Friday, December 30, 2005


Reflecting on this past year brings mixed thoughts for me. There was so much joy: the birth of my third niece, Baby E; two of my dreams (writing and signing interpretation) beginning to come to fruition; my physical health continuing to improve…

But there is also much pain. One year ago I was at the lowest point of my life. I was fighting a battle against Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, specifically germphobia. It was winning.

I have gone through many difficult times in my life, especially in the past five years. I have helped my mom through surgery after surgery after surgery. I have struggled with one health problem after another of my own, and seen my sisters do the same. I’ve been through a painful church split and betrayal by a close friend. But through all of those and others, I had a close connection with God. I had my family. And I had my own resilient spirit.

I have always loved life. I have always loved people. But all that changed. OCD snuck up from nowhere and changed my life. Changed me. Suddenly I didn’t enjoy life. I struck out at the people I loved the most. I didn’t like myself. I didn’t know who I was anymore. The Amy I had always been was gone. I tried to find her again. Wanted her again. But I couldn’t find the strength to bring her back.

I called out to God, to my family, to doctors. The germs had taken over my life. I spent my days striving to control the germs. Instead, they controlled me. For a year and a half I spiraled downwards. I hit the bottom. Life was no life, but one tortuous day mingled into another, obsessed with germs. Then, slowly, very slowly, I began crawling back out of it.

There was no magic formula. No brilliant “Ah ha!” revelation. There was just one minute at a time.

There were, however, some things that helped immensely. My naturopath found that not only did I have mercury poisoning, and not only were my hormone levels way out of whack, but also my neurotransmitters were completely bonkers. The transmitters that keep you focused on one thing were sky high. The “feel good” transmitters were extremely low. Adrenaline was way high. I was put on some natural medicines and eventually a prescription medication. Life, slowly, was returning.

Today I am once again Amy. There are still pieces in my life of that other person. Perhaps some will always be there, lingering in the background. But I will keep fighting. Those pieces will continue to get smaller, more distant.

This year I can stand with confidence, looking back and seeing that even when I reach the point that I can only scream, “God, help me!” I can know that He will. This year I will enjoy my family. Enjoy God.

I will enjoy life.

There are many of you out there who have no idea how much you’ve helped me through this. There are a few sho know only too well how much they have helped. To each of you, and most of all to my family, I want to say “Thank You.”

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Family Time

I can tell Sis is home from college. When I climbed out of bed today the dishwasher was running. When I climbed out of the shower I could smell fudge cooking! Yum!

My family has been having a lot of fun evenings lately. We've been singing together, remembering old stories, and watching movies. I'm realizing how fast time is going... Sis will be going back to college in a couple of weeks and then we won't see her until July.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend with your families, whether they be blood relatives or family in Christ, or both. Cherish the time together. God bless.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Happy Birthday, AJ!

Today is my oldest sister Purple Kangaroo’s birthday!

Happy birthday, AJ!!!

My sisters, AJ and Sis, and I have always been close. Since we have no brothers, AJ took on the role of protector and guider when we were young. She was always ready to defend us, teach us, help us, and yes, boss us. ;-) In my six-years-younger eyes, AJ’s ideas were always the bestest, most cleverest, most down-right brilliantest ideas in the world!

AJ particularly loves animals, and she was deemed An Authority on anything to do with an animal, bird, fish, reptile, or bug by Sis, me, and it seemed the whole neighborhood. Any injured or stray living thing found in the whole area seemed to find its way to us. So AJ, with our help, nursed many a broken-winged bird, cat-caught bunny, newborn mice, and even a praying mantis. Indeed, after AJ was married she worked as a veterinary assistant for a time, putting her lifetime of practice to good use.

My sisters and I were complete tomboys and complete girly girls, having the best of both worlds. We would spend hours climbing trees (ok, so I didn’t climb very high!), splashing in the ponds or creek, building tiny mud houses for our plastic wild animals or big forts for ourselves, and playing with salamanders, frogs, crawdads, and snakes. Then we would clean up and spend hours in the kitchen making little sandwiches, petit fours, and chocolate-dipped strawberries before donning frilly dresses to serve tea to our friends.

Since we were all homeschooled, I also have many memories of our school days together. History textbooks apparently repeat every six years, so AJ and I were often studying the same time periods at the same time. This meant we could do a lot of fun projects together! AJ also taught me and a group of other home schooled high schoolers a speech class. I loved that! Each week she asked us to describe something beautiful we had seen. I still remember many of the speaking tips I learned.

I also have special memories of the three of us sisters singing together, reading together, and playing piano together. I remember AJ making up stories to go with classical music (either her own piano music or radio music) and we would act it out or dance to it.

Speaking of stories, AJ has had a huge influence on my own writing. AJ also writes and she has been a great encouragement and role model for my writing aspirations.

But AJ has been a role model for more than just writing. She has struggled with health problems through most of her life, and now that I too, am struggling with my health, it is an encouragement to cry, laugh, and pray with a sister who understands. Everything AJ does, she does wholeheartedly, despite her health. She has never let it stop her from living life to the full. It is an honor to see how she lets God use her health troubles to honor Him and to encourage others.

AJ, thank you for being more than a sister. Thank you for being my friend.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Joys of Home Businesses: Phones

As most of you know, my family has two businesses out of our home. My dad has been building homes for about 30 years and developing land for about 15. L & C Wiley, Inc is very much a family run business with first Mom, and then us girls as we got old enough, doing the book work and many, many other odds and ends.

Four years ago Mom started a gift basket company, Forget-Me-Not Gift Baskets. I’m not much involved it that one anymore, because we are so busy with our other business and me with my signing and writing, but I help with it, too.

Most of my life I have answered the phone, “L & C Wiley, Incorporated.” (try saying that really fast…Ellensee Wiley…). Well, when we started getting calls for the gift basket company, things got a little complicated. For a while we tried, “L & C Wiley, Incorporated and Forget-Me-Not Gift Baskets, may I help you?” Now that is a mouthful and generally you’ve lost the person halfway through the L. So now I stick to saying in as professional of a voice as I can, “This is Amy, may I help you?” Often the person will respond, “Umm, is this….? uhhh….” And I just have to sit there and wait for the poor person to think of the name of the company they were trying to call, because if I try to help them out they just get more confused. “Gift baskets? Huh? No, I was calling a builder.”

But my favorite part of phones and having two businesses is our high tech transferring system. Mom’s computer is in the school room (the room name is a hold-over from our home schooling days) and it is directly above my office. So when I get a phone call for her, I say, “One moment, please.” put them on hold, and then, then I bang on the floor really hard with my heels! She hears and picks up the phone. “Hello, may I help you?” LOL

Then there is the whole deal with my Dad as my boss. Now most of our subcontractors have been working with us for many years and know that Lynn’s daughters do his office work. But some of them don’t know and most of our suppliers don’t know. So I have to try to figure out whether to call him Dad or Lynn when I’m making phone calls. Half the people can’t figure out what in the world the secretary’s dad has to do with anything and the other half wonder why I’m so rude as to call my dad by his first name.

Now with all this different stuff going on, it can be quite difficult to remember who I am. I dial and when they answer I say, “Hello. This is Amy with L &--” no wait, that’s not who I am for this call… “Er, this is Amy with Forg--” No! “Uh, this is Amy Wiley, I was, uh, calling to make an eye appointment…”

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Test Update

I was feeling very sick yesterday, but right before I started my test my head cleared. I’m quite certain it was because so many of you were praying. Thank you!!! I think I did all right on my final. I know I didn’t come close to acing it, but I’m sure I’ll pass.

Haha, my carpool friend and I headed to the cafeteria to eat dinner right before class. Well, they have new winter hours and close at 1:30 in the afternoon. Okaaayyy. So we went for the vending machine. Thankfully they have one of those cooler ones with sandwiches and stuff in them. So I pushed the button to turn the shelves around so that the yogurt I wanted was in front, put in my money, opened the window, and took my yogurt. I was looking around for a spoon when my friend pointed out the fact that there was a spoon in the now relocked shelf by where my yogurt was.

Well, there was no way I was going to pay another 85 cents for a plastic spoon, so I reached through the grated gate on one of the shops and managed to get a straw. I just hope the security cameras caught the fact that it was only a straw I stole… Anyway, by tipping the yogurt up and sort of encouraging the yogurt into my mouth (and all over my face) with the straw, I was able to get most of it out of the container and go into my test with something in my stomach anyway. But next time I think I’ll just look for the spoon...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Good Weekend...

