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.

Rejoice

Texas and The Ground Hog

Photo Sources: All photos are licensed through either Creative Common License, licensed from Pixabay, property of the owner, or by license from Canva.

What If There Were No C’s?

abc-2860036_1280What 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

 

Texas students will return to school campuses this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott tells lawmakers

Cactus Elementary School in Cactus on Jan. 28, 2020. Photo credit: Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

“Texas students will return to school campuses this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott tells lawmakers” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Texas students will be returning to public schools in person this fall, Gov. Greg Abbott told state lawmakers Thursday morning.

The state’s top education officials confirmed the plans in a statement to The Texas Tribune.

“It will be safe for Texas public school students, teachers, and staff to return to school campuses for in-person instruction this fall. But there will also be flexibility for families with health concerns so that their children can be educated remotely, if the parent so chooses,” said Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath.

When students return, school districts will not be required to mandate students wear masks or test them for COVID-19 symptoms, confirmed Frank Ward, a spokesperson for the Texas Education Agency.

The TEA is expected to release additional guidance for school districts next Tuesday. Abbott has long said his intention is for students to return in-person this fall, saying this week that there will “definitely be higher safety standards in place than when they opened last year.”

“I will tell you that my goal is to see students back in classrooms in seats interacting personally with teachers as well as other students,” he told KLBK TV in Lubbock on Monday. “This is a very important environmental setting for both the students, for the teachers and for the parents.”

Abbott has pressed forward with reopening businesses and other public spaces for weeks, even as the number of new cases and people hospitalized with the virus has continued to rise. Democrats and officials in some of the state’s biggest cities have raised alarm about the pace, saying it’s putting people’s health at risk.

“Abbott’s failed leadership has cost lives and has led to Texas becoming one of the most dangerous states to live in during this pandemic,” said Texas Democratic Party Communications Director Abhi Rahman in a statement Thursday.

According to state lawmakers on the 11 a.m. call, school districts will be able to also offer instructional alternatives for students. The decision comes as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise statewide, and local officials begin to put firmer restrictions in place to tamp down the spread in their cities and counties.

National surveys have shown many parents do not feel safe sending their students back to the classrooms, with one poll showing two-thirds in support of keeping schools closed until the pandemic’s health risk has passed.

School districts’ surveys of parents are showing that many students will stay home, even when the classrooms are open. That could pose a financial risk to districts, which receive state funding based on student attendance. Already, many districts are planning for hybrid programs, with some students learning virtually and some learning in person, allowing them to keep class sizes small.

This year, Texas used federal stimulus dollars to fund school districts through this year’s mandated school closures, as long as they offered some type of remote education. But state officials have not yet said whether they will continue to fund them for students who do not show up in person in the fall.

With budget deadlines approaching at the end of the month, some districts are making tentative plans without clear state guidance. Fort Bend Independent School District announced earlier this week that its elementary and middle school students will return to their classrooms with adjusted schedules in the fall.

District officials are working to develop a plan for older students that combines virtual classes and classroom instruction. Online instruction will be an option for any student who doesn’t feel safe returning to the classroom in mid-August.

Cassandra Pollock and Patrick Svitek contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/06/18/texas-schools-reopening-fall/.

Republished with permission from The Texas Tribune.

 

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Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey

Chronic Illness

When you learn your loved one has a chronic illness, your hopes and dreams may be erased, replaced by feelings of hopelessness. You may feel overwhelmed or even afraid as you look ahead at the day-to-day struggles of caregiving.

Biblical Guidance and Support

Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey offers Biblical guidance and support helping persons connect with the perfect love which casts out all fear, the love of Jesus Christ.

Scripture, Explanation, Application, Prayer, and with a Takeaway

Each chapter contains Scripture from the Holy Bible, explanation of the verse, application of the Truth to daily living, a prayer using the verse, three directed questions for journaling, and a takeaway.

In the days ahead I will be sharing my story of caring for my late wife along with twenty-three Biblical insights and takeaways learned while being her caregiver.


Photo Source: Photo of my late wife Benita Kepler and my cat Lacey taken by the author.

This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Kepler please complete the “Email Sign-up”  found in the far left column of the blog.

