Birthdays

This week in April, especially the 11th, 14th, and 16th, is always a special time for me.  It’s the birthday week of my mother, my older son, Trevor, and my wife, Lisa, in that order.  Needless to say, it’s kind of crazy getting everything together for three parties in one week.  Three cakes, three sets of presents, three dinners out.  And, of course, there is my younger son, Nathan, who is feeling left out because his birthday isn’t until November.  But even in all the craziness, there is a lot of fun and time for remembrance.

Celebrating my mother’s birthday is sometimes the hardest, because I end up remembering who isn’t there to celebrate with us.  My dad died three years ago this month, and we miss him terribly.  There are Mom’s parents, my Mema and Papa, who are in heaven as well.  Also, there are multiple aunts, uncles, and cousins who aren’t around either through death or distance.  But to get through all this I focus on the wonderful gift that is my mother, Judi.  She has always been such a great supporter of me in my growing up years, in developing and running my dental practice, and especially in my writing and music.  She’s the shoulder I can lean on when Lisa is busy doing taxes at her office.  Mom shuttles the kids around when we just can’t.  She also has many words of wisdom, whether I want to listen or not (I should listen more often!).  So, since Mom is so special to me, April 11 will always be a special day.

This year, April 14th is a bittersweet day.  It’s wonderful in that we get to celebrate our sweet Trevor and all his accomplishments.  It’s also sad in that he is becoming a teenager.  How did he ever get to be thirteen?  How did I ever get so OLD?  Already the questions about cars, college, and, needless to say, girls are coming at me faster than Superman running from Kryptonite.  But it’s special.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.  It’s my son’s day.  (And yes, his old man is wiping away tears to type this.)

Maybe the sweetest day of all this year will be Lisa’s birthday on the 16th.  It has been a rough tax season, with me feeling like a single parent on those days when she had to work into the night.  It will be so great to have her home again at a decent hour, see her more rested, and back to having us all sitting down together for a meal that I (yes, I cook!) have prepared.  She is so wonderful to sacrifice her time to help us provide for our family.  It will be super special this year to celebrate her for just being her!

I wrote a poem about birthdays for my new collection of poetry entitled “Times Yet To Be” (now on sale on Amazon.com!).  I hope it conveys many of the sentiments I’m feeling this week.  I hope it helps you to celebrate yourself and all the special people in your life on their special days this year.  “Happy Birthday, to YOU!”

Happy Birthday

Celebrate

The day you met the world–

Or did the world meet you?

Celebrate

With friends and family

Who give your everyday meaning.

Celebrate

The day your mother’s pain

Melted into true love’s smile.

Celebrate

The gleam in Daddy’s eye

That became your spark of life.

Celebrate

The Father God who knew you,

Formed you in Mother’s womb.

Celebrate

The relationship He offers

In the person of His Son.

Celebrate

The Spirit’s work in your heart

And the works that flow from your hands.

Celebrate

A life of hope, peace, joy and love

And all the fulfillment it brings.

Celebrate

Defeats, losses, hurts, and pain

For they are the lessons that make you feel alive.

Celebrate

For you are you, uniquely you,

What will this year mean?

 

~~Jarrod Brown, DDS, DWS, 17 January 2016

Times Yet to Be Front Cover

 

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#HolyWeek

The holiest season of the year for Christians is upon us.  This is the week that we remember with solemnity, broken hearts, prayers, Scripture, and songs the Passion of Jesus Christ.  We recall our…

Source: #HolyWeek

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#HolyWeek

The holiest season of the year for Christians is upon us.  This is the week that we remember with solemnity, broken hearts, prayers, Scripture, and songs the Passion of Jesus Christ.  We recall our sins, the real reason He came to earth in human form to be the Passover Lamb for all the world.  We recall the institution of the Lord’s Supper on Maundy Thursday and His command to “do this in remembrance of Me.”  We remember His crucifixion on Good Friday, that good, good day when our sins were over and done:  remember Jesus’ words from the Cross, “It is finished.”  That means the payment for our sins is over and done.  Christus Victor.  And, of course, on Easter Sunday (better called Resurrection Day) we celebrate that “great getting-up morning” when Jesus conquered death and the grave and rose again that we might live with Him eternally.

I have always wondered why Easter is not celebrated more than Christmas.  It is, after all, the events of Holy Week that brought to us our salvation.  Christmas is the indwelling, God coming to live with us in human form as the baby in the manger.  Not a small event at all.  Certainly a great reason for celebrating, just as the angels did on the night of His birth.   But I guess it’s easier to decorate our homes with angels, sheep, and a baby than it is with whips, nails, and a bloody cross.  Yes, these are the real decorations of Holy Week and Easter, not bunny rabbits and colored eggs (I know the eggs represent the empty tomb, but don’t we have to see the bloody cross before we see the clean, empty tomb?)

My fascination with the cross led me to write a poem connecting the story of Holy Week and the legend of the dogwood tree.  I hope it relates to you a new vision of the suffering of our Lord and becomes a new decoration for your heart this Easter season.

The Man and the Dogwood Tree

 

The man walked up the hill

With his friends in tow,

Singing and laughing,

Heading to the garden ornamented

With olive trees and dogwood trees.

 

The man walked into the garden

And his friends went to sleep,

Snoring very loudly,

And he bowed to pray near the dogwood trees,

His brow dripping with sweat and blood.

 

The man stood up suddenly:

His friend had kissed him on the cheek,

Pointing him out to the armed guards.

