Winter’s Night 2.0

Winter Nights 2.0

The frigid nights fall earlier
On these chilly winter days
And the moon-man mounts the sky
Veiled in Metropolis haze

The mornings all break later
So slow the new day’s dawn
The bitter blanket lingers
For the winter nights are so long

Stars spangle the satin sky
As the moon-man dips down low
Twinkling winks from a million worlds
And here we are, do they know?  

Oh I wish the night would never end
Yes, I wish the night would never end

February 2017

Photo Source: Pixaby

How’s It Going?

As I write today’s blog post, it is Sunday, January 7, 2018. Week one of 2018 is behind me.

What I Did Last Week

During week one of 2018, I worked on five items. Three were writing. One was research. One was personal enrichment.

Writing

I worked on the first draft of a nonfiction book with the working title “In Jesus’ Name.” It is book two in a series of books of prayers for the chronically ill. My word count for the week was 1,077. I wrote the first draft on days one through seven.

I worked on the first draft a literary fiction book with the working title of “Someday.” I completed chapter 8 and am into the first scene of chapter 9. I have 27,385 words written. This week I wrote 1,667 words.

I wrote this blog. It was 610 words. That gives me a total word count for the week of 3,363 words.

Reading

I am reading two books.  The first book is “Write His Answer” by Marlene Bagnull.  The book is a practical help and encouragement for overcoming self-doubts, writer’s block, rejection, procrastination, and more with Scriptures to study, questions to apply the message to your life, and space to write your response. I read a chapter a day, completing seven chapters this week.

The second book I am reading is fiction.  It is Not Perfect: A Novel by Elizabeth LaBan.  I read chapter one and am hooked.

“Not Perfect’s” book’s blurb says it all,

“Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: ‘I’ll tell them what you did.’ Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.”   

The book officially comes out February 1, 2018, but is now available on Amazon. I obtained the book through Amazon’s first reads program. It is doing very well as of 1/7/2018 at 8 AM.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4 Paid in Kindle Store

  • #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Women’s Fiction > Humor
  • #1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Humor & Satire > Humorous
  • #1 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Literary

Research/Continuing Education

My agenda this week had me listening to Joanna Penn’s, The Creative Penn Podcast. I listened to Episode #356 – Thoughts and Goals for a Creative 2018 with Joanna Penn. I also went through a short course titled, “Step By Step Tutorial: How To Build Your Own Self-Hosted Author Website In 30 Minutes.” I have an author website at jimmiekepler.com but am looking at improving and doing a better job of monetizing the website.

I am trying to build a long-term career as a writer not trying to be a one-book wonder. It takes work. I work at it every day, every week. I manage to do this in spite of having a spouse battling cancer and recovering from the removal of a brain tumor. She is currently on medical leave of absence. I drove her to three medical appointments last week as well as did the shopping, cooking, laundry, dishes and all the stuff we all deal with. If you want to write, write. You are your biggest obstacle.

Photo Credit and Source: Pixaby. CCO Creative Commons, Free for commercial use, No attribution required.   https://pixabay.com/en/sentiment-quote-sign-poster-998339/

I’ve Been Robbed

Bill Gates, I understand how you feel when someone makes a copy of your software and doesn’t pay the license fee. United States music industry, I feel your pain when someone rips a CD and then gives a copy of the music to a friend. Like you, I have had my intellectual properties pirated.

This morning I was notified by Google Alerts of my book “Miss Sarah’s Secret: A Story Of Betrayal And Redemption In Texas” By Jimmie Aaron Kepler being available for free download as ab ePub, eBook, mobi, Kindle, and PDF file. That’s news to me. I am not currently giving it away. Someone posted the book for free on a dark web Internet website. My initial research shows the server location is somewhere in the former Soviet Union. Over 116,101 people have downloaded it. I normally make $2.25 royalties on each electronic copy of the book sold, that’s $261,227.25 in royalties if each thief had legally purchased the book.

My science fiction book “The Rebuilder ” was pirated earlier this year. It has had over 111,000 downloads. The theft of that intellectual property has cost me $249,750.00. The two books piracy has cost me about $510,997.75.

I know that many people wouldn’t have paid to get the book but only downloaded because someone was giving my work away for free, but some of them would have bought it. In simple terms, I have been robbed.

Don’t steal my or anyone’s intellectual properties! Written books, movies, videos, and audio books all have copyright owners like me. We work hard to create the stories.
Well, it’s time to get back to writing a story. Maybe it will be good enough for someone to want to steal it too.
The bottom screen capture is the Google Alert showing me something is up. The top screen capture takes me to the website that is giving away the book. That is part of how I know what is happening. Click on the images and they enlarge where you can read them,

Ten Thoughts 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 other.

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

T minus 6 days and 8 hours = My Final Countdown to Retirement

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One week from today I retire from my day job. The next day I begin retirement and my “retirement” job.

What will I be doing you ask?

