Monday, December 25, 2006

Watching Movies with a Face Blind Writer

Watching movies with me is interesting. For one thing, I like to talk. I talk to the characters, about the characters, about the story, and about food. A common conversation in our house is:
Amy: What did he just say?
Others: I don’t know. Someone was talking at the same time and we couldn’t hear!

Now that I’m interesting in the writing and production of movies, things get even more interesting. Like during the most emotional scene of the movie, when everyone is bawling, I’m liable to blurt, “I wonder how many times it took the actors to shoot that scene without laughing?” Or during the chase scene, I’m known to make casual remarks like, “That had to have been done with a green screen. The background was dubbed in.”

As a writer, I can often quote the next phrase correctly, before it’s been said, even if I’ve never seen the movie. After all, any writer know that’s what that character has to say.

The other thing about watching movies is that I can't tell all the extra characters apart. All my life I’ve had trouble recognizing characters in movies, recognizing people I don’t know well, and getting completely mixed up people I do know well, but haven’t see for a while, like old teachers. Of course I know that the young teacher with brown curly hair and glasses is not the older teacher with white hair. But the older teacher with white hair I had last year and the older teacher with white hair I had five years ago…well, that’s another story.

Just recently I discovered that it isn’t that I don’t pay enough attention. It isn’t that I don’t care. In fact, it’s that I have a Medical Condition. Whew! I didn’t even know there was such a thing as face blindness, or prosopagnosia. Things make a whole lot more sense, now.

Both my sisters and my dad also have slight face blindness, which means Mom bears the burden of helping us figure out movies. She endures constant questions like,
“Is that what’s-his-name?”
Sigh. “No, that’s Jon’s father.”
“Oh. Well is the lady that one person?”
“Yes. She’s the one from the last scene, remember?”

Movies like Jane Austen’s, with so many characters, are almost impossible for me to follow without help. Mystery/Suspense movies are interesting. Picture this: It’s the climax of the movie. In one quick flash, they finally show the face of the man who’s the murder. Everyone in the room gasps.

Then, from Amy’s corner, you hear a faint voice. “Um, am I supposed to know who that guy is?”

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Made it!

PAH! I made it not only through the first semester of SLIP (Sign Language Interpretation Program), but more to the point, through the eight finals of the last week and a half. I got most of my grades back today and did fine on everything, even my bane, fingerspelling. PTL! Thank you all for your support.

Over my three week break I have quite a bit planned. One of my goals is to get some of my old stories that are laying around submitted to some paying magazines. Confession time. I'm scared of writing cover letters! Hehe. Well, I've been brave and actually have sent out two stories already. It'll be a few months before I hear back.

I'll also be doing quite a bit of Peculiar People stuff. This week I'll be giving the final touches to Struggle Creek, then it will be ready to send off for the final edit and formatting for publishing. Last weekend I got to see the oil painting a friend is doing for the cover of the book and I was very pleased with it. It's exciting to see everything coming together! The next PeP project, the Heirloom Chronicles, is not only in the works, but I actually have all the authors lined up and we are beginning work on writing. I'm working with seven other very skilled authors and am thrilled with how things are coming together.

Of course this break also means that I'll be doing office work again, as well as some deep house cleaning. I'll be doing practice groups with some of my classmates, also, so we don't get setback at all by the winter school break.

Hope this finds you all well. My blog is feeling a little lonely here, between me not posting much and ya'll not commenting much. ;-)

Friday, November 24, 2006


I didn't get a Thanksgiving post done yesterday because I was too busy being thankful. ;-) We had a lovely afternoon and evening at my grandparents' farm, enjoying good food and even better company. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law and two of my nieces had colds, but my oldest sister and her middle daughter were able to join us. Young MM was the life of the party, beaming and chattering about how happy she was and how much fun she was having.

My middle sister flew from their school in South Carolina to New York to spend the weekend with my Aunt and Uncle and some cousins. It was nice for her to be able to spend the holiday with family, but not have to spend some nine hours coming all the way to Washington State. She was worried about the plane trip because of her severe dizziness and sight problems, but a friend flew with her, and she's been doing much better this week, so things went quite well.

The loveliness of the day ended around 7:00 PM when Mom was suddenly struck quite ill. By 9:30 or so, when it was time for her to take her anti-rejection medications (she's a transplant patient) and she was still throwing up every few minutes, we ended up having to take her in to the hospital. By that time she was so weak she could hardly walk. We spent about four hours there. They gave her liquids and anti-nausea meds through an IV and she was finally able to take her meds. She's still rather sick, but doing much better. Please continue to pray for her recovery (and that it's not something contagious that the rest of us will get).

Another thing I am thankful for is that Mom and I finally got the Peculiar People website up and running! Check it out for an opportunity to win a free copy of Struggle Creek!

Friday, November 17, 2006


We're done talking about how to interpret and are actually starting to do it now. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. This semester we're working on interpreting in it's literal sense--taking a frozen text like a video tape of signing or cassette tape of voice and analyzing it and then pausing it in spots to do the interpretation.

Our final for the Interpreting Process class (in just a few weeks, yikes!) will have a written section, a sign to voice section, and a voice to sign section.

I got a bunch of tests back this week and found that for all but one of my classes I am doing better than I thought. :-) Fingerspelling is going to be the major issue, though, that could get me thrown from the program. Even in English, if I rattled off a whole set of numbers, most people wouldn't be able to remember them all and write them down, so switching that into another language is difficult, even without my added learning problems. But I'm going to start spending even more time at school so I can work more with the tutor and other students. With prayer and hard work I'm trusting I'll pass the class (though I can't promise I won't stress out about it! ;-)

Right now I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving break. Our whole class is in desperate need of a break however short it will be, tee hee!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Presentations and papers and quizes, oh my!

As you may have guessed from my poem in the last post, I'm getting a bit overwhelmed with the constant tests one after another and my own struggling grades. Last night I stayed up until 1:00 AM studying and such. Then I forgot to change my alarm time from the day before when I only had afternoon school. That's right, I overslept. OF COURSE the one time in my life I miss class from oversleeping was a day we had a test first thing in the morning.

I woke up around 7:10 and my class starts at 8:00. That doesn't sound too bad, until you realize that it takes an hour to get to school if you leave between 6 and 6:40, and closer to an hour and a half or even two hours if you get to the freeway after 7:00 AM, due to traffic. Also, that teacher does not allow us to enter the classroom if we are late, especially if a test is in session.

I thank God my teacher is letting me take the test on Monday! It probably would have knocked me out of the interp. program if I had gotten a 0 on this test. So, I pray I do all right on the test on Monday.

Monday I also am seeing a counselor at the learning disabilities center at school. I have some minor learning disabilities (stemming from eye problems) that, among other things, make taking tests and spelling difficult for me. I should have seen the counselor at the beginning of the year, but last year in my prerequisite classes I did just fine, so I figured I'd be fine this year.

Not so much.

I'm praying that the counselor will have wisdom to know what will help me, and that I will know what to ask for. It's also good to know that I'm not alone, for much of the class is struggling. So we are doing a lot of study groups and spending as much time as possible with the program's private tutor. It's also great to know that ya'll are supporting and praying for me.

Though I am struggling and get discouraged some, I'm still so glad to be in the program. I was never planning to go to college because of my learning styles. It was totally God that stuck me in this exclusive program, and I know He has plans for it.

This afternoon after we had been working on fingerspelling for a while with the tutor, we got off on a rabbit trail and he was telling stories on himself. Funny stories are ten times more funny in ASL because the whole scene is acted out with all the facial and body expressions of yourself and those around you. He had the group of us nearly rolling on the floor laughing. Hopefully we weren't too loud since we were, after all, in the library. ;-)

Monday, November 06, 2006

Of Tests

I see a mountain looming near
Its very shadow causes fear
Foreboding, oh how close its base
How quickly I must mount its face!

