Castaway Blessings Counted- Osborne Family Edition

IMG_8762To whom much is given, much is expected.

I tell my kids we are blessed to be a blessing. No where does this adage get lived out more expediently than on our summer assignments at Castaway.

I also tell my kids that EVERY time anyone does something for them or gives something to them, they are to say THANK YOU. So, Castaway, for all that you’ve given me, for what you did for us this summer, once again, we say thank you.

The blessings by bullet points: 

  • Quick service at Wendy’s on the way up. Seriously, a very smooth fast food experience in South Dakota. I made the determination right there to be grateful for it all – to appreciate the big and small. 
  • Easy and genuine connection between nanny Hannah and me, and more importantly, Hannah and my kids. She made a friendship with each of them and was selfless, attentive, patient, and gave caring help that allowed me to work and my kids to thrive. hannah and oaks
  • Andi and the Obstacle Course #1. She couldn’t find me or Eli at the end of the first O Course. It was late and dark and she was wandering alone when we passed each other on the sidewalk. I walked on past but she called out, “Mommy!” I didn’t recognize how tall she’s become and how dark the night was. She however, saw through the darkness and called out to me like only a kid can for a parent. How often do we wander in our darkness with God so close? Do we miss the arms of Ultimate Comfort if we don’t try hard enough to see the Light?  Will we call vulnerably enough in our fear for the One to stop and grab us close?
  • Andi and the Obstacle Course #2. Andi came back from the O Course week two and was over the moon excited. She cried out, “I love it here Mom! The high school and college kids are just all so nice. It’s like no where else.” Indeed, the calling of God’s kindness and Christ’s love emanates even in the goofiness of an obstacle course, settling on the developing confidence and tender spirit of my nine year old. 
  • Maddy Messenger is a student staffer I worked with last summer at Castaway. Last year she was curled in with anxiety and depression. This year she was set free with confidence and acceptance of God’s love for her. She had a willingness to serve and share she was incapable of last year. I’m reminded of  process and the patience required as we shepherd such young adults. They are not yet who they will be but are well on their way, and under the care of a very creative and present artist. 


    summer staff girls

  • The camp director said twice I should be the camp director at Castaway next summer. My mouth dropped open. I feel humbled and hopeful. If anywhere, YES, HERE.
  • Eli prays eyes closed, palms up, hands open on his lap at dinner. He would go on to become very open to Jesus as a real presence in his own life- owning his faith for the first time in ways we’ve never seen.
  • Eli enjoys camper friends during the first week- good laughs, a secret handshake and even a letter from friend Maggie while we were still at camp.  At home a week after Castaway, Eli asked us what our dream home would be. In describing his own, he mentioned a big enough house and the associated land with dirt bike trails and trampolines, and then added, “And a Maggie. To keep me company because I can’t stand being lonely.” He might not marry her but he felt friendship and affirmation that gave him a taste for connection I hope he holds onto.
  • Andi rode the zip line with her new friends Liz and Lilly and told me, “We always pray for good landings Mom. At the top, I say a prayer and then I feel peace about going down.” Once again, I haven’t known Andi to invoke prayers on afternoon adventures before. The spirit of prayer without ceasing seeped into our kids. FullSizeRender
  • Georgia from the store came up to me with a story. She said Eli and Andi came by the store often. She told me it took her a few times to figure out whose kids they were and then when she asked, “Oh are you Lindsey’s kids?” they said, “Yes. She’s our mom and she’s really cool. She’s a great mom.” Unsolicited sweetness. Yes, please. Wow. Thank you Eli and Andi.
  • Oakley was tickled, played with, cuddled, carried, cheered on and held. He was loved by leaders, assigned team (what a gift to be loved by parents of other kids on camp!), summer staff, and work crew. Campers would seek him out in the sand and build a castle, bridge or river by the lake. From the sand, Oaks received such positive attention that he felt secure enough to try new things, hope for a future where he’ll find love, and truth that he has value and goodness just in who he is.



  • Castaway once again tells my kids they are precious, worthy, loved, and able to do hard good things with and for others. With so much love, they became their best selves- positive, brave, gregarious, friendly, thankful.
  • When the bus from Omaha arrived, it was a kingdom in 3rds. One third of the bus was urban kids of color, one third suburban small town white kids, and one third Capernaum campers (kids with disabilities of all different colors). There were leaders from different ages, stages, and diverse backgrounds. At the top, two women I led in Leadership II two years ago and admire and learn from even if I was their teacher.
  • When Drew came, he volunteered his time to serve. He served in the kitchen so we could host the whole summer staff for a banquet dinner. He gave sweat energy in the kitchen for hours and came out…grateful. What most impacted him that night was how much Castaway said “yes”. They said yes to special diet needs- a-plenty as well as picky high school appetites and simple extras as well. To have your needs met and then your desires fulfilled…could this be the extravagance of a good good God?
  • At the change over talent show for work crew and summer staff, Eli and Andi both preformed. Eli solved a Rubix cube on the balance Indo Board and let someone in the crowd solve the last move. I thank YL for teaching him how to share the energy and success with a crowd. Andi did a dance with two friends. They worked hard in practice for a week. Even more impressive than the gymnastic moves and coordinated and creative dance, was the fact that a threesome of 8-10year old girls could get along and encourage each other instead of attack and compare.IMG_8738



  • Eli told Drew he had a God moment one day when he saw a camper transform from angry and distant to soft and interested.
  • Andi and Eli learned to water ski! Got up the first time and didn’t want to get down.IMG_8726
  • Oaks climbed the rock wall for his first time. An exercise in risk and trust that pushed him to a new level- literally.
  • Being summer staff coordinator with Brad Pearce. We were a great team of intention and adventure. We had the gift of stewarding, mentoring, shepherding, vision casting, and leading a group of 41 college students. Jesus worked in and through their efforts to serve and their experience in a healthy community. I learned from Brad about YL staff stuff, a growth mindset, assuming positive intent and saying yes to something big and crazy. 20170719_201659
  • The sunsets. The indescribable sunsets. And yet, the best was saved for last. The beach party night week three was gold, pink, bright, orange, slow and so tangibly gorgeous it even showed in pictures.IMG_8763
  • Adam, Mary Kate and Cousin Wilson came to Castaway to be our friends, family and the camp medical assistance. They gave of their vacation to work and thanked us. The magic of Castaway and joining in God’s work is that even the sacrifices feel like gifts.IMG_8789
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With pure humility and for each blessing, I’m so so grateful. I got to live as a trillionaire for three wonderful weeks of sunsets and Spirit. Castaway you were wonderful once again.

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