Thursday, December 20, 2012

I Resolved

Here we are again at the time of the year when we are winding down the past year and planning for the new.  I know—the world is supposed to come to an end tomorrow (according to the Mayan calendar.) I much prefer the Christian calendar that began when Jesus was on earth. He said in Matthew 24:35-36 & 44:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

At the beginning of 2012, I made several resolutions and wondered how long it would take me to break them. Here is my score card: finish unpacking from our move—mostly done; organize closets and my office—a work in progress; lose weight and exercise—Forget About It; publish my memoir—YAY, it’s done!

On December 16, I launched my book, Born Three Times, at a book debut and signing event at our church. It was a rainy, messy day but many people braved the weather and came out to support the effort and buy books. Additional books were purchased this past week by others who couldn’t attend. I am so blessed by the response and excited about new opportunities to share my story in 2013. Keep me in mind for speaking engagements at groups where I can tell my story and promote my book next year.

I received the following email from my friend, Neeraj Kamdar, who now lives in Kenya. With his permission, I am quoting his endorsement of my book.

“I just finished reading your book and I’m really amazed. Your story is just unbelievable and I want to thank you for sharing it.  It is going to be a source of inspiration for me when I go through ups and downs in life. It’s amazing to realize how far the world has come since you were a little kid in Burke. Who would have thought that just over a half century later, you would write your memoirs, publish it digitally, and someone in Kenya would download it and read it on an iPad.”

To order your copy, go to the tab at the top of my blog on the right called How to Order. Links are provided for you to download to your eReader or order a soft cover copy. Email me at if you would like a signed copy ($18 for book & postage.)

Please comment below and tell me about your New Year’s resolutions—past and present.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Two Late Bloomers,

Charles and Frieda Dixon


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Lot of Hot Air

We must be blooming idiots to think we could pack so many stressful projects into the most hectic time of the year. But, that is exactly how our December is shaping up.
After waiting months to receive a contract for further wind tunnel testing for his aircraft innovations, Charles finally got the go ahead to test two airplanes before the end of 2012. He recently spent two weeks at the Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel in Maryland, a state of the art low speed wind tunnel that has been actively involved in aerodynamic research and development since 1949. The tunnel is located near the College Park Airport, which is known as the “cradle of aviation” and is the world’s oldest continually operating airport. The wind tunnel operations continue the pioneering spirit of the airport in the testing of many past and current aircraft. He and his crew blew a lot of hot air through the tunnel to determine if his innovations will improve aircraft performance. Long days of trial and error achieved successful results which he will further prove in flight tests during 2013.
Everyone tells me the best time to market my new book is during the Christmas gift-giving season. So while he is working on his aviation dream, I am busy sending up trial balloons to find the most effective way to promote, Born Three Times.

Trial Balloon 1-Plan a Book Signing:   
My book debut and first signing will be on December 16, 2012 from 3:00-5:00 pm, at Towne View Baptist Church, 1115 Shiloh Road, Kennesaw, GA 30144. Please come if you are in the area.
Trial Balloon 2-Record a Radio Interview:
In the next few days, I will be recording a radio interview about my book and why I wrote it, which will air on Internet Radio. As soon as I learn the details, I will send them on to you. 

Trial Balloon 3-Encourage People to Buy my Book: 
See the “How to Order” tab above for all the details about ordering a soft cover edition or E-book download for your Kindle, Nook, or other electronic reader. 

Whew I am tired just thinking about it all and I need a better perspective. I have decided that no matter which way the wind blows with our earthly projects during the month of December, both of us need to take a deep breath and look for the real reason for the Christmas season. I am reminded of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in the Gospel of John. “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8). Now that is a real breath of fresh air!

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's A Book !