I Won’t

I’ll answer that two ways. First, here’s what I won’t be doing.

  • I will not be getting up early.
  • I will not be driving in rush hour traffic.
  • I will not be on-call or be serving computer servers and applications.
  • I will not go to Starbucks every day.
  • I will not be looking forward to retirement; I’ll be retired.

I Will

Second, here is what I will be doing.

  • I’ll have a cup of coffee and bowl of oatmeal at home for breakfast.
  • I’ll read the Bible in my recliner.
  • I hope to go a new coffee group on Monday mornings where I’ll enjoy some of Miss Benita’s former coworker’s company.
  • On Friday mornings I plan on returning to the Men’s Bible Study at Prestonwood Baptist and fellowshipping with friends after the Bible study.
  • I’ll walk each morning at either The Shops at Willow Bend (in the climate controlled comfort) or at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve.
  • Daily I plan on writing for three to four hours in the morning. I hope to write 750 to 1000 words a day Monday – Friday.
  • I hope for a leisurely at home lunch most days.
  • Twice a month I look forward to lunch with my best guy friend Les and to have coffee with friends living in the Prestonhollow, Lake Highlands, and Richardson area on the days I go to Wednesday evening writer’s group.
  • On Monday nights I hope to attend a Men’s Bible study. I also plan on doing the majority of the cooking, laundry, cleaning, yard work, etc at home.
  • When Miss Benita is off work during the week I will either spend it with her or if I am too much in her way then retreat to my writer’s life.
  • I also plan on an early afternoon nap daily. I then will do an afternoon 30-minute walk at Nebraska Furniture before spending two or three hours a day Monday – Friday doing the business of writing work like networking, blogging, and marketing.
  • The first Wednesday evening of each month is First Wednesday services at the church.
  • Twice a month I will attend my night writer’s group. I am also planning on reading more, hopefully, a fiction and nonfiction book a week.
  • I hope to get more involved with alumni and Corps of Cadet Alumni Council activities at one of my colleges, UT Arlington.
  • I am also praying about starting a 401 (c) 3 non-profit ministry.

Retirement doesn’t look boring to me.

Photo source: Pixaby

7 Leadership Lessons of the American Revolution: The Founding Fathers, Liberty, and the Struggle for Independence by John Antal

Leadership Lessons Brought to Life

John Antal’s “7 Leadership Lessons of the American Revolution: The Founding Fathers, Liberty, and the Struggle for Independence”. The author uses seven case studies to bring the lessons to life. The case studies are in narrative story form.

Excellent Story-teller

He is an excellent story-teller who paints a clear picture that brings each story alive.The stories make for great illustrations for the lessons learned. The lessons learned are as applicable to the business enterprise as to military leadership. He does a wonderful job of demonstrating liberty as a motivator demonstrating the importance of the person.

Strongly Recommend the Book

While tempted to do to a chapter by chapter summary of the book, I won’t. If you love history if you love the USA if you have a sense of patriotism and if you enjoy the study of leadership you will like the book. I strongly recommend “7 Leadership Lessons of the American Revolution: The Founding Fathers, Liberty, and the Struggle for Independence”.

God’s Sovereignty

In my Bible reading recently I read Proverbs 21. Proverbs 21 verse 1 immediately caught my attention. I meditated and reflected on the implications of Proverbs 21:1.  I read the verse in several different translations. It often times helps me secure the meaning of the verse. Proverbs 21:1 deals directly with the attributes of God’s sovereignty.

Proverbs 21:1 (King James Version) – The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Proverbs 21:1 (English Standard Version) – The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.

Proverbs 21:1 (New American Standard Bible) – The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Proverbs 21:1 (New International Version) – The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.

Proverbs 21:1 (New Living Translation) – The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases.

The verse is a reminder, no, a wake-up call that God is in charge. He is in control. I recalled a couple of Bible verses that point this out, God being in control. Romans 8:28 is the first verse that came to mind.

Romans 8:28 (King James Version) says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”.

Next Ephesians 1:11 was remembered.

Ephesians 1:11 (King James Version) says, “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:”

The phrase “all things” means everything.  It tells us that God is over everything. So, if we go to the Bible and look for specific examples of the “all things” that God is sovereign over we can find a never-ending list.

Here are ten examples of God’s Sovereignty found in the Bible (italics mine):

  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE DECISIONS OF KINGS – Proverbs 21:1 – The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. — That was the verse I read this morning.
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE LOSS OF OR THE GAINING OF WEALTH – Deuteronomy 8:18; But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you the power to make wealth…”
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE LOSS OF FAMILY, WEALTH, AND HEALTH – Job 1:21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL DECISIONS – Proverbs 16:33 – The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE BIRDS – Matthew 10:29 – Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them(the sparrows or birds) will fall to the ground apart from your Father.
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER ALL KINGS AND NATIONS – Daniel 4:35; All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven      And among the inhabitants of earth;    And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER TRAVEL PLANS –  James 4:13-15 – Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”; yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER SUFFERING IN THE LIVES OF CHRISTIANS – 1 Peter 4:19 – Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right,
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE REPENTANCE OF A PERSON – 2 Timothy 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
  1. GOD IS SOVEREIGN OVER THE SPIRITUAL MATURITY OF THE BELIEVER – Hebrews 6:1-3 Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of instruction about washings and laying on of hands, and the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God permits.

