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.