A Sneak Peek for Your Entertainment

The COVID-19 virus is here in the world. All that will matter when this is over is how we behaved during this crisis. It’s time to circle our wagons and open our hearts. I’m offering a little diversion, a sneak peek for your entertainment.

My Hope For You

My husband and I have self-quarantined. It’s not a choice. He’s got many health issues that make him at very high risk should he contract COVID-19.

I hope that each of you have also self-quarantined, that you’re safe and healthy. That your loved ones and dear friends are safe and healthy. And I hope and pray that all of you stay that way. 

What I Can Do

I can’t do a grand gesture that will feed thousands or pay off someone else’s mortgage or any of those wonderful things so many warm-hearted people are doing right now. I can’t even do much in the way of small gestures. What I can do is share my stories. No, I can’t make them free…I do have to eat and keep a roof over our heads. But I can offer you a little diversion. A sneak peek for your entertainment. At least, I hope it’s entertaining.

Each Friday for the next six weeks or more. I’m going offer a bit of my WIP, If I Should Die.

Image of the Fellowship Shield from the sneak peek for your entertainment

My Work-in-Progress

If I Should Die

by Lynette M Burrows

Copyright 2020

Storm clouds blotted out the sunset and the last of the day’s light. But Miranda Clarke, captain of the Lady Angelfish aka Serenity, had a rendezvous to keep. She eased the throttled down a little more. Turned on the boat’s spotlight and illuminated the Missouri River’s dark waters. She ran the boat as close to the channel markers as she dared.

Then it appeared. Mile marker 35. Relief loosened the tension in her shoulders.

She grabbed the mike of the VHF radio. “Ladies, we just passed Mile Marker 35. We’re clear of St. Charles.”

“Read you five-by-five,” Wanda, her engineer and chef, answered. “I’ll clear the decks.”

Even on their private channel, they used code. Safer that way.

St. Charles, Missouri was a major Fellowship stronghold so they’d assumed their alternate personas. The Fellowship flag flew beneath the American one. On the table in the salon, a copy of a New Testament for Modern Times lay open to the Book of Samuel. Pictures of the Prophet Samuel hung in the salon and the Captain’s quarters. And anything that might identify them as SABR rebels hid in secret compartments.

Miranda replaced the mike. She longed for the day this ruse wouldn’t be necessary, but for now she focused on the river. She wanted this, their last refugee pick-up of the season, to go especially well.

Be-boop. Be-boop. The bleat of the two-toned alert from the VHF radio startled her.

“This is the U.S. Coast Guard. Serenity, heave to. Over.”

She sucked in a breath and tightened her grip on  the wheel. Crap. An over-the-shoulder glance took in the running lights outline of a USCG cutter two-or-three cable lengths behind them. It plowed the river between its overgrown banks, headed straight for them. Lousy timing. She wished she could tell David that their thirty minute ETA just became an hour or more….

My intention is to publish this novel late fall 2020. Watch my If I Should Die book page for updated information.

If you’d like a sneak peek at inspirations for this book visit Pinterest.

As always, my books are available on Amazon and all the online stores including Walmart. If you’ve already read my stories, consider buying a story by some friends of mine: William F Wu, Robert Chilson, Jan S Gephardt, G.S. Norwood, or Jenn Windrow. And if you don’t buy from them, buy from another author. Many authors don’t have pension or retirement funds or even health insurance. They depend upon readers to buy their books. And if you’ve read a book, take a moment to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or even a short “I liked it” post with a picture of you holding the book on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. 

The Plan Didn’t Quite Work

Welp, I made a video. I made lots of videos of me reading this chapter aloud. Unfortunately I’ve made about every mistake a beginner can make and the video was rejected by YouTube. I’ll work on this and hope I can produce a video soon.

The Next Sneak Peak for Your Entertainment

Stay tuned for next week’s episode. Hopefully, I’ve learned what not to do and next week my video will be accepted and posted at the regular time.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek for your entertainment. Please tell me how you’re managing the isolation in the comments below. And thank you so much for reading. 

