I've moved to another two blogs, one on writing, and one on general stuff like this one. Please come visit! MY NEW BLOGS:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I help teach a High School class on Sundays, and in a few weeks we're going to cover the topics of Heaven and Hell. Being the resident skeptic, I decided to reread a book about Hell that I'd written a review for earlier this year. I thought this might be an interesting blog topic also. I've just spent the last hour searching through YouTube videos etc. for something that might capture the flavor of the book, and found a video I think is a fair description of the book that I've pasted at the bottom.

As an aside, there are a lot of strange videos about Hell. As someone who has studied the Bible in depth and came to faith through trying to smash the accounts of Jesus' resurrection (see my website), I believe that Hell is a real place that people go to after death. It is eternal, and there is no escape. The only way to avoid this is by accepting the forgiveness that God offers through his son Jesus (John 14:6). I don't want to get in a long theological treatise here; let me just say that I was skeptical of Jesus' claims, and was blown away by the evidence for the resurrection. Any questions, feel free to email me, but please don't if you're just going to rant.

Whatever you might think, the subject of Hell is frightening, and it certainly makes sense to ponder it. I personally don't believe there is any physical evidence that would ever be convincing, but since it is a theological concept there are theological arguments that can be entertained and debated. Again, these are deep waters that I am broaching (another *fools rush in* moment for me) but am not ready to open right now because it would take a book. I WILL say that Jesus talked a great deal about Hell and eternal judgment. If you doubt this, read the book of John to start, remembering that the Bible we buy at Walmart accurately gives the writer's words as written in the first century. (check my website for validation of this statement).

OK, 'nuff said. To finish I'm going to re-post my review. I hope this is thought-provoking.

23 Minutes in Hell, by Bill Wiese
Book Review by Amy Deardon

We may joke about it, or use it as a mild curse. Many people don't believe it even exists--or only mass-murderers and rapists go there. But as the author of this book pleads, Hell is a serious topic that should be considered on this side of the grave.

Bill Wiese's 23 Minutes in Hell presents a disturbing look at the afterlife. He claims that after going to bed one night, he was suddenly thrown into a stone prison cell... of Hell. During the first part of this book he describes his personal responses to terrifying conditions and the death of hope, and in the second he undertakes an overview of what the Bible says about Hell. Some of the topics covered in this book include:

Is Hell real?
What is Hell like?
Are there degrees of punishment in Hell?
Can demons torment people in Hell?
Do children go to Hell?
Do people remain in Hell forever?
Can "good" people go to Hell?
What is the difference between Sheol and the "Lake of Fire"?
Is what I believe about God important?

Wiese is an unabashed Christian who explains that we all fall short of a perfect God, but God has made a way, through Jesus, by which we may avoid Hell and be reconciled to Him. He describes a number of examples of God's opening doors for his compelling story, resulting in many being brought to Christ.

I tend to be skeptical about stories like this, although I also don't dismiss that it actually happened. Wiese's account of his vision of Hell is written in a straightforward manner without embellishment, and frankly nothing triggered questions to his sincerity except for the fantastic nature of his tale. Wiese's commentary of Hell in the second half of the book touches upon many aspects of this place, and is richly documented and easily accessible for those wishing to pursue further study.

Wiese's style is not polished, but it's easy to follow, and his subject matter is certainly compelling. This is an introductory text rather than a scholarly and exhaustive review of Hell, and is a relatively "quick read." During the author's personal descriptions of Hell I found the scriptural references supporting his statements distracting, but this was a minor flaw. Wiese's attitude throughout was of the great urgency of sharing how to avoid this horrific place through faith in Christ.

This book is valuable whether or not you want to believe that Wiese's vision of Hell actually occurred -- as the author himself writes, it doesn't matter what he says, but what the Bible says, about this topic. Whatever you think, it's a darn scary book. $12.99 (trade paperback). 170 pages.

Publisher: Charisma House
ISBN: 978-1-59185-882-9
Genre: Christian Life/Spiritual Growth/nonfiction


Here is a video that I thought gave a fair summary of what Bill Wiese says in his book. Let me just repeat that I don't know if Bill Wiese actually experienced Hell or not, but what he describes is consistent with what the Bible says.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Monster Under the Bed

My friend Cheri and I went to lunch today, and she told me a cute story about her 6 year old son. When she was reading him a story in bed last night, she noticed he was dangling a toy at his feet, kind of moving it around like you might play with a cat. Cheri asked him why he was doing that. He looked at her and said, "Mommy, I'm afraid, but I'm playing with the monster so he doesn't want to scare me tonight."

