Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2012 Oscars...

Winning the Knudsen family Oscar competition is becoming Webb’s monopoly. The rest of us have a hard time competing. I believe it’s at least Webb’s 3rd or 4th consecutive year as the victor.

I probably saw a few more of the movie nominees this year than I usually do. And the movies I saw, I really enjoyed.

The Artist and The Help were two personal favorites, so I was delighted to see The Artist get Best Picture.

It sounds like Webb won (or tied) a few other Oscar contests he entered with friends and co-workers. Out of 24 Oscars, Webb correctly guessed 19. This score wouldn’t ace one of my statistics tests but it garnered him 1st place in our household....which goes to show you what a difference the competition makes (or doesn’t in this instance!).

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A Tribute to the Berenstain Bears...

“They say jokes don’t travel well, but family humor does. Family values is what we are all about.” -Jan Berenstain

Jan Berenstain, 88 years old, of The Berenstain Bears books died of a stroke last Friday. Her husband, the co-author and co-illustrator of the 300 plus book collection passed away back in 2005.

Not everyone loved the Berenstain Bears book; some critics find them too didactic. But, the books with moral lessons from an anthropomorphic family of bears have sold over 260 million copies in 23 languages since 1962 (not bad!).

The books cover the host of issues kids go through: the arrival of a baby sibling from the hospital, visiting the dentist, poor sportsmanship, going camping, dealing with bullies, and so on (ad nauseam!). The book’s themes of safety, manners, loyalty, honestly, etc. literally run the gamut!

The bear stories pretty much follow a formula: The action begins when Brother Bear or Sister Bear faces a problem. They turn to Papa Bear, whose solution to the problem usually makes things worse. Then Mama Bear (our hero!), enters in and makes everything right. Aha!, no wonder mothers everywhere endorse, buy, and read these books to their kids!

The books pale in comparison to Dr. Seuss for me personally (they’re cute but a little syrupy), but the Berenstain Bears books are clearly a huge franchise in themselves (think Happy Meals toys to Berenstain Bears Graham Cracker Cookies). In fact, in 2009, Walden Media announced a feature length film on the Berenstain Bears books but the movie, described as something like the movie Elf, is still in the script phase of production.

Even though I find them in a different category than Dr. Seuss (ie. not exactly classic) they’ve clearly had a huge impact on children for the past 50 years (myself included). They were read to me, I read them to my kids, and thanks to my Mom giving us a massive collection, I’ll be able to read them to my grandkids too, which is all pretty cool, even if they’re a little saccharin.

“It’s wonderful to do something you love for so many years. Not everyone has that.” -Jan Berenstain

Monday, February 27, 2012

Another name for you is Paige...

“A sister can be seen as someone who is both ourselves and very much not ourselves - a special kind of double.” - Toni Morrison

Andie had a funny exchange teaching Primary in the Los Gatos Ward a week or so ago. When she told her class that that her name was Andie Knudsen one of the boys added “And another name for you is Paige.”

People in our ward get Paige and Andie confused a lot. Not the people who know our family but 3 other groups: the elderly, young children, and new move-ins. When Paige returned home after BYU people would inadvertently call her Andie. Now Paige has moved but Andie’s been coming and she’s getting referred to as Paige.

It’s not beyond the realm of understanding since they can look alike. But, their personalities are pretty different which is why people who know them don’t usually get confused.

But, Andie was delighted to be told that another name for her is Paige, and because of the frequent mix-ups the girls have gotten used to answering to anything they’re called.

I was thinking about my girls this morning since they’ll be hanging out together in southern California today! Hence this post about their similarities (looks) and differences (radiant but unique personalities). Sisters!

“If you don’t understand how a woman could both love her sister dearly and want to wring her neck at the same time, then you were probably an only child.” -Linda Sunshine

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Happily Ever After....

Elizabeth Smart was engaged to get married this summer and then pulled off a surprise wedding in Hawaii at the Laie temple last week. It was a clever move to up the date so the paparazzi vultures weren't hovering.

Smart met Matthew Gilmour when they both served in the Paris France mission and then began their relationship after being released. I’m really happy for her!

Our resident-Elizabeth-Smart-expert, aka Andie, heard the news after I did (now there’s a surprise!).

We also went to Jenae Kingsbury’s wedding to Todd Matthews yesterday in Oakland. It’s hard to believe Jenae is old enough to get married; it feels like we’ve watched her grow up.