6 Ways to Find Your Calm in the Middle of the Storm

It’s a topsy-turvy world we’re living in right now. Even an introvert like me, used to sitting alone at the computer all day, can get caught up in the craziness. It’s essential, now more than ever, that you find your calm in the middle of the storm. Ack! How do you do that when everyone around you is losing their minds?

Smile

image of a golden retriever smiling to help you find your calm in the middle of the storm

First, smile. Fake it if you must. Look in the mirror and smile. Make faces. Be goofy. 

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.

—Thich Nhat Hanh

There’s science behind this. And I’ve written a series of blog posts about stress and how you can manage it.

The act of smiling activates those neurotransmitters that make you feel good. It relaxes your body, slows your heart, and lowers your blood pressure. Not only that, it makes you more attractive. And it’s contagious.

Re-Evaluate

You’ve got to change your life for your health and the health of everyone around you. So take this time and re-evaluate your priorities. Figure out what means the most to you. What brings you the most happiness and joy? Is it your family? Music? Reading? Writing? Creating something? 

If you’re the parent of school-aged children who now have a lot of time on your hands, help them find the things that bring them joy. Make sure each of you spends at least 15 minutes sparking your joy every day.

Re-Assign

The reality of being home all the time means some chores of daily living have increased exponentially. Have a family meeting where you spell out what needs to be done every day. Teach your children (or spouse) how to do the laundry, how to fix their lunch, or mop the floor. Don’t expect them to do it perfectly. Whether you have children at home, or a spouse, let them help plan the day. Set ground rules such as ‘the schedule must include 4 hours of learning, 1 hour of movement, 1 hour of entertainment, 1 hour of chores and 1 hour free time.

Move

image of basketball hoop in a driveway

Have a family exercise time. If exercise is a drag, make it fun with things like a Chinese Fire Drill. When Mom or Dad (or older children) call out “Fire Drill.” Everyone has to run laps around the house or around the yard. In bad weather you can run laps around the dining room table.

Or you can play balance games. How long can you stand on one leg? Can you walk across the room balancing a book on your head? There are plenty of sites online that can suggest more indoor and outdoor activities. Check out Today’s Parent.

Quiet Time

While it’s important to keep active physically and mentally, your quiet time is also important. Spend at least 15 minutes in mindfulness. Step away from all electronic devices. No, this isn’t nap time. Mindfulness is simply the act of noticing the moment.

Notice how it feels to breathe, to sit, to smell, to taste. If you have children, you may have to teach them how to do this. Parents.com tells you why and how to do this. 

If that sounds to woo-woo for you, take 15 minutes to connect with yourself or your spiritual beliefs. Reflect on how you feel at the moment. If it’s not how you want to feel, practice releasing that feeling and recovering the you you want to be.

Stay Connected

Man and child together finding their calm in the middle of the storm

Not to the internet. To each other. Spend time talking to each other. Reach out to others. Use text or Face Time or chat or simply telephone a friend or family member. Chat, complain, make each other laugh. Have a Google Hangout party.

Maybe you can’t be physically close, but you can stay connected.

If you, or a loved one, or a friend is overwhelmed, get help. Call the national suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-8255. They can provide resources even if you don’t feel suicidal.

Your Calm in the Middle of the Storm

It’s not always easy to be calm in the middle of the storm. And it’s not a one and done activity. Especially when loved ones inadvertently (or purposefully) bring fear and chaos to you. You can’t make others be calm. But you can find your calm in the middle of the storm. How do you find your calm in these turbulent times?

An Inspiring Woman In Space And On The Ground

From last week’s strong Mohawk woman of the revolutionary war era we’re coming forward hundreds of years. This week’s Women’s History Month spotlight is on an inspiring woman in space and on the ground, Ellen Ochoa. Ms. Ochoa, a Hispanic-American Woman, made history in our lifetime. Engineer, inventor, astronaut, and administrator, she is a champion of and for women.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa, Director of Johnson Space Center and an inspiring woman
Official portrait of JSC Center Director Ellen Ochoa. Photographer: Bill Stafford
Public Domain

“We do a disservice to society as a whole, if we are not providing the same kinds of encouragement to women to contribute as we do to men.”

