Sunday, September 30, 2012

We don't really run the show....

       "I also think that kids are the best teachers of life's most profound spiritual lessons:
       that pain and suffering are as much a part of life as happiness and joy;
       that change and impermanence are all we can count on for sure; 
       that we don't really run the show; 
       and that if we can't find the maturity to surrender to these difficult truths, we'll always be unhappy that our lives aren't turning out the way we expected or planned.  
       Life doesn't go the way we expect or plan, and nobody's perfect, not ourselves or our children."  -Harriet Lerner 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Be Kind!

       “Three things in human life are important:  the first is to be kind, the second, is to be kind, and the third is to be kind.”  -Henry James

       If the real estate mantra is “location, location, location” then “kindness, kindness, kindness” should be our guide for living.  When I make an effort to be kinder, I definitely notice a difference.  Everything just goes better in my life generally; kindness can be magical.  

       "Nothing,"  wrote Tolstoy, ' can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness."  -from The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

Friday, September 28, 2012

Fits & Starts...

       "Learning proceeds in fits and starts."  -Jerold W. Aps

       I thought graduate school would get easier!  Whenever I had 2nd year students in classes last year I was sure they were experts; surely they knew the answers, obviously they were eons ahead of me in their psychology expertise.  
       Ha!  Now I'm one of those 2nd-year-in-the-program students and if anyone eyes me presuming my knowledge is comprehensive, well, they would be way way off.
        First of all, I thought that classes would get easier but that just goes to show you how much time has lapsed since I was in school.  I mean, is Calculus easier than Trigonometry?  Usually not.  So, I've come to the realization that there is a good reason many of the 1st year courses were prerequisites for classes I'm currently taking.  Think French 1 before French 2.  I guess this should be obvious.
       All this to say that Fall Quarter is not going to be easy!  If I keep up with the workload it shouldn't be too hard but the volume of reading alone looks pretty daunting.  So, here we go again...

       "For many, learning is a spiral, where important themes are visited again and again, each time at a deeper, more penetrating level."  -Jerold W. Aps

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Don't mistake routine for commitment.

       Since Yom Kippur was on Tuesday the Washington Post printed an article by Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld about the Jewish holiday.  The rabbi shared an analogy from a football player getting inducted to the Hall of Fame.  In his acceptance speech the player noted advice from a wise coach who once told him:  "Don't mistake routine for commitment."
       The quote is appropriate for Yom Kippur because it's a holiday where those of the Jewish faith can put their heart, soul, and intensity into their commitment to God. It's the day when they believe God will come out to meet them halfway, when the stumbling blocks or obstacles that get in the way of serving their God are removed.
       So, on Yom Kippur Jewish congregants can fully commit and not hold back anything in their desire to serve others and serve God.  Yom Kippur is that day to remind them of their commitments and of the greatness that can be acheived when they honor those commitments.
       Relative to commitments, I loved reading about the notion of not mistaking routine for commitment.  So often our routines become acts of going-through-the-motions and we lose sight of the more important reason for doing something.  This happens to me a lot actually so the sage advice to not mistake routine for commitment is something I hope to internalize.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The squeaky wheel....

       I'm a little embarrassed but I was the squeaky wheel (think annoying customer) when it came to my unceasing complaints about my Samsung washing machine.  I don't like to be obnoxious but sometimes you have to rant & rave to get a retailer to listen.
       It wasn't just the 4 unsuccessful repair attempts in the last 2 weeks that got to me, it was the 18 plus months of repeated issues with the machine.  I didn't have to provide a case history because Best Buy had their paper trail of service calls.
       So, I'm not sure if it was talking to the supervisor of the supervisor (and on up the ladder) that gave me the upper leg or if the numbers just started to add up but basically Best Buy was paying a lot to keep fixing a lemon machine that broke down almost monthly.  
       The economics must have justified an exchange and they finally delivered it yesterday.  Actually they tried to deliver it on  Monday but the first one they brought was defective (of course!) so they had to return again on Tuesday.  Webb thought the entire process was quite a comedy of errors (welcome to the world of Best Buy appliance customer service :).

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Finding Courage...

         "Courage is nine-tenths context. What is courageous in one setting can be foolhardy in another and even cowardly in a third." -Joseph Epstein

       Courage is making the effort to do the right thing, even in the face of uncertainty regarding the outcome. There are times we can be certain of a positive outcome, if we make the effort, and these times require no courage at all. Then, there are other times where we are fairly certain of a negative outcome and these are the times that require great courage.

       The most significant act of courage is when you confront evil even when it does not affect you and you stand to lose from this behavior.

       "Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tough (but Tender) Mothers!

