Ten Thoughts I Use to Encourage Others

Ten Thoughts I Use to Encourage Others:

Over the years I have noticed people who have the ability and skill to do a task or assignment often lack the confidence to tackle the job before them. If they are a writer they may fear putting words on paper. If an analyst, they may hesitate or question themselves before solving a problem or recommending a solution.

I have found that a little encouragement helps them achieve their goals and do their job. Here are ten thoughts on how I encourage others.

1. Show real interest in the person.

  • Listen to what they are saying.
  • Be interested in what is happening in their life, the challenge they are facing.
  • Let them know you care.

2. Concede what’s important to them. 

  • When you acknowledge what’s important to others, you offer a form of verification and support about who they are and what they’re doing.
  • A good technique I use is simply to restate their question or challenge and then allow them to talk it through,

3. Say “congratulations.”

  • These magical “Words of Encouragement” at the right time can make all the difference between “keep going” and “give up.”
  • Congratulate them on a job or task well done.

4. Be there for them. 

  • Sometimes the “ministry of your presence” is all they need.
  • Just being there for them is encouraging.
  • Many times all they need is a listening ear to talk through the issue or task.

5. Say “Thank You.”

  • Saying thank you is common courtesy.
  • It is good manners.
  • People like a little reward for hard work.
  • I have done it for years.
  • A simple thank you will make others aware that you know what they have done worthwhile and find it meaningful to you.

6. Return the favor.

  • If someone does something nice for you, an excellent way to show your appreciation is simply to return the favor.
  • It will both shock and encourage them.
  • Note: don’t ever do something expecting someone to return the favor for you.

7. Answer with something unexpected. 

  • I have a phrase I have used for years … love them from where they are to where they need to be!
  • Even when others let me down or they know I know they “dropped the ball” I don’t tell them so, I usually pick the ball up for them.
  • It is amazing the long-term results this can have in encouraging someone.

8. Be a “good finder.”

  • A good finder is a person who looks for the good, not the bad in a person or a situation.
  • An example would be if a person is always late to meetings, but makes in on time to your meeting instead of saying “About time you attended a meeting on time” say “I really appreciate the extra effort you made to get here on time” without any reference to their normal tardiness.

9. Smile.

  • Have you ever experienced the magic of a simple smile?
  • Have you ever noticed how when you smile at someone they smile back?
  • Share an encouraging smile.

10. Offer to lend a hand. 

  • You can offer to lend a hand.
  • Sometimes a person feels like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and no one cares.
  • Show them you really care.
  • You can be there for them.
  • If a person gives me an excessive workload I usually ask them if there is anything else I can do for them when I finish the job. I do not complain about the amount of work.

What are some ways you encourage others? Please share your suggestions in the comments.

Photo Source: Pixaby

A Logic Named Joe

A Logic Named Joe

I love reading and writing short stories. A few years ago I came up with the idea of writing a nonfiction article on the five most influential pre-1950 computers in science fiction. In researching that list of potential computers, I read a number of books and short stories.

E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” topped off the list. It left me speechless and amazed. I wrote a review of that story. You can find it HERE. A second short story on the list was Misfit by Robert A. Heinlein. You can find my review of it HERE. The third computer I found was “The Engine.” The Engine is a fictional device described in Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift in 1726. You can find it HERE. The fourth is The World of Null-A, sometimes written The World of Ā, is a 1948 science fiction novel by A. E. van Vogt.  You can find it HERE.

“A Logic Named Joe” is a science fiction short story by Murray Leinster that was first published in the March 1946 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. The story actually appeared under Leinster’s real name, Will F. Jenkins, since that issue of Astounding also included a story under the Leinster pseudonym called “Adapter”.

The story is particularly noteworthy as a prediction of massively networked personal computers and their drawbacks, written at a time when computing was in its infancy.

The story’s narrator is a “logic” (much like a computer) repairman nicknamed Ducky. In the story, a logic that he names Joe develops some degree of sapience and ambition. Joe proceeds to switch around a few relays in “the tank” (one of a distributed set of central information repositories), and cross-correlate all information ever assembled – yielding highly unexpected results. It then proceeds to freely give all of those results to everyone on demand (and simultaneously disabling all the content-filtering protocols). Logics begin offering up unexpected help to everyone that includes designing custom chemicals that reduce inebriation, giving sex advice to small children, and plotting the perfect murder. Eventually Ducky “saves the civilization” by locating and turning off the only logic capable of doing this.

“A Logic Named Joe” has appeared in the collections Sidewise in Time (Shasta, 1950), The Best of Murray Leinster (Del Rey, 1978), First Contacts (NESFA, 1998), and A Logic Named Joe (Baen, 2005), and was also included in the Machines That Think compilation, with notes by Isaac Asimov, published 1984 Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

A Logic Named Joe was also published in The Great Science Fiction Stories, Volume 8, 1946 Edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenburg, DAW Books, November 1982 ISBN 0-87997-780-9.

