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, October 29, 2012

Under the Bed

This is a whimsical yet thought-provoking piece I ran across last week. As I did, I hope you enjoy pondering this.


God Lives Under The Bed
by Kelly Pinson Adkins

My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen. Are you there, God?" he said. Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed." I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room.

Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will.

He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas, and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them. I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, returning to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme are laundry days, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child. He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores. And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays!

That's the day my dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. "That one's going' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

I don't think Kevin knows anything exists outside his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn't know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. He recognizes no differences in people, treating each person as an equal and a friend. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be. His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere.

And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God-to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an "educated" person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion. In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap......I am.

My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not submit them to Christ. Who knows if Kevin comprehends the things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of the Lord.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guarding the Heart

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -- safe, dark, motionless, airless -- it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.

I believe that the most lawless and inordinate loves are less contrary to God's will than a self-invited and self-protective lovelessness... We shall draw nearer to God, not by trying to avoid the sufferings inherent in all loves, but by accepting them and offering them to Him; throwing away all defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken, and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it.

from CS Lewis, The Four Loves

Monday, October 22, 2012

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?’

Thursday, October 18, 2012

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 :-)

Monday, October 15, 2012


NOTE: I'm not promoting drinking. I don't drink myself, although have no problems if someone wants to imbibe RESPONSIBLY. Just thought this was pretty funny.

Seriously...would you actually WANT to touch these lips???

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What's In Your Wallet?

I'm on a de-cluttering rampage. Today I'd like to talk about a humble yet indispensable object we all use that is so prone to clutter: the WALLET.

Like anything else, frequent small habits of cleanup help to keep the wallet neat. It's really nice to have all its information at your fingertips. Sometimes, for example if you're in an accident and someone else needs to get in touch with your doctor or significant other, it can be life or death.

I propose that the following items are essential, and everything else should go... What do you think?

1. Cash. How much is enough? I like to keep at least a twenty and a few ones, but I'd consider up to $100 might be a good idea. This can cover enough gas for your car to get home, a meal, or other small items you may need on a moment's notice.

2. Official ID like your driver's license. I also like to keep a copy of my car insurance and registration, since if you're stopped cops don't like you rummaging around the glove compartment. Don't routinely carry documents like your passport or birth certificate that have your birth date. If you have a Social Security card, make a photocopy and blank out your SSN.

3. Bank and credit cards. You probably only need one or two at the most for daily activity. Can you leave the rest (if you have them) at home?

4. Health information: your insurance card and your primary care giver's name, address, and phone number.

5. Business cards: a few of these might be handy in case you bump into someone with whom you want to exchange cards.

6. Photos? Try to only keep one or two that are most recent or most dear.

7. On an easily seen place of your wallet, the front or mounted to the first flap when you open it, put your name, address, and phone number. This is in case your wallet is lost.

Every evening, or every Saturday, or some frequent routine time, empty your wallet of receipts, business cards, notes, and whatever else you've added to it during the day/week. Get rid of the junk, and record or save the good stuff.

One more good thing to do: make a list of everything that's in your wallet, with pertinent phone numbers for credit cards and so forth. If your wallet is lost or stolen, you'll be more easily able to reconstruct everything.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Any Hero Mail

If you'd like to write to our brave soldiers, I've found a great website: Operation Write Home at http://operationwritehome.org/anyhero/.  This organization collects blank greeting cards for the soldiers to send home to their families, as well as distributes your own correspondence to military, especially to those personnel who don't receive many letters.

Here is the description from their website. Even if you're limited by time or physical challenges in what you're able to do, you can probably write a letter... What a great thing.


AnyHero mail

Each of our boxes of blank cards is topped off with a bag of “AnyHero” mail.

These are cards and letters (or, with kids they can be coloring pages) from people across America with messages of gratitude and encouragement inside. We call them “AnyHero” letters because they’re going to be given out by our contacts to those who get little or no mail. If they were “Any Soldier” they would have to go to the Army, so we keep away from branch-specific language.

How long does it have to be?
These notes can be short or long; we get folks who write 2-3 page letters, others who jot a note in a storebought notecard, and kids who draw elaborate pictures or color downloaded pictures for our heroes to display. All are welcome! If you choose to use a storebought card with a sentiment inside, please jot a short note along with it instead of just signing it.

Who do I write it to?
You can start your letter “Dear hero,” “To an American hero,” or a variation – or simply start with “Hello!” We use the term hero instead of soldier because then the letters can apply to any branch of the armed services.

Can it be typed?
Handwritten really gives these letters a personal touch; you can keep it short if you don’t want to handwrite a lot!

Does it need to be stamped on the back or have an envelope?
Neither are needed, but you may do both; the letters are placed in a ziploc bag on the top of our cards. Please don’t seal the envelopes, as our shippers review all mail before it’s sent.

Can I get others involved?
Sure! Letter writing is a great community activity; we’ve had schools, corporate offices, holiday parties, all sorts of groups have had cardsignings. We’ve even had folks set up a table at a local store or art festival and invite people to write a note to a hero, and some have carried postcards on flights to ask other passengers to sign them. You’ll be amazed at how many people would enjoy writing a note.

What should I talk about in a letter?
Anything! Thank them. Tell them the freedoms you’re grateful for. Share your life with them if you wish – describe your family, community, hobbies. They love to hear that life is going on well here at home – so send them a news clipping about a happy story in your hometown, or a cartoon that will make them smile. Tell them your pet’s latest antic.

What should I NOT talk about in a letter?
Politics, negative news, anger about the war or society. Our heroes need positive encouragement, so save these views for the water cooler :) Please read the Schools and Scouts page if you’ve got children writing letters so you can help guide them.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Six Phases of a Project

 Love it!

1. Enthusiasm. ("How could it hurt?")
2. Disillusionment. ("How were we supposed to know?")
3. Panic.
4. Search for the guilty.
5. Punishment of the innocent.
6. Praise and honors for the nonparticipants.

Monday, October 1, 2012

2008 Ad: Obama: Country I Love

This is a 2008 ad for Barack Obama. I've included the transcript below.

It's so fun to look through some of these and imagine if any of these ads might make it in 2012?

The website http://www.livingroomcandidate.org/ contains presidential ads from 1952 through to 2012. Trends change, but the desire to be elected remains the same. See what you think.


Video Transcript: "Country I Love" for Barack Obama, 2008 Presidential Campaign

~soft music in the background~

I'm Barack Obama.

America's a country of strong families, and strong values. My life's been blessed by both.

I was raised by a single mom and my grandparents. We didn't have much money, but they taught me values straight from the Kansas heartland where they grew up:

Accountability and self-reliance.
Love of country.
Working hard without making excuses.
Treating your neighbor as you'd like to be treated.

That's what guided me as I worked my way up, taking jobs and loans to make it through college. It's what led me to pass up Wall Street jobs, and go to Chicago instead, helping neighborhoods devastated when steel plants closed. That's why I passed laws moving people from welfare to work, cut taxes for working families, and extended health care for wounded troops who'd been neglected. I approved this message because I'll never forget those values. And if I have the honor of taking the oath as President of America, it will be with a deep and abiding faith in the country I love.

~soft music fades out~