This weekend I’ve been cramming for my final sign language test and stressing a bit over that, and didn’t even have time to do a challenge story, but you know what? I had a great weekend! I’ve been in an especially happy mood the last couple of days--I guess just enjoying my family and friends and writing and signing. I got to do all of that this weekend.

On Friday I planned a cyber party for our Faith Writer group. We met in the chat room and had a lot of fun. People popped in and out for over four hours!

On Saturday my family went to see The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe with Lauren and some of her family and a whole group of friends. It was great! The movie followed the book remarkably well. The beginning surprised me by starting off with scenes from WWII--setting the scene nicely. It was so fun watching it with three rows of people we knew! One scene was startling and I actually yelled out-loud. Lauren’s like, “Are you okay?” He he he.

On Sunday a friend of mine from sign language came over to study with me for the test. We got kinda overwhelmed at what we were having trouble with…lol But got some good study in too… Numbers are really throwing me… It takes me too long for what I’m seeing to register in my brain as the said number and by then I’ve lost the next four numbers! Wednesday is our final test, so we would love prayer.

Then on Sunday evening my sister and brother-in-law dropped off my oldest two nieces while they went to Narnia. We had fun reading and reading and reading some more to them! LOL

On Monday I got notice that the last week’s writing challenge entry had gotten first place. This is my tenth short story to be published. This week is the end of an era for me… Not only is it the last class of the semester, but this was the first week I didn’t get a challenge story in (besides between quarters and when I was judging) since April. I have decided to concentrate on my other writing and not necessarily enter a challenge story every week. It has helped my writing tremendously, and now it is time to work on some of my longer writing. I’m excited to see what comes of it.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Whining... ;-)

*sigh* I had a test for sign language tonight. We were video-taped doing a conversation with a classmate and I did awful! For some reason lately I have been using the sign TREE instead of MANY (they are kinda close...well, sorta... lol). We get paired up with someone for the video and we get five minutes to practice with our partner before doing the actual video. So, I used the sign TREE instead of MANY and my partner corrected me. But a lot of good it did because I promptly went up and did the same thing for the test and the teacher had to stop me and go "huh?" But that's not the worst of it!

We were supposed to talk about our family history and what country our families came form. In the practice I told a story about my great-great-grandfather. He was the son of royalty, but fell in love with the milkmaid and was disinherited. Well, my partner indicated she understood the story, so I used it in the test. The teacher stopped me several times trying to figure out what in the world I was talking about. I got him to understand milk lady, but he couldn't figure out what I meant when I was talking about the disinheritance... But my partner was still responding like she understood. So after the video, I asked her (still in sign, we can't talk in the class room) if she had understood it. She said no. "Then why didn't you tell me that?" *sigh*...

And I can't even just not worry about it anymore. I have to review the tape and write a whole critique on it...

But on a good note, I was one of the last people to record my video test, so I got lots of practice for the final next week done. All of us waiting worked in groups together on numbers and the stuff we would be doing in both the video test and next week's test.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Smile, girls!

I think it would be fun to start posting random memories occasionally. So here’s a story my grandma told about my older sisters (Purple Kangaroo and Sis) this Thanksgiving:

“One day when the older girls were quite young, the flowers were blooming out in my front yard and looked so nice. I thought it would be pretty to take a picture of the girls with the flowers in the background. So I called them out and took the camera.

They stood obediently, staring at the camera with somber faces. I waved and smiled at them, trying to get them to smile. Finally I told them, ‘You can pick a flower, if you want.’ I thought, surely that will make them smile. They both swooped down, grabbed a flower, and stood abruptly up again, expressions never changing.

Well, then your mother came out of the house with her camera. The girls posed, just like before--no smiles. She lifted the camera to her face and said, ‘Smile, girls!’

And just like that, they smiled.”

Monday, November 28, 2005


I went to the doctor today. My sister’s been bugging me about my cough, so when I went in for an appointment to get a prescription renewed, I told the doctor I had been coughing up phlegm for three months. So she had me get an x-ray and gave me anti-biotics (just in case) and heartburn stuff (just in case). Just what I need. More anti-biotics.

If I had gone in for the cough in the first place she would have told me it was just allergies and not to worry about it.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

First of all, I am thankful that Mom prays for us as my friend and I are driving home from my college class on Wednesday nights, because otherwise I might not have had much of a Thanksgiving… We were nearly home, driving through an intersection with a green light. Well, another car turned right on a red light--directly in front of us into our lane. If there had been a car in the left lane we would have been smashed. As it was, my friend slammed on the break and swerved into the left lane and was able to just barely avoid a collision. She even managed to honk! I already have back problems, so I am doubly grateful that we didn’t crash. Thank you, Lord!

I am also so thankful that my middle sister was able to come home for Thanksgiving. She is going to college in South Carolina right now, and in the past the school only gave Thanksgiving day off, but now they have almost a week free.

After getting home from my class and then stopping at the store, Mom and I got home last night after 11:00 PM and then did some cleaning, not getting into bed until after 2:00 AM! But we made it through the day with only a bit of yawning…

This year it was our turn to host dinner. So besides me and my parents and my middle sister, we had my oldest sister, brother-in-law, three nieces, and my grandparents. My dad did something a little new this year. Before the blessing, we sang “Thank You, Lord”. Music is so important to me. I got tingles and nearly got teary-eyed, sitting there with the people I love, singing thank you to the One I love the most…

My youngest niece, Baby E (three months old) just grins all day long! My Grandpa was sure enjoying her beams… Near the end of the day she was getting so tired, but of course didn’t want to sleep. My bil put her on his shoulder and she laid her head down, he thought she was falling asleep. I looked over at her and she was just laughing away (silently)!!

My family doesn’t celebrate Christmas and we give gifts on Thanksgiving (after all, what better way to show you are thankful for someone?). This year I gave everyone a copy of Faith Writers - A Celebration. This is the first published book with my name in it! My family has always been very encouraging in my writing, so that was exciting for all of us.

This was the first year my older two nieces (4 ¾ and 3) gave presents to everyone. I was impressed with what they picked out for each of us. They remembered that I like mice (my bedroom is decorated in Victorian mice and kittens) and gave me this:

While it isn’t exactly Victorian, he’s an awfully cute dude! And his arms, legs, and tail are poseable! LOL

My older two nieces much enjoyed having all of us read to them throughout the evening. AJ (4 ¾) is not only reading, but she can read upside-down while standing in front of me, looking down at the book.

Hehe, we had fun playing Up And Down The River (I won by one point!) and oh, was it fun watching Baby E enjoying the brightly-colored cards! She is studying them so seriously…

[note: if you are wondering why there are only pics of the littlest one, it is because we think it is best not to put pics on the web once they are a bit older, for safety reasons. But be assured that AJ and MM are just as adorable as Baby E! :-) ]

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lost in the Zone...

The Faith Writers’ web sites go down every once in a while. Last time that happened I got these panicked emails from my friends, “Amy! What happened with FW!? Can you get on?” I know it happens periodically, so it doesn’t concern me much. It’ll be back online in a few hours, or at least by the next day. Now, to understand the reaction, you have to understand that Faith Writers is a second home. All of us on the message boards are like family. Most of us check in several times a day. And, though some of us have each other’s email addresses, the boards really are our link to each other.

Well, yesterday the sites went down again. But this time it was different. First, it was on a Monday morning--when the new topic for the writing challenge is announced. So I mailed a few friends asking if any of them had happened to see what the topic was before it crashed. One of them wrote back and said not only had she seen the topic, but she was on the FW message boards right then.

That was the start of the weirdness. I could not get on that site, but I could get on other sites fine, so I knew it wasn’t my server. Why could she get on and not me? A few hours later I was able to get on. I had gotten a few PM notifications, one on the regular FW site and a couple on the message board. I went to the regular site. There were no new PMs. Okaaaayy. So I went to the boards. It showed that there were two new ones--but they were ones I had gotten two days ago and responded to…

So then I started looking around the site. All the “new” posts had been made on Friday. It was Monday. I check for a few threads I knew had been started on Saturday. Not there. To make matters even more confusing, one of my friends was still saying that she hadn’t notice anything odd about the boards. Suddenly I was feeling very much like I had woken up in the Twilight Zone!

