My Vocational Change at age 42. A look back 8 months in: Written March 2023

My explanation of retiring from? leaving? the Young Life Staff after exactly 20 years of employment and service, was sent in an email to donors, staff peers, family and friends.
The email read:
I am writing to let you know I took another job this week and will be leaving the Young Life staff for my next season. 
I will continue to lead WyldLife in KC and support the mission in many ways. 
I feel so grateful for my 20 years (celebrating August 15th, 2022!) of Young Life as a vocation and lifestyle. I came to Young Life staff for teenagers in a small town. I am leaving staff for more direct engagement with teenagers in a bigger city. I intended to be a teacher when I went to college and will head that way now. Next year I’ll work in the Reconnect room at LEAD, Eli and Andi’s high school.
I will be forever grateful for the leadership formation I received and was able to offer inside the mission. I am a different person because of the Christ-centric methods and grace of God. 
In Young Life, I made some of my best friends, expanded my perspectives, enjoyed traveling to amazing places to work and worship, and benefited from the challenge and gift of raising funds from amazing, generous, and faithful team members, and loved sharing life and Jesus with kids. I was never ever alone, loved my teams, always had a champion (or six), was believed in, and was blessed, beyond what I could have imagined. 
I’m glad I know you. 
I so hope we continue to partner in kingdom work as God leads me through this change. Thank you for your presence in my life and your gift of friendship, investment, care, and cheer for all or part of these last 20 years.
I left because….
The changes in my department (Learning and Leadership) shifted people and pace enough that I had space to explore:
– What is at the core of what I want to do with the skills, experience, and passions I possess?
– What are possible vocations where that core is exercised?
– Do I stay in YL?
My answers:
I want to directly serve my kids and everybody elses. I like teenagers- I’ve been trying to reach them from outside the school for 20 years, what if I went inside the school?
I want to work on a team.
I love to lead so others learn, grow, and develop.
I prefer to lead a room of many instead of work one: one.
Despite my appreciation for travel, I knew I was missing moments at home too often and putting a strain on my partner at home as well as constantly juggling guilt and regret with fulfilling and enjoyable pursuits. I realized I was 42 and could work another 20 years easily- it wasn’t too late to make a big change. My work with YL was completely attuned to my calling, and gifts, and was about to grow into something with even more money and responsibility. It seemed like it was what I had always wanted and been waiting for. Yet, as I processed and started to apply (July 2022 at Clearwater Cove for WL camp), I felt released. I said out loud, “I don’t want to do this” and felt the Lord say, “You don’t have to.”
So I applied for a Teacher’s Assistant position in Park Hill where I’d spent a significant amount of time subbing at middle schools in the 21-22 school year. The director of HR who interviewed me gave me great guidance for the job I sit in today: the In-School Suspension supervisor at LEAD Innovation Studio.
I’m starting over and starting small. After garnering influence, responsibility, and leadership under the guidance of mentors, peers, and the best boss, I was now working in anonymity with no agency for effecting change.
Eight months into the new job, I have:
– Less ignorance and more appreciation for all teachers
– My greatest joy in having in-house co-workers.
– I was given the opportunity to do what I love in helping with a freshman girls’ wellness group-quickly moving from one-time presenter to full-fledged director.
– I moved from an office/classroom I loved on floor 2, to a new one which I now, also love. It’s a 3rd-floor corner office with walls made of windows overlooking a forest!
– I enjoy being in the same building as my teenagers. Andi pops in multiple times a day and came down from bedtime last night to give me one more hug and say, “I love that you work at my school Mom. I’m so happy I get to see you every day. Please don’t leave.”
– I am grateful for the smaller amounts of responsibility and the lack of major forward planning I have to do in this role.
– I’m home for major moments, ordinary tasks, and emotional conversations that happen without warning. All of these are impossible across distances and make our family connected, comfortable, and moving forward. I was at Andi’s fall orchestra show and not the LLD meeting at Castaway and that felt right.
– I get to work with teenagers daily and directly which is a struggle (35%) and a joy (65%). .
– I’ve settled on a graduate program to become a certified secondary English teacher and start classes April 1st.
–  I almost quit this job in February.
I was seizing and reeling because:
The galvanized gap of being unknown, underutilized, unstimulated, and around a bunch of grumbling has worn on me. It’s not insurmountable and the “I need something to change in this role for me to stay” conversation with the admin was heard and well-received.
So I’m staying. I’m in a role I know isn’t my forever and intend to make the most of it for my own development but most importantly, for the best service and care I can offer to students.
In looking back, I have no regrets, a few cringe moments, and many blessings from the 20 years I spent on Young Life staff. They are named in the transition letter above. At this eight-month look back, however, I can for sure say I most miss:
– The relationships, on all levels of connectivity and camaraderie. I had so many people ahead of me I was constantly respecting and gleaning from. I had so many beside me spurring me on. I had many I was leading and had led that I still valued and greeted. I had 100s of casual connections across the mission that I would appreciate hearing from in an email or running into at a camp. All casual but all positive and accessible if desired.
– The travel- to great places to meet with wonderful people and do important work.
– The familiarity of language, culture, ritual, and rhtymns inside a company that sought to serve in the name of Jesus.
– The hope we held for teenagers and the joy in befriending and mentoring them that was the bedrock.
So now I sit in a low chair and eat humble pie and wrestle with my ego and convictions. I cannot believe I’m here doing this one day and then I feel so lucky and happy to be here the next.  I feel stuck and free at the same time. I feel necessary and appreciated and then dismissed and forgotten daily. I respect the teachers in this building for how long they have been serving other people’s kids and I really want to be like them. I get to sit on a small team for school-wide behavior engagement thinking and share good ideas with proven insight and experience. But I’m not paid or acknowledged for these types of work/sharing/thinking. I wish I didn’t get bothered by this or my hourly paycheck but in truth, it does feel like what an ego bruise must be.
In prayer and petition, I’m hearing, PATIENCE. What is next is not fully known and there isn’t a hurry to get them or know it’s finished point. . We just read about Moses and the water from the rock and God’s capable provision from a never before seen, completely unexpected

