April 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim

by tkbrown

April Showers

April showers may cause the creeks to rise
and oft produce stormy clouds in the skies.
The rain comes down, soaks into earth
giving surroundings brilliant rebirth.
Flowering trees, plants nigh to us
get into the act--glorious!
How does God know when to provide
a boost to spirits 'round the world.
Greening the trees and grass to mow.
planting the seeds in rows to hoe,
helping the victims of flooding--
we stay busy all through the Spring.
Re-cooping from Covid-19,
we rebuild lives somewhere between
where they once were and visions seen.

Watching the ripples as they grow
touching more lives than we can know.
We are oft engrossed in our world,
paying no heed to what is hurled
away toward others losing all
when storms and flooding come to call.
Some suffer--reeling in silence--
others will wail, seek recompense,
but some will look up, try to help
heal the pain of another's whelp--
knowing healing comes from giving
to those about who are grieving.
Always look outward and you'll see
the love you give comes back to thee
in many ways, but always free!

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Photo Above: by Clem Onojeghuo @Unsplash.

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Awakening

~~ a Springtime quindecim

by tkbrown
The world slowly opens its eyes,
sleep lazily drifting away--
from a year of treatment trial
to real-life--so far from benign.
Changes await--careless and wise;
whate'er we do, whate'er we say,
the virus spreads 'mongst us still,
and more choose to brave the vaccine.
Beleaguered businesses devise
plans to re-open 'midst the fray;
some return with variant viral
increase showing no let-up sign.
What was is done, ne'er will it be
relived. The things--this day--we see
matter, e'en when we disagree.

Winds of Spring challenge Winter's droll
as temperatures rise and fall.
The "Lion," chased by frolicking "Lamb,"
skitters into the waking woods,
then returns with his empty bowl--
whistling sweetly, utters a call
to Springtime warmth, mimicking clam--
then lowers it to scoop his "goods."
Remnant sweetness drifts to the shoal,
settles against debris strewn wall--
although it did spare Birmingham--
while moving on to other 'hoods.
Awakening is bittersweet
as the month pulses to its feet
when Winter's cold and warmth do meet.

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As Winter draws to a close and Springtime opens her eyes, we all await warmer days with antsy anticipation. A combination of factors makes this "looking forward" even edgier this year: the Covid-19 pandemic, the social distancing and disinfecting protocols to protect self and others, the record-breaking snowfall and temperatures, the toll taken by both the pandemic and the weather. Even as we are hopeful for a year of recovery, health, happiness, and prosperity, we face new challenges in various forms. Look ahead with assurance of the fact: "This too shall pass," (Anonymous).

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Photo Above: by Gerd Altmann @pixabay.com.

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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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My Morning Do . . . Tears

Tears of Grief — Grief of Tears

~~ by tkbrown — ≥∑

28 November 2020 — The worldwide loss associated with the Covid-19 pandemic has, is, and will have far more impact on us as individuals, as families, as communities, as states, as countries, and as a world than we might ever imagine. There is nothing to reference in responding to these losses. Yes, there have been pandemics before, but the world population, the interaction of countries around the world and the commercial interdependence around the world are far greater than ever before, so the impact of this type of phenomena is unprecedented.

The manner in which some of the losses have occurred, the extent of loss one individual must bear, the burden on families trying to somehow fill the shoes of a person, or persons, no longer with them–these are just a few of the personal losses being experienced. Similar losses have occurred in the professional/work realm, and at the governmental realm–and we are far from done with the related losses.

I believe these losses may be part of the impetus behind the need to protest to such extent as we are seeing in society today. There is no visible, touchable culprit causing these losses in our lives. There is not a “person” we can blame and vent upon, because it is not a person who caused the losses. This invisible force is ravaging our world, and the only way we know to let others know how much we are hurting is to savagely molest something that physically represents some other area in which we feel an intangible loss.

I would encourage caution in this approach. The one thing our families, governments, world do not need right now is another area of major loss. We need to shore each other up and find healthy outlets for our grief. A house divided is a house that falls. The same applies to governments and countries. Learn to grieve in healthy ways rather than creating more pain and grief. I know the tendency may be to lash out at the first possible expression of tangible loss. Remember, this only creates layers of losses. Do what you can to relieve the situation rather than add to it.

True grief, the cleansing kind of grief, involves the shedding of tears. If we do not ever cry, we can never release all of the negative. This release allows us to truly hold the good close to our heart. Many times, I have cried for the loss of someone I love. Many other times, I have told myself to “suck it up and be and adult.” Big girls don’t cry is the message I was sending myself. The question is: “Why did I send myself that message?”

Society teaches both girls and boys not to cry. “Big girls don’t cry” and “Big boys don’t cry” are phrases children are taught as they grow. No one wants to deal with a whiney crier, so it is deeply ingrained into a person by adulthood. We all “need” to cry sometimes. When we experience a loss, it is oft important to acknowledge that loss with tears. If we do not do this, we are never truly cleansed of the negativity associated with the loss (i.e., self-talk: “I can’t go on without _____.” “I can’t do this alone.”). There are any number of negative things we may say to ourselves when loss occurs.

