Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 15, 2018

One life at the Century Mark

Wedding day, February 23, 1942.  Edith and James Albert Bowden.

My mother, Edith Henderson Bowden, was born September 15th, 1918.  This is her century mark in chronos.  She died to this body and place to go live in eternal time – kairos – when she was 68 years old.  Thirty-two years after her passing she makes her mark among the living who knew her.  She is the most remarkable woman I’ve ever known.  No disrespect to all others of her gender, but I’ve never met a woman who matched her.

When she was born, her father was in the U.S. Army preparing to go to the Great War in France.  She was the second of four children.  At the age of 12 her father died suddenly from a bad heart valve and her life changed profoundly.  The family went to live on the farm run by her widowed, 68 year old grandmother – the indomitable Grandmother Bobby Holland League.  They survived the Depression with plenty of food by hard work, little money and no electricity ever.  Rural electrification wasn’t everywhere in South Carolina in the 1930s.  She became so much more than these humble origins.

Deeply devout Christian.  Beautiful.  Brilliant.  Sophisticated, yet unpretentious.  Kind.  Tough.  Feminine.  Courageous.  Artistic.  Musical.   Fun.  Funny.  Reader.  Knowledge seeker.  Wonderful wife.  Great Mother.  Awesome Mimi.  Dedicated kin.  Loyal friend.  Informed citizen.  Bon vivant.

Truly remarkable.  Ask anyone who knew her.

My joke with Southerners is that she wasn’t a “steel magnolia” because steel isn’t tough enough compared to her.

My joy and great hope is seeing some of her in eight grandchildren and (currently) fourteen grandchildren.

My eulogy isn’t even a shadow of her light.  She was so much more.  And, thirty-two years later, still is so much to me.  All the time.  May it speak a bit about her to the reader.

Edith Madge Henderson Bowden

Eulogy

17 October 1986, Arlington National Cemetery

Before we commit the body of my Mother, Edith Henderson Bowden, to the earth we shall share a short testimony to her. Any family may eulogize their departed Mother as someone special, but we gathered here today know that Edith, Momma, Mimi was very special person.

She was richly blessed with special gifts. She was bright, beautiful, humorous, musical, artistic, practical and capable of accomplishing anything she set out to do; except one. She wanted to live to an old age with the indomitable spirit, courage, and the charismatic grace of her beloved Grandmother Bobby. She could not will the extra years on her life. Yet, the quality of her life was much like the Matriarch of her South Carolina family. Her hand shaped the clay of her immediate family like a sculptor. Her love and caring for her extended family and friends warmed you and many others in a way which you can actually feel in your hearts. This was a remarkable woman. She will not be remembered on a monument, a building, a stamp, or any man-made edifice, but she had the character, the qualities, to be so great a public woman. Instead, she lead a private life of excellence. She made thirty eight places into homes in forty years. She was more Army than my Father. She had three children and eight grand-children. No man had a loving or better wife. No children had a more loving or better Mother. We were instructed throughout our lives.

We grew up on stories of family from religious persecution in France, through pioneer days in South Carolina, the War Between the States, the Great Depression, World War II and Post-War Europe. The stories always had morals about living with courage and dignity, facing adversity with pride, enjoying life with humor, music and love. She would preach, “It is who you are, not what you have.” I teased her that Jean Calvin was alive in her. Each failure, disappointment, hardship was part of God’s plan to strengthen you for tests to come. Everything was meant to build us into God’s children with character and strength. She said, “Life is seen is through a veil of tears.” Yet, the harshest trials and death in this life are not meant to slacken our thirst for life each day. She repeated that the Lord will never give you a burden you can not bear. Psalm 118 says. “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” This is her most profound testimony.

            Edith Henderson Bowden taught this philosophy and lived the scripture like no one else. She had an unabashed zest for life. She rejoiced in the seasons and in the abundance of life and beauty in all of nature. She exuded strength, character and love. It is her joy in life and our love for her living which makes her passing another of God’s mysteries. When she said farewell to my Father’s body she said, “This was the house he lived in.” Today, we bury only her mortal vessel. Remember that she said Easter is the happiest day of the year. It is the holiest of days because of the Promise the Lord has made. It is because of this promise that we can rejoice even in death. Remember Edith Henderson Bowden as she wanted you to remember. Follow her example and love the life the Lord gave you. Let us go from here with Psalm 118 in our hearts as Edith taught and lived. “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Goodbye.

I count myself so blessed beyond measure to have Edith as my Mother.   Thank You, Lord Jesus Christ.  Happy Birthday, Momma!

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Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 11, 2018

9-11 Again

How surprising for the suddenly informed and how unfortunate for those who insist on not learning about Islam.

Again, here is the first op ed I wrote – ever.  And, maybe the best one.   Certainly prescient.  Written in the week after 9-11.  Written over 950 pieces since then.

One Front: Two Wars

The first front of the World War against International Terrorism (WW-T), our American Homeland, is remarkably united – today.  Getting nine out of ten Americans to agree to anything is heady stuff.  Yet, the adrenaline cocktail of shock, fear and anger intoxicates only for a season. Someday soon enough Americans will waken with headaches and ask themselves ‘Why’.

Will the hangover of a patriotic binge be worth it if war and its consequences become a daily, lifelong addiction? Or, will the glum awakening, even on the brightest of mornings, be the residue of restless nights worrying over our resolve?
Our America shall have many, many nights of anguish as we struggle with the ‘war questions’ Americans always ask – during a war of ever changing dimensions, consequences and demands for commitment.

Americans will speak to the dark hours of legitimate doubt with characteristic straightforwardness:

  • Who are we fighting?
  • Why? What are we defending?
  • What will be victory?
  • How much, how long, what risk will war cost?
  • What must I do?

The answers to these questions over time will result in two wars being waged for our Homeland Defense. The first, the WW-T, will lead to another, but different, Civil War in the U.S.  Prayerfully, hopefully, the severity of both wars- the consequence management – will be minimized.  Regardless, the nature of both conflicts merits the name – war – and will be fought to the ultimate ends of any and every war – peace through victory or defeat.