I have just given birth—at least it feels like it. After a whole lot longer than nine months, my baby was delivered by Fed EX. The first copy of my memoir arrived this week. Born Three Times—A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love is my life story telling of my struggles and challenges and God’s grace in giving me His gift of second chances. I am excited about sharing it all with you in the hope that you will find it inspirational.  
The writing process took on a life of its own and proved to be a bigger challenge than I first thought. At first I struggled to find a common theme around which to tell my story. As I prayed about what God wanted me to say, it came to me that God had charted my path throughout my life even when I was not looking for His guidance. As I relived and wrote about many painful experiences, I saw them through completely different eyes, and a story of hope and God’s amazing grace began to emerge. It was a liberating experience. 
The publishing process was equally daunting. I learned that traditional publishing houses very seldom choose to invest in memoirs by unknown authors. The self-publishing route was my best option. I investigated several companies and ended up choosing Inspiring Voices–a Division of Guidepost Magazine. They were great to work with as I navigated the difficult tasks of formatting and editing. Choosing the cover was the most challenging. It needed to tell my life story at a glance. Praise the Lord, I found it! I was thrilled to find the picture of a sunrise taken from an airplane that shows the curvature of the earth.
To me, the photo said: After a long night - a new day breaks forth filled with God-given opportunities.  Now for the fun part, sharing my story with all of you and with people I have yet to meet. This late bloomer writer thanks all of you for your encouragement as I have worked through this process.
My first book signing will be Sunday, December 16 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at Towne View Baptist Church, 1115 Shiloh Road, Kennesaw, GA 30144. I would love to see you in person if you live in the area.
Born Three Times is available at (go to bookstore and then new releases.) Also on in soft back and ebook formats (enter my name Frieda S. Dixon in the search box.)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Young at Heart

As we age we all have a choice to make. Are we going to act “Old as Dirt” or “Young at Heart?” Granted there are some days when I feel like the former, but the Young at Heart days come around often enough to make up for those bad days. For the past few years, Charles and I have dressed up like Raggedy Ann & Andy for our church’s Fall Family Fun Fair. Since we don’t look like Power Rangers or Super Heroes, fewer and fewer children recognize our costumes. I think their parents enjoy our costumes the most. We enjoy playing games with the kids at the fair and handing our candy. We love living in our active senior adult community, but one of the things I miss is the kids coming around for trick or treat on Halloween. I guess we’ll have to eat all the candy I bought.
I’m reminded of a funny joke that appeared in a recent issue of Reader’s Digest:
“I was feeling pretty creaky after hearing the TV reporter say, "To contact me, go to my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, or try me the old-fashioned way—e-mail."
Since you are tech savvy enough to follow my blog, I know that you are a Young at Heart person. Keep up the good work and follow the Biblical admonition from Proverbs 17:22.
"A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength." (New Living Translation-2007)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Port in the Storm

I get seasick faster than you can say “All Aboard” when I get on a cruise ship. I know it’s not all in my head, since I got sick on our honeymoon cruise to Bermuda sixteen years ago. Last week, without leaving dry land, we took another cruise of sorts when Charles and I spent six days with seafarers from all over the world.
We, along with three others seniors from our church, drove to New Orleans (N’awlins) to work with the staff of Global Maritime Ministries. “Global Maritime Ministries exists to provide holistic Christian ministry by meeting the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of seafarers and maritime workers.”1 Our main purpose in going was to support the hospitality efforts of the small, dedicated staff that works at the ministry center. We served fruit, cookies, and brownies to cargo ship seafarers and provided lunch for the cruise ship staff from at least fifteen different countries. Workers from India, Bulgaria, Turkey, Ukraine, Philippines, Romania, Bali, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Taiwan, South Korea, Peru, Nicaragua, South Africa, and Indonesia came through the doors. All the world’s major religions and languages were represented by those men and women.
The maritime center serves as a “port in the storm” since it provides a safe, wholesome environment away from the ship for the few hours the ships are in port. A ministry shuttle bus picks up the seafarers at the ships and ferries them to Wal-Mart or the Center. Most visitors immediately run to the computers, plug in their earphones, power up their smart phones, and log onto Skype so that they can contact their families back home and catch up with world events on the internet. It will be many months before they will get to see their loved ones on their home turf. After an hour or so, they drift over to enjoy the free goodies and engage in conversation with us. Occasionally one will ask, “How much is the cost.” Everyone smiles when we explain, “It’s free, just like God’s love for you.”
Many opportunities for service are available to seniors. A mission trip, while tiring, does not have to mean going overseas. It could just be in your neighborhood, or a neighboring state. It’s just a matter of finding the place that God wants you to serve.   

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Issues With Our Tissues

Work outs, aerobics, power walking, and strength training are activities that make me want to run in the opposite direction.  I am not the worst couch potato in my age group, but regular exercise is not high on my priority list. The one exercise that calls my name is deep water aquatics. I try to make it to the YMCA pool at least once a week—not nearly enough to do any good.  At least I don’t have to lie when my doctor asks, “Do you exercise?” Last week at the pool, several of us were chatting about what makes us get up early in the morning, put on a bathing suit (we all get stars for that), fight the school traffic, and get into the sometimes chilly water for our class. One shared her arthritis miseries, another her recent back surgery and I talked about my fibromyalgia. We all had a good laugh, when I suggested that everyone that comes to the pool probably has “Issues with their Tissues.”
As I climbed out of the pool, ladies arrived for the next class called Senior Fit. Some were walking with canes, one on a walker, and several others walking very slowly with limps. Those seniors have not given in to their condition, but are doing everything they can to maintain mobility and quality of life. Aquatic exercise works because it helps to decrease stiffness, improves range of motion, and, unlike land exercise, reduces stress on the joints. In other words, it helps the “twinges in the hinges.”
If my goal is to finish my life well, then I must continue to exercise physically and spiritually. I am not a runner, but I take inspiration from the Bible verse in Hebrews 12:2a. “And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Moving Experience

