I’m Jim Kepler, Christian nonfiction author bringing you inspiration and encouragement as you join me on my writing journey. I’m an older adult, widower, and write as my retirement job. If I can write and get published, why not you? Thank you for joining me as I share encouragement and my journey. And now here’s the my update for Friday, August 18, 2023.
Yesterday, Dallas shattered the temperature record, hitting a scorching 109°F! That’s two degrees higher than the old record of 107°F. Can you believe Dallas’ temperature history only spans 125 years? Today marked just the 5th time in that span when it hit 109°F or higher in August.
Brace yourselves, because the forecast predicts we’re in for 109°F or hotter for the next few days, with over 105°F for the next 12 days! Let’s cross our fingers that we don’t match or break today’s record high of 112°F.
The day kicked off like any other. I woke up, took care of the usual morning routine, prescription meds in check, and out the door before 8:00 AM. My go-to start? A long pit stop at Starbucks for some much-needed morning coffee, a yummy bagel, and writing.
Today at the coffee joint, it felt like I stepped into a cheerleading movie scene! High school cheerleaders were all decked out in their outfits, with those knee socks and super short skirts. Seriously, when did cheerleader outfits shrink so much? Some of my headbands are wider than their micro minis! And when did they get so young? I did the math, and it’ll be like the years 2075-2080 before these girls are my age.
Still deep into editing and rewriting my upcoming nonfiction book “Hope: How to Have Hope During Times of Hardship from my series The Bible Speaks to Life Issues Book Three. My trigger finger needs some surgical attention, but I’m holding off until after my fall getaway. Also dealing with a trigger thumb on my left hand, probably from compensating for the trigger finger. Add in the ol’ arthritis, and it’s a party!
Dictation is my savior – using it for most of my social media posts and emails. Takes me back to the days after graduating from university in the ’70s, when dictation was king and secretaries were wizards. The PC wave pretty much ended that era. And secretaries have transformed into administrative assistants.
Later today, it’s off to the fitness center for my walk. Gotta keep the momentum going – been hitting my walking goal for 26 out of the last 30 days! I take Sunday’s off to rest the tired old body of mine. And boy, does regular exercise make a difference. Even in yesterday’s blistering heat at Dallas Love Field, I trekked from my car to the terminal barely breaking a sweat.
Nap time’s on the schedule for later today too – a well-deserved one, considering the heat, my age, and a big night ahead. Mensa group’s monthly fundraiser is on, and we’re playing poker to rake in some funds for scholarships. Going with my partner-in-crime “she who can’t be named on the Internet” and the Chicago lady I met at Love Field yesterday. I just am no longer able to rock and roll all night and party every day. That’s now the formula for an dying from exhaustion.
Somewhere in the mix, I’ll sneak in some quality reading and tune in to soothing jazz as I immerse myself in a blissful hour or two with a good book in my comfy recliner.
Life lessons have taught me that hot summers don’t last forever. Fall’s around the corner, with cooler weather and then winter – and even Christmas! Appreciating them more as I live through the summer blast furnace, surviving for the bliss ahead.
Welcome to “It’s Never Too Late: Uncovering the Magic of Writing After Sixty,” I’m Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Christian nonfiction author and poet. This is my writer’s log for Saturday, July 15, 2023. Today, I’m writing about my surviving the North Texas summers. It’s a combination of battling the heat, thunderstorms, and electricity woes. They all add to the challenges of my writing life as a sixty-nine-year-old writer. A great title for this post is Surviving North Texas Summers: Battling the Heat, Thunderstorms, and Electricity Woes.
Hey there from scorching North Texas! The summer blast furnace is cranked up to its maximum setting, and boy, it’s a strange weather cocktail we’re dealing with. We’re currently under a heat advisory with heat index values soaring up to 112 and temperatures hitting a blistering 105 degrees.
It’s like being in an oven! These high temperatures coupled with the dreaded humidity make heat-related illnesses a real concern, especially for those toiling outdoors or engaging in outdoor activities. But hey, don’t worry, the national weather services have some tips for us to survive this sizzling ordeal.
According to the weather folks, it’s all about staying cool and hydrated. They’re urging us to guzzle down plenty of fluids, seek refuge in air-conditioned havens, avoid the scorching sun, and make sure we check up on our loved ones and neighbors. Oh, and by the way, they emphasize that under no circumstances should we ever leave young children or pets alone in vehicles. Seriously, it’s a recipe for disaster.
