Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What A Beautiful Life

My best friend is in town. She lives in Los Angeles and has been trying to break into acting for almost 4 years. In my opinion she has been successful, as she made it further than I ever would have. She has a vast book of modeling pictures and has been featured in print ads for Payless Shoes, the Gap, Forever 21, JC Penneys and Target. She has also filmed commercials for Playstation 3, Disarrono, Payless and Target. I'm proud of my friend and I love her very much.

But I must say, I wish she would leave that horrible city and come home.

I hate the city. In fact, I have trouble in our own little bitty Indianapolis during rush hour. I have anger problems - if we had any more traffic I would probably go on a muderous rampage.

I don't know how Sarah lives in such a big city. How do you find peace? And if you're alone, how do you find friends? And we discussed yesterday how impossible it is to find husband-material in such a place that exalts in bad behavior and ulterior motives and stepping on others to achieve their own measure of fame. Everyone wears two faces in Hollywood - even Sarah. She told me she has to pretend to be younger than she is, and dumber than she is, because if the companies she works for ever found out that she wasn't, they would drop her. Models have short careers. No one would hire a perfectly gorgeous, but (gasp) 28 year old woman because she only has 2 maybe 3 good years left in her. That sickens me. I plan to be just as beautiful or better than I am now in 2 years. Who made 30 the magic age when all your beauty diminishes and you become a useless sack of skin?

We visited our old elementary school and saw some of our old teachers, who still, after 13 years, remember how we used to pretend we were twins. In fact, we STILL pretend to be twins. Just, one of the half of us got to be 6 feet tall and the other one....didn't. It was surprisingly enjoyable. So much had changed. And so much was the same.

We discussed the future. I of course, will stay here and continue to tell people about Aflac, and Sarah will go back to work in LA, at least until the end of the year. I will try to pay off my debts, and she hopes to move to New York City and do some stage acting with a classmate of ours who is currently in an off-Broadway production after graduating from Julliard School of Music. I will continue to work and love my husband and build my home, and she will eventually wind her way back to us here in the Midwest and hopefully settle down at some point. Such different plans we have chosen for ourselves! But beautiful in our own ways. Mine seems dull compared to hers, but I have always erred of the side of caution. When she takes risks, she throws herself in 100%. But I'm much more careful. I don't like to take risks, I like to have stability. When we are old ladies, chasing the little old men in our wheelchairs in the nursing home together, I think we will both look back on our lives and be happy with how we sculpted them.

We discussed how we will eventually finish those books we started and restarted and reshaped over and over again. We've always written fantasy tales. We love fantasy and sci-fi and ghost tales. We discussed writing and then turning our tales into independent films. So much fun to imagine! I told her we would start a revolution! Imagine - NEW MATERIAL to watch on the TV? What a concept! It's so beautiful to imagine the future. I hope I never lose my child-like imagination.

Friday, September 24, 2010


I am starting this post without a title because I'm not sure where it's going yet.

I have undertaken something that is causing crippling fear in every part of my being - and although every single week I am taken care of and upheld by God's guiding, I still feel this little twinge at almost every moment. A little nagging voice that tells me to quit, to stop putting myself in such uncomfortable positions, to go back to hiding in the house and shutting the world away.

I am actually quite an introverted and awkward person. I am completely content with small things and have never felt a desire to push ahead for greatness. I believe that the person who works quietly in the back, providing the services, is the one who receives the most out of any situation because ultimately, in the end, it's the humble, the meek, and the givers who are recognized by God. And that's always been good enough for me.

I used to have this poster on my bedroom wall when I was a teenager that said "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future" and it had a picture of Jesus holding the world in the palm of his hand. I've always held very firmly to that belief, and have lived my entire life in a way that reflects it. But I'm getting a little older now, and it's becoming harder to just breeze through life without any worries or fears. I loved being carefree, to just smile every week and say "God is IN CONTROL!" and actually believe it!

Some of my fear has to do with my job. My prospects are small. My territory....well, it doesn't exist. No one knows me and I know few people, and the people I know I am afraid to ask for help from. But my job is to provide a way for people to get through a terrible time - an illness or and injury - with fewer worries about the financial toll. I love this part of my job - it's an opportunity to serve, which is what I do best.

Some of my fear rides on what I see going on in the world around me. I am not political in the slightest. I do vote, but other people's choices in the long run do not mean anything to me. I know what is important and what isn't, and what I see in the world today is kind of frightening to me. I feel like we're all rolled into a giant herd of lemmings and they're about to fly over the cliff. But again, ultimately, who is in control? Certainly not the United States government.

When I was 18, and had just started dating Alex, my future husband, my parents decided that they hated this boy so passionately that a Romeo and Juliet situation arose. And I almost ran away twice and I begged several relatives to let me live with them for awhile. And someone looked at me and said "Lindsey, this too, shall pass. What does that mean?" I hated it at the time, but within a year it had passed. Life went on and Alex went to college far away and I practiced the piano. Eventually we got married. Funny how that worked out.

I suppose I am always looking for encouragement that reminds me that 'this too, shall pass'. Maybe I won't be an insurance agent forever. I kinda hope not. I want to go back to Africa. I want to visit Thailand and Cambodia and Bali and Japan. I want to study cooking and herbology, become a nutritionist, take oil painting classes again, and finish one of the 6 fantasy novels I've started writing since I was 12 and maybe even study medicine! I always conviced myself that I wasn't smart enough to study sciences, but as I get closer to birthday number 30, I feel differently. Like maybe I could buckle down and try something that I never believed I could do. But this horrible sense of FEAR and DREAD that I carry with me all the time is holding me back. Where is it coming from? Why do I let it have a place in my mind? Wouldn't it be great if I could just tell it to get lost, and it actually worked?

It's really windy and stormy today. It's been pretty stormy for most of the week. It's the perfect kind of day to stay hidden in the house and pretend that the rest of the world doesn't exist, except that I have an appointment this afternoon that looks promising enough to be the 2nd group that I've opened BY MYSELF. And I'm scared to death! I will admit freely (here, where the whole world could read it if they wanted to) that this morning I was trying to think up ways I could get out of doing it, even though I NEED to do it because I NEED to act on the opportunity. And I WILL go and do the presentation and answer the questions and hopefully make the 'sale' - even though that's not what it really is - and this afternoon I will be relieved and happy that I did it. But what will I do next week? Seriously.....what am I going to do? If my brain would quiet down, I bet I would be able to hear the still, small voice deep inside that will guide me.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On Matters Of Religiousity

I am so deeply saddened by all the hatred that swarms around the world. There are a lot of things to blame, but seriously, how can anyone have such hatred against someone else. There are people out there right now that violently hate me because I value my faith - they've never met me, they probably never will. But because of something this person has committed their emotional believing to, they know that they hate me and my beliefs.

I saw a bumper sticker that said "Destroy Religion - Only Love". I wondered if they realized how silly it seemed to me that this person used such a violent word like 'destroy' to profess how urgently she wants there to be nothing more than love. I saw an ad for vegetarian t-shirts that gave the 'definition' of a vegetarian as someone who wants to stop the unnecessary killing of criminals, who promotes clean air, land, water and life, and only wants peace. I didn't agree. I know some vegetarians who are violent folks, who hurt other people's livelihoods and businesses because they don't agree with them. This seems to be as equally hypocritical to me as the guy who goes to church every Sunday and then 'sins' during the week.

There are always going to be people who do terrible things - that will never change. You can't blame God or the Universe or the government for the stupid choices people make. Someone hurt you who claimed to be a Christian? And that's grounds for violent hatred? That was a stupid choice they made - it's not God's fault. Get over it and make a choice of your own - to move on with your life and your search for meaning. Remember, Thomas Edison found several hundred ways NOT to make a light bulb before he found the ONE way. Faith is like that - there a several hundred million ways NOT to follow God. Find the ONE way that is true.

I am not excusing the way Christians behave. I admit - we are totally absurd folks sometimes. My favorite example is how the Christian church reacts whenever there is a 'threat' - especially the 'controversy' revolving around the Harry Potter books, the Da Vinci Code (which was a terrible piece of writing - who the heck cared about the anti-Catholic theme?) and don't get me started on how Christians act towards sex. My goodness Christians choose to believe in unnecessary bondage!!  But I believe there is a right way to live, and a wrong way to live. There are rules to live by. Personally, I find 'sin' to be defined as anything that promotes a selfish act. Otherwise, I think we 'Christian' folk can shut up and get on with our lives and let everyone else make their own choices. It is NOT our place to judge or make up the rules and doctrines. God will take care of changing hearts, minds and lives.

That's my sermon for the day.


Yesterday I followed a referral to a business that a friend spoke highly of and the business owner was reasonably polite until I said "Aflac" and then he said "We're not interested in that" and turned around and walked about - figuratively slamming the door in my face.

So I'm curious as to the reason for this. Obviously he immediately assumed I am a salesperson and he has been pestered to death by other Aflac representatives that he thinks are salespeople.


We just want to talk to you and give you some ideas to consider. Nothing more.

If you are reading this, please tell me what you think of when you hear the word "Aflac". Is it just the stupid commercials? Do you know what we are, what we do?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quote of the Day

I'm laughing inside so hard right now that my guts hurt. My 9 year old student, Tyler, just said to me, "Miss Lindsey, my friend Chloe Garret's great grandma lived to be 101. And then they had to put her to sleep."

Who Knew??

Who knew that a bucket full of yellow tomatoes would make one of the sweetest, most tasty jellies I've ever had?

I've been collecting miniature yellow pear tomatoes for about ten days now, and after seeing a couple of them beginning to wrinkle in the fridge, I decided it was time to do with them what I've been telling everyone I planned to do with them all summer long. Yellow tomato jelly. Never tried it before. Had no idea what it would turn out like.

Great-grandma Berger's recipe, hand-written in itty bitty scrawl on a yellowed index card was my guide to this delectable treat. Yellow tomatoes are extremely low in citric acid, making them sweeter and more 'fruity' tasting than regular garden variety tomatoes, and also lend themselves well to other added flavors, such as vanilla, ginger and basil. It can be used in both sweet and savory culinary experiments.

The recipe calls for:

About 3 pounds of yellow heirloom tomatoes (which I found to be about 25 miniature yellow pear tomatoes) washed and halved

1 package of powdered fruit pectin or SureJell (I recommend the powdered - NOT the liquid, which offers results that can only be described as "MightJell")

4 cups of white sugar

2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice

1 tsp. of salt

After washing and halving the tomatoes, simmer them in a preserving pot for about 25 minutes, or until they are covered in their own juices and have lost all shape resembling tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes into a strainer or fine sieve and press out all the juices into a medium bowl. Measure out 2 cups of juice.

Return the juice to the pot and add the package of pectin or SureJell, salt and lemon juice. (If you are going to add any additional flavors such as vanilla or ginger, this would also be the place to do it.)

Bring to a slow boil and then slowly stir in the sugar, making sure that it completely dissolves before adding the next cup and the next one. After the sugar is dissolved, bring to a heavy boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and ladle into jelly jars, leaving a half inch of head space at the top of the jar. Process in a boiling water bath or large stock pot for 15 minutes. Remove from canner, listen for the popping of the lids sealing and then set aside to cool for about 48 hours. Enjoy with toast or try with a cream cheese slathered English muffin!