Meal with Mom and Dad- A Year in Caloric Conversations

I love to mark a moment or give an ordinary occurrence deliberate meaning*. Often we can join our family’s attention to an ecclesiastical or communal rhythm by giving attention to it at a meal. We offer nightly, annual, or one-time rituals for many seasons or occurrences such as Advent, Lent, First Day of School, Valentine’s Day, Confirmation, family dinners, 10-year-old birthday books, bedtime blessings, baby baptisms, and Superbowl Pre-Game Parades (yes we’ve done this TWICE!). Our truly unique celebration happens annually on April 24th- our house move-in date (4/24/14) and now our yearly, home memory review and kid height measure day! We remodeled our basement but were sure to leave the height-marking trim on that door frame.
In 2023, inspired by one of my new coworkers’ family rhythms of dates with their kids, we created a plan for a year of: Meals with Mom and Dad. 
Together, Drew and I will take our kids, one at a time, to a restaurant meal of their choosing. We set the year all at once, one kid per month, and are three months in. It’s going great. And it’s high cal.
Oaks started off in January with Big Biscuit (pancake platter) where we discussed lots of his favorites, hopes, current basketball season stuff, and some would-you-rathers. Oaks was sweet and open, hungry and joyful. We like seeing Oakley playful and creative with hand drawn comics or rebuilt and storytelling LEGO battles. Oakley and Drew have a sweet and busy morning routine these days with newspaper comics, the Wordle, and the Heardle since the rest of us head to LEAD about an hour and a half earlier!
With Eli, we went on Superbowl Sunday to a Chiefs-clad Big Biscuit. It was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience to be in our community on such a hyped-up with hope day. All the red and all the bread! We had the Sticky Biscuit to share and talked a lot about faith, friends, and a little about the future. Eli has a group of five close friends, has taken to driving with a sense of control, calm and generosity to others. Since December he’s worked four nights a week at McDonalds so time with him was so precious.
Andi was tempted to veer off the norm but settled into the standard set by her brothers: Big Biscuit, March 11th. Conversation with Andi felt a little different since she shares openly all the time. The gift instead came when emotion overwhelm happened halfway through. Drew and I both teared up with love and appreciation for her. No real new news that day, just a profound moment of empathy for all she’s holding as she tries new things in sports, school, and friends. We definitely applaud her for being independent and creative, she can be alone and not be lonely, stands up for all kinds of others, and works really hard at school.
Looking forward to the rest of the year and hoping we move away from Big Biscuit soon- no offense.
*For as much as we make marking moments a hallmark of our family life, we haven’t established any big birthday traditions, like a trip at 10, 13 or 16 etc.., to pass from kid to kid. With Eli, we thought about hiking a fourteener when he was 14 or taking him on a hard hike with uncles at age 15. We were at the Magic Kingdom on Andi’s 13th which was magical but not repeatable, though she’s hoping for a sweet 16 in New York. Hmmm…

Oscars 2023

I’ve been living life and not writing blogs. It’s been very very long since I’ve sat to process and share, let the words and feelings flow. Where did 2022 go?

Tonight the Academy Awards will air and our efforts to watch as many movies as we could, without the AMC showcase giving us two Saturdays full of Best Pictures, will come to an end tonight. Life has given our movie-watching selves and crew increased responsibilities and relationships so we didn’t have our community commitment to complete immersion. However, as The Terrace, we saw a fair share! All the Best Pictures, a few documentaries and I myself watched almost all the “shorts”. The categories for shorts are Animated, Documentary, and Live Action.

I replaced some 30-minute show streaming to submit to the storytelling done deliberately in these short films. I invited/mandated that my family join me for viewing something we wouldn’t normally know about or seek on our own. As a whole, they are such digestible, powerful, poignant mini-movies.

I watched:

The Night Ride

Stranger at the Gate

The Haulout

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse

My Year of Dicks

The Flying Sailor

Ice Merchants

Le Pupille

To go to a movie, or sit at home and watch a short film, is to enter into the psychological invitation to “suspend disbelief”. To lay aside judgment and realism for reasons of enjoyment, catharsis, or imagination. (see Wikipedia for the historical journey of the phenomenon)

I was grateful I watched how the story, so artistically told, revealed a new way of seeing many familiar experiences. I live a lot of life by what I believe. I also carry around a critical nature to disbelieve often.

When do I suspend my disbelief? Would this practice help me?

I’ve made 2023 a year of less complaining, more breathing, and in general, more appreciating than criticizing. I think Oscar-nominated short films have helped me enter worlds without disbelief or common criticism.

I think I do an okay job of believing others, especially children, the elderly, students, and my family. I have grown in how I suspend my disbelief with some I see as enemies. Even if the outside story isn’t all the way true, if someone shares, I want to believe the underlying effect of the story, what it might say to me, and for sure how they feel.

Suspending disbelief might sound like:

I’ll believe YOU even if you’re different than me. 

I’ll believe THEIR SIDE of the story despite not knowing it before. 

I’ll wait longer to form my opinion or reject your offering because it’s different or hard to hear at first. 

