Author Archive: bjaybrooks

‘Its A Wonderful Life’

‘Its A Wonderful Life’

The Jazz Man

As we travel through this mystery called life, we are discovering that we all are important, and we are needed, and we are vital to the health and safety and welfare of, countless fellow members of our human family.  When I walk through a market and see the precious staff working faithfully, for my benefit, I think…what would I do if they decided that the risk is just to great…and stayed home?  Two Walmart workers near Chicago have died of the Coronavirus.  My family’s welfare is dependent on these courageous souls…and without them…we can not survive!


I know nurses…I have nurses in my family…they are heroes.  Hospitals and emergency rooms are battlefields, with an invisible enemy.  The troops in these dangerous settings, are fighting without the necessary PPE.  How many of us would endanger our safety by entering a room that is full of Coronavirus…without the necessary coverings…or for that…

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Looking Forward to 36

A great, Birthday 🎂 Blog, from Jonathon Brooks!


I believe in celebrating life daily. Pessimism need not pester me. Melancholy can go to hell. I press on against depression. Life is beautiful. There are many detours in our lives that can cause us to lose sight of its beauty. I hope and I pray if we take these detours we soon get back on the right path.

Friendships greatly enrich my life. I’ve aimed to be as pleasant and as kind as I can possibly be for many years now. All of my adult life I’ve persevered to be the change I desire to see in our troubled world. To be a good man has been the number one goal in my life’s story. Goodness has won me many great friends. For this I rejoice and am remarkably thankful.

We all get one day out of each year that is all about us. What do we do with…

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There Is No Courage…Without Fear

There is No Courage…Without Fear.

The Jazz Man

‘John Prine, Who Chronicled the Human Condition in Song, Dies at 73,’ said the New York Times article headline.

‘The unassuming Prine never had a hit single or a blockbuster album.  But he built a devoted following, won several Grammys and overcame two bouts of cancer to record and tour into his 70s.’

‘Other musicians revered him and covered him and covered many of his songs, which wrung wry, universal truths from everyday life.  Johnny Cash, in his memoir, named Prine as one of his key songwriting inspirations.  Bob Dylan, in a 2009 interview, said ‘Prine’s stuff is pure Proustian existentialism…and he writes beautiful songs.  Rolling Stone once called him, ‘the Mark Twain of American songwriting.’   CNN


We look for a clean and concise answer.  We seek a rationale and logical construct to place this hideous disease into.  Some say for us to follow the science.  Other tell us…

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Let’s Not Settle for Sorrow

Please enjoy a tremendous Jonathon Brooks, blog.


Depression is complicated and often misunderstood. I have been depressed before because of my own moral failures. This sort of depression does not require medicine for healing. No, it requires perhaps an apology and a personal desire for me to be a better version of myself next time. Then there is sadness, or depression, that comes around because of life events that are outside of our control. An example of this would be when a grandmother or grandfather passes away from old age. I’ve spent a great amount of my life’s story analyzing depression because I have manic depression (bipolar disorder).

I am a joyful and happy man. I rejoice amidst the odds of manic-depressive illness stacked against me. The happiest people choose to be happy and to fight for their joyful worldview.

Although I will be honest right now and state, as we all already know, that some majorly…

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When There Is Danger In Grocery Shopping!

So, MJ told me this morning that we would compile a list of grocery needs that would take us through April…and that there would be none of, our customary habit of making multiple trips to the market, for a few essentials on a daily basis.  I am the designated shopper for the Brooks household.  I affixed my mask to my face…and began my safari.  MJ is an efficient shopper…I am easily distracted by shiny objects and unique opportunities…and cookies….  

photo of a lighthouse near body of water

Photo by Avery Nielsen-Webb on

They’re were many more masks, today, and they are of sundry varieties and materials.  Some folks appear to be outlaws from the old west.  Others look like doctors and nurses…while a few appear to be wearing a garment around their mouth and nose that was not intended for that area of their body.

The Surgeon General told us, on Sunday, that this week would be very sad and likened it to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.  If the idea was to enhance the fear factor…he succeeded!  

