March 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim ~~

by tkbrown
March's April . . . 
As we float into March midst swollen banks
the forecast calls out for more days of rain.
Snowing and freezing of recent past ranks
among the worst recorded earthly pains.
Now, thawing, raining, and flooding ramp up;
predictions of severe weather winds wrap
coming days in showers and springtime temps
resembling April much more than March winds
to which we have become more accustomed.
The plowing and planting we want to tend
must wait for those winds to dry things a bit
when the soil for tilling will be more fit.
The winds with less rain blow in days of spring
when the crocus buds and the blue birds sing,
dusk temps are suited for the front porch swing.

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Photo Above: by AndreyKonstantinov@Unsplash.com.

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My Morning Do . . . Down on the Farm — IV

A Snowy Nostalgia

by tkbrown

20 February 2021 — Growing up in the Ozarks, I was so blessed to experience four distinctive seasons each year. The snows blanketing our country during the past two weeks brought back memories. Just prior to the onset of winter storms Uri and Viola, one of my siblings and I were talking about the winters of our youth bringing much more snow than we have seen in recent decades. We were a bit nostalgic about the memories associated with those snows–at times they were two feet deep or more with drifts three to four feet deep. One Christmas Eve, an older sibling drove in from another state and parked their Volkswagen in front of the house. The next morning, there was just a big hump in the front yard–no visible evidence of the car buried beneath all that snow.

Winter brought with it the excitement of holidays, snows and ice coated trees which I thought were absolutely beautiful with the sun shining through them early in the morning. Riding the bus to school, I often commented on how much I loved seeing that aspect of winter. Other bus riders could not see what I saw. I suppose, in their minds it was too early in the morning and they were still snug in bed and fast asleep. They wanted no part of my icy reveries which threatened to eject them from their warm ones.

On days when conditions were too dangerous for the busses to risk the drive to school, and on weekends, etc., I could enjoy the evidence of Jack Frost’s visit during the night. The etchings on our windows boasted designs far more intricate than most paintings. The beauty of winter escaped many, but I never missed a beat of its cold heart. I loved looking out the windows to see God’s handiwork. Even having to carry in wood and coping with one side of me getting too toasty as it faced the old wood heater while the other side froze could not diminish its value in my heart. To me, even during the season others viewed as representing death in life’s cycle, nature’s beauty surpassed any ugliness that came with it.

My heart goes out to those who suffered hardship and loss during the past couple of weeks. I understand the blessings of modern technologies have allowed many of us to advance beyond the primitive realities associated with the wood heating of my childhood. However, news of the suffering many endured due to the overwhelming frigidness of the temperatures and accompanying snows brought back memories of always being able to stoke a fire in that old wood heater or turn-on the gas heater and kitchen range even as the electricity failed us. Living on the coast and enduring a number of hurricanes, I loved being able to cook a pot of beans and rice or cornbread on that gas range for us to eat until. We never missed a hot meal during a power outage. That is one part of having less than others I have never regretted.

As the days of my childhood grew warmer and steadily longer, springtime dropped in for a visit. When the dogwoods and redbuds began to bloom, I knew spring would soon be in the air. Our springs were long enough to truly enjoy the rebirth of life associated with the cool days of fragrant, variegated greens and yellow greens. The fresh bursts of color in both nature and homestead, and the planting of seeds–as the days grew warmer–from which we would enjoy the produce over the coming year. These were fertile reminders of life budding anew. Springtime in the Ozarks is a rebirth of every aspect of living.

As school let out, days were becoming hotter and longer. Soon, summertime was in full swing. The heat–sometimes blazing heat–in luscious green surroundings seemed to embrace me with appreciation for the growing and reaping to be done. The mouth-waterin’ vegetables, fruits, and berries we harvested each year were my favorite part of livin’ off the soil. I looked forward to the watermelons, the peaches, and other produce peddled to locals by other locals because these were never locally grown in sufficient quantity. The annual hog-killin’ in late July or early August with the fresh tenderloin to follow at breakfast the next morning was usually assisted by cousins from other states. Afterward, we would all gather ’round to enjoy a feast of fresh pork and fresh vegetables from the garden. If we were lucky, the activities of this day coincided with the peach purchase mentioned above, thus prompting a bowl of peaches ‘n cream for dessert. Summertime food was always so delicious. To this day, I love the abundance of produce available during spring, summer, and fall. UUMmMmmmmm!

