Friday, March 22, 2013

Plant Crazy

Bamboo, dracaena and a succulent in our east window sill

I have acquired 8 plants in the past few weeks. Maybe I am just too excited for spring, or maybe I needed a hobby to pass the time before my baby arrives. But whatever it is, I just couldn't wait till May or June (when I will be growing herbs and tomatoes) to get some plants! My aunt actually gave me some lovely house plants.

A cactus my Aunt gave me

However, for some reason I couldn't stop there. This week I went to Home Depot and bought some flowers, and then later went to Walmart to get some more plants. Walmart has 4 pound bags of potting soil for 98 cents, by the way! And the nicest old man helped me choose plants and talked to me about everything from my baby's horoscope to my husband's engineering degree... ("Do you know what B.S. is? ...other than a bachelor's degree?" "Yes." "Well an MS is more of the same...and a PhD is just Piled Higher and Deeper." LOL)

This plant craze would all be fine and dandy (despite spending over $30 on it this week) if it weren't for one thing:

Provo can't decide if it's spring or was 70 degrees when I bought my plants!
Fortunately the plants I am most attached to (my $8 succulent - the most expensive plant I bought) are indoor plants.

As for the flowers (which require 6 hours of sun a day), I keep having to bring them inside due to adverse weather conditions.
Yellow pansy and pink dianthus
This works for my little pots, but this huge one I got at D.I. probably weighs over 10 lbs with the dirt in it. There is no way I can lift that in my pregnant condition. So I opted to drag it to cover and put this plastic bag over it to protect it from the snow being blown in every direction. I propped the bag up with some sticks.

I made this little envelope to hold all the plant info on the fridge so I could refer to it easily. It's hard to keep track of the needs of all these plants!

 I hope I can keep these plants alive! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Not Judging

I am writing this because I need to work on this. I have been working on it, actually. So I’ve thought a lot about it, read things about it, and given family home evening lessons on it. I thought it would help solidify it in my mind if I wrote blog post, almost like a church talk, on the subject. And maybe those reading this would benefit from the resources I’ve found as well.

Hopefully we all know there is a difference between judging what kind of people you should hang out with or let your kids hang out with (intermediate judgments) and condemning others for their weaknesses and sins (final judgments). If there is any question about that, see Elder Oaks’ excellent talk, “Judge Not” and Judging.

I am mainly focusing on final judgments. Elder Oaks talks about final judgments as assuming we know the eternal outcome of someone’s mortal existence. I don’t think many of us presume to know that, but we might make judgments in our mind thinking that what we see is the way people are and always will be. We might look at others and see their weaknesses and let that define them in our minds. To me that is a form of final judgment.

Elder Oaks says, “we must refrain from making final judgments on people because we lack the knowledge and the wisdom to do so. We would even apply the wrong standards.” The truth is, we not only don’t have the right to make final judgments about people, but we don’t have the wisdom to do so.

President Monson’s talk in priesthood session, “See Others as They May Become,” kind of counteracts this problem. Instead of seeing people as hopelessly flawed, “we need to bear in mind that people can change.”

This brings me to the next important point. When we presume to be able to see others’ weakness clearly, we are really kidding ourselves. “Who am I to judge another when I walk imperfectly,” from hymn 220 comes to mind. I’ve been reading the New Testament, and Paul teaches, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory o God.” (Romans 3:23) We all need a Redeemer. So we are really all on the same page. Paul again asks, “Why dost thou judge thy brother?...For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10

And, “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth.” (Romans 14:4) Everyone around us is accountable to God, not to us. And we don’t know what is really going on, what they’ve been through or where they are coming from.

In talking with my mom recently I realized that there are things that bug me about people in my life. Like maybe one thing for each friend. My mom felt the same way. And it makes me wonder, “what is the big thing that bugs my friends and family about me?” I have sometimes imagined what it would be like to tell a friend, “THIS is your problem, this is what YOU need to work on.” But what if someone did that to me? Would I be able to handle it if someone I loved came to me and told me my major flaw? I would probably feel defensive and explain why I am like that. Then in the quiet moments that followed the conversation I would probably worry about how people see me and if I could ever improve something that is so much a part of who I am. The point is, this is of course not the way to deal with each other’s weaknesses. Maybe some day I could be the type of friend who would be able to help someone see their weakness in a completely loving way that would leave them with confidence that they could do better. Today is not that day.

But we all have at least one friend who is like that: Our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They love us and know us perfectly. It strikes me that instead of focusing on the weaknesses of others, that a much better use of my energy would be to humble myself enough that God could tell me what my major flaw is and that I could handle it; That I could be humble enough to acknowledge that He is right and know that He doesn’t love me any less, feel a desire to be better, and have the faith that I could access the atonement and really improve. If I did that than I would probably have a lot more patience for other people the their weaknesses as well.

A friend recently made the most insightful Facebook post. She pretty much sums up everything I have been talking about. She said,
“The ability to love is inseparably connected to the desire and willingness to constantly forgive for hurt or pain you receive and to constantly repent and change so you can better help and serve others. Love is sacrifice. Love is doing everything in your power to become more like Christ.”
            -Kelsey Howell

I hope that these thoughts will not only click in my mind, but will sink into my heart. I know that being full of love is a happier way to go. See Mosiah 4:9-12 for a formula on how to have joy and be filled with the love of God.

I hope this was insightful. I am sure you are all doing better at this than I am.  : )