This, “big boys and girls don’t cry” is much more deeply instilled in boys than in girls. It is generally acceptable for a woman to cry–sometimes. After all, women are the weaker sex, so we cannot be expected to go through life without crying. Men, on the other hand, have to “suck it up.” The message sent to men says it is never ok for them to cry. To that, I say: “Hogwash!”

All of us need to cry sometimes to release the pain associated with loss. Men hurt, too, when a loss occurs. We need to make a special effort to teach boys and girls it is ok to cry when we are deeply hurt. We also should accept that there are times tears are shed from joy or gratitude–and that is ok too.

The grieving process in the loss of a dear loved one is never complete until tears are shed. If we want to let go of the negative aspects we associate with that person’s leaving us, we must release those associations with our tears.

When my Daddy and Mama died, I didn’t cry at all until the funeral (just before–on the way to it) for Daddy. When the tears started, they would not stop until I had emptied those feelings of loss and–yes, deprivation–I was feeling. I cried so hard it worried so me who were there. I knew I would never be able to see them, hug them, tell them I loved them–ever again. The pain associated with knowing this had to be released. Only then could I know I would always be able to talk to them, because they are both a part of who I am.

Just as God dwells inside me because I am His temple, there are bits of the people I have lost inside me too. It matters not whether they are family, friends, acquaintances, co-workers–whatever the interaction that made us care for them as a person–to some extent, we need to release those feelings of loss. The death of a loved one–other than Mama and Daddy–has never pulled so many tears from me before I could stop them. Yes, I love my siblings–and I cry when they die–but it is not as intense as losing Mama and Daddy. The important thing I must stress here is: the tears did not occur with that intensity again. Yes, I would tear up occasionally; sometimes, I would cry for a minute or two, but I never cried like that again. I released the intensity of the loss with those tears. This left me with the ability to remember the good parts of my life-giving interaction with them–to hold those parts of them close to my heart. It also left me able to meet the responsibilities of job, family, etc. in the days and months that followed.

This need to cry when loss occurs applies to men too. It is not likely they will cry as hard as I did, but they may. It depends on the extent of loss they are feeling. The loss of some loved ones is no less painful for them than for a woman. Society tends to instill the “no tears” approach much more deeply in men. Whether it is the loss of a person, a thing, or a place–either permanently or for a time, tears may need to be shed. The more dearly and more closely held to our heart, the greater the need for tears. This is true for men as well as for women.

I believe this message allowing tears to be shed at times can be conveyed through learning, in books, the media, social studies, and via other means. It can begin during early childhood and progress into adulthood. In this way, we can give each other–both male and female–permission to release the pain through tears. It is when this is not allowed, the grief of tears becomes a negative concept–so we learn to “suck it up, be an adult.”

The grief of unshed tears can be far more damaging to our psyche than tears of grief ever could be. Tears held in and never released may sometimes be seen as anger toward self or others, negative views of self and/or others, or in other ways too difficult to explain or discuss in a brief manner. It can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and require the need for extensive processing to facilitate the healing of release. Whatever the setting, eventually those tears of grief must be shed or the grief of tears begins to become the norm.

If we think we cannot release our grief–that it must be held in until it is gone–we will never allow ourselves to properly grieve. It will not go away if we hold it in. So, if we can ever truly overcome our grief, the freedom and permission to cry will be a part of the path we take to the ultimate, healthy acceptance we desire to achieve. Healthy acceptance will never mean we do not miss the object of our loss. It means we accept the loss and its importance in our lives; we give ourselves permission to grieve for that loss when the need arises. This allows us to move past the grief and back into productivity.

I know, we don’t typically think of our familial and friendship relationships as an area of productivity, but a lack of productivity in these areas means those relationships die. Thus, a lack of interaction with family and friends–when it is within our ability–signals the probability of a loss that has not yet been resolved within. An unwillingness to interact signals that irreparable damage has been allowed to develop at some point in time. If not addressed and worked through (processed)–with or without the other person–healthy relationships are not likely to occur in the future because there will be a lack of trust. This lack of trust will impede the closeness of all relationships.

So, when loss occurs, give yourself permission to cleanse the unhealthy pain by allowing the tears to wash it away. Holding that pain in will cause its own grief–separate and apart from the loss. Big girls and boys do cry sometimes. These tears allow us to go on meeting other responsibilities so long as they do not dominate our life. Don’t allow your tears of grief to become the grief of tears not released.

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Sources:

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth & D. Kessler. (2014). On Grief & Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss. Scribner. New York.

Kirby, Stephanie. Med. Rev. by Santa, Melinda. (17 September 2020). “The 7 Stages of Grief and How They Affect You.” betterhelp at betterhelp.com. Mountain View, California: betterhelp.com. (28 November 2020). https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/grief/the-7-stages-of-grief-and-how-they-affect-you/?utm_source=AdWords&utm_medium=Search_PPC_c&utm_term=_b&utm_content=80082676786&network=g&placement=&target=&matchtype=b&utm_campaign=6459244691&ad_type=text&adposition=&gclid=Cj0KCQjwqrb7BRDlARIsACwGad7NNf5XmV3-_em0YWLV2asKoQx8ZSJ4JJZ5K4bxBrDIFplE2zwlaWoaArSQEALw_wcBl.

