God’s Love Never Ceases

You Are the Son of God!

You Are the Son of God!

by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

After the crowds were dismissed
And all started going away
His disciples gathered ‘round Him
Listening to the few words He had to say.

I’m going up on the mountain
I need alone time to pray and meditate.
Get onboard your boat and cross the lake
Before it gets too late.

While on the mountain top, eve changed to the night
While the Father and Jesus were all alone
And the disciples’ boat moved toward the other shore
His followers heard the tempest as it began to groan.

Now the wind and waves
Increased all through the night
And as a black fear gripped the men
The wondered would they survive to the morning light.

Sometimes between 3 and 6 A.M.
Jesus came to them walking on the sea.
But they feared he was but a ghost
They were terrified and wished that they could flee.

And immediately Jesus spoke to them
His words cutting through the violent storm
It’s me, take heart, don’t be afraid.
His words were full of love and very warm.

But Peter wasn’t so sure it was Jesus.
His grave doubt quivered in his voice
He yelled. “Let me walk on the water out to you.”
Was his verbalized faithless choice.

With kindness in His voice
“Come,” the Master said.
And Peter walked on the water towards Him
Without fear of drowning or becoming dead

But then He took His eyes off Jesus.
He looked at the wind all around.
And suddenly he began to sink.
Peter feared he would drown.

Lord Jesus save me!
Was his faithful cry
Jesus reached out taking his hand
“Why doubt me? You’re not going to die.”

Then they got into the boat
And the disciples began to sob.
For the wind and waves and tempest had stopped.
They worshipped and declared, “You are the Son of God!”

“You Are The Son of God!” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler
is a retelling of the biblical story found in Matthew 14:22-33
where “Jesus Walks on the Water.”
It was written in April 2020.

Little Squirrel

Little Squirrel

Little squirrel
In the tree
I see you
Looking at me

Your color is red
In your furry coat
You look at me
Sitting in the boat

You’re eating the acorns
Found in the tree
A smile on your face
Dropping the shells on me!

© 2009 Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.


Originally published in:
WORDS…RHYMES…POETRY & PROSE
May 2011

Going Out to Eat

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 listening to 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 foot-long 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/.


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.

 

Urban Pigeons

Please enjoy my reading of the poem “Urban Pigeons.” Urban Pigeons was written in August 2009 and originally published in vox poetica Magazine on August 26, 2012. Annmarie Lockhart is the founder of vox poetica. Nathan Gunter is the current managing editor of vox poetica. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I did writing it.

Urban Pigeons

White clouds
Fill the Columbia blue sky,
Like hundreds of cotton balls.
The brilliance
Of the summer sun,
Reflected even brighter
Off of the clouds.
The clouds remain
Suspended in the sky
With little movement.
A flock of pigeons,
Land on an adjacent building.
They stand on the edge
Of the ten-story structure,
Peering downward
Looking
For some crumb or morsel of food.
They also eye the sky
And the roof,
Of a neighboring building.
The birds are watchful
As a red hawk
Is perched waiting,
Waiting,
Waiting
For one of the pigeons
To let its guard down
And become his next meal.
The sounds of cars,
Trucks
And an occasional motorcycle
Fill the air
As they travel
From their point of origin
To their destination
Using the freeway
That passes
Through the building’s shadow.
A panhandler
On a nearby corner
Looks up at the sky
Shielding her eyes
From the bright sun.
She looks to see
What the airborne commotion is about.
The sun temporarily blinds her
With its brilliance
And then she sees
Dozens of feathers
Slowly descending to the ground.

August 2009

Kepler, Jimmie A. “Urban Pigeons,” vox poetica, August 26, 2012, Retrieved August 27, 2012, from http://voxpoetica.com/words_to_linger_on.html and August 29, 2012, Retrieved from http://poemblog.voxpoetica.com/2012/08/29/urban-pigeons.aspx.

I’m Not So Brave

I’m Not So Brave

They tell me I’m in a high-risk group to die.
I’m not so brave.
I admit I’m very afraid.
The world as I knew it has come to an end.

