Wednesday, April 29, 2009

** Update on Parks College & NASA Connection **

Earlier in my blog I wrote about my dad, James Lewellen, who graduated from Parks Aeronautical College in 1952, and also about Gene Kranz, graduate of 1954, who went on to NASA and had a major role in getting the astronauts safely back home during the Apollo 13 crisis.

I just discovered that my dad also had a very important role in NASA's history. He worked at Cape Canaveral during John Glenn's 2nd flight in 1998. (The comment around some family members' houses at that time was: "Who's older? Dad or John Glenn??")

It appears that dad was one of the few remaining computer guys around that could "read" old computer language and translate it into the modern. He moved around his desk and work areas on a scooter of some sort, because his health was already deteriorating.

Even though his body was slowing down, his mind was still brilliant.

* Brenda Warner speaks at "Divas Building Dreams" Kick-Off Breakfast!

Yesterday morning was the Kick-Off breakfast for the St. Charles County, Habitat for Humanity, "Divas Building Dreams" program....(Wow, what a mouthful that is!) It was an amazing morning. Kelly Brooks, Development Coordinator should be commended for all her work!

There were approximately 250 fabulous women, lots of yummy breakfast foods, plenty of hot coffee...<<< always a "must" attendance prizes and great speakers.

(We "divas" will be building a home this summer for a well deserving single mom and her young daughter. The tentative work schedule as of today is: Pouring of foundation, etc. on May 4, 2009, to Dedication Ceremony on August 30, 2009.) There's still time to join!

The keynote speaker was Brenda Warner, wife of NFL quarterback Kurt Warner. She gave a wonderful speech about her life as a young girl, to her hard luck days as a single mom, to her extraordinary life now. She was so gracious and stayed afterwards signing autographs and having her picture taken with divas. I also gave her an autographed copy of "Chicken Soup for the Soul; Love Stories" with a bookmark in my story's page telling her it was because she and Kurt had such a wonderful love story.

She and Kurt sponsor "Kurt Warner's First Things First Foundation" which helps many people in many ways. Please check out their website

Monday, April 27, 2009

** Another Speaking Engagement **

My next speaking engagement will be at Castlio Elementary School in St. Charles, Missouri, on May 8, 2009. The school is having Career Day and I will be one of various speakers.

This time I'll only talk to each class for approximately 15 minutes, and there are 7 classes, so I won't be there the entire school day, like at Duchesne!

I still have other appointments in the works with schools, before their school year is over.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Ron and I attended the VIP Party at the Moonrise Hotel this evening. (We ran into "Sir Smashington" from KLOU, 103.3 FM radio & also Katy Kruze from K-Hits, 96.3 FM radio.)Newly opened and owned by Joe Edwards, the man who single-handedly transformed Delmar & The Loop area of University City (St. Louis) Missouri. Everything about the Moonrise Hotel is First Class, from the moment you walk in the front door. Outstanding employees welcome you with smiles and greetings....Awesome dining areas....guest rooms....etc. Cool decor, all with the moon theme. The food buffets were beautiful and full of fabulous food! I'll post more pictures as soon as I can. The photo here is one of the lovely rooms that were open for viewing. I can't wait to actually stay there some time. The mattress is about 12" deep and I'm sure it is the most comfortable mattress made! Thanks to Joe Edwards and Kathryn Jamboretz for the invitation! We really appreciate it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Today was the day I spoke to 6 different English Literature classes at Duchesne High School in St. Charles, Mo. I was asked to speak about "going for your dream", which I had perfect material for....both with my "late start" in writing, and my son Mark's desire to go to Wash U in St. Louis.

I really enjoyed talking to the kids and I don't think I bored any of them too terribly!
After I was finished talking, a few kids had questions, which also showed they were at least paying attention!

At the end, too, I handed out 2 papers to each student. One consisted of various writer websites, such as and . I also included websites and information about Saturday Writers and SLWG.

I told the kids to be sure and check out my blog, and to e-mail me when they get something published.

I'll be going back another day before the school year is over to speak to a different group of English students. One of the genres they are learning is writing for newspapers, so that will be lots of fun!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I've been kind of down in the dumps the past couple of days, and that is SO unlike me! I e-mailed my fabulous friend, Tammy, and told her we need to start making up silly names for ourselves again, like we used to do. She and I can come up with some really comical ones, but some of our favorites are actual names we've seen in newspapers, etc.

