How I Became a Christian

What If There Were No C’s? – Poem

What 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


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Going Out to Eat: Poem

Please enjoy my reading of the poem “Going Out to Eat.” Going Out to Eat was written in May 2013 in Estes Park, Colorado, and originally published in vox poetica Magazine on January 27, 2014. Annmarie Lockhart is the founder of vox poetica. Nathan Gunter is the current managing editor of vox poetica. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

Going Out to Eat

Sweetheart, do you have a preference for where we go out to eat?
…..No. Anywhere you want is ok with me, dear.
Great. There’s a McDonald’s. They have a senior coffee discount.
…..Oh, but look! There’s a Subway. I think that would be better.
OK. Subway it is. I’ll let you off at the door and then park the car.

Do you see anything on the menu you prefer?
…..No. Anything you want is OK with me, dear. We can share a foot-long sub.
Great. How about a foot-long Italian meatball sub?
…..Oh, but the Black Forest ham … I think that would be better.

OK. Make it a footlong Black Forest ham on wheat bread, please.
…..Oh, get whatever you want, dear, but white bread …
Ma’am, can you change that to white bread, please. And American cheese.
…..Dear, pepper jack … I think that would be better.
OK, make it pepper jack cheese.

We’d like lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos …
…..Anything you want, is OK with me, dear, but maybe not the tomatoes and pickles.
Ma’am, hold the tomatoes and pickles, please.
…..What if we skipped all the peppers and just got black olives?
OK. Make it black olives and mayonnaise instead of green peppers, banana peppers, jalapenos.
…..Maybe you should go with light mayo. Remember your waistline.
Yes, dear. Ma’am, we’ll take light mayo instead, please.

“Sir, do you want to make that a combo with chips and drink?”
Sure, that sounds–
…..Dear, we’ve got water and apple slices in the car. No need to splurge, but …
OK. Just the sub, not the combo.

That was a very good lunch.
…..Yes. Thank you for taking me out to eat. Aren’t you glad I let you have whatever you wanted?

And I recalled the words of the Apostle Paul,
…..Love is patient, love is kind.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Written in Estes Park, Colorado
May 2013

“Going Out to Eat” was originally published in vox poetic in print and electronic form. The electronic version can be accessed at: Kepler, Jimmie A. “Going Out to Eat,” vox poetica, January 27, 2014, Retrieved January 27, 2014, from http://voxpoetica.com/eat/.

Image by Stephanie Edwards from Pixabay


Background of the poem:

When I read the first draft of this poem to my late wife, I was shocked at how visibly upset it made her.

“You’re making fun of me and telling the whole world!” she said.

I was taken aback by her comment.

“I don’t understand,” I said with honesty.

“That’s what I did at the Subway Restaurant at Amarillo,” she said. She didn’t smile. She only lowered her head.

It was apparent the memory was fresh on her mind.

“It’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted,” I said.

Again, she did not smile. She rolled her eyes.

“It’s not about you,” I said attempting to reassure her.

“It’s about me. Everyone will know it’s about me.”

“But it isn’t about you. Even if it were, who do you know that reads poetry?”

“So you admit you wrote it about me.”

“Sweetie, it’s a composite of so many of the older couples we see at restaurants,” I said trying to reassure her.

“And you’re going to submit it for publication?”

“Only with your permission. I don’t want it to upset you.”

“So it’s my fault if you don’t submit the poem?”

This time I rolled my eyes.

She glared at me for a minute and then sat silent for another five minutes. Finally, she started laughing and said, “I guess if I’m honest wives do that to their husbands. Go ahead and submit your silly poem.  No one publishes or reads poetry these days.”

I submitted it. It was accepted for publication. And no, it wasn’t about Miss Benita. It really is a composite of so many of the older couples I’ve seen at restaurants. It seems the wife frequently tells the husband to order what he wants. As he orders, she tweaks the order to what she wanted and then hands him a coupon to use.

It’s My Spiritual Birthday

Benita, Jimmie, and Kristopher Kepler 1977
Benita, Jimmie, and Kristopher Kepler 1977

My Spiritual Birthday

July is the birthday of America. July is also my spiritual birthday.

What’s that? You don’t know about spiritual birthdays? My physical birthday is the day I was born. It was November 25, 1953 at Brooke Army General Hospital in San Antonio, Texas.

My spiritual birthday is when I was “born again”. It is when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. It is when I was “saved”. It was July 11, 1977 at the First Baptist Church of Lakewood in Tacoma, Washington.

Being Good Doesn’t Get You To Heaven

Did you know being good doesn’t get you to heaven. Being “saved” does.

Here’s my story of “being saved.”

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a noteworthy day to me. That day was the watershed event in my life.

July 1977 found me on active duty as a second lieutenant in the United States Army. I was serving as Battalion Maintenance Officer, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry, 3rd Brigade, 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington.

Life was good.

Life was good. I had a beautiful, intelligent wife. I had a new son born in January that same year. I had just gotten a commendable rating during an annual general inspection in maintenance. It was the first commendable rating since the division had returned from Vietnam. Named an Outstanding Junior Officer of the Ninth Infantry Division because of the commendable rating, I received an offer of a regular army commission. My career was going great.