I strive all night with panicked cry
To reach the top with weary sigh
I meet my challenge right on straight
Then wait aside to meet my fate

When I have conquered that tall peak
It's now for restful peace I seek
Yet all I find is vale so deep
And there beyond it one more heap

Thursday, October 26, 2006


5 year old niece: Let’s tell funny jokes!
Me: OK! You start.
Niece: *giggles* How many mice does it take to rake?
Me: Um…eight?
Niece: No. Twenty-four!! *hysterical laughter*
Me: *chuckle* Did you make that joke up yourself?
Niece: *proudly* Yes, I did.

How’d I guess?

Let’s see, what have I been up to besides listening to a five-year-old telling jokes? A lot! Ha! Hence the reason I haven’t posted in ages. In the writing world, I got my first paid short story published!! Yay! I’ve also been placing regularly in the FaithWriters’ weekly challenge, so I’ve been getting a short story published that way almost every week, plus a random one now and then in internet magazines.

I think I mentioned a few posts ago that I’m one of the coordinators of the 1st Annual FaithWriters writing conference next summer in Detroit. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of work! Things are coming together really nicely. I’ve also recently been named one of the “key influential members of FaithWriters.”

OK, now I feel like I’m boasting, though that isn‘t my intention, heh. On to school. Uhhh, school. Sooo much work, but I’m learning great things and getting along well with my classmates (which is good since I’m stuck with them for two years ;-) ).

Homework is crazy, especially when you add the fact that I’ve had a conference every single weekend for three in a row (one interpreter’s conference, one Christian writing conference, and another interp. conference). One weekend I had some 17 chapters of text books to read and had to memorize a speech, short presentation, and poem.

Let’s see, on the home front… My middle sister at college in South Carolina has been struggling with almost constant migraines and some other health problems. Mom flew there last week to drive her to Atlanta for a cat scan. Thankfully the scan came back normal. However, they still need to figure out what the problem is, so prayers would be much appreciated.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Rocket's Red Hands

Today I was sitting in my sign language class during a break, trying to absorb everything and wondering how to explain it to you all. The class of 21 of us (two were missing today) were sitting in desks along the wall in a semi-circle. Each person was focused on practicing for a presentation. A man passed by the open door of the classroom, and I pictured the scene as he would--twenty-one people staring vacantly, hands waving wildly in random patterns. To me, things made a little more sense. All around me “rockets” soared and exploded in the air with the noise of fists striking each other and air escaping puffed cheeks.

Our assignment was to translate The Star Spangled Banner into ASL grammar. We spent hours last week in groups, discussing the meaning of the song, what parts were important to the point, and what proper grammar would be.

Yesterday we performed our version of the song. It was neat to see all the different translations--every single one distinctly unique. Our teacher told us we did well, but asked us to try something different. He told us to forget about it being a song, and instead to think about the story behind the poem.

So today we tried again. This time we had the story and emotions in our hearts, and let them flow out our hands. This time, instead of performing a song, we told a story. We felt emotion.

It was awesome. But I think the best part was the pride shining from our teacher’s face.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Whole 'Nother Animal

I’ve just finished my first week of SLIP (Sign Language Interpreting Program) classes. The first day (Tuesday) was, of course, pretty much just orientation and telling about what we’ll be studying. There are 22 people in the class. I know about 75% of them from last year’s classes. We’ve each had the equivalent of at least two years of college sign language training, and each have passed a careful selection process. There is an age range of about 19 through 50s, and we have four guys (big number, actually). Each of us come from completely different background, from the two CODAs who grew up in a Deaf home, to those of us who have only been taking classes for a few years. This is my new family. I’ll be spending much of the next two years with them.

Wednesday we will normally only have one two and a half hour afternoon class, but yesterday we had a full day. The second-year students threw a party for us, to give us a chance to ask them any questions we might have. This group of students is making a special point to take us first-year students in under their wing. Besides just the traditional party, they are setting up a Yahoo group so we can contact them to ask for help with anything, and they’re going to set up get-togethers throughout the year.

Another tradition is for the 2nd-year group to give us a box. This is a box filled with useful little things like pain meds, hair bands, cough drops, lint remover, etc. Each year the 2nd-years give the box a “personality” and saying. Last year’s box was a hatbox with a pair of disposable underwear decorating it, and the word “DEPENDS”. The saying of that class is “it depends” (how you interpret something depends on context, ect, ect.).

This is a pic of our adorable box. Our saying comes from something one of our teachers likes to say: “Interpreting is a whole ‘nother animal!”

We have four classes this semester, and three teachers--two Deaf and one hearing. Deaf Studies explores traditions, language, and basically everything that makes up culture. (For this class we actually have two interpreters--the first day of class we students were rather surprised to discover that, since we all obviously have a pretty good grasp of the language. But the teacher explained that it’s easier to discuss things like that in our native language, and the class is about culture, not about the language, so she wants to make sure we get it all.

Our next class is Interpreting Process. This semester we are learning translation, which means that we will be doing things like changing written English into sign, or a video of sign into written English. In other words, we will be able to take time with the translation and keep going over it until we are satisfied, rather than real-time interpreting. We would use translation in our interpreting jobs for things like explaining a contract to a Deaf client.

Then we have Fingerspelling. Each week or so we have a presentation to give that must include at least ten fingerspelled words (or number sequences). We’ll be tested on our receptive skills, too. Our last class of the day (and the one we have on Wednesdays) is ASL I. We’re learning vocabulary for things like politics, science, and math. My college is unique in that their interpreting program continues to teach vocab throughout.

Today the effects of changing my sleeping schedule and the busy days caught up with my health problems. I didn’t sleep well and woke feeling very sick (not necessarily unusual). I was feeling a little better by the time school started, but that added to the smell of perfume and cigarette smoke caught up to me again by lunch time, and I got a headache. By the last 45minutes of class I was pretty much out of it. I’m gonna have to talk to the teacher about that last little bit, since I was doing good just to hold my head up, much less understand a foreign language.

Despite the knowledge that my health will be a continuing struggle during the program, I am really excited about this next two years. I’ll be working incredibly hard, and am already feeling like I’m a bit in over my head in knowledge, but this is going to be awesome. I love the language and the people, and I’m looking forward to learning about and loving interpreting.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Day with Friends and God

Well, I had my first chance to really put my driver’s license to work today, and go out with friends. A friend from school who lives several hours away was in my town today, with family events, so she invited me to tag along. Her family was so nice, and accepted me in as one of their own.

The day started at a Seventh Day Adventist church. It’s a new building, and I’ve been wanting to see inside it because it looks gorgeous and it seems like it would be a lovely place to have a wedding (no, I’m not planning a wedding! A girl can always dream though, right?).

Though I don’t agree with all of the theology of the denomination, it was a wonderful service. A men’s choir sang, accompanied by a wind instrument orchestra. The whole sanctuary trembled with the vibration of the instruments and deep voices. The most special part of the service was when my friend’s grandfather was baptized. He glowed with a beautiful peace and joy that nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Right before the sermon, my friend and I left the main sanctuary and joined the Deaf section by the interpreter. It was great to get the signing practice, and to meet some new people. The sermon was good, too.

We topped the day off with lunch at a buffet place with my friend’s family (they teased that I was taking the place of her sister, who was unable to attend). I haven’t seen her all summer, so it was a lot of fun to get to spend time with her.

Interesting Week

I was sick for about ten days (nothing like getting the flu and THEN getting a bad cold), and I’m so behind in blogging that I don’t know whether to skip some things that have happened, do it all in one post, or do several posts. LOL! I guess I’ll do a couple of combined posts.

Let’s see…interesting things started happening when I nearly fainted two Saturdays ago for no apparent reason. I think it must have been the start of some odd bug, ‘cause I didn’t feel well for about a week after that. On that Tuesday, my aunt and uncle who are home on furlough from Indonesia, and their son and daughter-in-law, came to stay overnight with us. It’s always great to see them!

Wednesday morning my cousins and uncle went out in the wee hours of the morning to go fishing. Later on, Dad and I dropped Aunt off at the doctor for routine tests (Uncle met her there). Dad and I drove on and I took my driver’s license test. Now, normally I can parallel park quite well. That day…well, let’s just say it took me about a half an hour to get out of the stupid parking space and the tester was struggling to keep from laughing. However, I did pass--just barely.

