Thursday, July 26, 2018

A Wing and a Prayer

 This  week has been an exciting one for the Two Late Bloomers I blog about each month.
Charles & Frieda
Waiting for Takeoff

This past week has been an exciting one for the Two Late Bloomers I blog about each month. We flew into Philadelphia and traveled to the beautiful state of Delaware to experience a much anticipated event. Our hotel was in the quaint town of Lewes—close to the Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean. This historical town was founded by the Dutch in the mid-1600s. “The First Town in the First State” is the motto of Lewes. Delaware became the first state to ratify the United States Constitution in 1787, making it the “First State.” 

The real reason for our visit took place in the town of Georgetown at ALOFT AeroArchitects. There we reached an exciting milestone in the history of our company.

A flight test on a Boeing 737-700 aircraft, with Charles’ Finlets attached passed with flying colors. A Federal Aviation Administration Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) has been issued and we are now free to sell his invention to commercial airlines. The engineering process began eight years ago and has involved a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and prayers.
737 Test Flight
Our thanks to our engineers—Rick Hooker, Bryan Jenkins, Andrew Wick, David Sharp and Larry Hill—who have endeavored tirelessly to make our dream a reality. We are also thankful for our investor group led by Propeller Investments. They have been both patient and faithful. And we appreciate the folks at ALOFT AeroArchitects who provided engineering and program management during the FAA STC effort.

It takes a great deal of faith and hard work to keep a dream alive. There is more work to be done, and we are grateful to all of you who have encouraged and prayed for us during this journey. 
Charles’ favorite verse has kept us inspired to keep on, keeping on.
Isaiah 40:31 English Standard Version (ESV)
“ but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.”

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Aging - Burden or Blessing

Articles and statistics often point to an ominous future for the world’s aging population.  We are told the percentage of those over 60 is increasing and the birth rate is declining. Predictions are made that economies will collapse because there won’t be enough taxpayers to support an aging population.

Twenty-first century challenges cannot be met by outdated models from the past.  Countries like Germany and some states like California and New York are examples of welfare state economies based on post World War II models. A worker labors for 30-40 years, retires and lives on his/her retirement savings and government benefits, and dies in their mid-60s. This dependency model is unsustainable with people now living into their 80s and 90s, with pensions and health benefits being paid out 20 to 30 years longer than expected.

Two internet articles about aging recommend that policies be put in place that encourage older adults to move away from dependency toward greater independence by working longer and/or volunteering more, thereby adding value to their societies. A January 26, 2018 article written by Linda P. Fried, Getting More from a Longer Life (, “Challenging the stereotypes of dependency, many older people don’t seem to want to retire, do nothing, and divorce themselves from interactions with their families and the world.”  A longer lifespan means that people should be encouraged to continue being a part of the economic fabric of society—producing meaningful work, consuming goods, and paying taxes. When not working, many older adults can provide hours of community service to their communities, churches, and synagogues. Nurturing the next generation and improving the world for our children and grandchildren can be a powerful incentive to live a longer and healthier life.

Sarah Harper in a January 26, 2018 entitled As the World Ages: When Older Populations Become the Majority asks “What happens to our workforces—as well as our communities—when healthy, active individuals are still in full employment in their ninth decade?” That lifestyle would not have been realistic for my parents’ generation but very possible for me and my children.

The mission statement for my blog is: Two Late Bloomers—an inspirational blog about discarding the stereotypes of the senior adult years. The second model of more independence discards many stereotypes. I often think about my goals and intentions during the remaining years of my life. I like to bolster my ego with statements like “I’m not getting older, I’m getting better.” There are some days that the older body tells the younger mind, “You’re getting older, period.”

 Consider the Bible verse from Psalm 90:12, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

What better goal can any of us have than that? A heart of wisdom will provide the ability to pass truth to the next generation based on our personal experiences and gleanings from God’s word.  Being a blessing and sharing those blessings with others makes our longer lives worth living.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Peace like a River

Amicalola Falls

What is more peaceful than sitting beside a waterfall or mountain stream watching fresh gurgling water tumble over rocks as it moves on its way?  It is soothing for both the mind and body. We had that experience during our recent visit to Amicalola Falls State Park. The abundant spring rains pumped up the volume of water cascading down the mountain side. We heard the roar of the falling water as we hiked in for a better view. Moist spray from the falls dropped the temperature several degrees. What a cool and peaceful place on a hot summer day. As much as we wanted to stay in the mountains and enjoy the refreshing falls, we had to return to the valley and face our busy lives.

Our pastor is delivering sermons on the Fruits of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-23.  His recent sermon on “Peace” makes me think about different types of peace.

World Peace – Beauty pageant participants regularly cite “World Peace” as their platform. September 21 is designated as World Peace Day. We do not live in a peaceful world and nations and leaders are always looking for a path to peace. It’s an elusive goal. President Kennedy said, "Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures." 