So happy Oscars and I do recommend the shorts. Suspend your disbelief and enjoy the surprise, sadness, and new perspectives.

And then we can go back to sitcoms 🙂

Written March 12th, 2023


Basement Remodel- Fall/Winter 2021

Despite a heavy year of remodeling in 2020, I had some itches to keep improving our place and space in 2021. We have an old house so things are true like…aging siding, out-of-date, tacky, and uninviting basement.

Seemed our options are to “just move” or make it more of what we want here.

We love living HERE, on “the Terrace”, with our neighbors, our family, this community, these people…

With so many Angie ads during NPR shows, I took to my phone one fall afternoon and set up some meetings with contractors. The siding bids and conversations were so expensive and high-pressure.

The answer to my general contractor questionnaire brought us Sam. He turned out to be very agreeable, a “Sure” kind of guy with a good heart and a hard work ethic. He worked alone most days and with his quiet sons on a few weekends. The day he hung the drywall ceiling was impressive.

Sam walked into the basement filled with toys, piles of stuff, and an exposed closet with the washer and dryer. The HVAC central station is in the middle of the basement and the ceiling is eight feet in height except for the dropped pieces due to venting which are a dowdy six. These were non-negotiables- no change possible. There was tile on the flooring and a bunch of missing drywall where they had done a pipe repair. Oh and the kids and I painted the stairs our first year here.

Sam was going to change the 1970s wallpaper, sponge paint, popcorn ceiling, and shiny brown trim work. Laura and James stayed late after family dinner one night and helped us imagine a new configuration- to build a laundry room and storage. When asked, Sam said “Sure” and the price doubled. We also added some extra lighting at that point.

After four weeks, we had a  smooth ceiling, new drywall in places, and fresh paint. Thank you Sam!

Then Drew and I decided to take up the tile. It was extremely slow going and required many a swing of the sledgehammer. After the tile pieces were up (one night- five hours’ work), we started to remove the glue. This required an enormous amount of chiseling. About 15 reps of chiseling would remove three inches of glue. Drew and I worked for three days.

On day two, in the back corner of the basement, I started to weep. We had lost my Granddad earlier that week (November 29th) and right there and then I felt it the most. I paused and cried,  then scraped and cried.

Thanks to Angie, we found a carpet installer who was willing to piece together the repurposed carpet I had picked up in October from my generous floor-selling neighbors. Free carpet!

We were moving back in just before Christmas, and Covid.

The overall sentiment now is that the basement is warm, inviting, and comfortable. It’s brighter and more functional. We have space to launder, store, play, and hang. Horray! The plan is to stay here until Andi graduates from high school..we hope there is lots of fun in the basement these next five years.




Traveling while in 2021- From Disney to Dismay, Firsts to Unfortunate Seconds and more

The clock turned 2021 and we found out we could be vaccinated and move about the world a bit. This blog is a bit like a long chapter of a book. Be forwarned. By the following picture you’ll get the whole gist. Our FIRST Disney trip, pandemic fun/school/visitors in KC, Eli’s freak injury, Drew’s 40th in Las Vegas, Osborne family vacation in Michigan, November in Vancouver, and a Colorado Christmas.

In March we went to Colorado for some of Spring Break and Oakley’s first days of downhill skiing! We had two lovely days of skiing at Loveland with Grandpa Mark and Oakley picked up on it with bravery and coordination.

  • Pandemic impact: No group lessons available. Drew and Linds taught their first, and last, person to ski.

In April we had a dream trip to Disney World/Universal Studios from April 26-May 2, 2021. OUR FIRST TIME as a family- it won’t be our last. The trip was a perfect convalescence of the skills and temperaments of Drew and me and a great age and stage of life for our kids. I had the crazy idea and early energy to get the trip off the ground, Drew slowed us down and detailed his way through each piece of the plan to make it delicious, fun, easy, less line-y, and magical. Nothing we planned to do got rained out or canceled for COVID, or ride maintenance issues, or any easily occurring mishap. For all the details, and I mean, very detailed details, complete with all the appropriate Disney acronyms, check out Drew’s TouringPlans trip report.

In May- we made it through the end of a crazy Covid-impacted school year. One absolute highlight was the shared experiences of middle school that Andi and Eli got to share. They were both on the broadcasting team and ran track and cross country on the same team. The Spring track season was supposed to be eight meets but was impacted by weather and covid and decreased to four meets. The kids were resilient to overcome changes, cancellations, and disappointments. Oakley was a champion second grader with his mask and his bus rides and his mid-year teacher change. He stayed happy and healthy all year.

In June, Eli and Andi and I got to go to Wyldlife camp at Clearwater Cove with 16 of our middle school friends. To getaway to a resort designed to delight teenagers, with the freedom offered inside boundaries of adult leadership and camp schedules gave us a week where kids heard God pursues them, Jesus listens to them, the Spirit is inside of them, and we, adults, like them. They had a ton of fun.

In Late June-we filled our family schedule with really meaningful events and it was supposed to all be fine.

The plan: (June 24- July 3rd)

  • Thursday- Send Eli to Bartle Boy Scout Camp for his fourth year. June 24th until July 3rd.
  • Friday- Drive to Colorado for Grammy’s memorial service and special time with the Henke/Sustad family all together.
  • Saturday- Celebrate the life of Dee Henke. Linds serve as officiant, Andi sing, Drew share. (June 26)
  • Sunday morning- Fly to Las Vegas for an adults-only 40-year old bday bash for Drew’s 40th (June 27-June 29)
  • Tuesday- Return to Denver. Linds to go meeting in Golden. Drew work and kids play in Denver.
  • Thursday- Drive home to KC.
  • Saturday- Pick up Eli.