While we were out I tagged along with my dad and brother-in-law as they had their monthly lunch meeting. Then we got a call that something had happened during my uncle’s heart stress test (treadmill test), and they had taken him by ambulance to the hospital. Yikes!

They did tests and decided that his arteries and all were fine, they just needed to adjust some of his medication. Thank you, Lord. He had to stay in the hospital overnight, so we got to enjoy my aunt and cousins’ company for a bit longer.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Monday Memories: Five Years Ago

Five years. Five long years. Five oh so short years.
Is America stronger? Has she stayed close to the God she turned to in the midst of her trouble? Only God knows.


Shock flows over me
Like a river
Numbing me with cold
With disbelief

Tears flow out of me
Like a river
Hurting me with loss
With pain

Fear flows over me
Like a river
Paralyzing me with terror
With unknowns

Anger flows through me
Like a river
Burning me with horror
With hatred

Resolve wells up in me
Like a river
Strengthening me with power
With honor

Hope flows under me
Like a river
Buoying me with faith
With calm

Love flows over me
Like a river
Comforting me with friendship
With care

Peace flows over me
Like a river
Assuring me with belief
With prayer

© 2006 Amy Michelle Wiley

It was a normal school morning. I rose around 7:15 AM, Pacific time. On the way to the bathroom, I heard a man's voice downstairs. I assumed it was my sister listening to cassette tapes for her correspondence history college class. I don't recall why I went downstairs instead of climbing straight into the shower. Perhaps to say "good morning".

The TV was on, an almost unheard of occurrence in the mornings at our house. Little did I know that for the next few days it would be on almost unceasingly.

Sis glanced at me. "Three planes just crashed into buildings."

I joined her on the couch. "It's nearing the End Times. A lot of things are going to be happening." Yet I still thought they were accidents.

"It was done on purpose. These were terrorist attacks."

There it was on the screen before us--the Twin Towers with smoke and fire billowing from gaping holes in their sides. I began to get the tiniest glimpse of what this day was. Before that day I was only vaguely knew what the World Trade Towers even were. My education of them began.

The news switched back and forth between the Pentagon and the towers. And then it happened. The first tower fell. I watched it. Live. Right before me.

I said a prayer for all those I saw die. But I wish I had understood. I wish I had prayed harder. I wish I had grasped how many souls were perishing right before my eyes.

The next hours, the next days, were numb. They were filled with horror and heartache. But they were also filled with faith and heroism. One memory that stands out, is how touched I was when the Queen of England asked for our national anthem to be played at the changing of the guard, in a sign of support. Another is fromweree day we wre asked to take a minute of silence or prayer. How touching, strengthening, it was to see cars stopped on the side of the road to honor those who were lost and hurting that day.

On September 12, 2001, I wrote this in my diary:

This is war. Evil has come--murdered hundreds of innocent victims. They have won this battle, but we must win the war.

I knew war would probably come in my lifetime. But I didn't think it would come today. I've always wondered when war came if I would be able to stand behind my country, knowing we were right in fighting. But now I have no doubt--today I have looked evil in the eye and stood firm.

America, lead on. We, the people, are standing firm, ready to fight. For we are One Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A hair off on the eyes.

As many of you know, I’m in my mid-twenties and I don’t have my driver’s license. This is because of numerous reasons, but primarily because I often feel too sick to drive, and because it’s more fun to write than it is to go driving. ;-)

This morning I went in to take the written test. Washington State’s driving test is one of the hardest in the US. They have questions like what the exact about of the fee for parking in a disabled spot without a permit ($250), and how many feet you should follow behind a school bus. I’m bad at remembering numbers.

However, I passed just fine!

The funny part came when I looked in the little black box for my vision test. There were four rows of a line of three rectangles, each containing a sequence of letters. The first row was blank. She asked me to read line 2. I read her all the letters in the second and third rows.

She told me there was another line. I looked. Nope. No more letters in line 2. We discoursed rather confusedly back and forth, her telling me to try moving my head around, etc. Finally she realized what I was saying, “The first row is blank.”

Quite firmly, “No. It’s not blank.”

We look at each other for a minute. Then a light seems to dawn on her. “Do you have vision problems with your left eye?”

Duh. “Oh. Yeah. I’m 20/400 in my left eye, and 20/20 in my right eye.” I hurry to add, “But my vision with both eyes is 20/20.” I grimace, “Will I have to get a contact before I can get my license?” I hate contacts.

She kinda grins. “No, it’s okay. You just need to tell me if you are blind in one eye.”

So, after the test, Dad and I decide to each get our hair cut. Dad took me to the place he goes to get his hair cut. (clue #1) He said they were really cheap. (clue #2) My hair cutter (salonist? Hair dresser?) couldn’t speak English well. (clue #3) I asked her to cut my hair straight across--she turned it up in the front. (clue #4) I had also asked her to give me a slight fringe of bangs. She forgot. (clue #5)

Now, after all that, one would think I would decide to get bangs somewhere more trusted, next time I got my hair cut. Right?

You would think.

She seems to have cut a random triangle of bangs in the middle of my head. No, I take that back. It’s not in the middle. It’s sort of off to the right side. After she was done, I tried to pull back part of my hair as I normally do, and it was blatantly clear that Something Was Wrong.

I showed her, and she took me back and cut a bit more of the other side. Now there were two triangles. Kind of. It was clear that she wasn’t going to fix my hair. I left. I didn’t tip her.

Uff da.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

more Zoo pics

Zoo Girls

Seven of us girls went to the Oregon Zoo yesterday. It was fun! I went with my oldest sister AJ, her three girls (ages 5, 4, and 1), and my friend Beth and her almost one-year-old. My nieces were so excited that Aunt Amy was coming to the zoo with them.

It was great to see Beth. She and I were nearly inseparable during our years of homsechool Christian choir, but we haven't seen each other as much as we would like since then.

Here's a bunch of pics! Some of them turned out really great.

<<"Hi little girl!"

Hehe, the gazelles come up almost all the way to the giraffe's ankels!

I posted this picture on another site and said it was me and my friends, Jezzy and Debbie (hey, we are a bit fruity and a bit batty--fruit bats seemed perfect! :-D Besides, they are cute.)

This Lorikeet posed for all of us to get pictures taken by him. So pretty!

Friday, September 01, 2006


I've been trying to make an audio post all day, and it seems to be going through fine on the phone end, but it won't show up on my blog. So I thought I'd try a post and see if it works on the text end.

Hopefully it's a temporary problem... I tried emailing audioBlogger, too, and the email bounced.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Summer is nearly gone...

I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I will no longer be able to post on my blog as often as I would like. You may want to sign up on the little green and white Blogarithm box on the right. It will notify you with an email when I post, so you don’t have to keep checking back and finding nothing new. You sign up for that with any blog--it’s really great!

This has been such a busy, but good summer. Struggle Creek, the Peculiar People novel we are writing as a group, is coming along well. It hit a bit of a snag when one of the authors for one of the most important chapters did not get his chapter in, and wasn't answering my emails. Just as I found someone else to do it, he showed up again! Hehe, figures. But things are moving along again, now, and looking really good!

I've gotten another couple of stories published the last few weeks, too! Welcome to Fern Springs--a story I used for a Monday Memory a few posts down, will be appearing in the on-line magazine Riders & Reapers for the Sept/Oct issue. One of the stories I entered in FW's weekly writing challenge got third place out of 200 entries, so it will be coming out in a book in a few months, along with The Unwanted, the story I mentioned in the last post. It's good to be published again--it had been a while.

I’ve also been busy helping to organize a FaithWriters conference. We’ve been dreaming about having an official one for a long time, so it’s exciting to not only see it happening, but to be a part of making it happen. The conference will be next summer on August 10th through 12th, in the Detroit, MI area. Check out this link for more information. All writers are invited! :-)

We are foreseeing this conference growing in the future to become on of the biggest Christian writing conferences in the US. This year we are aiming for at least 100 people. This conference will be unique, because so many of us have cultured friendships through the message board, though we have never met. It will be so exciting to be in a whole roomful of FaithWriters, putting together physical characteristics with the personalities we’ve gotten to know on-line.