So, in the spirit of marriage I’ll post some advice for brides and grooms alike. It’s appropriately called “The Art of a Good Marriage” by Wilferd Arlan Peterson

“A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things...

It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once each day.

It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.

It is speaking words of appreciation and
demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.

It is not only marrying the right partner...
It is being the right partner.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Parenting 101...

“And what is our real job, as parents, if not first to nurture the beings entrusted to our care, to have faith in their inchoate processes of growing and becoming, and then to show up, again and again, for as long as we are able, to bear grateful witness to their unfolding destinies?” -Kate Kenison

I love this quote. It encompasses parenting at every stage because after the nurturing years we’ve got a lot of years to exercise faith in our kids, and finally, to always pitch up to their games, performances, their accomplishments, their every things, and show our pride and as they develop their unique gifts.

Going into parenting I had no clue of the joys, watching kids good choices, and the sorrows, those times when they thwart their own progress. It seems that being a parent of adult children is no less fraught with emotion than the days when they were just youngsters!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Home Beach Home...

Paige’s new digs are in Huntington Beach aka (the true) Surf City, USA! Paige called it her Home Beach Home, so I'll copy that phrase.

Huntington Beach looks like a fun place for Paige, her beach cruiser bike will be perfect here. I drove down to deliver her “stuff” and to help Paige get settled in.

These are some of my favorite projects; helping my kiddos unload, basically make a big mess, then organize and spruce up their new dwellings. There are plenty of tasks I’m lousy at, but this is one job that works well for my skill set.

There also happen to be good life lessons amidst the chaos of a move. For example, Paige’s heavy new bed and mattress was already in a particular spot so we starting working around it, finding other locations for the dresser, bookshelf, end table, etc. Except at one point I knew that the ideal place for the bookshelf would mean the hassle of moving the bed.

I almost didn’t bother. There was another spot we could set up the bookshelf that would work. Going the easy route wouldn’t slow down the process and waste time shifting the bed. But, I also knew it would bug me; when something isn’t quite right, the gnawing bother can be relentless!

So, my obsessive nature took over and I moved the bed enough to put the bookcase where it should go. And wa 'la, everything came together! In fact, the re-arrange didn’t really take that long.

Sometimes I can be well into a project and realize the simplest option is to power through but the best option is to go back and correct something before I go any further. Obviously I’m reluctant to back track but sometimes it’s better for the long term outcome.

So, that’s just a quick metaphor from getting Paige moved into her new place in Huntington Beach. But, it’s not all work and no play here in the OC. Oh no. We’ve been to Sprinkles Cupcakes and Yogurtland and Fashion Island and yummy dinners; just to make sure I get in a so cal vacation too! Paige and I even ran into my lifelong buddy, Shelly Tingey, on a trip from Utah, at the Lululemon store - talk about a what-are-the-odds coincidence!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

To live in this world...

“To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:

to love what is mortal;

to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;

and, when the time comes to let it go,

to let it go.”

-Mary Oliver

I always love the way Mary Oliver can capture something and say it exactly how it should be said. She is definitely one of my favorite contemporary poets!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Give It Up.....for Lent!

Give it up.....for Lent!

It’s cool that Lent falls on 2/22/12 this year (almost all 2’s). But the best part of Lent (for me anyway) is that fact that we don’t give up 2 things, or 3 or more, but just 1!

1 is a good number for me! I tend to be more of a 1 on 1 person. And, "1 thing at a time" is a slogan I can work with.

So, since 1 goal of abstinence works well for my singular-focused personality type, I’m generally pretty successful when it comes to observing Lent.

In fact, the past two Lenten seasons have been some of my best. In 2010 I quit drinking Diet Coke. Which, for the record, was really hard. Then, in 2011 I quit drinking Diet 7-up (and all carbonated drinks) that had replaced the Diet Coke. And, best of all, I didn't just quit for Lent, but I’ve stayed off all carbonated drinks. And that is a vice I’m proud to be rid of!

So, this year I’m going to give up (drumroll please)......all breads! That might sound lame, but I am a real bread fiend. So it will be a good experience for me to have to get my supply of carbohydrates via fruits and vegetables. Starting now (but just until Easter).

