It is what it is: Merry Christmas and may the Force be with you

You could say I’m a little excited about the new Star Wars movie. In fact, you might say I feel like I could take on the whole Empire myself.

For those who have been hiding under a rock on the planet farthest from the bright center of the universe, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is set for release on Dec. 18. And yes, we’ve already reserved our tickets.

Now, I’m not the biggest Star Wars geek out there. It was fun to take the kids to the prequels, but my favorites are the first two — by which I mean the movies now known as Episodes IV and V.

I have to leave it to other family members to tell me in what shipyard the Millennium Falcon was constructed, but I can tell you it’s the ship that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. And last month was the first time in 30-plus years that I asked for a Star Wars toy for my birthday. The remote control Millennium Falcon drone I got is the second Falcon toy I’ve owned — I got my first Millennium Falcon back in the 1980s, and was dismayed when a few years ago, I asked if any of those toys were around for my kids to play with, and learned that they had been donated for a church rummage sale.

Of course, our house is still filled with lots of Star Wars toys that belong to my kids. We thinned out some of them as the kids have gotten older, but they have held on to some — my son’s Lego Death Star, for one — and there are a few that I might’ve pulled out of the give-away pile and stashed in my tool cabinet because I just couldn’t bear to see them go.

And to celebrate the season, there’s a Darth Vader with a Santa Claus hat decorating our front yard.

My memory may be a little bit fuzzy on this, but my first exposure to Star Wars came a long time ago in what feels like a galaxy far, far away — a rainy day during a family summer vacation. We were renting a cottage on a lake in Maine, and went into town to see “The Empire Strikes Back.” I would’ve been 6 at the time, and I remember being terrified. After all, the opening scenes are of the hero getting attacked by a monster — pretty scary stuff. In fact, the whole movie is a pretty dark introduction to the series.

But I also remember going home afterward and trying to move everything and anything using the Force. I did my best to follow Yoda’s advice, trying to focus. I tried to feel the Force around me, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere.

While I never succeeded in moving anything, and as it turns out, Jedi knight isn’t a legitimate career choice in this galaxy, over the years, I’ve certainly found Yoda’s advice to be as good as anyone’s.

For example, success in any endeavor takes the deepest commitment and a most serious mind. You have to live your life with your mind in the present — not always looking away to the future. If you’re going to attempt something, put yourself in it wholeheartedly. Do or do not; there is no try.

When you’re struggling with difficult situations, clear your mind — you will make your best decisions when you’re calm and at peace.

And understanding that there’s an interconnectedness among all living things, an energy that surrounds us and binds us — that’s a positive message no matter what the season.

About the only place I start to differ with Yoda’s advice is when it comes to craving adventure and excitement. While those things aren’t good for aspiring Jedi knights, they are perfectly appropriate for moviegoers, and I’m plenty excited for a new Star Wars adventure.

So until then, may the Force be with you.

Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at

More in Life

Appease your child’s picky palate with these tasty Tater Tots. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Tots to be thankful for

Two years ago, I spent the entirety of Thanksgiving Day in my green rocking chair, cradling my newborn son.

Minister’s Message: Keep in step

Sometimes it takes going half way around the world to learn how to “keep in step” as I journey.

Shelli and Mike Gordon pose in October 2011 at their Halibut Cove, Alaska, home in an Alaska Gothic version of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” painting. (Photo courtesy of Mike Gordon)
‘Dagnabit’ features tales of ’80s wild Alaska

Gordon’s second book also tells of Ruben Gaines, creator of Chilkoot Charlie.

Before boiling, this handmade pasta is rolled, cut and tossed in flour to keep from sticking. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Pasta by hand

Learning one of the most important task of the Italian kitchen: making the pasta.

Will Morrow (courtesy)
The Great Thanksgiving dessert debate

Our holiday gathering is going to be smaller than it sometimes is, and it was argued that we didn’t need two desserts.

Dianne Spence-Chorman’s “Fig Study” is one of the works showing in the Homer Council on the Arts “Fun wtih 5x7” show through Dec. 22, 2021, at the gallery in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
‘Fun with 5×7’ offers affordable art

HCOA annual art show presents art in a variety of media, all in 5x7 format.

Make pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes for a decadent fall treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: In honor of ‘Cupcake Mondays’

Pumpkin chocolate chip with cinnamon buttercream cupcakes brighten up the dreariest of work.

Nick Varney
Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: Back off, Zeus

If this wet-n-warm, freeze, then start again, continues much longer, Kachemak Drive will need a complete redo.

The cover of Tom Kizzia’s book, “Cold Mountain Path,” published by Porphyry Press in October 2021. (Photo provided)
‘Cold Mountain Path’ explores ghost town history of McCarthy

Kizzia’s book looks at McCarthy history from 1938 to the town’s revival as a tourist destination.

Melinda Hershberger works on her installation for the Kenai Art Center’s collaborative mural project on Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Wall-to-wall creativity

Artists collaborate on a single mural at the Kenai Art Center this month.

This spectacular and simple marshmallow recipe is an easy way to wow at holiday potlucks. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Power puffs

Don’t dread the dreaded potluck with this five-ingredient marshmallow recipe.

In this 1950s image, Chell Bear (left) and Lawrence McGuire display a stringer of small trout they caught through the ice in front of the homestead cabin of Bob Mackey, for whom the Mackey Lakes were named. (Photo courtesy of the Kenai Peninsula College Historic Photo Repository)
History with a sense of humor, Part 2

The second in a two-part collection of humorous tales gleaned from old newspapers on the central Kenai Peninsula.