When WW-T expands beyond the destruction of one species of terrorist vipers – the Al Qaida organization – the coalition will devolve.  The best efforts and high purpose of the magnificently experienced and talented Bush team can not stop shifting tectonic plates of history, culture and the clash of civilizations. Sooner or later, WW-T will be the West and its shifting Moslem Allies vs. Raging Islam. Then, Americans will realize some fuzzy, global, generic, secular human ‘freedom’ is not under attack, but the West – Western Civilization – is the enemy of the resurgent Islam that breeds radicals and rage.

What is the American Civilization worth defending for long decades? What must be preserved at all costs? Who will bear any price for what liberty? These questions will split the unity of our nation along the fault lines of our
American Culture War.  Americans with different worldviews will seek alternatives for peace.

Some will be happy to defeat one group of terrorists and pretend there are no more until another bright September morning explodes in a new terror attack. Some will shake in fear and shout ‘stop’ when an Islamic country turns on us as we pursue the next den of snakes or when a radical Islamic coup topples some friendly despot.

Some will stay the course to defeat the enemy, and their means of attacking the West, everywhere and suppress their successors’ ability to attack ever again – for decades and succeeding generations to come. The nation will divide between those who seek peace at any price – because they don’t see the ultimate destruction of America and the West – and those who know that a hostile ideology – a vigorous, aggressive theology – must be defeated utterly and completely.

WW-T will be waged on the terms of the old Roman Empire. Our enemies will fight us for generations – even centuries – until they change their way of thinking or are conquered or we are defeated from within. Our America, as the leader of the West, has imperial responsibilities without imperial ambitions.

Moreover, our nation faces its greatest test since the American Civil War (ACW I). Can a nation so powerful, so rich, so hated remain a Republic with the protected individual freedoms endowed by our Creator? The American Culture War will become ACW II. WW-T and ACW II will be fought on the same front – our American Homeland.  The distinctions between today’s liberals and conservatives will widen as WW-T progresses. When ACW II heats up – may it be a war of words and battles at the ballot boxes only – the two primary sides of the conflict will shape up in new alignments of allies, perhaps with new political labels.

One side will be soldiered largely by citizens who know that since 1776 America is the country where it is safe to be a believing, practicing, proselytizing Christian and Jew. Their troops will advocate the big ideas, the worldview supporting American Civilization and the West, namely, Judeo-Christian thought. This side will show tolerance for the Moslems, the pagans, the atheists among us, but not cede the nation to their hyphenated ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

America faces a long, long perilous WW-T and ACW II indeed. May the God of America’s Founders, the God of Jesus Christ and Abraham, have mercy on us all. May God Bless America. In God We Trust.

James Atticus Bowden

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | September 8, 2018

Draining the D.C. Swamp

The swamp needs to be drained.

Drain the D.C. Swamp of Power and Money

The Virginia First Foundation educates and advocates for Virginians to advance the Rule of Law. Draining the swamp in Washington D.C. is necessary to that purpose. Recently, Victor Davis Hansen made podcast on shifting power outside of Washington and the big city bubbles where the Left rules. His take on the politics of geography was interesting, but missed the heart of the matter. We don’t need to farm out government bureaucrats. America needs to move money and power out, not people. The D.C. Swamp is all about power and money. Draining the swamp means draining significant power and money out of Washington. It can be done.

Consider how the Soviet Empire crumbled in the early 90s. The Union of Soviet Socialists Republics was held together by one thing – the Communist Party. The Party had to be destroyed to break up the Soviet Union. The experienced, crafty party boss, Boris Yeltsin, knew the center of gravity for party power. Ironically for the Communists, it was all about the money. Yeltsin levied a huge tax on every party asset – building, resort, car, bank account, etc. and the Communist Party went out of business in weeks. They couldn’t pay their own operatives to make a counter coup. Communist Party control was over.

In America, the Left captured and controls key institutions – the Federal Government – as well as parts of state and local governments, Education, Entertainment, Large Corporations and Foundations, and some Religious Denominations in part or completely. Money circulates among these institutions like the water filling a swamp. Draining the swamp means stopping the money that flows in, even as the money already there is drained out.

The biggest ditch needed moves money from the Federal Government to the States. Consider our Commonwealth. Virginia sends about $80b in taxes to the Federal Government every year. Our biennial budget is about $50b a year. If half of Virginia’s taxes stayed in Virginia and were spent by the Commonwealth, then Virginia would be spending $90b a year. Significant political power would shift to Richmond – and 49 other state capitols.

Here are ways to move the money and power away from the Federal government.  It’s a good start.

    1. Send Medicaid, then Medicare, and then Social Security back to the states. Grandfather whoever needs the current system for “poor promises made, poor promises kept”. Sunset the grandfather clause for each socialized program appropriately. It’s Constitutional and sweeping to create 50 laboratories of democratic representative innovation.
    2. Stop Federal funding of higher education. Reducing the federal debt by billions reduces personal debt for millions of Millennials pursuing degrees of diminishing value. It gets the Feds out of more un-Constitutional business while it reduces the cultural rot of providing socialist paradises – called college campuses – to indoctrinate a generation. When the Left laments about such a loss to “education”, tell their foundations, corporations and ultra-rich pay to cover the cost. This must be messaged very carefully.
    3. Tax “Overpaid” entertainers – including musicians, sports figures, etc. – fairly to ‘ fix’  income inequality.  Tax the super rich based on the number of days they actually work and in relationship to the lowest paid co-workers. So, if a star makes 500 times what the lowest worker makes in the same day’s work, create a special tax for every dollar more than, say, 10 times what the lowest worker makes.
      • A fair tax example: “Overpaid” Sports Star X earns $1m in one year. If he actually goes to a work 200 days a year, then divide $1m by 200 = $50k @ day income. Say the lowest worker makes $100 @ day. Then, the first $1000 dollars the star makes are taxed normally – up to 10 times the worker’s daily $100. But, the extra $49k the star averages, in one day, has 50% surtax, so the star keeps $1k + $24.5k = $25.5k. Then, the $25.5k is taxed normally, just as the worker’s $100 is.
      • The 50% surtax is only an example. The surtax could be a graduated rate – since Liberals like that – or a per cent above a fixed amount or ratio of income inequalities.
    4. Tax foundations that don’t distribute significant portions of their funds.  Require foundations to distribute at least 10% of their cumulative wealth every year. If they fail to distribute 10%, tax them up to 10% or more of their cumulative wealth
    5. Tax non-religious non-profits based on their administrative overhead payoffs.  If the administrative costs exceed 10% of total revenue, tax on a sliding scale with the higher administrative overhead being taxed at a higher rate.
      • Consider applying the “Overpaid” tax to bloated salaries. Take the daily income of the lowest paid worker in the corporation paying Fat Cat Relative or In-Law Executive X and assign a scale that taxes an increasing per cent for every multiple the Fat Cat earns more than the lowest paid worker. Or, above a point – say ten times the wage of the lowest worker – there is a 50% surtax on every extra dollar paid.
    6. Reduce existing IRS code 100 pages a year. Or, reduce 10 pages for every one page added per year. Go to flat tax. End earned income credit. There are many ways to reduce taxes, but every single reduction keeps capital alive in the economy – which grows even more capital
    7. Impeach judges. The first time a Congressman does his duty to impeach a judge for high crimes and misdemeanors – like making up law, it may be like Wilberforce’s first bill to end slavery in the British Parliament. But, duty and justice will gain strength and succeed. Start at any level of the judiciary – against the first, worst case of writing laws from the bench
    8. Congressional retirement, medical benefits, and special medical facilities. Grandfather in serving congressmen, if you must, but the optics for this reform are powerful. Establish a Congressional 401k fund and use the same health plan as any government worker in DC. Ending political careerism requires ending the incentives for a career.
    9. Establish social networking as free speech.  Establish a threshold that constitutes “public” use and, hence, protections provided individuals in the public square. Whether it’s 100k, 1m, or far less, it keeps the Left from censoring speech, especially Christian and conservative free speech. If necessary, the “hate speech” can be identified by the social network provider, along with a justification, and labeled, but not censored.   Apply the established legal standards which work for private persons today.
    10. End social engineering in the federal government and federal contracting. End identity politics. End special months and events based on identity.

