Life Lessons Learned from Indoor Gardening Failures

Gardens are beautiful. I’m fortunate to live in a neighbourhood where people spend a lot of time and money on vegetable and flower gardens, and landscaping.

This year I decided I wanted to decorate my place with some small, easy to care indoor plants. I did my homework by going online and finding a list of the easiest indoor greenery to care for. I read all the lists, followed all the instructions and then it happened, half my plants nearly died.

I had imagined my sofa table filled with a colourful assortment of flowering plants that would require minimal care and never die. Between inquiring of Google and asking seasoned gardeners I learned why those plants were dying and I was failing; I was handling flowering plants the way I sometimes handle life.

Hawaii Greens
Somewhere in Hawaii 

Impatience: Gardening requires patience. To begin, you seed, water, fertilize, repeat as needed. I wasn’t interested in that, instead I went to the store and purchased plants that were ready to go. The downside to this is that my impatience meant I wasn’t able to get the exact plants I wanted. Had I been patient, I would have taken the time to start with seeds and follow the process of tend and wait, watch it grow!

Ask yourself: In life, when you are patient, you are more likely to get the things you want. Being in a rush and taking whatever you can get instantly means settling for second best if you’re lucky. Are you willing to put in the time, discipline, and effort to get what you want?

Miniature Japanese Zen Garden
Someone’s miniature Japanese zen garden, unfortunately not mine 😦

Over caring and worrying: Water is life and death. I my case, water became a near death experience for the plants. I sometimes anxiously watered the plants every second day. I checked on the plants every day to make sure they were alright, as if they were inpatients. Eventually two of my plants started to develop curling leaves. I later learned that this is caused by overwatering. The remedy for this problem was to not water them for two weeks. It wasn’t easy switching from overwatering and over caring to practically leaving the plants alone to repair itself naturally. With time, and without me messing with it, both plants came back to life and flourished, growing taller than ever.

Ask Yourself: Am I willing to follow the process whatever it might involve or are you going to want to do things your own way?  When you are a beginner it’s important to listen to those with much more experience and knowledge. When you don’t, things are likely to go wrong.

Buying Too Much and Spending Too Much Money: I set a budget for how much I would spend buying flowers and succulents. What I didn’t account for is that some of these plants would grow and need to be placed in larger pots. I also didn’t consider how much it would all add up to for different types of soil, tools, fertilizers, planters and plant pots. When the costs became more than I was wiling to spend, I decided to say goodbye to some of my plants. They were requiring time I didn’t have, and money I didn’t care to spend.

In the past my hobbies cost me a lot of money. I made the decision a couple of years ago not to engage in hobbies or interests that would require me to spend more than a certain amount of money per month.

Ask yourself: When considering taking up a new hobby, consider the cost; is it affordable for you and it is a good investment of your money, energy, and time?
Starting new hobbies are great, there is nothing wrong with trying new things in life, however, it’s best to prepare before hand when necessary. I don’t want to be a negative Nancy, my hope for you is that your new hobby is a pleasant experience instead of one filled with unnecessary surprises and stress. Don’t forget, hobbies are meant to bring happiness and fulfillment to a person’s life.

 

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Job 12: 7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.”

 

 

When Your Church Shames and Silences Others

Source: Belfast

If you watch and read the news you’ll notice that allegations of sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace and the church hasn’t died down. This is not a surprise. As long as there is continued and growing support for people who come forward with their experiences the issue won’t disappear from media outlets any time soon.

Whether or not allegations become known to the public, there are people who bravely come forward and share their stories and the experience of not being listened to, not being respected, and not being supported.

If you call yourself a Christian, I believe it is important to know that God does not support harassment of any kind. Don’t believe me? Then don’t take my word for it, take God’s word for it.

When people come forward, remember that you are not a public relations agent. It’s not a time to worry about the reputation of the accused or your church. As a church community and especially as members, it is important to support administrative processes within the church that take allegations seriously. It shouldn’t matter who you believe or whose side you are on; every church needs to have policies and procedures in place where the accused and the accuser are both listened to fairly, and people with a bias are not allowed to be part of the investigation.

When people have been harassed or assaulted, the last persons they want to have to meet with is a team of  board members, that may or may not consist entirely of men, and have to beg and plead to not only be believed, but listened to and taken seriously.

I’m disappointed when I encounter women who don’t think it is important for churches to have policies and procedures in place that prevent church staff from being in situations where harassment can occur in the first place.  We live in a society where words are meaningless, expectations must be placed in writing and made clear to everyone. It’s not enough to trust that someone is a “good” person or a “godly” man. 

It’s not enough to quietly transfer the troublesome staff member to another department or church, or pay hush money to the accuser (this prevents the victim from being able to share his or her story and allows the accused to not be held accountable).

Jesus cares about people who have been sexually harassed and bullied within a community that claims to be his followers. Jesus is a healer and he wants to see victims healed in his name. It’s important for us to boldly let the board members and elders at our places of worship know that as followers of Jesus we won’t accept the dismissive attitudes and actions of leaders and church attenders who don’t believe in the importance of holding harassers and bullies accountable to their victims and the church community.

Ask yourself these following questions:

Does my church have respectful and justice oriented polices and procedures in place that help to prevent sexual harassment and bullying? Are there policies that specifically address sexual harassment and bullying?

What is the process for making a complaint against a staff member?Does it protect the accuser from being slandered and shamed, are co-staff and witnesses protected from retaliation?

How does my church currently handle friction and controversy?

Are there any women elders or board members? Do they come from diverse backgrounds (age, class, income, educational background, etc.)?

Has my church ever paid anyone hush money? Was this recorded in the church finances, were church members informed of this decision?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself about how your church handles the serious topic of harassment.