I was thinking, how many monsters do we believe in also? All of the things you imagine could happen, or are happening right now: someone is laughing at you behind your back, or you may lose your job, or --- fill in your own pet fear.

CS Lewis once said (in Screwtape Letters, I think) that a person's bravery will fail if he must face all the things that MIGHT happen, and try to be brave for every possibility. Many of these possible events are mutually incompatible anyway, and not worth worrying about until they happen.

It's hard enough to be brave for all of the things that do happen to us. Bravery can be a quick act, like jumping on a grenade to save your fellow soldiers, but often it's the quiet bravery of someone who's lost someone very dear and must just keep breathing, keep working and living.

Bravery is admirable in all forms. Cheri's little boy is brave -- although WE know the monster isn't there, to him it's real, and it takes courage for him to confront his fear. We don't know what monsters other people face. For example, I have a friend who used to be anorexic, and it takes great courage for her to let her children eat a bowl of ice cream at a birthday party. We need to be patient, and not to laugh at seemingly silly fears in others. We probably can't fully understand the terrors that person lives with underneath the bed.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blog Reviews

OK, here are the blog reviews. There were seven entrants -- and thank you so much, entrants, for taking the time and effort to do this! It means more to me than you might think.

The rules to determine the winner are as follows:

Winner of this contest is determined solely by blog vote. ANYONE visiting this blog is invited to vote, whether or not you've entered the contest. There is only one vote per person, so get as many friends as you can to visit!

Voting period lasts from Sunday September 21st through Tuesday September 30th. Winner will be declared on Wednesday October 1st on this blog, and I will also send email notifications to all entrants of the contest. My determination of winner based on blog vote is final.

You can read about the contest announcement by going to the link here.

I'm placing the entries on this blog in the order that they were received.

Trumpet fanfare please...



With a voice loud enough, and a place to stand, singlehandedly one can win thousands of souls.

Rating: Five stars.

If you are an unbeliever, this book will challenge your unbelief.

If you are a believer, it will challenge your witness.

The premise of this novel is simple enough. As the UN extends its dominance over all the world, one violent hot spot remains: the Republic of Israel. Surrounded on all sides by bitter enemies, Israel would like nothing better than to sign a treaty bringing it under the protection of what is now the superpower of the world. The problem is not with the Muslims; the UN seems to have them well in hand. The problem is with fanatical followers of an ancient Way of thinking that has from its inception threatened the entire intellectual foundations of Israel's national religion, Judaism. The founder of that Way was an itinerant preacher calling himself Yeshua Ha'Maschiach, who made the absurd and blasphemous claim that he was none other than the son of God. For that he was put to death by crucifixion and then buried--but three days after that, his tomb was empty, his body obviously stolen.

Or was it? Since that day, followers of the Way have insisted that Yeshua actually rose from the dead. Today those followers insist that the UN treaty is a pact with a minion of the devil, and that Israel signs it at her peril. Moreover the following of the Way continues to grow, and in Israel itself that following is so great that the country risks national embarrassment and possibly a loss of the UN's protection. So the Israel Defense Forces must undertake a desperate mission: they will send a team of scouts back into time to watch, and record, the theft of Yeshua's body from his tomb.

But the UN, or at least its Secretary-General, has his own agenda. He does not want this mission to go forward until Israel must decide, one way or another, about the treaty. And he will stop at nothing, even sabotage and murder, to foil that mission.

Students of the Bible, both Christians and Jews, will easily recognize the Way for what it actually is, and the ancient term for the Way that St. Luke used in his book of Acts. Students of "the last things" will also recognize the role of the UN, and will understand when the author portrays the UN as somewhat less than friendly to most people's ideals of world peace and harmony. And even a physicist is likely to accept Deardon's proposed time machine as theoretically possible. Deardon is necessarily short on the engineering details that would be required to make time travel real. But she includes enough detail, even to the astronomical and archaeological dating that time scouts would have to use to figure out "when" they were, to make the reader believe that such a mission could happen.

More importantly, Deardon takes us into the mind of a skeptic the way few Christian writers achieve. This is partly because she was a skeptic, and became convinced to "follow the Way" after reviewing the historical evidence. One of her characters in fact follows a path quite similar to Deardon's own.