What If There Were No C’s?

abc-2860036_1280What If There Were No C’s?

What if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s?
What if all the C’s went out on strike?
Tired of being seen by you and me as just average unlike the letters A and B.
Now here is how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

You begin your day with a ‘up of hot ‘offee while in your lap is your ‘urled up ‘at.
Then later you ‘ould take your dog for a walk
While wearing your favorite ball ‘ap to keep the sun out of your eyes
Unless of ‘ourse, dark stormy ‘louds filled the sky.

On to the park where the ‘hildren and ‘anines go to play
Where you li’k an i’e ‘ream ‘one bought from a man pushing a ‘art.
While sitting in the park table’s ‘hair you ‘arefully observe the ‘ars
Driving down the street wondering about the driver’s worries or ‘ares.

A gust of wind makes you need to retrieve your ‘ap that just blew off your head.
Your hair now a mess needs ‘ombed but instead of ‘ombing it the ‘ap you wear
The favorite team’s ‘ap does its job of hiding your unkempt hair.
And you let your dog lead you ba’k to the house.

Ba’k inside your ‘ondominium a box of ‘andy ‘alls your name.
The temptation is too hard to resist so you pi’k a ‘ho’olate that’s ‘herry filled
Get a ‘up of hot ‘appu’’ino and sit on the ‘ou’h.
Then into your lap jumps the ‘at and she quickly ‘urls up.

Finally, resting in his home he re’alls his manners,
And remembers to remove his ‘ap, and loves on his ‘urled up ‘at.
Now you know how it would be if there were no “C’s” to say with our A’s and B’s
Because you’ve seen how your life might be if out on strike went the letter C.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written for my granddaughter Aurora
Written during November – December 2017


Note: I have had a number of people ask me to share the “No C’s Poem” I wrote a few months back again. So, as you requested, here is “What If There Were No C’s?”

Christian Writers Are God’s Provision

Text: Proverbs 10:17

“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” –Crossway Bibles (2018-05-19). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (p. 534). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Our Witness is Important

If our private lives don’t match our public lives, our writing suffers. More importantly, we have people tune out the message of Jesus Christ because of our witness. They label us as just another religious hypocrite.

One of the most significant and miraculous things in life is to heed God’s voice. It is when we fully trust and follow in His ways.

I know what you are thinking, how can you know the ways and instruction of God?

You ask God through prayer. You spend time in His Word, that is the Bible, by reading, meditating on and memorizing Scripture, and attending a Christian Writer’s Conference. You listen to God’s herald. This would be listening to sermons as you attend church.

You might be thinking, but you don’t know me. I have really failed. I have broken so many of God’s teachings. How can He ever use me?

God is a forgiving God. 1 John 1:9 King James Version (KJV) tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV) teaches, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God Has a Plan for Your Life

Never forget that God knows your heart. He even knows your most secret thoughts, feelings, and sins. God knows the number of hairs on your head. God knows everything!

Maybe you think you have everything under control. If you think that, you are wrong. Only God has everything under control.

Maybe you are feeling confused and just need direction in your life. Maybe the struggles of daily living and just meeting life’s expenses have you down. You feel spiritually broken.

One thing we can do in times of brokenness and confusion is looking at and praying for our needs. Don’t forget to thank and praise God when He meets your needs!

An example of God’s provision from my life when I began writing fulltime was finding a large unopened and undamaged package with twenty rolls of toilet paper in the middle of the highway. I stopped, picked it up, and took it home. My late wife shared she hadn’t purchased any that week when she bought groceries but had been looking for some on sale as our finances were tight.

God met this everyday need in our life. Another example could be a friend calls and speaks words of reassurance or encouragement when you feel depressed or hopeless.

We Are God’s Provision

We are used by God to meet needs in other’s lives. We need to heed God’s instructions where others will listen to what God is saying through our writings. When we fail to walk with God, our witness doesn’t point others to Christ, but can actually lead them astray.


Photo Source: Pixabay

 

We Never Lived in the Now

The Poem’s Inspiration

I wrote the below poem several years ago. I began working on it one morning after listening to my parents and their friends discussing their dreams, what they hoped to do “someday.”

All the men and women were in their late 70s to early 90s in age as they discussed their bucket lists and the future. They talked as if they had all eternity to reach their dreams.

A Composite of My Observations

The poem is a composite of my observations of the people. One point stands out. Most of the couples loved each other dearly but never reconciled their hopes leaving many of their life goals unfulfilled.

More recently with my wife’s passing away from Melanoma cancer, I have found myself being very reflective. No, I have not gone down the trail of regrets. That path is only destructive.