My middle sister is back at school now, going to Bob Jones University in South Carolina. My school doesn’t start until the last week of September, so I’ve got a little bit of summer left. See you around!

Friday, August 18, 2006

I Am A Rich Woman

Today is my birthday! I feel so blessed with friendship this year. Yesterday my day started out with a pre-birthday bang. I placed in the FaithWriters’ writing challenge! I got fifth out of two hundred entries. I used to place several times a quarter, but the competition has grown dramatically and it’s been two and a half quarters since I’ve placed high enough to get published, so I was quite encouraged. Here’s the link to my winning entry, though I will warn that it is a very heavy story: The Unwanted.

Let’s see…after the happiness of winning, I received a birthday package in the mail from a FW friend, with a lovely note and a beautiful cross necklace. It’s so dainty and just perfect for me! I also got a lovely card from my grandparents.

Then another FW friend surprised me by making a birthday thread a day early, and I got lots of lovely birthday wishes. And then two more FW friends called me on the phone and we chattered for several hours! LOL! I’d never talked in person to these two ladies, so it was doubly fun.

Today I didn’t feel well, so that was too bad. But in the evening we went over to my oldest sister and her family’s home for dinner. Twas lovely playing with my nieces and being with family. Dinner was lovely, and there was an extra bonus! But first, a pre-story, hehe. Yesterday a friend asked me if I was going to have cake today, and I said no, because I’m allergic to wheat. Then I added, “But if anyone could make a gluten free cake, it would be my sister AJ.” Sure enough, she made a delicious chocolate gluten free cake!! My mom even liked it, and she doesn’t like most things that are made with special flours.

Tomorrow the fun continues. In the morning we are going to breakfast with my grandma and other relatives from Mom’s side of the family. Then Sis and I are meeting Wren to walk along the waterfront, and then we’re meeting some other friends for dinner and games.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday Memories: Fern Springs

Come, walk with me and I will show you Fern Springs, the childhood home of a burgeoning author. It was here that love and friendship was cultured. Here that scope was given for the imagination to soar beyond the treetops that touch the clouds. To investigate the mysteries that lie beneath the soil. To spot the secrets that dance across the surface of the pond.

See, here is the sprawling neighborhood, where mothers still watched out for each other’s children. Where kids played together outdoors, not bothered with computer games or X-boxes.

Do not mind the weeds in the flowerbeds of the front yard. Notice instead the green lawn that still rings with the shouts of tag. If you hold quite still you can feel the mist of the sprinkler, and see the rainbow as a young girl passes through the spray from one world to another of imagined delights.

Look closely beyond these houses, and see the ghosts of times past, when the land was a field scattered with trees. Smell the swamp that grew so tightly with reeds that a child could walk right on top of the water without so much as getting her feet wet. Listen and hear the frogs, and the creek that gurgles merrily, yet holds a hint of danger in the poacher’s trap that lies hidden beneath the surface.

Now step up on the covered front porch, where the swing creaks in the wind. See the fancy dresses swirling as the princess flees her duties? Or the solemn judges, presiding over court? Listen, do you hear the clack of the rails, as the porch turns into a train?

Open the door, and be careful not to slip on the wood floor that still shows signs of practiced figure skating twirls. Pass the stairs, worn with marks that tell of sleeping bag bobsleds and dangerous mountain climbing experiences, and come into the kitchen. Here is where laughter and games are found. A bubble still rises from the sink where a little girl scrubs dishes. Over the clank of the glasses, you can hear the melody and harmony of children singing while they work.

Hurry and step out the backdoor before the sun dips below the horizon. Watch as the sunset casts a golden hue over the wooded hill. See how it sparkles on the tiny winding creek? Squint against the glare and find the silhouette of children, bending over the water with long sticks, guiding boats through the reeds. The boats are unusual--only raw chunks of wood from a construction site, yet painted with bright splashes of color, and names carefully lettered on the sides.

Pass the swing set now, and let the place of gymnasts and ship captains fall behind us as we cross the big bridge with sturdy railings just right for playing Pooh Sticks. The wide path on your left is still rutted from wagon trains nearing their final Western home, and the perfect launching place for a leap to the bank of the creek below. The rusted cages in the hutch beyond have wisps of long hair from Angora rabbits still fluttering in the breeze.

Watch your step here, on the hill where a business visitor tripped and became “The Funny Guy Who Fell Down the Hill.” Oh! Did you see the flash of color in the pond? The Coi fish Beaker is waiting to show you his tricks. He will drink brine shrimp out of a baby bottle, or suck gently on your finger.

We have no time to linger; dusk is coming quickly. The trail is steep here, as we climb Mossy Way. Beware of Indian maidens rushing down the path on prancing steeds, or FBI agents intent on their prey. Do not trample the tiny plastic lion cub, nestled in a child-dug cave beside the way.

Ah, here we are, to the most delightful place of all! One last steep scramble and we step out on Moonlit Way. Do you feel the childish thrill as you spot the Up-Down Cherry Tree just ahead? Grasp this branch and swing down into the shadows of the path below. Be careful! Do not touch the quicksand, but let the branch swing you right back up here. Whoo hooo! Yes, just like that!

Now come a little higher and sit here in the grass. Soon the moon will peek through the trees and bath us in its light. Stay quiet here. Listen, and let the memories whisper.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Niece Memories

Last night my family spent the evening at my oldest sister’s house. The dinner of cinnamon chicken and rice was delicious, and the company was even better. I cuddled with my five and four year old nieces while I read a Raggedy Andy book. Then they used their grandpa as a trampoline and ladder for a while, hehe.

My youngest niece, Baby E, will be a year old in just a few days. She took her first step tonight, walking toward me! She said several new words, too, like her name…well her very cute version of it. Her mommy took some pictures of her on the digital camera and she wanted to see the little picture. “See! See! Who dat?” and then crowed her version of her name.

I taught my older two nieces how to do a wheelbarrow (I held their feet and they walked on their hands). Here’s a pic of my middle niece playing it with her dad.

We had fun reading, too. Hehe, my middle sister read out loud and I practiced interpreting sign language and the girls looked back and forth, enjoying it.

Once I pulled out my lap top to look something we were talking about up on the internet. Baby E came over and began deliberately licking her finger and smearing it on my computer, over and over. It took me a while to figure out what in the world she was doing (besides painting with slobber). Finally we realized--she uses a modified sign for food to indicate “want”. She was trying to tell me she wanted to play a game on the computer!

My middle niece, four-year-old MM, has created her own good night routine. She hugs, then kisses the left cheek, then right cheek, rubs noses, then whispers "I love you" in your right ear and "God loves you" in your left ear.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

This and That

I have a Monday Memory all written for this last Monday--but as I was writing it, I suddenly realized that it would be perfect for that week’s FaithWriters’ weekly writing challenge topic. So I entered it there instead. I guess ya’ll will have to wait a couple of weeks for it. LOL! So in the mean time, I’ll update you on a few things I’ve mentioned in the past.

The Peculiar People group novel is coming along marvelously. It’s hard to believe that I will have the rough draft of all the chapters in my email in-box by the end of the month. This project is flying along! Everyone is being so cooperative and thoroughly enjoying it.

A while back I mentioned a new web site I am a part of--Truth. Like Hammer. When I first posted, the theology statement was not yet up on the site. It is there now, so be sure to check it out if you have not already. If you have some articles you think would go nicely on the site, submit them there or send them to me and we will put them up for consideration.

I had an appointment with my naturopath doctor this week. My physical health continues to slowly-but-surely improve. PTL! I am being desensitized to some of my food allergies, and that is coming along much faster and better than expected and soon I will be able to eat wheat. Yay!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Monday Memories: Family Reunions

Well, a Monday Memory on Tuesday is better than no Monday Memory, right? :-D

This weekend we had a family reunion on my mom’s maternal side of the family. Mom’s an only child, so I have no aunts, uncles, or first cousins, but Grandma is one of ten, so I have lots of extended family. The reunion brought back lots of good memories.