This won’t be like my expulsion of soda from the diet, once Lent is over I might have to have a Bread Buffet to celebrate my re-entry!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Line of Thought...

Lines by Martha Collins

Draw a line. Write a line. There.
Stay in line, hold the line, a glance
between the lines is fine but don’t
turn corners, cross, cut in, go over
or out, between two points of no
return’s a line of flight, between
two points of view’s a line of vision.
But a line of thought is rarely
straight, an open line’s no party
line, however fine you point.
A line of fire communicates, but drop
your weapons and drop your line,
consider the shortest distance from x,
to y, let x be me, let y be you.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Toast to the Terrys...

“Condiments are like old friends, highly thought of - but often taken for granted.” -Marilyn Kaytor

No, I don’t consider Sprinkles cupcakes as condiments! Rather, this is a blog post about old friendships. And what an inspiration they can be! We had a reconnection with our old friends, Jon and Suzie Terry this year and it’s been one of those “tender mercies” that make life sweet.

We first met the Terrys in La Jolla before Paige was born. They moved into our ward; a darling newlywed couple. Then, when Brent served as Bishop, Jon was his counselor. The Terrys were sweet friends many years back and we’ve kept in touch through Christmas cards and occasional sightings over the years.

So, when Paige was planning to relocate to Huntington Beach, Brent realized the Terry’s lived just a little south of that area. As Brent checked in with them about housing ideas, Jon insisted Paige was welcome to bunk up at their place until she found somewhere to live.

Initially we thought it might be for a week. Maybe two. I mean poor Paige has been living out of a suitcase! But, several room situations didn’t pan out and Paige ended up with the Terry family for a month and a half. And they couldn’t have been nicer about the imposition. We’d check in to see if Paige had overstayed her welcome and they would assure us that Paige was family and they’d be sorry to see her leave.

I was so touched by the Terry's kindness. They made us feel like it was no big deal, and while I know Paige tried hard to be unobtrusive, let’s face it, house guests are house guests.

Generous people always make me want to “pay if forward” when we’ve been served. We were lucky to know the Terry’s back when we lived in La Jolla and so grateful they were willing to let Paige stay with them now.

In fact, the day Paige moved out she told me that Suzie had just been called to be the new ward Relief Society President. The Bishop who extended that call is one smart guy. Because, based on how kind she was to Paige, Suzie will be great in that position; she’s a natural at providing relief!

Oh, yes, the Sprinkles "Thanx A lot" box of cupcakes was left by Paige for the Terry crew to enjoy!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Libraries...what’s not to love!

"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” -Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine poet

The new Los Gatos Library finally opened last Saturday. It culminates a 20 million dollar project for the town; 30,000 square feet of books, a technology lab, children’s area, computer bar, and even an outdoor patio.

How lucky am I to live a few blocks from a brand new library? Very lucky indeed! I’m pretty stoked! In fact, if we ever move, I’ll make sure the real estate stats sheet lists “walking distance to local library” as one of the highlights of our home!

"Book lovers will understand me, and they will know too, that part of the pleasure of a library lies in its very existence.” - Jan Morris

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where is your Dad?

One of the best things about having little kids over for play dates is the funny comments they come up with. On Wednesday when Jacob Smith came over he put together some pretty intricate Legos structures.

Then, at one point Jacob reminded me that the Bishop lives here too (which isn’t technically true anymore but I didn’t want to take on explaining the in’s and out’s of church leadership).

Shortly after his mention of the Bishop Jacob looked at me and asked: “So, where is your Dad?”

Assuming Jacob meant Brent, I find this quite adorable. It’s happened before with other kids too. They wrap their brain around the fact that Brent = Father and they’re trying to connect the dots to figure out how I fit into the picture. It’s happened to Andie at our house too.

Little kids seem to perceive a Mom as someone who has little kids (like them), so I don’t quite fit that description, my kids are too big and maybe I’m too old to be the mom.

So, this isn’t exactly that Brent looks like my Dad, it’s just the disconnect with the mind of a 4 year-old and putting the puzzle pieces together. In fact, maybe Jacob thinks that Brent is the Dad and I am the Grandma. Yikes!

Anyway, I simply told Jacob that my Dad was at work (which was probably true, for my real Dad, that is). Well, Jacob responded matter-of-factly that his Dad was at work too. So, that was that. And then, it was back to the Legos....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Peeling the Onion...

