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Showing posts from 2010

New Blog Post: Christmas visits and stories that never die

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My brother Steve, his wife Cindy and her parents from Texas have been in town visiting this weekend. It was a white Christmas here in NC, a rarity since 1947, so its a big deal here. The whole town came to a screeching halt. The police did reverse 911 calls asking folks to stay at home (they laugh at us in Alaska!)

We spent a quiet Christmas Eve together, just me Tammy, Tori and Jack and we broke out the "fancy" plates with gold trim and drank sparkling grape juice out of the wine glasses, it was fantastic!



We enjoyed a great Christmas night dinner at my Aunt Becky's house with my cousin Mary Ruth and her family. The kids went sledding in the front yard and made "snow boulders", and what Christmas is complete without one of those?!

Steve and I met out at our farm yesterday for some snow covered skeet shooting. Steve got a new Browning automatic shotgun and we blasted some clay pigeons with his father-n-law out in our back pasture. Jack shot his first 12 gauge s…

My New Fangled Christmas Card: Update from our family

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Well, Merry Christmas Everyone!

After all the busyness of the last few months you guessed it, not enough time or proper planning for a Christmas card. In years past I had mailed out Christmas newsletters, but it just didn't happen this year. So here is the Borders family update for all of you. It will be in list format for easy reading...and that is becasue I care about you and your time.  

Tori- Tori is now 15 years old and has her drivers permit and will be turning 16 next summer. So, the new Geico commercial with the dude handing the keys to his 5 year old sitting in the drivers seat of the their car has great meaning for me these days! She's taller than her mom, still dancing up a storm, reading her Kindle, enjoying her friends and excelling ins school...an all around awesome kid for any dad or mom to have. The future is so bright for her and God could not have given us a finer daughter  Jack: Jack is 12, built like a bulldozer, studying Muay Thai and Brazillain Jui Jitsu.…

Tender Warrior

Every day I go in to work I see heroes. Not heroes in a generic sense, but heroes for real. Upon entering the front door of our headquarters there is a display honoring SSG Robby Miller, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in October of this year. I can't walk by that display without stopping and letting it sink in. Outside near our sidewalk are 28 granite stones, with 28 names. I walk by them every day. Each one is a story, a lasting representation of a life that was offered up.

Yesterday we dedicated that memorial walkway. Families of our fallen came from all over America. All of them are heroes too. Wives, children, moms and dads, brothers and sisters all showed up to honor these men who over the last 9 years have said yes to their country and given everything they had to give.

While getting ready yesterday my commander asked me to come into his office. For a brief second I thought I was in big trouble...Sometimes that is the way a good butt chewing starts..."H…

God saved us from our furnace

Wow, its been a while since I posted anything on my blog, nearly three months....as my dad would say that is just shameful. My deepest apologies. I must tell you a story today so that you can understand how God moves in the most mundane of circumstances. I'm working at FT Bragg during the week and my bride and my kids stay at home and continue the mission  back in our home town, you know going to school, Wal Mart, Muay Thai class, dance and all that other "life" stuff. So we spend our weeks texting and doing the cell phone thing and then I get home on the weekends.

It never seems to fail that something always goes wrong when I am gone, something will break, a flat tire, a malfunctioning alarm, busted pipe...all when I can't be there to help. Grrrrrrr, for a man it is the height of frustration because we love to fix stuff and make it right.

It does however provide ample opportunity to exercise faith and to see God's hand at work in our midst. Last night Tammy ca…

What would Jesus tweet?

Its funny how when you read the Bible for a lot of years things can get well.....ho hum. I'm just being real. I get a little suspect of people who blast out on their twitter posts every single day about the "life changing" stuff they heard. But today I found something to tweet about and it might not be what you think. In fact twitter is a very odd thing for me to get a handle on. I know its a great way to get information out. Its also a great way to let everyone know what you had for breakfast or when you are out of toilet paper. But in the world of Christendom it seems to me that twitter has become sort of a bragging board or a lodge pole to hang "spiritual" scalps on. People tweet about the latest conference or church service or the vast number of souls that were saved at an event. There seems every day to be a never ending litany of the next biggest thing out there. Please don't get me wrong, I believe that we need to hear about the successes of the diff…

