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, September 29, 2011

Myers Briggs Personality Test

The Myers Briggs Personality Test is a well-known device used by many professionals. Not only is it helpful for self-analysis, but also for developing characters for a novel.

For today, analyze your personality! It's a free and quick link HERE. Then, type in your four letters in google and see what comes up.

Over the next few entries I'll be talking about the personality types in more depth.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011


The heavens of faiths besides Christianity are specific. For example, we’ve all heard of the Islamic paradise for the martyrs, with 70 virgins and green-cloaked cushions, fruit, and four rivers of wine/milk/honey/water forevermore. The Mormon idea has the option for the very faithful to get their own universe and be God for the new people they will create; they believe our God was once a man. The Jehovah’s Witnesses believe there are only 144,000 who will live in heaven, but everyone else will live on a refashioned perfect Earth. The Jews mostly believe that you live, you die, you go into the ground but God remembers you. The Catholic idea of Heaven is Christian, but there is a steep hurdle to first get over: Purgatory, which is (practically speaking) Hell -- a purging of bad, but only for a limited period of time.

These are the monotheistic types of Heaven. If you are a pantheist (god is all things -- you are god, and so is this blade of grass) you probably believe that things keep recycling and eventually will combine. If you are an atheist (no God), you believe that nothing happens after death.

In contrast, the Christian heaven is nonspecific. When you read through the Bible’s descriptions of Heaven, they sound either strange (Elijah’s wheel) or, let’s face it, not too exciting. In Revelation and other places, Heaven just seems to be an ethereal praise-fest to God, without much of a world. You have gates that are pearls, and the foundation of a city that is made of 12 layers of stones, and streets that are transparent gold (whatever that is). The city itself is a cube about 12,000 stadia/1375 miles on a side. There is no ocean. There doesn’t seem to be much to do or to see or interact with here.

Well, I am a Christian, and a scientist (but not a Christian Scientist, smile). There are good objective reasons to believe in God, and furthermore in the Christian interpretation of God. You can check out my website if you want to read about my faith journey to see how I reached this conclusion. The question I ponder today is, why does the Christian Heaven seem so vague when other ideas of Heaven are concrete and frankly so attractive and inviting?

The first thing I notice with the heavenly descriptions of other religions is, in general, there is a fulfillment of Earthly desires, Earthly pleasures, things that we already understand on this Earth, whereas the Christian Heaven can’t even be articulated. Many of the other descriptions don’t even talk about God, but simply about what the people will do when they get there.

But think for a moment about WHO IS GOD? Many people pray to God to do XYZ for them, but they’re not thinking about anything but themselves. God acts like a genie in a bottle; sadly not a reliable genie since many prayers go unanswered. They are like the cat in the old joke who says: You feed me, you pet me, you give me toys, I must be God.

Contrast this with what the dog says: You feed me, you pet me, you give me toys, YOU must be God.

As we spiritually mature, and specifically as the Holy Spirit works within us, our focus turns away from the inward, the self, and outward to God. God is a Spirit, not a man made of flesh and blood (except when Jesus came to Earth). Doesn’t it make sense that God’s focus is on Spirit things, not Earthly things that WE as people crave?

Christians believe that God gives His people a new character molded through His Spirit; we become conformed to His image. However, we cannot understand these things beyond the barest inkling until we move beyond our sinful natures that pull us down, and we cannot be liberated from our nature’s influences until Earthly death.

Thinking about this, then, I would expect Heaven to be something beyond what I can understand. I would not expect it to be focused on Earthly pleasures and life and ambitions, but rather focused in a new way on the God who is truly worthy of worship. My sin nature does not find this attractive, but once I am liberated, it will be my entire Heart’s desire.

People often rebel at the thought of God calling people to worship Him. While you wouldn’t want to say this, it may seem self-centered and power-grabbing of God to require all creatures to worship HIM. However this view stems from the self-centeredness of our own human spirit. We cannot understand in this life just how beautiful and Holy God is, how worthy He is for our praise. Heaven is simply this: an ongoing recognition of who He is. As Paul says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12, NIV).

Monday, September 19, 2011

Duct Tape

During a private "fly-in" fishing excursion in the Alaskan wilderness, the chartered pilot and fishermen left a cooler and bait in the plane. And a bear smelled it. This is what he did to the plane.

The pilot used his radio and had another pilot bring him 2 new tires, 3 cases of duct tape, and a supply of sheet plastic. He patched the plane together, and flew it home.