Here's one I thought up just moments ago: Snigglefarts Bustapants

Thanks Tammy, also, for suggesting I write about my "issues". Duh! Why didn't I think of that? But I won't be posting them here for all to see....I guess you'll have to wait for my book to come out .... :-)

Just having supportive friends can help women get through anything!

Friday, April 17, 2009

In February of this year, I wrote about a wonderful book I came across in the library. It was so good I knew I had to have it, so I bought it at Barnes & Noble. The title: "Time to Write", by Kelly L. Stone.
Now Kelly has a new book coming out called: "Thinking Write: The Secret to Freeing Your Creative Mind".
Kelly is also participating in an online auction to benefit Juvenile Diabetes. Please go to: for more information. (Brenda Novak is a NY Times Best-Selling Author)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


WHAT: Bone Marrow Donor
WHERE: I became a donor at Main Street Books, in St. Charles, Mo. (of all places!)
WHEN: Summer of 2007
WHY: I was doing a book signing there and author Karen Tripp was having one right after me. (She's the author of God Is Bigger Than Your Cancer and God Is Bigger Than Your Grief.)
WHY #2: I don't remember why exactly she was also "hosting" a bone marrow drive during her book signing, but if she hadn't been doing it there, I wouldn't have had such an easy opportunity.
HOW: A simple Q-tip swab inside both sides of your mouth; cheek area.
FINAL RESULT: I hope I can one day help save a life.......Priceless!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I had a wonderful visit today at Parks College, part of St. Louis University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Parks College is a very interesting and important part of the aviation history of the United States.

(I have a special interest in it, because my dad, James Lewellen, attended college there and stayed on to be a professor for approximately 7 years. It was originally located in Cahokia, Illinois, a small town across the river from St. Louis. Mr. Parks bought the land there because it was flat and affordable!)
**Note: April 10, 2009. I inadvertantly forgot to mention and thank Jim Bennett, Class of 1951. I found his name listed on the Parks website, while browsing in the Alumni Board section. I e-mailed Jim, explaining my interest in Parks due to my dad's years there as a student and a professor. He immediately responded and we've e-mailed each other quite a few times. He is the reason I met Susan Bloomfield, by forwarding my inquiries to her. Such kind and thoughtful people....that's what Parks College was all about way back in the beginning years...and still is today in the 21st Century!**

After my visit with Susan Bloomfield (Development Director Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, Saint Louis University)which included a personal tour of the Parks College Tribute Timeline....she then took me to the University Archives where Randy McGuire was so kind and helpful in digging out yearbooks that might have had some photos or information about my dad. I found a few in the 1952 yearbook....the year he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Aeronautics.
**So that's where my son, Mark, acquired his math genes!!**

Please visit their website and learn about Parks College and the graduates who played very important parts in aviation...from WWII on to NASA. 

** NASA Legend From Parks College ** Mr. Kranz (left photo) was played by Ed Harris (smaller photo to the right) in the movie Apollo 13 **
(photo in top features my dad, front row, 2nd from left....the handsome dude with the bow tie! the Student Council photo, 1952, the year he graduated.)

Monday, April 6, 2009


I've just learned about a new program in Habitat for Humanity, St. Charles County division. It's called Divas Building Dreams. It's about we women building the homes!!

The 2009 Divas Building Dreams kick-off breakfast: a complimentary breakfast will be held on Tuesday, April 28th at 7:30am, sponsored by and held at the Columns Banquet Center in St. Charles. The breakfast will include three amazing guest speakers including:
Brenda Warner (yes, Mrs. Kurt Warner!), Mayor Pam Fogarty and new Habitat homeowner Wendy Brown. The event will also include attendance prizes and a short video. RSVP is required to attend. Please contact by April 20th.

I'll be there! Won't you all please come along and join me? We would make up the best team!

Go to for more info.

* Habitat for Humanity is building much more than houses. By building hope it is building relationships, strengthening communities, and nurturing families. *
— the late Paul Newman, actor, Habitat home builder

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


"When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I wrote down "happy".

They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life."