Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Letting Go of Pride: Dancing Like a KING!

Greetings, to all my friends and neighbors out there in Internet Land! And, to you few family members who stumbled on this, I hope you already have all the necessary supplies to put together your Thanksgiving feast.
We are low on table salt, ourselves, but, as my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, stands between me and the salt with a flaming sword in her hand, I guess that's just the way it's going to be. 
If any of you, friends, family, whatever,  find yourself looking for a place to eat food and give thanks tomorrow,  come on by the house. If it ain't already cooked, I have discovered that a pressure cooker can do wonderful things in a short amount of time.  If we run out of chairs, we have plenty of floor space.

I have some surprising news for you: I am not a king, nor any sort of ruler.
And yet, I wish to have the attitude of a king!
(King David, to be exact).

When reproached for abandoning himself to the joyous celebration of the LORD's mighty power and deliverance, and appearing to be without dignity, he replied:
"I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes..."
If you want to look it up, it's II Samuel, chapter 6. The quote above is the first part of verse 22, but you need go back at least to verse 12 to get the context.

I'm not sure exactly when the idea of kingly humility became desirable to me. I know, FOR SURE, it wasn't a part of my make-up as a young man. I could give you example after example of how I sought glory and avoided humiliation, but I'll limit it to this one:
It's 1971. I'm a brand-new 18 year-old college freshman, and I've just gone for a successful job interview, which was part of my financial aid package. I'm exuberant! On my way back to my car, I cut across an medical building lawn. Midway across, I stumble over an irrigation valve, somewhat hidden in the grass. Thinking fast! I decide I don't want anyone watching out the windows to be amused at my clumsiness, so I start acting like I walk that way, in a hippie-dippie dance of joyous celebration of life, or something. 
Twelve years later, I'm about to be a parent for the first time. And I suppose I have learned to let go of supposed pride a bit by then. Evidence: one of the promises I made to myself was that I was always going to be honest with my son; and that if I ever made a mistake in my treatment of him, I was going to promptly admit it to him; and do what I needed to do to make it up to him. You know what? I'm reasonably sure that's one promise I've kept, with all my kids.

It had an unexpected benefit: over the years, there have been times with ALL my kids when they disagreed with some decision I had made, and they didn't like it, and so forth, rinse and repeat. However, I found that I was always able to say to them:
Listen, I know you think I'm wrong about this. Maybe I am, but I don't think so. But, you KNOW that if I find out I'm wrong, I'm gonna admit it, and I'm gonna fix it. Right?
Grudgingly, maybe, they agree, and the situations resolve. I think of it as if I have been making deposits in the First Trust Bank of Papa's Kids for all these years, and I have enough of a balance that I can draw on it. (And I have no idea how often I've been wrong. Ask my kids.)

So, on Monday, I was Papa-sitting three of my grandchildren:

Brave (3), Blue Bird (1), Bro Bro (6)

Through misunderstanding of my instructions from Mama, I put all three of the kids down for naps at noon-ish.

Heath, which is Bro Bro's legal name, was flabbergasted. Let me cut to the chase: he could not imagine that his mother had told me to put him down for a nap, and he wanted me to check with Mum. I did NOT want to disturb Mum, who was on a Mission From God, to ask about something that was perfectly clear in my mind. After a somewhat protracted discussion, which NEVER, EVER escalated to temper or tears, Heath accepted that I did, in fact, have the authority to put him down for a nap, even if that seemed utterly ridiculous. And he went to bed.

About 10 minutes later, Mum called to check on status. I passed along that I had just gotten them all down for bed. With alacrity not found in most inhabited regions of the universe, she quickly disabused me of the idea that Heath was to take a nap. Mum was dreadfully apologetic, thinking the error was hers, but it wasn't. I was even able to identify where I went wrong, as if it mattered. But, what I did next, DID matter.

I joyfully dragged my ancient carcass up those blessed stairs to the boys' bedroom, and summoned Heath. I told him that he was right, and that I was wrong, and that Mum had just clarified things for me. 
And I told him how impressed I was that he had been so cooperative, and BOTH parts of that statement are true! He HAD been cooperative, more so than could reasonably be expected for a young man in the first grade, and I WAS impressed with the way he handled my error.

I passed the information along to Mum and Dad when they returned from their (successful) Mission From God, to emphasize what a wonderful character their first-born son demonstrated. And then, Papa Pat got the Great Big Blessing.