What I was reminded of was God is sovereign. He is in control. His plans ultimately are accomplished.

I write about God’s Sovereignty in my science fiction with faith.

This is an original devotion written by Jimmie Aaron Kepler.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License by Jimmie Aaron Kepler.

Your Best Friend


Your Best Friend

If ever you find yourself being broken apart,
Because the one you trusted has broken your heart,
And all the time you find yourself crying,
While on the inside you feel like you’re dying,

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – your best friend.

One time life gave you a fright,
Existence was as black as a moonless midnight,
You were feeling so out-of-place,
With no one to hug or embrace,

Then you saw the light,
You came to me in the middle of the night,
And you ran to me to give your heart,
And that’s when your new life did start

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – Jesus, your best friend.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie A. Kepler
Originally published in “WORDS..RHYMES..POETRY & PROSE!”
Also published in: “Writing After Fifty” and in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection.”

Starting High School

Grace Slick today at age 77
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967
Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane 1967

 


Starting High School

In San Francisco, it’s the summer of love,
Long haired hippies, peace signs, and doves.
In Vietnam, the soldiers are dying,
Back home their families are crying,
And Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play.

Jim wants to “Light My Fire,”
While Grace’s rabbit only flies higher.
The evening news shows the war isn’t cool,
This week I started high school,
And “All You Need Is Love” is what The Beatles say.

Written by Jimmie A. Kepler
Schertz, Texas, August 1967

The photos are of Grace Slick. She is an alumna of Finch College where she majored in art. She is an accomplished artist. The artwork is hers.

Note: This is the oldest poem I have written by me. It was in notebooks and papers my mother gave me a few months before she passed away in 2014.

Aren’t parents great about keeping things and then later in life returning them?

I wrote this poem as a freshman at Samuel Clemens High School in Schertz, Texas. It was just outside the main gate at Randolph Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

Impressing my English teacher was challenging. The assignment was to write a paper on “What I did on my summer vacation.” Instead, I wrote about what was happening in popular culture. Instead of prose, I wrote a poem. She called me a “beatnik poet weirdo.” I viewed her insult as a compliment! I gave in writing five pages of drivel avoiding a grade of “F” on the assignment.

A Vison for Writing

visionDisclaimer: This article talks about religion in general and the Christian faith, in particular. Psalm 118:17 says “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.”

Christian Writer or Writer Who Is a Christian?

Not all writers who are Christians are called by God to a full-time writing ministry or to write in the inspirational genre. Let’s be honest, not all authors write about God, Jesus or Christian themes.

People write about a variety of subjects. Writers write about what they know or what interests them. I know that is the way I do it.

Not all Christians actively practice their faith and beliefs. Many have struggles with their faith.

I consider myself a writer who is a Christian, not a Christian writer. My faith affects all areas of my life. It slips into my writing most of the time. Sometimes I even do it on purpose!

It’s Okay to Encourage Others Toward Trust in Christ.

Psalm 118:17 is in an account where the psalmist reminds us we should conscientiously do our duty to all, and trust God to accept and bless us. It says we should seek to live to declare the works of God.

It’s okay for a Christian writer to encourage others to trust in Him, serve Him and live for Him. Such were the triumphs of the Son of David, in the assurance that the good pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand.

Commit Our Works to the Lord.

We should commit our works to the Lord. Try praying for a vision for your writing, to God to give you the desire to write, and to open doors of opportunity for you to write.

If you are a Believer in Christ, you can then “declare the works of the Lord.” Include your faith in your writing just like you do in your everyday life.

Do Not Hold Back

In the late former Beatles member George Harrison’s autobiography “I, Me, Mine” he mentioned he did not hold back in promoting his Hinduism faith and the Hare Krishna movement with songs like “My Sweet Lord”. He viewed his celebrity as a way to support his beliefs.

Include Your Faith in Your Writing

Why shouldn’t a Christian include faith in his or her writings? Again, Psalm 118:7 says “…declare the works of the Lord.” Habakkuk 2:2 declares “And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” The key is the writer needs to write. Your faith is part of who you are.


This article originally appeared in the February 11, 2015 issue of Author Culture


Jimmie Aaron Kepler is a novelist, poet, book reviewer, and award-winning short story writer. His work has appeared in over twenty venues, including Bewildering Stories and Beyond Imagination. When not writing each morning at his favorite coffee house, he supports his writing, reading, and book reviewing habit working as an IT application engineer. He is a former Captain in the US Army. You can find his books at his Amazon Author Page.