– Ellen Ochoa

Early Life

Ochoa’s paternal grandparents immigrated from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona. They later moved to California where Ochoa’s father, Joseph, was born. Ellen Ochoa was born May 10, 1958 in Los Angeles, California, U.S. Her parents were Joseph and Rosanne (née Deardorf) Ochoa.

She loved math and science in school, even if other kids looked down on her for that. She played the flute and wanted to be a musician.

Like many of us, she watched the moon landing. She was eleven. It never occurred to her to want to be an astronaut. There were no female astronauts then.

Astronaut descending ladder for Apollo 11 moon landing
Photo credit: NASA

Education

Ochoa’s parents divorced while she attended  Grossmont High School in El Cajon. She graduated from San Diego State University, Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor of science degree in physics in 1980. She earned a master’s degree in science in 1981 at  Stanford Department of Electrical Engineering. And in 1985, she achieved her doctorate at Stanford.

“I know myself how important it is to see somebody else doing that someone that maybe you have something in common with or can relate to in some way.”

Ellen Ochoa

Inspired

Ochoa was 25 when she saw NASA’s first female astronaut in space, Sally Ride. Ms. Ride was an engineer. And she’d studied at Stanford. Ochoa decided she wanted to be an astronaut, too. They rejected her first application. So she got another job and kept working toward her goal.

Inherently, women and men are of equal worth, have equal amounts to contribute and we absolutely need to make sure that we are getting those contributions from women.

Ellen Ochoa

Inventor

Ochoa joined NASA in 1988 as a research engineer at Ames Research Center At Ames, she led a research group. They worked on optical systems for automated space exploration. She patented an optical system to detect defects in a repeating pattern. And she is a co-inventor on three additional patents.

First Hispanic Woman In Space

Image of Astronaut Dr. Ellen Ochoa, an inspiring woman

Selected by NASA in January 1991, Ochoa became an astronaut in July of that year. She served on a nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1993 and became the first Hispanic woman in space.

Astronaut Ochoa playing the flute in space

A mission specialist on STS-56 (1993), she was also a payload commander on STS-66. Then she was a mission specialist and flight engineer on STS-96 and STS-110 in 2002.

A member of the Presidential Commission on the Celebration of Women in American History, Ochoa carried a special item on STS-96. Above, mission specialists (l.-r.) Ellen Ochoa, Julie Payette and Tamara Jernigan float together in the International Space Station with the gold, white and purple suffrage banner from the National Woman’s Party. This actual banner was used early in the century (around 1916-1920) as women fought for the right to vote. 

Ochoa logged more than 950 hours in space. And if that’s not an inspiring woman…

Another First

Ochoa retired from spacecraft operations and became Deputy Director of the Johnson Space Center. On January 1, 2013, Ochoa became the first Hispanic and second female director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Awards and Recognitions

Ochoa has won many awards. She’s received NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal, the Outstanding Leadership Medal, and four Space Flight Medals.

Ochoa’s Advice

“You don’t have to wait until you’re older to make an impact on other people’s lives.” Ellen Ochoa

“If you are interested in something, you still need to learn other things,” she said. “Try hard if you want to do it.”

Ochoa to the Scholastic Kids Press Corps

More About Ochoa

Ochoa retired from federal service as Director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 2018. She became vice chair of the National Science Board, which runs the National Science Foundation.  

Besides being an astronaut, researcher, and engineer, Ochoa is a classical flutist.

She lives in Texas with her husband, Coe Fulmer Miles, and their two children. 

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this brief look at an inspiring woman in space and on the ground, Dr. Ellen Ochoa. You might want to read about 30 other inspiring women or a spy who may not have been one. Or sign up for my newsletter for information on my next novel featuring strong women characters.