It’s hard to imagine the Left being any more insane, raging angry, or hysterical than they are now, but these reforms would push them further into their excesses. The howling will serve as an applause meter for how well these reforms will drain the swamp.

All Patriots elected to political offices need to dig these ditches and drain the D.C. Swamp. Establishment politicians need not apply.

The Virginia First Foundation  

 

Visit The Virginia First Foundation on Facebook!

Old saying in many variations. Still true.

 

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | August 1, 2018

50 Years Ago I Stepped Off the Side of the Earth

Inside the cover of the last issue of The Pointer magazine for my class. The other cover showed our 1st Class – Senior – photos.  The ID pictures were taken July 1st, 1968.  The day I stepped off the side of the earth.

50 Years Ago I Stepped Off the Side of the Earth

I’ve been fumbling with the words telling the fifty year old tale for a month. The competing messages step on each other’s transmissions – if you know military field radio talk. And, “If you know” is precisely the problem in communicating several messages at the same time. The reader has to know something about what you write to understand what you mean. But, no one, other than an Old Grad from the same era, knows the ‘something’ about West Point from after WW II to 1977 when girls were admitted. Graduates of institutions that emulated West Point had similar experiences, but back then no one gave a young man the full Monty, stepping of the side of the earth, real deal hell like the United States Military Academy at West Point did. None.

The training from July 1st to Labor Day was called “Beast Barracks” because we the beasts were to be broken and trained with bestiality and admitted to the Corps of Cadets only after surviving the summer. The measure of success for the cadre was how many New Cadets quit. Nowadays the measure of success is how many men and women stay. The difference is significant.

No one was trying to teach us leadership. They were trying to break us. We were supposed to learn to be good followers. We had to demonstrate complete, absolute compliance to rigid details for the silly and the sublime. We learned to follow orders to the letter and spirit of the command. It seems to me that it worked.

Some of my classmates recoil at the trivial and, often, sadistic techniques employed then and cheer West Point as it is now as a better place. I don’t want that discussion. I just want to share that fifty years ago I joined the rest of 1,244 boys – and stepped off the side of the earth. Four very long years later I joined 822 young men in graduating with a Second Lieutenant’s commission in the Regular Army and a Bachelor of Science degree.

That summer shook me to my core. Nothing ever tested me as thoroughly as that long Plebe year. Death of my wife was more emotionally wrenching. Ranger School and training in the Infantry was more physically demanding. Failures and challenges in family, career, and personally were more stressful mentally and psychologically. But nothing acted as holistically on me as a man – ever.  And, surviving Plebe year prepared me for every hardship and challenge to come.

West Point was a total institution. More so than many prisons in 1968. Everything was taken away from us as individuals and given back in tiny pieces as rewards for approved behavior. West Point was a very large “Skinner Box”. Everything, including our underwear and eyeglasses, was removed. All of our personal possessions, like a trusty alarm clock, address book and a pen, fit in a small personal lock box about the size of a loaf of bread.

Meanwhile, there was a lot of yelling. Inches from your face. In your ears. Red-faced screaming with the spittle splashing on you. Also, we were the last class to officially “brace”. Bracing is an exaggerated position of attention with your chin pushed back into your neck. If you do it hard enough, the pressure of your neck can sweat a penny to a wall. It’ll stay up when you step forward. Trust me. There were other tortures that are very funny among classmates in the re-telling. Not eating was popular.  Not so much at the time.

The hazing was on purpose. It was all part of “The Fourth Class System”.   Our entire Plebe Year the Fourth Class System was systematically studied by USMA. The basic idea was leaders had to learn to be good followers first. Classmates needed to learn to work closely together to build bonds of unswerving trust and loyalty. Over the decades, many things, silly stuff, had become tradition. West Point was like a tradition of traditions steeped in precedent based on history confirmed by status quo.

The topper was the totality of this strange, isolated place focused on war. War, war, war.

It was the height of the Vietnam War. We expected to go to the long war in Vietnam. The Vietnam War was unpopular. That’s why we’re the “Bottom of the Barrel” Class of 1972. We’re the only class ever, even when a handful of cadets entered a class, where every fully qualified nominee was accepted. Four or five thousand young men applied but only 1,245 were fully qualified mentally, physically and socially – or whatever they called citizenship, sports, leadership, etc. – for a minimum “Whole Man Score.”

