August 26, 2021

Remembering Pop

Col. Herman A. "Alf" Waggener

'“Imprint these words of mine on your hearts and minds, bind them as a sign on your hands, and let them be a symbol on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates, so that as long as the heavens are above the earth, your days and those of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. '
Deuteronomy 11:18-21 (CSB)

Patrick and I started dating in late October 1999. He told me about his family, including his grandparents, who were still active and lived in Ohio. When Thanksgiving came around that year, he drove to Dayton to spend the holiday with them. Not every 29-year-old man drives six hours each way to see his grandparents for a two days, but I thought it meant either they were truly extraordinary or he was, or perhaps both. It turned out to be both.

I told Patrick that I wanted to spend Christmas with him in Texas and meet his family. He told me that his grandparents, Alf and Floss, or “Pop” and “Polly” to the grandchildren, wouldn’t be there. Pop and Polly found out that Patrick was bringing a young lady to Texas with him and suddenly, they had plane tickets to Texas for Christmas. 

Pop and Polly were every bit as wonderful as Patrick had described. I could tell immediately that they loved Patrick dearly and unconditionally. They loved and accepted me right away because Patrick loved me. 

Patrick and I married in November of 2000, and Pop and Polly were there to help with the wedding and to celebrate with us. They were so happy for their eldest grandchild. We were so fortunate to be able to visit them often and watch them enjoy our son, Adam.

Polly went to be with Jesus in February 2019 at the age of 97. Last week, Pop joined her in heaven at the age of 101. Pop’s home-going has hit me harder than I thought it would. He led a full, faith-filled life, and we know that he is enjoying his reward in heaven. However, I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling his loss so deeply until a couple of days ago. I realized that there is so much of Pop in the person I love the most, my husband and Pop’s grandson, Patrick. Knowing and loving Pop connected me to Patrick in a way I hadn’t understood fully until now.

I could spend hours talking about all the things that Pop and Patrick had in common. Their senses of humor and quick wits, their interests in all things high-tech, and their genuine love and care for others are just a few of the things that they shared in common during their nearly 51-year grandfather-grandson relationship. However, the most important thing that Pop modeled for his children and his grandchildren was his faith. I’ve heard it said that Christianity is caught as well as taught, and Patrick has been blessed with parents and grandparents who love God and seek to build His Kingdom. Their examples of faithfulness were undoubtedly what led him to join Nashville First Baptist Church not long after moving to the city, and it’s where Patrick and I would later meet and marry.

Alf Waggener blessed my life in many ways, and I count it a high honor and privilege to love the part of him who lives on in his grandson. Pop is with me every day in the form of the godly man he helped to shape. I pray that Patrick and I can continue to live out Pop’s legacy of faith and model it for his great-grandson. I look forward to the day in heaven when I see Pop again and hear him say, “Hey, lady Lydia!”

Pop's Celebration of Life Service

Pop's Obituary (written by Patrick and edited by me)

December 4, 2020

Christmas Letter 2020

 When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

- Johnson Oatman, Jr.

  Greetings from the Watts family! I (Lydia) have been thinking about the hymn, “Count Your Blessings” recently and how it applies to 2020. This year has had more than its share of discouragement, and we have been trying to counter that with gratitude for our many blessings.

  In February, Patrick was able to travel to Ohio to celebrate his grandfather’s 100th birthday. Pop wanted to go to his favorite Mexican restaurant and wear the birthday sombrero while the wait staff sang to him, so that’s what they did! Pop is still in his retirement community and has wonderful caregivers - people who also cared for Patrick’s grandmother before she passed away in 2019. Pop says he’s the only person he’s ever known who has lived to be 100! He has health issues that are to be expected with someone of his age, but he remains in good spirits. We are thankful.

  Not long after Patrick returned from Ohio, the case numbers of COVID-19 started to rise both here in Tennessee and around the country. On March 11, when Patrick picked Adam up on the last day of school before spring break, Adam told him that the teachers had all the kids clean out their cubbies. Patrick said, “I don’t think they’re going back.” He was right. Adam finished his sixth grade year in distance learning and has been home for all of seventh grade so far. His teachers have adapted amazingly well and have worked hard to deal with the numerous technological challenges of online learning. Adam is making good grades and likes his teachers. We are thankful.


That same week, on March 13, LifeWay did an “experiment” with all employees working remotely for a day. They had had a flexible “Work from Anywhere” policy in the past, but this was the first time no employees reported to the building. The experiment was a success, and Patrick has been working from home ever since. Overall, it has worked out well. We’ve saved lots of money on gas, and Patrick has been available to help with school-related tech problems and fix lunch! We are thankful.

  As churches cancelled services and activities, LifeWay made getting “distance-worshipping” resources to churches a top priority. Patrick was part of a team tasked with getting four curriculum lines completely online as quickly as possible. It's hard to explain what a monumental task this was, but they figured out how to make it happen. I even got to preview some of it and add my input! 2020 vastly accelerated bringing "salvation to the ends of the earth" via the internet. I believe that God has Patrick at LifeWay for such a time as this. We are thankful.

