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Paradox as Faith’s Foundation: A Pandemic Prayer

Our view from midway up the mountain last week in Colorado.

There is much sadness, fear, disappointment, and disorientation in the world today. COVID-19 as a global pandemic has thrown our society into the throes of disillusionment and pain like never before. And yes, I think I do mean NEVER. Never before have so many people been impacted socially, financially, emotionally, and health-wise with such a spread of communication, news, and information. 

I have no answers, I mean no cheap comfort or to add to the noise. A prayer I prayed last week came out through the Spirit inside me and I’d like to pen it here. 

God, we come to you as people who believe in paradox. Somehow, the essence of our reality is held in the unexplainable balance of your sufficient grace and unstoppable love and lands in the limits of our human understanding.

We trust you when we cannot find the usual power and privilege we rely on. Forgive us for ever thinking we had control and could do it ourselves. I’m still waking up to all the ways I run my own life while believing that I actually often put my whole trust in you. I do believe, help my unbelief. 

By the power of your creation and the presence of your Peace on Earth, we believe there are no answers or transactional solutions but the promise of YOU with us. You introduced yourself as I AM, not I WILL DO…..

In times of uncertainty, we turn to you as one who holds differences as the dynamic interplay for life and paradox as the platform for finding faith.

As we face this pandemic where we are all affected but we are directed to stay home alone, when we don’t feel sick but have to keep far away, as protections to save the lives of some, wreck the [financial] lives of others, we trust you to lead us through “knowing”…

  • You are three but ONE
  • When we are weak, then we are strong
  • The first will be last and the last will be first 
  • Jesus was fully God AND fully human 
  • In dying, we are brought to life
  • When we lose our lives, we truly find them
  • The wisdom of the weak shames the wise
  • We can be certain of what we do not see 
  • Our greatest freedom is to live inside your limits 
  • You celebrate the lowly, left out, little, and lacking people and invite them to lead. 

For all of these ways and the many more you will call to mind as we seek to find you in the divided ways we spend our days, at home but working, resting but fighting, healthy but held back, and very unsure but strangely at peace, we say thank you.

Lord have mercy. 

Christ have mercy. 

Amen. 

 

 

LOVE! Long, Lost, and Lasting

Since my kids are exploding up in age, attitude, and agendas, the adage that “time flies” seems true. I found myself at a skate-park last week- with temps in the low 30s and the winter sun low but shining, it felt balmy that day so we donned skates, scoots, and sweaters (for Camper) and went off. I stood still in my roller blades for a moment and did some reflecting on what we love as a family. We’ve been going to skate-parks for over 10 years!

Other passions have come and gone. Sometimes our whole family is swept up into the obsession of one person, other times we all share together. We are lucky and blessed and lack for nothing. Sometimes we’ve shared better than other times. Hopefully we’re giving more away, changing, growing and slowing down. Over time, we’ve held onto some of this stuff.

 

Loved for a LOOOOONNNG Time: 

  1. Castaway, Colorado, and Camping
  2. Skate parks (with siblings and in days of old, the Sollars kids joined often!)
  3. LEGO (Eli 2009-2013) Andi (briefly, 3 sets total), Oaks (LEGO ALL DAY)
  4. The Oscar Movie Showcase (2013- Present) and movies in general
  5. Wearing and sharing hand-me-downs
  6. Chiefs Games at the Pearces (2002- Present) and nachos for lunch every Sunday we’re not with Binny.
  7. Puzzles and Playing Games
  8. Skiing (1986 Linds, 2003 Drew, 2011 Eli and Andi, 2020 Oaks?)
  9. Making and sending Valentines (April Sustad instilled the love celebrating in me)
  10. Cloth Napkins and the Library

Loves LOST…Not So Much Anymore: 

  1. Running (no more marathons or half marathons for us)
  2. Rube Goldberg building
  3. Home school years and learning Latin (we still write on the white board a lot though)
  4. Trains, Barbies, Princesses, PawPatrol and our Arcade room
  5. Slime (Andi had quite the factory in her room last year)
  6. Rockets, movie making, American Ninja Warrior, domino tracks, and cool cars (Eli, Eli, Eli, Eli)
  7. Gymnastics classes (but Oaks still needs to learn a backflip…)
  8. Giant bowls of ice cream almost every night
  9. Our first home
  10. Eldon, Gladys, Orville, Jesse, and Pearl.

