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, August 30, 2012

Audrey Hepburn's Advice for Living

Audrey Hepburn was once asked about her *beauty tips*, and wrote this in response. It was read at her funeral years later.

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I Just Won $2 Million Dollars! Ya think?

Honestly, how stupid do these people think I am? Here is yet another of these emails that tells me my dreams will come true if only I give some people in Africa or Eastern Europe all of my personal information before collecting an amazing prize. Ya think? I will give this email writer points for writing in better English than some of these emails.

I was so tempted to respond to this email with a "how stupid do you think I am?" comment, but figured they'd then know they had a live person at the other end. (Although they probably do already since the email didn't bounce). Nah, not worth it.

I read an interview with a con man a few years ago. He said that cons worked because the mark was convinced he might be able to get something for nothing. Scrupulously honest people weren't usually caught in the net.

There's no honesty question here with a "sweepstakes," although it follows the "something for nothing" rule. I don't believe in doing sweepstakes, and if I did I think I'd remember a $2M prize was offered for one. Puleeze.



We want to notify you that your Winner prize payment of US$2,000,000.00 has
been processed, packaged and forwarded to EE Security Service after your
inability to respond at all our notification. This was for security reasons
and all arrangement was made with the company Lawyer who assured us that they
will deliver your consignment package to your house with the company special
diplomatic Immunity with a cheaper rate, he stated that the assigned diplomats
will proceed to your country immediately the required legal obligation is met.

As am writing now, your package is with security department of the company
because we paid for keeping charges already, to this end all arrangement has
been concluded for the shipment as the company is waiting to hear from you
regarding the shipment with the reconfirmation of the below details. You have
to get in touch with them immediately by contacting below address:

E-mail address: ( blanked)
Contact Person: (Dr. Nana Pedro)
Also required are as follows..........
Your full names_________________
Your Current Address______________
Cell & Telephone numbers________________
Country of origin__________________________
A copy of your ID or Passport____________________

Please for your information, your consignment was on package number
XC653/518/U006M registered as Family Valuables. not as CASH for security
reasons, the said package is under SECURITY MONITORING UNIT. I will be waiting
to hear from you once the contact is made to the company for an update.

Thank You,
Mrs. Anita Claude
Payment Coordinator.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Let Me Hold You Longer, by Karen Kingsbury

It's time for back-to-school. My two will be going into sophomore year of college and 11th grade, and I miss them terribly. This poem reminds me to enjoy every moment that they are here.

Let Me Hold You Longer
by Karen Kingsbury.

Long ago you came to me,
a miracle of firsts,
First smiles and teeth and baby steps,
a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away
and leave to me your past
And I will be left thinking of
a lifetime of your lasts…

The last time that I held a bottle
to your baby lips
The last time that I lifted you
and held you on my hip.

The last night when you woke up crying,
needing to be walked,
When last you crawled up with your blanket,
wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me,
still small enough to hold.
The last time that you said you’d marry
me when you grew old.

Precious, simple moments and
bright flashes from your past-
Would I have held on longer if
I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure to the park,
your final midday nap,
The last time when you wore your favorite
faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten,
those last few days of first grade,
Your last at bat in Little League,
last colored picture made.

I never said good-bye to all
your yesterdays long passed.
So what about tomorrow-
will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog
in that old backyard pond.
The last time that you run barefoot
across our fresh-cut lawn.

Silly, scattered images
will represent your past.
I keep on taking pictures,
never quite sure of your lasts…

The last time that I comb your hair
or stop a pillow fight.
The last time that I pray with you
and tuck you in at night.

The last time when we cuddle
with a book, just me and you
The last time you jump in our bed
and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson,
last vacation to the lake.
Your last few weeks of middle school,
last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days
that haven’t come to pass.
But as I do, I sometimes miss
today’s sweet, precious lasts…

The last time that I help you with
a math or spelling test.
The last time when I shout that yes,
your room is still a mess.

The last time that you need me for
a ride from here to there.
The last time that you spend the night
with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster,
stealing precious days that pass,
I want to hold on longer-
want to recognize your lasts…

The last time that you need my help
with details of a dance.
The last time that you ask me for
advice about romance.

The last time that you talk to me
about your hopes and dreams.
The last time that you wear a jersey
for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed
seasons as they pass.
If I could freeze the hands of time,
I’d hold on to your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning,
you’ll be going far away.
College life will beckon
in a brilliant sort of way.

One last hug, one last good-bye,
one quick and hurried kiss.
One last time to understand
just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast
our time together passed.
Let me hold on longer, God,
to every precious last.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Never Give Up! Never Surrender! *

(*my favorite quote from the campy and fun movie, Galaxy Quest)

Moving on...
If you have a good idea for which no one else seems to be enthusiastic, be careful before you decide it's really NOT something worthwhile. Here are some fun quotes.


"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 15 tons." – Popular Mechanics," forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949.

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." – Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." - The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.

