Writer’s Log, May 24, 2023

Jimmie Kepler at Starbucks. He's seated at his computer. His dark brown hair is below the shoulder length, straight, and parted down the middle. He's smiling.

🌸 Good morning, wonderful Wednesday warriors! 🌸 I hope this post finds you in high spirits! Today, I’m thrilled to share some updates from an eventful day unfolding around me.

As I was getting in my car, my dedicated housekeeper, Mary drove up. While she diligently cleans and tidies up the house, I’ll find myself cozily nestled in a corner of my favorite coffeehouse. This vibrant atmosphere fuels my creative energy. While here, with every sip of my steaming cup of java, inspiration flows through me like a gentle breeze. I’ll pound out my daily writing word count in no time. Ah, such is my life as the common man is what I’d like to say, but I know my life isn’t average.

But wait, there’s more to this day! While the Mary works her magic at home, I’ll have the pleasure of meeting up with my dear friend Les for a delightful lunch at JGs Old Fashion Hamburgers. Our usual routine is to laugh, share stories, solve the world’s problems, and savor the flavors of our favorite dishes. Let’s see, will I have the veggie burger or a chicken Caeasr salad? Les will have a chicken sandwhich with mushrooms.

The warmth of friendship truly brightens even the dullest of days, doesn’t it? Plus, we’re still geting to know the new owners. We both miss Morris and Sharhzad, the former owners. Sigh.

To bask in the beauty of this midweek day, Les and I will take an after lunch leisurely stroll at North Park 🌳🚶‍♀️. The climate-controlled mall is a great walking venue. It also has a beautiful garden courtyard where the sun baths the surroundings in its golden glow, while the gentle rustling of leaves provided a soothing symphony for my ears as it provides cool relief on warm, humid days. Connecting with nature is like recharging my soul’s batteries, and it always has me feeling refreshed and inspired.

To add a cherry on top, I have another dinner date planned with “she who cannot be named on the Internet” tonight 🍽️. We’ll share delicious food, engage in heartfelt conversations, and create memories that will surely make us smile for years to come. There’s something truly magical about these shared special moments with a special person that makes life even more beautiful.

As the night and bed time approaches, I’m eagerly looking forward to curling up with the captivating book 📚 The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings. The pages beckon me into new worlds of Hobbits, Elves, Dwarfs, Orcs, and Wizards, where imagination knows no bounds. The book has so much glorious detail, scenes, and adventures, that the movies just skip. Soothing green tea and a cozy blanket complete the picture, ensuring that I’ll have a restful night ahead.

Now, enough about me! I’d love to hear about your day and the things that bring joy to your midweek adventures. Let’s celebrate our shared experiences and create a ripple of positivity together!

May your Wednesday be filled with laughter, peace and love, and all the little things that make your heart sing. Keep that radiant smile on your face and continue to spread your wonderful vibes! Be the positive light in someone’s life today.

I close sending love and signing off as your friendly companion enjoying a day of leisure 💫 Enjoy a wonderful Wednesday.

Pilgrimage: Lessons Learned from Solo Walking Three Ancient Ways by J.F. Penn

Pilgrimage

Pilgrimage: Lessons Learned from Solo Walking Three Ancient Ways

So, have you heard of “Pilgrimage: Lessons Learned from Solo Walking Three Ancient Ways” by J.F. Penn? It’s an amazing book that follows the author’s solo walks along three ancient pilgrim routes: the Pilgrim’s Way, the St. Cuthbert’s Way (both in the UK), and the Camino de Santiago in Portugal and Spain.

Personal experiences, challenges, and insights

Penn shares her personal experiences, challenges, and insights as she walks these routes and reflects on the lessons she learned along the way. The book is divided into three sections, each focusing on a different aspect of the journey. The introduction gives you a glimpse into her personal faith journey pilgrimage, which helps set the tone for the rest of the book.

Part 1: Preparation

In the first section, “Part 1: Preparation,” she takes you through her preparation for the journey, including practical information on gear, accommodation, and navigation. She also shares her reflections on the inner journey and her fears, which makes her relatable and vulnerable.

