Thursday, June 22, 2017

And We Have Liftoff

Charles & the VBS Rocket
When summer comes, Vacation Bible School is not far behind. Every year our church provides a week long opportunity for boys and girls to learn about the God who created them and Jesus who provided salvation for all mankind. It’s also an opportunity for the adults in our church to use their creative talents to make VBS a fun filled experience for all the children who attend. The theme of this year’s VBS is:

Maker Fun Factory—Created by God, Built for a Purpose

To support that theme, Charles was asked to build a rocket ship for the display at the front of the sanctuary. Asking an aerospace engineer to build a rocket is like asking a nerd to build a computer. You can bet that the new creation will be the biggest and best with all the bells and whistles and lots of bragging rights.

His steps for building the rocket were as follows:
  • Sketch a design on an industrial paper towel in the basement workshop.
  • Brainstorm how to transform the design into an actual rocket.
  • Visualize the components. Where could we find a tall cylinder, a nosecone, a set of fins, and something to simulate the engine and lights? 
  • Take scouting trips to Home Depot, Walmart, and the Dollar Tree to look for potential components.
  • Make more trips to Home Depot to get various glues, drywall putty, screws, paint, etc.
  • Spend every off hour, evening, day, and weekend assembling the perfect rocket.

After all that work, the rocket couldn’t just stand there, it HAD to do something!  So Charles worked with others at the church to create a recorded launch sequence accompanied by a loud drum roll:  “10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 All Engines Running, We have liftoff, We have liftoff.”   Each countdown is accompanied by simulated smoke coming from a fog machine.

The kids yell the countdown and the rocket blasts off each morning at 9:00 AM announcing the start of another great day of Bible School. Just as the boys and girls were created by God and built for a purpose, that rocket is fulfilling its purpose during this week of VBS.

One final question remains – “What do you do with a used rocket when VBS is over?” 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

One Hundred Years From Now

Charles and I have a saying that we often use when we are having a difficult day or thinking about an unsettling future.

“One hundred years from now, what difference will it make?”  

Somehow that puts things in perspective. As Christians, we believe in 100 years we will be rejoicing in Heaven, and that our earthly concerns will no longer matter.

A lot of scientists predict that 100 years from now, life on earth will be vastly different.  Some of the predictions are too fantastic to comprehend, while others are more realistic. After all in the early 1900s, it was predicted that we would travel in electric trains and mobile homes and communicate via video chatting.  Others believed, however, it was just a matter of a few decades before mankind would domesticate mutant seahorses and whales for overseas travel.

I put the latest futuristic warning by Stephen Hawking in the same category as supersonic seahorses and whales. Hawking is the Director of Research at the Center for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. He believes Earth will become uninhabitable because of overpopulation, climate change, disease, and artificial intelligence.  In 2016 he predicted that process would take 1,000 years, but in 2017 he decided we only have 100 years to flee the planet for colonies on the Moon and Mars.  Sorry, Mr. Hawking—I’m not buying it.  I know I’m not a scientist, but wouldn’t all those same issues follow people wherever they lived?  I also believe the sun’s radiation and lack of oxygen would present a few problems, too.

Samsung, the giant electronics company, in its Smart Things Future Living Report made some exciting predictions about life in 100 years. Underwater cities, personal flying drones, 3-D printing of houses, furniture, and gourmet meals will all become a reality by 2117. Yay! No more cooking.

My favorite prediction is from an online report found on Fox News Lifestyle—an exercise pill. Take the pill and get all the benefits of working out without breaking a sweat. If I’m around, I will invest in that stock.

I’m all for progress, but that can’t change the selfish nature of the human heart. One hundred years from now, people will still need a right relationship with God in order to find peace within and without.  Hebrews 13.8 tells us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” The Bible also tells us that Jesus will one day return to this earth to claim His own. So whether it’s 1000 or 100 years from now, we need to be ready.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

It's Time to Dance

May is one of my favorite months. The weather is still on the cool side and the deluge of pollen is over for the season. It’s also a month for me to celebrate two anniversaries.  May 12 is my liver transplant anniversary (19 years and counting).  It’s hard for me to remember the desperate state of my health before I received my second chance at life.  I’ve had my issues since that momentous day, but I have been blessed beyond measure with more good days than bad and the ability to live my life to the fullest.

This month I also celebrate my 5th year as a blogger on  this    site-
Too Two Late Bloomers. When I launched  in May 2012, I had no idea I’d still be posting blogs five years later.  I thought I would have run out of ideas long ago.  Through prayer, internet research, and people watching the ideas continue to come.  Thank you for encouraging me to keep writing.

May is also a month to dance! Dancing around the Maypole was popular in Europe, Germany and England.  Children and young ladies with ribbons intertwined danced around a flower decorated tall pole on May 1 to celebrate the arrival of spring. I remember doing something similar in PE back during my school days.