Peeling the onion can be a good metaphor to describe a gradual and layered process of learning.

It seems that while training to be therapists, there is a tendency for wannabes (like myself) to attempt to speed up the process of learning about a client and their issues.

But, like peeling an onion, sometimes/ofttimes the process is slow. You can’t take a cleaver to the onion during the first session.

It’s really not a far stretch from gleaning information from our kids too. When I used to accost my kids the second they walked in the door after a date I’d get zero details. When I asked questions sparingly, I was far more likely to get the interesting scoop.

It’s not the most profound observation but worthwhile. In the long run, we probably get more info from less interrogation. And, it’s probably true not just with our kids or therapy but for relationships in general. I find it worth noting anyway!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Closet Eater...

Sometimes my sense of humor is pretty lame. I can get caught up on something I find funny and laugh about it all day. Not non-stop, but, whenever I re-think about the humorous visual.

Yesterday I was reading a research article for one of my psychology classes. The case study involved a teenage young woman and referred to her as “a closet eater.” Now, I’ve heard this term before, so I’m not disparaging their lingo. But, the visual that popped into my head was a girl eating her closet! I mean, couldn’t you read “a closet eater” a couple of different ways?

So, the image of a girls who eats closets made me laugh and I laughed about it throughout the entire day. The bar is pretty low when it comes to humor, I’m an easy sell!

If anyone wants to test a joke, I may not be a good gauge because I will laugh at some of the dumbest things, things that a general audience might not appreciate. But, all in all, if I’m going to have low standards in something, this is probably as good a thing as any. A closet eater! Cracks me up!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Celebrating upcoming arrivals....

Becca didn’t really want a baby shower (to each his own and honestly, I can relate) but we did figure out an untraditional way to celebrate the impending arrival of Kennedy (if you ask Jared) or Hazel (if you ask Becca).

Hazel or Kennedy, chosen name notwithstanding, the Petersons are darling parents, so their 2nd daughter is wise to choose such a great home to land in. The transition to share rank with a sibling might be a bit of an adjustment for Chloe but she’ll figure it out!

We had a fun evening last Saturday and the best part was enlisting the men to participate; a couple’s shower soiree! Most of the guys had never been to a baby shower of sorts, so it was humorous to watch them bumble through the game and then have Jared designated to open presents. And, Jared was great with gifts; lots of “ooh's & aah’s."

Looking at the photo it’s apparent that I’m sort of the geezer of the group. And, in this bunch I might be the shortest too. Bummer all around! Although, maybe I used to be taller and I’m just shrinking in my old age. Probably not, but that’s one explanation (even if it isn’t true). Oh, well!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

love is more thicker than forget...

love is more thicker than forget
by e.e. cummings

love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is more mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

Valentines greetings and love to all!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Psalm of Nephi...

The Psalm of Nephi is a wonderful passage of scripture that is particularly poignant for dealing with discouragement. We spent most of the Sunday School lesson yesterday studying the 21 verses in 2nd Nephi 4:15-35, also fondly known as “Nephi’s Psalm.”

I love it when the scriptures set up a template that we can follow to work through life challenges. In 2nd Nephi, Nephi is troubled in a big way. His father, Lehi, just passed away and now Nephi needs to fill Lehi's shoes as the spiritual leader, as well as continue to endure the antics of his rebel brothers, Laman & Lemuel.

Nephi begins the psalm by sharing his anguish over his own failings (“O wretched man I am”). But, after expressing his despair, Nephi starts to question his own negative thoughts. He actually begins to look for alternative ways to look at his situation.

In other words, Nephi is asking the questions, and then, Nephi is answering his own questions. Go Nephi! Nephi starts to reframe his thoughts and actually transforms them from sorrow to joy. It’s really interesting to follow the verses closely and see the change.

Like Nephi, sometimes we really do need to choose not to be sorrowful. When Nephi says: “O my heart, give place no more for the enemy of my soul” he’s basically saying he can’t make room in his life for discouragement.

Nephi shows us things that can be a powerful antidote to discouragement, namely, writing our thoughts, counting our blessings, reading our scriptures, pondering, etc. And, another huge part of the equation is replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.

I was grateful to have the opportunity to teach the psalm of Nephi and be reminded that even prophets feel overwhelmed and discouraged at times. But, Nephi (because he was a prophet and I am not) understood that we mitigate the impact of discouragement through living the gospel and centering our life on Christ.