Peace Corps – This US based organization sends volunteers overseas on projects that help social and economic development. These representatives help other countries understand American culture and learn about the culture of the recipient nations. Its goal is to increase understanding of global issues all countries face.

Peace Signs – These two signs became popular during the Hippie movements of the 60s and 70s. The circular design was created by Gerald Holtorn in 1958 for the British campaign promoting nuclear disarmament. It portrays a despairing human with downcast arms standing against the world. The two-finger V symbol was flashed by President Richard Nixon as he was boarding Air Force One after                                         resigning in disgrace.

Peace Lily – This green plant with white flowers is often found at funerals. The sympathy plant symbolizes the deceased person being in a state of innocence and peace.

Inner Peace – Many philosophies, religions, and cultures emphasize a pathway to peace. Perhaps inner peace is even more elusive than world peace. In our crazy, busy, hyperactive, and caffeinated lives, is it possible to find the inner peace we crave?  Can we recharge our batteries, not just during our annual vacation or weekends, but on a daily basis? The Bible offers wise words and guidance if we wish to find inner peace.

The Psalmist wrote: “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

The Apostle Paul penned these words from his prison cell: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Peace is available to us as Christians when we tap into the fountain of peace that is God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Inner peace requires us to stop striving, be still, and spend time with our creator, savior, and comforter. That’s how we will find peace with God, ourselves, and others.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Life Interrupted

A successful life is to be enjoyed, celebrated, and always on an upward path to happiness. Or so we are told.  Most of us believe this and do everything we can to ensure this positive outcome for the years we are given.

Celebrities seem to have all the good things of life. Check-out line magazines glamorize their lifestyles and scandalous behavior. Successful sports stars and Hollywood types become the role models young people want to emulate. 

The shocking news of two celebrities that committed suicide reveals a different reality than the tabloids. Both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain appeared to have it all—success, fame, fortune, and a glamourous lifestyle. The dark thoughts and struggles they experienced were kept well hidden from the public. The teenage daughters they left behind will face their grief with more questions than answers.

Yesterday, two Kansas City deputies were shot to death as they were transporting an inmate from jail to the courthouse. Apparently the inmate overpowered the officers in the police car. It is such a tragic ending for those trying to do their job and uphold the law.  Several children no longer will have their mother and father in their lives.

Life was turned upside down for two friends from our church whose daughter died from Sepsis after going to the hospital with a kidney stone. No parent expects to outlive their children and that grief seems more difficult to bear. Such an event leaves one feeling helpless and hopeless.

I know that our friends’ daughter believed in Jesus and that her parents will take comfort and encouragement from two Bible verses that speak on the subject of grief. The Apostle Paul wrote:

Brothers, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who are without hope.  1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

Grief is a darkness that all of us will experience at some point in our lives, but a very necessary process that leads to healing. The difference for the Christian is that we have the ability to grieve with hope–knowing that this life isn’t the end. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome knowing he would soon experience his own death:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13 

The older I get the more I am aware of the brevity of this life. Like many of you I’ve experienced seasons of grief and probably will again in the future. I pray that all of us who grieve will find the hope that only faith in Jesus Christ can give.

Stages of Grief

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Where Are the Kids?

As a teenager growing up in the 1950s, I was taught that future runaway population growth would result in catastrophic food shortages and death on an unprecedented scale. Sixty years later, the opposite is proving to be true in many parts of the world. Two recent internet articles discuss the threat of a declining birth rate to the stability of Japan, Europe, and America. The abandonment of parenthood and a shrinking population is already having serious sociological effects on society today that will not bode well for the future.   

In The Atlantic magazine in June 2017, Alana Semuels wrote an article entitled The Mystery of Why Japanese People Are Having So Few Babies. According to her research, the work culture of Japan contributed to fewer than 1 million births last year and the lowest number in over a century. “Japan’s birth rate may be falling because there are fewer good opportunities for young people, and especially men, in the country’s economy.” Unsteady part-time employment is taking the place of regular employment with good benefits and dependable raises. Men are not considered good marriage material for Japanese women unless they have job security. Women, too, are working long hours and are less likely to want to add children to their already stressed lives.

Europeans and Americans are postponing or abandoning marriage and parenting at unprecedented rates. In Europe, the citizens are only following the pattern of their leaders. 
The eight leaders of mainline European countries have only two children among them.

Jeremy Carl writes for FOX online news, Here’s why it matters that Americans are having fewer children than ever before. He points out that “People having fewer or no children at all may seem at first blush to be simply making a personal choice, of consequence only to themselves. However, this decision is actually one with profound political implications.” Many in the higher income levels, who can afford to raise their children, are choosing to have fewer children or none at all.” Those in lower income levels or in single family homes are experiencing a higher birth rate with fewer financial resources to finance their upbringing. The political and cultural landscape will also be affected by a growing number of legal and illegal immigrants who tend to produce more children.