The Army Officers in charge didn’t intervene in the bedlam run by youngsters only a couple of years older than us. As we were hazed, about 300 young soldiers our age were getting killed in Vietnam every week that summer. Our trials were meant to wean our ranks of weaklings, harden us, prepare us to follow, and then lead in combat.

I was 17 years old when I entered. By Labor Day, when I’d gone from 166 lbs to 132 lbs, broken an elbow, had a leg infection and toenail cut out, and not had a “bad” Beast compared to my classmates, I knew I was different. Deep inside, I felt a hard toughness.

My manhood was tested and not found wanting.

My identity changed.  My desire to live – Duty, Honor, Country – became consuming.  My devotion to the U.S. Army became absolute.  My loyalty to my classmates became unquestioning. My earnest, heartfelt ambition became serving in all things in a manner to earn and keep the respect of my classmates. My affection grew, and still does, to care for these other men – my band of brothers. My Christianity was strengthened and centered.  All of this happened when I stepped off the side of the earth.

Proud and True, Class of 1972, USMA.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | May 31, 2018

Seek God First In All Things

Seek in all things = Everything from rising to resting

Our new pastor, Scott Wade, led a unique worship service on his first day.  Wednesday night Bible study transformed to scripture reading and prayer.  I was asked to prepare a written prayer on “Seek God First in All Things.”

I didn’t seek God first when I was young.  I learned, the hard way, that when I do seek God first – before I decide, speak, or act – things go much better.  Duh, me.  I’m far from perfect at seeking the Lord God’s Will first, but I’m getting a lot better – and so is my life.  More joy, peace, contentment than I’ve known – ever.  Even with residual grieving as a constant companion  – more joy, peace and contentment.

A Prayer to Seek God First In All Things

Oh, great, true, one, only, living, holy, holy, holy God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – You care about the new beginning for Emmaus Baptist Church. Lord, You care for each man and woman who are Your living body in this church.  You make Your Sanctuary in our bodies to physically live inside us. You have a plan for each of us individually and all of us as a body.

The Word of God says “In the beginning, God”. Lord God, You are the start of all things. You are the beginning and the end. The alpha and the omega. You are the God of all things from the infinitesimally small to the infinitesimally large. From the atom to the whole of the universe. From numbering the hairs on our head, to naming each one of ten thousand billion stars, to knowing when a single sparrow falls. You are all knowing, all powerful, and all loving.

In Your unfailing lovingkindness You care about our every single thought, word, and deed. Your caring love poured out when Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 – “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Brothers and sisters, let’s pray together to seek God first in all things. Let us live lives of prayer without ceasing, so we constantly communicate with the Lord Jesus Christ before we decide, speak, or act.

Let us ask the Lord God without ceasing, “What is Your Will? What should I say? What should I do? How can I serve you? How can I worship You in praise and good works? How can I love others?

Please, Lord Jesus Christ, open our minds and hearts to seek You First and have You lead our lives in every aspect, every day, from rising to resting.

Oh, dear, wonderful, kind, loving, generous, faithful, courageous, good, holy Jesus please help us to seek God:

  • Seek God first: in our faith, our walk, our witness, our worship, our testimony, our fellowship, our service, our teaching, our preaching, our good works, our prayers, our agape love for others and
  • Seek God first: in our marriages, parenting our children, loving our grandchildren and all family, being sons, daughters, sisters and brothers, close kin and in all of our relationships, our philos, eros, and storge love, and
  • Seek God first: in our work, our retirement, our finances, our giving, our saving, our planning, our planting and harvesting and
  • Seek God first: in our health, our diet, our exercise, our medicine, our illness, our injury and suffering, our praise and joy in baptisms, marriages and births, our mourning and grieving, and our eventual death in this body and
  • Seek God first: to recover from every sin of our thought, word and deed, from our every falling and failing, from everything someone did to us and we did by thought or flesh in return, every slight we haven’t forgiven yet and all forgiveness due us, from our every accident or ill will felt, fear, anxiety, hurt, addiction, affliction, hardship and tragedy that carries the seeds of bitterness and
  • Seek God first: in our past times and pleasures, our hobbies, our sports, our earthly fancies, our entertainment and reading and
  • Seek God first: in our other communities as neighbors, citizens, voters, Bull Islanders and Move-Ins, Virginians, and Americans and
  • Seek God first: to know His Will for what each man and woman in Emmaus is to do and what we are to do as a body. Help us fight Satan when he arises against us – as he will. And, please Lord Jesus, help us do Your Will with a happy and grateful heart.

If we seek God first in all things, trust and obey – truly – we will be amazed at what God does with Emmaus and in each of us and for everyone we love.

We promise to seek God first in all things.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

With great gratitude,

James Atticus Bowden

May 30th, 2018

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 30, 2018

Lord, Give Us Poquoson!

As Knox was to Scotland, let us be to Poquoson – and Tabb, Virginia

This morning I “walked the aisle” for the fourth time.  If you are an Evangelical Protestant Christian, you know what I mean.

I walked the first time just right before I turned 13 in an Army chapel in Fontenet, France.  I made my profession of belief, had a interview with a Southern Baptist Chaplain – we didn’t have one at our little post, and was baptized.  I remember riding my bicycle the night before baptism around and around our housing area, thrilled at being saved.

The second time was in my current church – Emmaus (pronounced Emmy-us in Poquoson, Virginia!) Baptist.  I moved my membership for the first time in 26 years from Memphis, Tennessee to here.

The third time was when I decided to run for Congress in September 2007 after our Congresswoman died suddenly.  I told the preacher I was running and I wanted my every thought, word and deed to be in His Will – for whatever results happened.  The preacher, who later gave the message for my late wife in Arlington, said that even if I never did anything but teach the senior men’s Sunday School class, please let me be in His Will.

Today was the fourth.  We have not had a full time minister for 17 months.  Our interim preacher, Tag Kilgore, is one of the best preachers I’ve ever heard in my life.  The very best.  But, he doesn’t want another full time church.

The candidate selected by our church search committee came to meet the congregation yesterday and preach today – followed by a vote.  I didn’t know who the committee had chosen until I walked into the gathering yesterday.  It’s Scott Wade.  I know Scott from 17 years ago.