And why?
A virus so small
With the naked eye
it can’t be seen

And people so selfish …
They’d rather do what they want.
Their actions could cause me to die.
Mankind’s choices have to make God cry.

And I Trust in the Lord with all my heart,
I do not lean on my own understanding.
In all my ways I try to acknowledge God,
And I know the Lord God will make straight my paths.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
March 2020


Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Weekly Update on My Writing Life

Podcasts I Listened To This Week:

  1. The Christian Publishing Show with Thomas Umstattd, Jr,
  2. The Creative Penn Podcast for Writers with Joanna Penn,
  3. Shipping and Handling Podcast with Jennifer Udden and Bridget Smith,
    • Episode 69 (February 27, 2020), Nice :), Two literary agents talk books, fandom, writing, and beyond. Hosts: Bridget Smith of Dunham Literary Inc. & Jennifer Udden of Barry Goldblatt Literary. In this episode, Bridget and Jen do an all-questions-all-the-time deep dive into their Tumblr inbox. Among other things they discuss are sex in Young Adult fiction, the relative value of an MFA, and disclosure of advances. http://shippingandhandling.libsyn.com/episode-69-nice
  4. Writers, Ink with J.D. Barker and J. Thorn. It is a podcast about the business of writing.
    • Episode 14, Becoming a Successful Author as a Stay-at-Home Mom with Mercedes Yardley. Mercedes Yardley knows how to become a successful author as a stay-at-home mom. With a husband working and a child requiring special needs, Yardley took up writing as an emotional outlet, and her thrilling style soon became recognized. She won the Bram Stoker Award in 2015 for her psychological horror novella, Little Dead Red, and wrote the Stabby Award-winning Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love. She is also a member of the Horror Writers Association and co-chair of the Las Vegas HWA Chapter. Mercedes currently lives in Las Vegas with her family and rescue animals. https://writersinkpodcast.com/becoming-a-successful-author-as-a-stay-at-home-mom-with-mercedes-yardley/

Audio Books I’m Listening To:

I came currently listening to “It” by Stephen King. I listened to the opening credits, dedication, Part 1: The Shadow Before, Chapter 1: After the Flood (1957), Chapter 2: After the Festival (1984) and am currently in Chapter 3: Six Phone Calls. Chapter 3 is 2 hours thirty-six minutes, and 27 seconds long.

Writing Completed By Me:

  1. I reviewed the book, “Gabe and His Hero” by A.J. Chilson. The review can be read at https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R318ML4TQ6YUKW/. The book can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Gabe-His-Hero-J-Chilson/dp/1705526756/.
  2. I wrote the article Quiet Time With God. It is available at https://jimmiekepler.com/2020/02/28/quiet-time-with-god/.
  3. I published the article Resting in the Lord. It is available at https://jimmiekepler.com/2020/02/27/resting/.

Books I Purchased This Week:

I bought and started reading two books this week. I am enjoying both. They are:

  1. Sinister Magic: An Urban Fantasy Dragon Series (Death Before Dragons Book 1) Kindle Edition by Lindsay Buroker. It is available at https://www.amazon.com/Sinister-Magic-Fantasy-Dragon-Dragons-ebook/dp/B084TVCCK2
  2. I Cry Unto You, O Lord: Poems of Lament Kindle Edition by Sarah Suzanne Noble. It is available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B084YXFW34/.

What I am Working On:

  1. Editing a collection of my poems to be published later this year by Poetry and Prayer Press. It will be my second published book of poetry.
  2. I have a science fiction book that I’m still working on writing the first draft.
  3. I have two books that were published last fall for which I am working on a marketing plan. They came out at the same time I had cataract surgery and tested positive for A&B flu. There has been no marketing of the books or book launches as of yet.