Eli was set and ready and got to Bartle safely on Thursday. Our road trip to Colorado was smooth and the family dinner Friday night was a great time to prepare for the service Saturday. A joy-filled ceremony of honoring and remembering Grammy happened Saturday with many loving friends and family in attendance. We enjoyed a dove release in the park afterward and a lovely dinner hosted by Maama.

Sunday morning was early for the adults headed to Vegas. We met up with Zach and Christine at the Golden Nugget and enjoyed the sites, sounds, and eats for all afternoon. We had fun at the Meow Wolf Omega Mart and a delicious celebratory (HBD Drew!) dinner at a tapas restaurant.

Monday morning we paid to swim and hang out at the eight stadium pools at Circa. Floating and finding shade, chatting and relaxing, we were living it up.

Drew hopped out to answer a call on his phone and stayed out of the pool long enough that I got out to join him. Turned out, it was a parent at Scout camp letting us know that Eli had been in an accident. Something about a tree and his ankle and maybe his head. We didn’t know much but the guy on the phone seemed calm and didn’t make us think it was an emergency or any significant medical event.

It was hard to hear. 

Really hard to hear Eli was hurt and we were so far away.

Really hard to hear. The music at that pool, and around Vegas in general is SO LOUD.

The gut punch of the news and the slow sinking in of “What do we do? What can we do? What does Eli need?” took all afternoon. We stayed at the pool waiting for the next phone call. We were comforted immediately that Steve (Poppy) was on his way to find Eli and would meet him wherever needed.

The news came in call after call with increasing detail. Eli was seen at the camp medical office and put in an ambulance to head to a rural hosptial to examine his lower leg and some facial abrasions.

Then we heard the ambulance team decided to bypass the small hospital and go straight to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City. Steve was there to be with Eli through the first brain scans and leg xrays. The story of the accident and the injuries was confirmed:

 On day 5  Eli was working to clear brush on the ground to build a path. A tree limb freakishly fell on him, fracturing his skull at the forehead, knocking him out, and somehow in a fall, breaking his lower right leg. He had a mirco-skull fracture and a concussion as well as a broken tibia and fibula. He required surgery the next morning- Tuesday, June 29th
Back in Vegas, we knew we HAD to get home. Who and how deliberations lasted just long enough for the last flight on any airline to expire. Drew left me at the hotel to head to the airport anyways (with the van keys in a pants pocket…so he brought those back to me…) and was able to keep refreshing the Southwest page to find one seat back open on the 9pm flight…for an extra $400 of course.
June 29-  Drew makes it from Vegas to the hospital arriving at 4am. Faithful and strong, Eli was sleeping and Steve was still bedside. Eli had surgery at 7:30am to fix his broken tibia with a now-permanently there rod. The fractured fibula would heal on its own. His fractured skull would also heal on its own and multiple CT scans were clear which matched Eli’s self-described lack of headache or memory loss.
June 30- Eli woke up in “the worst pain of his life” at 2am after surgery, same day physical therapy, the total body trauma, and the wearing off of pain meds. He was able to rest more and was discharged later that day.
Meanwhile back in Vegas… it’s still June 28th and we still had a night left to celebrate Drew’s birthday, without Drew. We did dinner at a cozy, historic, delicous and very delayed-in-customer service Italian restuarant, walked the brightly lit strip, loved the Bellagio sites, and took pictures…me joining random sibling couples and quite numb.
We flew as a crew back to Colorado early Tuesday morning and I had to make a decision. Drive exhausted and overwhelmed back to Kansas City Tuesday or wait until Eli was out of the hospital and I was more rested, and drive Thursday? So I chose Thursday and attended my Young Life meeting inbetween. I was a shell of a person but with my team which felt okay. My mom and family took care of Andi and Oaks who held together well despite feeling angst and agony for their brother.
We reunited and were bequethed gifts of support in three major ways for the first very impactful 10 days of July. 
1. People gave us gifts we needed and enjoyed. Lots of food and snacks that were Eli appetite specific. Those hit the spot. Many dinners and food that helped us take that big chore off the list. Neighbors, good people, and family gave Eli fidget toys and elaborate Lego sets, and new games. We had visitors sign the guest book which is very sweet to look back and see.
2. People gave advice, encouragement and wisdom. My medical professional friends were extremely on point to provide wisdom when I wondered how bad it was to know Eli had a “traumatic brain injurty” and the accidental finding of a questionable thyroid nodule that would need follow-up. Beyond texts to calm down from our NP, our aunt MK also an NP, friend Kristin was gracious to come over and help peel off the scarey sticky bandages.

3. People gave us presence. Two men came to our house and sat on the couch with Eli. Uncle Zach came for three days to spend hours with Eli; empathy the only agenda. I cannot write it today without tears. The impact of his presence on those days overwhelms. Our youth pastor, pursued coming alllll the way up with specific favorites in tow, and spent almost an hour letting Eli tell the story and share his whole truth.

We were impacted by the ways people gave when we needed help and hope.

It was lonely and disorienting for all of Eli’s plans to change. No more swim team or flag football. No more trampoline or scootering, bikes or moving without crutches. Many many doctor appointments (16 in 8 weeks) and no invites to hang with friends.

The emotionally maturing 14 year old boys did come around despite being slow on the entering in. At first, I literally called them to come over or grabbed them from the street. We brought Eli to a pool Wyldlife event but I had to take him home early. Too hot to stay seated in a chair while everyone else played. However, his spirit was high and his tenacity through pain and discouragment remained steadfast. Eli has a great personality for pushing through.

