Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Mishtown No More

Guys, it's been real. From now on, I will be blogging over at our family blog, found here. Thanks for the good times!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

They're here!

Stay tuned on facebook for more pictures of my husband holding me like an electric guitar.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Judgment Continued

 I knew I could count on you people. My insanely wise friend Collette even resurrected her blog in order to respond to my questions, so you should probably go read what she said.

 The talk from Elder Oaks that Bryce referred me to was very enlightening as well, so if you're interested in this subject, it's definitely worth a read.

And lastly, if you're interested but shorter on time, here are some snippets from the talk that I found most helpful.

"I have been puzzled that some scriptures command us not to judge and others instruct us that we should judge and even tell us how to do it. But as I have studied these passages I have become convinced that these seemingly contradictory directions are consistent when we view them with the perspective of eternity. The key is to understand that there are two kinds of judging: final judgments, which we are forbidden to make, and intermediate judgments, which we are directed to make, but upon righteous principles.

Since mortals cannot suppose that they will be acting as final judges at that future, sacred time, why did the Savior command that we not judge final judgments? I believe this commandment was given because we presume to make final judgments whenever we proclaim that any particular person is going to hell (or to heaven) for a particular act or as of a particular time. When we do this—and there is great temptation to do so—we hurt ourselves and the person we pretend to judge.

The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “While one portion of the human race is judging and condemning the other without mercy, the Great Parent of the universe looks upon the whole of the human family with a fatherly care and paternal regard; … He holds the reins of judgment in His hands; He is a wise Lawgiver, and will judge all men, … ‘not according to what they have not, but according to what they have,’ those who have lived without law, will be judged without law, and those who have a law, will be judged by that law”.

Even the Savior, during His mortal ministry, refrained from making final judgments. We see this in the account of the woman taken in adultery. After the crowd who intended to stone her had departed, Jesus asked her about her accusers. “Hath no man condemned thee?” (John 8:10). When she answered no, Jesus declared, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (John 8:11). In this context the word condemn apparently refers to the final judgment (see John 3:17).

The Lord obviously did not justify the woman’s sin. He simply told her that He did not condemn her—that is, He would not pass final judgment on her at that time.

We must, of course, make judgments every day in the exercise of our moral agency, but we must be careful that our judgments of people are intermediate and not final. Thus, our Savior’s teachings contain many commandments we cannot keep without making intermediate judgments of people: “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine” (Matt. 7:6); “Beware of false prophets. … Ye shall know them by their fruits” (Matt. 7:15–16); and “Go ye out from among the wicked” (D&C 38:42).

First, a righteous judgment must, by definition, be intermediate. It will refrain from declaring that a person has been assured of exaltation or from dismissing a person as being irrevocably bound for hellfire. It will refrain from declaring that a person has forfeited all opportunity for exaltation or even all opportunity for a useful role in the work of the Lord. The gospel is a gospel of hope, and none of us is authorized to deny the power of the Atonement to bring about a cleansing of individual sins, forgiveness, and a reformation of life on appropriate conditions.

Second, a righteous judgment will be guided by the Spirit of the Lord, not by anger, revenge, jealousy, or self-interest.

Third, to be righteous, an intermediate judgment must be within our stewardship. We should not presume to exercise and act upon judgments that are outside our personal responsibilities. Some time ago I attended an adult Sunday School class in a small town in Utah. The subject was the sacrament, and the class was being taught by the bishop. During class discussion a member asked, “What if you see an unworthy person partaking of the sacrament? What do you do?” The bishop answered, “You do nothing. I may need to do something.” That wise answer illustrates my point about stewardship in judging.

Fourth, we should, if possible, refrain from judging until we have adequate knowledge of the facts. In an essay titled “Sitting in the Seat of Judgment,” the great essayist William George Jordan reminded us that character cannot be judged as dress goods—by viewing a sample yard to represent a whole bolt of cloth (see The Crown of Individuality [1909], 101–5).
In another essay he wrote: “There is but one quality necessary for the perfect understanding of character, one quality that, if man have it, he may dare to judge—that is, omniscience. Most people study character as a proofreader pores over a great poem: his ears are dulled to the majesty and music of the lines, his eyes are darkened to the magic imagination of the genius of the author; that proofreader is busy watching for an inverted comma, a misspacing, or a wrong font letter. He has an eye trained for the imperfections, the weaknesses. …

“We do not need to judge nearly so much as we think we do. This is the age of snap judgments. … [We need] the courage to say, ‘I don’t know. I am waiting further evidence. I must hear both sides of the question.’ It is this suspended judgment that is the supreme form of charity”.