But A Lever Long Enough does not provide facile answers. Deardon does not browbeat her readers with her insights, nor turn Jesus Christ into Deus ex Machina. She clearly wants her readers to reach the same conclusion she did, on their own. The novel even ends in an uncertain way, as if to say, "I have laid out the evidence. Now you decide."

How many Christians, in bearing witness to others, have forgotten that what seems obvious to them is definitely not obvious to someone else? Amy Deardon shows us how a non-Christian thinks, something that any
Christian must understand if he has any hope of persuading such a person to "follow the Way."

Whether you are Christian or not, you cannot remain the same person after you have read a novel like A Lever Long Enough that you were before. Thus her novel succeeds in a "way" that is the most meaningful in which any author can succeed.



Donna L.

I found A Lever Long Enough intense and thought provoking. The action in the future Israel and ancient Israel is a study in contrast. Good and Evil are still at war, but over time technology has changed the weapons. The results are the same - weapons causing harm and death.

The main story is the Flashback project. Since the project's objective is to disprove one of Christianity's main tenets - Easter, Christians were forbidden to take part.

This proves to be a bit of a problem for some of the crew who are studying to go back to Jesus time. Facts are facts; you either deny the evidence or accept the consequences of agreeing with the Truth. While the characters struggle in both ancient and future Israel, someone is looking for them to slip up.

Amy Deardon did a great job making the new and old seem real. She has included some interesting twists. She shows effectively how for centuries politicians have tried to control Christianity by discrediting Jesus' resurrection and punishing Jesus' followers.

I'm looking forward to her next book.

Donna L.


"A History Lover”

A promising debut

Rating: 4 stars

I’ve always loved a good villain, and Amy Deardon has created one so cold-blooded and treacherous that he’s sure to compel the interest of readers. Fans of military suspense will love the clever plot twists that keep the novel spinning to a satisfying conclusion.

The author’s concept is intriguing, and her historical research very thorough. I’m also impressed by her ability to handle a plot about faith without succumbing to pat solutions or didactic bias.

"A History Lover"


Josie O.

Lever Long Enough: On the third day, did Jesus actually rise from the dead? Ms. Deardon took a long look at this concept, and decided to do in-depth research. She takes her research material presents it as a well done, fictional, mystery novel. This is not a religious novel, but is an entertaining concept it time travel.

Her story immediately captures your interest, and keeps it captive untill the very last chapter. The characters are well defined, and believable. The story line is crisp, and clear. She takes you from the present and smoothly transports you back to the first century.

A team of scientists travel back to the first century to save Israel, but they only have 72 hours to find the evidence they need.

Her writing skills are so good that you can actually 'hear' the words, 'see' the action, and feel the time running out.

Josie O.


Tilly F.

Yes, you will enjoy reading this

I'll admit it right now: I don't normally enjoy reading "Christian fiction." I find the characters to be too unrealistic, and I find that the plots wrap up too neatly. In a word, most Christian fiction seems to be nothing more than preaching to the choir.

That is why Amy Deardon's debut novel, A Lever Long Enough, is such a treat. This ambitious tale combines romance, science fiction, and apologetics into a fast-paced story that is, in the final analysis, a fun read. The apologetic at the heart of the story is a factual exploration of the (pretty much universally accepted) facts surrounding the death, burial, and alleged resurrection of one Jesus of Nazareth.

The story does not resort to miracles or "road to Emmaus" style sightings to get the reader thinking. Instead, only decidedly non-supernatural facts are used, and the reader is required to make his own conclusions. Deardon never hits the reader over the head with manipulative or sentimental arguments. The science fiction device of the time machine and the political intrigue that drives the plot are really secondary to the personal narrative of the well-developed characters, who never seem to be plastic or unrealistic at all. And best of all, there is no big "conversion" scene at the end.

Ultimately, what makes a novel "good" is the storytelling. That is why I enjoyed "Lever," and I think you will, too.

Tilly F.


Hannah C.

Rating: Five Stars

A Lever Long Enough fuses strands of intrigue, inventive technology, romance, and religion into an explosive read. Benjamin and Sara enter the story as part of the team leading project FlashBack, a mission into the past to disprove the Resurrection. Sabotage only days before the launch date ratchets up the tension of the mission, a tension that builds once Flashback begins to reveal the secrets of the past. Throughout the mission Sara and Benjamin endure a journey that changes their feelings for each other and rocks the foundations of their faith. This story will drag readers into the past along with Benjamin and Sara, a past that comes
alive through Deardon’s meticulous research and vivid description. I give this stunning first novel five stars!