As usual, the class made excellent comments; those bright students can take my mediocre lessons and share insight that makes me feel like I’ve actually taught the class something (even if it’s indirectly).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Suing God....

I read a story of a man in Romania who sued God for "fraud" and "betrayal of trust" for failing to answer his prayers. The case was dismissed in court. Apparently, the court declared that they had no jurisdiction over God.

It's a humorous story but insightful. I can feel for the man and his plight. If my prayers aren't answered quickly I've been known to feel a little miffed. Or, if they aren’t answered in the way I might be expecting or wanting, it can be sort of perplexing.

Ah, but in feeling confused or unhappy with the answer, I’m afraid I miss the point of prayer.

Also, a Nebraska state senator tried to sue God several years ago seeking a permanent injunction to prevent God from committing acts of violence such as earthquakes and tornadoes. The case was thrown out because you can't sue God if you can't serve the papers on him.

I’m afraid the world has become a bit too litigious when people try to sue God. I’m just saying...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Where the Buffalo Roam...

This might be a “had to be there” experience but hopefully it will still work with the retell.

A week or so ago, Andie told a friend that it had been a rough morning getting out the door. This was shared (of course) via text messaging. So, I think her text officially said: It’s been a tough morning; I had a hard time getting out the door."

Justin replied (also through text): “Why? Was there a buffalo in front of your door?”

This achieved the desired result and immediately made Andie laugh (which she shared with me and I found it quite hilarious). Just the visual is perfect; you’re having a slow going morning, a hard time getting your act together and then you try to get out the door only to have a buffalo standing in your way!

Neither Andie or I can figure out what caused Justin to think of a buffalo blockading her exit but we definitely thought it was funny! In fact, I don’t know about Andie but I think it's hard to focus on a challenging time getting out of bed when you are suddenly plagued with bison images. Well, at least I got a kick out of the buffalo visual for most of that day (and then some) albeit I am fairly easily amused!

Friday, February 10, 2012

I See Dead People...

I hope this post won’t sound too disrespectful. It’s definitely borderline. But, I happened to be telling Webb about helping a family with dressing their deceased mother this week and Webb pointed out how unique my day-to-day life beyond school is compared to my fellow classmates.

I think the other students in my program would be quite taken aback if I described this experience of not just seeing dead people but helping to dress them too.

Frequenting mortuaries was never my hidden ambition. I’m quite an unlikely candidate for this duty of dressing the dead, but in the past 20 years it's a job I’ve done time and again.

My first opportunity was in Seattle around 1993 when Sister Taylor passed away and my Relief Society calling designated me as the one to help the family. Initially the idea sounded a little creepy and I wasn’t sure I was up for the task. Until I went. Low and behold, it turned out to be a sweet and tender experience. And very uplifting spiritually.

Since Sister Taylor’s death I’ve had numerous occasions to help. And, every time there is an overwhelming feeling of love in the room. The separation of the spirit from the body is real; I’ve had an almost visceral reaction noticing this every time I’ve helped.

Dressing the dead is one of those life experiences I wasn’t sure I wanted to have and then I learned what a rich opportunity it is after all. I wouldn’t trade the times I’ve been able to help families dress their mother or sister or even their baby. Yes, the baby was heartbreaking but still a beautiful experience.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Dodo Bird Verdict...

“Everybody has won and all must have prizes.” -Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The Dodo Bird Verdict is a term used when evaluating techniques in psychotherapy. The phrase comes from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

When several of the characters from Alice in Wonderland get wet, the Dodo bird issues a competition to run around the lake until they’re dry.

Nobody measures how far everyone runs and and nobody notes how long the running lasts. Finally, someone asks the Dodo bird who has won the race. The Dodo ponders this point, and then states that the race is over and that “everybody has won and all must have prizes.”

So, psychology has coined a term called "the dodo bird verdict.” It describes the consequence of the common factors theory. This is the theory that specific techniques that are applied in different types of psychotherapy and much of the positive effect of therapy is actually due to factors that the various types have in common.

These shared factors are having a relationship with a therapist who is warm, respectful, and friendly. Hence, whether someone is getting cognitive behavior therapy or object relations therapy or Jungian therapy, etc., all therapies are equal and all must have prizes! Or so the dodo bird verdict claims!