  In August of this year, I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, an autoimmune disease that affects the spine. This came after a long journey to determine the cause of my back pain. Getting this type of diagnosis during a pandemic is not ideal, but we are in close proximity to excellent medical care and God continues to provide for our needs to manage the situation. We are thankful.

  One of the greatest blessings of 2020 for our family was the safe arrival of our niece, Emma. Patrick’s sister Allison and her husband Dave welcomed her in April. Big sister Abby is almost five years old and loves spending time with baby Emma at home in Texas. Even when things are discouraging around us, seeing pictures of them always brings a smile. We are thankful.

  Like many families this year, being at home together all the time has had its share of challenges and blessings. We realize that we are fortunate to have more time with Adam during such a pivotal time in his development as a young man. He’s grown at least half a foot in 2020, and his voice has dropped at least an octave. We have been trying to make the most of this unexpected period in our family life. We have all that we need, and we have each other. We are thankful.

  We hope that you are in good health and staying safe this holiday season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. We are so grateful for our friends and family, and we hope that we will soon be able to see you in person again. We wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!

-Patrick, Lydia, and Adam Watts

December 14, 2019

Christmas Letter 2019

      Greetings from the Watts family! We hope you are having a wonderful holiday season and have the opportunity to pause and reflect on the wonderful miracle of Jesus’ birth.

Polly and Adam
       Like everyone else, we’ve had ups and downs this year. In February, we said “goodbye for now” to Patrick’s grandmother, Floss Waggener. She brought so much joy and positivity to the world in her 97 years, and we rejoice in the knowledge that she is with her Savior. “Polly,” as we called her, had the ability to distill any conversation or situation into two key elements: the absolute most encouraging words, and the gospel. Remembering the little things she said or did has made us smile over these last months. We are so thankful that Adam had the opportunity to know his great-grandmother.
        Patrick has made several trips to Ohio this year to spend time with Polly before she passed away and to be with his 99-year-old grandfather (“Pop”) as he adjusts to life without his wife of 76 years. Polly’s amazing caregivers have been able to continue looking after Pop and making it possible for him to stay in his home.
       Adam wrapped up his first year of middle school in May and jumped right into a busy summer. He and Patrick visited Pop over Memorial Day weekend, with a side trip to King's Island. Adam went to Camp Invention and Vacation Bible School in June. He also attended his first concert, "Weird Al" Yankovic, at Ascend Amphitheater.
"Weird Al" Yankovic concert
      In July, Patrick and Adam went to CentriKid Camp in Campbellsville, KY. He also went to Music Arts Camp at church and took swimming lessons. Adam visited Kentucky two more times with the children’s ministry from church when they went on day trips to
Summer reading books
Venture River Water Park and Beech Bend Park. He still found plenty of time to read and play video games during his break.               August brought the beginning of sixth grade, and it was nice to already have a year of middle school under our belts and not be new to the school this year. Adam has joined a robotics team at school, which Patrick is coaching, and he is enjoying making new friends and learning how to get the robot ready for tournaments.
Robotics tournament
        Lydia’s health challenges keep our family time close to home. We have “Family Movie Night” nearly every week when we eat pizza and watch something on Disney+. We enjoy cheering on the Baylor BearsTennessee Vols, and Nashville Predators
Gnash and Adam
from the comfort of home. Adam has also gotten interested in something his mom likes - jigsaw puzzles!
       We found out last month that Patrick’s sister and her husband will be welcoming their second child, a girl, next year. By next summer, we will have four nieces - ages newborn to sixteen years old!
        Patrick is still doing well in his work at LifeWay, working on everything from worship to VBS to training software for churches to assessments for church planters. He works from home one or two days a week now, and we enjoy having lunch together on those days.
        We love hearing from our friends and family. Please keep up with us on Facebook or email us at patrickandlydia(at)

Merry Christmas! Patrick, Lydia, and Adam

November 30, 2018

Christmas Letter 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Watts family! We hope you have had a good year and hope you will have an even better 2019. We stayed close to home this year, especially when we got hit with a big snowstorm in January!

The temperature got down to the single digits, which is rare for Nashville. We enjoyed having some unscheduled family time.

Through the winter and into the spring, we toured and applied to middle schools for Adam. (Middle school starts in the fifth grade in our county.) We realized in the process that things sure have changed... we toured more middle schools than either of us did colleges for ourselves. We finally arrived at a decision to go with Valor Collegiate Academy in early May.

At the end of May, it was time to say goodbye to Granbery Elementary. The faculty and staff there loved our whole family so well for five years. Patrick’s parents were able to come to town for the graduation, and so Adam had all four of his grandparents in attendance.

Summer was busy with day camps and church activities for Adam. He went to Camp Invention, Vacation Bible School, and Music Arts Camp. Patrick’s sister, Allison, her husband Dave, and their daughter Abby came to visit in June, and Adam enjoyed showing her around the house and the neighborhood. Patrick, Adam, and the Greenes trekked up to Ohio to visit Patrick and Allison’s grandparents, who despite being in their late nineties, still are sharp as tacks and love to love on us.

