Married to the Empire

Monday, March 31, 2008

Star Wars Rubber Stamps!

Last week I posted about using a holographic figure from the Saga series as a stamp for crafting. Beth left a comment to let me know that Star Wars rubber stamps actually exist, which I didn't know. I started an internet search for them, and I discovered that they are hard to find.

Beth went through her stamp stash, pulled out doubles, and so very kindly offered to share them with me! You have no idea how excited I was to open that package that came in the mail today! Inside were 22 Star Wars rubber stamps:

The Rebels (my personal favorites) and Bounty Hunters:

The Imperials (which will make my Empire-loving husband happy):

A huge thank you to Beth for her kindness and generosity. I can hardly wait to use these!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bridal shower

I attended a bridal shower this morning. It was a lovely brunch with vintage tablecloths, teapot planters, and fabulous food. I really like bridal showers, partly because I love shopping for wedding gifts.

Shopping wasn't easy this time, though. Because of my desire not to buy anything made in China, I wound up being frustrated. I decided to go with a baking/cooking theme since I know the bride is worried about this due to the fact that the groom's mother makes dinner every night. He grew up eating good meals every night, and the bride doesn't consider herself much of a cook. I wound up ordering one of my favorite cookbooks for her: The More-with-Less Cookbook.

I wanted to give her some baking supplies to go with it, and that's where the trouble began. I'd picked out the Pyrex mixing bowl set from her registry. No problem there because it's made in the USA. I thought I'd give her a loaf pan since I was planning to give her recipes for my favorite sweet breads. I didn't like the Pyrex loaf pan because it's a bit small. She'd registered for Wilton baking pans, but they were all made in China. She'd registered for a Calphalon muffin pan, so I checked out the Calphalon loaf pan. Made in China. I looked at spatulas. Every brand was made in China. Ditto her oven mitts and kitchen towels. In fact, every other thing I looked at from the registry was made in China!

I decided that I couldn't buy off her registry and hold to my conviction. It's my conviction, not hers, so I went ahead and bought some towels and a spatula for her. I'm finding that sometimes I have to compromise or completely do without. As this was a gift, I chose compromise.

I wound up making the card for the gift, and I'm vain enough to report that I was pleased with all the compliments it received. It was super simple to make. I didn't photograph the inside, but it's stamped with "Best Wishes."

Friday, March 28, 2008

School Days, School Days

That's a song, I think. Ever wondered what it's like to be an adult venturing into the jungle known as Middle School? Wonder no more because here is a snapshot of my day.

As soon as I entered the hallway, I noticed an odor that was faintly reminiscent of cat pee. I think it was simply the lingering scent of sweat and hormones. The weather is warming, and the kids are starting to stink. They brought the odor of feet into the classroom with them. This reminded me of a question to add to my list of things to ask God when I get to heaven: Why did he make humans so smelly during puberty?

Walking down the hall, I overheard this bizarre conversation:
"You can inject anything into you. I could inject a squirrel into me, except I'd probably eat it." This was followed by some talk of syringes. I was left wondering what on earth could have started that conversation! (I probably don't even have to tell you that boys were the ones talking about this.)

You know that an 8th grade boy is secure in his social standing when he carries an Elmo backpack. A cool kid can get away with this and be thought of as cute and funny. Any other kid would be teased mercilessly over it. Such is the paradox called popularity.

The one girl in a class full of boys complained about being the only girl, but I think she was secretly pleased with all their attempts to garner her attention through the annoying acts that 7th grade boys mistake for flirting.

I was frustrated to have to call classrooms to track down missing students, then wait for them to arrive in tutoring. I failed to understand how a teacher could sound so unsure of herself, saying that she'd been trying to get a student to go. I wondered if her classroom was chaotic due to her obvious uncertainty of her own authority. The student in question eventually huffed into my class, but easily settled into work. I actually got a smile out of her when I told her she got all the answers right, thus pulling her out of her sullen state. Victory!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The magazine is out!

