Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 26, 2015


April 26th forever for us

April 26th forever for us

Today, April 26th, is the 40th anniversary of our wedding.  Nellie Katherine Kyle and James Atticus Bowden.

Frequent readers of Deo Vindice are saying, “Uh oh, another sentimental journey for the widower Bowden.”

We’ll see.  Yes and No.

Our 40th wedding anniversary is blog worthy.  But, simply because I could mark enough anniversaries  – from seasons, holidays, birthdays, memorials to mutual loved ones, memories we made, etc. – to crowd the calendar, I won’t.  I’ll keep these myriad private anniversaries that come throughout the year to myself.  When an anniversary serves others, I’ll share.  It’s private when it just speaks to my heart about my late wife’s absence.  For the most part in the future, I’ll keep our private memories in my heart.

What Was

We had known each 31 months when we got married.  We had an on and off again, up and down, roller coaster relationship.  Through it all, we were involved with one another.  We had a great caring and desire for one another.

We scheduled the wedding to mesh with my duty calendar.  I was a Company Commander in the 82nd Airborne Division.  The alert roster changed as Vietnam fell in 1975.  My battalion got put on alert.  I reported to my Battalion Commander to request permission to go get married.  I was allowed to leave Thursday late and report back on Sunday – with the understanding I could be summoned at any time.  It all worked out.

We were married on Saturday in Beckley, West Virginia.  We spent the night at a motel – I had made reservations – in Bluefield, West Virginia.  That was it for honey moon.  I signed back in on Sunday.  Went to the field for a week on Monday.

We talked about our wedding night for all the years afterwards.   Commitment as man and wife made life different.  It made us different.  We were one.  Through real conflict and challenges – we were us.

38 years, 7 months passed.

We shared every single season of my adult life – she was 2 years older – until she died.   Our marriage was almost the whole of our grown up days.  Marriage was our life.

Marriage and family – we got married to have a family – gave meaning to our life.

Our marriage was life.

I was my beloved’s.  My beloved was mine.

38th Anniversary

38th Anniversary

What Was Supposed to Be

Nellie was supposed to retire in September 2014.  We were supposed to be in Italy tonight – on our 40th Anniversary.

We finally took a real honey moon trip for our 35th Anniversary.  I was in England on business for over a month – March 2010.  I planned a grand trip.  Her first to the UK.  We went to the Cotswolds in the West Counties, Scotland – including the village of Bowden, Northern Ireland and London.  She loved it.

We planned on going to Italy – a first for us both – for our 40th.

What Is

Nellie died December 9th, 2013.

Last year I felt crushed.  This year I feel like a hot knife cuts across my chest sharply and deeply.   I am broken-hearted, but not crushed.

After teaching Sunday School I drove 2.5 hours to speak to the Fredericksburg Tea Party meeting on behalf of Ted Cruz.  Knew one old political ally there.  Spoke to the friendly face of political buddy and challenger to the Virginia Speaker of the House.  Long meeting followed.  Drove home on what I’ve called “Therapy Road” for many years.  It’s US Route 17 from Fredericksburg to the turn off 3 miles from home in Poquoson.

I’ve driven Therapy Road for 25 years.  I wrote about that here as my vol de nuit –

I’ve driven it in every season and weather, quite literally, at every hour of day and night.  The road carries the memories of 25 years even if the road doesn’t know it.  For all those trips save the sad journey up and back to Arlington National Cemetery, Nellie was on my mind – as I was part of “us.”

I thought driving Therapy Road would be good medicine for today.  It was therapeutic, but not a cure.

It was a beautiful, bright green, chilly afternoon set below a mix of clouds moving across a bright blue sky.  I smelled Spring out in the country – Virginia fields and woods.

I recalled so many things from the 25 years traveling – to reach some new clarity.  Searching some soothing conclusion.

I started crying around Port Royal, Virginia.   I keep thinking, “She is gone.  I am here.  How can this be?”  “It doesn’t make sense.”  I kept thinking, remembering and praying.  Tears came and went.

I thought about my family.  How the human heart expands to care and love anew.  How when I see, hear, feel, smell, sense her – I feel the knife searing across my heart – and tears flow.  I know why people grow weary of living.

Yet, I felt such a sense of purpose.  How much more there is to do.  Family duties.  Citizenship.  The Great Commission.  How I need to get about getting things – reading and writing – done.

When I got home, I sat on the dock at Sanctuary at dusk to recover myself.

So, here we are.  God makes all things new, every day.