Two of my second-cousins are more like first cousins, in that our families spent a lot of time together in my growing years. My two sisters and the two of them and I had tons of fun. Our favorite game was Fruit Basket Upset and we would play until we were screaming hilariously and my cousin’s dad would pop his head in for us to calm down.

The annual family reunions provide a lot of memories, too. I love listening to the stories my grandparents and great aunts and uncles tell, as well as playing with my second-cousins, when I was younger. I remember one time when we were taking turns jumping on a giant trampoline. Then two older cousins from out of town (whom I didn’t know) started hogging the trampoline and wouldn’t let us younger ones have a turn.

After a bit, my dad came over and gave the older boys a scolding and made them give us a turn. Dad returned to chatting with the adults, and the two sets of cousins stared at me.

The older ones scowled. “Tattletale.”

I grinned. “I didn’t say a word! He saw it himself and came over.”

The younger cousins stared at me with admiration. “Your dad is awesome.”

I agreed.

Another thing I never fail to enjoy at the reunions, is my Great-Uncle Cliff’s music. He plays the accordion, piano, harmonica, and I’m sure several other instruments. He generally brings his accordion and harmonica to the reunions, and brings it out to play hymns while we listen or sing along. He even taught my oldest sister how to play the accordion.

This year Uncle Cliff’s carpel tunnel syndrome won’t let him play the accordion, so he brought a keyboard. He played it and his son played a harmonica for a while, and then I heard, “Amy! Where’s Amy? I want her to come sing with us.”

I hid behind Grandma.

Later Uncle Cliff looked at me sadly. “I wish you would have sung.”

Awww. I suppose next year I’ll sing. ;-)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Monday Memories: Six Cousins

My dad is the second-youngest of six children. A little under a quarter of a century ago, all of the sisters and sisters-in-law had a child within eight months of each other. So I have a cousin my age in each family. There are twenty cousins in all, and we are all good friends, but the six of us have a special bond.

I wish I had a better picture, or that I could have fixed this one, but it'll have to do. Ketzia, Jared, Jennie, Me, Hannah, Jon.

Most of my growing-up years, three of us lived in my town, and the other three were scattered over the world. But even for those not here, letters and the summer-long furloughs provided opportunities to bond and form special memories.

Ketzia and I used to play train in the backward double seat of our station wagon, using the door latch for petals, and our voices for other necessities. “Whoo! Whoo! Chuga-chuga. Whoo! Whoo!” I’m sure the rest of the car-full was thankful we were in the far back.

Jennie and I loved to have sleepovers, or any day time play date, and would cry bitterly when it came time to go. When we were playing doctor, we used to use my aunt and uncle’s toothbrushes for medicine (run them under the faucet and then suck the water out of the bristles--don’t ask, I have no idea how that started). Of course, that got stopped pretty quickly one day when we couldn’t get the faucet turned on and Jennie decided to use toilet water. (For the record, the only part I had in that idea was tattling, hence the quick stop to the game!)

I remember how inseparable Hannah and I were when she was visiting on furlough. We would get our moms to put our hair in matching ponytails, then spend the day playing puppies. Or we’d throw a sheet over our shoulders and play squirrels (I don’t recall why sheets = squirrels…maybe they were flying squirrels?? Super-Squirrels with a cape??)

I regret that I don’t have more memories of Jon, but I do recall him hollering dramatically as he jumped of the “cliff” in my backyard, his quiet smile, and brilliant blue eyes.

It seems like yesterday that Jared and I went searching for the best patch of blackberries, and indeed, found a tiny patch with particularly succulent berries. They looked different than all the other surrounding berries and we joked, “What if they’re poisonous?” “Oh well, then we’ll just get to go to heaven. Quick, eat more!”

When whole groups of cousins got together, we played a tag-like game, unique to my grandma’s front yard. Two runners would arrange a secret signal (the whispered arranging of this sometimes took longer than the game itself). One runner would stand on the front porch, and the other on a raised planter around a nearby tree. The rest of the group had to stand a certain distance away, waiting them to start running. After much winking and twitching and otherwise false signals, one of the runners would finally give the real signal and they would both race desperately for the other’s post, trying not to get tagged by another cousin on the way.

Next summer I’d like to plan a six-cousin’s retreat. I can’t wait to make more memories!!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A to Z about Me

(OK Deb, this is for you. Now it's your turn. ;-) )

Accent: Most of the time none, but every once in a while I say things with my own peculiar accent. And if someone else is talking near me with an accent I honestly have to work really hard not to pick it up.
Best personality trait: Friendliness
Chore I hate: um…all of them? Lol
Dad's name: Lynn. He was supposed to be Linda.
Essential make-up/skin care products: Foundation and lipstick--I have acne and rosacea
Favorite perfume/cologne: I’m allergic and can only handle natural vanilla or a plain fruit
Gold or silver?: Silver.
Hometown: a town in the lovely Pacific Northwest
Interesting fact: Hobo (aka Brown Recluse) spider is the only poisonous spider in the Northw--What? Oh, you mean a fact about me? Hmmm, well, I have 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/200 in the other.
Job title: bookkeeper
Kids: N/A
Living arrangements: Live with my parents in the country, surrounded by hay fields, horses, and cows.
Mom's birthplace: same town as me.
Number of apples eaten in the last week: hmmm, three or so, I think
Overnight hospital stays: A couple of times I’ve stayed with my mom after one of her surgeries…never for myself, though.
Phobia: a tad of germphobia…but it’s better. J
Question you ask yourself a lot: Why am I doing this when I’m supposed to be doing that?
Religion: Evangelical Christian
Siblings: two older sisters, one brother-in-law
Time I wake up: 7 or 7:30
Unnatural hair color: I’ve never died my hair. It’s plain brown right now…was white-blond until I was about seven.
Vegetable I Refuse to Eat: lima beans, Brussels sprouts, and the stuff I’m allergic to.
Worst habit: see Q…
X-rays?: yeah, when I had a chronic cough. Somehow they never did one when I was having severe back pain and they determined I had scoliosis.
Yummy food I make: soup…any kind
Zaniest thing about you: Is there anything that isn’t zany about me?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Novel Story

Well, I’ve missed two Monday Memories in a row, now, but I’ve got a good excuse, and a pretty novel one, at that! First of all, our last couple of weeks have been pretty full of family things. It’s been great to have my aunt and uncle staying with us!

On Friday an idea for a group writing project exploded and took over my life. LOL! I now have about thirty Christian authors working under me. This will be the second Peculiar People project, and I’m probably going to get a business license for PP and make it official.

As most of you probably remember, the first Peculiar People project was a Chat-A-Book sci-fi, where a group of Christian authors gathered once a week to “act” out a storyline, ad lib. I am working on editing the rough draft of that into a radio drama format, and eventually we’d like to see it become a movie.

This new project will be a novel with each chapter written by a different author, and from a different character’s perspective, yet all the chapters will follow one story-line. We decided to use ourselves as the characters! Hehe! So our characters will have our names and have some similarities to us, but really not be us at all…if that makes any sense. ;-)

We got the idea on Friday, and the authors were ready to go right away. So I spent much of the weekend writing up a story-line, outlining it, detailing how the project would work, drawing up a contract, and contacting all the authors and answering and asking questions. *pant, pant* Here is a synopsis of the book.

A Peculiar People novel is coming in Winter 2006 to a bookstore near you!

A story of mystery and rumors, suspicion and betrayal.

Struggle Creek is a poor town. The people make enough to get by, and not much more. They are content to be who they are, where they are, hidden deep in the hills of Tennessee.

Their world is shaken when a huge silver...something…is found in the woods. Rumors fly as thick and wild as the mosquitoes…It’s a UFO, or a nuclear bomb, or a mad scientist hideout! It doesn’t help matters much when a group of young adults come meandering into town--clearly up to no good, and asking questions about The Thing. Strangers aren’t appreciated in Struggle Creek. The people keep pretty closed-mouthed about their own business, and the gang sure doesn’t much appreciate that.

A story of silence and pain.