I posted back in January about the photo shoot the stormtroopers did for Wired magazine. I'm pleased to report that the issue (April 2008) is out! We picked up a copy tonight at Barnes & Noble.

That middle picture, the one with a stormtrooper on the left and a guy without a helmet on the right... well, the stormtrooper is my hubby! He was the only one they took head shots of. He wasn't sure that was really him at first, but then he recognized the aerators on his helmet. He says his helmet is now famous. The picture of the guy without a helmet is Ernie Cline, the writer of the upcoming movie Fanboys.

It was a bit disappointing to the 501st as a whole that so few pictures of them made it in. The photographer took a ton, and only Steven, a guy dressed as Boba Fett, and the ordinary TK troopers made it in. C'est la vie, I guess.

The illness that keeps giving and giving...

Last week after a violent fit of coughing, my ribs started hurting pretty badly. My friend Marylou is a nurse, and she assured me that I probably just bruised them. Then last night while coughing and holding my side (that seems to help with the pain), something moved. That something left me gasping for breath from the pain. I popped it again from the back (ick, I know), and the pain lessened a tad, but I hurt.

Marylou told me today that I should really see a doctor based on the new symptoms.

The doctor left me gasping again as she felt all around my ribs. It was a mixture of pain, her cold hands, and the fact that I'm probably the most ticklish person on the planet. Because the pain seemed to be pretty localized, she said she thinks I'm having severe muscle spasms, which can happen with violent coughing. I now have prescriptions for heavy-duty painkillers (because even with my obscene number of prescription migraine pain meds, a girl can always have more) and a muscle relaxer.

This should make teaching tomorrow interesting, don't you think?

You know, I'm pretty much over the illness that kicked my butt, but apparently, it's still trying to stay in my life and give my doctor and pharmacist more business. I think maybe they're all in cahoots.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Star Wars crafts

Beth left a comment on this post saying that she has some vintage Star Wars rubber stamps. I never knew they existed! I started a web search and found one on Ebay (an Ewok!!!), but with shipping, it's nearly $20. That's WAY more than I'm willing to pay for a little rubber stamp!

I found, and that site has a page of Star Wars craft items. The stamps there are more reasonable, but I'm not really interested in the ones they have. I thought Steven would be interested in the Royal Guard, but he seemed indifferent. He told me he's really only interested in Vader or stormtroopers.

Further searching led me to an old forum discussion on about crafts people have made. That led me to a kids' crafts and projects page on the website. I really like these printouts and may actually use a few of them for my own projects.

I don't know if anyone else is interested in any of this, but just in case, I thought I'd share what I found. I know a few of my readers have kids, so I thought your families might enjoy some of these projects.

Oh, one more fun link with some more grown-up Star Wars crafts. Who knew there was so much creativity out there with the Star Wars theme?!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Crafting inspiration--Star Wars style

I was hanging out with Steven in the Star Wars room while he was on the computer. He had a couple of hologram figures from the Saga Collection sitting out on his desk. Calvin jumped up and knocked them over. As we sat there talking, I found myself looking at the bottoms of the knocked-over hologram figures. They had Rebel symbols on them. What's more, they looked like stamps!

The only real crafting I tend to do is making notecards. I have a ton of rubber stamps for this. Steven has told me in the past that I should make Star Wars cards, and I reminded him that there aren't any Star Wars stamps to be had.

Until now.

So, they're not perfect, but they're not bad at all. An old mouse pad underneath the paper should help tremendously with their stampability. It would help if my Empire-loving husband was willing to open an Imperial action figure so I could have more than just Rebel symbols to stamp with, but for now, this will do nicely.

My backyard Animal Planet

My bird feeder is one of my favorite things. I just love watching all the birds and squirrels who come to feed at it, and it's great entertainment for my cats.