LASTING Loves…

  1. God
  2. Camper- He’s the best. He will always be our first dog. Maybe he’ll be our only?
  3. Cereal
  4. Intimacy
  5. Sharing questions
  6. Extended family
  7. Halloween and Christmas Parties
  8. Neighbors
  9. Eating outside
  10. Vacations

We’ve tried to embody and share with our kids that love looks like a lot of different things such as help, sacrifice, steadfastness, smiles, and surprises. We believe love is costly and a choice you make over and over. We think love lifts us up and pushes us out. We know love can be shared and never diminish. We know God IS Love and the love we receive from the periochoretic union of a mutually interdependent God-head overflows in a dance of love that invites us to define our lives by worthiness, inclusion, and a responsibility to share. God has given us room to rest and enough to give away.

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

A few other things we have loved and still do: Young Life, Nerf, salmon and sweet potato dinner, our new deck, Crossfit, scheduled chores and meals, school lunch on Wednesday, family dinners with the Bruces, Linds working at Drew’s office, READING, Royals baseball, Shop Til You Drop Day, craft beers, dry champagne, pumpkin patches, being Aunts, Uncles, and cousins, Bad Lip Readings, homemade cookies, scrapbooking, pictures on the fridge, our kitchen chalk board, bike rides to Hy-Vee, Coves Swim Team, Star Wars, Marvel movies, Jacob’s Well, 10 year old birthday books, Celebration at the Station, Poinsettias, Electronic Time (Wednesdays and the Weekends, like cereal), GG days, birthday affirmations, Plaza Lights and Winstead nights, the Line Creek path, Christmas with the Henkes in KC, trampolines, Advent, nighttime blessings, 12 years of bunk bed sibling shared rooms, Loose Park, Aldi, donuts, houseplants, and hard work.

Pictured here: skate parks, scooters, Colorado, bravery and coordination

Pictured here: Love of Colorado, trampolines and princesses

Pictured here: love of the chalkboard, Jacob’s well , Coves, Castaway, Vacations, and neighbors

Pictured here: extended family and KC Christmas with Henkes 2009

Oakley’s first Chiefs outfit and Andi’s brief love of baby dolls

Pictured here: Oaks’ current Chiefs gear, cereal, donuts, houseplants

Pictured here: extended family, giant amounts of ice cream, Winsteads and Plaza Lights nights,

Pictured here: vacations, neighbors (we ran into our neighbors IN FLORIDA), swimming, and shopping

Pictured here: love of Star Wars….

 

One-Liners- for back to school and off to work

Summer is over. Fragmented into wonderfully unique and easily enjoyed segments of three to four weeks, we were home and away. Especially awesome, we celebrated new cousins (Emry Osborne and Crosby Sears) and Eli’s 13th birthday!

June (4 weeks)- Coves Swim team and Jacob’s Well Enneagram Class. Linds=8! Drew 5! Kids= fast!

July (3 weeks)– Castaway- Family fun and working hard with humble hard workers to share good news.

July (1 week)- Florida- 14 family members, 5 beaches, 1 amazing back yard pool.

August (2 weeks)– Kansas City- reconnecting with friends and family, getting ready for school.

Because of

where we went*, what I’ve read**, who I’m with*** and how we’re growing****

this summer I’ve learned: 

  • I lift a lot of weight but the most powerful thing I hold is people.
  • New is hard. But not forever.
  • Sibling rivalry is loud, jarring, and often thwarts game playing enjoyment.
  • Resilience is what we deeply want kids to possess but hope they hardly have to use.
  • Our house and yard are lovely…gifts… a privilege. And yet, if I could be picky- I wish our trees would stop falling down and that we could find a flat spot for a trampoline.
  • Be curious- not judgmental. 
  • We hope our kids are: kind, equal, hopeful, and pleasant this year
  • It can be hard to hold both the demands of a job and the needs of a family at the same time.
  • I’m not better than you, you’re not better than me.
  • Putting stickers on my water bottle feels like a gateway to getting a tattoo. I won’t get one…putting a Baby Groot sticker on my water bottle has me experiencing enough angst.
  • To empty oneself is undesirable but might truly lead to freedom. (Philippians 2)
  • When belovedness is fully realized, if we can get secure in God’s favor for us,  the overflow is love to share.
  • I strongly recommend… putting “HUG” into the search box in your Google photos. Just do it.