Wounded Warriors

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Beyond the headlines of those killed in action in Iraq and Afghansitan are the more than 30,000 wounded service men and women who in many cases have had life altering injuries. 21st century medical advances have made it possible that many of our combat casualties survive the most horrific of injuries. Although alive, life has become a struggle for normalcy for many. In some cases there are literally years of rehabilitation in clinics and centers, away from the their homes, persevering to return to a life that seems normal. There is an organization that takes alot of the burden off these guys and its called the Wounded Warrior Project. Today I went to a luncheon put on for our wounded warriors here in our unit. I met men there that exemplify what it really means to be an American. They have left peices of their bodies on foreign fields and are still pushing forward. They love their country and they love each other.

WWP is a nonprofit that was founded by veterans to help wounded service…

SSG Patrick Patterson's first music video!

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Its the middle of the race when it is hardest!

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I really have come to identify well with the Apostle Paul's statement at the end of his life, that he had run the race and finished the task. Races are something that we all can identify with. At one point or another we have all been in some kind of race or seen one. I've run in races, traithalons, mountain bike races as well. I've watched car races and the Tour de France. I've seen sprinters destroy world records and marathoners press the barriers of endurance. In Crossfit I test myself against the clock continuously. One thing I have found is that the most difficult part of any race comes in the middle. In the begining of any race the excitment of competition is there, either the prospect of taking the tape at the end or the crowd gathered to watch, the beginning is the easiest part. The end as well is accompnaied by some of the same things, crowds screaming for the eventual winner, or just looking at the clock and knowing that the end of the pain is almost in sight.

What's in a church name?

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You've seen them, you may attend one on Sunday mornings. The latest trend is to have a really cool name for your church. After being in and around different types of ministries over the last 15 years it gets more noticeable the way we follow trends. Even the trends of not following trends. This has even affected the way we name our gathering places or the name of the group of people congregating in the name of Jesus. I think maybe these groovy names for churches came about as a reaction to to the folks outside the church walls who had become indifferent to names like 1st Baptist, or ST John's or Antioch Methodist. Maybe the new church name movement came about as a way of assigning identity to that particular group of people. It may have been as well a breaking away of religious typology. Whatever the reason now the hottest thing going that I have noticed is to name your church with one word. Not two, just one word. Something that is catchy on a bumper sticker and you have to h…

Alaska!

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I cannot overestimate the value of getting away. Jack and I just returned from a great trip to Alaska with my brother Steve and my dad. We spent 8 days exploring the Kenai penninsula, angling for trout and salmon, panning for gold, hiking on snow covered trails, wondering at glaciers and just plain having fun. I just got through reading a book that my friend Pete gave me called, "The mission, the men and me". Its by a fomer Delta Force commnder. I was expecting a war story book, but its so much more than that. Its a valuable book on leadership. One of the points that the auther, Pete Blaber, makes is that all good leadership and problem solving requires those "eureka" moments of discovery. But those moments are impossible without a process of discovery. The process he calls the saturate, incubate and illuminate cycle. You have to be able to saturate yourself with context and information about your mission, you've got to allow time to incubate or think about wh…

Crossfit Mooresville

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I just spent the morning with my new friends Craige and Pam from Bare Bones Fitness/ Crossfit Mooresville. You can check them out at www.crossfitmooresville.com Every Saturday they have introductory workouts for anyone that would like to train with them. Their facilities are great with an ample supply of bumper plates, kettlebells, wall balls and other instruments of physical pain to get the most from your workouts. Its not like your typical gym. There are no fancy machines. Its just hard work. You'll see weird stuff like a big giant tire and sledge hammers. Ask them what a muscle up is. Its all a part of a fitness revolution that is growing exponentially. There will be no bicep curls here, only functional movements that people need in life. With obesity rates soaring isn't it time we bag the info-mercials that promise fitness without work. Our bodies were created by God to work and work hard. The great thing about Craige and Pam's gym is that they will work and suffer wit…

Mundane ain't so bad

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I read all the time on Twitter and Facebook posts of all the awesome things that people are doing, especially my friends in ministry. I'm proud to know so many people making a massive impact on the world around them. I have been involved in the past in very public ministry, speaking before large crowds, teaching, travelling the world. I regret none of it. 
But after being back home from Iraq for over a month now I made some decisions about my time over the next few years. One of the things that I decided through prompting from the Lord was to step back and just be. Just be a man, a husband, a dad. To just be in the mundane of life and by so doing the mundane becomes so much more, the mundane moments become sacred and holy.