I was watching the birds while I ate my breakfast this morning, wondering how many grackles were about to find their way to my feeder. The annual descent of the grackles means I'm constantly filling my feeder because they're very greedy birds. As I was watching, a hawk landed beneath my feeder. Our usual feeding crew is made up of cardinals, morning doves, chickadees, blue jays, grackles, and squirrels. Hawks are a rare sight here in suburbia.

Suddenly, the hawk took off in flight, and I saw that it had something black clutched in its talons. I think it took off with a grackle, which is nothing short of amazing because grackles are quite big. It may have been some other bird, or maybe even a mouse, as we get those under our deck sometimes, but as it looked black, I can only assume it was a grackle.

All the birds freaked out, and our feeder has now been empty for hours. That hawk spooked all my hungry patrons. My cats were riveted, especially as a grackle flew straight into the living room window in its haste to leave.

It's like my own personal Animal Planet here in my backyard!


I hope everyone had a beautiful Easter day. Ours was chilly, but sunny and lovely. We had a wonderful time at church celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And on a more personal note, I was so happy that I was well enough to sing that morning! I barely coughed, and my voice was mostly quite clear.

While Steven and I spend other major holidays with our families, Easter is the one big holiday that we always celebrate with our friends. Easter dinner is always held at the home of Dan and Karen (the same friends who threw the 20th birthday party for their cat). In attendance were the same people from the birthday party. I brought my camera along, but I failed to take many pictures. However I did get a few.

We had crown roast of pork, cheesy potatoes (my dish--recipe will be at the end of the post), carrots, asparagus, salad, sweet potato stuffing, the best applesauce you could ever eat, chocolate eggs, and a stunningly-delicious white cake. The buffet:

The table:

A picture that Glenn took of Michelle and me:

Karen is big on festive headbands for the girls, if you haven't noticed. While I do think they're a lot of fun and very cute, I was distressed to see that they were made in China. Can't win 'em all, unfortunately. I've prayed for blessings for whoever it is that made them.

We were all given hardcover copies of The Velveteen Rabbit. I heard that there was a reading of it, along with some sort of commentary on the message of the story, but I fell asleep and missed the whole thing. I blame it on the sickness. I was told that a few pictures were snapped of me asleep, but I haven't seen any of them. That's probably just as well.

We also watched the video taken at the cat's birthday party. Silly stuff!

We always have such fun when we're with our friends!

Cheesy Potatoes

1 32-oz. bag of frozen hashbrowns, thawed
1 medium onion, chopped
6 Tbls. butter, melted
16 oz. sour cream
8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded
1 10-oz. can cream of chicken soup

Mix all ingredients together, then place in greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until bubbly and piping hot.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Good Friday Tradition

Every year on Good Friday, my friends and I get together for a nice lunch followed by a session of egg dying. This has been going on for about 6 years now, and it's something we all look forward to.

My food contribution was a spinach salad (spinach, red onion, mushrooms, bacon, and boiled egg) with a homemade dressing (dressing recipe will be at the end of the post). It is to-die-for!

The lovely table and the lunch food, which we ate after giving thanks for the great sacrifice Jesus made on that Friday so many years ago:

Sandy made a fabulous lemon meringue pie, which I forgot to photograph.

We set up on Marylou's beautiful porch to dye our eggs. Marylou, who is originally from the Philippines, had never dyed eggs before:



I attempted to make a Star Wars Imperial logo on an egg for Steven. However, I couldn't really remember exactly how it looks. I did my best, and Steven thanked me for the effort. However, he said it looks like a ferris wheel:

Sandy opted to make icing flowers for the cake we'll be eating on Easter Sunday. She's very talented at decorating cakes:

And finally, a not-so-great picture of me with my 6 decorated eggs:

Dressing for spinach salad:

1 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbls. minced parsley
5 Tbls. red wine vinegar
4 Tbls. sour cream
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1-2 Tbls. sugar (I typically only use 1 Tbls.)

Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate at least 6 hours before serving.