*We went to the Ethnic Enrichment Festival in KC last weekend in addition to the travels above

**Just finished Becoming by Michelle Obama 

***I’m with Drew, I’m with friends and coaches at Crossfit Northland, I’m with Young Life staff around the states 

***** Eli is smiling in 7th grade so far, Andi is braving and enjoying 6th grade, and Oakley is energized by 1st grade.

Picking a Partner in Paradise

Drew and I just got back from our 15 year anniversary trip to the Excellence Resort in Punta Cana. I’m too sad to do much else so I’ll write…

On July 10th, 2004 we said, “Yes, I will, and I choose you…” in Arvada, Colorado.

On July 10th, 2009, we said, “Yes, again. I still will. I choose you…” in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

On July 10th, 2014, we said, “Oh for sure Yes. It’s been a challenging season as we’ve moved, changed jobs and had another baby but I still will. I choose you in all of this…” in St. Joseph, Michigan.

On May 10th, 2019, (in honor of July 10th), we said, “YES! We’re different but better so we will. I choose you over all others for each day and always…” in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The beauty of the resort, the pleasant and professional staff, the amenities for our affections (tennis courts, ping pong tables, the gym, the bikes) the spa, the in suite bath, the high ceiling, the top shelf drinks, the “Top Chef” food, the pool with the waterfall, the padded beach “chairs”, the shade, the sun, the pillow I got to pick from a “pillow menu”, the flowers, the sand, the waves for watching and playing, the snacks, the people with their smiles, the Spanish, the really, really relaxing, and most of all the seven days of together….surpassed our desires and expectations.

As a Lindsey List, it looked like this:

1 Man Drew, I love you, I enjoyed you. Thanks for doing everything WITH me for seven days. I had fun and felt loved. 

2 Lobster Tails Drew ordered one which was delicious. Then Dionicio, our waiter friend, said, “Would you like another?” Yes. Yes please. 

3 Mother’s Day Cards I got to open in a garden from the three kids I missed so much. 

4 Novels I read Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Fly Away by K. Hannah, Artemis, and The Lost for Words Bookshop.

5 showers, jets, saunas, and pools that made up the hydrotherapy hour. Bucket shower and ice rinse also included.

6 times of tennis. So fun.

7 days and nights of sun, connection, being away, being together, and being very much in love.

8 times we got tumbled in the waves. So sandy. So fun. 

9 quality conversations in reflection, hope, encouragement, or intention.

10 mojitos 

11 people back in KC who helped and held up. Eli, Andi, Oakley, June, Henley, James, Laura, Maama, GG, Pops, and Emma. 

12 (times 12) Smiles and kindnesses shared by the Excellence staff. We were so grateful to get to know a few and cherished each humble heart. 

13 coffee drinks we sipped together in the mornings. French Press at Magna. An americano for Linds, latte for Drew from Aroma. Nespresso shots in our suite. Poured with care at Kitchen Table. 

14 Spanish Words we could say with proficiency. Oh shoot- wanted so badly to say much more to carry on in conversation. Oh, and for sure, 14 times Drew was mistook for a Latino or Italiano! 

15 moments unmentionable. 

The be able to afford such an experience is a gift.

While extravagant, we find it essential. We go away as a way to find each other, care for our connection, remember all we like about each other, mark the moments of change and growth, and deeply enjoy without distractions that sometimes divide or discourage.

We are a team, best friends, and partners.

We use harsh words, say no too quickly, overstep, second guess, forget, judge, and blow up.

We repair, forgive, let go, build up, believe in, support, share, dream, risk, care, love, hold, and say yes.

We don’t have it figured out but have energy to keep trying.

We count on our community and dig deep in our faith.

We give each other grace, know each other well, and say everything out loud.

We toast to the second phase of parenting and to the memories of our beginning moments as a family.

We think marriage is something you have to pick up, take care of, and work at every day.

Last week however, it didn’t feel like work at all. I love you Drew Osborne.