Many people I know are moving. I have five new addresses for family members to change in my address book. Last year at this time, we were involved in one of life’s greatest stressors—selling our house and buying a new one. Fall of 2011 is a complete blur. We spent day after beautiful day digging through our attic and basement–sorting, discarding, packing, and reminiscing. Dealing with realtors, appraisers, inspectors, and contractors took up the rest of our time and energy. Whew! It makes me tired just writing about it. What is accomplished in one hour on Home & Garden Television (HGTV) took us much longer to achieve—and we are not done yet. There are still boxes to open and closets to organize. When we add up all the pluses and minuses of our moving adventure, it remains for us a good decision and positive move. Why did we put ourselves through the frustration and work?  We needed to simplify our lives, and by doing so, freed up more time for hobbies and ministry in our church and community. 
In the next two weeks, our church people are moving to a transitional location while our new church building is under construction. Our existing property and building was bought by a company that is constructing housing for the exploding student population at Kennesaw State University. Our congregation bought its acreage seventeen years ago for $39,000 per acre and sold it for $500,000 per acre. I like God’s kind of inflation. We have grown comfortable in our present building and location, so there will some adjustments to make—but lots of new opportunities as well. The senior adults in our church are some of the most excited about the move. Often seniors are stereotyped as people unwilling to change, but ours have embraced it.
Don’t be afraid to keep moving on,
For what was before, now has gone,
God wants to accomplish so much more,
But we need to move forward in the Lord.
© By M.S. Lowndes, Based on Isaiah 43:18-19

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

An Archeological Dig

I know I am not the only person who wishes that their parents or that beloved grandmother took the time to write down the family genealogy or family history. All too soon, memories fade, health fails, and the legacy dies with the passage of time. My goal is to make sure that doesn’t happen for our children and grandchildren. Rick Warren writes in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, “You owe it to future generations to preserve the testimony of how God helped you to fulfill his purposes on earth. It is a witness that will continue to speak long after you are in heaven.”
This week the final edit of my life story, Born Three Times, is winging its way to my publishing company. I anticipate a paperback and e-book release sometime before Christmas. In order to build momentum for my book, I am giving away a free copy to the first twenty people in the USA who agree to write a review of my book for and Barnes & You can sign up on my Facebook fan page entitled Frieda Dixon, Author. Enter those words at the top of your Facebook page and my author page will be an option to select. Post a comment on the page telling me you want a free copy and provide your email address. If you don’t want to write a review, click LIKE on my fan page so I will know you have found it.
Now that my book is nearing publication, Charles and I are starting a new archeological dig. Together we will stake out his life and dust off the layers of memories to discover his history and what makes him tick. While I sit at the computer, he relays his earliest childhood memories. I am amazed that our backgrounds contain so many similarities—yet enough differences to make our life interesting. For instance, both of our fathers did not finish high school, but were very skillful in woodworking and fixing things.  Charles didn’t apply himself in school until his high school years, whereas I was always studious. Our working title for his memoir is: Reaching for the Sky. From earliest childhood, Charles has been fascinated by aviation. His story will relate his journey from flying paper airplanes to inventing modifications for military aircraft and everything in between.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

More Than One Way to Fly

Every time a plane flies over, my late bloomer husband, Charles looks to the skies. He can even recognize an airplane by the sound it makes as it passes over. I see a wistful look in his eye and hear a longing in his voice to once again be “pilot in command.”  But since starting his own company to develop devices to improve aircraft flying qualities, there has been little time to pursue his flying passion.
With a second retirement not too far in the future, he has discovered a new hobby–fly fishing. This more down to earth pastime can be just as demanding of time and energy. I have been told that one or more fly rods, fly reels, dry flies, fly lines, and fly boxes are all necessities for the sport and that fly casting and fly tying are necessary skills. This man was born to FLY.  It’s equally important to him to learn all the culinary tastes of various kinds of trout so they will be tempted to grab the fly on the line. As you can see, waders, boots, and a waterproof vest are also vital pieces of equipment as well as the perfect fishing hat. I wish I could say I share his love of stomping around in the woods, rivers, and creeks, looking for the ideal spot to cast a line. But since I don’t want him to venture into the woods alone, I am usually seated somewhere nearby swatting the flying insects that like to inhabit that environment.
I have also been put on notice that once Charles’ retirement is a reality, he intends to complete his bucket list by transforming our basement workshop into a hangar, so that he can build a light sport aircraft. Before he reaches the day that God calls him home, he plans to climb aboard that homebuilt airplane, soar above the clouds, and make a picture-perfect landing. Charles’ determination to pursue his dreams is fueled by two things—his blessing of good health plus his favorite Bible verse. “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).  