Hannah C.


Kathy H.

100% Adventure, No Filler

If you have a lever long enough, you may be able to propel yourself into another century. Perhaps even back to the days of the New Testament. If you prefer, as I do, to time travel by reading a good book, pick up a copy of Amy Deardon's debut novel, A Lever Long Enough.

This book is 100% adventure, no filler. A well-researched premise, fast-paced plot, and complex, deeply motivated characters will keep you turning the pages. You'll be sorry to reach the end. (Thankfully, Deardon is working on a sequel.)

Protagonist Benjamin Finan heads up a crew of Israeli scientists sent back in time to investigate the resurrection of Christ. The time travel sequence and first century lifestyle descriptions are captivating, and the adventure unfolds seamlessly in both real and past time, reaching a breathless conclusion. In the end, Finan uncovers truths that are life changing.

Evidently, the research to write her story was life changing for Deardon, as well. Once a skeptic who set out to discount the credibility of Christianity, she not only became a believer, but an apologist for the Gospel. "Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I can move the Earth" is the famous Archimedes quote. Deardon has found a firm place to stand to move her readers with a fast-paced and hope-filled story.

Kathy H.


NOTE: Vote will appear at top of page -- in the meantime, email me if you have any comments!


Here are the Entries!

Good afternoon, my dear friends. Well, here are the reviews for my blog contest of A Lever Long Enough. I have to tell you, I am gratified and humbled by all of the good responses I've had to this book so far: as of this afternoon, there are more than 150copies of the ARCs out to review sites, influencers, and others, and many many people have told me how much they enjoyed reading it.

This is God's book. There was a time about five years earlier that I dreamed simply of writing mega-bestsellers and being a *famous author* but this dream vanished with a major physical crisis, and more recently wrestling with the loss of a dear friend. I've learned that personal fame doesn't *matter*, and I'm eager now to only reflect God's Glory in any way that is opened to me. Whether Lever on amazon sells two copies or two million, I am content that I have done my best. God gets all the glory and honor and praise.

For all of you who may be interested, I am currently working on the prequel, a disaster on the space station that results in Sara's being forced to emigrate to Israel. The book is titled Nest Among the Stars, from Obadiah 1:4:

Though you soar like the eagle
and make your nest among the stars,
from there I will bring you down,
declares the Lord

Here is the blurb:

Astronauts conducting a remote drilling operation of Europa (a moon of Jupiter) discover an asteroid on a collision course with the United States.

When the European Space Agency wants to partner with the United States to build a lucrative new space station balanced between the earth and the moon, the Americans invite them to join in their next mission. But the American astronauts – the commander pilot, his twin sister an astrophysicist, and a paraplegic physician – discover in space that the two European payload specialists are not who they seem to be, and at least one may be a spy intent on sabotaging the mission. With dark plans afoot, the astrophysicist makes an even more terrifying discovery: an asteroid is moving to destroy the United States. There is no weapon that can deflect or destroy the asteroid except, perhaps, a strange Israeli satellite that seems to bend time and space. But using this satellite may prove to cause an even worse disaster than the one it is preventing...

I've been asked numerous times, what happens in the sequel!? I think I tied the ends as well as I could in Lever, although the story is certainly begging for another book. Let me just say for the sequel, I know the beginning and the end, but only have so much RAM in my tiny brain, so the story will have to await development once Nest is finished. I'm working as fast as I can!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Last Day

Just a quick note to everyone:

Today is the last day to get reviews of Lever in to me. I will be posting them tomorrow, Sunday September 21st, and after that the voting will take place until September 30th.

Winner will be declared on Wednesday October 1st. The winner will be determined by blog vote on this site, not a panel; every computer gets one vote. ANYONE may vote, so tell all of your friends to visit!

Guys, I have seven entries: one more and I will add a second prize of $25. 1 in 4 are pretty good odds of winning, so if you haven't yet sent me something, you still have time! (entries are OK until I put them up on the blog, and I probably won't get to it until the afternoon...)