The Prime Minster of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, entered hospital, last evening, for persistent Coronavirus symptoms, and today has been placed in the intensive care unit due to those symptoms worsening.  

Queen Elizabeth gave a masterful speech to the United Kingdom, yesterday, and displayed all of the excellent traits and the perfect words and sentiments for comfort and hope, in our 2020 pandemic.  


I wrote our pastor, Kerry, a note yesterday, regarding his great sermons of hope and direction through this pandemic crisis.  The Scripture tells us: ‘A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.’    Proverbs 25:11  KJV

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It has been said, words matter, and never more so than now.  Mixed messages and the extension of false hope in a drug that has not been tested, scientifically, is cruel… and cold comfort to families with a dying loved one.  

During the first days of the World War II, Prime Minister Winston Churchill told the citizens of the United Kingdom, ‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.’   House of Commons, June 4, 1940


‘In his speech, Churchill had to describe a great military disaster, and warn of a possible invasion attempt by the Nazis, without casting doubt on eventual victory.  He also had to prepare his domestic audience for France’s falling out of the war without in any way releasing France to do so…’    Wikipedia


I was waiting in a long cashier’s line…where other people like myself…had been likeminded in purchasing enough groceries for April.  A kind cashier motioned me over to her, 20 items or less line, and cheerfully concluded my visit to Wall-Mart.  We can all get through this difficult time…’with a little help from our friends.’

photography of rainbow during cloudy sky

Photo by Alex on





Magnified Living

Magnified Living

The Jazz Man

So, we attended virtual church, this morning.  Through the utility of Zoom…there was pastor Kerry preaching a powerful sermon, and Kathy playing, masterfully, a  beautiful hymn, and Carlyn singing a lovely and uplifting song.  I could see my fellow congregants, smiling and in little boxes, and I reflected on the significance of our shared time together.

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I am still enjoying my daily walks, as I heard our governor’s medical advisor say this afternoon that it was important for people to get outside…for their mental health.  I am addicted to snapping as many photos as I can of the beautiful spring blossoms on the campus trees.  The brilliance and vibrance of their, coat of many colors, is inspirational to me…in the darkness of our 2020 pandemic.

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I was shopping for some necessary groceries in Kroger, yesterday, with my mask on…and my glasses kept fogging up…and once they fell off of my…

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‘We Are All In The Same Boat In A Stormy Sea, And We Owe Each Other A Terrible Loyalty’

The author, G.K. Chesterton, wrote the quote that is the title of this blog.  It has been my favorite quote for over 20 years.  For the 5 years that I was the chair of the Civil Service Council at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, the Chesterton axiom was the measurement that I used for my interactions with all members for the university community.  

A time such as this, sweeps the detritus and chaff of our, perceived, needs and focus’s our thoughts on what is essential to our existence.  

MJ and I have had our lives totally formed and blessed by our sons, Aaron and Jonathon.  There is little that we have thought or intended or accomplished…that has not had the two most important people in our lives as the center of our production.  


Christ and church and our fellow congregants…are an extremely important component of our journey back to Jerusalem.  Tomorrow is Palm Sunday; ‘The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, and cried out: ‘Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’  The King of Israel!’  Then Jesus, when he had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:  Fear not, daughter of Zion; Behold, your King is coming, Sitting on a donkey’s colt.’   John 12: 12-16   NKJV


Humanity is important to me.  I do not have to philosophize regarding the poor…I seldom postulate a hypothesis regarding why the poor are poor…I have been poor on more than one occasion.  I remember my dear departed mother, holding my hand as we waited for the people who were distributing the commodities…to throw us some government cheese, and dry milk, and potted meat.  I, vividly recall, that we did not have enough money for milk that came in a carton…but rather we drank the dried government milk…and I could not keep it down.  So I saved my pennies until I had a dime and purchased a glass from a local restaurant, that was the next street over from our house.  When I first struck out on my own, the day after I graduated high school, I was still growing, taller, and thus had ‘high water’ trousers.  

So, I think of the poor…daily.  Not the middle class…the working poor…of which there are countless forgotten members…who are food insecure and have neither insurance nor a rich helpful relative…but are afraid and waiting: ‘In reply Jesus said; ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers.  They robbed him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man he passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him he took pity on him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.  Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.  The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper.  Look after him, he said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any additional expense you may have.’