 

 

Looking Back and Back Handspringing Forward

I’m big for summing up the year in a photo book, long list, or a New Year’s date with Drew. This year we did a white board approach and included 12 things from everyIMG_1469body. Camper excluded. To name a few in case you don’t want to study the individual and squishy lists:

Linds:

  1. Crossfit- re-certified, won a competition, and quit coaching
  2. Went from being a homeschooling mom to a home alone mom
  3. Took Andi and Eli skiing solo at Loveland

Drew:

  1. Ruptured Achilles
  2. Took a Sabbatical including a Northwest Michigan vacation
  3. Had fun with SKC and Patrick Mahomes

Eli:

  1. First Boy Scout Camping trip at Bartle
  2. Did a lot of fishing at our pond and started diving
  3. Started middle school after finishing a second year of homeschool

Andi:

  1. Had an Amazing Race 10th birthday party
  2. Went to the Lion King musical
  3. Completed Memory Master for Classical Conversations and her goal of learning a back handspring on the ground

Oakley:

  1. Learned to read, ride a bike, and swim
  2. Enjoyed his new cousins Remi, Quinn, and Simon
  3. Loved building over 10 Lego sets

Through it all, we enjoyed each other, made new friends, gave thanks (or at least tried to) in hard circumstances, traveled to Colorado, Castaway, and Michigan, couldn’t believe the tragedies that happened in the world, worked for change were we could, learned about: mental health, the concretization of the ideal, decision fatigue, patience, influence, persuasion, crucial conversations, servant leadership, and held on tight to hope.

Andi 10 year pic Eli fishing IMG_0554 (1) IMG_0937

Goals for 2019 include: 

-keeping the bed dry all night, reading 12 books, learning a standing back flip, becoming more still and mindful, and getting straight As. You’ll have to guess who’s working on what. What’s your aim for 2019? IMG_1469

Family- a fragile privilege

Family Hugs

Family Hugs

IMG_0562Maybe it’s because I’ve watched so many movies. Or because I’ve done Young Life work with kids and families for over 15 years. Perhaps it’s because my sister-in-law is a movie star (go watch A Godwink Christmas on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries right now!). Could be that the families on movie screens (I’m talking about the broken, raw, complicated ones like Goodwill Hunting, The Fighter, Black Swan, The Kids are Alright, Frozen, Manchester by the Sea and all the others featuring orphans, divorce, abuse, poverty, and more), and the heart break of some YL kids, show me the privilege it is to be me, in my family.

I have a husband who is my favorite everything and who finds me to be his as well. We have three kids who are healthy, strong, fun, and fearless (mostly).

My siblings are my best friends and my sisters and brothers in law are friend status with family benefits on every tree branch- Sustad or Osborne.

I live two doors down from my sister! We do life together all the time.

My sister in law is on TV! And movies!

I get to play four generation board games with my grandparents and my children when we travel OFTEN to Colorado.

My adult cousins and I have dear times together presently and the best childhood shared stories.

My Kansas City aunt and uncle and now cousins, were rocks for the early Missouri years here and are good friends now.

I was raised in love and with vacations, boundaries, big emotions and lots of honesty. I get to cherish the memories and pass on the good stuff.

I joined a family of strength, stability, generosity, love and geographic proximity. I love the Osbornes and very literally could not have done life and work the last 15 years without them.

It just hit me before Thanksgiving, that my family is another bit of privilege I carry in my blessed life. Those bullets just above form a long list and don’t tell the half of it. I didn’t get too mention clothes, make-up, jewelry and gorgeous smiley niece Remi!- all gifts from my sister Nat who I get to fly to see this weekend.

I am awed. Thankful. I want to steward the privilege well. I must recognize the responsibility to use the blessing to be a blessing.

Along with appreciation and blessing, my invitation is to step into areas of imperfection, struggle, mess and discomfort that are also a part of my family. We have suffered loss, divorce, manipulation, sarcasm, rejection, abuse, anger, outbursts, bad habits, mental illness, and contempt. Relationships between some are strained and bruised, perhaps beyond repair. I think however, the call is to recognize the good and enter into the bad, taking on some ugly.