Duct Tape – Never Leave Home Without It.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Day

I remember it was a beautiful day. We had some work being done on our house, so the crew of three arrived on time about eight and started outside with adjusting windows. I drove our kids to the elementary school and listened to some music on the way back. When I arrived home about 9:15 I said hi to the guys, and one asked me if I knew what was going on? Quickly I turned on the television and invited them to come in to watch the unfolding events in New York City. It was unbelievable. Within the last hour two commercial airplanes had hit the two World Trade Centers, and there was talk of its being deliberate. Fire flamed from the high windows of the buildings, and then the news would loop back to show footage of the airplanes' impacts.

A few minutes later another airplane hit the Pentagon. A fourth plane was loose in Pennsylvania, and many thought it was heading for the White House or the Capitol. Camera shots from the World Trade Centers were too far away to see detail clearly, but there was talk of people jumping. I didn't want to see that.

About ten o'clock the South tower collapsed. We (me and the workers) watched the television with horror. Soon after there were reports that a fourth rogue plane heading towards Washington had crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

At about 10:15 my husband was able to call from Washington for a few seconds to tell me he was OK but busy. (He worked in Washington although he's not military and wasn't at the Pentagon. At the hospital he was caring for an influx of burn victims).

About ten thirty the North tower collapsed. Big clouds of black dust spewed from the site. I remember a few days later seeing camera shots of people running into stores, and then a black curtain would move past the windows. So many lives snuffed in a few seconds.

I left to pick up my kids from school. Our boy was in kindergarten and easy to find. Our girl was in third grade and it took a little longer for her to be dismissed. The school was filled with worried mothers quietly talking about the disasters and any news tidbits they might have heard on the way over. The kids wanted to know what was going on. I explained quietly as we walked to the car.

The rest of the day was surreal, beautiful sky and horrific events. I don't remember when my husband came home but that night we were glad to all be together.

A few days later I was invited to play flute for a memorial service for one of the soldiers killed in the Pentagon. This was a military service held in a local church. The church was beautiful, made of stone and large, but still so many people came (about 400) that chairs were eventually lined up in the narthex to accommodate the overflow. It broke my heart to be there, and I kept thinking that, strangely, I was glad I hadn't known the man because I might not have been able to play if I had. I sat on the very edge of the stage and watched the pastor stand calmly, hands folded in back, as he directed the flow of the service to allow so many people to speak. I played. I sat down and listened. I played again. I watched the family sitting close to the stage, behind the table with the photo and flowers.

So many lives touched by this one man. Multiply that by so many who died needlessly on September 11th.

We all die, and whether it's a little sooner or not it will happen. Isn't it strange though that it usually seems out of time, or a surprise, that it will or does happen? Where do we get this sense of immortality?

Ten years later, and I still think occasionally about that 3 hour funeral. Heartbreaking.

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 11th

Let us never forget.


Finally, here is a photo of New York City on September 11 2001 taken from the International Space Station by American astronaut Frank Culbertson.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Story of Roger and Elaine

The Story of Roger and Elaine
by Dave Barry

Let’s say a guy named Roger is attracted to a woman named Elaine. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves.

They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.

And then, one evening when they’re driving home, a thought occurs to Elaine, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: ”Do you realize that, as of tonight, we’ve been seeing each other for exactly six months?”

And then there is silence in the car. To Elaine, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: Gee, I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he’s been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I’m trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn’t want, or isn’t sure of.

And Roger is thinking: Gosh. Six months.

And Elaine is thinking: But, hey, I’m not so sure I want this kind of relationship, either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I’d have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily toward . . . I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?

And Roger is thinking: . . . so that means it was . . . let’s see… February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer’s, which means . . . lemme check the odometer . . . Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.

And Elaine is thinking: He’s upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I’m reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed — even before I sensed it — that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that’s it. That’s why he’s so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He’s afraid of being rejected.

And Roger is thinking: And I’m gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don’t care what those morons say, it’s still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It’s 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a goshdarn garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.

And Elaine is thinking: He’s angry. And I don’t blame him. I’d be angry, too. Gosh, I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can’t help the way I feel. I’m just not sure.

And Roger is thinking: They’ll probably say it’s only a 90-day warranty. That’s exactly what they’re gonna say, the scumballs.

And Elaine is thinking: maybe I’m just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I’m sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.