"But what...is it good for?" - Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM commenting on the microchip, 1968.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." – Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." - Western Union internal memo, 1876.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." - A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

Who the heck wants to hear actors talk?" - Harry M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.

"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." - Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in "Gone with the Wind."

"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you make." - Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting her company, Mrs. Fields' Cookies.

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." - Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, President, Royal Society, 1895.

"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment. The literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." – Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives or 3-M "Post-It" Notepads.

"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we'll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we'll come work for you.' And they said, 'No.' So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you; you haven't got through college yet.'" - Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve Wozniak's personal computer.

"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools." - New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work, 1921.

"You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all of your muscles? It can't be done. It's just a fact of life. You just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable condition of weight training." - Response to Arthur Jones, who solved the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." - Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." - Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." – Mrechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899.

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction". – Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872.

"The abdomen, the chest and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." - Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon- Extraordinary to Queen Victoria, 1873.

"640k ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981

Never fear following your passion... Where there is a will, there is a way.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hidden Good

I boiled a pot of water yesterday, and then realized I didn't need it after all for cooking. What a waste. I sighed as I let it cool on the stove.

Doesn't it seem like life is like that pot of water? You try to do something good, and no one notices that you've done it -- or worse, there's a negative consequence! One of my favorite sayings is *No good deed goes unpunished.* :-) It's discouraging, and you may wonder why you bother when it won't make a difference.

And yet...

As I finished preparing dinner, I started thinking about that pot of water. Once it had cooled, the water looked just the same in the pot as before it had boiled, but it was now sterile -- in a mysterious and invisible way, that water was now *superior* to unboiled water.

Similarly I believe that those secret sacrifices we make may make more of a difference than we realize. Those sacrifices honor God, if nothing else, and may even be seen by Paul's *great cloud of witnesses* (Hebrews 12:1-2). I believe that everything we do for right motives, no matter how insignificant or seemingly without result, is accepted -- no effort is ever wasted. Those secret scars of the heart, that no one sees, that bleed without ceasing -- they are all observed and counted.

I was reminded of the line *they also serve who only stand and wait,* and looked this up on google. This line comes from John Milton's poem "On Blindness," and seems fitting for this discussion. We serve God, not because God needs to be served, but because He is worthy, and we take pleasure in acknowledging this.

On His Blindness

WHEN I consider how my light is spent

E're half my days, in this dark world and wide,

And that one Talent which is death to hide,

Lodg'd with me useless, though my Soul more bent

To serve therewith my Maker, and present

My true account, least he returning chide,

Doth God exact day-labour, light deny'd,

I fondly ask; But patience to prevent

That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need

Either man's work or his own gifts, who best

Bear his milde yoak, they serve him best, his State

Is Kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed

And post o're Land and Ocean without rest:

They also serve who only stand and waite.

John Milton (1608–1674)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sowing and Reaping

There are four laws defining sowing and reaping. Here they are:

1. You don't reap unless you sow. If you don't invest something, whether money, work, relationships, whatever -- you won't get anything back. In a related vein, if you sow a little, you reap a little, and if you sow a lot, you reap a lot.

2. You sow what you reap. You will get back whatever you put into the ground. If you sow anger and discord, you will get this back. If you sow to investing money, you will get money back, and not a good marriage. If you sow to help develop children, you will see the children develop and grow.

3. You sow more than you reap. As you go about your life be careful what you invest in, because it will rain down on you.

4. You sow later than you reap. You can't expect an *instant payoff* in anything -- it takes time, persistence, and perseverance.

As Paul says, *Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.* Galatians 6:9, NASV

Monday, August 6, 2012

The 10 Cannots

These were published as a brochure by William Boetcker in 1916. I think these are worth thinking about, especially as we move into the election in a few months. Thoughtfully consider the candidates and then vote, my dear friends. This is a great privilege and responsibility that has been bought with the blood of many.

1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.

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

3. You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.

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

5. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

6. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.

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

8. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.

9. You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.

10. And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How Time Doth Fly

Rameses II, or Rameses the Great, is often considered Egypt's most powerful pharaoh, leading expeditions that are commemorated in inscriptions on ancient buildings. He built a city, Pi-Ramesses, and other monuments, temples, and cities.

Ramesses the Great ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC, and is traditionally believed to be the Pharaoh that Moses dealt with in the book of Exodus, when Pharaoh was forced to let the Israeli slaves go.

Although I've never been to Egypt myself, I know that going to see the pyramids and monuments in the Valley of the Kings and other ancient parts is a great attraction. These monuments look old and crumbling now; no one would do anything other than study them, admire them, and then go back to their own lives.

Ozymandias is the Greek name for Rameses the Great. I have always pondered Percy Shelley's poem as a cautionary tale of trying to be too important in this world.  


I met a traveler from an antique land 
Who said "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand, 
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, 
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, 
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed: 
And on the pedestal these words appear: 
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: 
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! 
Nothing beside remains. 
Round the decay 
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare 
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792-1822