If I have to endure some awkward, uncomfortable, messy, even painful family experiences, I trust I will make it through and be stronger. Our obedience to family allegiance will forge through some of the mess.

We don’t get to say where we are born and who we get. I’m glad I got my people and relish the privilege of being a Sustad/Osborne at this time of year  especially.

The privilege of being with our family, wrought with blessing and struggle, can be a fragile one…see part 2.

 

IMG_1630

Oakley's God-family

Oakley’s God-family

Snuggle buddies

Snuggle buddies

head smush IMG_0114 IMG_6934 (1) IMG_6579

Open Handed

Happy Birthday to my Youngest Gift: Oakley Andrew is 6 years old today. IMG_0604

After we enjoyed a donut the size of Oakley’s head, complete with white frosting and assorted sprinkles (his fave), as well as assorted and seasonal donuts for all, brought by good friend Carol, consumed by sweet siblings and courteous, cute cousins, the birthday boy went to school and I went to the gym.

Completing what felt like another breath-taking (literally) and leg-leading (this is when my legs feel filled with lead), Crossfit workout, I went to give props to a fellow, yet stronger, athlete, Caroline. We walked towards each other arms extended. I balled my hand for a fist bump and she had hers open for a high-five. In a split second, we switched. The result: I wrapped my open high-five hand around her now closed fist. We smiled, she mused: “This is the modern dilemma right? Fist bump or high five!?”

I walked away and thought, “I do want to live my life open-handed…”

It was a brief, gym-brained moment but I rode it a bit longer. Open hands call me to two postures: open to receive, and willing to let go.

I’ve prayed on my knees for 9 of the last 14 days. The thought came and stuck so I called it Spirit and slunk down. I go to my knees and put my hands out in front of me, palms up, fingers splayed. The intention is to release (mostly) my kids back to the God who gave them to me.

Perhaps if I’m not holding on so tight, I’ll parent less with anger, frustration and control, and more with listening, grace, and wisdom outside myself.

On my knees, I’m palms up for reception. I want to receive what I cannot have alone. I want to be OPEN to what the day and the people, the plans and the quiet will bring. Can I really be open to receiving what I do not expect, am uncomfortable with, and cannot control? Can those receptions shape and move me?

Mostly, open hands mean I’m looking more to possibility than pessimism. To potential instead of problems and plight. I yearn to grow more naturally into this more hopeful perspective as my default. I need to open my hands.

think letting go is the hardest. To trust Eli, Andi, and Oakley to live their own lives, in the step of the Spirit who dwells within and leads ahead, with the mark of the initiation of God’s grace and the support of their family (and by family I mean FAMILY- read: blood relatives, neighbors, assigned team families, YL friends and more), means I don’t fully lead, shape and direct but steward, consult, let fail, and constantly support them in all of their uniqueness.

I do really want to open hand my kids.IMG_0937

Oakley, after six years of holding onto you, this year I’ve had to let you go like never before. My hands are open to the grace of the gift you are in my life and I’m willing to let other people know, love and enjoy you.

Oaks, from you I receive, with open hands, your dimpled smile, tiny nose, still small questions, child-like wonder, and creative inquisition. I release you, I let go, so you might risk, run, listen, learn, know and kneel, accept and reject, befriend and bless.

Oh to have you go. And yet I am open, handed and hearted, to receive what God has next, all the while understanding my hands and heart are already so full.

IMG_1112

 

They Went on a Wednesday: A Thank You Note

Today is the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL across Kansas City. The Osborne three joined the masses. Recent graduates of the unofficial Osborne-Elementary -home school- gap year- adventure, Eli, Andi and Oakley went to 6th grade, 5th grade, and kindergarten today.

I’m not crying. Today I’m celebrating, indulging, and remembering. Maybe tomorrow I’ll cry. Today has been too carefully planned and filled up.

6:15- Eli awoke and showered.

6:20- We have breakfast (cereal- it’s a Wednesday) just us and E

6:50- Eli left on the bus for middle school. Andi woke up to wish him a good day. Super sweet move by the sister. (Agh…they’ve done SOOO much life together these two…this split between schedules and buildings feels severe)IMG_0854

7:20- Drew woke Oaks up and he found his new favorite clothes and the light up shoes to complete the look (What if they come untied? He’ll never keep them on all day right? He NEVER wears shoes. Can he run fast in those? Is there gym today?)