Dad praised and encouraged Heath for his behavior, and gave him some other examples of adults who made mistakes, and needed to fix them (which the Mission From God was designed to redress), and then he said:
"And you know how when I make a mistake, I always admit it to you and make it up to you?" Heath nodded, enthusiastically. "Well," Dad points to me, "he's the one who taught me to do that."
Beloved, beloved, beloved: in my heart then, and now as I recount it to you, I am dancing like a king.
May you find such moments in your life.

Peace be on your household.

(P.S. Evidently, I am supposed to explicitly state that when you click on a book link here, Amazon knows that you were referred by me. And, if you actually BUY the book, I get some paltry amount (2.39%, I believe) for having made the referral. I thought it was public knowledge, because it's right there in the referral link, industry standard, etc, but evidently, I have been negligent. SO: if you click on links here, to a product on Amazon, Amazon will know I referred you!)
( 'nother P.S. Will I have reviews coming soon? I surely hope so! Laura Montgomery has an EXCELLENT relatively new release in her NWWWLF series; Shami Stovall has not one but TWO books about PIRATES! that are just great, with a third one in the works and there are others with longer wait times. Behold, I shall hide nothing from you: multiple facets of the universe have gathered together with the obvious intent of pounding the Chattahoochee Pattersons into powder and casting us to the winds. Were it not for the steadfast love of my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, I do not have a clue of how I would have been able to keep breathing in and out. We WILL prevail!)

Friday, November 22, 2019

RED Friday: Until They ALL COME HOME!

Today is RED Friday:
(Until they all come home...)

Now, I probably had the easiest duty in the world; stationed in Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart-Bad Canstatt, March 1972 - September 1975, with about a half-million other troops. Our main role was to make the Soviets think twice (or nine times) before they rolled the tanks through the Fulda Gap, and it worked. We had a tense moment when they detached my unit in preparation for a Middle East deployment in 1974, or thereabouts, but I guess the threat of the US muscle did the trick then as well. So, no tissue damage (apart from that inflicted when I drove the car into the river on October 15, 1973; but that's another story).

Even so...
Even so, although I ETS'd 2 SEP 75, I don't know how long it was before I really came home. For sure and certain, that ignorant, arrogant, sniveling 19 year old who got off the plane at Rhein-Main never came back. The very SLIGHTLY wiser 22 year old who replaced him was a much better citizen!
I jumped straight out of the Army into college, but it took a VERY long time before I could start a sentence with anything but "When I was in the Army..."

What I'm saying is that there is more to coming home than just putting on soft clothing and re-learning the language of civilians. I confess: for me, it was relatively easy. It still took time, though.

So, this morning, when I put on my RED shirt,  it is not only for those who are eating in mess halls across the oceans, who check duty rosters to see what the other "duties as assigned" might be, who even this very day might have some unexpected physical, emotional, or even spiritual trauma thrust upon them.
Those FIRST, of course. They are, after all, serving as guarantors of the freedom we have, resting here in relative comfort, relative safety. Whether they are facing active combat, or serving, as I did, as a promise of the lethality that can be unleashed on those insane enough to cross the line, they serve us.

But SECOND, I wear RED for those who have not yet been able to come home, all the way.

Remember everyone deployed; until they all come home.

Welcome Back!

Peace be on your household.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Dealing With Stuff I Don't Like

Long, long ago, I used to think that Stuff I Didn't Like happened to me because I was trapped in some incomprehensible cycle of small happiness, followed by disaster. As a result, I was fatalistic; Stuff I Didn't Like kept happening.
It looked a lot like this (except not nearly as pretty):

The Cycle of Life

Later, I believed that Stuff I Didn't Like happened to me because God was mad at me. As a result, I tried to stop doing things that made God mad, and hope He ignored me; some of the Stuff I Didn't Like stopped, but an awful lot kept happening.
It looked a lot like this:

Angry Jehovah, Sistine Chapel

Much later, I realized that most of the Stuff I Didn't Like happened to me because it was a logical consequence of my behavior. As a result, I changed my behavior; almost all of the Stuff I Didn't Like stopped happening.
It looked a lot like this (except I'm smiling, not crying):

A sign that no longer bothers me

For the last several years, I realize that just about all of the Stuff I Don't Like comes as a result of loving people, and they make their own mistakes, which causes them pain, and random things also happen to cause them pain, and I don't like it when people I love are in pain. As a result, I realized that the only alternative was to stop loving people; therefore

Stuff I Don't Like is going to be with me forever.