On top of that, they’re suggesting we take extra precautions if we have to brave the outdoors, like rescheduling any strenuous activities to the cooler early mornings or evenings. And hey, let’s not forget to don lightweight, loose-fitting clothing to give our bodies a fighting chance against the inferno.
Thunderstorms in the Mix?
As if the heat wasn’t enough, North Texas also likes to surprise us with some thunderstorms. Yep, we’ve got gusty winds, lightning galore, and heavy downpours to contend with. Mother Nature just can’t make up her mind!
While the rain might give us a brief respite from the scorching temperatures, it usually means the humidity skyrockets, turning our surroundings into a tropical sauna. Oh, the joy!
Electrical Hiccups and Escaping the Heat
Hold onto your hats, folks, ’cause here comes another challenge! Our dear friends at ERCOT, the ones responsible for managing the Texas Electric grid, have warned us about the possibility of rolling blackouts due to the surging electricity demand. Can you believe it? They predict that from Sunday through next week, we might be left sweating in the dark. Just what we needed, right?
But hey, if the heat gets too unbearable, I’ve got a plan. I’m heading for the mountains, finding some high elevation to beat the heat. Like those old rockers Twisted Sister said, “We’re Not Gonna Take It Anymore!” I’ll find somewhere cooler, even if it means taking a mini-vacation to escape the boiling cauldron of North Texas.
Coping Strategies and Parting Words
Okay, let’s get serious for a moment. In the face of these challenges, we gotta stay smart and take care of ourselves. Stay hydrated, my friends—drink water like it’s going out of style! Seek refuge indoors where the AC is pumping cool air, and keep an eye on the weather updates.
And let’s hope and pray that the electricity grid holds up, so we don’t have to resort to caveman survival tactics. But hey, if all else fails, let’s remember that we Texans are a resilient bunch. We’ll find a way to beat the heat, whether it’s by chilling in the mountains or creating our own personal oasis.
Raise Our Water Bottles High
So, fellow Texans (and all facing the heat), let’s raise our water bottles high and toast to surviving another scorching North Texas summer. It may be a wild ride of extreme heat, thunderstorms, and electricity scares, but together, we’ll ride it out and emerge stronger on the other side.
And who knows, maybe there will be a future score idea from the struggles of living in the heat. But first, I’ll keep on with my rewrites from the edit recommendations. It’s still hard to type as I’m continuing to deal with trigger finger.
Stay cool, my friends, and don’t let the summer heat get the best of you!
July is an extraordinary month, filled with celebrations and significant milestones. For one, it marks the birthday of America, a time of patriotism and fireworks. But for me, July holds an even deeper meaning—it’s my spiritual birthday.
What Is a Spiritual Birthday?
Now, you might be wondering, what exactly is a spiritual birthday? Well, let me explain. You see, everyone has a physical birthday, the day they were born into this world. Mine happened on November 25, 1953, at Brooke Army General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.
However, a spiritual birthday is different. It’s the day when a person experiences a profound transformation, accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and embarking on a new spiritual journey.
My spiritual birthday is July 11, 1977, a date etched in my heart forever, when I was “born again” and found salvation at the First Baptist Church of Lakewood in Tacoma, Washington.
Allow me to share with you the story of my own spiritual awakening, the day that changed the course of my life forever.
Back in July 1977, I was a second lieutenant serving in the United States Army at Fort Lewis, Washington. Life seemed to be going splendidly. I had a loving and intelligent wife, and we had welcomed our first child earlier that year. Professionally, I was excelling, receiving accolades for my work and even being offered a regular army commission. Yet, despite all the achievements and blessings, there was an unexplained void, a sense of emptiness deep within me.
In my pursuit of fulfillment, I tried various avenues. I indulged in drinking, sought solace in relationships, chased material possessions, and immersed myself in the social scene. But no matter what I did, that elusive something remained absent from my life. I sensed that there had to be more, something I was missing.
It was during this time that I became involved with a group of men at my church who seemed to possess a profound sense of purpose and contentment. Intrigued, I joined them for a Bible study. Little did I know that this encounter would lead me to the answers I had been desperately seeking.