The Box Wars--again

I guess the tacky cardboard box's new location in the Star Wars room is prime kitty real estate because everyone wants to be in there when Daddy is in there. This new picture is even better than the last.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Box Wars

We have a really tacky cardboard box in our house that we absolutely cannot throw away. A few years ago Doogie claimed it as his own when Steven put a pillow in it. At the time Doogie was still a kitten and constantly being bullied by Calvin, who never hesitated to take warm sleeping spots away from him. But the box was different. Doogie decided the box was his. His love of this box forced him to assert himself with Calvin, and for the most part, Calvin complied and left the box alone.

But that doesn't mean that Calvin doesn't enjoy the box on occasion.

Steven recently set the box on a chair in the Star Wars room so that Doogie could be with him while he was on the computer. This evening Doogie took off like a shot when I coughed too hard and loud (he's found me quite frightening lately with my barking cough), and Calvin soon discovered that the box was available and still warm.

When Doogie finally came back, he was pretty mad to find Calvin in it. He decided to use one of Calvin's favorite tactics, which is to get into the box and sit on the interloping cat. This always works for Calvin because Doogie likes his personal space and isn't much of a cuddler. When Calvin sits on him, Doogie runs off.

But Calvin doesn't mind snuggling, much to Doogie's consternation. Doogie sat, and Calvin stayed. Every once in a while, Doogie would shift a bit to try to crowd Calvin out, but Calvin refused to move.

The box war ended tonight when I coughed yet again and Doogie decided the box was no longer worth it. He ran off to hide somewhere.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Health update

It's Day 8 of the great illness that has kicked my butt. I saw the doctor this morning, and she said that if it were a virus, I'd be better by now, so she definitely believes it's bacterial. I had a low-grade fever again this morning when the nurse checked it. *sigh* The doctor has now put me on a much stronger antibiotic, and I have a heavy-duty cough syrup with codeine that cost a small fortune.

My great hope is that I'll be well enough to sing on Easter Sunday. I intend to attend rehearsal tonight, even if I have no singing voice. I'll just go to listen and learn anything new. But the music minister has lined someone else up to sing in my place on Sunday, just in case.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue to rest. My house is in desperate need of cleaning, but I think I'll put it off for yet another day in order to recuperate.

Edited to add: I was instant messaging with Steven to let him know what the doctor said. When I was saying that the budget is completely out the window as today's meds were quite expensive, he said, "Well, at least I get a good return on my investment." I asked him what he meant, and he said, "You."

I think I'll keep him.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yak's Pub

For my readers who are Star Wars fans, I wanted to be sure to let you know about Yak's Pub. Steven introduced me to this blog, and it's a hoot! It's a web strip made up of Star Wars action figures. If you haven't visited this blog before, I really recommend it because it's funny stuff!

For those who have been concerned...

... I now have a doctor's appointment lined up for tomorrow at 9:30am. Steven, who has to be dragged to the doctor, is the one who was really pushing me to make a new appointment, so I'm complying. The cough was better yesterday, but after running around this morning taking care of car inspections and oil changes and whatnot, I'm coughing up a lung again. I'm tired of it, so I'll see if the doctor can give me anything else to help.

I think the fever is gone today, though. Finally. Let's hope it stays gone this time!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Attempting life again

So, I'm still sick. It's now been a week, and I'm pretty tired of feeling lousy. But I'm now at the point that I can't continue to just lie around. For example, this was my kitchen counter this morning:

And before anyone thinks my husband is a terrible person for not washing the dishes while his wife is sick, I'm a bit, um, rigid about the proper way to load the dishwasher. Basically, he's afraid to do it because I kinda freak out if it's not done right. But he did rinse and neatly stack things.

I'm also out of clean pajamas, so I have to do laundry today. But I'm taking it easy as I still have a fever. *sigh* Clean sheets and jammies should do wonders toward recovery, don't you think?