Trust

Benita Kepler with the Atlantic Ocean behind her on Thursday, August 11, 2016. The location is Rye North Beach, New Hampshire. She is wearing her signature smile as well as compression lymphedema sleeve and gauntlet (glove). I always told her the gauntlet (glove) made her look like a rock star referencing Madonna’s fingerless glove look from the 1980s.

11 Trust

11.1 My Story

In August of 2016, my wife Benita and I took a lengthy “bucket list” trip. In our forty plus years of marriage, she had never been to the northeastern USA. She had heard stories from my early teens when I lived in New England as a military brat. She also had never been to New York or the middle Atlantic states.

The trip wasn’t easy. Even with her Melanoma cancer her employer initially said no to her being off work for multiple weeks. My day job also lacked compassion. We both found the situation frustrating as we had more days of vacation accrued than needed for the trip. Finally, both employers agreed to let us off work.

The trip required a small refrigerator for the car as her chemotherapy prescription meds required refrigeration. The bulky lymphedema therapy machine had to be loaded and loaded each day along with scheduling time for her to do an hour’s therapy per day.

Many day’s it would be as later as 10 AM before we were able to get checked out of our hotel. Most days we were checked into the hotel by 5 PM in the evening. When you drive those few hours in a day it takes a long time to drive the over 2,200 miles from Dallas, Texas to Northern Maine.

Out lengthy trip included stops at places like Niagara Falls, NY, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory just outside of Burlington, Vermont. We visited university campuses like Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Bowdoin College, Brown, Yale, Virginia Military Institute and their libraries. Miss Benita saw where I attended junior high school in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the famous Philips Exeter Academy. She saw the Atlantic Ocean for her first time. The State of Liberty and NYC and Philadelphia were on the bucket list as well. We also went to Gettysburg, the Hershey Chocolate Factory, and all the Washington, DC sites. 

We skipped the National Football League Hall of Fame, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She said I could go back to those places after she was gone as she had no interest.

The trip was hard for her. She was so glad we made it. She told me she appreciated my patience. She knew I was up hours before her. I sat patiently while she slept and rested. I also sat reading when she did the lymphedema therapy. She had the TV remote in the hotel.

I got very tired of hauling the luggage, medicines, and medical equipment into and out of the hotels. I admit that. I couldn’t trust the bellhop at the hotels to treat the medical equipment with the tender loving care it needed. The only time I entrusted the equipment to one I found disconnected hoses and a power cable that had fallen off and was in the middle of the hallway.

The entire bucket list trip was an adventure in trusting God. What if we had trouble with her chemo meds while 2,500 miles from home? We did and God cut through the red tape to take care of it.

My attitude, trust in God, and love for my wife somehow allowed me to navigate the journey he had for my loved one and me. He’ll do the same for you.

11.2 Trusting God

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness is trusting God. When dealing with a protracted disease sometimes it is tough to maintain focus or have peace of mind.

The person battling the ailment often finds themselves dwelling on what is happening to them physically, fiscally, and thinking if they’ll even have a future. It can be hard.

As a caregiver you may feel like all you do is manage schedules and provide taxi services. You find yourself longing for the good old days before the illness took over your life.

Today’s verse gives us hope as it tells us peace of mind is available. The way to peace is to focus on God, not your problem. It is to trust God.

11.3 Bible Verse

Isaiah 26:3 (KJV), “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

11.4 What the Verse Means

The key word is trust. We have a requirement to trust God. Trusting in God, that is when our mind is focused on Him, not our troubles, allows us to be kept in God’s perfect peace.

11.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to keep my mind steadfast on you.
  • Thank you for the peace of mind that can only come from God.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to take my refuge in you.
  • God, I know you are my only hope in battling my chronic illness.

11.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Name one area where you need to let go and trust God.
  2. Are you thanking God daily for guiding you through the daily challenges? If not, do so now and every day.
  3. Are you truly trusting God? Ask God to help your unbelief and lack of trust in and for all things.

Photo Source: Taken by Jimmie Aaron Kepler on Thursday, August 11, 2016, at 2:38 pm. The photo location was Rye North Beach, New Hampshire. The Atlantic Ocean is behind her. I can still recall the broad smile and wide eyes when she saw the Atlantic Ocean. The response was unusual for her as she preferred the mountains over the beach and had said no many times to a beach vacation.

This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler please complete the “Email Sign-up”  found in the far left column of the blog.