The following are some articles that provide some important, but sad examples of what happens when churches support harassment by church staff members:

What He Thinks About What Happened At Willow Creek

John Ortberg and His Observations on the Topic

Vonda Dyer. Believe Her.

 

Those Troublesome Apologies

Over the past couple weeks we witnessed a well-known celebrity make terrible attempts to “apologise” for something she had written towards a another woman on social media. This celebrity had become comfortable over the past few decades with making degrading comments that were sexist (towards men and women), racist, anti-Jewish, anti-Islamic, and anti-Christian. She also had a habit of posting fake news about political issues she didn’t support and trash talking about Americans who were working hard to survive in a currently hostile America. No one was guaranteed to be spared from her malignant comments in the media. Eventually someone with the power to make this woman pay expensive and creative consequences for her actions did so.

I’ll refer to this celebrity as Mean Marri. When Mean Marri realized her consequences were real and costly she did what so many do when they can’t accept that they have done something truly wrong to another person. Marri gave a weak and insincere apology and when she saw that it wasn’t working she became angrier and defense. She then moved on to making up ridiculous and impossible reasons for why she had written such a mean post about another woman.

Reading over Marri’s supporters comments about the incident, I realised there are people who don’t know what is involved in an apology. I found Marri’s post to be stomach turning and her response to the backlash left myself and others further upset with her. If your apology is not sincere or you don’t believe you have something to apologise for, then please, in the name of integrity, don’t apologise. A fake meaningless apology only adds fuel to the fire and is insultive to the person(s) you are “apologising” to. It means you think the offended is foolish enough to believe you.

God has not called us to make false apologies. We are always welcomed to come before him with the truth about our wrongs, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me” (Psalm 51:3); he already knows in advance what we have done. Once we have come before God we can approach another with a sincere apology and desire to repair what has been broken. This can be done only if contact will not cause emotional or physical harm or be a threat to people’s safety.

Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” James 5:16

The beauty of the relationship between an apology and forgiveness is the emotional healing that takes place either individually or between all parities involved. God is a healer, he offers us grace and forgiveness so that we in turn can apologise to those we have hurt and those who have been hurt can forgive us.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Apologises aren’t there for the purpose of saving one’s reputation, peacemaking, keeping one’s job, avoiding a lawsuit, gaining a personal advantage, or for any selfish motives. Apologies are spiritual, and they are there to humble us, help us grow, bring about self-awareness, and draw us closer to God and people.

If you have wronged another person or have been accused of wronging someone and are having a difficult time apologising, bring the situation to God. He will reveal to you what you have done wrong and if you are open to his spiritual correction you can work towards rectifying the situation in a healthy manner.


Not everyone knows what is involved in an apology and why apologies are important in a civil society. Here are some links below to articles and videos that can help you with offering or accepting an apology (Click the titles):

How To Apologize: Asking for Forgiveness Gracefully

How To Apologize: The 7 Steps of a Sincere Apology

How To Apologize: 5 Elements of a Successful I’m Sorry

 

 

Sheepwalking Through Your Life

“I define sheepwalking as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them brain – dead jobs and enough fear to keep them in line. You’ve probably encountered someone who is sheepwalking. “ Seth Godin, in his book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us.

I think Seth Godin is correct, I bet we all know or have met someone who works obediently in a brain – dead, and possibly dead- end job. The reasons for people remaining in those jobs are varied. For some it is fear, for others, they simply don’t care, the job provides a pay cheque and that’s all that matters to them. For others, they stay in these positions because the right opportunity to leave or move into another position hasn’t happened yet.

A manager at my last job was a shepherd to sheepwalkers, let’s just say her and I did not jell well. Until she was hired I had a position that allowed me a lot of autonomy and flexibility. This position freed me to help low-income people by filling in some much-needed gaps in the service this organization provided. The newly hired manager had no experience in the industry yet began making sweeping changes as soon as she was hired. Amidst all these abrupt and ill-fitting changes, she awarded the sheeps who followed along without question and punished those who dared to ask questions.

During my time working with this manager I realized she made no efforts to include staff in the plans she had for her department; workers never knew when a sudden change in policy or operations would occur. Sometimes she even made up changes on the spot. Feedback, thoughts, and observations were not welcomed to be shared in team meetings; this was seen by her to be insubordination.

During my time working within this manager’s department I observed a very important lesson: if you are passionate about the work that you do, you will never be content with being a sheepwalker.

People who have a passion for their work, or those who are creative, resourceful, and vision oriented will eventually feel suppressed, unsupported, and unmotivated. Staff need a certain amount of freedom and flexibility in order to remain creatively productive.

Sheepwalkers don’t put their heart into the work they do, instead they focus on what it takes to please their superior. This type of work doesn’t even consider pleasing customers as their goal or providing patrons with a decent product; their only purpose is to make their supervisors happy.

I understand that not everyone can speak up or leave their positions, but I challenge people who are in these situations to think about what other areas of their lives have them sheepwalking or sleepwalking.

What are your interests? Are you able to freely feed this interest? This doesn’t have to be something major, it can be as simple as being free to choose what restaurant you and your friends/family are going to eat at, what movie you’re going to watch, being able to decide if you are going to stay home or go out, volunteering in positions that genuinely interests you, or maybe becoming a board member and providing your knowledge and skills to a non-profit organization.

What’s important to remember is that if you are in a work position where you spend 40 hours a week being a ‘sheepwalker’ you are going to need an outlet outside of your workplace where you can use your mind and feed your imaginative and creative self somehow; if not, there will be an important part of yourself that is not being fed. If you are not practicing this type of self care, you leave yourself vulnerable to burnout.

Check in with yourself periodically and ask yourself, are there other areas in my life where I am able to be creative or contribute my thoughts and ideas?

 

 

 

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