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Book Promo – Caregiving

Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver's Journey

I have an upcoming promotion for Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey on Bargain Booksy on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022. The price of the eBook is reduced from $4.99 to $2.99. It’s also available in print at regular price. The lower price is available today for the next week. The book is available in print at Amazon Print on in ebook at Ebook.

Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey offers the Biblical guidance and support I learned in my 1001 day trip of caring for my late wife. The book helps you connect with the perfect love which casts out all fear, the love of Jesus Christ. God’s love that sustained me during those days.

Each chapter contains Scripture from the Holy Bible that touched my life, explanation and application of the verse’s Truth to daily living, a prayer using the Scripture I prayed during the travail, three directed questions for journaling, and a takeaway that the Lord showed me. I share how God and God’s Word guided and sustained my wife and me through this journey.

Again, the book is available in print at Amazon Print on in ebook at Ebook.

 

Book Sale – Caregiving

I have an upcoming promotion for Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey on Bargain Booksy on Wednesday, May 11th, 2022. The price of the eBook is reduced from $4.99 to $2.99. It’s also available in print at regular price. The lower price is available today for the next week. The book is available in print at Amazon Print on in ebook at Ebook.

Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey offers the Biblical guidance and support I learned in my 1001 day trip of caring for my late wife. The book helps you connect with the perfect love which casts out all fear, the love of Jesus Christ. God’s love that sustained me during those days.

Each chapter contains Scripture from the Holy Bible that touched my life, explanation and application of the verse’s Truth to daily living, a prayer using the Scripture I prayed during the travail, three directed questions for journaling, and a takeaway that the Lord showed me. I share how God and God’s Word guided and sustained my wife and me through this journey.

Again, the book is available in print at Amazon Print on in ebook at Ebook.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Poetry Reading: Lady Violinist

I’m Buying a Tank of Gas

How to Hang On: A Biblical Alternative

Life Can Be Tough

A few weeks ago, my forty-one-year-old son called. “Dad, my colonoscopy results show a tumor and colon cancer.”

Four years ago this week I rushed my wife to the emergency room. The young ER doctor said to me as she was sobbing, “I’ll let your neurologist give you the details when he’s here in the morning. I’m so sorry, your wife’s malignant brain tumor has come back, larger than before.” 

She passed away six weeks later.

Was failing to prevent the cancer or its early detection my fault?

Five years ago, my father called me. 

“Jim, I’ve fallen and can’t get up. Don’t call 911. I want you here to take care of me.”

My father died less than eight-hours later. His heart failed. 

In 2014, my mother passed away. 

From 2004 until mother’s death, I found myself as her caregiver. I even changed my work schedule to work nights for several years where I could take her to her medical appointments. This including navigating her having a kidney transplant in 2011.

God, I don’t want more bad news. My heart aches for the loss and pain my loved ones have experienced. I don’t want to be a caregiver again, but will do whatever it takes for my family.

Being honest, I cry out, “No, God. Not another assignment as a caregiver. Why my family? Why me? The pressure of life is too much.”

God’s word says,

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—.”

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Maybe, like me, you find that life is getting you down. Do you feel you’re at the end of your rope? 

Here are seven Biblical principles I’ve learned on how to hang on when you feel you’re at the end of your rope and the pressures of life are unbearable.

Principle One: I must not forget God loves me.

Yes, God loves me. 

The Bible tells me

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

John 3:16

Because God loves me, I don’t lose heart! 

The Bible tells me

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.”

2 Corinthians 4:1

I learned that it’s not who we are. It’s whose we are! Remember, our performance does not give us our worth. I am what I am. By the grace of God, I am what I am. God’s grace helped me through losing my father and my wife.

The Bible tells me

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

1 Corinthians 15:10

Remember, God’s grace gives us the power to start over. Even when we lose a parent or a spouse, God helps us to start anew. Because He loved us, as Believers, we are more than conquerors.

The Bible tells me

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

Romans 8:37

Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

I wondered what I could have done to better care for my loved ones. If only I made my father eat better, get that check-up. What if I had encouraged or even made my wife go to MD Anderson, the Mayo Clinic, or John Hopkins to get the world’s best care?

Why didn’t I pray harder or longer? Why didn’t I claim this or that Bible promise?

Satan would want us to blame ourself for our loved not recovering, especially when they are young or even of middle-age.

The Bible tells me

“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

2 Corinthians 4:2

Principle Three: It is not about me.

When bad things happen, I need to remember it’s not all about me. Yes, I could face the consequences of wrong choices, but we live in a sinful, fallen world. Bad things happen to good people. Disease and death happen.