Some scientists who believe in empirical supported therapies would not consider this fair. These scientists would argue that specific therapies are helpful to specific people in specific situation with specific problems. But that’s probably information for another blog post!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Top on the List...

Andie and I have talked a bit about the dating scene recently. Suffice it to say, it gets old. And no, I’m not a participant but I do understand that simple fact. In some part, the monotony has prodded Andie to take a break from her singles ward and spend some time in our family ward for now. Maybe she just needed a change of scenery.

But, Andie made a comment that really impressed me (enough to even blog about!). Basically Andie’s new criteria in potential candidates for dating is looking for a father for her children.

That’s a bold statement but quite honestly it’s a great plan. Guys that would make lousy dads can immediately be given the heave-ho. Obviously there needs to be a companion connection too, but her dad measurement standard can clearly weed out some losers before she even needs to consider her own attraction.

Since I’m really hoping that all of my grandchildren will have amazing parents, I’m a big fan of Andie’s current dating stance to make sure any candidates would be good fathers. This should eliminate guys who have no goals and sit around playing video games.

It wasn’t the metric I used per se, but, I think it’s safe to say that my kids are blessed with a pretty great dad. Furthermore, I happen to know he’d do absolutely anything for them!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

And a 12 Hour Sunday...

I was feeling a little smug yesterday after I blogged about not minding our 3 hour church block. It probably wasn’t my most humble post and I apologize if I sounded a little aren’t-I-the-bomb, loving every minute of church on Sundays.

I really didn’t intend to sound bragadocious. In fact, my happy-to-spend-3-hours@church gushing was tempered a bit as I realized that Brent’s Sabbath workload was a full 12 hour day. Seriously.

Brent started his day at 6 am, which I can’t give him much sympathy for since he initiated that meeting (what was he thinking?). After that he went from church to one stake president duty and another, returning home after 6 pm.

Incredibly, he had no qualms about the extensive workload, rather he was energized by hearing stories of church members and their journeys. It turns out every member has a unique story and listening to testimonies makes a long day almost fly by.

Church leaders who give of their time so generously, as President Hodgman did, and now President Knudsen does, are blessed for their service. I really believe that. One of those blessings is clearly strengthening or shoring up of their own testimony. And vicariously, my own is buoyed up through Brent sharing his experiences.

Twelve hours is a long Sabbath work day, but there are a lot of worse ways to wile away a weekend!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Primary is prime time....

Andie got to substitute teach one of the more darling Los Gatos Ward Primary classes yesterday and they learned all about families! Meanwhile, the mother of one of Andie’s students was substituting in Relief Society so I heard her sweet lesson on women in the church during Christ’s ministry.

Maybe it is partly due to yesterday being a fast and testimony Sunday (ie. hunger might make me more humble and teachable), but I felt a great spirit during the whole church block.

Sometimes people are shocked to learn we spend three hours worshipping but it’s never really bothered me. I feel blessed for church attendance in innumerable ways. For one thing, it’s great to be among families that inspire me and make me want to try a little harder to be a little better (a la President Hinckley). I honestly feel like the Sabbath church block is a privilege.

I mean, seriously, look at these darling 5 & 6 year olds Andie taught in Primary; does it get any cuter?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Selective Hearing & Tempo Runs...

Ah, you’ve got to love how excited a stake president can get about gospel oriented things! With Brent’s new calling he’s all over any opportunity for spiritual growth. For the most part it’s endearing.

When Paige called on Saturday morning and mentioned her running group was doing a “tempo run,” what Brent heard was “temple run.” Granted, Paige can be difficult to understand but Brent really perked up about a temple run.

We’re not sure what he envisioned (run some miles, do a session, run some more?) but he’s was all over it. “A temple run,” Brent replied. “That sounds great! How does that work?”

Once he realized the Equinox running group was actually just running a fixed (think steady, specific, planned) pace for their Saturday “tempo” run, his excitement about Paige’s morning run dampened a bit.

But, Paige technically had her “temple run” on Thursday night at the Newport Beach Temple doing baptisms. So, this week she got in both, temple and tempo runs, which makes the stake president very happy:) Keep it up Pooge!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dinner is served...

Delectable or Disgusting!

According to Tia, Natalie is very specific on her meal reviews. She’ll classify dinner as either “delectable” or “disgusting” and not much in-between!