Perhaps the most helpful was the Scouting community– both our local troop, the regional corporate VIPs who came to the hospital to drop off a gift, and the Bartle community who sent love, took down the tree, named the path after Eli, and welcomed him back later in the summer to finish his ranking up requirements.

Back to the travel calendar

IN JULY- We had some repeats. Eli back to Bartle and Drew back to positive.

Eli had an amazing time spending two nights alone outside, on crutches, with a new “blood brother”, a kind advocate from 395, and a welcoming host troop from Johnson County. I spent one night and Drew went down for the ceremonial celebration.

July 31- August 7th- Osborne family vacation 

We headed off all together with Eli almost healed up to the best beaches in the U.S.- Barrien County Mighigan. We had a cozy house with an awesome yard and hot tub near Grand Mere State Park. We were all together with all the Osborne’s for a fun family five day trip. We went berry picking and dune hiking and beach swimming for a blast of three days.

On night three, Drew got a sore throat and had a feverish sleep. Packed together with 18 of us, all fully vaccinated except the six kids in-elligible,  we were going to be shocked if it was COVID and shocked if we didn’t all get it. Turns out, Drew did have COVID and everyone had been super exposed. We masked up for any inside times that last day, stayed all away from poor Drew *NOT HIS SUMMER* and drove home early. (Eventually, it was clear vaccines work since no one else got Drew’s Delta infection). We were supposed to vacation two more days in Chicago and you know, not have Drew drive with COVID in an kN-95 on my birthday...but it was summer 2021! 

In August- Eli was checked out by neuro to swim *but not dive* and his orthopedist encouraged a swim workout. He started high school swim on August 9th and was a conference-qualified swimmer by October. We canceled three of those PT appointments and checked out with therapist Kayla who Eli really appreciated on September 20th. Oh and Patrick Mahomes was in house that day!! We snuck a picture and Eli got a legit head nod from our local champ. A-mazing.

September- Camping with the cousins was smooth and turned out to be the last time we saw my granddad Don. He came to the campsite for an afternoon where we shared comfortable conversation and he, a nap in a chair. Drew somehow knew it was time to lean in and listen and won’t forget that crisp Colorado afternoon among aged wisdom.

November- The Sustad Siblings united for the 3rd time in 2021 when the Sustad sisters trekked to Vancouver. Three aunts and two nieces plus one adventurous and hard-working dad made for a profound time of processing pain, digesting what will be different, and playing lots and lots of fun things with the very vivacious Vienna and Aria. Oh, and so many nachos.

December- Christmas in Colorado was a magical gift of togetherness and transition. Our Mom had moved out of our growing-up house and our Henke grandparents had both passed. Scot came alone as the ending of his marriage was in a messy stage of making Christmas across country lines difficult. Our extended family was celebrating moves and upcoming marriages, some cancer, and a cousin back from college. Almost everyone was in Colorado for Granddad’s service. We were gifted Ray’s house in Longmont for this gathering- the space and place were such a gift.

All together with all of that, just before the year ended, we contracted COVID all together as a family. 

Well almost. From our Colorado Christmas house of 15, five kids and six adults would test positive and feel poorly. NOT Drew this time. Wahoo. It meant we returned to have Christmas on the driveway at the Osborne HQ and would miss many hugs with our faraway Chicago family so close but out of reach.

Alas, we started the new year sick and very much back at home.

In reflection, it makes me tight in the shoulders, teary-eyed, and too grateful to write much more. The year was full.

We learn the most in great suffering and great joy and for sure, 2021 held plenty of both.





Ted Lasso- Leadership, Love, and Laughs. I’m a huge fan.

I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to write a review about a TV show before. Sure, I’ve ranked Oscar movies from the perspective of a casual viewer with the truth that I want most movies to give me warm fuzzies, but once-a-year-I-watch-nine-movies-that-wreck-my-world-and-do-indeed-leave-me- knowing-new-things, appreciating-different-perspectives, and cheering-on-the-creatives.

[I digress. I miss the Oscar season.]

Today I have to write so I can get Ted Lasso out of my head and into the world. I’ve lived with this show for three weeks and find it applies to almost everything. The show is well-made, hopeful, surprising, earnest, funny, heartfelt, human, godly, convicting, inspiring, and again, hopeful. Because tonight it’s nominated for some Golden Globes, our local newspaper published a commentary by a New York Times writer who captures much of what I want to convey.

James Poniewozik writes,

“Being nice in Ted Lasso, is not a naive denial of the darkness of life. It’s a clear-eyed adaptation to it. The series recognizes that nice guys do sometimes finish last. It just argues that other things are more important than finishing first.” Poniewozik also highlights Ted’s positivity as a secret weapon, affirms his decency is expressed in assuming good intentions in the motives of others, and that he earns his niceness not by glossing over or denying the hard things in life because instead “his optimism and generosity are informed by the pain that’s made them necessary.”

Well said, James. Thank you.

In the bonus material for the show, streaming on ApplePlus TV, Sudeikis and team admit the humor hits you first but the call to kindness and goodness is what stays. His coaching style encourages acceptance of hard truths about yourself (especially when they come from mostly quiet but always watching Nate) and the support of others on your team. Against negativity and actual brokenness losing teams often have, Lasso encourages the team to believe. “Believe” matters in the psyche of self-confidence as well as a belief in the good of others, and the possibility of hope when those things come together.

Sudeikis says he bases Ted’s character on his dad and hopes it’s the kind of dad he is.

Sudeikis affirms a major premise for the whole show is to uphold the dichotomy of ignorance and curiosity.  In interviews, he says, “the worst combination of a human man is one that’s ignorant and arrogant.”