Until tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

No Substitute for Experience

An art teacher ran an experiment in his ceramics class. He divided the class into two groups. One would receive their final grade based on the quantity of pots they were able to make: for example, 50 pounds was worth an A, 40 pounds a B, and so forth. The other half of the class would be graded on the quality of only one pot; it had to be exquisite.

And the experiment began...

The first group made pot after pot, some small, some large, more, more, more.

The second group strategized, studied the ceramics of the masters, sketched and plotted, calculated, planned, and finally each made his one pot.

So which group won?

Interestingly, the group that was judged on quantity also ended up with the highest quality pots. The second, strategizing, group found their pots beset with mistakes that they hadn't anticipated. As the first group made pot after pot, they also learned to better produce works of art.*

*a story from John Ortberg's If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat.

The moral of this story is that if you want to accomplish something, you must do it! Don't talk, don't take classes, don't read books about it, unless you also start producing attempts. Yes, your attempts may stink, and they are hard and impinge on your schedule, but they are also the only way to become better. If you want to write a novel, then start by writing: emails, grocery lists, little scenes, anything. If you compose beautiful music, then write a million songs and record the best.

Don't be someone who in ten years looks back on today and says, "Oh, if only I'd done this..."

~smiling to dear friends~

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Let us never forget.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Sad Anniversary

It's been raining. Dark and dreary this weekend from the remnants of Hannah, and it's still raining now. There are challenges in life that can rip you apart, stones in the heart that never dissolve.

This is a sad week for our country, the 7th anniversary of 9/11. I remember that day so clearly, as I'm sure almost all Americans do. My kids were in kindergarten and 3rd grade at the time, and I went to the school about 11 to pick them up. My husband was working in Washington, although he'd been able to slip in a 10 second call after the Pentagon that he was OK.

I remember coming home, watching the chaos on TV. I remember seeing only one of the World Trade Center buildings standing, and as I watched it collapsed into rubble, spewing a great black cloud so that everything was blackened. My children knew what had happened but didn't understand, and they played quietly outside. Such a beautiful day.

On that Sunday I was honored to be the soloist (flute) for a memorial service for a soldier killed in the Pentagon. It was held at a nearby church, and so many people attended that the crowd overflowed into the next room. Four hundred or more, I think. This soldier's life had touched so many, and the people sat quietly as one after another people would come forward to talk about his life, and our country's life.

The service went on for about three hours. Unbelievable. I kept thinking, I was so glad in a way that I hadn't known the man, because I wouldn't have been able to play; I almost broke down as it was. It was such a great honor to play for this gentleman and his family, and for all of the good people there. This was one of the most moving experiences of my life, and certainly the greatest honor, although the honor wasn't mine but the country's.

My friends, despite all of its flaws we live in such a blessed and good country. Please, let's stay strong and keep it good. God bless America.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Over the Labor Day weekend we visited the butterfly museum at the local garden. This was a remarkable place to be.

Following the path of bright flowers

was an enclosed screened room of caterpillars and cocoons.

The room led into a large greenhouse full of butterflies of many colors.

So beautiful!

I was fascinated to watch the butterflies drink nectar from the flower blossoms. The proboscis, the slender mouth-tube, was coiled in a perfect tiny circle beneath the butterfly's *face,* and would suddenly whip out to the flower, then delicately whip backwards, very similar to watching an elephant drink water with its trunk. How amazing!

It was so beautiful to watch these vibrant and colorful butterflies flutter through the greenhouse, landing on people

and plants

and the fruit set out for them.

Watching these fluttering, beautiful creatures, though, I couldn't help thinking that they would all be gone soon, since the lifespan of a butterfly is measured in days or weeks.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly forgotten as a dream
Dies at the break of day.

The busy tribes of flesh and blood
With all their cares and fears,
Are carried downward like a flood
And lost in following years.
--Isaac Watts

My dear friends, the butterflies are like us -- strong, beautiful, active, imbibing life to its fullest.

But also like the butterflies, we do not stay here for long. I think of what life was like for me only ten years ago, twenty years, and how the *normal* then is not the *normal* now. It moves so quickly. Doesn't it?

While in the greenhouse, I saw a butterfly with a frayed wing, and it couldn't fly straight. This life can be like that, too, heartwrenching and unable to put into words. The butterfly's spirit was strong, and yet held back by its circumstances.

I try to be strong. I would like to encourage you, my dear friends, to be strong also, and to search with all your heart for the truth.

Think on the things that last.

~with love to dearest friends~