Scott Wade was the leader for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for The Peninsula and Middle Peninsula of Virginia.  My youngest daughter was in the ‘Huddle’ in her high school.  I loved his heart for kids – and his passion for them to the know the Lord Jesus Christ.   Moreover, his organization and their summer camp was a life-changing experience for my youngest daughter, Maggie Kyle.  She gave her life to the Lord at camp.  She meant it and has lived up to it.

After Scott spoke yesterday, I told our congregation that my daughter was raising a new generation of Christian women and a man, because of ‘that man there’.   And I spoke a few words about his loving heart.

Today, Scott’s sermon was the story in Mark 2:1-12 about the paralytic lowered through the roof for Jesus to heal.  Scott talked about the perspective of everyone in the story.  He ended his sermon saying that as Senior Pastor he wanted to be one of the friends who pick up the corner of the mat and carry their friend to Jesus.  He wanted the church to pick up the other corners.  To serve others.  To serve our community.  To carry friends to Christ.

The church was filled with long time members.  One visitor today.  At the hymn of invitation, there were no unchurched, unbaptized people to suddenly have a conversion experience.  I felt a sudden urge to go forward.  Not as a convert, but to assure the new, young preacher of support.  It happened very fast.  I had a milli-second of second thoughts to stay put, but my feet started moving.  I was walking down the aisle.  When I got to him, I shook his hand and hugged him.  I said, “I’ll pick up a corner.”  He said, “I know, Brother.”

I stood aside.  As the hymn played on. seven to nine others (I lost count) came up to assure him.  It was a powerful moment for us who did so.

The music ended.  He left.  The church had a business meeting and voted.  The vote was unanimous!  A lady told me that was the first unanimous vote she had seen in 40 years.  The priesthood of believers can be quite contentious.

In the sermon, Pastor Wade spoke of our church mission statement to bring the Gospel to all of Poquoson (population 12,000 plus) by 2020.  It’s like when the reformer John Knox prayed and pleaded, “Give me Scotland, else I die!”  I hope that our new preacher is a reformer reaching all of Poquoson and neighboring Tabb – where he grew up.

What a happy, good day!  One body of Believers is setting out anew to serve the Risen Lord Jesus Christ.  To love God with all of our mind, heart, strength and soul.  To love others as ourselves.  To worship by living with lovingkindness to others.  To be the body, the ‘church’ in Greek in the Bible, which storms the gates of Hell.

I am thrilled.

Yes.  And Poquoson and Tabb, Virginia please.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | April 1, 2018

Sonrise Service, Easter 2018

Happy and honored for service to be at my home – Sanctuary

My church had our sunrise service at my house.  I gave the message.  How wonderful for lucky me.  Happy, thankful, humbled and pleased to offer my home and words.  Both are called “Sanctuary.”

Here is the message:

Sanctuary

Easter 2018

Happy Easter Emmaus. He is Risen!

Thank you for having our sunrise service here at my home. I moved here after my wife Katherine died. Soon after I moved in, I named my home. I named it “Sanctuary”. Welcome to Sanctuary.

The word Sanctuary is in the Bible one hundred thirty seven times.

Sanctuary is the place where God lives. Sanctuary as a place changes over time. It moves from being places to being in persons.   Easter changes the sanctuary forever. People become the sanctuary. Yet, through all the changes sanctuary remains a holy place. It has to be kept holy by humans.

In the Old Testament, the first use of sanctuary is in Exodus 15:17 as “the place, O Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established.

Part of God’s Spirit physically lived in the section of the tent tabernacle built for Him alone. Moses followed meticulous instructions to build this sanctuary. The place in the tent tabernacle where God lived was holy, holy, holy. Only the priests could go to the place where God was. In Numbers it says anyone who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death.

Why would an all loving God want to kill anyone who comes near where He lives? Because human life is far less important than the holiness of God. That’s a hard standard. His ways are not our ways. The nature of God is absolute, pure holiness and goodness. For God’s goodness to be absolute, his holiness is absolutely necessary. Nothing unholy, or unclean, can be near God. Ever. In the Old Testament sufficient holiness could be achieved through ritual sacrifices, purification and cleanliness.

Yet, even in this scary, forbidden, threatening place, we read that “the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind thoughts”.  The Hebrews couldn’t get near a fearsome God in that sanctuary, yet God knew them intimately.

King Solomon built the first temple with its sanctuary. It was still a place restricted by ritual and ceremony. Yet, Chronicles adds something new when it says the Lord will pardon he “who sets his heart on seeking God – the Lord God of His fathers, even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.”

In the tent and in the temple, God the Father, knew the hearts of men and women. Even though his sanctuary was a limited space – a small place in time –the Creator knows all of his creations.

The space for the sanctuary is outlined here on the ground. The ribbon and thread outline the 500 cubits square of the sanctuary. Look at how small it is. How it fits our human dimensions, quite unlike the expanse of The Bay before you and the sky above you. It’s very personal, unlike the millions of miles to the sun now rising or the unbelievable, deep dark outer space that is out there beyond our comprehension.  The God who created all of that universe had part of His spirit live in a sanctuary this small.

Consider the size of sanctuary in the temple and our sanctuary in our church. One fits well into the other. If part of the Lord God can live in this space, certainly he can dwell in our sanctuary.

Unfortunately, the first temple sanctuary had to be destroyed. It wasn’t kept holy. The Hebrews let ‘foreigners uncircumcised in heart and flesh into my sanctuary”. The priests “put others in charge of my sanctuary”. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations and Ezekiel describe how “you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices – I myself will withdraw my favor. I will not look on you with pity or spare you.” That’s a terrifying message.   An all loving God has consequences as severe as rewards are wonderful.

Then we read, “The Lord abandoned His sanctuary.” It gets worse.

God allowed enemies to “kill without compassion or pity” and to “begin at my sanctuary.” Thankfully, in Daniel we learn the “sanctuary will be reconstructed”.  It was rebuilt for Jesus to come and change everything. Isaiah says “the Lord Almighty, he will be a sanctuary.”

When Jesus died on the cross the curtain that closed the sanctuary was rent from top to bottom. The foot thick barrier between God and man was opened. When Jesus rose from the grave, Sanctuary stopped being a single place in time and space.

The Sanctuary on earth for the one, only, true, living God changed from a place to persons. The Lord God who lived in the tent and temple sanctuary now lives in the sanctuary you make for Him in your body. Your body is His temple.