God is good.  All the time. No matter what.  No matter what.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 17, 2015

Sweet Surprise

This artwork was such a sweet surprise

This artwork was such a sweet surprise

I was on full time, 24/7, Grandpa duty from Sunday through Thursday afternoon this week.  Recently, did a week before on my own with 3 grandbabies, girl – 8, boy – 7, girl – 7, in March.  Did it back in August.  Can do easy, G.I.

As I was driving them to their Christian private school, the big sister asked me to spell the writing on my sweatshirt.  When we got to school, she gave me her artwork above  – with my sweatshirt spelled properly.  The message was “We all love you Papa!”  What a sweet surprise!

I love this picture.  My grandchild’s gift is so precious to me.  It makes me feel wonderful.

The week went well. Three grandchildren received and three returned.  No limbs or eyesight loss.  Arrived at school on time – every day.  Meals served and bedtimes completed.  Rough-housing until I was out of breath.  Yes, the Army’s Task-Condition-Standard applied appropriately.

My  Mother’s Grandmother Bobby would approve of Grandfather Papa’s duties.  The duties are likely to last another year at least.  Significant , but not 24/7.

I’m grateful to be vigorous enough to do my Papa duties.

I have no idea what the kids will remember 70 or 80 years from now.  They aren’t picking up on the handy phrases in French I use often.  They seem to recall the classic bedtime stories read.  Finished the ‘Just So’ book.  They hear me sing a lot and join me on the songs they know and like.  Regardless of what they recall, I know what I’ll remember until I die.

I’ll remember every sweet moment is bittersweet because their Grandma is gone to Heaven.  She would be out of her mind happy to have this time with grandchildren.  We had so much before she died, that they called her “Mom.”   But, these are new times – and they would be better with her here.

I’ll recall my gratitude to Lord God for this time alive.

I’ll add this memory to the sweetest gifts my kids gave me.  Dancing for Daddy at a recital, the one gift he spent his trip money on, the essay about ‘the most influential person”, etc.   These sweet gifts will be remembered, not the shameful Jerry Springer moments that we shared en famille.  As the Perfect Father forgets, the fallen father forgives – and anticipates his adult Christian children will understand his failings when they’ve lived long enough to see their own.

And, I’ll pray my selfish supplication to make memories with all of my grandchildren – including those yet to arrive.  My Daddy never saw my youngest child.

This art was drawn in such pure innocence.  It was given in simple pure love.  This sweet gift was such a sweet surprise.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 8, 2015

Second Spring

Nellie loved Spring like I love Autumn.  Her cup overran.

Nellie loved Spring like I love Autumn. Her cup overran.


This is the second Spring in my adult life without Nellie. Now, I don’t intend to notch each coming season for its loss and write it over and over. But, I’m compelled to write now because this second Spring is different from the first. That’s the story.

The death of my wife remains overwhelming. The short tag remains – Death sucks. But even so devastating a death is different a year later.

Last year it was like metal bands were wound tightly around my head and chest. Each week they were loosened a bit. Just a bit. This year the constricting bonds are gone.

An odd thought bothers my kids and me. It’s like last year it was okay for Nellie to be gone because she died. This year, that’s quite unacceptable as an excuse. Why the Hell isn’t she back? Why is she still gone? She is supposed to be here in the flesh with us.

She should be here.

Because she isn’t, many sweet moments suddenly stab. Especially every insight we could share – seen in a second’s  flash  – about any of the four grandchildren growing up so fast. So beautifully. It’s the sparkle in the eye. The funny thing said. The new height and posture. A motion. A look. Connections to our shared memories of a lifetime together. Memories from all our private times.

This Spring I don’t weep for hours. I weep for minutes. No clue when those minutes are coming. No way to stop them when they come. Just cry and dry. Breathe deeply. Pray.

Last June a political buddy of mine from Roanoke – in his 40s – shared with me how he lost his wife when she was quite young. They had 4 little children. I had no idea he had gone through such hardship. He said his grandfather told him that God doesn’t just expand love in the human heart to love another. The Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t add – He multiplies. God multiplies our capacity to love. I believe it.

I know how wonderful companionship, partnership, friendship and fellowship fun are. I know what desire and intimacy add – and are the bonds that bind. I know love and lovingkindness. I get the give and take for two to live as one.

One day I’ll take off my wedding ring. Haven’t taken it off, because we didn’t divorce, she just died. Have no thought to take it off today.