I checked the regular FW site and to my horror the last two chapters of our Chat-A-Book were not there. Thankfully I had those two chapters more or less saved on my computer. But I was stricken with horrific imaginings of the whole Chat-A-Book getting lost! This book is completely irreplaceable and un re-do-able. Now, I know this is awful, bad, stupid…but I haven’t been saving the Chat-A-Book--just posting it on-line and then copying the next week’s session over the top of the last one, to save space on my computer. I’ve been meaning to go to a different computer that takes floppy disks and copy it, but I haven’t yet.

OK, so this time, I am panicking. LOL Just about then I got an email from another friend. She was panicking, too. Ah the comfort in knowing that someone else out there was stuck in the Twilight Zone with me!! LOL

All is well now. FW was moving to a new server and things were just crazy for a bit. ;-)

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Blogging Felines

Well, I knew more and more people were blogging now, but cats? Yes indeed. My cat has informed me that she is now a blogger. She also informed me that I am her transcriber. Well, so long as she doesn't start writing a book! I have enough books in my head without getting bogged down transcribing for her.

Anyway, I thought I might as well put a link to the blog. Blog by the Cat was started by another feline, who then invited a couple of her friends to join in the blogging. How my cat met an English cat is beyond me. Perhaps in the night she sneaks in here and surfs the internet? :-o

I guess animals no longer have to use the old-fashioned relay system shown in 101 Dalmations...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

My Plate Floweth Over

My cup floweth over and my plate is too full. :-D

Last week I was busy. Rather. I had bills for our business to finish up, not to mention all the problems that inevitably come up in that busy time that have to be dealt with right then. Then I got a desperate cry from the Faith Writer’s weekly writing challenge’s coordinator, saying they needed me to switch weeks I was judging and do it then. I tried to juggle the office work, a heavy load of school homework, and guide the Chat-A-Book, oh, and of course I had to explore the new FW message board. I’m not very good at juggling my time, anyway.

But I somehow managed to keep all the balls in the air until Tuesday morning, when I found that though I was about 80 articles into the judging, I still had about 90 to go, as well as a good chunk of homework--all to be finished by Wednesday night. I gave a desperate holler to the coordinator and she kindly let me drop the judging ball (thankfully there are enough judges every week that if needed, they can do with one less) and even gave me a cyber hug. *sigh* I hated to do it, but it’s a good thing I did, ‘cause not only would I have not gotten finished, but the FW website’s server was down for a while and I wouldn’t have been able to access the articles I was judging anyway!

So, that’s the full plate part; here’s the floweth over part:

I got my semi-final test results back and I got a B! Especially because I have minor learning problems that makes taking tests difficult, I am very pleased.

Just this week I have had two editors contact me asking permission to use some of my writings! None of them pay, but I am excited. Mind Fields (the short story I posted on here a month ago or so) will appear in next month’s Riders & Reapers ezine, and my poem, When Evening Comes of Age, will be featured on the front page of the Faith Writers site for a week the end of this month.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

If I Could Paint

When Evening Comes Of Age

If I could paint, I’d take my brush
And swipe it smooth across the page.
I’d try to show creation’s hush
At dusk when evening comes of age.

I’d dip into the faintest hue
And give the sky a tinge of pink.
Then guide a swath of deepest blue
In which a tiny star would wink.

The grass would be a mossy green
With flowers blooming in delight.
The dancing lake would catch the gleam
Of mountains deepening out of sight.

A bird would soar with silver wing
To touch the clouds the purples hold.
Oh, with my brush I’d make it sing,
Above the valley bathed in gold.

I’d paint a girl with rosy cheek
Who’d kneel beneath a leafy dome.
The setting sun would give a peek
Of her awaited heav’nly home.

If I could paint, I’d show the world
Creation’s blush upon the page,
Her glorious beauty all unfurled
At dusk when evening comes of age.

© 2005 Amy Michelle Wiley

© 2005 Amy Michelle Wiley

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


I filled out a mail-in ballot for the first time today (yes, I know--I have procrastination down to an art form). I prefer to go into the polls, but Washington recently decided to go to only mail-in. I looked at that ballot and wondered how I was supposed to punch the holes. I ended up holding it and poking them out with the tip of a pencil and then pulling the chad off.

You know, after the 2000 election, I never had been able to figure out the hanging chad thing. I mean, how hard is it to push the little red stylus into the hole at the polling booth? But! Now I understand. The hanging chads came from the mail-in ballots. Suddenly the world makes more sense.

One of the things we voted on was amending the Clean Indoor Air Act. Now at first glace, keeping all smoking out of public areas seems like a wonderful thing. I mean, I’m all for non-smoking, especially since my allergies practically render me unconscious when I get a whiff of cigarette smoke (ok, so I’m exaggerating--but I sure feel like passing out of pure misery!). But when I thought about it for a bit I decided to vote against it. Why? Here’s my answer:

Is it really the government’s job to regulate things like that? If they can regulate that, then they can regulate pretty much anything and before we know it we will be like China used to be--you get fined for chewing gum. Another point people bring up is that it causes cancer, so therefore the government should step in. Well, red food coloring causes cancer. So do most of the sugar substitutes. Should they be banned too?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Corny Story

One of the resent Faith Writers’ writing challenge topic was “fragrance”. I got this rather cool idea. It was supposed to be a intriguing spy story. Imagine my surprise when it came out on paper (er, screen) as a corny chick flick! LOL Of course I didn’t place--humor is not a writing style I am comfortable with. But I think I did it better than last time I attempted humor, so I’m happy.

Here is the link to my story if you’d like to read it: Hyacinth Spies

As many mentioned in the comments on the end of the story, the setting causes some cognitive dissonance. Any one have any ideas as to a better setting? The problem is that there are only about one in a billion cases in which I would condone jail breaks and all of them are serious religious settings… So this was the only thing I could think of. ;-) But at any rate, it was fun to write!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Gifts of Dreams Come True

All I can say is wow. In the last six months of my life so many of my dreams are really starting to be realized. I’ve gotten quite a number of short stories published and have started seriously working on a couple of novels. I’ve made a lot of good writing connections, not to mention a lot of good writing friends! I’ve also begun seriously studying my sign language, working toward my interpreter’s license. Several great opportunities to further my singing skills have come up in the last year, too.

Several exciting things happened just this week.

On Monday I received second place on my Faith Writers’ challenge entry, Lo Ikwithltchunona, The Cloud Swallower, out of something like 147 entries. The level of competition is getting harder every week. I had so much fun writing that story! The topic was rain and I started with an idea I got from a story a missionary had told in his sermon that Sunday. Then I typed a few words into Google and what I needed for the rest of the story just fell into my lap, er, popped onto my computer screen.

On Tuesday I received an email from the humor columnist, Dori Knight, asking if I would be interested in being the Administrative Assistant to the Hope Floats editorial team. Would I be interested?! Rather! LOL The Hope Floats project is something I’ve been really excited about, and have volunteered my time a little for them in the past, also. For those who missed my other blog entries about it, The Hope Team is putting together a book of true short stories to sell. The proceeds of the book will go towards buying Bibles for the victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Though putting together this first book has taken longer than planned, the organization will now be in place to help future disasters. It is so exciting for me to be a part of this, and knowing that it could turn into a long-time position makes it even more so. It is an honor to be a part of this team.

Every day I ask myself what I have done to deserve these blessings. I have failed God in so many ways. But I know the answer. “If you then…know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly Father give good things to them that ask Him?” Matthew 7:11 It delights Him to give us joy. And what a joy for me, that the gifts I so love are things I can use to give Glory to God and to draw others to Him!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Today I saw a bird playing cards. Really. He was sitting there in the grass flipping leaves over into a pile. He would reach over and grab a brown leaf and flip it over in front of him, then he would get a yellow one, then… LOL Anyway, I found it amusing. But then, it doesn’t take much to amuse me. :-D

Another thing that amused me was a phone conversation with my three and four year old nieces yesterday. Their language skills improve so much each time I talk to them! First I talked to MM (3). She told me very animatedly all about their new hamster, Puff, and how it was running on its “exercise wheel” (I don’t know why, but somehow hearing a three year old say “exercise wheel” with very precise diction is rather amusing). “Our baby likes watching it!” she told me. I love how MM packs those two words, “our baby”, completely jam-packed full of adoration, pride, and pure delight. Then the phone got passed to four-and-three-quarter years old AJ. “Hello,” she said politely. “My I speak to Grandma for a moment, please?”