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Way We Were

Do you ever have a song that plays over and over in your head? “Memories, light the corners of my mind, Misty watercolor memories of the way we were.”1 You probably recognize the song, “The Way We Were” sung by Barbara Streisand from the movie of the same name.
No doubt, my brain hit the REPLAY button because I hit the SEND button this week. With a mixture of excitement and anxiety, I emailed my memoir manuscript to Inspiring Voices for their initial review and recommendations. Like a first time mother, I nursed and fussed over my newborn baby for many months. My manuscript baby was changed over and over again. When I least expected it, another change would demand my undivided attention. It was finally time to hand my manuscript over to someone else’s capable hands.
My next monumental task was to find the photos for the interior. I do not exaggerate! You would agree if you saw the disorganized state of my 60 plus years of photographs. “Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind… Smiles too painful to remember…”1 I had put off that sorting task for years because I didn’t want to deal with stored up memories. It turned out easier than I expected, since I dealt with my emotions as I wrote my book. The next challenge was to find the ten interior pictures allowed by my publishing package. It was not easy to distill my life into ten snapshots.
The memoir writing process has been a profitable mental and spiritual exercise. It has helped me to forgive and put “The Way We Were” in perspective—to see the BIG picture of how God has been at work in my life. As I am freed from dwelling on the past, I can move forward into the exciting future God has planned for me. 
1The Way We Were, Lyrics by Alan & Margaret Bergman and scored by Marvin Hamlish, 1973.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Old Gray Mare

It’s no mystery to me why I was resistant to having gray hair. In my childhood, I heard my mother frequently quote the old folk song, “Oh, the old gray mare she ain’t what she used to be, she ain’t what she used to be…”  She used the words to refer to a horse or a woman who was past her prime. It was also a way of describing herself as too tired to perform an unpleasant household task that she assigned to me.
I never knew what was beneath the light brown that colored my hair until I was forced by a scalp condition to give up my monthly fix. With fear and trembling I watched my hair change from ash brown to mousy gray, until a glorious mop of white hair emerged and changed my whole outlook on life. Strangers stopped me on the street to comment on my beautiful hair, friends said I looked younger. Just maybe “the old gray mare” was better than she used to be. 
It is sometimes hard for senior adults to embrace change, but it is usually the best thing that can happen to us. We never know what exciting opportunities are just around the corner. Proverbs 16:31 tells us “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.” (NKJV) We can’t turn back the hands of time, so we should embrace all that God has in store for us. We might be in for a pleasant surprise. If you are curious, click on the Meet the Bloomers link at the top of this blog to see Charles with his “new gray mare.”

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Around To It vs. Just Do It

In 1964, the “Round Tuit” disk was introduced at the New York World’s Fair. In 1988, NIKE added the phrase “Just Do It” to its trademark swoosh to promote its athletic gear.

I am finally ready to quit going around in circles. Today I am putting on my running shoes and taking a giant step toward publishing my memoir. Writing the story of my life took over five years of off and on again effort. At first my “Round Tuit” mentality was definitely in charge, as I let the demands of life interfere with my desire to write. Then I started writing stories and anecdotes from childhood and storing them in my computer. Two years ago, I began compiling those bits and pieces and filling in the blanks. At first my memoir was to be a gift to my children and grandchildren telling the story of God’s grace in allowing me to survive and thrive in the midst of life’s difficulties. After a thorough critique and edit of my manuscript by a fellow writer, I realized that my story has wider appeal. My book languished on a shelf while my insecurities grew. I was back in “Round Tuit” mode. Since it is very difficult for a first time author to find a traditional publisher I was stuck, until I realized that to reach my goal, I will have to self-publish. After talking with several on-demand book publishers, I decided to “Just Do It.”  Inspiring Voices, a division of Guidepost magazine, is now working with me to publish both a paperback and e-book.