A year later our house hasn’t sold yet. Wish it would soon. I’d like to move ahead – and see where I am financially for what we can do – on making additions to Sanctuary. The storm of the century (2003) sent water under it (whew) – yet elevating it would bring more storm safety. And, or, building a writing studio to grow as old scribbling as the Lord allows.

This Second Spring, the Lord gives life as it is. It really feels so differently. I’m much healthier. Grieving changes. Living evolves. Love remains. Love grows. Family is family.

God is good. All the time. No matter what. NO MATTER WHAT.

Coming soon – our 40th Wedding Anniversary.

Nellie adored the first green of new growth. I call it olive green.  She loved all the colors of Spring - always remarked on seeing that special green.

Nellie adored the first green of new growth. I call it olive green. She loved all the colors of Spring – always remarked on seeing that special green.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 27, 2015

Ted Cruz’s Critical Time

Media harpies will try to destroy Ted Cruz

Media harpies will try to destroy Ted Cruz

Timing is everything – in business, comedy, war…   And especially in politics.

The timing that counts for Ted Cruz is the crucial time it takes to label him. The next 6 weeks or so is the first critical period. Then, the Spring and Summer of 2016 – if he is the frontrunner – is a second critical phase.

The Main Stream Media will label Ted Cruz stupid, crazy, evil or a bigot – right now.

The Liberal minions in the media must destroy Cruz quickly to kill his candidacy. Their Liberal labels, like nails, must crucify Cruz.

Liberal name-calling must become the story on Cruz – the new narrative.

This is what the Liberals have done since 1964 when they demonized Barry Goldwater. Since then, it’s only gotten worse.   More baseless and more vile. In 2012, the Main Stream Media played whack-a-mole with each Conservative candidate from Michele Bachmann to Herman Cain. Finally, only Mitt Romney was standing. Then, they provided supporting screeching fires as the Democrat attack ads ran all Spring and Summer.

The Main Stream Media serves as the Orwellian Ministry of Truth for the Democrat Party. They do so reflexively, because they are more ideologically Leftist – progressive, socialist, communist, human secularist, d’himmi, gaystopo, PC, totalitarians – than many elected Democrats. The hatred they hold for Conservatives comes from their hearts.

These Media harpies must tell a tale about Ted Cruz so that his name brings instant word association with ill-informed and un-informed Americans. Climate change denier, first-termer and anti-gay are their first tries. If HRH Hillary I gets the nomination – war on women – will be used against Cruz – or any Republican.

Interestingly, the howling harpies are giving a back-handed compliment when they call Cruz, “the uncompromising Conservative.” Those words may work splendidly in a crowded Conservative field. That criticism resonates well with voters who suffer RINO and weak Establishment Republican fatigue.

Soon, if not already, the Media mavens will overplay their hand – and be so nonsensical – that only their Kool Aid drinking cadre (40% of America) will listen. Even clueless independents shake their heads in sad mockery of really hysterical accusations. And such hyperbole is coming. It will be multiplied the more it seems that Cruz may get the nomination – and win.

The verbal attacks will get so much worse. Liberals spew the hatred they hold in their hearts. Their words are the overflow of their prideful hearts. Establishment Republicans will chime in for like reasons – and they fear the loss of their power and money.

If Ted Cruz comes through the fires of this refinement, he will be pure silver and gold. Cruz has to define himself to America while every Liberal harpy is screeching something different in print, radio, TV and across cyberspace. Ronald Reagan was the last candidate who was successful at speaking past the noise to The People. Cruz’s first interviews – fielding those gotcha questions – indicate he can do it, too.

Ted Cruz is in the refining fire of defining his name to voters. This fire isn’t the Biblical wrath of the Lord, but serves the same purpose – to make him better. May Ted Cruz become a better candidate – and President of these United States of America.

Please let it be so.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 25, 2015

This is what the Bravery of a Lesser Magistrate Looks Like

James Atticus Bowden:

We – Southerners and descendants of Scots – need to live up to our legacy of courage and fidelity to truth.

Originally posted on Christian Heritage News & Commentary:

By Pastor Matt Trewhella – Posted at The Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrate:


On Monday, March 23rd, 2015, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore spoke to hundreds in Texas who had gathered in defense of God’s created order for marriage, including scores of state officials. In his comments he stated – “But if I should hold back my opinions at such a time as this, I would consider myself guilty of treason toward my country — and an act of disloyalty to the majesty of heaven Whom I revere above all earthly kings.” Words of great weight because he is willing to hazard his own life for what is right and needed. Judge Moore has – as Seutonius said of lower magistrates who defy the immoral decrees of higher authorities – “grabbed the wolf by the ears.”