In one of the last episodes of the show, I was undone when Ted blatantly quotes, and exhibits, the  Walt Whitman quote, “Be Curious, Not Judgemental”. Right in the middle of being belittled, he upholds dignity. Goofy, broken, but absolutely self-secure and kind- he’s a picture of meekness- strength under restraint.

In a show about a team of men and two male coaches, the two lead females carry many of the themes of friendship, fortitude, forgiveness, teamwork, and honesty forward with grace, style, strength, and beauty.

I cannot appreciate enough the way the show lands in the middle of a divided America to highlight the values of God’s kingdom. The setting is sports and the language is adult but the messages supersede what can often become extra, cheap, or divisively distracting.

My favorite things seen in the show are:

  • Friends who stay themselves even if their closest blokes believe and act differently
    • (Seen through: the big black guy in the threesome at the bar)
  • Apologies that don’t defend intent.
    • (Seen through: Higgins, Rebecca, Ted, Nate, Keeley and Roy who say I will hold that. You’re right. I’m sorry. I should not have done that. etc..)
  • Boldness to approach someone for a relationship that is threatening to you. Each character makes it possible because of their own self-awareness and security
    • (Seen through:  Keeley and Rebecca, Ted and Rebecca, Roy and Jamie)
  • Cultural intelligence- the army guy didn’t work for Sam from Nigeria. Despite Ted’s good intentions, he took the cultural lesson learned. When American expressions fall flat and are acknowledged as knee-jerk, easy things, to say because we’re nervous- cultural intelligence and decorum increase.
    • (Seen through: Ted in the locker room- “I don’t know why I said it. Nerves I guess.” Such self-awareness at the moment)
  • Owning what you’ve done wrong and offering genuine regret and desire for repair to the offended.
    • (Seen through: Ted owning his anger towards Nate that hard night. Most would have justified it by the despair he was in. Seen in Sassy pointing out Rebecca’s ownership in her own withdrawal and imprisonment and Rebecca taking it. Relationship changing when Keeley apologizes to Roy for using him to get at Jamie. Relationship changing when Rebecca comes clean to Higgins for repair.)
  • A genuine interest in others and space for their ideas and input despite title or status.
    • (Seen through: the push to celebrate Sam in a way that honored his history and involved others in the party to raise the morale for all. Seen when Ted asks Nathan his name, remembers it, tells him the truth about a suit, takes his scrap paper idea, and gives him the locker room floor)
  • Rightly ordered anger.
    • Seen in: Roy Kent. Anger is a good emotion given for improving relationships. When righty ordered, Roy’s anger protects the vulnerable, energizes his talent gone aloof, or shakes off a snoopy photographer. In disorder, anger removes people, instead of the obstacle in the relationship. I love Roy’s character change. It might be too soon but I believe it was buried in there all along and is actually what’s most true about him all along.
  • The positivity that is heartfelt and other affirming and community embracing.
    • Seen in: Every episode, especially when Ted is kind and believing the best, despite the deceit waged against him.
  • A coaching philosophy that elevates character formation, self-awareness, growth, and camaraderie for a team over goals of winning.
    • Seen in: All of Ted’s decisions as head coach. Affirmed at the end when he says, “This is a sad moment. Really sad. But there’s something worse than being sad, and that’s being sad AND alone. No one here is alone.”
  • When Ted says something like, “I’ll be there”, or “I’m grateful for this time with you”, or “I believe in you”, or “I really want to get to know you” or , “Yes I’ll come to your restaurant” etc.. HE REALLY MEANS IT! The affirmation of his positivity is so genuinely decent. It softens even the hardest heart, Trent Crimm’s.

If you don’t have Apple TV, I’ll give you $5.oo to buy it for a month so you don’t have to take my word for it. You can cry and laugh your own way through it and walk away uplifted, closer to Jesus, and more informed about KC bbq.

Can’t wait for Season 2!!!

Congrats Jason Sudeikis on the GG win for best actor!!!





Musings at a Decade Change

 Drew worked the hardest to give me a really special and very fun 40th birthday. Thanks to many for the kind words that made my leaf bouquet so special. I had a great day on my actually 40th birthday mostly relaxing and reminiscing on Wednesday- I connected with lots of family and my kids made me feel very special.
Then, we did a weekend away at a boutique hotel this past weekend. Just Drew and me Friday night and then my sister and her husband joined Saturday afternoon. It was perfect- lots of outside time, pool, relaxation, fun, good food, finished a novel, saw a sunset, felt like I was a million miles away and only had to drive 40 minutes! I am very grateful the pandemic changed the plans…seems like this was just what I wanted.
Since I’m keen on looking back, taking full advantage of the right now, and dabble occasionally in dreams submit this list of the ways I’ve built my life so far.
A few life rules of Lindsey…because of, practiced with, sustained by, and learned from: God, my parents, Drew Osborne, my in-laws, my sibling friends, and connected community of friends past, present and future:
Say thank you.
Go outside.
Give respect.
Be kind.
Wear a helmet.
Apologize genuinely.
Forgive earnestly.
Do hard things.
Sit at sunsets.
Let Jesus love you.
Worship God.
Take vacations.
Get naked.
Help when you can without being asked.
Be honest.
Let other people be honest to you.
Choose Joy.
Gratitude is a choice that changes your life.
Use less plastic.
Be curious, not judgmental.
I’ll stop there and get back to my carrot cake birthday leftovers and snuggle with the ones who have loved me despite many occasions of not following my own rules.
Here’s to being free, 40, and willing to grow…

COVID-19…IN our Home in KC

Leading up to Thanksgiving, we spent hours conversing, arguing, sibling idea sharing, FaceTime phone calling, whiteboard listing, and renegotiating. We wanted to heed the science and respect the communal and national health efforts. We wanted to honor family and relationships, especially with those we haven’t seen for a long time. It was a Colorado Thanksgiving year and we haven’t ever thought of changing or switching up that schedule. It would affect us and all the extended families!

