This is my personal blog, on which I talk about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy. Some topics are serious, others whimsical. I love comments and questions so don't be shy, just courteous, even if you don't agree with me. I have another blog, The Story Template, on which I post writing-related topics on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Let's see, a bit about me... I'm married with two children, and spend much time taking care of our family. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research. I am a Christian who came to faith under protest through studying the historic circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus. I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. I also have written a nonfiction book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story. This book is a programmed learner-type book that helps you, the writer, develop a complete compelling story (novel or screenplay) from a vague idea.

YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Hundred Years

Driving home last week, I heard Five for Fighting's "One Hundred Years," one of my (many) favorite songs. I put the lyrics at the bottom of this entry. The song emphasizes how quickly life passes: 15 years old, 22, 33, 45, half time when you're finally wise, 67, and 99 when one more moment is all there is. The song keeps coming back to 15 when you still have time, when there's no better wish.

I couldn't help reflecting on the song's message. Life at 15 is full of potentials, but it becomes progressively confined as we (intentionally or not) chart our course through the years. Many things are possible but you can't have them all: Aiming for a grand goal means sacrifices of time, money, and other resources often including the sacrifices that others (e.g. a spouse, parent, child) also make for you. Or you make for them! And once you're on your way or have achieved the goal, it's that much harder to achieve a parallel goal. As we grow older our potentials increasingly become actualities: what is. We lose our physical abilities and our life's time even as we (hopefully) gain in knowledge, experience, wealth, and strong integrated connections to others.

We live in a world of limited resources, of edges and comparisons, where the concept of infinite potential can be understood only in a mathematical equation. Change in life is the only constant. I believe an important component of contentment in life is accepting
what is, and assessing what truly might be. Yet, this is so difficult not to want what was, or what could have been if only...

"You pays your money, and you makes your choice." Does what we do now, in this world, matter? I believe so. As a wise friend of mine says, our seemingly inconsequential choices can create enormous ripples for ourselves and others, and not (if you believe this, as I do) only in this life. I've often heard old people comment on how quickly their lives have passed. They don't feel any different, although their bodies are feeble.

The soul doesn't age...

Some spinning thoughts as I listen to a song. Live wisely. Seize the day, my dear friends.

One Hundred Years
by Five for Fighting

I'm 15 for a moment
Caught in between 10 and 20
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are

I'm 22 for a moment
She feels better than ever
And we're on fire
Making our way back from Mars

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

I'm 33 for a moment
Still the man, but you see I'm a they
A kid on the way
A family on my mind

I'm 45 for a moment
The sea is high
And I'm heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy, time to lose yourself
Within a morning star
15 I'm all right with you
15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

Half time goes by
Suddenly you're wise
Another blink of an eye
67 is gone
The sun is getting high
We're moving on...

I'm 99 for a moment
Time for just another moment
And I'm just dreaming
Counting the ways to where you are

15 there's still time for you
22 I feel her too
33 you're on your way
Every day's a new day...

15 there's still time for you
Time to buy and time to choose
Hey 15, there's never a wish better than this
When you only got 100 years to live

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dihydrogen Monoxide

Dihydrogen monoxide is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and kills uncounted thousands of people every year. Most of these deaths are caused by accidental inhalation of DHMO, but the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide do not end there. Prolonged exposure to its solid form causes severe tissue damage. Symptoms of DHMO ingestions can include excessive sweating and urination, and possibly a bloated feeling, nausea, vomiting and body electrolyte imbalance. For those who have become dependent, DHMO withdrawal means certain death.

Dihydrogen monoxide:

* is also known as hydroxyl acid, and is the major component of acid rain
* contributes to the "greenhouse effect"
* may cause severe burns
* contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape
* accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals
* may cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes
* has been found in excised tumors of terminal cancer patients

Contamination is reaching epidemic proportions!

Quantities of dihydrogen monoxide have been found in every stream, lake, and reservoir in America today. But the pollution is global, and the contaminant has even been found in Antarctic ice. DHMO has caused millions of dollars of property damage in the midwest, and recently California.

Despite the danger, dihydrogen monoxide is often used:

* as an industrial solvent and coolant
* in nuclear power plants
* in the production of syrofoam
* as a fire retardant
* in many forms of cruel animal research
* in the distribution of pesticides. Even after washing, produce remains contaminated by this chemical
* as an additive in certain "junk-foods" and other food products

Companies dump waste DHMO into rivers and the ocean, and nothing can be done to stop them because this practice is still legal. The impact on wildlife is extreme, and we cannot afford to ignore it any longer!

The American government has refused to ban the production, distribution, or use of this damaging chemical due to its "importance to the economic health of this nation." In fact, the navy and other military organizations are conducting experiments with DHMO, and designing multi-billion dollar devices to control and utilize it during warfare situations. Hundreds of military research facilities receive tons of it through a highly sophisticated underground distribution network. Many store large quantities for later use.


You've got to love email! I received this and immediately got it because I know chemistry, but lots of people I know don't get this. Think about it a minute:

di = two
hydro = hydrogen atoms
mono = one
oxide = oxygen atom

Two hydrogens, one oxygen. Chemical formula: H2O, more commonly known as water.