In Scotland, on April 6, 1320, eight earls and over forty nobles fixed their…

View original 90 more words

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 24, 2015

President Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz announces he is running for POTUS

Sen. Ted Cruz announces he is running for POTUS

Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced he is running for President of these United States of America yesterday in Virginia.  He started his campaign at the largest Christian university in the world – Liberty University.  On the anniversary of socialist Obamacare being signed into law and Revolutionary Virginia patriot Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death!” speech.  Ted Cruz wants to reverse the socialism and restore our freedoms – and the Rule of Law.

Cruz knows what needs to be done.   His twenty years of political experience includes successful arguments before the Supreme Court.  He has a brilliant legal mind.  Honed at Princeton and Harvard – true to Harvard’s motto “Veritas”.  Unblemished  with sores of political correctness and uninfected by the cancer of liberal human secularism.  But, better educated as a Conservative of conviction and better armed in Christian apologetics.  (I have an affinity for him as another double Ivy who came to the same conclusions ideologically, politically and pragmatically.)

Cruz has the courage to do what must be done.  His Christian testimony – strengthened by the example of his immigrant father’s walk in faith – indicates where his strength comes from.  His walk will be his witness.

Cruz isn’t the candidate for just the Evangelicals.   He is far more than a Cuban, Texan Huckabee or Santorum.  Cruz can’t save these United States.  Lord Jesus Christ is the only savior for men or nations.  Cruz will serve these United States.  Cruz will reignite the flame of liberty for America.  He will restore the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

A new fire for liberty under the Rule of Law

A new fire for liberty under the Rule of Law

No other candidate can do it with his vision or focus.  Other candidates could be quite acceptable – like Gov. Scott Walker.  Even though polls place Cruz in single digits with Republicans and across all Americans, his grassfire is lit.  The energy of his enemies on his own Republican side is indicative of strength, not weakness.  He will prove worthy of their venom.  Because – Cruz can crush the weak career politicians, corrupt political class, and incestuous Establishment Republicans.

For years a majority of Americans have looked for another Reagan.  Cruz isn’t Reagan.  He isn’t as folksy charming.  He doesn’t have the executive experience as a Governor.  Cruz has the hindsight of seeing Reagan’s mistakes trusting Democrats.  He has a much more powerful intellect to analyze what must be done – and how.   Cruz isn’t Reagan, but:

The Media mocks Cruz, just like they did Reagan.

The Establishment Republicans hate Cruz, just like they did Reagan.

The Democrat politicians fear Cruz, just like they did Reagan.

The Liberals detest Cruz, just like they did Reagan.


Ted Cruz is bold, bright, focused – and armed with the truth.

Ted Cruz won’t save America.  Only Americans can turn around America.  Americans can start by voting for Ted Cruz to serve America like few have done before.  This election may be our last chance to restore liberty under the Rule of Law.

Place a hedge of protection and the temporal crown of victory on him and his.

Place a hedge of protection and the temporal crown of victory on him and his.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 17, 2015

When Our Irish Eyes Are Smiling

My Daddy's Irish (and Scottish) eyes

My Daddy’s Irish (and Scottish) eyes

St. Patrick’s Day 2015.

I changed my profile pic on Facebook because my recent picture looks so much like my Daddy it’s creepy.  I cropped to the eyes above, but everything including the tilt of the head was my father – except his eyes were green, not blue.  His eyes had that focus.  And they smiled.

His Irish eyes were Southern eyes.  I remember Daddy singing ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘When Irish Eyes Are Smiling’.  That’s about as explicitly Irish as he got.  The rest of his Irishness was strained through 200 years of Southern-ness to his birth in 1919.  His Scot-Irish grandmother Maley said, “We’re Arash” in her West Tennessee accent.

If our clan’s character traits of stubbornness, fierce independence, family pride and loyalty are Scot-Irish, then so be it.  Maybe it’s just “us’n”.  Daddy’s quick temper could’ve been Celtic – Scot-Irish or Scottish – or just him.  Oh, and he had a bit of blarney with his joke and story telling.

Regardless of their origin, when his Irish eyes were smiling others did too.  Family and folks loved my Daddy.

When I die, I hope my children, grandchildren, Clan kin and friends remember me as my Celtic eyes smiling.

DSC_7645 (2) DSC_7635 (2) DSC_7435 (2) DSC_7088 (2)

My late wife Nellie’s maiden name was Kyle.  She was Scot-Irish too.   A lot.