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Glimpsing Glory

Glimpsing Glory

With Glimpsing Glory: Poems of Living & Dying, Praying & Playing, Belonging & Longing, Catherine Lawton delivers luminous, Christian spiritual walk poetry that blends the daily journey with God and the beauty and glory of God’s created world. Broken in topical areas of relating, relating, communing, trusting, living, dying, praying and word-playing, we walk through experiencing “Water Under a Bridge,” seeing the sky above and the forest in “Nature,” and experience Maine “Together on an Island.”

We commune with God as nature, which He created sings back to God day and night in “The Stars Sing.” We hunger for the first taste of fresh strawberries in “Spring Time.” I particularly enjoyed how a backyard bird sees Christmas in “What Is Coming to Our World?”

You’ll find yourself drawn much closer to God and His mercy through poems like “In The Morning,” which remind you that his mercy comes. “High School Class Reunion” will have you climbing into the memories of your mind thinking back to your similar experiences. I love how many of the poems unapologetically point to and honor God, of which “Glory” is an example.

You’ll find your heartstring pulled in “Bedside Vigils,” where I was reminded of the birth of my three children, being with my parents, and later my wife at their passing into eternity and their entry into heaven. Memories reminded me of my experience of “stroking the pale cheek.”

So many of the poems provided moments of prayer for me. “Love Song of The King” spoke to me. The line “The Singer because he is Song” had me remember the late Calvin Miller’s Singer Trilogy. The section on prayer demonstrated a long, intimate walk with the Father by our author Catherine Lawton.

I also loved “Coulda, Woulda, and Shoulda,” as it reminds us that “God loves you all the time.” I loved the poem so much I read it at a recent open-mic night at my local bookstore.”

Catherine Lawton has written a stunning poetry collection that will have you returning time and time to dip into her mastery and the majesty of her word magic. You’ll again share time with God and His creation as you recall and navigate through life’s journey with the author as your guide.

You can purchase the book at Glimpsing Glory: Poems of Living & Dying, Praying & Playing, Belonging & Longing.

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” is based on the poem “Christmas Bells”

American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Christmas Bells
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said:
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

About “Christmas Bells”

“Christmas Bells” is a minor, yet well known, poem written by a very melancholy Henry Wadsworth Longfellow on Christmas morning in 1863 during the midst of the Civil War. It is an anti-slavery poem as well as a seasonal favorite.

The poem was written six months after the battle of Gettysburg where 40,000 soldiers lost their lives. In addition to despairing over the bloody war, Henry was also mourning the death of his beloved wife Fanny Appleton Longfellow. Fanny died in a tragic fire the same year that the Civil War broke out. In November of 1862, another personal tragedy added to his pain. His son, Union Lieutenant Charles Appleton, was wounded in the Army of the Potomac.

On Christmas morning in 1863, while sitting at his desk at the Craigie House in Cambridge, MA, Henry was inspired to write a poem as he listened to the church bells pealing. Their constancy and joyous ringing inspired him to write “Christmas Bells.” In spite of his sadness, Longfellow expresses his belief in God and innate optimism that indeed:

God is not dead; nor doth he sleep
The Wrong shall fail;
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!

Sometime after 1872, Longfellow’s poem was adapted into a Christmas Carol. John B. Caulkin (1827-1905) was a famous English composer who set the lyrics to a gentle, melodic tune that is reminiscent of bells ringing. The carol is entitled “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Alternative tunes have been written for the lyrics but Caulkin’s melody remains predominant.

I lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire from February 1966 – the last day of April 1967. I was in the seventh and eighth grades. My father was in the United States Air Force at the time. As a student at Portsmouth Junior High School, I took field trips to both Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Longfellow was a Bowdoin College graduate and was a faculty member before moving to Cambridge to teach at Harvard.

We placed great emphasis when I was in junior high school on classical education with understanding and appreciation of the arts including poetry. Only my university and seminary education had a greater impact on me than my short two years in New England public schools.

Small Ball

Photograph, “Jackie Robinson in his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform” Record Group 306. Still Pictures Identifier: 306-PS-50-7551. Rediscovery Identifier: 11261

Small Ball

Get ’em on

Get ’em over

Get ’em in

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
2012

Photo Source: United States Information Agency [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons