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The Joy of the Lord is my strength
by Mary Alice Bowles
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I cannot write on this page how pretty the day is here in my home town of Austin, Indiana. This beauty cannot be measured in words no matter how hard I would try, not even the best writer in the world in any century could write down the beauty of this day.

I stepped out the back door this morning and the summer air of autumn hit me in the face and yes I wrote the sentence right, the summer air of autumn hit me in the face. It was so electric like the warmth was coming from a different source, I turned my face toward the sky and a bounce got in my feet, and peace invaded my soul, I could feel the light touch me all over as the smell of the Autumn Love Vine paraded around in my nasal cavity. The blue sky spoke to me with magical songs of yester year and I began to sing a happy song, my voice rolling over and over in a mellow tone of Kentucky splendor.. ha ha

If the neighbors were listening, they were hearing, "It's such a pretty world today, look at the sunshine and the next part went like this, "Today and every day since I met you"!
I sung it over and over again skipping in the air and acting like a complete nut..
Suddenly this thought went click and some where in my past a voice said, "Mary Alice you are not suppose to sing those diddies." that is what my mom called love songs, "diddies". I was in a lot of trouble when she called me Mary Alice!
I wanted to argue with the voice, but I could not argue with that mommy voice.

I looked at the blue sky once again and started singing it again, only a little louder, but this time I had one of the loves of my life around the neck, Miss Bella Marie Bowles. our German Shepard Collie Mix hound, I stroked her ears and rubbed her head and told her in no uncertain singing terms in that Kentucky drawl, "It's such a pretty world today, look at the sunshine, today and every day since I met you, it's such a pretty world today, look at the sunshine, today and every day since I met you!
She gave me that look as if to say, "Ok Mamaw, I've seen you act silly now for about three years and nothing you can do will surprise me", but Mamaw I still love you!' Ruff, ruff!!!

I quit singing long enough to go to the mail box and grab the mail and that was the start of it all! There was a letter from our insurance company that carries the insurance on our house. It said, "Important message inside, open immediately". That letter disturbed me beyond words..

A couple weeks ago, the owner of the insurance company drove up and parked beside our house and I went outside to talk to him, not knowing what he needed. He said that the insurance company needed a new picture of our house and I said to him, "I wish I had known, so I could have spruced the yard up a little bit." And instantly I started removing things off the front porch that I did not want in the picture.

Now I know that our yard is a jungle, but it is my yard and I love vines and flowers and trees plus bushes because our yard is a sanctuary for birds and other wild creatures of the forest that seem to wander into our yard and stay awhile, actually it is a certified back yard habitat.

The letter stated this and I will put it in as few words as I can, "You must eliminate all the vines from the house and the building to remain with our insurance company and you must have it done by the next renewal of your home owners policy"!

Needless to say, I was at the point of tears when I picked the phone up and dialed his number, and the person on the other end of the phone answered me and said, "Hello, Mrs. Bowels, can I help you "? And I replied by saying it is Bowles, not bowels!"And she said, "I am so sorry"! With a slight giggle I said, "That is OK, because I have been called bowles it seems like a hundred years now.."

Well anyway she told me that Mr. company owner was helping someone else right now and could she please help me and could I tell her what was wrong and I preceded to tell her all the details and I told her I needed to talk to him and ask him if I had to cut the English Ivy from the front porch for it has been there for thirty years..
She said, 'OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" and she said that she would have him call me back and that has been three hours ago and I am now still waiting for him to call.

Well, my husband George is a very late sleeper and basically I have to be by his side at all times, because he has been diagnosed with Dementia and sometimes he falls right in the middle of the floor for no apparent reason especially when he is getting out of bed and it seems to happen when I am out of the room or gone outside for something.

I woke him up about noon and ask him if he wanted to get up or wait awhile longer and he said, " I want to stay in bed awhile longer', so I said, "Ok, now just don't try to get out of bed, I will be back in just a little while, I have to go outside and cut some vines down from around our house."!

I went outside and grabbed the big long red hedge trimmers and went to work. I popped those vines off our house left and right and stood back and took a look and then this little voice inside my head says, "That sure looks better"! I kept it a secret to myself because I did not want anyone to know that I felt that way!! Not even me...

At one point I could not get the big heavy vine to fall off the house, so I grab hold on it with the sharp end of the hedge trimmers and gave a hard yank and kept on yanking and the last thing I knew before I went flying through the air is, "Oh Lord I am going to get hurt"! The hedge trimmers went flying though the air and I when whirling through the air at the same amount of speed. I kept falling and falling and falling and it took me forever to hit the ground, over rocks and bushes and tree limbs, and I finally landed with the side of my head laying on a piece of Mimosa tree and my head propped upon my arm like I had planned to lay there and watch TV or something.

The first thought I had was, "Oh no, I have broken my bad hip", and then the next thought I had was, "Oh Lord I am surely killed."!
I lay there all alone out in our yard by the fence just kind of recapping my life and surely wondering how in the world am I going to pull myself up from here because my neck is injured and I feel the pain already and I cannot use my hip to get up out of the floor inside my house let alone out here laying on the ground. I have to have something
to pull too to get up from a laying down position. Suddenly, I heard this inner voice say to me, "The joy of the Lord is my strength"! My mind said, "What"?
And then my voice rang out and I heard myself say at a loud worshiping level, "THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH, THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH"!
I rolled over pulled myself up and grabbed my trimming scissors and went back to work.


I am a preacher and yesterday which was Sabbath morning, I had to preach for our pastor because he is in the hospital after having open heart surgery and the name of my sermon was, "THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH"!
And I drove the point home, over and over telling that congregation that, "The Joy Of Lord is Our Strength." At one point I even ask them to repeat it with me...

The joy of the Lord is my strength!
And I love this one in James:
"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing."


Oh yes, Mister Company Owner called about five or so that day and he was really nice about it and told me that it was the underwriter that ordered all this and not him. I answered him by telling him about my day and I said, "I am telling you this to bless you"! Then I told him, "The Joy of the Lord is my strength!"

The end of this little story is for me, I get to keep my English Ivy!! Praise God!

Copyright: Mary Alice Bowles
October 24, 2012


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