See future blog posts about my publishing journey and my story:

Born Three Times
It Took a Lifeline and a Lifetime to Find a New Life, New Liver, and New Love

Friday, June 22, 2012

Planting Seeds and Growing Lives

How does your garden grow?  I’m not talking about flowers to admire or home grown vegetables to eat. Instead, I’m thinking about the positive influence senior adults can have on the younger generations. Two examples come to mind. This is the week for Vacation Bible School at our church. The parking lot swarms with parents bringing their children for a jam-packed week of Bible stories, crafts, music, and missions. Charles directs the cars in and out each day to ensure everyone’s safety. Then 160 eager faces approach me at the registration table to wait for a name tag. Monday is nerve wracking as I scramble to find each child’s class assignment. As I observe the children’s activities, I ask myself, “Did I ever have that much energy?”  It makes me grateful for those older caring adults who spent hours planting the seeds of God’s love in my life so many years ago when I attended VBS.
For the past ten years, our aerospace engineering company, Consulting Aviation Services, has offered a mentoring program to high school seniors interested in engineering and aviation. Charles is very eager to pass along his vast knowledge in the field of mathematics and aviation to the next generation.  Numerous students have earned course credit and valuable experience as they worked on projects for our company. All of our interns graduate high school with highest honors and go on to advanced studies in college. Planting seeds in the fertile ground of the next generation reaps a fruitful harvest and makes our lives richer and more rewarding.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Married100 Years (almost)

“How long have you been married?” It’s a question that we’re asked quite often, usually by someone who doesn’t know us and is much younger than we are. In order not to disappoint the questioner who is expecting us to answer 45 or 50 years, Charles usually responds with a twinkle in his eye, “Around 100 years!”  Everyone has a good laugh as we explain, “It’s all in how you add up the numbers.” 
Charles – 44 years to Mary before she died + 16 years to Frieda = 60 years of marriage.
Frieda – 22 years to Talmadge before his death + 16 years to Charles = 38 years of marriage. 
It adds up to 98 with only two more to go before we hit 100.
We celebrate our anniversary this week and feel truly blessed for the sixteen years we’ve spent together. I was in need of a liver transplant when we promised to “love each other in sickness and health.” There were no guarantees for the future even after I received a donor liver. So as June 8 rolls around each year, we are amazed at the grace and goodness of God. A garden stone on our front porch is engraved with a song verse written by John Lennon, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. God bless our love.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Life's Encore

Encore azaleas are my favorite perennial flowering shrubs.  The warm days of spring call them forth from their winter slumber into a glorious display that lasts for weeks.  As the last days of summer heat wind down and trees turn red, orange, and yellow, the Encores put on another show. "Look at me" they seem to say as other summer flowers are in their last hurrah. Isn't life like that?  We start out in our youth with fresh idealism. The world is our oyster and we are going to make it a better place. Our careers will be rewarding and profitable. We are going to do a better job than our parents in our marriages and raising our children. Time stretches before us in a long unbroken line like a railroad track heading west through the plains.  Then life happens. The reality of unfulfilled dreams, chronic illness, family strife, and broken promises intrudes and we are left wondering what happened.  We struggle to find meaning in life and strength for each day.  Our pain causes us to look for the still small voice of God and we are renewed. Our life experiences teach us and we find we are strong. As we approach the fall of our life, we have a measure of freedom to be the person we always wanted to be.  There seems to be a bit more time to pursue new hobbies and interests.  Others appreciate our wisdom learned in the school of hard knocks. It is our chance to make an encore and bloom one more time..  

Bloom Where You are Planted

Today I jump into the 21st century - twelve years late. I am starting a blog to chronicle my life as a late bloomer.  I’ve struggled to keep up with the latest computer operating systems and software. I finally gave in to text messaging and using a smart phone so that I can keep up with the grandkids.  My late bloomer, husband, is not intimidated by computer-eaze and has pushed and prodded me to become proficient in the latest gadgets. The blogosphere has called to me for some time since I like to write. Blogging demands discipline, and I need the regimen of regular writing. Blooming late is all about taking risks.  What could be more risky than writing about life and letting the world see your innermost thoughts?  Charles describes himself as a calculated risk taker.  He still works long after the normal retirement age, creating and innovating to improve the safety and efficiency of aircraft.  Sometimes, we ask ourselves are we too late to bloom?  The answer lies in the wise words of the Psalmist: “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose fruit does not wither; whatever they do prospers.” Psalms 1:3.  As two late bloomers, we hope to inspire you to join us in discovering your passion so that you too can “Bloom where you are planted.” (This quote was first spoken by St. Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, who lived from 1567-1622.)