How can an absolutely pure, holy God live in me – a filthy, sinful man? Because Jesus paid it all. The blood of Jesus washed us cleaner than the blood of animals washed the ceremonial fixtures in the old sanctuary.   Jesus was the sacrifice that took away every single sin of thought, word, and deed. The God who is holy, holy, holy could come out of the tent and temple sanctuary and live in us. We carry the sanctuary of God on earth in our bodies.

We are going to leave these bodies. I came to live here at Sanctuary when my late wife left her earthly coil. We both loved water views. I wrote in my prayer journal in 1997 that I would like a house on the water – if it is in His Will. In 2008 we had a contract for that property right over there, but Katherine wouldn’t sign it and wouldn’t say why. I was flabbergasted and frustrated. I wrote in my prayer journal, “No” to home on the water. I gave up the desire of my heart.

Last year I found in my prayer journal another message I got later about living on the water. I had written, “I’ll take care of the details” in quotes. That was in 1997. I had completely forgotten about it.

Almost 17 years after that message, the Lord truly took care of the details. I believe God gave me this home. He gave me this place of abiding beauty and abounding peace when I needed it. Not when, or how, I wanted it on my own. And, not because I deserved anything whatsoever. An all-loving God gave me an unearned gift because He is kind and generous beyond my words.

I came here to grieve. Frankly, I came to just survive the loss of my wife. I had no plans beyond that. None.

I’ve spent hours on that dock adding the salt of my tears to the salt of The Bay. I made my keening laments. Always, I thanked God for this generous gift of boundless beauty and absolute peace in between sobs. I praised Him, even when I didn’t understand anything, because I know to do so. Soon enough Psalm 20:2 spoke to me. “May he send you help from the sanctuary.”  Help came in healing. Help came as hope for good health to live to love my family, my kin, my church family, friends – and anyone who needs His agape love. To write and speak life to others.

Then, Psalm 63:2 shouted to me, “I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory.” Indeed I did. Indeed I do.

I give thanks out loud every day for the privilege of living here. I’m grateful, grateful, grateful for Sanctuary. So, I was surprised a few months ago on the 4th anniversary of Katherine’s passing when I realized that Sanctuary, my home, wasn’t about a sanctuary for me. It was about making a better place, a sanctuary, for the living God in my heart. My time here is about more than my grieving. I’ve got work to do here in reading and writing as I was commanded over 30 years ago. And I must make this a place where all who come here can open their personal sanctuary for the Lord God to enter. That’s why I’m thrilled this body of Believers is here now.

Years ago, I really don’t know when, my Katherine underlined Hebrews 13:15 in her Bible about the new sanctuary – “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of the lips that confess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

Let’s do that, Emmaus. Let’s do good. Let’s share with others. Let’s make personal sacrifices.

As I looked up Sanctuary 137 times in Katherine’s bible I found she also had underlined and circled these words in Psalm 73. “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God then I understood their final destiny.”

“My flesh and my heart fail but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish. You destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge. I will tell of all your deeds.”

Katherine highlighted all that in her Bible. Let’s do it. Let’s make a Sanctuary for the Lord in our hearts – and tell others about Jesus rising from the dead. That He is alive today.

Let’s be the Praise song that sings “Lord prepare me to be a Sanctuary. Pure and Holy. Tried and True. With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living Sanctuary for you.”

Happy Easter from Sanctuary. From my sanctuary to your sanctuary for Him.

He is Risen!

Amen.

Here is the full video: 33 minuteshttps://youtu.be/zoY2067zQOQ

Here is the last half of the message and service – which my daughter captured on my phone: 12 minutes.  https://www.facebook.com/jamesatticusbowden/videos/10155796194923071/

 

Happy Easter 2018!  He is Risen Indeed!

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 27, 2018

WW IV and a Strategy for It.

WW IV will be a long, long, long war.

This piece was published in The Patriot Post after Osama Bin Laden was killed.  It’s still valid.  “Play it again, Sam” (Bubba).

The Long War Ahead…

James Atticus Bowden · May 9, 2011

Killing OBL is a great symbolic victory. It is heady stuff. We need to return to the ‘war questions’ Americans always ask – during a war of ever changing dimensions, consequences and demands for commitment.

  • Who are we fighting?
  • Why? What are we defending?
  • What will be victory?
  • How much, how long, what risk will war cost?
  • What must I do?

America is fighting a World War against Islamists and a cultural Civil War at home.

WW-IV is on the terms of the old Roman Empire. It is the defense of Western Civilization. Our enemies will fight us for generations – even centuries – until they change their way of thinking or are conquered or we are defeated from within. Our America, as the leader of the West, has imperial responsibilities without imperial ambitions.

Moreover, our nation faces its greatest test since the American Civil War (our actual ACW II). Can a nation so powerful, so rich, and so hated for being so remain a Republic with the protected individual freedoms endowed by our Creator?

WWIV

WW IV didn’t start on September 11th, 2001. It could be dated to the first attack on the Twin Towers by Islamists in ‘93. It may have started in ’79 with the Islamist takeover of Iran. It may be ’72 with the Islamist terrorist attack at the Munich Olympics. Perhaps, it was the genocide of the Jewish village of Qurayza by Mohammed in 627 – five years into the era of the new religion of peace. For America, WW IV starts for real on 9-11. Now, five years have passed and WW IV is still fighting. WW II didn’t take this long for the U.S.

That’s because WW IV will be like our Indian Wars, not WW II. 

The ideologies motivating ruling cabals of the WW II nation-states Japan and Germany were destroyed when their governments and their military were defeated. Likewise, Saddam Hussein’s Baathist party was destroyed when his military was defeated. There is a world war because of the scale and scope of the Islamist enemy. If 10% of Muslims are Islamists then there are 120 to 150 million Islamists. Yet, the world war isn’t against a nation-state. The world war is against an ideology which is a naturally-occurring outgrowth of civilizations and their cultures based on Islam – which is so far behind the West that it is barbaric to Western Civilization.

Instead of the dreaded clash of civilizations, this world war is, today, a clash of one sub-culture in Islam against the world. Someday, it could become a full blown clash of civilizations but that reckoning is years or decades to come. The decision to make the enemy Islam more than just the Islamists will be made by Muslims, not the West.