A fifth principle of a righteous intermediate judgment is that whenever possible we will refrain from judging people and only judge situations. This is essential whenever we attempt to act upon different standards than others with whom we must associate—at home, at work, or in the community. We can set and act upon high standards for ourselves or our homes without condemning those who do otherwise.

In a BYU devotional address, Professor Catherine Corman Parry gave a memorable scriptural illustration of the consequences of judging by the wrong standards. The scripture is familiar. 

Martha received Jesus into her house and worked to provide for Him while her sister Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His words.

“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40–42).

Professor Parry said: “The Lord acknowledges Martha’s care: ‘Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things’ (Luke 10:41). Then he delivers the gentle but clear rebuke. But the rebuke would not have come had Martha not prompted it. The Lord did not go into the kitchen and tell Martha to stop cooking and come listen. Apparently he was content to let her serve him however she cared to, until she judged another person’s service: ‘Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me’ (Luke 10:40). Martha’s self-importance, expressed through her judgment of her sister, occasioned the Lord’s rebuke, not her busyness with the meal”.

“… While there are many things we must make judgments about, the sins of another or the state of our own souls in comparison to others seems not to be among them. … Our own sins, no matter how few or seemingly insignificant, disqualify us as judges of other people’s sins” 

Monday, June 11, 2012


What does it mean to judge, or refrain from judging, others? When you make a deliberate effort "not to judge", what does that look like?

This is something that I realized I've always been kind of confused about, and I think that confusion needs to be resolved before I can make any progress in overcoming this fault.

For instance, if I'm trying not to judge others, does that mean I don't have any opinion on the actions of others?

Does it mean that while I may have an initial reaction to the actions of others, I must always be sure to remind myself that I don't know the whole story, and therefore have no right to make any real judgments?

Am I allowed to judge when the actions of others affect me?

If someone breaks into my house, kills my dog and eats all my otter pops, I'm pretty sure I'm not only going to have an opinion about these events, but I'm going to have an opinion about the person who did it. Should I wait to hear about this person's life history and the circumstances surrounding the event before I make that judgment? Or is it understood that I'm inevitably going to make a biased judgment at first, which will have to be corrected later?

What if a member of my ward gets up during testimony meeting one Sunday and bears what I believe to be a very irreverent, fairly offensive testimony (this may or may not have happened last Fast Sunday). Is it wrong for me to feel this way? I thought feelings were never wrong? How would a non-judgmental person handle this situation?

Insights are appreciated.

Also, good news:

See this impossibly adorable kid in the Hawaiian floral combo?

Well, he's all grown up now, and I get to marry him in TWELVE days.

I'm a little bit stoked about it.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Four Words or Less

Black Hawk Family Day

Cute Mom so proud
Certificate from Sikorsky

Family Day again
So proud of him
Graduating class sitting patiently
Futuristic arms pin aviator
Band was there, too
Then started road trip
He once flew those
This is Alabama
Alabamans do this often
Thanks Mom and Dad!
We found a battleship!
JJ obviously thrilled
"Roam if you want to"
Passed through Biloxi, MS
I think says Louisiana?
"We're in Louisiana" faces
No wonder Katrina happened

Made it to Texas
San Antonio Riverwalk
We remembered it
Drove by Mexican border
Beautiful El Paso
Vegas was cool
Missed Bellagio Fountain Show :(
Graduated, though!
Genuine Fa smile!
Ma's purse model
Nerds, of course
High as my dreams
Obviously this happened, too
We hiked Stewart Falls
Carol Todd married finally!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A little different

There's a scene in this episode of 30 rock, wherein Tina Fey's and Alec Baldwin's characters take a trip to Stone Mountain, Georgia in search of "real, middle-American talent." Tina Fey, skeptical about the existence of any kind of "real" American, expresses her worldview that all people are basically the same, having only the common desire to sit in peace and eat a sandwich. She sets this philosophy in action by ordering a carp sandwich "with extra chuckle" from a restaurant called Fatty Fat's Sandwich Ranch. Shortly after, at the hotel, Tina finds that the carp sandwich "is not agreeing with her worldview" and ends up toilet-side. Alec Baldwin enters to hand her a bottle of "Peppy Bismilk" sent up by the receptionist, at which an aggravated Tina Fey exclaims, "Why is everything a little different here?! I hate it!"