Right in the middle of all the trouble, a single mother moves into town with her deaf son. The people aren’t too willing to accept yet another newcomer, especially after the boy seems to get mixed up in something to do with The Thing. It doesn’t help that they are unable to communicate much with him. About then, the mother finds out that she is dying. Only an expensive medical treatment in a far away state will save her.

But more than that, this is the story of a community. The story of faith drawing a town together, making them stand stronger than ever before.

In the midst of their troubles, the townspeople realize one thing. They can cross their arms and scowl. Or they can reach out, reach up, and let peace enter their town.

The local theater company owner decides she is going to do something new. The result is a production of faith and beauty that can be enjoyed by the hearing and deaf. The result is a community coming together to touch lives.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

New Friend

One of my cousins just graduated from high school with an Associate’s Degree in college, through Running Start. Way to go, Gabe!

At his graduation party, a young lady my age and I introduced ourselves to each other. As we were chatting, I asked her how she knew my cousin, and she responded that they attended the same church. When she said the word “church”, her hand moved a bit. My mind raced. It looked like she just used the sign for CHURCH. Maybe she knows sign language! No, that’s silly, she was probably just scratching her wrist.

Then I noticed that she had on hearing aids, so I asked if she knew signs. Sure enough! So we spent most of the evening signing. It was great fun!

She is deaf, but reads lips incredibly well, and can hear a tad with her hearing aids. I never notice how often the hearing talk while facing the other direction or with a hand in front of their mouth until a situation like this makes me acutely aware of it, hehe.

Throughout this summer, I am planning get togethers to practice signing. My new friend is going to try to join us!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Truth. Like Hammer

I recently got asked to be a part of a new website called Truth. Like Hammer. Over the last few weeks we have been writing articles, getting the site set up, and figuring out logistics. Today when I got online later than usual I found a message board thread full of “We’re ready to go on T.LH, where’s Amy?” “What happened to Amy?” LOL

So, here I am at last!

First of all, the press release:

The Western church is dying. Slowly but surely, it is being overcome by false prophets and supposed spiritual gurus spouting promises of walking in divine blessing, happiness, and health. Despite the overwhelming acceptance of feel-good lies, there is still a flicker of light.

As stated on their website, the goal of Truth. Like Hammer is clear: To stand against the flow of cultures and social movements firmly planted in the unchanging message of Christ. We accept this mission proudly.

Charles H. Spurgeon once said, "If the Lord does not speedily appear, there will come another generation, and another, and all these generations will be tainted and injured if we are not faithful to God and to His truth today."

Truth. Like Hammer was founded in 2006 by Joshua Wood of and is co-authored by Jezreel Cohen, and Amy Michelle Wiley. The site offers a range of articles, blog entries, a discussion forum, and advice pertaining to the Truth of the Gospel.

Please check out Truth. Like Hammer. Read, learn, get involved, stand strong with us. Anyone may submit articles to T.LH--they will be reviewed by the board, and then you will be notified if it is accepted or not.

Fell free to pass on the word to others! I’m excited about this, and feel it an real honor to have been asked to be a part.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Beautiful Wedding

I just got home from a lovely weekend. My cousin got married yesterday, so we drove four hours up on Saturday to attend a lunch gathering for all the friends and family, and then the rehearsal dinner. It was a wonderful time with family and friends from all over the world.

The groom is my age, and the first of the six cousins our age to get married. The wedding was doubly special for me because I’ve gotten to be friends with the bride. They are a beautiful, Godly couple.

The rehearsal dinner was homemade Indonesian food (my cousins and uncle and aunt are missionaries there), and quite delicious.

The pastor’s message was right on--about how weddings are wonderful, but it is the life-long marriage commitment that is the important part.

Tomorrow night my Aunt and Uncle will come to stay with us for a week, so the fun will continue.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Busy Girl

Well, it's been a bit longer than normal since I've posted--not because I didn't have anything to post, but because I've been busy. Let's see...quick catch up...

On Friday evening I went to a Deaf night at a coffee house. A man who does cued speech was there, and talked to a few of us for quite some time, explaining about it and demonstrating. Cued speech is not a manual language, like ASL, or a manual form of English, like SEE, but rather it is an aid to lip reading. Only about 20% of English is available to the eye. This makes even the best lip readers forced to rely on a guessing game. Mom, Bob, mop...and so many more are nearly identical on the lips.

Cued speech consists of 8 hand shapes and 3 locations--these, in conjunction with the lip movement, tell the reader exactly what sound is being made. It is very easy to learn, very difficult to master. This man told us that a good cued speech user can cue for any spoken language, even if they do not know it, because they simply show each sound. They can even show different accents.

On Monday evening I went to dinner with my life-long friend, MeMe. We had a lovely time.

Wednesday night I had my final for Deaf Studies. Not too sure how that went. ;-) It was a very helpful class. The first half of the semester we studied Deaf history, and the second half was the laws and rights for the deaf. The whole class had Deaf culture lessons sprinkled liberally in.

Tonight we had our last regular class for my sign language class. I'll really miss the other students, teacher, and the class itself. It was so fun! Now just to finish getting my two poems ready for the final, and then my school will be over for the summer. It seems so odd. LOL

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

An Open Door, and A Bittersweet Evening

I was at college all day today. My letter from the school was due to come, so at lunchtime I got on the internet on my laptop with the wireless in the library, and instant messaged my Mom, “Has the mail come yet? Did I get my letter from the sign language program?”

She found the mail, and indeed, I had gotten the letter. So I asked her to look at it. She types over IM, “Dear Amy:” Long pause while she types and I squirm and try to keep from yelling “What did it say?!! Yes or no?!” LOL Finally she presses enter and it pops up on the screen. “It is our pleasure to inform you that you have been accepted into the Sing Language Interpretation Program for Fall, 2006.”

Whoo Hoo!!!

Today I had orientation for SLIP (Sign Language Interpreter’s Program), even though I didn’t know yet whether I had been accepted yet. We had about 45 minutes of hearing about the program, and asking questions. The first year it will be 15 credit hours, with a total of about 40 hours per week between class, homework, practice, and Deaf events. I’ll be having to get up very early to allow for the heavy traffic. In other words, it’s gonna be a whole lot of hard work! But, it will be work doing something I love. J

Tonight out sign language class was very bittersweet. A little less than half the class has not been accepted. I’m especially disappointed that my two closest friends in the class, did not get in. I was really hoping to go to school with them. One of them was particularly disappointed, and I just wanted to give her a big hug every time I looked at her. She is a skilled signer, so the whole class was shocked that she did not get in. However, she does not want to be an interpreter, but wants to start a private school for the Deaf, so I’m sure that’s why she didn’t get in.

One of my other friends, whom I carpool with, did get in, and quite a number of other classmates that are becoming friends as well. After spending some 20 hours a week with them all over the next two years, I’m sure we’ll all be quite close fairly soon.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Monday Memories: An Unexpected Solo

“Amy Wiley!”

My choir instructor’s bellow reached me over the heads of the milling choir members and their families, preparing for the concert. I pushed through the crowd to find him, premonition making my heart jump into my throat. I knew I should have practiced for the solo, just in case.

Sure enough. Mr. Schmitt explained, “Anna has the flu. You get to sing the soprano resistive.” He smiled reassuringly at me.

It was a dream come true. But not an hour before performance! The song was Hyden’s The Heaven’s Are Telling and we were singing with a full orchestral accompaniment, just for this special song. Two college students had come to sing the bass and tenor parts of the resistive, but our high school homeschool choir was providing the soprano part.

So there I was, tiny Amy, standing between two huge guys. I literally came up no higher than the middle of their chests. It didn’t exactly help my self confidence. Not to mention the fact that there were two pesky notes in my part that I couldn’t for the life of me hit, hence the reason I didn’t get the solo in the first place.

“Why do you look so nervous?” my brother-in-law wondered, as I took a break from practicing so I could greet my family. “You are usually excited to sing.” I explained and he laughed. “You’ll do great.”