It's amazing how the household falls apart when I'm sick, though. We've gone through our freezer stash of frozen pizzas and other ready-made meals. The budget is out the window as we've been doing a lot of takeout, and a trip to Target the other night for Nyquil also included throwing whatever expensive convenience foods sounded good into the cart. Steven was looking at food and saying that it was kind of expensive, and I just said, "I don't care; it's cheaper than takeout."

As for doing nothing, well, a girl can only take so much of lying around reading and watching TV. I want to do stuff, but this stupid cough and fever prevent it. But then I remembered that Blockbuster rents games for the Wii. We settled on The Spiderwick Chronicles game. It's easy enough for non-gaming me and interesting enough for Steven to be willing to play it. That was a nice diversion that made me feel somewhat active, even if I was still just sitting around.

I've also been quite blessed to have friends calling and emailing to check up on me and see if I need anything. Steven told me that the high school class prayed for me twice yesterday morning, so that made me feel good, too. And as Proverbs 17 says, a cheerful heart is good medicine, and my friends have definitely given me a cheerful heart.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Still sick

And bored out of my mind!

I had to stay home from work again today, and I felt pretty guilty about that. But when I got up to get ready this morning, I was completely exhausted within 10 minutes, and I felt like I was coughing up a lung. Thankfully, I can make up the missed days with the kids on Fridays. The kids won't be happy about it, but at least I won't feel like I'm short-changing them because my immune system is crap.

Let's just say, I've been reminded this week of the #1 reason I quit teaching in the first place. I was always sick. And I didn't even teach little kids!

I'm at that stage of illness where I'm not sick enough to be content with just lying around anymore, but I'm too sick to actually do anything. I desperately want to clean my house, but considering that I can't sit still without coughing, I don't think that's gonna happen.

Steven and I were instant messaging, and he had a few boredom-busting ideas for me:
~craft some cards (not feeling creative)
~make a dessert (because people LOVE to eat things made by sick people!)
~draw a picture of the cats with crayons (that would so not be pretty since I'm not artistically inclined)
~play with Star Wars action figures in my dollhouse (I asked him I could put all his stormtroopers in the nursery)
~try juggling, specifically cat juggling (I would like my furry children to still love me)

Yep, I married a comedian. And I'm still bored.

Kitty Bliss

A soft bed, a warm sunny spot, a good nap...

... that's all Doogie needs to be happy.

Of course, being surrounded by batting he pulled out of a bag and dragged by his bed all by himself always helps. This cat is fascinated by the strangest things.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


So much for that packed lunch the other day. Steven's been sick for about a week, and it finally hit me full force yesterday. I woke up with a 100-degree fever, so I had to call in sick. I felt terrible about having to do that since I only have 13 days total to tutor, but there was just no way I could go in.

Today is another day spent in bed feeling lousy, but at least the fever is gone. If I don't update much this week, you'll know why.

Today is supposed to be my temporary housecleaning day, but it's not happening. Getting off schedule puts me so on edge!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sandwich alternatives

When I'm working at a school, I prefer to pack a lunch that I don't have to reheat. This is partly because I don't want to compete for a microwave, and partly because I'm antisocial at lunch and like to stay in my classroom and read.

I'm not a big sandwich eater. They're okay, but if I can eat something else, I will.

Tonight with our dinner, we had BLT Cucumbers. They're fabulous, in my opinion. I figured they'd be good with my lunch tomorrow, but they're a bit messy to eat. I opted to cut them up and toss 'em all in a container like a salad.

For protein I made some spicy chickpeas. They are super simple to make, and they taste great, although I think they could use a bit more spice. They can be eaten like finger food and make a great snack.

Some crackers and a couple of cookies will round out the meal.

Spicy Chickpeas

Mix together:
1 can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
1 Tbls. sesame oil (you can substitute olive oil)
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp coriander

Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.

501st booth at All-Con

I didn't go to All-Con with Steven because this convention really holds no interest for me. However, Steven just sent me a picture of the 501st booth "for my blog." So, here you go:

That's Mike Edmonds, who played Logray the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, standing in front of the action figure card.