I think about this scene at least once a day, and it's not because I hate it here. It's just so true. For anyone who's spent any time in the American south, you know what's up. For those who haven't, let me just relate to you a few observations/incidents I've been witness to that have both delighted as well as given me pause:

  • -Carl's Jr.? It's called Hardee's down here. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for this, but I was unprepared for it nonetheless.
  • Everyone parks their vehicles on their lawns. Don't matter if your lawn is at an incline or 10ft x10 ft.
  • People, especially big black mamas, aren't afraid to give you 'tude if you deserve it. My experience with old people prepared me for this a little bit.
  • If you don't address a woman as ma'am, you're rude. I still haven't gotten the hang of this formality yet, which may be why I'm the recipient of so much 'tude.
  • I actually heard someone say the phrase "Lawd Jesus" in exclamation the other day. For a middle-class suburban-raised white girl who's only known black vernacular in the form of young adult civil rights novels, it is exciting and actualizing to find that people actually talk like that.
  • Everyone holds a yard sale every day. At least, I think that's what's going on...
  • Why yes, I have seen someone riding their riding lawnmower down the sidewalk.
  • The hottest hangout spot in town? It's called Cupcakes Y'all.
  • There's always someone walking on the side of the road. Not hitchhiking - just walking, chillin' on the median, what have you, listening to their beatz and looking chillaxed. I debated throwing that last line in there cause it's maybe getting a little too racist, but it seemed essential to me in conveying to you just what I'm talking about.
  • For anyone who thought maybe the so-called "Bible Belt" was a myth, I can tell you that there are a handful of well-to-do pastors down here who would have to disagree. I've never seen churches so big. Like Walmart Supercenters, I tell you.
  • Guns. Ohhhhh, do people love their guns. I never thought I'd feel like such a black sheep for not owning one to keep in my purse at all times, but that day has come. And yet I can't shake the feeling that they're the weird ones, not me. Yes, I was officially raised in the Pacific Northwest.
  • One Saturday night I was googling "things to do in Dothan, AL" (that ought to produce a chuckle right there) and came across a list that some poor, persevering soul had put together. The list consisted mainly of antique doll shops and golf courses, but there at the end, I found it: #25. Peanut Monument. Giant, gold peanut sculpture at Visitor Information Center helps to proclaim Dothan as Peanut Capital of the World." No offense, but we went to Cracker Barrel instead.
  • I think I once heard somewhere that people in the south refer to all carbonated drinks as "Coke" (maybe that was a Utah thing? Getting my stereotypes mixed up). The point is, I believe it now.

Also, Exhibit B:

You get the gist. I love it down here, I really do. It turns out that Southern Hospitality is also a real thing, and I've been the recipient of it at every turn. I'm grateful for the cultural immersion I've experienced here and I look forward to many, many more culture shocks as I begin my new job in a somewhat ghetto part of town.*

Also, I feel like it's too late now to write some gushy post about being engaged and all that, but I will say that we're happy, in love, pretty scared, but also excited. Jdub is the source of everything good about me, and I feel so lucky that I get to be his Mdub soon and forever.

*Edit 3/7/12; Yep, I called it. Today on my first day of work, I not only got a rapper's business card (they're called The MiZfiTZ, and they wanna say thanks to all haters), but also made friends with an exotic dancer. The lady mentions that she's a dancer, and that she's buying this funky duct tape to tape her stilettos with. "Oh really, what kind of dance do you do?" I ask conversationally as I ring up her lime green lace panties. Did I mention I grew up white, middle-class, suburban and sheltered?