Back up on stage, Mr. Schmitt introduced the song, then asked the audience to say a prayer for Amy Wiley. I much appreciated it. I was so nervous I was about to cry. Singing and crying at the same time…doesn’t work.

The song went beautifully. I skipped the “pesky two notes” altogether (thankfully it was a time when all three of us were signing and no one noticed) and sang the rest loud and clear. My family and the choir beamed proudly at me. My sister enthused that petite me held my own with the deep voices of the college men.

Yes, it was the most nervous I’ve ever been. But it was one of the most wonderful times I’ve ever had, too. I love to sing!

Friday, May 26, 2006

ASL poetry

I'm having so much fun in my sign language class. We are studying ASL poetry and I get to create a poem each week and perform it in class, as well as seeing everyone else's poems. Yesterday our class broke into four groups and each group created an ABC story--a story that uses handshapes A through Z to tell a story. All four of the stories were great!

The sign for poetry is symbolic of the heart swelling with emotion, until it spills out in poetry.

I've translated two more poems. They aren't very pretty in English, but oh well. Maybe I can work with them and make them flow better.

This poem uses three handshapes to tell the story: 5 hand, H hand, and F hand.

The Olympic flag flutters in the wind. Happy. Beautiful.
The time! Hurry!
Goggles on, climb onto the board.
Look down, down, down. Fear. Deep breath.

Bouncing, jump, perfect dive.
Water bubbles float past my face.
Look up, up, up. Break the surface of the water.
Goggles off. Check the score board. YAY!!!!!

Ribbon lifted over my head.
Medallion rests on my chest.
Music. Tear. Smile.
Hand over heart.
This next poem is for my final test. The assignment was to create a poem that was about two paralle worlds. Mine includes other elements of ASL poetry, as well--rhythm and repetition.
Old woman. Hobble, hobble hobble.
Enjoys the world. Watch, watch, watch.
Baby girl. Crawl, crawl, crawl.
Enjoys the world. Reach, reach, reach.
A cup of hot tea. Stir, stir, stir.
Shaky hands lift to lips. Drink, drink, drink.
A rattle toy. Shake, shake, shake.
Warm bottle. Suck, suck, suck.
Old woman grows tired, tired, tired.
Rests in a rocking chair.
Rock, rock, rock.
Her hands keep busy. Knit, knit, knit.
Baby girl grows up, taller, taller.
Soars high in a swing.
Swing, swing, swing.
Throws back her head. Laugh, laugh, laugh.
Woman says, “Someone, someone, someone.
Please, please, please.

Come talk with me. Chat, chat, chat.”
Person says, “No, no, no
Later, later, later.”
Girl says, “Mommy, mommy, mommy,
Please, please, please.
Read to me. Read, read, read.”
Mother says, “No, no, no
Later, later, later.”
Woman feels alone, alone, alone.
A tear drips down her cheek. Trickle, trickle, trickle.
Girl feels alone, alone, alone.
A tear drips down her cheek. Trickle, trickle, trickle.
Girl looks over her shoulder. “Grandma!”
Reaches out a hand.
Old woman grasps her hand.
The two of them read, read, read.
Chat, chat, chat.
Together, together, together.
There are so many things in this poem that just cannot be captured in English. Much of the poem is only the things in italics. The other words I had to add, because you cannot see the acting, the body posture--everything that tells so much information.

Some people believe that ASL is broken English, done manually. But it’s not at all. You know the saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words”? It is so true in signs. In my opinion, there are times when sign language is richer, clearer, more expressive then English could ever be.

I’ll try to describe the second to last scene in this poem. The girl is alone, crying. She looks over her shoulder and sees the old woman.

I’m shifted to the left, look over my shoulder to the right, and reach my right hand upwards. I turn my head to the left, and reach my left hand down (for the grandmother’s part). Then both hands join for the sign “together”.

Monday, May 22, 2006


My blog seems to be off-line. :-( Maybe a post will knock it into shape.

If you can see this, you should be able to see my new colors. Like them? :-D I know some of the titles are a bit bright...I'll work on that.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

ASL Forever

Tonight I attended a Deaf event called ASL Forever. It was so fun!! Six actors (including one of my professors) performed short skits, poems, mime, improv, comedy and many other things. It was so funny to see my professor hopping around the stage imitating a five-year-old girl. LOL

One of my favorite parts was when they turned black lights on and did a special scene with white gloves, making flowers and a butterfly. I wish I had brought a camera.

I think my favorite line in the whole thing came during one of the improv skits. A volunteer member of the audience suggested that they do “Going up to Heaven”. So two actors swirled their hands for clouds, two stretched their arms out for the gates to heaven, and my professor stood behind them as ‘God’. As the gates opened and the volunteer fell to his knees ‘God’ said to him, “What’s up?”

There were quite a few people there I knew--students from my classes, teachers, people I’d met at other events… But imagine my surprise when I looked behind me and saw a girl I met last summer in Tennessee! LOL She lives in a town about four hours north of me, and is going through an interpreter’s program at a school a few hours south of me. We met at The Bill Rice Ranch--a Christian Deaf ministry.

It was really great to have no voice interpretation. I understood most everything, except parts of one skit. ASL Forever is an annual event. I sure hope I can go next year!

Friday, May 19, 2006

100th Post

This is my 100th post. :-D I started blogging on August 30th, 2005. I thought it would be fun to talk about my favorite or most meaningful posts since I started.

On November 10th I posted a poem that I wrote, called When Evening Comes of Age. This is one of my favorite poems, and was showcased on the front page of FaithWriters.

Many readers particularly enjoyed Joys of Home Businesses, posted on December 20th.

On December 30th, I wrote a post about my struggle with OCD.

I had fun writing this post about my active imagination, on January 10th.

January 27th was the five year anniversary of my Mom’s kidney transplant, and on the days around that I posted some excerpts from my diary. Part One and Part Two.

I think this Funny Being Me post on February 6th is humorous because I get told “Amy, you’re so funny!” several times a week. Half the time I haven’t a clue what I did or said that was so funny…

Of course, I couldn’t make one hundred posts without getting Any Better! LOL This February 9th post has a link to a dramatic reading I did of one of my stories.

I’ve also really been enjoying doing Monday Memories. Some of my favorites are Ruby Waters, My Grandpa, and My Grandparents and their farm.

I didn't list all the posts about my writing, signing, and general life dreams come true, but it was so fun to look back over it as I was gathering these. Here's to another 100 posts with as many accomplishments blogged!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Knock at a Door

Yesterday I knocked on a door. Now I wait about a month to see whether God throws the door open, or shuts it. Yesterday I took an entrance interview for the sign language interpreter’s program at my community college.

For the test I watched a video of someone signing a question, then I stood up and signed my answer into a video camera. There were a number of questions, then I saw a story in ASL and wrote it in English by memory, as well as a few other things.

I’m not sure how I did. I can think of all sorts of things I could have done better, of course. The fact that there are at least sixty people interviewing and only twenty-five allowed in, makes me a bit more anxious than I would be otherwise.

I found out that as of the beginning of this week, there are still sixteen (out of forty total) openings in an interpreter program in a school about four hours from me. So I’m going to apply to that one, as well, just to have more options open.

I’m looking forward to seeing what God has planned.

Write a paper. About what again????

Well, it's been an interesting couple of days. Yesterday I challenged Writing 121. It is a basic writing course that is a prerequisite for the interpreter program, and I figure it would be all review. For the test I was given four short articles to read, and told to write an essay using two of them.

What does "using" mean?

Good question. It's one I never did figure out the answer to. I chose something to do, and wrote it. I had no idea if it was what they wanted or not. At that point I had no high hopes... I know of another who is a capable writer who did not pass.

By the time I finished the three-hour paper, found a snack, and got to my evening class, I had hurried around campus over eight times, getting a paper from this person, giving it to that person, bringing it back to this person, hurrying around trying to find the room to take the test, etc, etc. It was over 90 degrees out. In May. In the Northwest.

I got the results of the test back already.

I passed. :D

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday Memories: My Grandparents and their farm

I normally do a post in honor of my family’s birthdays, and I missed blogging my maternal grandparents’ special days, so I’m going to do a Monday Memory about them, and their farm.