Here is an amusing link: The Insanity Test

Ooo, and did you hear about the “ghost” that showed up in a car commercial ad? Some might say it was just mist in the road, but at any rate, if you look closely just as the car comes around the corner something white hovers in front of the car and then follows it. At the very end of the clip you can supposedly hear the photographer whisper about the strange phenomenon.

Can you tell it’s semi-finals week?

Friday, October 28, 2005


Hi friends! Sorry I haven’t posted for a while. I’ve been sick. I probably won’t be posting much next week either, because I have semi-finals. But I’ll try to get a couple of posts in.

My college class was interesting last Wednesday because I was still sick. My slight fever was gone earlier in the day, but I think it must have come back. The second hour I was sitting there shivering, then sweating, then shivering... I was dizzy and having trouble focusing my eyes and the facial expressions we have to do made my head hurt. LOL I'm better today...

I have semi-finals for my class next week. There will be both a video-taped test and a written test. I'm not too worried about the video-taped part, though I'm sure I'll be nervous. But the written test is scaring me a little. I have some eye problems that cause some minor learning problems and taking tests is one place they manifest themselves... In high school I rarely got higher than a D on tests even though I knew the info. Please pray that I remember all the right grammar and culture terms. ;-)

Monday, October 24, 2005

Mind Fields

Last week the Faith Writers’ weekly challenge topic was fruit. I got all sorts of ideas and almost went with a spy story about a computer disk smuggled in by inserting it into a caramel apple! But I went with another story idea. This is the first time ever, that I have finished the rough draft of a challenge story well under the maximum word count!! Not sure if that is good or bad. LOL I was trying a rather tricky story-line and my first try flopped. I got a little feedback from a friend and tried it again. That time I think it turned out pretty good. I can’t really say much about it because, well, yeah. Hmmm, I think I’ll just post it right here as part of my post! So, have fun reading.

Mind Fields

The hard ground pressed against Drew’s ribs and his lungs protested the lingering haze of gunpowder. He struggled to keep from coughing, fearful of attracting the enemy. Dry grass pricked his chin as he scanned the field stretched out before him. Then he spotted the dark form--it was Bobby, dying right there on the other side of the field. Drew ached to run to him, to scoop his friend up and rush him to safety. But he couldn’t. He couldn’t run, he couldn’t do anything but inch slowly across the mine-laden ground, straining to spot any evidence of dangerous secrets in the soil.

Time moved slowly, racing against the blood that ran from Bobby’s side. Drew heard him moan and his concentration wavered. He saw the wire just as his boot brushed against it. He flung himself away, over the top of a boulder, covering his head as the ground shook with the explosion. The air began to clear and Drew raised his head. Thank God. He was alive.

The sharp pain from the small shrapnel pieces imbedded in his back threatened to distract him once again. God help me, please! The growing night was also making it difficult, but Drew pressed on. Nothing would stop him from getting to Bobby.

Then he was there, bending over his friend, touching him gently on the forehead. Bobby opened his eyes. “Drew? You came.”

“I told you I would. Just like you’d come for me.”

Drew was just bending to lift Bobby when he saw a movement out of the corner of his eye. It was enemy forces, coming out of the trees straight toward them! It was too late to hide--they had already been spotted.

Reacting automatically, Drew thrust his hand into his pocket, pulling the pin as he threw the grenade. Again! Again! With deadly accuracy the three grenades exploded far out, stopping the advancing army in a confusion of smoke and fire. “Come on!” Grabbing Bobby under the arms, Drew retraced his path, following the safe trail of flattened grass.

With shocking suddenness, Bobby yowled in delirium and wrenched out of Drew’s grasp. “No!” Drew screamed, pitching forward with Bobby’s weight. “The land mines!” He hit the ground hard, but only silence rang in his ears. No explosion. Drew sighed with relief. He hadn’t gone all that way to drop Bobby and die in a mine. Drew scrambled for his friend. They had to hurry and get out of there!

“Andrew!” The shrill voice of his mother startled Drew out of his reverie in the orchard. “Andrew, how many times have I told you to change out of your church clothes before you go out to play?”

Drew sat up slowly, studying his white shirt, streaked with grass stains and smeared with globs of rotten apple. He had gotten into more apple land mines than he had thought!

His mother continued scolding from the upstairs window, “And stop throwing apples at the neighbor’s cows!”

The cows! Drew twisted around to locate the enemy forces. But they were still halfway across the neighbor’s field, swishing their tales nervously. Drew grinned. He’d shown those cows.

Walking carefully to avoid the slippery mines, Drew picked his way out of the orchard. He glanced over his shoulder at the cat, who glared from a near-by apple branch. “Don’t worry, Bobby. I’ll be back.”

© 2005 Amy Michelle Wiley

Did I get you?! LOL This is the second time I’ve pulled off a twist in the storyline. It’s pretty cool, but kind of scary too.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Another Meme :-)

A while back Brandi tagged me with this meme. I am supposed to go back to my eleventh post and pull out the fifth sentence to post here. :-) Ironically my eleventh post was on September the 11th. My fifth sentence was:

"My plea for America on this anniversary day is that we continue to pray together and strive to put God first in our Nation."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Of Chemical Explosions, Hallucinations, and Joy in Homeschooling

How's that for a great title? LOL Just wait, I'll explain how it all works together. :-)

The sci-fi book, Assignment to White Planet 8069, group of Christian writers and I are working on is going great!! The story is really getting exciting. We meet once a week in a chat room, with lots of emailing and such going on during the week. Last week one of the other writers and I had a secret meeting with our characters, Damian and Meinta. Well, they got caught in a chemical explosion and we kind of painted ourselves into a corner! So we let the other characters figure out how to get us out alive. LOL Jason came up with a marvelous plan.

One of the writers realized that she would be unable to continue the project because of time issues. Well, as sorry as I was to see her go, the timing was perfect! :-D It only added to the drama to have her character die a heroic death while rescuing Damian and Meinta. So we ended the chapter with three characters in the hospital and one on her death bed.

This Monday I decided at the last minute since my character was in the hospital anyway, that it wouldn’t throw things off too much if I didn’t come to the session. Diana Waring, from History Alive, was coming to my town to speak to homeschoolers. I graduated in 2000, so we haven’t been homeschooling for a long time, but the Warings were friends of our before they moved out of state, so we wanted to see them. We figured out that it had been probably at least ten years since we had seen them, so it was great to catch up a little.

Diana spoke about bringing joy into home schooling and how it wasn’t about a formulaic process, but about bringing delight of knowledge. She used several Bible verses that speak of the joy of learning. She also explained some of the different learning styles and brought us threw some of her struggles and learning as she began home schooling so many years ago.

Anyway, when I got home I had an email waiting for me from one of my Chat-A-Book friends. “Can't wait till you see what we did! he he he” The Chatzy chat room we use keeps all the chat until it is manually cleared, so the whole session was there for me to read and let me tell you, I just about died laughing. When the cat’s away, the mice play! First there was all this “Amy’s not here. What trouble shall we make?” “Let’s kill off her character!” “Let’s kill off everyone!” “hhmm, Amy might not like that.” So they finally decided to do a dream. After all, several of the characters were in the hospital doped up with meds, right? Hallucinating dreams isn’t so far out there. Yup, so they killed almost all the characters and nearly killed me too, since I was hyperventilating from laughing so hard.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Saga of the Black Stray, segment three: The Trap

With the stray black cat taking over the garage and terrorizing our own cats (not to mention eating all the food), my sister and I began to make a plan to rid ourselves of him. We mentioned BB guns, but of course we would never really be cruel.

So we hatched a wondrous and really quite simple plan. First, I called our neighbors to make sure Bagera was not theirs. Then we set an animal carrying case right outside the cat door. A series of signals was set up. And then we waited.