And Roger is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I’ll give them a goshdarn warranty. I’ll take their warranty and stick it right up their…. .

“Roger,” Elaine says aloud.

“What?” says Roger, startled.

“Please don’t torture yourself like this,” she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. “Maybe I should never have . .Oh God, I feel so…..”

(She breaks down, sobbing.)

“What?” says Roger.

“I’m such a fool,” Elaine sobs. “I mean, I know there’s no knight. I really know that. It’s silly. There’s no knight, and there’s no horse.”

“There’s no horse?” says Roger.

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?” Elaine says.

“No!” says Roger, glad to finally know the correct answer.

“It’s just that . . . It’s that I . . . I need some time,” Elaine says.

(There is a 15-second pause while Roger, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)

“Yes,” he says.

(Elaine, deeply moved, touches his hand.)

“Oh, Roger, do you really feel that way?” she says.

“What way?” says Roger.

“That way about time,” says Elaine.

“Oh,” says Roger. ”Yes.”

Elaine turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.

“Thank you, Roger,” she says.

“Thank you,” says Roger.

Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Roger gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a tennis match between two Czechoslovakians he never heard of.

A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car. But he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it’s better if he doesn’t think about it.

The next day Elaine will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification. They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.

Meanwhile, Roger, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Elaine’s, will pause just before serving, frown, and say:

“Norm, did Elaine ever own a horse?’

Monday, September 5, 2011

How to Make Biscuits with a Five Year Old

I wrote this awhile ago, and just found it tucked away:

How to Make Biscuits with a Five-Year-Old

The recipe card for biscuits has four cuts in it. It’s bendy when I pick it up but it is precious, bearing the marks of a two-year-old’s scissors. Now my daughter is five, and we are going to make biscuits.

I steady her on the chair pulled up to the counter. The sifter is on the plate, ready to go. “First, we need two cups of flour,” I say to her.

Emily purses her lips in concentration as she pulls out the green measuring cup from the canister. The bit of flour on the bottom flies onto my shirt and the floor, but she doesn’t notice, so intent is she.

“Two cups,” I repeat.

She nods and digs the cup deep, deep into the flour. More flour flies, and I catch her hand gently. “Be careful, sweetie.”

Together we shake the extra flour off the top of the cup and dump it into the sifter. I brush together the flour on the counter.

“One more,” I say, and this time I keep my hand over Emily’s hand. It reminds me of a story I once heard about a child’s excitement when her artist father put his hand over hers to help her to sketch. Her father guiding … but she was the one sketching.

“Good job,” I say, and Emily smiles. “Now we need two teaspoons of baking powder.” I help her with the measuring spoons, and together we scoop out the white powder, take a knife to smooth off the top. The salt I pour into her hand, a half-teaspoon in a small mound. She dumps it over the sifter, stretching her hand like a small sea-plant extending.

“Are you ready to sift?”

This is Emily’s favorite part. “It’s snowing,” she says. The wire rubbing flour through the mesh makes a soft grating sound. We shake off the bit of flour left on the plate into the mixing bowl.

“My turn,” I say. I add a quarter cup of oil and a scant cup of milk, then mix the liquid into the flour until it’s smooth—I’ve learned the hard way that I need to do this first mix to avoid a real mess. A little more flour. Emily wants to mix and I hand her the fork, but she gives it back after a moment. The dough is too thick for her to turn.

“Time to knead it,” I say, and let her sprinkle a little flour onto the counter. We dump the dough out and I make one turn, two, until the dough is soft and elastic. Emily digs her fingers in; they are clumped and white, and she laughs.

When the dough is ready, I hand Emily the rolling pin. She leans too far over, and the dough is impossibly thin at one end, clumpy and bumpy at the other. I fold it and knead it over, and we roll the dough together, making it into a smooth sheet.

Now cutting the biscuits, her second favorite part. “Make them close together,” I say. “We don’t want to knead the dough more than we have to, or the biscuits will be tough.” But it’s all right, really, when we eat the biscuits later for dinner and they are tough. To Emily smiling proudly at her daddy, there is nothing better in the world to eat.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Optimists Clubs of America

In many ways life is just too short to be lazy, shy, scared, mean, prideful, uncaring, angry, unloving and unloveable etc... so promise yourself the following:

~Promise Yourself~

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.

To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.

To think only the best, to work only for the best, and expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

~The Optimists Clubs of America~