I have thought of some of her last words. When she awoke in the hospital ICU after two days of not knowing who or where she was and realized I had followed her wishes and told the surgeon, not to perform another brain surgery, she said, “I knew this cancer was going to kill me. I just didn’t know it would be today or in the next few days.” She added, “I’m so glad you made me take my bucket list vacation in 2016 when I was still healthy enjoy to enjoy you and the vacation.”

Don’t Delay

If you have dreams, go for them. Don’t delay. You never know when the time will run out. And maybe, like my late wife, you will have no regrets.

We Never Lived In the Now

Your face shows your age,
though your countenance is still glowing,
Your age says grown-up,
but you’ve never decided where you’re going.

You’ve grown older.
Yes, I’m older too.
The remainder of our lives is before us,
oh, what’ll we do?

What were the dreams
you had so long ago?
What was your vision?
Where did it go?

You traveled your way.
I went mine.
A history so different,
Lives intertwined.

The gray now shows in our locks,
showing how much we cared.
Your grin still lights my life,
my smile brightens yours when shared.

You lived for then.
I lived for when.
We never lived in the moment.
No, we never lived in the now.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Originally published in WORDS…RHYMES…POETRY & PROSE!

The poem is included in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection” available on Kindle from Amazon.

The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara

Summary:

The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara is the second novel in his Second World War historical fiction trilogy of the European and Mediterranean Theater. He has a fourth book dealing with the Pacific Thater of World War II.

The Steel Wave’s theme is the planning and execution of Operation Overlord. Operation Overlord is the name of the Allied invasion of Northern France.

Character-based Story:

Jeff Shaara uses his familiar character-based story technique of examining the time period from the perspective of the historical figures and adding some composite fictional characters. His method works splendidly.

The Steel Wave is an appealing read. The novel’s pacing is energetic.  I never lost interest.

The author did his research. His insights into the difficulties faced by General Eisenhower, the different leaders, and the soldiers are spot on. He gives the reader an appreciation of the hazards and difficulties that faced the planners and soldiers of Operation Overlord.

We are taken into the discord, hesitations, and ultimate perils with which the Allied generals had to contend. He spends about the first half of the book with these issues.

The Ordinary Soldier’s POV Shown:

A very good job of showing the invasion from the perspective of the ordinary soldiers is made.  He shows how courage along with the ability to improvise when plans broke down lead to success.

This is excellent historical fiction about a well-known subject. The story is well told through the characters. I strongly recommend the book.

And Life Goes On

Almost two months ago I penned my last new entry on jimmiekepler.com. Life got in my way. My bride of over forty-three years died on April 12, 2018.
 
She fought two types of cancer. Cancer one made its presence known in December 2013. Its name was neuroendocrine carcinoid. For those who haven’t heard of that flavor of disease, it is the same type of cancer that took the life of Apple Computer’s Steve Jobs. The second type of cancer entered her life making itself known in May 2015. It was an aggressive bully named Melanoma.
 
I will always think of cancer as a dumb disease. Why’s that? Cancer lives in a host. Cancer works to kill its host. When the host dies, cancer dies. How dumb is that? In my mind, it’s pretty foolish.
 
Cancer is evil. Cancer sucks. I hate cancer. Cancer destroys lives and changes people and families forever.
 
I am at the point of getting on with life. I have so many of the estate things that still need to be cared for. I’m amazed at how slow the process works for getting death certificates. They are the holy grail for handling a spouse’s passing.
 
One of my sweet wife’s comments to me during her last weeks was, “This isn’t the retirement you had planned.”

She’s right. I had retired the end of last summer. My retirement plan was to write full time. I’ve been freelancing since 1980 with a solid history of sales. Instead, I spent most of the last six months being a near 24/7 caregiver.
 
I remember the morning of March 21 distinctly. I had taken my wife to the emergency room the night before. I had never seen a person as confused, lost to the world, or sick. The morning of March 21 I learned that terminal no longer meant “down the road” or “at a later time.” It now meant maybe today at the soonest and in a few days at the longest.
 
After moving her from ICU to in-house hospice for a week, she was able to come home for hospice care as she desired. The total time from going to the ER to dying was twenty-three days. From her first Melanoma surgery until death was 1001 days.
 
She and I were blessed with her two sisters that helped with her care. Without them, no matter how good the hospice care, it would have been nearly impossible to survive the last days.
 
So I move on to my search for the new normal. I’m still searching. Someday I’ll find it. As I write and search, you may see me writing about it from time to time on jimmiekepler.com.
 
Oh, life didn’t get in the way. I experienced real life in its rawest form. I felt the hurt a man can only suffer from loving a wife and being loved by a wife for over four decades while living out the “until death do we part” words of our marriage vows.
 
I also saw the love of family as sisters loved and cared for their dying sister. I saw my grown children go through the emotions of losing their mother. I experienced the loving care of neighbors, lifelong friends, and our church family. Precious memories, like the posted photo. It was the last time she was out of the house where she wasn’t going to the doctor or hospital.