Nellie's Irish Eyes - and English, German and Amer-Indiian

Nellie’s Irish Eyes – and English, German and Amer-Indiian

red rose 5 (2)

Nellie Katherine’s eyes were part of the smile that lit up her face.  Almost all of her pictures shine with her beautiful smiling eyes.  Her smiles define the vimeo we made for her memorial.  Then, she passed her smiling eyes down.  Here’s how we look almost 300 years removed from the Auld Sod.

Our Irish Eyes

Our Family’s Irish Eyes

DSC_7170 (2) DSC_7840 - Copy (2) scan0065 (3) 81 (2)
We had eyes for each other for the whole of our adult lives.  The gleam in our eyes became the fruit of lives.

This meeting of the eyes

This meeting of the eyes


38 years later

38 years later


The new light of Nellie's eyes

The new light of Nellie’s eyes

St. Patrick’s Day and every day is made its best when our Irish eyes are laughing.  We love to laugh.

Best when our Irish eyes are laughing

Best when our Irish eyes are laughing

Yeah, we’re Irish.  Scot-Irish.  Culture commands.  We are who we are.  After 300 years here, I know we wear orange and drink green beer on this day.  Happy St Patrick’s Day 2015!  And, God Save the South.


Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 15, 2015

My Ides of March 2015


Ides of March.  It's here again.

Ides of March. It’s here again.

Last year I said how different that Ides of March was for me.

In 2013 I explained why the Ides of March is for me.

You will read and write

You will read and write

This year, 2015,  I’m in better health and spirits than in the weeks after burying my late wife.   Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ for Your healing power through time.

I have more to read and write than ever.  I best be about it.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 3, 2015

Leader of the Free World – and Western Civilization: 2015

Benjamin Netanyahu - de facto leader of the West.

Benjamin Netanyahu – de facto leader of the West.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | February 21, 2015

End of the Longest Year

On February 21, 2013, my late wife – Nellie Katherine Kyle Bowden, was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Thus, today endeth the longest year of my life.  My life, not ours.  And, so it went.

The long mourning from her death on December 9th, 2013 to her funeral was followed by a full year of grieving.  One year.  Nellie, the great grieving counselor, said it takes two full years to get to the new normal.  She was right.  Once again – she’d note.

Here is what we said at her funeral:

Here is what Dr. John Snow said:

The longest year has its pictures on my Facebook page.  I aim to write out the story “A Grief Felt” – a tangent from C.S. Lewis’  Beloved’s loss.  I think I need to walk the walk for the full 2 years, before I know what path I’ve trod.

The Good Lord blessed me with a new place to live through this longest year.  I call it ‘Sanctuary’, because it is.  I give thanks to Lord Jesus Christ often – every day here.  I behold the beauty of His natural world, The Bay, every hour I breath here.

Family, friends, church family and allies have shared their prayers, lovingkindness and caring.  I’m grateful.

I’m much, much healthier than I was.  I’ve done my duties as best I could.

I’m leaving unsaid what grieving for Nellie was and is.  I’m a man of words and I don’t have the words.

Let me say this: In a year of fitful and troubled sleep, I’ve been surprised to see my wife just a few times in dreams.  The last one,quite recently – which was clearly a dream and not a vision – made me so happy.  I got to hear her voice.  She asked me if I was ready to come home.  I said “Yes” and kissed her.  It was so wonderful to see and hear her.

Today, at the end of the full year of grieving, I’m grieving still.

I’m not holding on to grief as a way of life.  I’m not clinging to memories to avoid living life.  Quite the contrary.  I’m living with as much high energy, enthusiasm, disciplined passion and focused engagement as ever.

Then, why did I watch Nellie’s vimeo on this anniversary of her burial?  Why did I cry a keening lament through every minute?  Because I can see clearly through my tears, that I’m still married to my wife of our whole life.

The longest year was but one year.  It was awfully, horribly long without her.  In another year I should see clearly again, but differently.

I love you, Nellie.

Nellie Katherine Kyle Bowden's words in her Bible in her hand.

Nellie Katherine Kyle Bowden’s words in her Bible in her hand.

Singing "My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose" from a sheet to use the right words, not the ones I made up when I sang it to Nellie in private.  Her 65th and last birthday - Sep 2013.

Singing “My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose” from a sheet to use the right words, not the ones I made up when I sang it to Nellie in private. Her 65th and last birthday – Sep 2013.

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