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.


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.

Classic Spiritual Disciplines

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The faculty introduced me to the classic spiritual disciplines when I was a master’s degree candidate at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Ten years earlier during my university study, I encountered a statement made by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

If you’re not familiar with him, here’s a brief introduction — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a Russian novelist, philosopher, historian, short story writer, and a political prisoner. Solzhenitsyn was an outspoken critic of the Soviet Union and Communism and helped to raise global awareness of the Soviet Gulag forced-labor camp system.

Solzhenitsyn’s statement was “The meaning of earthly existence is not, as we have grown used to thinking, in prosperity, but in the soul’s development.”

Richard J. Foster

I also encountered the writings of a Quaker, Richard J. Foster. His book Celebration of Discipline had a dramatic impact on my life. Only the Bible has had a bigger impact. As I read and studied, I found that throughout time, many philosophers, theologians, and writers have proposed several practices that might be spiritual disciplines. These include celebration, chastity, confession, contemplation, evangelism, fasting, fellowship, gratitude, journaling, meditation, prayer, self-examination, silence, simplicity, solitude, spiritual disciplines, stewardship, study, and submission/obedience.

In the early 1980s, I lived in southeastern Louisiana serving as Associate Pastor for Education and Outreach at the Superior Avenue Baptist Church in Bogalusa, Louisiana. On my day off, I found myself in New Orleans doing one of my favorite things. I was browsing through the bookstore at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. I found and purchased “An Anthology of Devotional Literature” by the late Thomas S. Kepler. He was an ardent student of the Christian mystics and for many years a professor of religion at Oberlin College in Ohio.

Thomas S. Kepler

Dr. Kepler’s anthology brings you 140 classic articles on prayer, meditation, and other aspects of spirituality by Christian authors of two millennia. Delve into a rich library of… Essays by Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Merton, Richard Foster, and others. Selections from every major tradition of Christianity. It includes a biographical sketch of each contributor. Author and topical indexes included for quick reference. They updated it from its 1947 original edition in 2001.

I’ve pulled the book off the shelf, blown the dust off of it, and am again using it to supplement my daily devotions. So far I’ve read Clement of Rome’s insights into Christian love from The First Epistle to the Corinthians (not to be confused with the book of First Corinthians in the Bible) and Justin Martyr’s “On The Sole of The Government.”

I’ll mention an idea or two from the book from time to time. It isn’t light reading, but it is interesting. It helps me walk with the Lord and keep my focus on God. It helps me grow in my Christian faith.