In August, Adam went to two days of “Culture Camp” to learn all about his new school and get to know his new classmates. He started fifth grade on August 7th, and quickly started making friends and learning the ropes of middle school. It’s been an adjustment for all of us with new teachers, more homework, a new schedule, and no more school bus.

Adam made his own Halloween costume this year, and he was an iPhone! He made the phone out of a big cardboard box, and the charger was a small styrofoam cooler.

Lydia has been busy crafting and being the mom of a middle schooler. Some new medicine has helped her this year, but she’s still adjusting to some side effects.

Patrick’s job at LifeWay is still going well. They’ve been in
the new building for a year now, and he’s already moved from the fifth floor to the eighth floor. He’s now been trained to be a certified scrum product owner. He primarily works on web-based software for churches.

We love hearing from our friends and family at Christmastime. Please keep us with us on Facebook or email us at patrickandlydia(at)


Patrick, Lydia, and Adam

August 8, 2018

Stuck in the Middle School with You

Yesterday, for the first time since 2013, our boy's first day of school was not at Granbery Elementary. I knew this in my head, but it really hit my heart yesterday. I saw the buses coming from there as I went to middle school pickup, and I thought about all the days we put our precious cargo in the care of awesome bus drivers. (I also miss him being picked up and dropped off at the end of our driveway.) I missed the excitement of all the smiling faces we got to know and love during our years at Granbery. The faculty and staff loved our family so well, and we miss them.

We are so grateful for the elementary teachers and staff who got us this far. I feel like I have a new job learning a whole new system. Hopefully, yesterday was our last first day at a new school as this school continues through high school. The faculty and staff at the new school is amazing and have been so helpful. I've already gotten several early morning and late night texts. 

The great thing about Nashville is that there are lots of options, and we took our time figuring out which one would be the best for our boy. We looked at more middle schools for our kid than we did colleges for ourselves. We are hopeful his new school will meet his needs and nurture him as well as his elementary school did.

May 29, 2018

It's Elementary, Watts

"Love is at the root of everything. 
All learning. All parenting. All relationships. 
Love, or the lack of it." 
-Fred Rogers

Kindergarten was just five years ago, but in many ways, it seems like it was a different lifetime. We've faced so many challenges along the way. I'm so glad I didn't know what was ahead when we put our tiny five-year-old on the giant school bus that morning in August of 2013.

Fast forward to last week's fourth grade graduation. Adam's wonderful fourth grade teacher got choked up as she read the names of her students. I wish every student could experience the love and concern she shows her students and their families. While I couldn't be as involved at school as I would like to be, the times I observed her interacting with students were nothing short of magical. She made each child feel important and special and created an environment where the students were excited to learn. We went up to the school to vote after classes were over on the last day, and Adam gave her a big hug. He's not a big hugger, and so this was a huge deal.

His teacher this year was just one of the fantastic staff and faculty who have loved us so well over these past five years. We truly had a team at Granbery that has walked beside us and loved us through many challenges and triumphs.

March 26, 2018

When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder

How to Make Rolls

I’ve been making the same Betty Crocker roll recipe with my bread machine for several years now. Rolls are one of the few things our kid will eat consistently. I’ve refined the process so that it takes as little of my limited energy as possible. They really are easy! If they weren't, I wouldn't make them! 😊 

I’ve shared the recipe with lots of people, but I thought I would document exactly how I make them for anyone who is interested.

The Ingredients (in the order they go into the bread machine pan):
1 cup water – Using hot tap water will give the best results. 


2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened – I put two tablespoons of margarine in a coffee cup and microwave for five seconds to soften. Then, I cut it into fourths inside the cup and put in in the pan with the water.


1 egg – Add the egg to the water and margarine already in the pan.

3 ¼ cups flour – Use bread flour for best results.

¼ cup sugar – If you leave out the sugar, the rolls won’t brown.


1 teaspoon salt – After adding the salt, use the end of the measuring spoon to make a little pocket for the yeast. This is more important when using a delay cycle, but I still do it with this recipe. It keeps the yeast from getting into contact with the water too soon.

3 teaspoons yeast – I get the best results from Fleischmann’s Bread Machine Instant Yeast. 

Put the pan in the bread machine and start the dough cycle, which is an hour and thirty minutes on my machine (enough time for a quick nap 😃💤 ).

The Magic

When the dough cycle ends, put the dough on a lightly floured surface to rest for ten minutes. (I set a timer.) While the dough is resting, turn the oven on to “warm.”

After the ten minutes is up, turn the oven off. Divide the dough up into 28-30 rolls. I use a pastry blade. I grab the dough and tuck the ends under with one hand.

Put the rolls on a cookie sheet covered with a sheet of parchment paper.

Put a clean dish towel over the rolls and put them in the oven (which is still off). Set a timer for 30 minutes and let those little yeasties burp some more.

 After the timer goes off, you’ll have big, beautiful rolls that are ready to bake. Take off the towel, turn the oven on 375, and set a timer for 13 minutes. The oven will be preheated about halfway through, which is okay.

When the timer goes off, you’ll have big, beautiful, golden brown rolls!

After you take them out of the oven, pull them off them pan with the parchment paper onto a wire cooling rack.

Freeze any rolls you aren’t planning to serve in the next day or so.