       Last weekend was one of those where I really wanted to be 2 places at the same time!  When I realized that the Saratoga Stake Conference was the same weekend as the Tahoe Tough Mudder race, I knew I'd better not join the team Becca was putting together, although it sounded fun.  The race even fell on a Saturday but I don't think Brent would have appreciated me leaving him home alone to host the visiting authority coming for the conference.  
       So, I was grateful our running buddies texted a cute post race photo; I adore these girls!  They are much more tender than tough!  In fact, none of them look dirty enough.  Were they really sliding through underground mud tunnels?  I can look this filthy after running St. Josephs! 
       I do feel blessed to get to run with these great young moms.  "With" is probably not the right word because I can't really keep up with them these days but at least our running association brings us together and blesses my life in many ways.  
       They are all much wiser than I was at their age! And now, they've also proved they got the mental grit to tackle a hardcore obstacle course and still look darling at the finish line! So, as my girls would say: "What cuties!" 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A 3 Fritter Day?

       Today could be a 3 fritter day!  Brent, Paige and Korey are all on the roster for speaking in church.  And we uphold the family tradition to supply apple fritters for well-delivered talks!
       Paige & Korey are speaking in their new Costa Mesa Ward and Brent is speaking at Saratoga Stake Conference, his 2nd stake conference in this new calling. 
       We also have a visiting authority, Elder Jerryl Garns, from the quorum of the seventy here for the stake conference and he couldn't be a nicer guy.  Elder Garns spoke at the adult meeting last night and then stayed at our house.  For Brent to be able to spend time with such wonderful church leaders is one of the real blessings of serving. 
       In fact, it's too bad Elder Garns has to leave town today, otherwise I could buy him an apple fritter too, earned for his excellent comments at last night's meeting!   

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Alone on the Road...

       Yesterday I was completely alone on the road, driving in Los Gatos without another car in sight. No cars behind me, no cars ahead and total darkness.  I think it might have been a first.
       There was barely any traffic during the years of teaching early morning Seminary but yesterday was eerily different.  It wasn't just quiet, it was dead silent.  And, depending on your perspective, it's hard to say whether I was out late or up early.  It was 2 am.  
       The reason I was driving at such a odd hour made sense at the time.  I had planned on dropping some birthday treats on a friend's doorstep early Friday morning.  Since my usual wake-up is before many people get up, the plan would have worked just fine.
       But, for some reason I woke up before 2 am, which was strange because I generally sleep well.  And then it was frustrating because I couldn't get back to sleep which is unusual.  After tossing and turning I surmised that I could lay in bed annoyed at the insomnia or I could efficiently make my delivery right then, since I wasn't sleeping anyway.  
       After a few blocks in the car I noticed there was not a soul on the road so I decided to see how far I'd go before encountering another moving vehicle.  There was not a single car driving down Los Gatos Boulevard and nothing for several miles on Blossom Hill Road.  It started to feel a little unnerving. 
       At some point I realized that as far as safety goes, this was probably a good thing.  Because, if you think about it, who is out driving at 2 am besides weirdos anyway?  Well, weirdos and maybe crazy old insomniac ladies delivering birthday treats. :)  

Friday, September 21, 2012

Trusting My Instinct...

       "Instinct is the nose of the mind."  -Madame de Girardin 

      I need to learn to trust my instincts!  My ongoing washing machine repair story is a case in point.  
       First, I was leery initially to buy a Samsung because the name seems like an electronic brand trying to get into a new market and I think they do TV's better than they do home appliances (in my experience anyway). 
      I did have the good sense to buy an extended warranty so at least the multiple service calls have all been covered.  Otherwise I would have paid for our washing machine twice in new parts and labor.  
       But the latest break-down has been another good reminder to not back down from my gut instinct.  When the service guy showed up (almost 2 weeks ago!) I told him that the problem seemed to be the motor but he gave me the "lady, what do you know?" look which causes me to question my judgement and fall into my "I'm just the consumer and he's the repair guy" mode of reasoning.  
       Then, Mr. smarty pants repair guy diagnosed a water pump problem, ordered the part, left and returned a week later, once the part came in.  After the 2nd visit he was confident all systems were a-go so it was surprising when the washer stopped midway through the first load.  Finally, on his 3rd appointment, he conceded that the problem was, after all, the motor! (um, I told you so!) But, by this point while I felt redeemed for being right, it was annoying to wait for another part.  
       Why won't anyone listen to me?  And why wasn't I more bold when he resisted my assessment of the machine's trouble being motor-related? 
       This morning, our 4th visit for this particular repair, is scheduled.  Since the 3rd time was not the charm (as the saying goes) I hope the 4th time is the final.  I am tired of collecting quarters and tired of going to the laundromat.  But, yes, Paige: I now have appreciation for what you go through without a washer & dryer in your apartment.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Marriage versus Dating...