Let me illustrate: Today I spent the whole day with my kids. Tammy had to work so we drove up to Boone, N.C. to visit with my mother. Jack caught his first fist with a fly rod. We had awesome pizza at the Mellow Mushroom. I took a 30 minute nap. I had a conversa…

Fit to Function

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Its hard to believe I've been home (In the US) for over a month and at my at my home in NC for a couple of weeks already. Its a weird transition coming back to life here. Its odd getting used to not having a chow hall that accepts ID cards for food. Its odd going to Wal-Mart and for me aggravating when I hear people complain about standing in a line for a few extra minutes, if they only knew! Its odd driving, its odd seeing everyone in civilian attire, its odd seeing green everywhere....its just odd and weird. But, I'm not complaining.

One thing that I have not let go of from my deployment is my commitment to train physically. I get up in the mornings still at 0500 and meet my buddy Brian Burgess at a local gym and we punish ourselves with the latest W.O.D. or workout of the day from Crossfit or Sealfit. If you've not heard of these training systems/philosophies I highly recommend them. One of the latest fads is actually a really old Russian form of resistance training wi…

I'm back!

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I took this picture today! That's my lovely daughter Tori and no she is not in Iraq with me...I was at FT Dix with her! I made it back to the states about 5 days ago and am currently doing some out processing and waiting on a few soldiers to arrive here. Its been a long year, but its over and now on to the next thing. The next thing will include lots of naps, taking walks with my wife and kids, reconnecting back into my neighborhood, catching up with old friends and generally just living the life of a simple guy with a great family and being glad to be alive and at home with my loved ones. Thanks for all the support over the last 373 days. I'm going to keep writing here, but my speaking schedule is being put on hold in favor of family, rest, silence, an solitude. Time to recharge. So blessings to you all thanks again for all the encouragement over the last year...you have no idea how much it meant to me. To God be the glory...great things He has done!

Old is Gold

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I got the following email from my Orthodox Chaplain buddy and wanted to share it with you all. We in the Western world of evangelicalism have lost much of the mystery and beauty that still resides with much of the Eastern world of Christendom. We think that the latest and greatest is the best and brightest. But read the following and I challenge anyone to find a more profound, succinct and theologically moving homily anywhere and it takes about 5 minutes to read. And oh by the way it was written in the fourth century. 


Happy Easter everyone..He is risen!




Christos Anesti! Alithos Anesti! (Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!)

St. John Chrysostom was born at Antioch in about the year 347 into the family of a military-commander, spent his early years studying under the finest philosophers and rhetoricians and was ordained a deacon in the year 381 by the bishop of Antioch Saint Meletios. In 386, St. John was ordained a priest by the bishop of Antioch, Flavian.

Over time, his fame as a holy p…

Good Friday and the Pinning Ceremony

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"Pin my medals to my chest and bury me in the leaning rest"....is a line from an old Army running cadence. At the end of every tour in Iraq or Afghanistan there is always an awards ceremony. Th Army is big on awards, especially in a combat environment. Its part retention and part tradition. When people are recognized for the work they have done they are more likely to sign up and serve again. As my time here draws to a fast close, today was my awards ceremony and alot of nice things were said. Its good for your leaders to take notice of what you have done. I got pinned on today and just now realized that today is the day that Jesus' pinning ceremony took place. His award was not a commendation medal or a bronze star or even a medal of honor. His award was being accused of crimes he didn't commit. His award was three illegal trials. His award was to be called a blasphemer of God. His award was to be beaten beyond recognition. His award was to be stripped naked and spi…