Celebrate Tap Dance Day on May 25.  My late bloomer husband, Charles, has fond memories of tap dancing with his father as a child.  His dad performed in stage shows in and around the Memphis area.  This day was created in honor of the birthday of legendary tap dancer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson on May 25, 1878.

Maybe you’d rather Dance like a Chicken.  Yup, this special dance is honored every year on May 14th.  This is a popular group dance at weddings and other special celebrations.  It really warms up the crowd and gets people in the swing of things.

With our granddaughter’s wedding only six weeks away, Charles & I decided to brush up on our dancing skills by taking a couple of lessons.  We met at a singles’ dance 21 years ago and danced a good bit when we were first married.  We have both gotten older and rusty, but with a little help we were able to pick up the basics of the Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, and Swing.  It’s great exercise and it gets us away from the computer and TV.  We will not, however, audition for Dancing with the Stars.

Dance can also be a part of our worship of God if done in a God honoring manner.  “Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with timbrel and harp.” Psalm 149:3 Dancing in the Bible is usually accompanied by singing and praise as an expression of worship.

So put on your dancing shoes and celebrate the month of May. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

My First 100 Days

All the talk in Washington and on Cable TV News this week is about President Trump’s First 100 Days.  This political benchmark is an attempt to hold the President and Congress accountable for what they accomplished during this artificially imposed time period. The pundits and historians will analyze and debate their record for days and years to come.

My first 100 days of 2017 has flown by in a whirlwind.  I can’t believe May is next week.  So I have to ask myself what I have accomplished during almost one-third of 2017.  It’s sobering to look back at my productivity. I am very thankful that no newspaper article or news show will critique my accomplishments.

Since New Year’s Day I have been blessed with 16 weeks or 2400 hours of time.  That calculates to 144,000 minutes which according to the Bible is a perfect number. (See Revelation 7 & 14)  I spent one-third of that time sleeping which left me with 1600 hours to be productive.  So what have I done?
  • Four weeks were spent helping Charles through his carotid artery surgery and recovery.
  • It was not easy to shop for an appropriate grandmother-of-the bride dress and shoes for Marcella’s wedding. It took a lot more time than I expected.
  • Grocery shopping and cooking demanded a lot of time and attention. 
  • I washed at least 80 loads of dirty clothes and ironed lots of shirts.
  • My duties at our office claimed two days of each week.
  • Several days were spent editing and adding to the manuscript for Charles’ memoir.
  • Two days were spent at our tax accountant’s office preparing our personal and business tax returns.
  • I know I spent too much time watching television and surfing the net.
  • I spent several hours in the dentist chair so that doctor “drill & fill” could do her work.
  • It was a privilege to speak twice at women’s luncheons where I shared my testimony about God’s Amazing Gift of Second Chances.
  • Church activities and quality time as a couple and with our children and grandchildren filled in the remaining hours.

The stuff of life is very time consuming. The demands of the busy overshadow my efforts to rest, relax, and recharge. My personal critique is that I haven’t spent enough quiet time in prayer and reflection. It is very difficult for me—and I imagine most people—to find the balance between productive work and a quiet time with the Lord.

My best times are when I count my blessings and pray for needs of people who are experiencing difficult times. Other times of reflection come when I consider a blog topic and what to write. I feel the Lord’s presence as I share my life and offer encouragement to you.  Please comment below and tell me how you find the balance in your life between busyness and quietness.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Case for Christ

It’s the week before Easter which in many Christian traditions is considered the holiest week of the year.  Yet it’s hard to find Jesus’ resurrection in the middle of all the colored eggs, chocolate bunnies, and new clothes.  Yes, I admit I’ve been out shopping for some new springtime apparel to wear during these glorious and sunny 80 degree days.  I’m also trying to remember and celebrate the “reason for the season” and the greatest gift of God’s grace given to an undeserving mankind.

The Case for Christ made its debut in movie theaters last weekend. It is a very well made and dramatic portrayal of the life of well-known atheist, Lee Strobel, and his investigative journey to debunk the death of Jesus on the cross and the reality of the resurrection. His marriage and career was almost destroyed because of his obsession to prove that the whole Christian narrative was a delusion.  

I had previously read his book with the same title, but seeing the movie brought his journey into clearer focus.  The love and prayers of his wife played a vital role in him finding the truth in the midst of his determination to deny the existence of God and the evidence of Jesus’ empty tomb.  I highly recommend this movie to all my blog readers during this Easter season. 

Our country has a changing religious landscape where most Americans don’t believe the USA is a Christian nation.  This is a belief shared by both Catholics and Protestants alike.  Many feel that those who profess their Christian beliefs have been demonized and, at best, marginalized in recent years.

Those of us who have professed belief in Christ have a wonderful story to share with those around us.  That story can be shared through words, as well as deeds, and prayers offered on behalf of other people.  Lee Strobel found that he couldn’t prove or disprove the good news of Jesus intellectually, but when he realized he didn’t have all the answers, the love of God reached down and found him. 

I found the following quote in the magazine Facts & Trends, written by Alvin Reid and published by LifeWay.