Finally we heard the first signal--a cat fight in the garage. I gave the second signal--a yell for my sister. She rushed out the back door and around to the cat door. I waited to give her enough time to press the carrying case firmly against the opening, and then I ran into the garage. It worked marvelously. Bagera plunged through the flap and into the case with a dreadful thud (poor cat).

“Do you have him?!” I cried through the door.

“Yes!” she cried, thrilled. But then our plan went awry. My sister had figured on the cat being just a little stunned, especially if she suddenly flipped the case up, dumping the cat to the bottom so she could slam the door shut. She figured wrong. Bagera was not stunned. He was terrified.

I opened the garage door to find not a cat neatly trapped inside a carrying case, ready to be taken to the Human Society, but a bewildered sister with an open case and no sign whatsoever of the cat. I took stock of the situation. “What? You didn’t want you loose all your fingers?”

We modified our plan, covering every inch of the carrying case’s wire door with cardboard so no flying claws could reach through. But, we never got a chance to use it, for though the plan failed, the intention worked--Bagera disappeared.

Stay tuned for more enstalments of The Saga of the Black Stray

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Saga of the Black Stray, Segment Two: Terror

When our dog passed away, our yard became overrun with not only the many stray cats, but also an occasional coyote or raccoon and quite a plethora of squirrels, birds, and rabbits. The later three we quite enjoyed, but the first two we could have happily done without.
However, if a cat stuck around for a while, it was, naturally, dubbed with a name. Most of them came with obvious names, such as Ringtail for the orange and white tabby that had such a peculiar grey and orange ringed tail; the black Sylvester, with his huge white bib and lopsided markings on his face; and Little Cat for the little gray tabby cat. The black stray also came with an obvious name. He was so muscular and lean and tough, with such big yellow eyes that there really was no other name for him than Bagera.

With all the animals around, it was really only Bagera that truly bothered our cats the most. My poor Lica became so traumatized that she was scared to death of anything black. On the rare occasion I would take her inside and up to my bedroom she took to creeping around, freezing if she saw anything black--even if it was a belt laying on the floor. Once when I moved said belt, she about had a heart attack, jumping and slinking stiffly backwards.

When wanting to go outside, both cats would slink up to the cat door and sniff for sometime before working up courage to poke their head cautiously out to look for any looming cats.
Bagera was quite bold and often hung close to the house. However he was completely terrified of humans. If he so much as caught a glimpse of one of us he was freeze for one split second, his eyes wide with the very epitome of terror. Then he would run with desperate panic.

Stay tuned for more enstallments of The Saga of the Black Stray. You can read Segment One: Overrun by Cats and Coons here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Cursive Fingerspelling

Today I learned to make names dance,
To swing them together, the signs enhance.
No longer is it H-O-L-L-Y,
But now through the air my letters fly.
Swooping, lilting, oh-so-smooth,
I think I'm getting in the groove!

I’ve been told in the past to learn to read finger spelling as a word, not as letters, and I think I have begun to make progress on that. But today in class was the first time I really thought about making it a word rather than letters when I am finger spelling. Our teacher was spelling names for us to practice reading and he showed us how to “write” the word in the air, rather than just give each of the letters. It seemed to me rather like cursive finger spelling! I thought that the name Holly was particularly pretty in sign.

Hehe, today in class there was this one sign that I could not for the life of my figure out! The teacher spent quite a bit of time trying to explain it to me--something about going out to dinner with your sweetheart, about something smelling, about a bathroom!?? Finally I figured it out--candle! LOL I think I have a mind block on that sign, because now that I think about it I can remember a different teacher spending some time trying to explain that same sign about a year ago. I think I’ve finally got it now!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Amy needs

Ok, here is another funny meme. You Google your name or pseudonym and the word “needs”. Most of these didn’t end up with the word “needs” in it, but they are funny!

It's Really ANN NASH not AMY,
(oh, and here I’ve been thinking I was Amy all my life!)

Amy needs a new pair of shoes...
(actually, I do… I only have sandals for dress shoes and in Washington state in the winter…?)

Amy… will now be on television throughout Southern Oregon
(wow, cool!!)

Amy needs to either wake up or start getting some extra will-power.
(hmm, actually, that's true…)

Amy is a sweet 8-year-old flat-coated retriever and German shepherd mix.
(what, first I’m not really Amy and now I’m a dog?!!)

Maybe what Amy needs to do is to make up to her fans
(I have fans? Cool!! I’ll be glad to make up with them. What did I do?)

Amy needs a drug-dealer's testimony to free a teenager wrongfully accused of murder.
(whoa, nothing like putting the pressure on!)

Grounded sparrow -- needs a pin?
(Right! Wait--what again?)

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Saga of the Black Stray: Overrun by Cats and Coons

I supposed it all started when Rebel, our dog, became too old and sick to bother with chasing cats, and no longer inclined to standing outside all night, barking at the boogie man. It started gradually, this takeover by the small wild animals, but the black cat was one of the first to show up. He was a muscular, tough-looking cat that seemed quite large until you saw him close up and discovered that he was really on the small side. But his small stature did not matter--he was a fighter and had the scars to prove it.

Our fourteen-year-old cat Shasta had been too old to fight for a long time now, though he still sometimes tried. And my little tiny cat, Lica, made a lot of noise and added several inches to her size by poofing her hair on end, but unfortunately even with the added height she was still considerably smaller than the black stray.

And so, howling and thumping was often heard in the garage those days. We would rush out just in time to see a black shadow disappear out the animal door, leaving two poofed cats glaring from on top of a car or box, and one deaf dog blinking sleepily from his bed. Soon a grey and white cat, a long-haired orange cat, a long-haired black cat, a grey tabby, an orange tabby, and various other stray and neighbor cats began dropping by to help eat the cat food.

One evening upon hearing the now-familiar yowling, I rushed out to the garage, this time pausing to grab a water gun. Squirting as I ran, I charged out the garage door, hot on the stray’s tail. The cat disappeared into the dark and then I could hear something climbing up the tree in front of me. Admittedly, it did seem a little odd that the cat would go up the tree right next to me rather than through the brambles to the other field, but I didn’t take time to ponder. I was aiming the gun for a last mighty squirt when the light fell on the animal and I found my self face to face with a raccoon. I backpedaled. Fast. Shooting a raccoon in the face with a water gun isn’t exactly the best idea if you are keen on keeping your skin.

Then we began finding mud in the water dish. I didn’t think this too incredibly odd, since dogs do, admittedly dig in the dirt and eat dirt-covered things. But after Rebel died the dirty water continued. Now if there is one thing cats don’t do, it is get dirt in their water dish. A stray piece of food, certainly, but not dirt. So we really shouldn’t have been surprised when my sister went to the garage to fill the food dish and found a coon sitting on a box, just finishing the last of the food. The coon surveyed her as she hollered and yelled, then he calmly went back to the food.

Everyday seemed to bring more animals through the animal door. Something had to be done.

Stay tuned for more installments of The Saga of the Black Stray.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


My sister's blog, Purple Puzzle Place, has tagged me with a meme, a group of questions that gets passed around from one blog to another.

Things I want to do before I die:

Personally lead at least one person to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Publish a number of books.
Become a sign language interpreter.
Get married.
Have a lot of children.
See a few other continents. I’d especially like to see Ireland or somewhere in that part of the world and Australia or New Zealand.
Learn Spanish.

Things I can do:

Talk (and talk, and talk)
Do dramatic readings (even when I’m reading to my nieces I try to do all the voices)
Interrupt people while they’re talking
Laugh at myself
Come up with creative ideas
Do a loop, sal chow, and lutz figure skating jump (when I was skating I could almost do a double sal chow)

Things I cannot do:

Play a tuba (I don’t have enough air!)
Go a whole day without singing
Drive a car by myself (I don’t have my driver’s license quite yet)
Kiss (I’m saving it for my wedding)
Sit on the floor with my legs straight out in front of me (my tight hamstrings and crooked back just don’t let me bend that way)
Properly land an axel figure skating jump
Use an electric screwdriver with no trouble (I always end up stripping the screw when it’s halfway in and then it won’t go in or out!)
Eat potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, or wheat (allergic)

My Daydream

I added this question and I’ll explain a little. I think everyone occasionally indulges in a fun daydream that couldn’t possibly come true. You know, like a little girl imagining a movie director sees her walking through a store and stops her, “You would be perfect for the lead role in a movie I am doing. Why don’t you come by and audition. Oh, and is this your best friend? I’ll bet I can find a place for her, too!” LOL

So here is my current day dream:
That some well-respected editor or political person would read some of my writing (like A Child’s Shoe or Among Lions {based on a true story about an Ethiopian girl}) and ask me to go to Iraq or somewhere like that to write a book, showing the truth of how our soldiers are helping the people there.