Jesus and crack houses

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This is a picture of my neighborhood, where I have lived in Iraq for the last 10 months. We call them the "crack houses". Probably not the most endearing term, but fitting with all the bullet holes in the masonry from gun battles in past days.  Every day I walk toward that SUV parked there on the right at 5:30 pm to go work out with about 30 other friends that I have met here. I'm in my last few days of doing this and a bit introspective as we tend to get towards any change point in our lives. The other day I was making my journey down this road to suffer through p90x and out of the blue was interrupted by thoughts of Jesus. I wasn't singing a praise chorus or in a church building but just walking down a dusty road on an old Iraqi Air Force base. When these thoughts invaded my head I just stopped, looked up at the sky, took in the evening sunset. I didn't hear voices or get a vision to save the world. I just came to a realization the Jesus was with me. I smiled. …

Looking Back..Taking Stock

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Last May I had a conversation with one of my young guys...Dusitn (pictured 2nd from the left along with King, Lyons, Clemency and me) outside in the 130 degree heat of the Kuwaiti desert about fear and life and Jesus. Dustin was really worried about the area that he was going to work in, he's 20 years old, his whole life ahead of him. Its not uncommon for a young mad to ponder the bigger things in life as he faces a great and unknown challenge. That day Dusitn and I said some words to Jesus and we prayed that God would protect him. Dustin said some new words to Jesus too, receiving life from the Lifegiver. It was a day that I won't soon forget. Well, today Dustin and I are fast approaching another great day and in a few short weeks we'll be back in the place we call home. His team came in from a post way out in the weeds and in the desert. He's been up there running missions outside the wire on a daily basis with his buds. We are all now gathered at a larger base doing…

Podcast: Irbil

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Podcast from the other Iraq! Enjoy! Sorry for the length but we just had too much to talk about today!

COLONEL (RET.) ROBERT L. HOWARD

The link here is the Bigraphy of COL Robert Howard, the most decorated warrior in US history to include Audie Murphy. If you have a moment read the USASOC biography on him and be thankful for men who have given a life of service in defense of their country.

Write it down!

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I just started a new book by Don Miller who is something of an enigma in the Christian world these days. I've been reading his stuff for about five years, starting with "Blue Like Jazz" and then "Searching for God knows what", both I highly recommend. His new book I have only read one sentence. I was sitting in my "crack house" here in Iraq pondering the dust storm that is upon us, reading through some Old Testament History books and simultaneously checking Twitter. I think that I might be quite mad at times. But my friend Amanda Brown posted on Twitter that she was reading Don's new book. I like Don, he's irreverent and I think the world needs a bit of that, so I downloaded his latest book called "A Million Miles in a Thousand Places: What I Learned While Editing My Life". I like the title! I have read about one paragraph and am hooked already. He states at the begining of his book that we forget so much of our lives, that we don…

Irbil

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I've just returned from a trip up north in Kurdistan to the city of Irbil. What an amazing place. In the midst of the chaos of what has been the war in Iraq, Kurdistan stands our as an example of what might be if folks could work together. In Irbil there are large populations of Muslims and Christians and from what I can tell they work together for the good of their community. In Irbil there is daily trash pick up by city workers, something that is non-existent in much of Iraq. There are bustling market places, businesses, tourist attractions and even a go cart track. And, most importantly no IED's blowing up innocent civilians.
The city of Irbil is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. In the center of the city is what is known as the old Citadel. It is a castle in the middle of town that stands 200 feet above the rest of the city. I stood on the same ground as King Darius the Mede and Alexander the Great. Its hard to get away from the profundity of being able …
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Here's a collage of photos from life around here!

Heart of a Soldier: We're Back!

After a long hiatus we are back on the air with comments about crazy runner guy, fitness class culture clash and the impact of a great dad!

Listen Now

In His Hands

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Hope you like the picture shown here today taken of my friend Joshua and his little boy. When I saw this photo I couldn't help but think of how profound the image was. I remember walking with my dad in the mountains of NC as a boy, playing by the creek always looking to see if he was near by. When you are a little guy its always comforting to know that Dad is within reach. Dad's are strong. Dad's have experience. Dad's have been there. Dad's are smart. On a stormy night it was good to know Dad was down the hall with all his strength. My son Jack hates going outside in the dark and always says, "Will you come with me?" He thinks I'm bulletproof! We never really have to lose that you know. And even if you never had that kind of dad, that Dad is available to us all. The prophet Malachi said, "Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?" and Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:3 in his opening statements"Grace to you and peace from G…