It looks a lot like this:
Acceptance, Forgiveness, Restoration;
Things we all need, 
To give and receive.

 Peace be on your household.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Cold Weather Management, Two Sick Kids, and Hallucinating

Greetings to all of my internet friends and neighbors, as well as those who I know primarily from other things that the Net. And to my family who just happened to stumble on this blog post,  I do so hope that everyone has at least one warm blanket.

Yesterday I wrote about the generosity of the Atlanta Air Authority, and their decision to donate a complete HVAC system to one lucky veteran, who turned out to be me, The house is now survivable, even comfortable enough that company can enjoy hanging out with us. Doesn't cost much to run, either.

I also talked, a bit, about my need for coffee most days, but particularly when it's COLD.

Some of you may know this about me: I bought my first motorcycle right after I got out of the Army, and followed that up with at least seven more bikes.

My current machine is a 1985 V65 Sabre; 

65 cubic inches is 1100 cubic centimeters, or near enough to make no difference, and that 's what I ride, when I ride. And it's COLD!
One (!) of the reasons I like coffee so much. There are others.

And because of my fondness for the brewed goodness, yesterday I decided I'd see just how reliable the pot was, with respect to giving me the same amount of brew all the time.

And because I tend to collect friends who also like to Know Stuff and Find Stuff Out, my offer to describe my research methodology was taken up.

But, you won't get it today, Cedar, nor anyone else who is looking for it, because Papa Pat is seeing things, and hearing things, (but NOT believing they are real! A significant point !) and making ATROCIOUS errors, because he hasn't slept since Tuesday.

Okay, Cedar: you asked, AND you shall receive! In a bit...

Procedures and mechanics for this amusing little exercise will be transferred from scribbled lines on a small collection of 3x5 notepad sheets to storage on my laptop  computer screen, and distributed to those without the foresight to opt out. No time-frame has been established as to just when that will be accomplished. Here’s why:

Wednesday (just after midnight), I get a prayer request from Granddaughter Alexx in Charleston, WV.
Alexx and our grandson Esan

My new great grandson Aki is sick. and having difficulties breathing.
Aki still has the new car smell, 
and his tags have not been reemoved 

 So, of course, I pray, and offer words of encouragement. I promise to stay in touch. Later in the morning, I make sure that my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, prying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA,  knows what’s going on.
But, I don’t get back to sleep that night, and a nap just doesn’t work out for me that day. No problem!

Thursday (also just after midnight), the phone rings again. I have JUST begun to drowse, but when I hear that our precious Miss Evelyn is sick, and the call is a request to come sit for older (sleeping) brothers Heath (6), and Eliott (3), while Miss Evelyn went to the Doctor with her Mommy and Daddy.

Is Miss Evelyn not the most adorable little gurrrrll?

Her Daddy, Mommy, and Heath, and Eliott

Heath and Eliott make NotASound throughout the night. I read, eat a brownie, make a cup of coffee and drink it while making mediocre French toast, and then  welcome the family home when they return around  5 AM with a not-frightening diagnosis, and an appropriate treatment plan. Hugs and kisses to all, ad I’m out the door, to go home and catch up on my sleep.

Except, I don’t. For reasons unknown to me, I didn’t sleep, once again. And the impairment of my cognitive functions, as well as losses in physical coordination, mean that I absolutely don’t get behind the wheel of a car. I just looked at my watch: 9:42 AM. That means it’s taken me WELL over an hour to get this in coherent form, because I keep making mistakes. I’ve looked up at the screen multiple times to discover that I’ve had finger or book, resting on the keyboard.

So, I’m closing this now, and I’m going to go to sleep. I hope no one knocks on my door or calls me. I might say something rude.

Papa Pat Patterson

Peace be on your household

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Atlanta Air Authority and Keurig: 19 degrees? No prob!

19 degrees this morning, as my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA, left for work around 6:30 AM. Brrrr!