See? You were scared for nothing!

Have a good day :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cute Pix

Believe in yourself.


Always try to see the glass half-full.


Remain calm, even when it seems hopeless.


Try to have a little fun every day...it's important.


Don't waste food.


Watch your step.


It will get better.


Seize the moment.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Book Review: The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven

I started this book with unease, knowing I'd be reading about a young boy who becomes (and remains) a quadriplegic. And it IS sad, although suffused with hope.

The first-person story is told through the father's (Kevin's) eyes, with small sections throughout from other viewpoints, mostly the boy's (Alex). Kevin describes a horrific car accident and subsequent events as his 6-year-old son is airlifted with a C1-C2 neck injury to a tertiary care unit. Alex is at first not expected to live, but continues to make good recovery. Seven years later he lives at home, uses a self-guided powered wheelchair, had an implant to stimulate nerves that allows him to breathe independently through a tracheostomy (although some pictures show him with a respirator), and has a straight spine from surgery.

Most remarkably, two months after the accident when he woke from his coma Alex explained that he had been in heaven, and he continues to visit for short periods mainly when he is asleep. He also sees angels and occasionally demons. Alex describes spiritual matters that are consistent with a Biblical viewpoint. There are no sightings of or references to Mary, ruling out a strictly Catholic interpretation.

Kevin's book is written in a non-sensational and hopeful manner; it is simply Alex's remarkable descriptions that are difficult to accept. Skeptic that I am, yet Christian that I am, I enjoy pondering these "experiential" type books.

The book opens with the thought: "We were made for so much more than the things of this world." The tone of it is upbeat and positive. The book contains an x-ray with a C1 vertebra pushed up at a 45 degree angle. I'm not a physician but know enough to understand that this doesn't look compatible with life. The fact that Alex didn't require surgical neck stabilization and now lives in a stable condition at home seven years later is astonishing.

If these things that Alex describes are indeed true, then his descriptions of heaven and angels are what I might expect, or at least what I could accept. Based on the book's narrative Alex seems to demonstrate consistency of description over time without embroidery, and exhibits a hopeful character that focuses on God in heaven and not on his limitations on earth.

The negative, of course, argued either through a scientific or theological perspective, is that these could be fantasies. Scientifically none of these things can be proven, and many scientists don't believe in a soul or anything beyond this world (although I do, profoundly). Theologically speaking, strict Calvinists believe that revelation is CLOSED (Sola Scriptura) and therefore, a priori, these stories can't be true. The question along this line then becomes, would Alex's statements be considered "revelation" or simply description. I'm not a theologian, and so I continue to ponder this issue.

The author has nothing to prove to me, of course. He and his family are living through a wrenching continuing situation, and he describes profound things. These things may very well be true; we understand so little of the ways of God. I found this book uplifting and provocative, with an emphasis that we must focus on God and the eternal, not on self. I read this in two sittings, faster than my normal pace. It is beautiful and moving.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ten Cannots

These were published as a brochure by William Boetcker in 1916. I think they are worth thinking about, especially as we and our leaders continue to wrestle with what sort of nation we will become.

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.

3. You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.

4. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.

5. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man's initiative and independence.

6. You cannot help small men by tearing down big men.

7. You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.

8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than your income.

9. You cannot establish security on borrowed money.

10 You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they will not do for themselves.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Filled Bundt Cake

My son loves cake, but complains because when his sister ices it she puts on such a thin layer of icing he can barely taste it. (He gets around this problem by making the cake and icing himself, although still prefers someone else to do it for him).

I wanted to try something that would solve this problem. And here it is: a Filled Bundt Cake.

Preheat oven to 350F.

yellow cake recipe (below), or
yellow cake mix
3/4 cup water or milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs

mix batter and pour into greased/floured Bundt pan.


1/3 cup sugar
1 T cornstarch
2 T butter, softened
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1 egg

Melt chocolate over low heat until smooth. Blend in rest of ingredients. Drop by small spoonfuls onto cake batter in pan, being careful that filling doesn't touch sides of pan.

Bake cake 45-55 minutes, cool in pan for a few minutes before removing it onto cake plate.

Frost with chocolate frosting (below).


8 T (1/2 cup) unsweetened cocoa, preferably Dutch-processed or Hershey's Special Dark
4 T (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
milk added about 1-2 T at a time
powdered sugar added about 1/4 cup at a time

Mix cocoa, butter, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Add some powdered sugar. Alternately add milk and sugar until icing consistency and quantity. Do not add much milk at a time unless you want soup for icing. Add more cocoa if icing is too sweet.


2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups sugar, divided
2/3 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

Prepare cake pan(s) by greasing and flouring. Sift dry ingredients and set aside. Mix egg yolks, 1 3/4 cups sugar, butter and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients. Slowly blend in milk. In grease-free bowl with clean beaters, and adding 1/4 cup sugar 1 T at a time, whip egg whites until stiff. With a spatula gently fold egg whites into batter. Pour into one Bundt or two layer prepared cake pans. Or makes about 24 cupcakes.