Fall in the Ozarks blanketed the area with bursts of color on every hillside–red, yellow, orange, and crimson mingled with green and brown–with the cedars etching a bit of evergreen and each frost increasing the browns. Vegetables that had not been harvested from the garden were brought in, preserved, and stored for winter. The Halloween Carnivals (now Fall Festivals) and Thanksgiving only added to the excitement and anticipation of Christmas ahead.

Now, we cannot forget the annual harvest celebration in a neighboring county. As we grew a little older, we could most always see a slew of people we knew at the Hootin’ ‘n Hollerin’ celebration. The Hog Callin’ contest was the most sought after prize of the day. Usually, this prize was taken by a woman ’cause she had looootts o’ practice from callin’ her husband in for supper every night.

When I was young (early childhood–preschool age), the fall also boasted an Annual Pie Supper to benefit the school. I was too young to participate, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching older sisters baking pies to be auctioned off and eaten with the highest bidder. Some of those pies were well-known and sought after–bringin’ a right-good price to compliment and redden the face of some young lass.

Then there was the Annual Talent Show. Local talent turned out in droves to assist in raisin’ funds for our school. As I mentioned above, I was too young for the Pie Supper, but Mama and Daddy were sure to sign me up for the Talent Show. I began singing at the tender age of three. The Pie Suppers and Talent Shows fell by the wayside by the time I reached school age, but I remember the fun they provided all who participated. All of the excitement added to the bliss of those fall days, which were cooler and reminded me of the holidays and winter wonderlands yet to come.

I look back on my growing-up years, and although there were bad times, I do not remember too many of them. I always felt blessed somehow to be a part of all my surroundings–family, neighbors, friends, and nature. I learned so very much from all that I experienced. You just had to be there and see it through my eyes to understand the level of nostalgia felt at times when engrossed in reminiscing those days of yore.

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Photo at the Top: by MikeGoad @pixabay.com.

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II — The Way He Should Go . . .

~~ a multiple stanza quindecim

by tkbrown
I
A parent gives name to a newborn child
hoping for temperament low-key and mild.
Impossible to foresee the path trod,
they--two--prayerfully implore most high God:
Watch over and keep him on the right track;
when in smelting fire, please hold to his back.
Help him to learn the pathway he should choose
with plenty of room and nothing to lose
so long as he looks for the Lighted Path
and seeks to help others avoid God's wrath.
When he grows weary give lift to his wings,
replenish his strength,  give voice as he sings.
Help him tune in to your heavenly voice;
as he ponders  the way, then makes his choice
give mom and dad a vision to rejoice.
(Written: 10 February 2021 by tkbrown.)
II
As he grows: infant to toddler, then child,
as mom and dad pray for guidance compiled,
lead them through the inspired books of your Word--
reading instruction, insuring child heard
and lives what she learned as their lives portrayed
words of scripture and their actions conveyed
the faith, the hope, and the love from above,
relied upon strength when "push comes to shove."
Show them the way to plant inside his heart
those treasures from God--whose way doth impart--
knowledge and wisdom for life upon earth
to circumvent and give Satan wide bearth.
The foundation instilled in early childhood
will help her to know which pathway she should
take and follow toward her eternal good.
(Written: 18 February 2021 by tkbrown.)

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(To be continued: Please tune in again next week for the second quindecim.)

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Photo Above: by Bessi@pixabay.com.

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I — The Way He Should Go . . .

~~ a multiple stanza quindecim

by tkbrown
I
A parent gives name to a newborn child
hoping for temperament low-key and mild.
Impossible to foresee the path trod,
they--two--prayerfully implore most high God:
Watch over and keep him on the right track;
when in smelting fire, please hold to his back.
Help him to learn the pathway he should choose
with plenty of room and nothing to lose
so long as he looks for the Lighted Path
and seeks to help others avoid God's wrath.
When he grows weary give lift to his wings,
replenish his strength,  give voice as he sings.
Help him tune in to your heavenly voice;
as he ponders  the way, then makes his choice
give mom and dad a vision to rejoice.
(Written: 10 February 2021 by tkbrown.)