Drew and I couldn’t agree for days. Listening to each other and reading what we read made for some discussions fraught with emotion and tension. It was tiring. Our kids are thoughtful, opinionated, and involved members of our family decision making. What they think deserves a hearing and it is hard to make a decision with five strong personalities involved.

Eventually, we decided not to go to Colorado. Even our hostess was on board with a household-only celebration. It was unprecedented and unthinkable but it was the right call and we got on board. Onboard until…Park Hill decided to move to virtual school after the break. If we weren’t worried about returning to school, why not go to Colorado?

Andi and I reopened the negotiations. Drew raised great points even if I wouldn’t fully agree…yet.  Other close advisors were on the other side of my desires with their own convictions and wisdom. I didn’t want to win. There were risks either way. I was trying to prioritize what I believed and obey for the greater good.

Weighing significantly as well, was my commitment to serve as the funeral officiant the Friday before Thanksgiving for my extended family. It felt like an essential service to provide. I tearfully came around to the other side. By the funeral, we had laid the going to Colorado idea back to rest.

Our renegotiated plan was to hang with our KC Sustad/Bruce family. Only them. Our bubble of daily contact meant we were basically one household anyway. We would share the cooking load and brainstormed many fun weekend activities for our two families.

And then…Drew slept horribly Saturday night and woke up feeling less great on Sunday. By Sunday night, Drew had a fever, chills, body aches, and felt faint. He slept downstairs and we found him a test for Monday afternoon. Cold medicines helped and he wasn’t losing his sense of taste so COVID still felt like a far-off possibility. There was no known exposure, Drew had been so careful.

When Drew’s test came back positive Wednesday morning, he had already been isolating and we moved Eli into isolation as well with similar symptoms as Drew’s.  We were really surprised. We were sad.

As of Monday morning, the Thanksgiving plans were renegotiated once again. We would share food with the Bruce’s but just eat the five of us at our own house. Instead of the 30 people Colorado table, we’d be cozy as our own little family of five. And then, with the test result on Wednesday, our table of five became three.

Oaks dabbled in a fever, never above 99.1, and took a Tylenol one night. Andi and I never so much as sniffled.  Alas, I cooked and baked and did the dishes and tried to care for Drew and Eli on their two different floors. It’s a hard scenario we keep finding our marriage in, Drew the stubborn, tough, really-sad-it’s-him, sick person, and me, the reluctant, whiney, contemptuous nurse. Tis the thorn in our wedded flesh. And Thanksgiving made it worse.

However, we were surrounded by love, support, prayers, food drop-offs, encouragement, and kindness. I couldn’t name enough needs for the offers of help that came in. We had great times Face Timing Drew over dinner while he ate upstairs in his room. Eli was super kind and then very tough to sleep in the basement so I could have his bed upstairs and everyone could spread out.

The hardest part was not the sickness- even the sick guys would say that. It’s the questions (Where from? What did I do wrong? Why me? What now? Should we do this? Test again? Test them? Who do we tell? What is the timetable? What should we’ve done differently? Is it safe now?)

Also challenging for us was the distance inside such a small space. For a cuddly couple like we are, to sleep separate is cold and unsettling. Because we hug everyone around here often, there was often a hard stop when we’d want to reach for the sick guy walking by, in a mask, to put his dishes in the sink. To be alone with just our family when we had planned on playing with friends was really lonely. Because we partner so well and give our kids lots of jobs, losing a partner and one worker made a difference. In those ways, the days dragged on.

For us, we got better fast and never had it that bad. It didn’t spread to the others we were around on those unknown contagion days. Drew and Eli didn’t complain and healed well. We were so grateful for the deliveries of food, messages of hope, and helpful errands ran by our family and friends. Wow. So humbling. Our kids noticed the non-transactional, purely kind gifts from others. It was a shaping experience for us all.

Now, the compassion I have for anyone who has experienced the impact of COVID-19 has increased 100 fold. There is no way to know how deeply the ailments of sickness, anxiety, regret, isolation, loneliness, anger, bewilderment, and fatigue will affect you or your family, the only response should be prayer, support, and encouragement. The powerful gift health care workers are giving to us all is unbelievably selfless and important. I have never heard our family practitioner’s nurse sound so weary or know my good friends to be so seriously wiped.

We were taking it seriously and we were trying our best, and still the virus found its way into our bodies, into our house. We still have a lot of questions and are unsure of all the next steps.  On the other side (almost) we are beyond grateful we fared so well and we ache more severely with the ones we know and love who still, or might yet, struggle. We pray for and hope for the best for all those we don’t know who will find themselves in the middle of what they were trying to avoid.






Before and Afters. Remodel 2020

The pictures are at the end!!!

I wanted to move my microwave off the counter.

Drew wanted to fix the falling down parts of the fence.

So we made a list of what we wanted in a back and forth manner. The list included:

  • new back door for the deck
  • move the microwave
  • fix dry rot
  • fence/gate repairs
  • trees
  • remove the half wall
  • cabinet reconfiguration (for the microwave)…and by the end of it…the fridge!
  • hardwood floors (the whole first floor? just the kitchen and family room?)
  • get a gas range (at the end I was getting greedy)

Since we made that list in April, we have crossed everything off except dry rot (no fun in that and besides- it’s hidden behind the fern), and getting a gas range! We have remodeled our whole first-floor flooring (minus the entry brick and power room tile.) We moved all the way out of our first floor and back in with lots of cleaning out and reorganizing.