Many of the working poor have just had their jobs go away.  When they develop Coronavirus symptoms…many will not rush to the doctor…as they have no insurance.  They have no money for the rent nor the groceries.  If they are to receive the twelve hundred dollar check from the government…it is weeks away…and does not cover the rent…

It is vital for each of us that have some resources…to help our brothers and sisters who are with us in the boat on this stormiest of seas…when you gaze into their eyes…please reflect on how quickly and how abruptly…you life has already changed…


Zoom Coffee for Two

A wonderful blog about our present, shared, condition!


In our time of social distancing I met up with a dear friend this morning by means of a Zoom meeting. My friend Sheila asked me recently if I would be interested in meeting her for a Zoom coffee. Of course I said yes. She set up the meeting for 9:00 AM.

I had to hurry to make it to our meeting on time! I wanted to have a shower and look my best. A shave was in order. I had not shaved for around three days. Unfortunately, I did not shave again this morning. I sacrificed my shave in order for the greater good of being timely. I wore a nice button-up shirt and cologne. During our virtual coffee rendezvous I made the joke that the cologne did not really matter and was probably unnecessary to the enjoyment and success of our meeting. Sheila laughed.

My friend and I…

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This Is Real!

‘Jason Hargrove was behind the wheel of a bus in Detroit when he said a passenger began to cough.  The middle-aged woman let loose four to five times without covering her mouth, he said; and watching her do this — at the same time Michigan was under a state of emergency for the Coronavirus – got him upset, he felt compelled to vent his frustration in a video afterward.’

‘I’m mad right now because that s*** was uncalled for.’  

‘Now, nearly two weeks after he recorded the video, which viewers shared widely on Facebook Live, Hargrove himself has died of COVID-19.’    NPR

We are all in uncharted waters…with 20 foot waves …and a starless night sky.  The shore that we seek to arrive at has cliffs that are steep and rocks that can gash the hull of our vessel open.   We have a lighthouse…and it is our medical professionals.  We have heroes…they are our nurses and doctors and all hospital staff that bravely continues to care for their fellow human beings…who are desperately in need…while they endanger their own lives.  

In the year of our pandemic, which will fill history books and be taught of in schools across the world, it will be noted that many of us did not believe the science…as we thought that it was being promulgated by the Deep State.  The profound peculiarity of the plague that we are in the midst of…as being a Partisan Pandemic…will astound future generations.  The sadness that the richest country in the world…did not have enough Personal Protection Equipment for our front line medical soldiers in this horrible war…will mystify the students of 2040…and 2060…and 2080…  Then they will ask…why did not the United States manufacture more PPE…and the history books will note that we called on China to come to our rescue.  They will beseech their elders and their teachers and their professors…why did the governors have to out-bid their fellow governors…and the highest bidder received the life saving equipment…while those with less resources…died?

Our future progeny, the inheritors of the Earth, will ask why didn’t the youth of 2020 believe that the social distancing admonishments of medical leaders…did not apply to them?

Then the young ones will ask why other countries, across the globe, declared nation-wide stay at home orders…while the land of the free and the home of the brave…decided to leave that decision to the governors…and they sought direction from the president…and the president…deferred to the governors.  

Mr. Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and his key advisor, told the country that the Strategic Supply of PPE’s…was “theirs” and did not belong to the states.  The students will ask…’what did he mean?’


Servant Leaders

Servant Leaders

The Jazz Man

I have been watching Governor Andrew Cuomo, of New York, during his daily press conferences.  But, first of all, have your ever visited New York city?  It is full of people who are so tightly packed together that they seldom make eye contact with you…they do not have either the time or the energy.  Life is so fast paced, at least to this Southern Illinois native, that if you do not have your head in the game…you will be left behind.  We were staying in the Hotel Edison…when we decided to purchase a cup of coffee in the restaurant.  As I sat down at the bar, the person behind the bar came up to me in a hurried manner and asked me, I think, what I wanted.  As I looked up from the menu and paused, momentarily, he went to the person next to me and served them.  He then…

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