It's a couple of days after Veterans Day, and with that as a prompt, coupled with the FREEZING temps, I'm thinking with gratitude in my not-frozen fingers and toes about a particular act of generosity. It was just two years ago that the folks at Atlanta Air Authority provided this semi-impoverished veteran and his family with a brand new, comprehensive heating and air system; I won the system at a local Veterans Day event. Good-bye and good riddance to sweltering in the summer, and huddling around space heaters in the winter.


I grew up in a home without those luxuries, and remember how awful it was to get out of bed on a cold Georgia morning.
So, thanks again, and for folks living up here in Cherokee County with me, check out their website at the link above or their Facebook page.

Another thing that gets us through the cold mornings (any morning, actually) is a great big cup of hot steaming coffee! We have a coffee maker that makes a pot at a time, but mostly, we use a Keurig K40. It's an older unit, but it still works well. Or does it?

You ever look down at your coffee cup, and say, "No way is that a full cup of coffee!" Well, I have, LOTS of times, and it also seemed that sometimes I get a bigger amount of coffee than other times. So, I decided to check it out.

Test equipment:
Keurig K40, measuring cup, digital scale
Reusable K-cup, Folgers coffee, and a big cup to save the results

 I took careful notes, and followed good procedures, but I'm not going to document those here. If you want to see how I made sure I was getting good data, let me know, and I'll send you my methodology.

First, I ran several cycles of just water through, with an empty K-cup in place. I ran five cycles each in the three capacities of Small Medium, and Large. (Actually ran six on the Large setting.) For accuracy, I weighed them with my scale set on the 'grams' setting, and then converted the results to ounces in the spreadsheet.
Then, I ran one more cycle at each setting, by size order, to see if there was any  variance due to switching settings.
Finally, I brewed one cup of coffee at each setting, using one scoop of Folgers in the re-usable K-cup.

Here are my results:

Gross weight in grams Net weight in grams Net weight in ounces
Water Small Medium Large Small Medium Large Small Medium Large
Run 1 224 287 352 171 234 299 6.03 8.25 10.55
Run 2 222 296 351 169 243 298 5.96 8.57 10.51
Run 3 225 294 351 172 241 298 6.07 8.50 10.51
Run 4 227 291 351 174 238 298 6.14 8.40 10.51
Run 5 223 290 348 170 237 295 6.00 8.36 10.41
Run 6



Run 7 228 293 350 175 240 297 6.17 8.47 10.48

Coffee 218 284 335 165 231 282 5.82 8.15 9.95

As you can see, the machine gave fairly reliable results. If I was funded, I'd repeat this using coffee each time, since that's what we really care about, but one run was all I wanted to do sine I'm financing my own research. (and, if you look at the picture, the brewed coffee is all in the big green Bubba cup. No wastage!

I also weighed the coffee grounds, before and after brewing. There was 13 grams of water in with the grounds, which accounts for the differences in the water v coffee output.

I was only checking to see if the Keurig was reliably putting out the same amount of brew at each setting,  and that appears to be the case. My subjective opinion earlier that it wasn't enough coffee is likely due to perspective, both from the cup size (I use a GIANT cup) and from demand (when I want coffee, I want a LOT of coffee!).

It was fun. I ran this as I was eating my breakfast, which was a big bowl of pinto beans and rice, the heart of EVERY good breakfast! And I didn't spill NOTHING, which is good. I was writing my procedures and the results on the tiny pages of a notepad, and it reminded me of the days when I was doing research that really DID matter, and how spilled pinto beans could remain with a researcher for years...

Peace be on your household.

Friday, November 8, 2019

R. E. D. Friday again, 11/8/19

When I think about RED Friday, I remember my brother Garvin Ray Bell, who taught me about RED Friday. Ray, you passed into glory on my birthday, five years ago. As long as my brain can commemorate Red Fridays, I'll be thinking about you, and your beloved bride, Pepperr.

Today is RED Friday:
R emember
E veryone
D eployed...

This is written specifically with US troops in mind, but, with any necessary modifications, it may be applied to any nation's military.

Listen to me: while you read this in the comfort of your home, they are still out there.It does not matter whether or not you think the reasons for that are good or bad; they are our family.
Every one of them is someone's granddaughter or grandson, son or daughter. Some are husbands or wives, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. Every one of them is a volunteer.
They joined up because they saw it as a path to a better way of life, personally, and probably because they had service in their blood.

So, on Friday, let it be a RED Friday. Wear something red, and Remember Everyone Deployed.
Until they all come home.

Peace be on your household.