Through the study, I discovered that God had provided us with a guidebook for life—the Bible. It held the key to addressing the problems we face and filling the void within us.
I learned that I was not here by accident, but rather, I had a purpose. Most importantly, I discovered that Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin had created a separation between us.
I realized I had a sin problem.
Coming to terms with my own sinfulness was a crucial turning point. The Bible states,
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
I realized that despite my best efforts to be good and virtuous, I couldn’t save myself. Good deeds alone wouldn’t secure my place in heaven.
I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.
The Bible also teaches that there is a penalty for sin—
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
It was clear to me that I needed a solution, a way to bridge the gap between my sinful nature and God’s righteousness.
I learned God provided a promise.
Thankfully, God provided a promise—a way for us to be saved.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
This verse revealed to me that God’s love is so immense that He sacrificed His only Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for our sins.
I learned that God made provision for me.
In light of this revelation, I learned that I could receive God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
It became clear to me that by acknowledging my need for a savior and accepting Jesus into my heart and life, I could experience the transformative power of His love.
I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.
In a heartfelt prayer, I embraced this gift of eternal life through Jesus. I acknowledged my sins, believed in His sacrifice on the cross, and invited Him to be the Lord of my life.
It was a moment of surrender, a surrender that would forever shape my journey.
What came next?
From that day forward, my life has been far from perfect. I’ve stumbled and made mistakes along the way, sometimes veering off course. But amidst it all, I’ve found direction, purpose, and unshakeable peace.
The Bible has become my compass, guiding me through life’s trials and offering timeless principles for daily living. I’ve never been alone on this journey, for the presence of God has been with me every step of the way.
What About You?
Now, I pose a question to you: Have you experienced your own spiritual rebirth? Have you been “saved” and found solace in a higher power?
Just as I did, you too can find salvation and peace.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Romans 10:9-10, 13
Why would an intelligent person believe in Christianity?”
But perhaps you are skeptical, wondering if an intelligent person or an intellectual can truly believe in God. The answer is a resounding yes!
Many brilliant minds have found faith in God and embraced Christianity. The real question should be, “How can an intelligent person believe in Christianity?” or “Why would an intelligent person believe in Christianity?” The truth is, faith and reason can coexist harmoniously.
As I reflect upon my spiritual journey, I can’t help but marvel at the extraordinary transformation that took place.
That tired, weary face you see in the photo taken in February 1977 holds a story of profound change and hope. It captures a moment in time, a snapshot of a young couple embarking on a path filled with uncertainties and new beginnings.
So as we celebrate the birth of America this July, let us also remember the significance of personal rebirth, the power of salvation, and the transformative journey of faith.
About the photo
It was taken in February 1977 in my military quarters at Fort Lewis, Washington. In the photo in Miss Benita, my bride. We have been married since 1974. Also in the picture is our first child, Kristopher. Yes, I look tired. I had just returned home from a fourteen day training exercise. I had not had sleep in over 72 hours at the time the picture was taken. I was very tired. The picture was taken by my late father-in-law William Clarence Breeding, Sr. He and my mother-in-law had came to Washington State to help Miss Benita with our new son Kris.
Welcome to “It’s Never Too Late: Uncovering the Magic of Writing After Sixty,” I’m Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Christian nonfiction author and poet. This is my writer’s log for Monday, July 10, 2023. Today, I’m writing about embracing life’s challenges as I look at how problems shape your life journey.
Maybe, like me, you’re facing challenges in various aspects of your life. I’m dealing with health issues like trigger finger (see photo), irritable bowel syndrome, and pancreatitis. Plus, I’m sixty-nine years and nine months old. Father Time has found me and is working me over.
Some of these issues are my excuses for being slow in getting edits/rewrites completed.
Be it personal, professional, or spiritual, it’s important to recognize that life presents us with many opportunities for problem-solving.
How we respond to these obstacles determines whether they will defeat us or contribute to our personal growth.
In this article, we’ll explore how God uses problems to guide, examine, correct, protect, and perfect us, as supported by powerful verses from the Bible.
1. God Uses Problems to Direct You (Proverbs 20:30)
Sometimes we need to experience painful situations to prompt us to change our ways. The blows that wound us can cleanse away the evil within us.
“Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.” These challenges can act as guiding forces, redirecting us towards a better path.
