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