Night in Paris

Night in Paris Flyer





Give me an occasion
and a good theme
and I will do my best
to make it come to life.






Boarding Pass

Ticket to the event


Before nearly 400 kids arrived in their gorgeous attire from 10 surrounding stakes, here is what we created for A Night in Paris.

(Click photos to enlarge) Continue reading


Justinian & Theodora: Rise of a Farmer & a Striptease

Justinian and Theodora

Mosaics at San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy

I’ve recently become enamoured of the Byzantine Empire (aka the Eastern Roman Empire) – its culture, its history, its people. And no one is more fascinating and endearing than Constantinople’s ultimate power couple: Theodora and Justinian. Over the course of a couple posts, I want to share their story with you – and hopefully you will come to love them as I do.

It’s All About Who You Know
This story begins with Justinian, born in 482 AD as Petrus Sabbatius, a peasant from Thrace (modern-day Macedonia). His family owned a farm, and so he would have probably grown up to be a farmer–if it wasn’t for his Uncle Justin.

Uncle Justin had joined the Roman army in his youth, and through many years of service had worked his way up in the military to become Commander of the Excubitors (a kind of palace guard) in the empire’s capital at Constantinople. Once in command, Justin invited his young nephew to come and live with him in the city where Petrus lived for 20 years, gaining an education and experience in the court of the emperor.

Then the emperor died.

Well That’s Convenient
Emperor Anastasius passed away on 9 July 518 AD at 87 years of age, leaving behind no heir to the throne. In this way, Justin – as Commander of the Excubitors – found himself in a very interesting and strategic position. Continue reading

Second Milers

Extra Mile


“Anything worth doing, is worth doing right.”
Hunter S. Thompson

“I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Success begins at the extra mile.”
Yuikan Shirik

If you are going to undertake something grand (ie a Prom), three rules of thumb are necessary for its success.
1.  Pray for inspiration.
2.  Give it your all – and then some.
3.  Surround yourself with talented people who are willing to do the same.

At a recent track meet, Hoka athletics (the event sponsor) handed out these 27.2 stickers. You may have seen similar oval bumper stickers with numbers like (26.2), or (13.1).  For non-runners, these numbers may make little sense, but for distance athletes, these digits tell a story.  Stickers marked 26.2 or 13.1 is a proclamation that this person ran a marathon or half-marathon.

Pretty awesome accomplishment.  But if 26.2 is the number of miles in a marathon, and 13.1 the number of miles in a half-marathon, what’s with the 27.2?  Quick math or a peek at this blog’s title gives it away.  It’s the extra mile.  A suggestion to go a second mile further.

I love this concept with sports, but I love this even more as a metaphor for life.  Continue reading

UnCommon Courtesy

photo: iStockphoto.comDNY59


“Life is short, but there is always
time enough for courtesy.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I was raised right – I talk about people behind their backs.
It’s called manners!”
Kathy Griffin, Comedian

“Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you.”
Elsie De Wolfe

Morning Meltdown
So, I’m driving my boys to school the other morning along with every other parent in the tri-city area. (What happened to the days when we walked to school?)  Anyhow, streets are narrow, traffic is bumper-to-bumper, 3/4 of us are still in our pajamas, and the snail-paced rush hour is only a test of patience in our attempt to get to school – on time. But this did not excuse the very bad behavior of one mom.

Three of us approached a 3-way stop T-intersection.  Two of us reached the intersection at the same time (me and the guy across going in the opposite direction).  After we stopped, me and the guy logically continued.  But the gal to my left (who had stopped last) apparently thought someone had done her wrong because she screeched around the corner and butted up right behind the guy wailing on the horn, flipping her finger in the air, yelling profanities. Continue reading

Han Shot First: An Open Letter to George Lucas on May the 4th

Hey George,

It’s May the 4th, and that means one thing: we get to have a nice chit-chat about the some of the greatest films ever made: your Star Wars trilogy.

I know you get this a lot, but I love Star Wars. I really do. For as long as I can remember, I have been watching these movies. Return of the Jedi was always my favorite, but I have recently gained a greater appreciation for the Empire Strikes Back. I always wanted to be like Obi-Wan, and have Han Solo for a friend. I laughed at C-3PO and cheered on Luke and Leia. And who hasn’t ever wanted their own lightsaber?

But there is one problem I have with the Star Wars films: you, George.

Don’t get me wrong – you are a great guy, and I love and respect you for creating this world, these characters, this story. They are pieces of art, and amongst the greatest works in all of film (in my opinion). Outside of these films, you have also created and contributed to the creation of many other great works (like your collaboration with Steven Spielberg on the Indiana Jones films). Simply stated, I think you are BRILLIANT.

But dagnabbit, George, if your tampering with the original Star Wars trilogy isn’t the perfect validation of “the Death of the Author” philosophy, I don’t know what is. Continue reading