Back Home Back Flips

Because of God’s great grace, I was able to convene with my three siblings and  their spouses over this past weekend in Colorado. Unfortunately, Drew and my kids had to stay home here in MO.

I headed to Colorado to celebrate and launch the new e-book series I’m working on with my aunt. Our first two books are out there and available! We launched and they’ve landed! Check out the “You Were Meant for More” series here. Books are also available on Amazon. I am a humble contributor to the process and am excited to let them go where God takes them! IMG_4084

After my book trip was scheduled, my brother Scot said he was coming to Colorado at the same time. Laura and James decided to come with Baby June, Scot grabbed his wife Kimberley, and Natalie and John jumped out of their regularly scheduled programming to be with us. Our home base was back home…Mom’s house.

The short moments we had together were intentional, celebratory, and authentic. We hosted an evening baby shower to celebrate Scot and Kim’s baby girl due June 5th. Their Colorado community, plus extras from Chicago and California, showed up to celebrate and cheer the breakthrough blessing that is this coming baby. Scot and Kim shared their 10 year old story that lays the foundation for the new thing God is growing within. The living room was pregnant with emotion, joy, deep friendship, huge hopes, and good grace. IMG_4090

We had a chance to hang out and pig out Monday. We walked the streets of Golden, after enjoying pizza, before heading back to the house for afternoon coffee and leftover cheesecake. We sat outside, in January, on the patio, without coats, under the clearest blue sky, in the middle of a Monday. All together. For just over an hour. Some of the realest life on an un-realistic kind of day.

Eventually, from the concrete patio, Scot was called to the trampoline across the grass. He took to jumping in his tight jeans with the boldness and yes, the jarring aches, of the only 32-year-old I know who can flip on skis, off diving boards, and indeed, on his childhood trampoline.

After watching the Scot show of misty-flips, laid-out back flips, gainers, and 720 twists (the connection to Eli’s genetic code was evident!), we ladies jumped on with joy and the hesitation of being currently pregnant (Kim), recently pregnant (Laura), in tight jeans (Nat) and so full of cheesecake (me). On their own, Laura and Nat landed both front and back flips. No jumping experience in the last 10 years, and up and over they flew!

Sidenote: When I married Drew, he fell in as much love with me as the trampoline at my Colorado homestead. Jumping on a tramp is his favorite. He too, has a fearless back flip. 

I asked Scot to spot me so I could try a back flip..the thorn in my athletic side. I was always afraid to do a back flip growing up. Never did one on my back yard tramp as a kid or teen. Even when my sisters mastered it, I stayed scared and stuck. I finally figured it out 3 years ago on a YL trip…as a 31 year old. I felt victorious- overcoming a 20 year old fear! Without steady trampoline access, my fear replaced my flipping ability and I lost my new found friend within the year.

There’s a video on my phone of my 2011 back flip. Oaks watches it often, and whenever he does, I feel the failure I’m stuck in because of fear. Yes, having a trampoline back-flip rarely affects my daily life and isn’t anything I’d put on a resume anyway. Still I wish I wasn’t scared. I’m hoping to raise my kids with more freedom to flip.

Back to Monday. Scot promised to assist me, we set up to jump, counted to three. For five attempts, I’d just scream and fall. I was too scared. June was cheering me on from the patio railing. Laura yelled, “You can do it Linds. You can do scary, hard Crossfit things, do this!”, and still I’d crumble.

I hopped off and while still jumping, Scot mused aloud, “Man, that’s so cool. Natalie and Laura just ripped off a back flip!”

I chewed on my lip and that comment and headed back to the trampoline.

It wasn’t that I needed to compete or beat my sisters. I simply realized we were all four there for this magical moment and I was the only one who couldn’t enjoy the view from upside down and backwards.

I set my face to the East and started to jump with resolute conviction. I would complete the Sustad Square- Four Flipping Siblings.

Scot put his hand on my back and I held my breath. I took three big jumps and went over. It was thrilling and completely un-dangerous. I screamed- this time in victory. I had overcome! I faced West and tried again. By the fourth flip, I landed on my feet.

Fear was defeated. My kids can update their video library. By the urging, example, and assistance of my siblings, I overcame, pushed through, and joined the back-flip club.

That afternoon on the patio, with the coffee and the sunshine, the desserts and the conversations, the laughing and the vulnerability, and finally with the play and the flipping, we cemented what has always been.

As Sustad siblings, we have pushed through and overcome. The four of us grew up in a beautiful state, in a resourced family, and were raised with wisdom, care, camping trips, skiing weekends, swimming summers, and love.

We are best friends, openly honest, hurt and healed, hopeful and broken.

We are different and very much the same.IMG_4093

Our respect for each other has low points in the past but only deepens as we age.

When we were little, we had constant playmates and  instant allies. We could go anywhere- boring weddings, swimming pools, awkward reunions, or have to stay home with a baby sitter, and we would have a blast- we had each other.

Geography separates us now by as far away as a country. However, our hearts are knit together by the story our shared lives have written. Our spouses have only helped to connect us more deeply and expand the understanding of who we are and where we’re going. (Plus, they have each other for commiserating about what it is to be married to a Sustad!) Sibling vacations have given us some of our favorite adult memories and being Aunts and Uncles only makes everyone, and every gathering, more fun. We are getting older and busier, but still value each other and come immediately home and  feel securely safe when we hear each other’s voice.

Scot, IMG0637Nat, and Laur- I love you and am honored to flip in your wake and call you my favorites.



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