pieces, one at a time.

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Photo Above: by Dylan Nolte @Unsplash.com.

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Source: Kubler-Ross, M.D. and D Kessler. (August 2014). “On grief & grieving: Finding the meaning of grief through the five stages of loss.” Scribner. New York. (16 September 2020).

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My Morning Do . . . “Expectancy”

~~ by tkbrown

14 September 2020 — How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted your expectancy of things to come?

When COVID-19 struck with force in March and April of this year, each of us had expectations of things to come. Many were about to graduate–high school, college, grad school. A number of this group were in for great disappointment when announcements were made that graduation ceremonies had been put on hold. Then those ceremonies were backed up again, then again. Some were so upset by the loss, they scheduled their own ceremony, or party. When these events were held, scheduled at the spurious demands of those who had been set aside by the virus, and subsequent illness occurred, who was blamed but the system?

When shelter in place orders were given with guidelines of groups no larger than ten were violated and illness occurred, who was to blame but the system?

When self-quarantining grew old and monotonous, governing bodies were entreated to open beaches and bars. When those requests were denied, it was demanded. The bars were not reopened, but beaches were. Who, but the system, was blamed for resultant spikes in new COVID-19 cases?

Time passed, and it was determined the fall semester would see the reopening of colleges in some areas. As the Fraternities and Sororities began to gather–weeks before the first day of classes–COVID-19 parties were held. Did those students claim responsibility for the subsequent spikes in cases? No! Not a word was said, by the students or by the system, about those parties. Very little was said about the increases in illness–until now. Suddenly, people are blaming the student parties for the resurgence of pandemic illness. Now, who would have thought it? Wait until after the younger students are in classes to blame student parties for more cases of coronavirus.

It seems our expectancy has been a bit out of whack in recent months. Perhaps the extended quarantine is what brought the conundrum about, but we really were not quarantined for that long considering the extensive and extended ramifications of the illness. Perhaps our expectancy was impacted by expectations as they existed prior to the beginning of the pandemic. Whatever the reason, we have expected miraculous treatment rates and cure rates.

No system in the world has successfully controlled the pandemic. Some have fared better than others, but every country has experienced at least one resurgence by now. Some have experienced many. The United States consists of a huge land mass when compared to most other countries in the world. Most of our state areas compare with countries elsewhere in the world. When we look at individual states, many have had moderate success in limiting cases–some initially, others with regard to resurgence. How can our national health agencies accomplish anything without the support of state and local health agencies? How can any of these agencies succeed in minimizing cases if the constituents will not cooperate?

Our expectancy of the governing agencies in our country has become exorbitant. I realize I am only one voice in hundreds of millions. However, I see a need for the constituents to begin speaking out about this. I am begging all who read this to spread the word ‘responsibility.’ Take responsibility for your actions and try to healthfully influence the concepts of responsibility in those around you. Please, lets make it our goal to survive this pandemic by being more responsible in our response to the bacteria. It is a deadly disease! I pray we all will work together on this, for it is the only way we will minimize the destruction meted out by the time a vaccine and/or/treatment is in place. Love, not only your neighbor, but your enemy as well.

Stay Well! Have a Blessed Day!

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Photo Above: by Peggy Marco @ pixabay.com.

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To whom can you turn . . .

~~  a quindecim triad  ~~
by tkbrown
To whom can you turn when life loses luster,
'cause the world all around tilts off kilter.
All reason collapses, worries cluster,
as vision blurs midst the twirling clutter.
It's each to his own, and one must attend
to business from home where the factors blend
a bit of this, a touch of that, just when
everything seemed to be soothing the skin.
Nothing is ever as presently seems
when the germ beacons with alluring beams
targeting those with the armor fading,
giving way to weakness, illness, aging.
The virus is bringing the world to its knees
as others bring germs home from overseas --
no one is immune, and yet no one flees.
Everyone points to another in blame
seeking a scapegoat to put in the frame
designed for someone of a diff'rent name
with home fires striving to achieve the same.
Blaming one another no problem solves,
creating smokescreens no one absolves
as this germ around everyone revolves,
no respecter of riches it dissolves.
Like a plague it strikes the strong and the weak
blurring defenses, making them oblique
due to lack of remedy all will seek
when symptoms ravage, weaken at their peak.
There is no cure and no treatment per se
except to ease discomfort, wielding way
to live through the virus, muddle the fray.
The factions ignore large factors looming
as the germs thrive and are ever blooming
'til too many lives are lost, assuming
another will see to life resuming.
Then when recovering is out of our hand
the factions attempt to find methods grand
with a view to protecting all who stand
together against the germ in our land.
In the end it comes down to the dawning --
an age coronavirus is spawning --
in a world caught midst nonchalant yawning
as the germ ripped through sheltering awning.
It ne'er is good to become too secure
in a pattern designed to gray and obscure
attractions that lure into unsafe moor.

Image above: From CDC Image Libraries.