       I thought this quote on marriage was apropos since I've recently had 2 daughters take the plunge:

       “When I look at my friend’s marriages, with their routine day-to-dayness, they actually seem far more romantic than any dating relationship might be.

       Dating seems romantic, but for the most part it’s an extended audition. Marriage seems boring, but for the most part it’s a state of comfort and acceptance

       Dating is about grand romantic gestures that mean little over the long-term. Marriage is about small acts of kindness that bond you over a lifetime. It’s quietly romantic. He makes her tea. She goes to the doctor appointment with him. They listen to each other’s daily trivia. They put up with each other’s quirks. They’re there for each other.” -Lori Gottlieb, author of Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Paige Who?

       When I attended the South Coast Ward in Costa Mesa recently, the bishopric read in new records.  It took me a moment to compute when I heard "Paige Nelson" and my daughter stood up.  Paige who?  
       It might take hearing her married name a few more times until it sinks in that the new Mrs. Korey Nelson is our little Poogey!  Or, as Andie might say: "How is this possible?"  
       And, today is Paige Nelson's 24th birthday and even though it was a summer filled with celebrating (due to her wedding), I hope she'll still get a chance to enjoy September 19th and remember how special the Nelson birthday girl is to the Knudsen family!  
       Birthdays always take me back to births, and just like Paige, her actual birth was simple and uncomplicated.  One of the things I love about Paige's personality is how she she doesn't look for or seek out drama in her life.  I find this refreshing in anyone but especially for someone her age.  
       Paige's arrival was smooth sailing but it does make a good story.  By my 3rd labor I'd realized the time from contractions to delivery was quick (lucky me!) so when I called Brent's office and learned during lunch he was heading for a swim in La Jolla cove I knew waiting for his return might get dicey.  
       So, I headed off to Sharp Hospital on my own (pulling over during contractions).  When Brent met me at the hospital, post swim workout there was just a few pushes left and out came Paige!  And her life has unfolded much like that delivery - pleasant, persistent, pragmatic and purposeful.  There are so many great "P" adjectives I could use to describe the birthday girl.  We think she is close to perfection but don't want her to feel pressure so let's just wrap up this post by saying she's priceless!  
       Happy Birthday Paige Elizabeth Knudsen Nelson! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Grad School - Year 2, Day 2

       "It's always easier to learn something than to use what you've learned."  -Chaim Potok

       I'm officially in the 2nd year of graduate school and today is my 2nd day of class.  Yesterday's 1st class experience was easier on my anxiety level than my 1st class a year ago.  So, I guess I've gained some confidence along the way (whew)!  Besides, I've now got a transcript and some decent grades; a real paper trail that shows I know what I'm doing in this field.  Sort of!
       Still, while the knowledge is coming along, my mastery has a long way to go.  And like most learning, the more I know, the more I realize how little I know.  

       "Is it logical that two people can disagree and both can be right?  It's not logical: it's psychological.  And it's very real."  -Stephen R. Covey  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday is the golden clasp...

       "Sunday is the golden clasp that binds together the volume of the week."  -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

       Yesterday I was driving home from church and felt a surge of gratitude for Sundays!  Every day of the week can be positive and like the picture states, we need to "Be Present Every Day."  But, there is something wonderful about having a day each week dedicated to recharging and filling our spirits.

       I'm glad that church inspires and uplifts me since I spend at least 3 hours in meetings.  And yesterday, with ward council and a fireside, it was closer to 6 hours, but still, all nourishing for my soul.  Even when my mind wanders during church, it's usually elevated thoughts.  

       There's another one-liner that isn't as profound as Longfellow but it's been a truism in my life.  I'm not sure of the original author of the quote but it goes like this: "A Sunday well-spent brings a week of content."  In my case, this has absolutely panned out!         

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2 Brides, 2 Grooms, 2 Weeks & 2 Weddings...

Mr. & Mrs. Korey Nelson!
Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Rich!

       Well, it was a wild summer but we pulled off 2 weddings in 2 weeks! No small feat!  
       But now both weddings are behind us.  So is the open house in southern California as well as my Costa Mesa road trip last weekend to deliver gifts to Paige and Korey.  Finding room in their studio apartment for the presents was no small feat either.     
       So, it would appear that I've run out of excuses for my blogging hiatus.  And my school quarter starts tomorrow which is probably as good a time as any to get back into a good daily routine, which will include more quotes and comments from K2 ad nauseam.  Stay tuned!