Eds. Web MD. Reviewed By: Goldberg, Joseph, MD. (13 April 2018). Grief and Depression. WebMD at webmd.com. (28 November 2020). https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-grief#3.

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Photo Above: by pen_ash at pixabay.com.

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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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Calendar Quindecims ~~ August 2020

~~ by tkbrown
Icicle memories. . . . long forgotten,
reappear to form a fave smoothie slush.
Hmmm. What flavor is your preference, then?
Mango-Peach is mine, fruit fresh from the bush.
Temperatures rising -- higher, higher:
Will relief ne'er wind itself down a spell?
A dip in the pool would be fun favor
but for the numbers of spiking unwell.
Back to school for children has been the rule
'ere COVID-19 called, gave us a stutter.
Now, Christmas may visit 'ere back to school
gets off the ground midst inclement weather.
"The Best Laid Plans . . ." John made to go awry
with choice visiting far beyond the sky.
We here on earth are afraid to ask, "Why?"

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Photo above by: Alexander Mils @ Unsplash.com.

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Summertime 2020

~~ a quindecim
by tkbrown
Summertime! Summertime! So glad you're here!
Apricity, grilling, picnics galore
help us appreciate you soooo much more
as Covid-19 has brought most everyone fear.
Warm weather activities all around
entice forbidden choice which does abound--
water sports, basking in alluring sun--
have beaches packed along gulf, bay, ocean.
Rivers and lakes add boating, fishing too;
camping, floating, rafting, a gumbo roux
and not a few more add to the allure--
such a tempting lot most do adore.
Social distancing does not fit the scheme,
nor does the nightmarish midnight dream
of sickness and death, the 'wakening scream.'

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Image Above: Seascape, Sailboating by Francine Sreca @pixabay.com.

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Calendar Quindecims June

by tkbrown
Vacations, picnics, and honoring Dad
are bits of fun we are wishing for now,
but gloom and doom hover, keeping us sad,
longing for days with wild oats to sow.
Summertime is wont to be filled with fun,
pleasure-filled hours for yon sweet memories,
for loving anew, basking 'neath warm sun,
taking advantage of sea surfing waves.
How long 'til normal waltzes through the sand,
enjoying family as we once did . . .
strolling through the park, walking hand-in-hand,
dining-in sans limiting safety bid.
Covid-19 has changed the way of life,
taught us to search out the oboe and fife,
enjoying quiet, paint with palette knife.

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Image: 'Chasing Waves' - Saona Island; Dominican Republic
Photo by: Kamil Kalbarczyk @Unsplash.com

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Calendar Quindecims May

by tkbrown

Commonly, ye old merry month of May
presents flowers from April's cool showers,
abundant sunshine in place of drab gray
skies brings us early harvests from forests,
vegetable gardens, berry patches
and herb gardens' aromatic promise
of summer. Bringing the dinner tables
to life with vivid visual vibrance
of color and ambience--much the same
as do our thoughts and memories of yore
tickle taste buds with mouth-watering fame
of delectable favorites and more.
All of these treasures in much more subtle
fashion as COVID-19 doth frazzle
nerves, events beyond our home-fire easel.

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Photo by: Akemy Mory on Unsplash.com

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COVID-19

~~ by tkbrown
Dropping . . . dropping . . . dropping --
economic indicators keep dropping --
GDP drops 9% -- then 35%,
the DOW plummets,
one-day losses greater than ever recorded,
one-third of their value -- lost
to COVID-19.
Unemployment skyrockets,
layoffs and furloughs,
rising . . . rising . . . rising . . .
midst businesses thriving--
just weeks ago.
The businesses did not fail,
the plague is killing them
one . . . by . . . one
as the number of COVID-19 cases keep climbing
and the death toll keeps rising,
as people finally begin to realize
this is not going away
anytime soon.
Death, illness and dying
testing our faith, strength, resolve,
taking much from the picture society had made,
reversing life -- in many ways -- to days of yore . . .
but, in many ways, advancing it to another level.
Living . . . and working . . . from home
over the 'net --
a concept never considered before
by most.
Now,
learning how to be lonely alone
becomes the painful new saga.
I learned this long ago,
I would rather be lonely alone
than to be lonely with someone.
At least, being lonely alone --
I know I am alone in this endeavor.
When I have a spouse/partner,
but am still lonely --
something is missing,
and it is harder to do
a-n-y  t-h-i-n-g.
Loneliness,
or alone time --
you can choose
to have the latter
and fill it with hobbies
that you love doing . . .
or love learning to do.
Loneliness does not have to exist,
just because
you are alone.

Get to know Y_O_U!
I know,
that is a really strange thing to say,
but all too often
we stay so busy doing
THINGS that need to be done -- 'til
we have no time to know ourselves.
We all change as time passes
whether we want to -- or not.
These changes may not be to our liking
when we really take the time to know ourselves.
It is not an easy task --
getting to know yourself --
but . . . it IS a necessary task.
So, spend some time alone
. . . with you . . ..
You might just learn to like your own company!