Things that attract me to my husband:

Sorry, I don’t have a husband.

Celebrity crushes I've had in the past:

Never had a celebrity crush. But I do like the actors Rick Peters (have to love his accent and dimple) and Yannick Bisson (Sue Thomas FBEye)

People I want to do this next:

Easy question. All of you! I’ll list a few, though.

Lauren B.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Trip to Tacoma

This weekend my mom and I took a trip up to Tacoma, a few hours away from our home. On Sunday morning a Deaf evangelist, Ronnie Rice, spoke at Faith Baptist Church up there. When I went to the Bill Rice Ranch in Tennessee last summer and the last for sign language training, Ronnie preached each evening. This last summer I was excited when he told me he was coming to my state! I was hoping to bring some of my friends from sign language class with me, but none of them were able to come. Ronnie Rice is an awesome speaker. He is very expressive and hilarious and literally acts out his sermons.

The Deaf pastor, Les Leckron, did the voice interpretation for Ronnie Rice. He was a very skilled interpreter and did a very good job of putting excitement in his voice to match Ronnie’s exuberance.

A Deaf choir did a wonderful performance. They had some really creative actions, such as while the introductory music was playing, they took turns swirling their hands around, so it was kind of like wind going up and down the choir. The performance was beautiful and a lot of fun to watch.

After the service a Deaf husband and wife accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior! Praise God!

Since I don’t have my driver’s license quite yet, and it is a long drive by ones self anyway, my mom was so kind to drive me up there. Even though she doesn’t know any sign language she enjoyed Ronnie’s sermon, too. A Deaf family that we know from our home town, also was there, so it was fun to talk to them. The husband didn’t loose his hearing until he was nineteen, so he speaks quite well. And there were a number of other hearing people there, so mom didn’t feel entirely like she was in a foreign world! Lol

Mom and I didn’t want to have to get up really early in the morning in order to get to the church for the service, so we drove up the night before. We met some friends of ours who now live in that area for dinner. Sarah’s family and our family have been close friends since I was about ten, though we don’t see them much anymore. At my oldest sister’s wedding, Sarah met my brother-in-law’s brother, and about a year later they were married! So my sister had a girl’s dream come true--one of her good friends is now her sister-in-law! It’s awfully fun for me, too, since I get to see Sarah at my nieces birthday parties and such. So anyway, we had a really good time at dinner with Sarah and her husband and their toddler.

The hotel mom and I stayed at looked quite nice in the internet picture. What the internet failed to say, was that it was next door not only to the freeway, but also a train track. We lay on the rock-hard beds, listening to the trains and trucks rumble by, shaking the whole hotel. But, we only had to stay there one night and we did get some sleep.

I am writing this blog account from my laptop computer in the car on the way back home, listening to the soundtrack of Fiddler on the Roof--mom‘s and my favorite traveling music. We just passed through a blinding rainstorm, but thankfully it is only sprinkling now.

Friday, September 30, 2005

More School Antidotes and A Lesson in Sign Language Types

One thing that my college teacher does is different than any of my other teachers. When he uses a sign and a student asks what it means, instead of finger spelling the word, like many do, he will try to get the meaning across by using other signs and using the unknown sign in context. And in the same way, if we want to know the sign for something we have to figure out a different way to get across what sign we are missing without using finger spelling. Though it certainly is more difficult, I think it is great. It accomplishes two things. One, it gives you the meaning of the word without associating a translated English word with it, which may or may not be very close to the actual meaning. And two, it ensures that the sign is the correct one for the context. For instance, if a student asks, “How do you sign G-E-T?” The teacher will respond with the sign that would be used in the context of, “I’m going to get a bag of chips from the cupboard.” Well, what if the student goes out and used that sign in the context of “I just don’t get it!” LOL

When we first started the class, the teacher was commenting on how late the class was and that many of us had worked all day and now we have to sit in a three hour long class that went until 9:30. He signed that at the break maybe we better go get coffee, or candy, or…and he listed several things with caffeine in them. And then he made a motion like injecting drugs! I must say I was rather surprised to see a teacher suggest that.
But then later in class the subject of soda pop came up and he used the same sign. Then I remembered--it is the sign for Coke, the carbonated drink! LOL In fact, the teacher himself said that the first time he saw that sign he laughed and laughed, thinking it was a joke. But that really is the sign!

Sign Languages

Yesterday Shelley asked about Signed English. There are primarily three types of sign languages used in US; American Sign Language (ASL), Signed Exact English (SEE), and Pidgin Signed English (PSE). ASL is what most Deaf people use. It is a complete language of its own, with its own grammar and etiquette. ASL is a very beautiful, expressive language.
Signed Exact English is just that--using your hands to “speak” English. It uses English grammar and is very cumbersome with every word signed and added suffixes, etc. Whereas ASL signs use the meaning of ideas, SEE copies, for example, English homonyms , giving both words the same sign.

Pidgin Signed English is a combination of ASL and SEE. It uses the ASL signs, but closer to an English sentence structure. When using PSE you do not, however, sign every English word--just the important ones. I’ve heard that most hearing people use PSE. I know I do! But I am learning ASL grammar and I am trying to apply it. One thing about PSE, though, is that both users of ASL and SEE can understand it.

So, now you know a little more about sign language! As you can see, all three have good things about them and as an interpreter, I will have to learn some of all of them.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

First Day of College

Well, I had my first college class last night. This semester I am just taking one class (three credits), American Sign Language 103. When I had my proficiency test, I almost got put in ASL 201, but I am so glad I didn’t! I didn’t understand the teacher nearly as well as I would want. I was able to follow, but sometimes just barely. The teacher is really nice and seems very accessible. He is hearing (I know that because he kept complaining about the noise from the little kids playing right outside the classroom--it seems that the day care area must be right next to us!) but he asks for no voice at all inside the classroom.

A friend told me a funny story yesterday. She said the first day of her French class there was a sudden burst of laughter from the class on the other side of the partition. Then deadly silence. A while later there was another burst of laughter. Then deadly silence. Turns out it was a sign language class next to them!

I am carpooling to school with a friend I met in a local community sign language class. It sure is a good thing we allowed lots and lots of time to drive to class, ’cause we took a wrong exit. Three times!! LOL We got to the campus with about twenty minutes to spare, but none of the parking permit centers were open. Then we realized that both of us had forgotten to bring the paper that told what classroom we were in. So we went rushing all around campus, trying to figure out which classroom we should be in. We found the room about three minutes before class, but we still needed a parking permit!! But then, thankfully, someone told us that we didn’t need one until the next week. *sigh of relief*

I asked one of my classmates what had first gotten him interested in sign language. I was prepared to witness a little, since I figured he would ask me the same thing and my answer is, “Well, I don’t remember anything in particular that got me interested. I think it is just something God put in my heart.” So I asked the question and he responded, “Well, I think it is just something God put in my heart.” LOL So I already met another Christian student in my class. And get this--he is a writer!

Once when I asked the teacher a question, he didn’t understand for a minute. Then he realized what I was trying to say, and corrected one of my signs. Turns out that I have been saying “dorm” instead of “Deaf” all this time! What I want to know is, why in the world didn’t someone correct me a long time ago??? LOL

Monday, September 26, 2005

Dizzy Realms of Delight*

For being a Monday, this day sure started out well! As usual on Monday morning, I dragged myself out of bed and went for the computer to see the results of last week’s Faith Writers’ writing challenge. This week is inbetween quarters, so there is no new topic. First I checked the Advanced level winners. Wow, wow! All five were familiar names! Though my name was not listed, I was so excited to see my friend, "Dust", listed in third place. Dust is a remarkably good young writer, but his writing is dark and apparently does not usually match what the judges are looking for. All of us on the message board were so excited that he finally made it into the Editor’s Choice with his story, Trapped in the Attic. And so fun to have a bunch of other friends make it this week, too!