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(To be continued: Please tune in again next week for the second quindecim.)

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Picture Above: by Bessi @pixabay.com.

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Picture Above: by Bessi @pixabay.com.

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Child Poverty

~~ an essay

by tkbrown

When I began actively blogging on tkbrownwriter.wordpress.com and Tweeting on Twitter–@tkbrownwriter–there were many who were constantly orating regarding the hunger, starvation , and homelessness plaguing children from other countries. These children were being swarmed to and across our southern border by parents who would never qualify for entry if they entered via the legal immigration requirements. I agreed somewhat with what they were saying, but I was also concerned about children in America who suffer similar needs which were not being met.

Finally, I responded to the orations with an appeal acknowledging the validity of the needs being promoted while also noting the responsibility we hold to meet the needs of our own chidren. I told them, every night here in America many children go to bed hungry because there is not enough food to eat. In winter, many of those same children go to bed cold because the family budget was not sufficient to pay the heating bill. Many don’t even have a place to call home. How can we be an example to the world if we neglect our own to care for others. We need to first address the hunger and housing needs of our own America born children before trying to meet the needs of children from other countries. Now, the coronavirus has compounded these problems exponentially.

“There is currently a push in Congress to address the needs of every American child living in one-parent households earning $75,000 or less per year or in a two-parent household earning $150,000 or less per year. This plan would provide families of children ages 0-6 an additional $300 per month per child. It would also provide families of children ages 6-17 an additional $250 per month per child. These monthly disbursements would be made via the IRS Department” (Stein, 2021). The children of America are in much need of this additional assistance. The wealthiest country in the world should never be plagued with a reputation of not caring for its own.

While I am not one who typically condones regular and continuous dependence upon government subsidy funds. I do believe we owe it to our children to ensure they are not going hungry, or cold, or living on the streets. If we cannot take care of our own children, why should we be considered the country of choice for these needs by parents of children in other countries.

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Source:

Higgins, Tucker. (4 February 2021). “Romney child-payment proposal would spend more than Biden plan – but also aims to cut welfare programs.” CNBC. cnbc.com. (8 February 2021). Romney unveils plan to send families up to $4,200 per year per child (cnbc.com).

Stein, Jeff. (7 February 2021). “Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam.” The Washington Post. Microsoft News: msn.com. (7 February 2021). Senior Democrats to unveil $3,000-per-child benefit as Biden stimulus gains steam (msn.com).

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Charity

~~ a devotional

by tkbrown

I Corinthians 13:13: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

The word “charity,” in the New King James Version (NKJV), is translated “love.” Thus, in this passage written by Paul to the Corinthians, the two words might be used interchangeably. Apparently, there were many issues concerning the Christians at Corinth. In chapter 13, Paul addresses the need for love to abound. He notes a number of achievements to be worked toward as Christians in Christ’s church; then he cautions that without “charity” or “love” none of these is worth anything in Christ’s church. Though one may attain a high level of honor, without love, that person is nothing in God’s eyes.

How often do we, today, teach the importance of “charity” or “love?” Love, or charity, should be a frequent topic of our Bible lessons. It takes extensive study on the topic to exhibit the love Christ had, and has, for His church.

Love is one character trait deserving of frequent address. Too often we “go through the motions” but they mean nothing to us. Verse 2 says:

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing”–I Corinthians 13:2–NKJV.

Though it is possible to have faith enough to accomplish any feat—with God’s help–if I have not ”charity” or “love,” faith profits me nothing.

Faith, hope, and love are the three most essential characteristics of a Christian. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17–NKJV). “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1—NKJV) Faith is instilled by hearing, reading, and learning the word of God. It is important to follow hearing with study in order to learn the true meaning of the scripture presented. Paul told Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15–KJV). When we hear the Word, that hearing must be followed by our own private study to ensure we understand what is being said, when it was said, to whom, and about what. Thus, we learn the true meaning of the scripture uttered in our hearing.