2. God Uses Problems to Inspect You (James 1:2-3)
Faced with various troubles, we are called to embrace joy, knowing that these challenges test our faith and build patience within us.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”
However, it’s important to exercise caution and avoid excessive self-analysis, which can lead to a detrimental “why me Lord syndrome.”
3. God Uses Problems to Correct You (Psalm 119:71-72)
Difficulties can often be the catalysts for necessary corrections in our lives.
“It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law of your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces.”
These afflictions, in hindsight, may be the best things that could have happened to us, guiding us to pay attention to God’s teachings and guiding principles.
4. God Uses Problems to Protect You (Genesis 50:20)
When others intend to harm us, God can transform those negative intentions into something good. Joseph acknowledges this truth in Genesis 50:20.
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
God’s divine intervention can protect us from harm and transform our trials into blessings.
5. God Uses Problems to Perfect You (Romans 5:3-4)
Rather than discouraging us, problems can serve as opportunities for growth and character development.
Romans 5:3-4 teaches us to rejoice in our sufferings because they produce endurance, character, and hope.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”
Romans 5:3-4 ESV
These challenges strengthen our faith, enabling us to trust God more deeply.
Problems, when approached with the right perspective, have the potential to shape our character. While comfort may be appealing, God is more interested in our character development.
Our relationship with God and our character are the only things we will carry into eternity. Therefore, let us embrace the challenges we face, knowing that God desires to bring about positive changes in our lives, allowing us to make a difference in this world.
Remember, problems are not roadblocks, but stepping stones on our journey towards personal growth and spiritual maturity.
Welcome to “It’s Never Too Late: Uncovering the Magic of Writing After Sixty,” I’m Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Christian nonfiction author and poet. This is my writer’s log for Friday, July 7, 2023. Today, I’m writing about my writing life as a sixty-nine-year-old writer.
In Personal News
I’m continuing to make it to the fitness center twice a daily. Stretching my leg and hip muscles begins each session followed by a 30 minute walk and five minute cool down session. I do this twice a day. The walking has not had an impact on my weight which is staying steady in the weigh too much category. I’m five feet six inches tall and weigh in the 206 pound range with my weight fluctuating between 202 pounds and 212 pounds.
Trigger finger update – Last time I mentioned I’ve been gripping the treadmill wrong or too much. I have developed something called “trigger finger.” My finger physically locks and I have to force it to straighten out. I saw the doctor on July 6. They still have me wearing a splint and added physical therapy of the hand and a RX for nerve pain. I am still waiting for the pharmacy to fill the RX after 24-hours. I’ll see the physician again on Monday, July 10. Potentially, I’ll receive a steroid shot if the hand isn’t better. So far, it isn’t better.
My new black Sketcher step-ins for exercising on the treadmill are working out fine. I have prescription orthotic in-souls and they’re great. They were a $600 plus investment from the podiatrist.
In Spiritual News
I continue to spend time in God’s word and attending Bible study class plus attending worship.
This week I finished Harry Potter and The Soccer’s Stone. The auto scrolling feature on my Kindle is working wonderfully where I can read while walking on the treadmill. I’m now reading Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets.
When I finish rereading The Harry Potter series I will read Lindsay Buroker’s Fallen Empire Series. I purchased the entire series on Kindle eBook this week. I previously owned and read book one in the series. The series is science fiction. Lindsay is a wonderful writer. The cost was minimal. I spent under $35. The books in the series are:
Cyborg Legacy: A Fallen Empire Novel (prequel),
Star Nomad: Fallen Empire, Book 1;
Flight: Fallen Empire, Book 2;
Starseers: Fallen Empire, Book 3;
Relic of Sorrows: Fallen Empire, Book 4;
Cleon Moon: Fallen Empire, Book 5;
Arkadian Skies: Fallen Empire, Book 6;
Perilous Hunt: Fallen Empire, Book 7; and
End Game: Fallen Empire, Book 8
I purchased the books to in this series to read on my trans-Pacific cruise in October – November 2023.
Writers need to read. Stephen King and my university English professors taught me this.
Welcome to “It’s Never Too Late: Uncovering the Magic of Writing After Sixty,” I’m Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Christian nonfiction author and poet. This is my writer’s log for Sunday, July 2, 2023. Today, I’m writing about my writing life as a sixty-nine-year-old writer.