Well, then I checked the Editor’s Choice winners. These are the eight highest scoring entries of the week and have nothing to do with the Beginners, Intermediate, and Advanced level awards. So it is possible to place in the Editor’s Choice and get published in the book, even if you didn’t place in the level winners. Yay! My name and story, A Day in Our Life, was listed as seventh place!! This is my third win this quarter, so now I’ve achieved my goal--to have one more story in this quarter’s book than I had last quarter! And I finally managed to pull off a story that had a secret in the story-line! :-) I've tried before, but gave up and rewrote them because it didn't work.

As if all that didn’t get me excited enough, I then found an email in my box from the Challenge Coordinator, Deb. They are changing the way the judging works and instead of volunteers (which did have to meet certain requirements), she is carefully picking judges and I was one she picked. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do it or not, since I am starting a college class this week, but I was honored to be chosen.

So I’m floating in the air from all that excitement, and I still have the first session of our role playing game to look forward to tonight! *happy sigh*

So, I wish on you as wonderful a day as I am having!

*title taken from a line in Anne of Green Gables

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Inter-Galactic Travels

Some friends and I are setting up a role playing sci-fi game. I wrote a intro and a vague story-line, then we are having each player create their own character. Each Monday night we are gathering in a chat room to "act" out the ad lib story. It is going to be so much fun!! You can check it out at the FW Chat-A-Book page and follow the action there.

The story, Assignment to White Planet 8069, is set in the future, when interplanetary travel is common among the space stations built on many planets. The universe is controlled by the United Universe government and, of course, all religions are outlawed except Universalism, a religion of tolerance that emphasizes the spirit within each person and within each plant and animal.

The UU government suspects that illegal activity is going on in White Planet. A team is put together, Group T19, to go investigate under the guise of doing research to see why the city is doing so well, so they can take that learning to other civilizations. The community in White Planet is nearly self-sufficient and the UU figures that could only be accomplished by using the black market.

Anyway, we need more players, so if that sounds fun then please drop me a note! I think this will be a blast!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Teetering Bees

A few days ago my sister and her three girls, AJ (4), MM (3), and Baby E were over at our house. We have a little plastic teeter-totter that we picked up somewhere, so AJ and MM were playing on it. They are close enough to the same size that AJ just had to push up gently and then shift her weight to come back down--MM didn't have to do anything but hold on and grin. :-)

Well, after a while AJ started going harder and faster and pretty soon she dropped one of her clogs, much to the girls' amusement. She managed to get the shoe back on, but the next time up she lost both shoes! We rushed over to help her get them on before she fell on her noggen trying to look at the shoes while she was still in the air.

But as I bent over to get her shoe, I noticed a yellow-jacket fly out of it! That seemed odd to me, so I looked closer. Right where the seat of the see-saw touched the ground there were about three dead bees. "There must be a nest under that!" We looked and sure enough, there were two holes under each seat leading to the hollow tetter-totter board. Inside we could see the shadow of bees crawling around and a dark mass where the nest was.

Yikes!! We whisked the girls off the toy and hustled them toward the car, ready to shove them in and slam the doors if a hive of bees came swarming angrily out. But, thank God, the bees seemed too confused about their teetering house to be mad and only staggered confusedly around.

It brought back memories of one time when my older sisters and some cousins their age were playing Indians in our large backyard. Some of the kids were sliding down a little hill, when all of a sudden a couple of the boys started yelling and running wildly away. "He got hit by an Indian arrow!" one of the younger boys screamed, almost serious, I think! :-) But then all the kids were surrounded by angry bees. It turns out the "hill" they were sliding down was a bee hive! There were quite a few stings, but nothing more serious and it made for a memorable family gathering! LOL

Friday, September 16, 2005

Day of Prayer

Today President Bush has called for a National Day of Prayer to pray for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. I would love to have you join me in a Christian chat room for a time of prayer at 6:00 p.m. Pacific time (9:00 p.m. Eastern time). Here is the link for the chat room: Cafe Chat

Please join me now in prayer.

Dear Lord, we come before You as a country, hurting from the force of this hurricane. So many are without homes. Many are separated from loved ones. Many are injured. And many have lost those they love. Comfort these people, Lord. Give them Your peace that passes understanding and Your strength. Let each of them feel Your presence, and help them to know that You are here to help.

For those who do not yet know You, bring someone along side them to tell them of You. Open their eyes to Your wonder, and to Your saving grace. Let people come to tell them of the eternal life in heaven that You freely give if we only ask and accept the gift of forgiveness from our sins through Jesus Christ dying on the cross and rising again.

We ask, Lord, that you give each of the relief workers strength and extra energy to aid them in reaching out to the refugees of Katrina. Give the workers and the rulers of our country wisdom as they decide what needs to be done. Let all of us around the world see how we can help. Bring us to the right places and right connections so that we, also, can reach out to help those in need.

We thank You, Lord, that You have done miracles in the midst of this storm. Thank You for the hope You bring. And thank You that we can come before You today as a nation, to lift up our needs and praises, knowing that You hear us and care.

In Jesus Name we pray,

Monday, September 12, 2005

Just made it!

I was hoping I could squeeze in and place in this last week's Faith Writers' writing challenge. And sure enough! Yay! I squeezed in at 8th place, the last. So this is my fifth short story to be published. :-) Here is a link to my story, The Last Line. The topic was Postcard. A special thanks to my FW friends, Red Baron and Dust, for editing help.

I had a fun evening with my mom tonight. We had an errand to run and Dad has basketball on Mondays, so we made a night of it. First we stopped to get our hair cut. I have this little spot among my very straight hair that grows all kinky and curly. The stylist found this exceedingly amusing and kept handing me a mirror so I could see and having the other stylist turn Mom's chair so she could see the kinky part! :-) After that we went to eat at Arby's, then got some frozen custard. Frozen custard is new to our area. Mom and I like it a lot--it is richer and more full than ice cream.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

In Remembrance

Today is the fourth anniversary of a tragic day in America. It doesn’t seem as though it has been that long. It seems only yesterday I was standing in front of the TV, watching despair, but finding hope in seeing heroes.

Our country came together in those days following the attacks, but more importantly, we prayed together. My plea for America on this anniversary day is that we continue to pray together and strive to put God first in our Nation.

Forgive my bad poetry, but I felt the need to put some of my remembrances down on paper.

The Day I Find a Tear

I stand in my pajamas
This Tuesday towers crumble
I watch as people die
Stand aghast in horror
But I can not even cry

The stories keep on coming
This Tuesday still unceasing
These tales of heroes dear
Courage, strength, and honor
Yet now, still I find no tear

I stand here in the silence
This Wednesday noon time after
I feel so very numb
Can only whisper prayer
And never does weeping come

We gather, candles flicker
This Thursday evening quiet
Our hearts unite so near
Kneel all before our God
Still, I do not feel a tear

They say seven men alive
This Friday in night time late
But then we cry out “why?”
To find it’s all a fake
But still I can not cry

England stands here by our side
This Saturday morning time
Our nation’s anthem hear
At Changing of the Guard
And today I find a tear

© 2005 Amy Michelle Wiley

Somehow the touching tribute that the Queen of England requested on that Saturday after the bombing, when The Star Spangled Banner was played at the changing of the guards, somehow that was when the numbness and heaviness was lifted from my heart just enough to allow tears.

And so I cry today, to have this anniversary fall on a time that once again finds America hurting. But once again shows that we still have heroes.

God Bless America!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I am going to SCREAM!!!

I just spent several hours I didn't have on the colors of this site. When I hit preview it is beautiful--all purple and white and blue. But when I look at the real site it is all the same color! What happened?! Why does the real thing look so different than the preview?!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKKKKKKK!!!!!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Playing with Colors

Just a warning, I'm going to be playing with the colors in the html of this blog. Since they just say "color #fff" or something equally unintelligible, I am just going to do random things till and see if I can change anything. :-) If any of you know how to make silver, light blue, or purple as back ground colors, let me know what their thml code is! :-)

Of writing and the Hope project

I can’t believe it, I simply can’t believe it!! Any of you who know me, even just a little, know that my biggest struggle in writing is to keep from going way over the maximum word count. Well, the weekly writing contest that I enter has a max of 750 words, so when I heard that The Hope Team is looking for stories that are 1500 to 2000 I was very happy. So I sat down and wrote a story. It was 550 words. *sigh* Well maybe I’ll submit it to the Christian Reader.