World War IV Strategy

America’s strategy in WW I and II was offensive. America’s strategy in WW III was a global defensive based on ‘containment.’ It was genius. Nuclear weapons established a Mutual Assured Destruction standoff. Wars on the periphery and by proxy were won and lost by both Superpowers. Yet, eventually, as expected, the internal contradictions of Marxism, its inherent lies, caused its economic and political collapse. Likewise, America’s strategy in WW IV should be a global defensive – for this phase. The war, like all wars, will change over time. Someday, America might be on the strategic offense, perhaps in Europe.

WW III meant defending the Free World against an empire based on Human Secular Communist Totalitarianism. WW IV is one Uber Superpower defending against Islamist Totalitarianism. The difference from WW III is the enemy.

The great strategic situation is like Rome after the fall of Carthage. The U.S. must worry about internal civil wars and external barbarians beyond the borders of our civilization. Contain Muslims in the Islamic world. Kill Islamists where you find them. Engage Muslims worldwide with ideas about capitalism, democracy and either Christianity or Pagan Human Secularism. The war is over ideas.

About 150 million Muslims share Islamist ideas. WW IV is fighting Islamist world domination. Some claim the Islamist enemy is motivated by grievances. What rot. If every grievance were fulfilled tomorrow – from eradicating Israel to installing Muslim Mullah governments across the Islamic world to isolating their subjects from Hollywood – the Islamists would still hate us and fight to conquer the world under one Muslim Caliphate.

Since the war is about ideas, not nations, the center of gravity is people. The Islamist Muslim minority has to be held harmless. Killing them is one way. Keeping them in their own countries helps. The non-threatening Muslim majority must be engaged with ideas, lest they take the small steps from the center of their faith to become Islamists on Jihad.

The worst, immediate Islamist threat is Weapons of Mass Destruction – nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. They can’t destroy the U.S. but they can kill a lot of people and hurt the economy. The long range threat is conquering Europe by having babies. Demographics are part of destiny.

Islamists don’t pose a conventional threat – army, navy and air force. Even if they take over a Muslim country, even Pakistan, they present a military threat that can be defeated. The Islamists’ asymmetric threat is to have a population in arms or small terror cells in direct action. Immigration is their bloodless invasion of the West.

Any strategy must use Muslim allies wherever possible. Old alliances, like NATO, can serve well as long as Europe has any will to survive. New ad hoc alliances will arise as the occasions demand.

The strategic stage may look Roman in scope, but the nature of the fight is our Indian Wars.

Our Indian Wars were a fight between American Civilization and many sub-cultures of Indian nations. They started in 1607 and ended in 1890. 283 years. That’s the kind of war we are in now. American Civilization had a Magnificent Destiny to spread the American ‘Empire’ across a continent. The Indian cultures (they hadn’t risen to civilizations yet), based on a Neolithic culture were so barbarian that Indians are referred to as ‘savages’ in our Declaration of Independence. Indian tribes and American Civilization could not co-exist in the same place and time.

Today, America must protect the golden goose of capitalism and flame of freedom in our country and among the Allies of the Willing. Our imperial responsibilities without imperial ambitions are to maintain zones of peace and security – which may become zones of prosperity and freedom. Unlike occupying a continent, our mission is to keep the Islamists out of our continent. Also, the U.S. must attack and destroy the Islamists on a case by case basis. Containing them in the Muslim world is vital until, and if, Muslims have their own Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, and, maybe, Great Awakenings. Or, until they convert to Christianity. This is a mission for decades, if not centuries.

Roman Legions lived and died in places they hated for over 400 years (1200 years for Roman Byzantium). The Romans won battles and lost whole legions, but as long as Rome was willing to send reinforcements, Rome crushed any contender – like the siege of Masada – to send a message. Afghanistan (OEF) and Iraq (OIF) told enemies how far and how much the U.S. would do to defeat a threat.

Like Rome, ambitious immigrants are drawn to our power and wealth while everyone else in the known world will hate, fear, resent, and envy us – regardless of how we use our power and wealth. The purpose of our power is to create ‘security and stability’ within real limits in the world order. Such is the odd lot of the reluctant Imperial Uber-Super Power of insular Americans.

Likewise, the small, hard professional army, our U.S. Army, fought battle after battle, called wars, through the later half of the Indian Wars (1608-1890). The culture of each Indian tribe shaped the circumstances of each unique war. Similarly, the transforming Army that evolves after deployment upon deployment will be different from the popular, citizen soldiers of the occasional large conflict.

Rome’s decline from Republic to dictatorship to ruin began when Roman law became what men said it meant. When Rome wouldn’t man its own Legions, the long decline tipped. Rome had the means, but lacked the Will to survive.

The Indian Wars were a different war of National survival, because the no-quarter clash of cultures was confined to the frontier. The understanding of the wars changed with each mile and year an American was removed from the threat of being killed by Indians. The experiment with democracy in the Middle East means little at this time, despite the blather about an Arab Spring. Any progress can come undone quickly. This is the Middle East. Its understanding of democracy and the Rule of Law is about where England was when the Magna Charta was signed in 1215.

The future of WW IV will be raids, support for friendly regimes, and occasional regime changes as needed. Eventually, our Homeland security should fear less about racial and religious profiling and focus more on criminal identification. Yet, as that simple issue shows, the domestic conflict between Liberals who will surrender – eventually – and Conservatives who will never surrender – ever – will worsen. Eventually, our domestic struggle, our third American Civil War, will get resolved and one worldview will become our consensus culture. Until that day, America stands divided, and potentially as weak, as Rome before the Barbarians.

Remember Beslan as well.

On September 3, 2004 the Islamist Totalitarians deliberately murdered children in Beslan, Russia. The targeting of children in Beslan foreshadows the vicious terrorism against families in WW IV.

This is the depravity of evil. The evil is real. It’s not the aerial or belt bombs. The evil is in the bombers themselves.