The photo comes from 501st member Chris from Arkansas.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Star Wars Living Room

I posted the other day about our garage filled with Star Wars banners and stuff. Steven is the PR officer for his stormtrooper garrison, so he has the job of setting up the 501st booth at the big nerd convention this weekend, otherwise known as All-Con.

We did a mock set-up in our living room the other night, and I was told I couldn't post any pictures until today. He didn't want to spoil the surprise or something for the other geeks. Because, you know, so many of them read my housewife blog.

Please enjoy the pictures of the only time my living room will be decorated in Star Wars:

That giant Vader thing? That would be a life-size action-figure card. You stand between it and the little Star Wars sign to have your picture taken. Making yourself look like an action figure is all the rage in Nerdville.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Eating pretty

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is holding an impromptu dish carnival, which means I get to show off my dishes.

First up is the fine china we registered for when we married. It's Royal Doulton's Oxford Blue. After disagreeing on almost every set of dishes we saw (what does the man have against pink???), this set made us both happy with its simple elegance:

The everyday dishes we registered for are Pfaltzgraff's Amalfi. This pattern was all the rage in the 90s, but it's looking a tad dated these days. I still like it, though:

Last, we have my parents' wedding china, which is Noritake's Vienne. My parents are still very much alive and happily married; they just have a weird obsession with dishes. Once they had something like 12 or 14 sets of dishes, they had to get rid of some. I happily took the wedding china:

I used to have a set of white everyday dishes, but too many were broken or cracked, so I got rid of them. As I had 2 sets of fine china sitting unused in my cabinets, I decided to get brave: I use my parents' wedding china as everyday dishes, and I put them in the dishwasher, platinum band and all. You know what? They're not at all harmed by that daring action! I'm now considering trying it with my wedding china!

Snow-covered chaos

I worked today. I checked the weather report online last night before going to bed, and it said it might snow late tonight. I didn't check it again in the morning.

I should have.

It started snowing about mid-day. To those of you who live up north, I'm sure this is no big deal, but down here in Texas, we freak out. The school district decided (foolishly, in my opinion) not to close school early. Instead, by keeping the schools open, they caused a major headache for the office and teachers. Parents were arriving in droves to pick up their kids early. The office was was working like crazy to track down all those students. When the bell rang to change from 7th to 8th period, it appeared that only about a third of the students were left. And the ones who were left were restless. I only had 4 students (should have been 8, and soon down to 3), and it was hard to keep even a tiny group focused.

Because I didn't check the weather this morning, I was dressed for the weather as it was this morning, which was just chilly and gray. I was wearing a knee-length skirt with tights, and my only coat was a wool jacket that dressed up my outfit. No gloves, no long coat, and only dress shoes on my feet, I had to scrape all this:

But the trees looked lovely as I drove past:

To make matters worse, my gas light was on. I knew about this, as I'd meant to fill up the car yesterday, but as I didn't go anywhere, I forgot. I didn't have time before work, and I knew it would be no problem to do it after. But I didn't count on the weather. I didn't factor in the possibility of having to sit with the car on defrost while I worked for 10 minutes to get the piles of snow off my car. I didn't factor in getting stuck in a one-lane road behind a VW that refused to go faster than 10 mph, even though it was only snowy and not icy.

Thankfully, I made it to the gas station, then home. Whew!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Star Wars garage

Steven worked in the garage last weekend to get banners and a life-size action figure card ready for All-Con this weekend. As PR officer for Star Garrison of the 501st Legion, he's in charge of setting up their booth at the convention.

Our neighbor came over, took one look, and told Steven he needs to get out of the 80s.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Back in the classroom again

Just imagine that title sung to the tune of "Back in the Saddle Again."

I have a job each spring tutoring middle schoolers in preparation for the reading portion of the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test. I had a 100% success rate with my 7th graders last year, and 99% with my 8th graders.