In Personal News
I made it to the fitness center yesterday. My goal of stretching my leg and hip muscles and walking 30-minutes on the treadmill was met.
I guess I’m gripping the treadmill wrong or too much. I have developed something called “trigger finger.” It is a condition affecting tendons that flex the fingers and thumb, typically resulting in a sensation of locking or catching when you bend and straighten your digits. My symptoms may include pain and stiffness in the fingers and thumb.
The condition is also known as stenosing tenosynovitis. I need to rest the left hand and specifically the “fickle finger” or middle finger on the hand. My father suffered from this condition. My finger physically locks and I have to force it to straighten out. Ugh.
A trip to the Sketchers store bagged me two new pairs of shoes. One was a pain of black Sketcher step-ins for exercising on the treadmill. They replace a pair of SAS athletic shoes at less than one-third the cost. The second pair were light brown (tan) casual shoes for wearing on ship during my trans-Pacific cruise this fall.
In Spiritual News
My Christian faith is important to me. I regularly attend Bible fellowship class and Sunday morning worship at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. I’ve been a member there for over two decades.
In the worship service this morning, there was a salute to the armed services. The song for each branch of the military was played and members of or veterans of that branch stand and are recognized.
It is the annual “God & Country” service. Today Dr. Jack Graham preached on “Is There Hope For America?”
My devotional time today was from the Christian Devotions US website https://christiandevotions.us/viewblogentry/21317. The devotion was from Matthew 5:42 NIV, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
In Reading News
I read another 40-minutes worth of Harry Potter and The Soccer’s Stone. I’ve figured out how to use the auto scrolling feature on my Kindle where I can also read while walking on the treadmill.
By using this feature I don’t have to change pages. I have it set to my reading speed. This allows the eReader to scroll like a teleprompter. Very cool!
Welcome to “It’s Never Too Late: Uncovering the Magic of Writing After Sixty,” I’m Dr. Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Christian nonfiction author and poet. This is my writer’s log for Saturday, July 1, 2023, the first day of July! Today, I’m writing about my writing life as a sixty-nine-year-old writer.
In Personal News
Walking daily and stretching tops my physical activity goals. During the past week, I walked on the fitness center treadmill at least 30 minutes six of seven days. Four days I walked twice, one in the morning and once in the afternoon.
Without the air conditioning of the fitness center I would not have been able to achieve these levels of exercise as the daily highs ranged from 100 degrees F to 106 degrees F with heat index in the 115 to 118 degrees F range.
In Spiritual News
I maintained my devotional time each day. Spending a regular time with God and in God’s word is important to me as a Christian. Devotional and Christian living blog posts written by friends in the Blue Ridge Bible Study Writers, Refresh Bible Study Writers, and Christian Devotions US website and the Holy Bible were my resources. I attend church and Bible fellowship class weekly at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas where I’m a twenty plus years member and even a former deacon.
Issues and votes from the recent Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting were also examined. Viewing a few hours of debates between Dr. Rick Warren (a classmate of mine at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary – note: I had a class named Discipleship Evangelism taught by Dr. Roy Fish were Rick Warren and I worked on the same group project) and Dr Al Mohler (President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary). I’ve come away with much more concern over Dr Mohler’s theology, attitudes, views on polity, and politics than on Dr Warren.
I’m also becoming increasingly aware of poor leadership and financial management of the two immediate past presidents of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). SWBTS is a shell of what it was when I was a student there in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The enrollment is about ten percent of what it was when I was there. I’ve also learned Southwestern Baptist seminary ran up $140 million in deficit spending since 2000. For decades, spending went up at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary while enrollment plummeted, causing the school to overspend by millions in 19 of the last 21 years.
I’m back to doing some comfort reading. Harry Potter and The Soccer’s Stone (Book One of the Harry Potter Series) is my main reading this past week. I’m continuing to read Madly, Deeply by Alan Rickman.
I’m also engaged in three writing groups. One is in person and meets monthly. It’s the Writer’s Guild of Texas. I meeting in two online groups – the 540 Writer’s Community and the Refresh Bible Study Writers.
Am I writing? No, well yes, I am doing my regular Writer’s Log blog posts. I’m also editing and writing my current book and about halfway through the edits. I did several chapter’s yesterday.
Have a good Saturday. Consider attending church on Sunday – either in person or online.