And they dragged him down the hill,

Carrying a chopped down dogwood tree.

 

The man walked up another hill

And his friends were scattered,

Denying they ever knew him.

And he was nailed to a dogwood cross,

His body beaten and bloody.

 

The man was carried down the hill

And his friends were crying out,

Wondering what would happen next.

They carried him to another garden

To a tomb in the rock by a dogwood tree.

 

The man was gone from the tomb

And his friends yelled in amazement

Cries of “He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!”

And Mary met him in that garden,

Weeping tears of joy that watered the dogwood tree.

 

The man went up in the clouds

As his friends looked on

Knowing that everything would be fine.

And they went back to the garden tomb

And picked cross-shaped flowers off the dogwood tree.

~~Jarrod Brown DDS DWS, 25 March 2015Times Yet to Be Front Cover

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#StPatricksDay

I’ve always been intrigued by the possibly real, possibly imagined, possible three people saint named Patrick.  Although he’s a great excuse for wearing green, parading in the streets, celebrating gingers, and yes (for some people) drinking a pint of Guinness, as one of our oldest saints, Patrick has a lot more to offer.  He led a life of slavery, kidnapping, captivity, fleeing for his life, then finding his purpose in Christ and leading Ireland out of the paganism of Druidic thought into a life of Truth.  His story inspired me to write one of the poems in my new book.  I hope it helps you connect with Patrick (and God Himself) a little better today.

St. Patrick

 

Bright green in a midst of purple time,

Time to enjoy rather than to fast,

To recall the shepherd of God who

Helped Irish faith to flourish and last.

A driver of snakes,

If any there were,

And a user of nature

To explain God to curs:

Three leaves in a shamrock,

In everlasting green

That point to the Trinity,

One true God in Three.

A symbol of power,

Of heavenly life,

Whose vivid green hue

Pierces hearts like a knife.

A slave to men

And even to priests,

Patrick brought Christ

To the bold and the least.

May his example

Inspire us to share

The goodness of God

To wee folk everywhere.

 

~~Jarrod Brown, DDS, DWS, 16 January 2016Times Yet to Be Front Cover

 
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#PiDay

With this being March 14, we nerds of the world unite and celebrate “Pi Day.”  I decided that I would celebrate Pi Day by sharing some of the 3:14s (chapter 3, verse 14) of the Bible that can both challenge us and exhort us in our faith.  Here are some of the verses that I came across:

“if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that is Christ’s ”   Heb 3:14

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up.” John 3:14

“What should we do?” asked some soldiers. John replied “Don’t extort money or [accuse falsely]. Be content with your pay.” Luke 3:14

“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” 1 Peter 3:14

Having read these verses, I think Pi could stand for Personal investment.  If we invest ourselves in the things that are Christ’s not only will He reward our efforts, we will be free of fear.  If we live according to Christ’s teachings, we can receive His contentment and peace.  But I’m not trying to teach “prosperity Gospel” here.  What I’m saying is that personally investing ourselves in the things of God brings us the happy life we all want.  We can only be happy (free from fear, guilt, and sin) if we trust in the work of Christ on the cross.  The “Son of Man” (Jesus) was lifted up on the cross so that He could take upon himself our fear, guilt and sin and wash us clean with His own blood.

That is to say, Christ’s blessings to us are even more infinite than the number Pi itself.

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Cartwheels

It’s amazing the things that happen in our dreams.  Almost three years ago, I lost my dad after a long fight with pulmonary fibrosis.  Dad was also a diabetic, had lived through a quadruple bypass, back surgery, and thirty-seven years as a local police detective.  So it was really a shock to my mom and I when he just suddenly had a massive heart attack and was gone.  No warning.  Just gone.  Even though his mobility was slow, his wit was intact, and we expected many more years, maybe even time in a nursing facility.  But he was just gone.

A couple days after his death, I had a dream about Dad in heaven.  He and Jesus were walking along the golden streets, and the conversation went something like this:

“I’m so glad to be here, Lord,” Dad said.

“We’re glad to have you here, Jack.  We love you,” Jesus replied.

“You know, Lord, I was never able to really get around well down on earth.  At least not in the last few years.  In fact, I was NEVER able to do a cartwheel.”

“Well, Jack,” Jesus said smiling, “you can do that and a lot more now!”

So Dad looked at Jesus, grinned, and executed the most perfect cartwheel I’ve ever seen.  After a good, hearty laugh, Jesus followed him with THE most perfect cartwheel ever.  Laughing and joking, they cartwheeled all the way down the golden street, out of my sight.

I awoke with a smile on my face, and ran to the computer to pen this poem:

 

He went to bed

Tomorrow was just another day

A day of hard breathing

A day of hard walking

But God was with Him.

He woke up

And it was still the same night

A night of hard thinking

A night of hard walking

What was God doing?

He cried out

And the love of his life ran out

The time had come

The time was over

And God took him.

He woke up

And it was eternal day

A day of easy breathing

A day of easy walking

And God did cartwheels with him down the golden street.

 

~Jarrod H. Brown DDS, DWS, January 16, 2015, in memory of my father, Jackson

Times Yet to Be Front Cover

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Check out my new book, “Times Yet To Be”

Very soon I’ll be publishing a real book of my poetry on Amazon.com.  Please check out a preview of the book here:  https://www.createspace.com/Preview/1187131

Times Yet to Be Front Cover

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