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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Chuck Colson RIP

Most of us are too young to remember Chuck Colson in Richard Nixon's administration. Colson was Nixon's Special Counsel during the Watergate scandal, and pled guilty to obstruction of justice. In 1974 he served seven months in prison.

As described in Colson's memoir Born Again, between his indictment and imprisonment a friend gave him a copy of CS Lewis' Mere Christianity. Colson was deeply persuaded by Lewis' arguments for Christianity, and became a strong evangelical from which he didn't deviate through the remainder of his life. Observing injustices and the deep needs of prisoners during his own incarceration, he founded the organization Prison Fellowship in 1976, a multi-branched outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, and their families. Colson also was deeply involved in social commentary and reached out to political leaders, always with the Christian message. Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman quoted Colson in his 1994 Heaven in the Real World:

Where is the hope? I meet millions of people who feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws we pass, or what great things we do as a nation. Our hope is in the power of God working through the hearts of people. And that's where our hope is in this country. And that's where our hope is in life.

Colson wrote many brilliant books describing how to maintain a Christian worldview in the face of a turbulent, anti-God world. While giving a speech at a Christian worldview conference in Virginia, he experienced an intracerebral hemorrhage and was rushed to the hospital, undergoing surgery. Three weeks later, on April 21, he died.

Colson had an amazing life. From being at the right hand of the USA President, to jail, to a leader in Evangelical communities, he knew high highs and low lows. His last work, stemming from his worst disaster, was best.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Susan Boyle Redux

Simon's fun to watch on these, although I wouldn't want him for my best friend. Like Susan Boyle's audition on BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT in 2009, this one will blow you away.

Monday, April 16, 2012

April 15th

April 15th seems like a jinxed day:

Abraham Lincoln died on this day in 1865 after being shot on Good Friday the night before by John Wilkes Booth. It was just 6 days after General Robert E. Lee had surrendered at Appomattox. One wonders how our country's reconciliation between North and South might have gone differently if Lincoln instead of Andrew Johnson had overseen Reconstruction: Johnson weakened the fragile union by encouraging Southern rebels, denying freed slaves any rights, and breaking rich men to redistribute wealth.

The Titanic sank early in the morning on this day in 1912 (100 years ago) after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean while steaming from Southampton England to New York City. 1517 people were lost; the Titanic carried a lifeboat capacity of less than half of its total 2223 persons on board. Only 706 people, 31.8% of the total, survived. Titanic was the most modern and luxurious ship built at the time, and was thought to be unsinkable.

And of course, April 15th is tax day. OK, I won't go there.


No, I'm not superstitious, and I remain full of hope even on this dark day.

Speaking of taxes, though, I will say this. I deeply resent the rhetoric of Class Warfare, with all the talk of "The Rich" paying their "fair share" of taxes to diminish the deficit. They already pay an amazing proportion of their income while many pay none. Furthermore, investment income, the percentage taxed which Obama is trying to hike with his "Buffet Rule" is from post-work income that has already been taxed, then invested. "The Rich" are not evil. For the most part, they have worked hard from moderate means to get where they are. Their activity fuels the economic engine in this country, both by the companies they own that produce jobs, and the goods and services they purchase that produce jobs.

Why does the US government automatically assume it deserves even more of the pie? HOW ABOUT WE REDUCE OUR SPENDING, NOT TRY TO SQUEEZE EVEN MORE MONEY OUT OF THE PRIVATE SECTOR?????

We are ALL Americans, are we not? Even the Rich? I am so grateful to be in this country, where I and my children can aspire to be in this heady class. I hope these opportunities continue.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


This life is characterized by deaths, big and small. Death of a particular form of life, whether it's preschool teachers, college studies, or life's partners. Health, opportunities, "the way things should work" as new generations reinvent how to live. The spring flowers falling from the trees. Remembering a child who is no longer there. Knowing things will never be the same.

Why, in the midst of these deaths, do we dream of security? Why are we surprised by bad news? Why is it hard to understand a fatal diagnosis or grim piece of news, or feel that "it could never happen to me"?

I think back to the myth of Pandora's box, in which the curious girl opened the box and released evil into the world. Hope knocking at the lid gave the small help that we need to get through life.

Is it not so? We always seem to hope: hope things get better, somehow, somewhere. Even the suicidal person hopes, in a sense, to be released from her pain.

The suicide of a 10th grader at my kids' school on Easter night devastates me. My son didn't know her. My daughter knows the girl's sister. Her name was Grace, an ironic name for such a tragic end. I am crying for her although until I heard about this I didn't know she existed. I cry for her parents. I cannot, cannot imagine.

Sometimes I'm overcome with the grief of living in this world. Why is it so sad?

My Christian faith answers, it is the tarnish of sin that spoils every good thing on this earth. Death is an end. I believe the clock began to click when Eve then Adam bit into that apple (whether real or allegorical, whatever you wish to accept). Before that Time was not a unidimensional substance with a forward arrow -- it was simply an encompassing NOW. Before that, Time did not have Death linked with her.

I wonder what happens after death. I wonder where that little girl is. I fear for her.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Advice from Bill Gates

I got this in my email. This is supposed to be advice from Bill Gates: a speech that he gave to a high school. I don't know if he's the author, but the advice is great, whoever wrote this.

Rule 1: Life is not fair - get used to it!

Rule 2 : The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3 : You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4 : If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5 : Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7 : Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8 : Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and t hey'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9 : Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10 : Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Heaven: The Ultimate Border Control

A 2004 Gallup poll showed that about 80% of people believe in heaven, and about 70% believe in hell. Furthermore, a similar poll in 1988 indicated that about three-quarters of people who believed in hell thought they'd go to heaven instead.

Many people (and many movies!) seem to think that Heaven is simply something beautiful and a wonderful place to be. The concept of "God" isn't usually mentioned except as a diffused and passive presence, a Light that permeates all things. "Go into the Light," as they say.

Like the Gallup pollees I also believe in heaven and hell (although I WISH I didn't believe in hell). As a Christian I hold to Jesus' statement: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No one comes to the Father but by me. (John 14:6). Through a year-long research journey objectively studying the events surrounding the death of Jesus, I concluded that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. I moved from skeptic to Christian, and you can read something about my reasoning at my website HERE.

The beliefs of a Christian are quite specific. A Christian believes that God is Holy and cannot tolerate any sin, not even "little" ones. No one can possibly be holy as God is, and therefore cannot be in His presence. However, God is also a God of Love, and therefore sent/became Jesus, who was both God and man, to live a sinless life. Jesus was offered as a sacrifice on the cross so that He would take on our sin, and we could have His righteousness imputed upon us -- therefore, we CAN be considered righteous to be in God's presence. To become a Christian, one simply has to acknowledge that he cannot measure up to God's standards, then accept Jesus' sacrifice to cover his sinfulness.

Some Americans are incredibly annoyed by illegals in the USA because they feel that they want to take advantage without contributing anything in the way of taxes or even learning the language. (BTW I believe there are many otherwise law-abiding illegals. And the problems for children born here can be wrenching). It struck me that many people look at Heaven this way also: they want all the "goodies" of God's presence (love, peace, beauty) without wanting to love Him or to bow their wills to His or otherwise learn to know Him.

The question then becomes, how permeable are Heaven's borders?