WW IV will likely be decades longer than WW III. WW IV will have a savagery that butchery in Beslan only hints. It will be different from other world wars, but like the U.S. Indian wars (1608-1892). The Nazi and Soviet Communist Totalitarianisms in World Wars II and III had limits. The Nazi’s didn’t commit chemical war, when they could have. The Communists avoided a nuclear Armageddon and acknowledged mutual deterrence. Yet, the Islamists are motivated, not constrained, by their interpretations of Islam. Every non-Muslim or wrong kind of Muslim to the Islamists – women, children, aged seniors – is the enemy. Anyone can be killed with impunity and cruelty by any means – nothing is too brutal, too horrible.

Well-warned of Islamist terror knowing no bounds, what then for American Civilization? Understand what ‘winning’ means for WW IV. Have the Will for the ‘how’ to win WW IV. Hold realistic expectations for how very, very long the war, how varied the campaigns, how terrible the possible casualties among our innocents as well as soldiers.

Winning WW IV means defeating the culture that produces Islamists. Victory can come from within Islam with a Reformation and Enlightenment. Or, defeat can follow outside ideas, like Christianity or Human Secular Paganism, that overwhelm and discredit the currency of Islam that creates Islamist terrorists.

Until 1.2 billion Muslims can’t count 150 million Islamists among their numbers, the Islamists must be contained. Keeping Islamist fighting troops out of America means severely limiting, or ending, immigration from every Islamist-producing land across the globe. The Liberals will call such restrictions ‘racial profiling’. The priest-king judges will legislate from the bench to open the U.S. to terrorists, but the judges can be defrocked by any Congress and President who summon the courage to do their Constitutional duties.

It means protecting the free speech of all Americans to criticize Islam chapter and verse. To mock it as they like and disdain it as it deserves.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | March 23, 2018

L’Affaire Burgos

Fredy Burgos is about to be kicked off the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee for what he said and wrote.  I was on State Central from 2000 to 2012.  Jeff Frederick was removed as the Party Chairman in 2009.  I wrote about L’Affaire Frederick in 2009. I stopped running for Party office in 2012, so I haven’t been involved in L’Affaire Burgos. I’m sure L’Affaire Frederick is quite different from L’Affaire Burgos. Yet, in a Virginia political party issue the same processes and political theater of party politics may be working. Who knows?

Here is what I wrote then. If you can only read a bit, read numbers 10 and 16.

1.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/06/jeff-fredericks-gathering-storm/

2.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/11/one-republican-stands-up-for-jeff-frederick/

3.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/re-jeff-frederick-a-citizen-responds-to-the-establishment-republicans/

4.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/the-robo-call-for-and-against-jeff-frederick/

5.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/12/another-letter-for-jeff-frederick/

6.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/14/some-real-grassroots-support-for-jeff-frederick/

7.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/follow-the-whispering-campaign-against-jeff-frederick/

8.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/16/another-real-grassroots-person-for-jeff-frederick/

9.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/17/the-state-central-committee-votes-for-itself/

10.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/18/hanging-vs-lynching/

11.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/21/letter-to-1-cd-on-jeff-frederick/

12.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/jeff-fredericks-innocent-but-hang-him-anyway/

13.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/26/jeff-frederick-lynched-or-burned-at-the-stake/

14.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/03/31/2-political-abortions-hb-3202-laffaire-frederick/

15.https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/04/04/laffaire-frecerick-cest-finis/

16. https://jatticus.wordpress.com/2009/04/06/laffaire-frederick-one-post-mortem-on-scc/

I get emails from RPV regularly. They’re noteworthy in how predictable they are. And, it’s always interesting in what’s never in their content. Like, why did Republicans in the House of Delegates betray the Virginia Republican Creed with their foolish vote to expand Medicaid?

Look forward to hearing the different reviews on the political theater of L’Affaire Burgos when it is over.

Posted by: James Atticus Bowden | November 25, 2017

The Day After Thanksgiving

In Nellie’s hand on the first page of her Bible. Found in the first hours preparing for her memorial service in 2013.

“It’s that time of year” has an additional special meaning for family and loved ones of my late wife, Nellie Katherine Kyle Bowden. The day after Thanksgiving is when she had a massive stroke. She died 10 days later. It was 4 years ago.

My youngest daughter, Maggie, wrote a beautiful piece about her thoughts and emotions now. (http://nonotmargaret.blogspot.com/2017/11/let-it-be.html)

Today, is the day after Thanksgiving 2017. I finished the long drive from one daughter with three children’s house – and a Thanksgiving meal shared with son and his dear girlfriend to another daughter and three children’s house. It was a beautiful autumn day on the Southern roads I’ve traveled for over 45 years. I played my personal music downloaded to my phone. Each piece evoked its particular memories. When I heard “Annie’s Song,” which I sang to my wife so many times, I wept.

Grief keeps a room in my heart. And in my mind.

Meanwhile, gratitude is expanding a room, building a mansion, in the same places.

There’s a swinging door connecting grief and gratitude. An old memory or new event moves me from one to the other, back again, and more back and forth. I spend more time in gratitude today than I imagined possible. I’m grateful beyond any expectation.

I feel like I’m living the Country song, “Live like you are dying.” I’m grateful for every day. I’m more humbled than I can write with words that our Lord God would give me such gifts in daily living – I don’t deserve and haven’t earned.

Sometimes when I’m alone, I speak as if Nellie were in the room. I tell her that I love her. Then, I get busy living, especially because she isn’t here. There are two grandchildren she never loved in the flesh. There are six grandchildren and three adult progeny who need their mom. I do the best I can as Pater Familias. I’ll continue with a grateful heart for as long as I can.

I still find it hard to understand that the complete years – 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 – knew her not. There’s nothing of her in those years, except loss and grief. Yet, for me, those years are also about living – to be busy loving. There’s been a lot of living in those four years. And sweet lovingkindness.

I’m grateful for every opportunity I’ve had to just love God and others. I grateful for anytime I gave lovingkindness. Don’t misread, I’m not Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. I’m just a man.

I got to experience how my friend Danny Goad’s grandfather was right when he told the young widower Danny, that “God doesn’t add to the human heart, He multiplies.”

Also, while my medical records document my aging ailments, often I feel as vigorous, alive, and excited about life as I did in my 20s. Clearly, I’m not that young and strong, but I feel “super duper, paratrooper.” I believe it comes from and with gratitude.

This day after Thanksgiving, 2017, I testify to that grief and gratitude co-exist. I praise God for His wonderful Grace. I’m grateful, grateful, grateful.

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