This came up out running when I had noted Natalie’s comprehensive vocabulary for a 3 year old. Seriously, do you know any other preschoolers who use the word “delectable?”

One funny thing about our conversation about Natalie’s distinct appraisals of the menu is how well it ties into something I’ve been learning about in school called “splitting.”

In early development, after babies figure out they are separate entities from objects around them (think their mothers), a follow up stage is when they identify objects (again, think mothers) as all good or all bad. If they get fed when they are hungry, they love mom; if they cry for food and mom doesn’t attend to their needs, they hate her. They can’t really distinguish anything in-between.

Unfortunately, some children never outgrow this splitting idea and even as adults they think of people or things as 100% good or 100% bad and no middle ground. So, Natalie’s dinner assessment is par for the course from a youngster; dinner is either amazing or lousy, with very little in between.

Friday, February 3, 2012

“The” 5 and Mark “The” Bishop Walton....

There is an ongoing debate between northern and southern Californians whether Interstate 5, which passes through the whole state, should be referred to as “5” or “the 5.”

Bay area residents simply say, “take I5 until...” but anyone in LA on down tells you to take “the” 5 (or the 405, whatever).

I’m not sure how both became cemented semantics in both regions, but they seem to persist. We’ve lived in northern California long enough that I don’t think I say “the 5” anymore but it may slip out since we lived 6 years in La Jolla.

To side with the north, we don’t say Easter the Bunny, but in fairness to the south, it is Smokey the Bear. Go figure!

What prompted all of this random thought was a funny phrase in an email from our RS President that began with “I just talked to the Bishop Walton.” I’m sure she meant to say “I just talked to the Bishop” OR “I just talked to Bishop Walton” but the two came together and it cracked me up.

There I was reading “the Bishop Walton” having a great laugh with no one to share in the humor. It’s funny, we always refer to “the bishop” or “bishop so-and-s0” but it’s never “the Bishop so-and-so.” Or, for that matter, the same thing goes for “the stake president.” However, the Stake President Knudsen will probably appreciate the fact I find all of this funny (he just wasn’t home).

Meanwhile, my three children, Andie (nor cal resident), the Webb and the Paige (both currently so cal) can all confirm whether the Interstate phraseology is true where they reside (Palo Alto, the LA, and the OC).

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Support Overload...

SOS! Sustaining an Overload of Support!

My academic advisor at Santa Clara is taking a medical leave to treat breast cancer. I heard about it recently from another professor, but initially was told to keep it under wraps. Now, the news is public via the department’s February newsletter.

Ironically, I haven’t officially met my advisor. I’ve been meaning to schedule an appointment since her regular office hours are the same time I’m in class. And Santa Clara will probably assign me to a new advisor for now, but I’m sorry to miss out on this woman since I’ve only heard great things about her.

The department newsletter that shared the news of our professor's diagnosis also included a touching and optimistic message from her explaining the situation. There was also a warning, or word of caution, from the Dean, for students to please refrain from contacting, writing, and calling her, since the genuine concern has been overwhelming and she is experiencing “Support Overload.”

Support Overload! I’ve never heard that term but it makes sense. When people belong to a service oriented church (hmm..I know one like that! :), or, in this case, are encircled by supportive and caring people, they could potentially experience an abundance of support that’s borders on exhausting. Interesting!

And, it sounds fitting to me that a professor of therapy would be inundated with well wishes from colleagues and people studying to become therapists. You couldn’t find a nicer group of people! I’ve been touched time and again with the caliber of students and professors in this program. All of whom will be sending prayers, good vibes, and positive energy the way of my former (and hopefully will be again at some point) academic advisor.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Tessting 1, 2, 3...

"The difference between school and life?

In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test.

In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson.”

So true! One of the tricky things for me is making sure I don’t miss the lesson. It isn’t that I’m a complete fool, but the lessons aren’t always obvious.

In school I had a test yesterday (for real) and I don’t know my final score but I already know of one problem I missed because I over thought the multiple choice options. But over thinking isn’t usually a problem in life. In fact, too many of us don’t think along the way and then we’re surprised when we end up repeating our same mistakes over and over again.

So, here is my take home lesson for the day. In school: learn my material and don’t overanalyze the tests! In life: Constantly analyze so I can continually learn from the tests!