We’d like to thank our hardworking and talented contractors: Laverne Shlabach (door), Marcus English (fencing), Brandon (trees), Todd and Daniel with Benchmark Flooring (floors), and H&S Cabinets (cabinets).

We’d like to thank our design and idea team: Nancy Henke (get rid of the peninsula), Laura Bruce (put the microwave here), Natalie Sears (wainscot inspiration and many a design question facetime assistance), John Sears (switch the fridge and cabinets)

We’d like to thank our expert in residence– he does it all folks- from tile demo to detailed trim…James Bruce. We are also grateful to the Bruces for the food and coffee on those days we couldn’t use our kitchen.

We’d like to thank our kids for taking out all those screws under the tile, moving things up and downstairs, sharing your birthday and your dance recital special days with project messes, having lots of design desires but yielding when necessary, helping (I love help) and having fun even with the disruption.

I’d like to thank Drew for saying yes and working hard after working hard at work. For carrying the load of family and tax season and projects with strength and willingness even when it was a crazy change I had just decided on while you were away…

Alas, it’s not done yet but darn close. We need paint. I’m so happy. It’s lovely and feels like it hosts more completely how we like to live here.


The half-wall behind the table…with spindles. Note the carpet in the family room.

The microwave, the peninsula countertop behind the table.

The fridge in the corner of the kitchen, a tight hallway to the dining room.


We had demo-ed the tile, removed the half-wall and the H&S crew was cutting the countertop and moving the cabinets.

Silly me. I cut my hand on the bottom of the couch on hardwood floor move the furniture day. I got a tetanus shot and some glue.

The white oak material drop day!

Two days to lay the planks

While the wood is not yet installed in this section, we move the cabinet block to the hallway and the fridge to the middle of the kitchen. James and Drew tackle the challenge themselves and trim it 3 weeks later.

We pick a stain- provincial, natural, fruitwood, or rustic grey. We choose fruitwood. So many kid opinions.

The fridge lived in the hallway and the rest of the furniture went to the garage or upstairs. Eli’s bday and most of our meals happened on the deck.


New island. Fridge in the middle. Microwave in the far cabinets. Furniture back in!!! We love it!!!

We decided to do the living room too. Yahoo.

COVID 19- The Journey Continues

We broke quarantine and staying home in June. We went to Colorado and stayed in the homes of our family. We had an amazing 90th birthday family picnic at a park for my gorgeous Grammy.

In July I went to a Young Life small department essential meeting. I flew Southwest. It was thrilling. I was grateful for the chance to work together, have hard conversations, and be in the beauty of Colorado Springs. I was back in Colorado 10 days later when tax season finally ended and we did our first ever Osborne-Original-6 plus-families (we were 18 people, 4 kids 2 and under!) vacation in Keystone. Cousins, wildflowers, hikes, bike/skate/scooter adventures, and sweet family time were a few highlights.

Back at home in June and July, we got the great gift of a virtual swim season with the Coves. We practiced and swam with safety protocols in our home pool and competed against other teams with times computed and compared online.

On the way home from swim practice, Oaks has to go up one big hill. Really big. Being new-ish to biking and short-ish as a human, the hill is taxing.

To get up the hill, I tell Oaks, “Just do one pedal. Then another pedal. Then another pedal. You can always do one more pedal. Don’t worry about the top of the hill, just the next pedal.”

He’s seven and has strong emotions so sometimes he’d give up saying, “I’m not getting anywhere! That doesn’t work.”

By the end of the month, however, he would face the hill with a new resolve. The one pedal at a time method moved him slowly but deliberately up to the top.

As COVID continues, so do the questions, the uncertainty, the pain, the charged emotions, the division, the community, and the blessings.

They just announced a delayed start to the school year and a hybrid schedule for middle schoolers. With the start of school now still a month away (Sept 8th), these new plans might change again.

To think about when it’s all over or when things can be “normal” again is to yearn for the top of the hill from the bottom. Instead, I’ll just do one pedal. Be patient. Stay balanced and hold on.


Other notable summer moments: 

  • Oodles of work on our kitchen (see another blog post)
  • Colorado family here in KC for Drew’s birthday and the 4th of July
  • Black Lives Matter and Do Better Young Life
  • Andi’s first Diane’s School of Dance Recital happened July 10-11th. Cousins Lena, June and Henley were great fans, as well as her brothers, GG and Laura. It was a great uplift and Andi was confident and awesome on stage.
  •  Eli’s 14th birthday!
  •  Lots of Wyldlife fun in June with a field day and a yard games hang out night.
  • New friends with similar interests- Sam Oetting and scooters, Schieber’s and Andi’s new penny board, June, Henley and, Oaks play, fight and love almost daily.
  • Our garden, flowers, and grass are growing with gusto!
  • Did I mention the home projects?!

Grammy and her offspring…the legacy of grace and beauty we inherit is a gift.

Maama with 7 of her 9 grandkids at Evergreen Lake.

One of Eli’s presents and a dream come true- a scooter session at Woodward Copper.

Oakley’s first ride on a chair lift. We had a great hike down all together.

Andi danced two jazz dances and one hip hop dance. We loved watching you on that big stage Sister Soo.


All the Osborne’s during our mountain top experience family vacay

Also in July- our 16th wedding anniversary. We returned to the engagement spot at Chicago Creek on our way home from Keystone.