So now I am working on another story for Hope Floats. I think this one will be longer. :-) It is the story of my grandfather and his family when they first became missionaries to Mexico. I would cherish your continued prayers as I work on it.

Speaking of The Hope Team--I am now a member of it! I have volunteered to help and right now I am gathering contact information of churches, radio stations, book stores, etc. in east Texas. If any of you know of the name and email and/or fax number of one of these organizations in Texas, send me an email with the info and I will see that they get some information on the project to get Bibles to Katrina victims.

This week’s Faith Writers’ writing challenge topic is “Bon Voyage”. It seems like an odd topic, but I was told that it literally means “good trip”, so I guess it can go pretty much anywhere. I always associated the words with a journey on a ship. :-) But since it can be any kind of a trip, I came up with an idea that I am very happy with. Unfortunately, it isn't coming out on paper, er, screen, quite as well as I had hoped. But I think I can make it work.


I’ve been ill this weekend. It started on Friday with severe abdominal cramps that after about three hours subdued to a sharp pain every time I moved. Thankfully, the bad pain didn’t last into the next day. But since Friday I have had a fever and discomfort in my abdomen. If it’s still here tomorrow I will call my naturopath and ask about it. I guess I should be thankful that I could waste my long weekend being sick so that I didn’t have to be worrying about work, too. :-) I was able to finish my weekly challenge entry in time to get it submitted last night though. The topic of the week was “postcards”, but, sorry, I can’t give you any more information than that until the judging is complete. :-)

Friday, September 02, 2005

Hope Floats: Bringing Bibles to the victims of Katrina

The victims of Hurricane Katrina have lost everything; their belongings, homes, and for some of them, even family members. They are crying out to God for hope and many of them have requested Bibles, seeking encouragement and strength from God’s Word.

The Hope Team is answering that call. They are putting together a collection of true, hope-filled, short stories in a book called Hope Floats. The proceeds of this book will go toward purchasing Bibles for Katrina victims.

I have been given the awesome opportunity to submit a story that will be considered for publication in Hope Floats. I am so excited about this! To be able to use my talent and love for writing to help with relief efforts is really a dream come true!

Please pray for wisdom for me as I write a story. Maybe I’m just spoiled :-), but normally I come up with two or three ideas for a story within twenty minutes of hearing the topic and within a few hours I have picked one and have the story-line pretty well on it’s way in my mind. I learned about this opportunity yesterday afternoon and still don’t have a story. I don’t have much time to write it, so I’m really praying for the right idea to come quickly.

I keep thinking through all the stories I have heard about my parents and grandparents and missionary relatives and friends. I know the right story must be there! Of course, there are many hope filled stories in my family's history, but most of them would make a better short anecdote than a longer story. If anyone has any ideas for me, please pass them on! :-)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Well, I wasn't going to write another post today, but I came acrosss this. Hee, hee.

One of my friends from Faith Writers, Ben Stephens, just started an internet magazine called Riders and Reapers. It is a country magazine with stories of farm and country life.

A lot of friends from FW got stories published in this month's magazine. One of them, Dori Knight, wrote a hilarious story called The Chasing Cows (follow the link and scroll down the page a bit). It reminded me of a story of my own.

Our neighbors have cows. They stay neatly in their pasture--until we plant a peach tree. Then--unfailingly and no matter how many times we try re-planting--one or two of them come through the fence and eat the tree. Yes, eat it right down to a stump. We can plant as many apple, pear, or cherry trees as we like, but plant a peach tree and here they come!

I am not scared of cows.

But somehow when I go running out to scare one away from the tree and she is three times bigger than I am and is staring rather angrily at me, somehow, well, maybe I'll just buy an apple tree.

Only 750 words?!

Once again I find myself trying to write a novel instead of a 750 word story! Monday I wrote the rough draft of a story for the writing challenge I enter each week. I managed to pair it down to 748 words and sent it to a friend from Faith Writers. After I got my critique back and saw the rather major story-line error he kindly pointed out, I suddenly realized that as I was writing down the story from my head I had left out the paragraph that tied my two points together! Oops.

Now I just have to figure out what to take out so I can put the Very Important Paragraph in. *sigh* Hmmm, and I think it still needs quite a bit of work (bypass surgery?). But I got a lot of helpful things from both critiques I got on it. I think I’ll have to ask for editing volunteers on the Faith Writers’ message board more often! :-)

What is a Mora?

Okay, several people asked what the Mora that I mentioned yesterday is. A Mora is a computerized machine from Germany that reads the electrical fields from human bodies. I'll try to explain from my limited knowledge, but first a disclaimer: The following explanation is my own personal unscientific ramblings and may or may not be accurate! :-)

There are at least two different things the Mora can do: treatment or testing. I've had both. When having a treatment, I put my bare feet each on a metal piece that is connected to the machine by wires and in each hand hold a little bar that is also connected by the wires. When the Mora detects a wrong electrical signal, (like from my small intestine, which has a bit of an infection in it) then it changes the wrong current into the correct current and sends it back into your body. To me it seems kind of like a Hemo dialysis treatment, but instead of filtering your blood through the machine, it filters your electrical currents.

The Mora machine can also be used for allergy testing and to find problem areas in your body. When they are doing testing, one of the metal bars I hold is exchanged for a little probe that the doctor uses to touch pressure spots on my fingers. Your current is shown through a little needle that raises on a gauge (like a speedometer) with a happy "huuurrreeeeew!"

If the doctor puts a little vial of something I am not allergic to on a metal tray connected to the machine and then touches my finger with the probe, the Mora says "vuuurrreeeeew" and the needle swings most all the way around. But if she puts, say, tomato, on the tray it goes "uup" and the needle barely moves.

So if the Mora identifies an organ that is having trouble, "uup", maybe because it is lacking some vitamins (the doctor would determine the latter by symtoms and other tests) then she'll set a supplement containing that vitamin on the tray and "vuurree"! Maybe she'll try a different supplement mixure and "vuuurrreeeew!" Then she knows the second supplement will help the most. (Of course, the doctor uses the numbers on the dial to determine things. But me, I like the sound! :-D )

Anyway, that was probably way more info about the Mora than anyone wanted--but now you know!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Five hour doctor appointment?!

Today I went to visit my naturopath. His office is an hour drive, with good traffic, and I had two different hour-long visits. One with the doctor and one for testing on a Mora machine. Good news! My organs are doing very well and my health seems to be stable, even though I haven't been going in for doctor visits very often. I still have a bit of an inflammation in my gut, but it is significantly better.

Today has been crazy, though! Before I left for the Dr I was rushing around madly in our home office (my dad in a general contractor--he develops land and builds new homes). My birthday this month knocked me over the age limit to be listed as a dependent for our health insurance and I have been so busy in the office, so I left our insurance bill to the last possible days so I could figure out what needed to be done. Of course, that was a mistake. :-) But I think I have it pretty much figured out now...I hope.

In the car on the way back from the doctor I was able to use my nifty new laptop to edit a friend's story that she is entering in a weekly writing contest at We are exchanging stories so now that I am home I need to send her my story. Each week FaithWriters (FW) gives a topic for their weekly challenge and we have a week to write an article between 150 and 750 words. I am getting really good at cutting my story down! haha, I usually write a rough draft that is at least 1,000 words. I always feel like I am cutting major organs out of my story and I wonder if it has managed to live. This week I think it is partially dead. :-) Maybe my friend, Red Baron, can help me put some life back in it. After all, I have two extra words to use!



Hello! I am Amy, or Sparrow, whichever you prefer. I have meaning to start a blog for a while now and am finely getting around to it. It seems as though I should have something profound to say, being as this is my first blog entry, but, uh, hmmm. :-)

I guess I will tell a little about myself. I live in the Northwest US (I love it here!) with my parents. I have two sisters, one of which just left for college to finish her biology degree and one of which lives near me and is married. My married sister and brother-in-law have three little girls! They are so fun.

I will be going to community college this year, taking sign language studies. Next year I will begin a sign language interpretation program.

I spend most of my free time writing. I mostly write fictional short stories and have gotten four of them published this summer. As I figure out how to work this blog I will add links to my stories. For now if you'd like to read some of my writing you can check it out at

Well, more later!