Another factor is the high abortion rate. Covenant Care Adoptions of Georgia posted the following statistic from 2014. During that year, there were 30,013 abortions in the state compared to 381 infant adoptions. 82% of people with unwanted pregnancies chose to abort their pregnancies instead of allowing those babies to be born and placed in loving families. It makes my heart hurt just to think about it.

What are the implications of those statistics? (three serious and one humorous)
  • ·        No longer will society be structured around family units.
  • ·        Future taxpaying workers will bear a greater burden to support an aging population.
  • ·        Interaction between varying age groups will diminish.
  • ·        More incontinence products will be sold than baby diapers.

I can’t imagine my life without my children and grandchildren.  They bring so much joy and sometimes heartache to my life, but it is all worth it. Someone posted on Facebook that "the best part of growing old is grandchildren."  It's is also  a delight to be around the children in our church and to see the future in their eyes. 

Two Bible verses sum up the importance of children for a fulfilling life.

Psalm 127:3-5 “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.” 

 “Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” Genesis 1:28

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Reasons to Celebrate

The month of May provides me with many opportunities to celebrate life.

We just returned from a whirlwind trip to Memphis, Tennessee where Charles met with sixteen other graduates from the Whitehaven Class of 1948 for their 70th reunion. Lots of stories were shared about the original class of 134. The lives of the students were greatly impacted by the Great Depression and the onset of World War II, and although too young to serve, did their part on the home front. May 8 is V-E Day when the Nazi’s surrendered and the war in Europe came to an end. Those who served and those on the home front built their lives around faith, family, and friendships forged during those crucial years.

On May 12, I will celebrate my 20th liver-versary. No one could have convinced me in 1998 that I would be alive to write about my transplant twenty years later. I’d been too sick for too long. But by the Grace of God and gift of modern medicine, here I am with many good years still ahead. As I wrote in my book, Born Three Times—A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love, “I’ll always be grateful to a family of strangers who decided to donate their loved one’s organs in their time of great loss.” My goal has been to make that sacrifice worthwhile while living a life that honors their memory and honors God.

Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday. I am a blessed mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. My life is so much richer because of my two sons and Charles’ son and daughter who treat me like a Mom.  Raising Stuart and Michael was challenging because of our health issues. I was sick with liver disease during their later childhood, and both boys inherited auto-immune issues that they still live with today. All three of us have become faith-filled survivors because of our experiences with poor health. Many of my five granddaughters, four grandsons, and four great-grandchildren live in other states and times together are too few and very special.

Six years ago this month, I started this blog with a desire to connect on social media through short, inspirational articles for people of all ages and especially senior adults. This is blog post #142. Since inception, my blog has been viewed by almost 34,000 people in many countries and all continents. I’m thankful for all of you who take time to read my musings.  Your encouragement is what keeps me writing.

A verse from Psalm 16:11 sums up what is in my heart during this month of celebrations.

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Unique Word - Coddiwomple

When we travel, our trips are all planned out. I make the reservations and an itinerary. We know where we are going and what we are going to do when we get there. Charles determines the best route using Google maps on his phone and the car’s inboard navigation screen as a backup. We do like some spontaneity, but hate getting lost. 

There are times when living the RV lifestyle sounds very appealing. Load up the vehicle and take off for points unknown. In other words,

Coddiwomple --- “travel in a purposeful manner toward a vague destination.”

We have been traveling toward a vague destination with our company for the past fifteen years. Charles filed his patent for his drag-reducing devices in 2003 and we have been on the road to uncertainty ever since. The plan was to receive Federal Aviation Agency certification during 2017, but that got moved to April and now to June of this year. So, we continue to coddiwomple along doing what’s necessary to hit a moving target—like the proverbial rabbit running after a carrot on a stick.

Coddiwomple also reminds me of the Old Testament story of the Patriarch Abram in the book of Genesis. The Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. (Genesis 12:1)

“So, Abram went as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.  He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there.” (Genesis 12:4-5)

Abram received a major testing of his patience and faith. Abram and his wife were senior adults by today’s standards. They seriously disrupted their settled lives to follow God’s call, which is not something most of us want to do.  Not knowing where they were going or when they would arrive meant they had to trust the process and the One who sent them on their mission. Abram and his family arrived at their destination and they were abundantly blessed by God for their obedience.

And we are blessed today because he obeyed.  As Abram (later Abraham) occupied the land where God sent him, his family became the people of promise who centuries later would bear witness to the birth of Jesus. His life, death, and resurrection allow us to travel this life looking forward to not a vague destination but a heavenly one.