“Don’t buy the negative rhetoric: Our society has not suddenly plunged into an abyss of secularism and atheism, leaving a culture of spiritually walking dead with no interest in the claims of Christ.  You and I live in a mission field.  Life is a mission trip—take it, and start today!”
Happy Easter

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Gift of Second Chances

Who doesn’t want a do-over?

American humorist Will Rogers is credited with saying,
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

Sports teams and players often wish they could undo the big mistake that cost them the game. Even with instant replay, they seldom get a “do-over.”

Life presents most of us with numerous opportunities to try again for success. In a way, the start of every year and even every day is a new beginning—a second chance. In the Weight Watchers program, we are told if you mess up your food choices one day, start fresh the next and get back on tract.

What life events produce the opportunity for a second chance? They are very stressful and change life in an instant. 
  • ·       Loss of a loved one, job, or relationship
  • ·       Traumatic event, accident, or natural disaster
  • ·       A health crisis
  • ·       Failure or defeat

  What do we do when life deals us a body blow that takes the wind out of our sails?

The American Psychological Association explains the importance of resilience in recovering from stressful situations. “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means "bouncing back" from difficult experiences. Research has shown that resilience is ordinary, not extraordinary. People commonly demonstrate resilience. One example is the response of many Americans to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and individuals' efforts to rebuild their lives.”

Many non-fiction books and movies are written about people who overcome major adversity and develop the skills necessary to move on with their lives. Sometimes you have to experience the worst to appreciate the best.

The ultimate “do-over” or second chance is laid out in the third chapter of the Gospel of John. The process of being “born from above” transforms a person and gives them the ability to see the world through spiritual eyes and grants a believer eternal life. John 3:6-7

April is National Donate Life Month which recognizes and celebrates organ donation. The selfless act of organ donation provides second chances for recipients who would otherwise die from organ failure.

 I spoke this week at a Christian Women’s Connection luncheon with the theme, “Second Chances.”  They promoted the importance of organ donation and I presented my story and testimony—“Three Amazing Gifts and a Second Chance at Life.”
My speech was inspired by my memoir which many of you have read. My book makes a great gift for someone dealing with difficult times.
Born Three Times—A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love

Until 4/30/17, I am selling signed copies of my book for $13 each (includes US postage.)  Send an email to A stamped, addressed envelope will be enclosed for your payment convenience.

Comment on my blog below and tell me about your gift of second chances.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Dare to Dream

A 99 year old Dutch lady, Annie, and 102 year old Edie in St. Louis fulfilled their dreams by getting arrested.  (As reported by CNN 3/1/17)  Annie wanted to “experience a police cell from within.” She had the time of her life “when she was picked up by police, cuffed and locked up.” 

According to the news report, Edie requested that she be arrested at her senior center while she was delivering her handmade craft items.  She probably wanted to make sure her friends witnessed the exciting event. 

These are two ladies whose “bucket list” aspirations are definitely unique and not what I have in mind for my 100th birthday.  In my braver moments I want to ride a zip line or sky dive, but the older I get the less likely either will happen.  I have enough aches and pains from just a day of shopping at the grocery store or mall.

The FOX 13 TV Station in Tampa featured the following story.  “96 Year Old World War II pilot takes flight again in Florida.”  Adventuresome Bob Brocklehurst, gave a thumbs up as he took to the air in a P-51Mustang like the one he flew for the military.  During the war he was stationed in Alaska for two terms protecting the Aleutian Islands from the Japanese. After 70 years, he was not content to just co-pilot the plane so he took the controls for a loop and a barrel roll. According to Bob, “I felt right at home.”

P-51 Mustang
My late bloomer husband and private pilot husband, Charles, definitely has this on his “dream list.”  Charles wasn’t a military pilot, but helped to taxi and repair many types of military planes while he was in the Navy.  His dream is to get back in the pilot’s seat of a general aviation aircraft that he has built.  

The lesson I plan to teach this Sunday during children’s church is about Simeon and Anna—two senior adults in the Bible who saw their dreams fulfilled.  When Mary & Joseph brought Jesus to the temple when he was eight days old to be presented to the Lord they were met by Simeon—a righteous and devout man who yearned to see the “consolation of Israel.” He recognized Jesus as the one who had been promised as the “glory of Israel” and “a light for revelation to the gentiles.”  Anna, a widow and prophetess at the temple, prayed for many years to see the “redemption of Israel.”  God fulfilled both of their heart-felt dreams when they were allowed to see and hold the infant Jesus.  Luke 2:29-32  (Quoted  from the English Standard Version of the Bible)

A dream is defined in the English Oxford Living Dictionary as “A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.” 

Do we dare to dream and think about the plans that God still has for us?  Like the prophetess, Anna, we must never lose hope that God will answer our prayer.  Like Simeon, we need to listen to God’s instruction and be available when given an opportunity.  Remember, if it’s a dream God has placed in your mind and heart—He always shows up on time.   Keep praying and waiting.