The Bible tells me

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.”

2 Corinthians 4:5

I need to realize my ego will only take me so far. In my wife and my father’s illness and passing their journey was used to point family, friends, coworkers, and even strangers to Jesus Christ.

It’s not about me. It’s about Jesus.

Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

When caring for my wife, I got so tired. The initial days of her last hospitalization before she moved to hospice care, I spent over fifty hours without sleep. Heart break and trying to do it all exhausted me.

I called, no cried out, for help from God, her sisters, and my adult children.

The Bible tells me

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”

2 Corinthians 4:7

I learned I couldn’t do it all. Pacing myself wasn’t enough. I grabbed hold of God and won’t let go. 

I realized life is a journey, not a sprint.

Principle Five: Love, love, love.

Accepting God’s love guided me through the rough and not so rough spots. God was and continues to be glorified through the love He poured out on my loved one’s life.

The Bible tells me

“For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

2 Corinthians 4:15

Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

As I continue to face challenges of caring for family, I look to God. I make sure I stay in His word and continue to pray.

I need God’s strength and renewing every day.

The Bible tells me

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16

Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

Somehow, I have learned that the challenges of life, including cancer and death, while tough, aren’t the end-all.

The Bible tells me

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,”

2 Corinthians 4:17

Remember that God helps face your troubles and hang on. God will be with you as you face the challenges of daily living.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me turn to and rely on You. Help me keep hanging on and trusting You.

Questions

  1. Can you recall a time when God helped you when it seemed as if you were at the end of your rope?
  2. Have you ever went through doubt that you failed to do enough or mishandled a tough situation? Is Satan placing guilt and acquisitions in your mind that you handled it wrong? 
  3. How did you over come that doubt or do you need to lay your doubt before God now?

I took all Scripture verses from the New King James Version of the Bible.

Saturday Morning Musings

It’s Saturday morning, October 23, 2021 as I type.

Florida Christian Writer’s Conference

Several of my dear friends in Christ are attending the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference at Lake Yale, Florida. They arrived early in the week and will be there through tomorrow. How I wish I was there! They’re all being obedient to God’s call on their life to write.

Why not join me in praying for them as they seek instruction, direction, an agent or a writing contract, and for safety for them and their families as they are at the conference and travel home.

Can you guess where I’m at this morning?

Can you guess where I’m at this morning? Wrong, if you said Lake Yale. You’re right if you said with confidence, “Starbucks!” That’s right, I’m at Starbucks. I’m such a person of habit and routine. Some of you know me so well. If I asked what am I drinking, most – you’d shout COFFEE, which is the correct answer.

But if we add to the question “what type,” some of you will give a smarty-pants answer of Starbucks, which is correct. However, I’m asking what type or flavor of Starbucks coffee am I drinking. Then the answer is harder. Yes, I know I need to ask better questions.

You have a fifty-fifty chance to get the correct flavor of Starbucks coffee I’m drinking. The answer is “Pike Place Roast” or “Blonde Roast.” Today I’m enjoying the Pike Place Roast coffee.

Prescriptions and More Prescription Medicines

Getting ready to drive to the coffee shop sometimes is a small adventure. This morning I choked down my morning prescriptions. I current take twenty-four per day with forty percent in the mornings and sixty percent in the afternoon. For the math geeks, I took fourteen this morning and will take ten tonight. I know that’s not inexact 60/40 split, but it’s close enough. 

Friday, I started another six-day round of steroids yesterday. I took six steroid pills on Friday. Today I took five. I’m also taking Amoxicillin. It’s another sinus and ear-infection. No, these RXs aren’t in my daily count as they are short term, not maintenance prescriptions.

How Does a Guy Make a Ponytail (on Himself)?

You’ll find my below the shoulders length hair in a ponytail this morning. Over three decades ago, I had trouble putting my young daughter’s hair in a ponytail. I never mastered the process. So, how did I ever learn to this skill set? YouTube! If you’re ever bored, Google how to make a pony tail for men. What a challenge. What an ordeal. If you’re female, this is where you laugh.

Well, it’s time for morning writing. I’m working on the transcript and show notes for doing a video blog (vlog, video, whatever the correct term is). It will be on my YouTube channel and on jimmiekepler.com in the next few days. 

Houston Astros American League Champions

Congratulations to the Houston Astros Major League Baseball team for winning the American League Championship series. They will play in the MLB World Series vs the winner of the Atlanta Braves vs Ls Angels Dodgers who are playing in the National League Championship Series.

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.