The more we study God’s Word, the more it impresses upon us the need for love in our own character. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:43-47

43 — “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy,”

44 – “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you;”

45 – “That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

46 – “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?”

47 – “And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so?”

 The more we try to emulate Christ, the more love we will extend love to others. It is a tall order to “love our enemies and do good to them.” This tells us, if we have not love we are not emulating Christ—we are but pretenders. This pretense means nothing to God and will not ensure entry into heaven. We must grow as Christians if we are to hold the love for others that Jesus requires.

A new Christian has learned to love him-/herself enough to want to spend eternity with God and Christ. A mature Christian has grown in the emulation of Christ so that love is evident. Christ laid down His life to save us. How many of us would do the same?

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Photo Above: by reenablack @pixabay.com.

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Sources:

Eds. biblegateway.com. (2021). Holy Bible – New King James Version (NKJV). 1975 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

Eds. Biblegateway.com (2021). Holy Bible – King James Version (KJV). 1987 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. www.biblegateway.com. (26 January 2021). www.biblegateway.com.

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February 2021

~~ a calendar quindecim ~~

by tkbrown
Winter Wonderland
January moves into February,
and winter has settled in.
Sunny skies are often cloudy;
snow is on its way again.
Wind is blowing, howling--
a reminder to stay in and warm.
Hot soup will tame stomach's growling
and the goosebumps on my arm.
Awakening to a new day dawning,
out the window is now a wonderland,
a roaring fire in the stove is warming,
novelty in the air is quite grand.
Being snowed in can be so charming
if we fill the time with games, reading--
cooking memories for future sharing.

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Photo Above: by Long Luc @Unsplash.com.

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Put Another Star in Their Crown

~~ the quindecim ~~

by tkbrown
As I traveled, learned, and grew
through each passage of my life,
I moved a little closer to You
and gave over to You the strife.
I learned early to study in depth
as each Scripture written for You
covered my troubles--a soothing broth
and proved each word to be true.
Each teacher embraced such love
for the gift of life eternal;
with the same my heart did move
from the impact of each kernel.
For the lessons each presented
planting each person in your stead,
another star in the crown upon their head.

There must be many another soul
who could say the same to you
of the lessons creating a whole
your cleansing blood did ensue.
Each deserves recognition
for the effort long put forth
in your service with such passion,
embracing each soul with warmth.
The ministers in the pulpit
to each recipient in each pew
ensuring all understood it
implanting each heartfelt cue.
So, put another star in their crown
and a bit more shine in their gown.
Yes, put another star in each crown.

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Photo Above: by Davide Cantelli @Unsplash.com.

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Nibbles of Sleep

~~ a quintain quintet
Have you ever experienced "nibbles of sleep?"
Not your routine nocturnal adventure,
these "baby-doll naps" are smidgins of deep
luxurious nods so brief--to be sure--
that one might not view them as naps at all.

Rather, they drift in akin to daydreams
with no vision to report, only sweet
bits of unconscious lapses--little seams--
linking wake times without missing a beat;
then, one might not view them as naps at all.

Not requiring a bed or break from work,
not eliciting need to fuel the forge
or requiring redirect--cause to shirk--
while wetting a whistle or stop to gorge;
so, one might not view them as naps at all.

Production moves along, hardly a blip
to interrupt thought or to slow one down,
just enough to confirm--without a slip--
the act in progress and achieve the crown.
Aye, one might not view them as naps at all.

With head held high, regal, and quite erect,
then bent forward, a nodding agreement
confirming course of thought not circumspect
and moving on to next assignment sent;
these, one might not quite view as naps at all.

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Photo Above: by Christophe Hautier @ Unsplash.com.

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Calendar Quindecims — December 2020

~~ by tkbrown
December is moving in fast,
and Thanksgiving is barely past--
or, is it? Travel, families,
Black Friday fare--those online venues--
shopping with masks, social distance--
greatly reduced deals, now's your chance!
Buy now, pay later--give better
for Christmas than ever before.
Material flare--girls and boys
each year get more expensive toys.
This year will be no different,
I'm sure--packages and love sent
to those afar off. Would I could
be there with you--for now we should
be thankful for the things we have
and for the family to love.
God, please send it o'er air by dove!