I always tried being the best I could be, and doing what was right. I was a detail-oriented perfectionist, high-achieving, and a workaholic. I excelled at most things I did. However, after all of this, I still had an empty, unsatisfied, void, and alone feeling. Beginning in my college years I tried drinking adult beverages, women, materialism, partying, and hanging-out with the right crowd to fill this unexplained need I had. I knew something was missing from my life.

I was also attending church. At my church I noticed a group of men my age that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them. Here I found that God has given us an important manual for life — the Bible. He has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face. I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me, and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I realized I had a sin problem.

The Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23 But no one is perfect! Not even a perfectionist. We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by simply living a good life. Why?

I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.

The Bible says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

I learned God gives us a promise.

The Bible says, “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.” John 3:16.

I learned that God made provision for me.

The Bible says, “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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10

I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this free gift of eternal life. Amen.”

What came next?

Since then my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I have messed up from time to time, sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 44 years.

How about you?

Have you ever been “saved”? You can do like I did. Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “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.”

Can an intelligent person or intellectual/scholar believe in God?  Can an intelligent person believe in Jesus Christ and Christianity?

The Real Question –– The answer to the above question(s) is, “Yes, of course! We cannot deny that many intelligent people do believe in God and Christianity.” So a better question may be, “How can an intelligent person believe in Christianity?” or “Why would an intelligent person believe in Christianity?” Click HERE for more the answer.

About the photo: It was taken in February 1977 in my military quarters at Fort Lewis, Washington. In the photo is 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. Kris is now in his mid 40s. My beautiful wife passed away from cancer in 2018. We were blessed with two other children. My father-in-law went to heaven in 1995. My mother-in-law joined him in heaven 11 years later.

Salvation and Glory and Power Belong to God!

Virtual Writer’s Conference

Virtual Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference

Here’s where I’ll be sitting during the Virtual Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writer’s Conference sessions. Maybe you would feel comfortable sharing your desk or work area. My work area is at the dining room table.

The conference begins today (May 30, 2021) and runs through Thursday (June 3, 2021).

What Is Desirable In a Man?

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

 

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

Stephen King wrote “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” about his learning and living the craft of writing. The informal conversational style makes the book enjoyable. King organized the book in three sections.

Section One

Autobiographical describes the book’s first section. It centers the content on his early exposure to fiction. His first attempts at writing began in elementary school. The journey begins in the family basement with the story of his writing for his brother’s mimeographed newspaper. King was next editor of his high school paper in his sophomore year in high school. The high school administration tells him to accept a job at the local newspaper by the school faculty after he wrote a satire newsletter about the school faculty.

A nail on his bedroom wall holds his rejection slips. He shares how and what he learned from the rejections as he recalls the tales of his early tries to get published.

The adventure continues to the University of Maine, where he majors in English, meets his wife, and transitions to adulthood. We learn how his teaching high school English and his summer jobs played a role in his breakthrough success with the novel Carrie ($2,500 advance on the hardcover release and $400,000 for the paperback rights), and his later development as an author.

King also discusses his problems with drugs and alcohol. He shares how his wife has played a major role in his personal and writing life. From the book, you can tell he loves and respects her very much. She plays a key role in his life.

Section Two

No-nonsense instruction on writing describes section two. It covers everything from tips on grammar to ideas about developing plot and character. King uses this section as a guide for “how a competent writer can become a good one.” Stresses his beliefs that a writer should edit out unnecessary details, he also points out words how one should avoid words ending in “ly” and adverbs. We learn how he writes first drafts and second drafts.

Section Three

Epilog describes section three. Recalling the 1999 accident where a van struck and injured him during his afternoon has you as an eyewitness to the event. We learn the van driver was trying to keep his Rottweiler dog out of an ice chest of raw meat while not paying attention to his driving. King describes his brush with death. We learn about his painful recovery. He tells of his struggle to write again.

I recommend purchasing and reading the book. It is also available on audiobook.

Covid-19 R&R Trip Continued

Garvan Woodland Gardens

The Garvan Woodland Gardens is a 210-acre botanical garden located approximately 6 miles from Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, United States. Owned by the University of Arkansas, it has the stated mission of education, research, and public service. I spent the majority of November 9, 2020, exploring and walking at the Garvan Woodland Gardens. I walked over, 16,000 steps while there. Beautiful fall colors greeted upon arrival.

Breath-taking scenery was the norm.

The garden was well manicured and maintained.

Natural stones were used for steps and walkways.

The pathways curve with the flow of the terrain.

Several small waterfalls were on the grounds.

A canopy of fall colors filled the air.

The bridges and walkways make moving around the grounds easy. The elevation changes were manageable.

Another beautiful bridge.

More of the walkways.

Another small waterfall.

The coy pond.

The Floating Cloud Bridge.

The flowers weren’t as pretty as springtime but there were still flowers.

They were getting ready for Christmas.

A fairy house.

Another fairy house.

Even fairies go to church.

Little fairy houses abound.

I think the fairies like to drink a pint.

There really is a tooth fairy. I found where he lives.

Walk-in, fly out.

Part of the fairy town.

More fairy city.

Maybe a fresh coat or a coat of paint would help.

Interesting fairy houses.

Last of the fairy houses.

A tree house

Getting ready for Christmas.

A view of Lake Hamilton. It surrounds the garden.

The Anthony Chapel in the woods. It reminds me of the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, AR.

 

 

 

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