My grandparents live on over a hundred acres of Grandpa’s family’s homestead. Presently they have no animals of their own, but when I was young they had chickens, and they’ve raised cattle until only a year or so ago.

My grandparents are awesome, and the farm nestled under the splendor of the mountain is only the icing on the cake. Along with frequent visits (they live only about 45 min away), every summer my sisters and I would spend some time out at the farm, either all three of us for a week-long stay, or one at a time for two or three days.

The memories of those days are too rich and full to do justice in a mere blog post. On Saturdays we would wake up to the smell of Grandpa’s thick pancakes. I remember wandering through the woods with Grandma, as she pointed out various kinds of trees and plants, and identified some of the bird’s calls. Every once in a while Grandpa would let us hitch a ride on the bucket of his tractor as he headed out to do some work.

The memories continue today, renewing each time I am enveloped in a grandparent hug. I can hear the rich laugh, and picture the mischievous twinkle in Grandpa’s eyes as he teases Grandma, and the spark in her eye as she slaps him on the leg. I can hear Grandma’s “oohh!’ as she holds up a special gift, and feel her patient hands as she helps roll out a pie crust.

One year when the summer visit was a week-long adventure with all three of us, we built a fort. It was a splendid fort, with thick branch-poles tied up to form a firm framework, covered with an abundance of fresh evergreen boughs. It took the better part of the week to finish, complete with an evergreen couch and a backdoor. But the building of it was as much a part of the fun as the wonder of the finished product.

What delight we had in showing it off to Grandma and Grandpa and Mom and Dad. They were duly impressed, and sat on the couch, despite its lowness and the wet clumps of moss hidden in its crevices. Indeed, Grandpa was particularly impressed several months later, when in the throes winter a snow storm felled many a strong tree, and here were the poles of our fort, standing strong and alone, though bereft of their leafy covering.

Yes, many memories echo in that farmland. But even more so, they fill my heart, secure in the knowledge of love. But the best thing of all--there are still many more to come.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Interpreter Bloopers

This week in my Deaf Studies class, a couple of funny things happened. The teacher is Deaf, and because of the type of class it is, there are many students who do not know ASL well, so there are two voice interpreters. The first funny blooper came when we were talking about Cochlear Implants. The skull is carved out above one ear, to make room for the implant. This causes the skull to be very fragile, and those with the implant are not allowed to play sports, for fear that spot will get hit.

Well, the interpreter said that not playing sports was “drilled into you by the doctor. Uh…no pun intended.” ROFL!! The room erupted in laughter, and the teacher was left looking puzzled, wondering what in the world he had said that was so funny. :-p

The interpreter explained, the teacher joined our laughter, and we went on. Then the teacher started telling a story. In the story he said to an interpreter, “Don’t interpret this for me…I want to practice using my voice.”

I was so engrossed in the story, and following it just fine in ASL, that I didn’t notice that our interpreter stopped talking! I’m still not sure whether the interpreter realized his goof, the teacher realized, or a student protested, but once again the room erupted in laughter. :-D

On a related note, Wednesday I have my hour long interview test for getting into the interpreter's program. I'm rather nervous because only 25 students are allowed into the program. So getting in or not isn't a matter of me doing well, but of how many others do a little more well.

I am also going to challenge Writing 101 (required for getting into the interp. program), so that I don't have to take it, since it will be just the basics that I already know. I will be doing that, mostly likely, on Tuesday.

I covet your prayers for both things.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday Memories: Spa Party

Well, this memory only happened two days ago, but since I didn’t get it blogged yet, I’ll do it for my MM. You may remember that a few weeks ago I won an in-home spa party from The Fish (Christian music station). The party was this weekend and it was fun!

We had a perfect sized group: my mom, my oldest sister, two ladies from FaithWriters, and a friend from school. We enjoyed a relaxing hand treatment, facial, and foot treatment. That’s the first time I’ve ever washed my face in the living room, hehe!

I was impressed with Relaxing Moments Spa Escapes. The ladies were professional, yet very laid-back and friendly. Their methods were sanitary--they used disposable applicators and bleached towels (I actually went to an event, once, where someone used the same make-up brush on everyone! Ick). After the hour-long spa, they presented the items for sale briefly, with no pressure. Questions regarding ingredients of the products, etc, were answered quickly and knowledgably.

During one part of the afternoon, the guests were asked to share something about themselves, and to say something about the hostess (me). I was blessed by the kind responses, mentioning my writing talent and my fun and cheerful personality.

One comment I especially appreciated was when my sister said that I was a wonderful listener. I know I talk A LOT, and I know I have a bad tendency to interrupt sometimes. But I also know that I care about what others say. It’s good to know that my concern for others is not covered by my chatteriness.

It was a beautiful afternoon, spent with friends, relaxing and getting pampered.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Spreading Love

I wrote this poem in American Sign Language as an assignment for my sign language class. It uses hand-shapes, or modified hand-shapes, of the manual letters of my name to form the signs and classifiers of the poem. It isn’t nearly as pretty translated into English, but it gives the right idea.

My Heart

swells with love

for all

the world.

I reach out to individuals,

proclaiming the Lord's





Those I touch, touch others.

Love spreads

to everyone,


the heart.

© 2006 Amy Michelle Wiley

Monday, May 01, 2006

Monday Memories: Ruby Waters

Each summer my family spends a week on the Oregon coast. It is a time of easy relaxation, sleeping in, and wandering on the beach. There is something about looking out at the endless sea, with the waves catching millions of colors, and a soft mist falling on my shoulders, that makes me feel particularly close to God. I am keenly aware of His power. There, standing in the middle of His creation, I feel His presence in a unique way.

Last summer Dad, Sis, and I were walking on the beach at sunset. It was a particularly glamorous night. The sun caught the waves in a deep scarlet that turned royal blue as you stepped into it. The waves capped with foaming teal and shadows held an emerald green.

Before we quite knew what happened, the three of us were in the cold water--fully clothed. We danced in the kaleidoscope of colors, splashing each other and running races with the waves. The night was full. Joy. Peace. Worship. Laughter. Love. Family.

I walk in ruby waters
Under the ruby sky
I race with topaz waves
And splash diamonds up high

My toes mix with amber grains
I dance in molten gold
Seeing Heaven's glimpses
Glorious to behold

Friday, April 28, 2006

Happy Birthday, Hannah!

My cousin’s birthday was this week.

Happy Birthday, Hannah!!

Hannah is less than a year younger than I am, and we’ve always been quite close. My uncle was in the military and then they settled in Texas, so we’ve never been able to see each other more than every four to one years. But we send letters back and forth and make the most of every minute we do have together.

Oh, the fun we have! I remember once when we were quite young and she and her family were staying at our house. She and I were sleeping on pads on the floor in the living room. One morning we wrapped the sheets around our shoulders and ran around the house, pretending we were squirrels (you know, I don’t remember what sheets have to do with squirrels…?). We would get our moms to do our hair in just the same way--two brown pigtails.

Hannah was born on my dad’s birthday, and a few years ago she flew out so she could be here for their birthdays. That was so much fun! We spent hours at the ice skating rink, and Hannah took to it like ice was in her blood. Her sister came to visit a few months later and also loved skating. It must be the Wiley blood, hehe.

Hannah, thank you for being a friend. I love you!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ten Simple Pleasures

"Name ten of life's simple pleasures that you like most, then pick ten people to do the same. Try to be original and creative and not to use things that someone else has already used."

In no particular order…
1. A delighted smile
2. A hug and murmured “I love you” from a niece
3. A marvelous idea
4. The idea turning out even better than imagined
5. Giggling
6. Making new friends
7. Spending time with old friends
8. Exchanging knowing glances
9. Hearing my grandma’s enthusiasm of my writing
10. Singing
(Did you honestly think I could stop at ten? Let’s make it an even dozen…)
11. Getting a clear idea across in a foreign language that I love (i.e. ASL)
12. Foothills

I don't think I know ten bloggers that haven't already done this, but...
Purple Kangaroo