Part 2: The Journey

In the second section, “Part 2: The Journey,” Penn describes her experiences along the way, and the lessons she learned about herself, the world, and the pilgrim tradition. She also includes helpful information for anyone who might want to walk these routes, like hardships, lodging, and eating options.

Part 3: Arriving and the Return

In the third section, “Part 3: Arriving and the Return,” she talks about the letdown of the journey, the unique personal experience, and returning to the real world.

What I love about “Pilgrimage”

What I love about “Pilgrimage” is how Penn weaves together personal anecdotes, historical and cultural information, and philosophical reflections. Her writing is clear and sincere, and she shares both her joys and challenges with honesty and humility. The descriptions of the landscapes, people, and cultures she encounters are vivid and evocative, and she brings a sense of wonder and curiosity to her journey that is contagious.

“Pilgrimage” is a beautifully written and deeply insightful book that will appeal to anyone interested in pilgrimage, travel, or personal growth. Penn’s reflections on the spiritual and psychological benefits of pilgrimage are especially moving and will resonate with readers seeking to deepen their own understanding of themselves and the world around them. 

I highly recommend this book! Five stars.

 

Quest for the Perfect Place to Write

Dr. Jim Kepler at The University of Texas at Dallas Starbucks.

Morning Writing

Hello to my awesome friends and acquaintances. It’s Friday morning. The Starbucks on the northside of  The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD)campus is where you’ll find me this cloudy morning. The coffeeshop is located at 800 Synergy Boulevard. I’ve been looking for  a less crowded location for morning writing.

Epiphany

I had an epiphany when I saw the parking lot full and cars snakes around the drive through at my usual Starbucks. No, I didn’t see a diety but I did have a sudden insight. College students don’t like to get up early. Maybe the Starbucks on the UTD would be less crowded. 

The miles drive to this location was worth the drive. As five of the nine indoor table are empty. There’s a group of four ladies who look like they’re in their forties in on corner of the store visiting and having coffee. All in all, yea for me; I think this location may work. 

A Study Carrel

The recent ice storm and cold weather found me very unproductive in my writing. For decades I’ve written my first drafts and did my creative work while sipping coffee or tea at a coffee shop. My creative hours and highest productivity is between 6:00 AM and 11:00 AM. These are the hours I write a first draft, write something new. During afternoons I have no problem editing, creating memes, or researching. Even decades ago when in university and seminary, I wrote my papers and did my homework in a study carrel I booked (or had assigned in graduate school) in the school’s library. 

My table at the coffeehouse serves the same function. The distractions of being at home don’t exist. I focused get my writing or research completed with a laser focus.

So, it’s time to get to writing.

Trimmed My Beard

Today’s selfie shows my trimmed beard. An inch of whiskers were cut off. I also am using a new beard soap and using beard oil on it daily. The whiskers were about as soft as steel wool. The oil makes them softer, shinier, and maybe causes the to look a little darker, at least in photos.

Photo Source: All photos and videos were taken by the author unless noted in the photo caption.
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate. If you purchase using the links in the article I receive a small commission.

Saturday Coffee Sipping

Dr. Jim Kepler at EIland Coffee

Hello my wonderful friends and acquaintances.

The last few days in Dallas were terrible. Last Sunday, January 29, at 7 p.m., the temperature dropped below freezing at DFW airport. On Thursday, February 2, at noon, the temperature got to 33 degrees, the first time in 89 hours where we were above freezing. Burr describes the time in between Sunday night and noon Thursday.

Homebound

I was homebound during these hours. Thursday we warmed into the forties and Friday found low fifties as daytime high temperatures. Both nights found below freezing temperatures and roads again icy in the early morning hours. Yucky, yes yucky, is a noble word to describe the past week.

Eiland Coffee

This Saturday morning finds me at Eiland Coffee, an Indy coffee house on Custer Road in Richardson, Texas for morning coffee and writing. I needed a better atmosphere for my morning writing and reading than the national chain coffeehouse provides.

Eiland Coffee is the place for a cozy atmosphere. After a quiet, homebound week, the thought of a coffeehouse with the hustle and bustle of cars snaked around the building and people dashing between the autos to pick up their mobile orders and almost tripping over each other made me shutter. A smile, plenty of seating, world-class coffee, and a great playlist of coffee house light jazz on their music system adds to the atmosphere.