This year I'm only tutoring 7th graders, and it's proving to be much easier this time around. I'm working Tuesdays and Thursdays all during the school day. While I had to move between two different rooms last year, this year I have one room all to myself all day long. Woo-hoo!

Unfortunately, it's also a storage room, so I don't have much space to set up. But, hey! It's MINE!

Monday, March 3, 2008

We have snow!!!

We don't get a lot of wintery weather here in North Texas, but we usually get something in January or February. Not this year. However, I was quite surprised by the snow we received tonight.

These pictures were taken from my front porch this evening. Doesn't my crepe myrtle look beautiful all covered in snow?

Stormtroopers--in church!

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about being embarrassed by the state of my house when the pastor came over because he and his police partner wanted to see Steven's Star Wars stuff. It was also because he was going to have Steven help him with that Sunday's sermon illustration.

Here's how that went down:

The pastor started a series called Get Real. He wanted the stormtroopers to illustrate the point of fantasy v. reality. He had the guys come up and act as if they were real stormtroopers. He did a little Q&A asking about a stormtrooper's typical day, what they like about Earth, etc. Then he had them do something that the 501st rarely does in public: They unmasked.

He then introduced my husband and mentioned that the stormtrooper thing is just play-acting, but the reality is that these guys have real lives. He mentioned that Steven and I are making an impact in the world by working with the youth and leading a middle-school small group. He had the guys all introduce themselves, tell their occupations, and say a little about their real lives.

This led into the actual sermon. He asked the congregation to think about their definition of success. The world tends to tell us that success is having a fabulous job, making lots of money, living in an amazing house, driving a cool car, etc. But if that's your definition of success, your perspective is skewed. We have a tendency to hide behind the facade of the world's definition of success to avoid the reality of spiritual matters.

He used Luke 12:22-34 and Matthew 6:19-34 as his biblical passages for the day. True success is found in spiritual matters. Having earthly treasures doesn't mean a thing if you have no heavenly treasures. We are not to worry ourselves by striving after the things of the world, but we are to seek God's kingdom. The reality is that we are to put God first in our lives, live lives that are pleasing to God, and honor him in all we do. We are to give up the facades and get real by taking care of what's truly important.

If you'd like to hear the sermon, including the funny stormtrooper bit, you can listen to it here. The stormtrooper part is about one-third of the way through. I did actually catch it on video, but I made a major mistake: I was chewing gum. As my mouth was near the camera, but the guys were clear across the room, the sounds of my chewing are a little too clear. It sounds very unsophisticated, so I won't share it with you.

I have a few extra pictures just for fun. First, our wonderful youth minister being held captive by the stormtroopers:

The troopers with the pastor:

The troopers unmasked with the pastor and his wife:

Saturday, March 1, 2008

A Most Unusual Party - Part 2

The other half of our Most Unusual Party was to show off our unusual talents or objects.

I opted to sing show tunes in Norwegian. You've never heard "Tomorrow" from Annie until you've heard it in Norwegian!

We had a piece of the Berlin Wall, a recitation of all 50 verses of Psalm 18 (memorized!!!), an odd one-legged wooden guy who does karate chops, we learned that someone briefly dipped in college (ewwww!), and someone's family almost bought the Amityville horror house.

John has webbed toes:

Marylou brought a Filipino tribal thing and proceeded to dress John in it:

Dan blew fire. I didn't catch it very well on camera, but if you look carefully above him, you'll see a little of it before it burned out:

Stan, who is freakishly smart, solved a Rubik's Cube puzzle. Twice. In mere moments:

Cristie brought Aboriginal jewelry she got in Australia:

And last, but certainly not least, my husband sang a song that he wrote back in college for a friend who was always falling for girls with boyfriends. The song is titled "She's My Bathsheba" after the story from 2 Samuel 11 of King David falling in love with Uriah's wife Bathsheba as she was bathing on her roof: