Wednesday, May 29, 2013

For Sale By Owner

I remember sleeping in this house for the first time on the night I got the keys. 
It smelled like Murphy's Oil Soap and the place was eerily quiet
I had never lived near train tracks before. 
I was so concerned that the night train moving through the tired streets of Greens Fork would startle me awake and I'd have to use my mace gun on something that wasn't there. 
I was wrong. 
In five years of living here, I've never once been awoken by the train. 

I've always had a list of things I want to do on my own: the travel, the moving away, the city, all things I've always felt important to do before I, one day, "settled down". Buying a home was on that list, too. I just knew that when that time came, I was only going to be content if I'd done much on my own. I wanted to ensure that before 2 become 1, I'm actually a 1, not a 1/2  in how I've lived this life.  

I'm quite proud of this place I've called home sweet home for nearly five years - the best five years. 

It needed such little work in that time. 
Just before I bought it, the previous owners put in all new windows, siding, doors and a new roof. 
I did install a new water heater two years ago. 
The place is in great shape. 
I painted the three bedrooms as soon as I moved in. 

The walls have changed but the foundation hasn't. It is strong and old and well-maintained. I've always viewed this place as an old soul with a new shell. 

Time changes things, and great changes are just around the bend. 

I've put my house up for sale, I'm looking for a buyer. Preferably one that is still inclined to use Murphy's Oil Soap on the hard wood floors and who has a lawnmower who can keep the yard maintained - not that I've done a great job at that. I would also prefer that the buyers do a better job than I did at keeping up on the window washing detail. But I'm not picky. 

A quick tour:

Keep my home in mind if you know of someone looking to buy in east-central Indiana.

The Christmas tree is not up year 'round.
More photos available upon request, but I do need to get organized first.
Dixie does not come with the house (you're welcome).

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Making Headlines

I spent one evening last week trying to get an announcement in the local paper. Five months into this deal and I'm finally checking one thing off the wedding planning to-do list. According to Martha Stewart, I should have done this before Thanksgiving. Martha and I live differently; Martha has someone who folds her fitted sheets. 

The problem with having a full plate (and I always clean my plate) is that many of the not in-my-face tasks get pushed to the wayside and I end up communicating after hours with a computer screen, an automated voice or a guy named Ryan who speaks a language that doesn't include the letter "R". That complicates things. 

Likewise, the problem with getting an event (less than three months away) in the special events section of the local paper is that the publication has to squeeze an internet submitted lively event into a section where the majority of content is written for people who will never read it. 

Why do folks publish open letters to others who have been dead for years? I have never understood that. Unfortunately, the deceased will never have the opportunity to read that print. They don't read it. But if they did, I would bank on them being furious that family used that photo with the lampshade on their head. These days fewer people pay to have the soggy local newspaper tossed into their side shrubbery. Why would the deceased subscribe Up There? Surely there is more to do on those streets of gold. They have a bird's eye view. They know what's Up. Why publicize it?

All of the sudden, I realized our better-late-than-never announcement is likely going to be situated between a letter written to a man (who is photoed) resting in a casket from 1978 and the funky "I miss you, friend" tribute that contains more LOL-B4-OMG abbreviations than it does words from Webster's. Two lines in and I question whether I'm playing bingo at the U.A.W. hall or reading the Sunday news.  

Irony lies in time.  At twelve the greatest day of your life is making fifth-page news when your science fair project gets honorable mention; it doesn't matter if they spell your name wrong or who your parents are reported to be. All you can focus on is the blurred ink print of your face.  Then you graduate high school and spend the next four years trying semi-hard to stay out of the headlines. 

To each their own when it comes to getting published - and everyone mourns differently. I will admit, I'd much rather read a headline report a successful lemonade stand rather than see one of my Facebook friends in the latest edition of Cuffs. 

Momma always says: Say it, forget it. Write it, regret it. 

I was at a house inspection some time ago and fifteen minutes after introductions the inspector came up from the basement with a question on his mind. He clicked his flashlight off and asked, "Were you the 4-H fair queen a while ago?" I was a bit taken back. 

"I's been something like eleven years, now. Did you have kids in 4-H back then?"

"They are now, just young ones. Can't remember exactly what it was, but something you said that was in the paper..." he continued on his way, me trailing closely behind, trying - so hard - to remember what was put in print that this guy was about to call me out on. 

Self-made headlines in a small town. They stick with you. 

How does your headline read?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

From The Ground Up

I spent yesterday in the field. 
Not just "the field", but rather a field in Tipton County, Indiana, responsible for interviewing a farmer about his successful history with a seed company. A bit of my time was spent with John in the cab of his massive machinery, but even more of my day took place on the dirt that was drying out with the flat-land wind. 
In order to get the shot I wanted, I waited several rounds as he, excuse me, the satellites, turned the equipment around and headed to and fro. 

A gal can do a lot of thinking in the dirt, waiting on a man to get things straight. 

I looked around and saw a single seed resting on top of the soil. Even with a hair tie and several bobby pins, I could barely keep my hair out of my face and dirt out of my teeth; the wind was intense. I wondered how this tiny seed, the size of a pencil eraser, was able to stay put when the soil around it blew away into the wind as tiny dust particles. 

My bleeding heart showed up per usual; I kinda felt sorry for the Lone Ranger and with my thumb I pressed it into the ground. Just like that, my planting season was done.  

Something else caught my eye.

A weed still rooted and resting in a chunk of dirt the size of  a ping pong ball. 
It's interesting to look at that measly weed and think that it remained rooted even after such a vast machine made several passes. 
I was intrigued. 
It got me thinking.

What kept that weed so firmly rooted into it's direct surroundings?
What keeps us rooted?
What unearths us?

I've written a lot about "deep roots" and how those roots influence where we go and what we do. My roots have in fact sent me away and brought me back home
But what about strong roots?
The ones that serve us right when we're faced with a choice
The roots that are tied to those voices in our head that guide us right from wrong. 

I know those roots start when we're young - and work from the ground up. At some point we're taught life lessons and it's our responsibility to remain rooted in what we know is true, and part of us. It makes you wonder what series of moments we experience, or don't, that give us strong enough roots to remain grounded in adversity. 

What keeps you grounded? 
Your parents? 
Your kids? 
Your faith? 
A relationship? 

But it was more than that tiny root structure that got me thinking. If you just look around, a lot can be learned from the ground up. 

There will forever be road blocks, and rocks, in our path. 
And we have to learn to take them in stride, work around them and adjust. 

There will also be really big road blocks - or rocks - in life's path. How do we deal with these? We flag 'em. We take notes. We learn lessons. We pray. We find ways to move them, and we ask friends to help. Sometimes, we avoid that route all together. 

There will be things that we realize don't belong in our life. 
They may seem like a really good idea at the time, then we understand it is best to go separate ways. 
An ex-relationship? Maybe. 
But I was referencing the infamous red towels. 

 There will be people who are not looking out for our best interest. In fact, they may be intentionally working against us. Recognize these set backs dressed in jeans. There are ways to rid your life of those, too. Round-up is always a good start. 

The path won't always be easy, fast, or smooth. And that is the beauty of life. If it was easy it wouldn't be fun. We would get bored. And we'd all probably be really lazy

As unremarkable as it sounds, my reminder to you today is this: 
Keep it simple. When life gets complicated, remember that some of the best guidance can be found when you're working from the ground up. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


Every single day, from the moment we wake up, each of us are presented with a series of choices. 
My first choice today: to snooze or not to snooze. 
Some are terribly routine; there are days I stand in front of my closet and rack my brain trying to find something to wear. 
Others may need to be taken more seriously, and those are the ones that have the ability to change the course of our lives. 

This is not illustrating one of those life-changing choices. 

I've thought a lot about choices lately, regarding how we assess them and spend time debating them, whether internally or with others. We can expend a lot of energy weighing things on that scale in our mind, making pros/cons lists, discussing and debating. Perhaps the heaviest component in the decision-making process is knowing what you want in the first place. 

I don't know why God puts these choices - or decisions - in our life. I think it is more than He just "testing us", but rather He giving us the opportunity to have say in even just a small part of the plan already created. You can consider that a blessing or a burden! Your choice. 

In the end, it is us that not only has to live with that choice, but we get to. We get to experience the fruits or the difficulties that follow the decision we make. In fact, had I known that Dixie would cost me hundreds in carpet cleaning supplies and Febreze, would I have saved her from that ditch? Probably. Ask me again tomorrow - it may rain today. 

Maybe you'll make the phone call, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll apologize, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll admit it, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll commit to starting today, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll seek forgiveness, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll drive home, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll take the job, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll take better care of yourself, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll ask the bank, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll do the right thing, maybe you won't.

What choices are weighing on your mind? Who can help you make that decision? What is standing in your way of making the right choice? What choice are you putting off? What choice are you afraid of?

While every choice may not be song worthy (artists like Jones have a knack for making everyday life a masterpiece), some can be life worthy.  

Make sure the choices you make today are reflective of exactly where you want to go, because the path you choose today will surely lead you.

“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, "I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday," that person cannot say, "I choose otherwise.” 
- Stephen R. Covey

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Be Present

Remember this: Even in the most mundane conversations, the best insight can be gained.  

I called the Wilt office two weeks ago to finalize travel plans with Melanie. We were flying west for the same event, but out of the same state. She and I chatted about lunch meetings, dinner plans with clients and what we were wearing. Having a boss with a pulse on the latest fashion: I consider it one of our greatest personal benefits at Wilt

"And, Lindsay," Mel closed the conversation, "there will be things you won't want to miss. 
Shut off your phone, and your ipad. present." 

Be present. 
It was subtle advice, but it struck me to the core. 

I've always considered myself someone who lives in the moment.
Who soaks it up. 
Who carries a camera so to not forget. 
I thought Melanie knew that. 

Then I thought back to last week when I played with my niece and nephew; I didn't lose sight of my phone in case they said something worth texting on to Grammie. Looking back, I can't even remember what Marlee, Harrison and I talked about that evening in the play room. 

Then I remembered the prettiest sunset I've ever seen. The glare on my lens left the strangest watermark. I only know that, not because of the memories that sunset engrained in my mind's eye, but because I look back on the photos and remember how upset I was that I didn't have a clean lens. Funny, had I appreciated it with my own eyes, that sunset would still be as perfect as I perceived it. 

Then I remembered getting kicked out of a game of black jack in Reno because I was texting my Uncle Steve about how much fun I was having. Things weren't nearly as fun two tables down, alone, waiting for Cody to wrap up his winning streak. My connectivity placed me at a major disadvantage. 

All of these moments have this timestamp stigma on them because I evaluated them based on their status-worthiness, their aperture or how much they would matter to someone else

But friends, remember these words:

Have I gotten so carried away with documenting every minute that I'm not actually living in the present? 

These days my alarm goes off and I check my phone before I get out of bed. 
My texts. 
My email. 
My Facebook. 
Then I rush to the shower.
I used to listen to the birds sing. 

These days I enjoy a girls' night at Wannabeez and feel obligated to document this best one-liner that comes out of Laramie's mouth. 
I used to enjoy the fact that no one in this tiny town knew where I was on a Thursday night. 

These days I can't have dinner with 4-H friends or Grandma or ex-coworkers until I check my phone because I'm so busy
Previously, I planned a week in advance and looked forward to every encounter, rather than view them as another dot on my calendar. 

Be present.

Five days after Melanie's unsolicited advice, I found myself at a restaurant in the heart of Chicago celebrating Momma's 60th. I looked across the poorly lit table and realized how the gold in Momma's  bronzer made her absolutely glow. I reached for my phone. One-handedly I searched for it in my purse on the back of the chair, then quit. I realized that in the time I was wasting trying to document Momma's wrinkles (you're welcome, Linda) I was missing the pleasure of having her all dolled-up and close to me. A girls' night nearly ruined by a mediocre Facebook post. 

And I think about these kids who didn't grow up like you and I did. 
The ones who carry cheesy (FAKE) smiles with hands on their hips, not because they're happy, but because their face only moves in one direction when a camera or cell phone comes close to their teeth
I think of the kids who hit a home run then look to the stands only to see their parent looking down at their phone in an attempt to be the latest, coolest sportscaster in Smalltown, USA. 
I look at the gals who had a tough enough time finding a prom dress that they were semi-confident in, only to be "tagged" in photos by their "I'd-give-anything-to-be-17-again" mothers. 

Those are the ones who lose by us not being present. 

Melanie's words struck me because they flat called me out. In two words. 
Be present. 
She and I have a trust and respect that extends both ways. 
When Melanie advises, I listen. 
And let's be honest. She is a no-bull kind of gal. 

So I knew I had a problem when she had the guts to bring my lack of presence to my attention. She realized that I miss out on a lot because I try to play storyteller/photographer/documentarian. 

So what are you missing because you can't disconnect?
When was the last time you shut it off?
Quit checking in between laundry loads and miles jogged and performances of The Voice.

Because quite frankly, no one cares. 

Remember, some of the best days of your life 
were when cell phones and Facebook didn't exist. 
Be present 
and decide for yourself.