My MacBook and coffee at Eiland Coffee

Morning Pages

My hopes for the weekend are to do my morning pages. What are morning pages?

Morning pages are a stream-of-consciousness journaling habit done every morning. The idea is to wake up, open your morning journal, and write three pages of longhand of any thoughts that come out of your head. I incorporate morning pages into my daily routine before my Bible reading and journaling time.

Walking or lack of it

The ice covered week stopped my daily walking for exercise. I couldn’t risk a fall by going outside. Impassible roads made going to the mall to walk out of the question. Later today I’ll walk somewhere. My heart lets me know when I don’t keep up my enough steps a day.

House Cleaning

Another hope is to have the house cleaned. The housekeeper descended on the house this morning. She wasn’t able to make her usual day because of the inclement weather. I need the house clean as tonight I’m entertaining a three friends.

Fun and Fellowship

A last hope is for an evening of fun and fellowship. Add the guests to a time of food, fun, and catching up and you have the formula for a successful night. Dinner tonight is genuine Chicago deep dish pizzas. We ordered nine pizzas from she-who-can’t-be-named-on-the-Internet’s favorite pizzeria in Chicago.

They were supposed to be delivered yesterday but are weather delayed. The pizzas come in refrigerated packaging (not frozen) and need cooked. They are a little pricy but great.

I hope you have a great day planned. My coffee is great. I’m drinking a 12 ounce Americano this morning.

Take care.
Jimmie.

The North Texas Ice Storm of 2023

The North Texas Ice Storm 2023

Sunday evening January 29, 2023 at 7 PM is the last time the temperature was above freezing. It’s 9:30 AM on Thursday, February 2, 2023. Too many hours have past with the temperature too cold. – Click on the picture, it’s a 44 second video with my commentary.

Freezing Rain

Freezing rain has fallen for 48 jours. The local weather men and women tells us that freezing rain occurs when the layer of freezing air is so thin that the raindrops do not have enough time to freeze before reaching the ground. Instead, the water freezes on contact with the surface, creating a coating of ice on whatever the raindrops contact.

I have between one and two inches of ice on the ground. Yuck! It’s as if the yard, drive, sidewalks, and paved areas are and ice rink and the Zamboni has driven over it making it slicker.

What’s a Zamboni?

A Zamboni is a mechanical ice resurfacer. It works by scraping the ice surface and collecting the snow (which is later discarded). Next, it “cleans” the ice, by putting down water which flushes the grooves deep in the ice, loosening any dirt or debris. The excess water and dirt is then collected. The ice becomes shiny and very smooth as well as slippery. It’s great for ice skating or playing ice hockey. It’s nearly impossible to walk on in shoes.

Coffee and Tea

As I hunker down inside again today I’ll enjoy a pour over coffee. The kettle is calling me even now. Later, I’ll have my green tea.

For Christmas I received an Ember temperature control travel mug. It’s a stylish mug designed to keep hot beverages hot. It allows you to control the coffee or teas temperature. Fully charged it will keep your coffee the exact temperature you desire for three hours. It will do it longer, if on the charging stand. It’s revolutionized my coffee and tea drinking as I now always have my drink at the perfect temperature.

Photo Source: All photos and videos were taken by the author unless noted in the photo caption.
Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate. If you purchase using the links in the article I receive a small commission.

And the Freezing Rain Falls

Freezing Rain

It’s an icy Tuesday morning in North Texas. Freezing rain descended upon us like a Biblical plague around sunrise. The thermometer seems frozen at 25-degrees F.

The sounds of the last hour are endless firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars responding to accidents and the frozen mix of sleet and rain pounding the roof and windows.

I have a cuppa green tea steeping as I type. It’s my reward for opening the north door to take the short video.

My primary prayer today is for safety and the power to stay on for those in the path of our winter storm prayer.

The dress code for today is my warm flannel pajamas, my thick terrycloth bathrobe, and warm slipper. I’ll be in the recliner with a comforter covering me from mid-chest down. I have a stack of books on the bale beside the chair for my entertainment.

Stay warm, stay safe.

Jimmie

 

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate. If you purchase using the links in the article I receive a small commission.