7:45- Breakfast conversations with Oaks about how he doesn’t remember where his class is and he remembers the bench in the lunch room looks much longer than the bench here at home he’s sitting on.

IMG_8837

8:10- Out to the bus stop. We have a great neighborhood party at the bus stop. Cute puppies play, very cute kids connect with excited energy.

8:18- The bus pulls up. Oaks says and I quote, “I’m going to get on the bus and I don’t know what will happen. I get to get on the bus.” Then Benjamin touched his arm and they walked together, backpacks facing parents, faces facing the new year.IMG_0862IMG_0855

8:25- Drew and I toast 12 years of parenting, and the third and final round of kindergarten send offs, on our new deck and new deck furniture.

10:15- I get a mani/pedi with birthday money and sit in the salon with three moms doing the same first day of school move I’ve chosen- self care!

12:30- Camper and I go around the walk and pray for the kids where and how they are at school.

1:30- I have a phone call about the vision and logistics of my new job.

3:00pm- Now Eli will be home any moment. Andi and Oakley will arrive around 4:00. Hopefully the bus quickens.

I am grateful.

Thank you Eli, Andi, and Oakley for all the ways you’ve been for each other and for our family mission*.

Thank you Andi, Oaks, and Eli for swinging together on the swing set last night and being sweet to each other this morning.

Thank you Oakley, Eli and Andi, for being brave today. For going back to school, and into it for the first time, having had two years outside of what your friends have been doing. You truly are brave and bold and I’m proud of you.

Thank you Park Hill Schools for working hard to be inclusive, prepared, high tech, benevolent, safe, and strategic in offering education to our kids.

Thank you my extended family for caring about our kids as they have gone through this and many other changes and transitions. Your thoughts, prayers, and Snaps were soul boosts today.

Thank you Classical Conversations of Shawnee for the last two years which are present in my passing thoughts and memories often these days. Thank you for the strong connections in their heads of dates, names, and sentence diagrams. The people and learning we received leaves a meaningful mark for which we are better- more connected as a family and deeper thinkers.

Thank you Castaway for the summers we spend on mission, in beauty, and encountering Jesus at His closest.

Thank you Drew for dating me, marrying me, having kids with me, and saying yes to some crazy (and good!) ideas I get. As one comes to an end, I look back with awe at how much your support, hard work, slow processing, great perspective, and willingness to enter in has made me stronger and helped me get here.

Thank you Here for the chance to walk into newness with faith, hope, and open hands. We look to be amazed, and want to bring help and hope.

Thank you Camper for keeping me company. Leash up, let’s go get the kids!

 

*We recently penned family values by asking, “Who are the Osbornes?/What are we about?” and collectively said:

  • We play games together
  • We are a drug free family
  • We believe the best about each other- we know we have each other on our team/side
  • “Just go to bed”- is what we often say, which really means, we value good sleep in our family
  • We have good gifts from God and our job is to take care of them and share them
  • We are blessed to be blessings
  • We do things to be safe, strong, smart and spiritual with good self control.

Child- Like

IMG_8384 IMG_8374 IMG_8386

There are adages about “child-like things”- faith, enthusiasm, or directness.

You can see by these pictures in the post that there is a bravery, a lack of concern for slimy-creepiness that kids possess. A zest for experiencing the fullness of what’s offered that can lead them to leap!- into holding Precious (Oaks’ buddy there) or Bumblebee (the one who kept his head up). *     **

e, because a team was losing their cohesiveness, and right before talking humans through conflict management, Jesus grabs a child and figuratively (maybe literally too) holds her up.

 “ And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”

It was about a month ago that I was sitting on the floor of the deck after hanging laundry that Oaks came out with a book. He backed himself up and plopped himself down in my lap. Oakley pushed deeper into the crevices of my hips and knees, nestled his head back carefully to my chest, and grabbed one arm to place my hand on top of his leg. Not only on my lap, but inside my grasp- Oaks asked for the book.

I thought right then of “child-like faith.” (Which Jesus doesn’t expressly command but people say…)

Child-like faith assumes an open lap,  unconditional, ready and willing, yes-saying Love. Children believe adults will love them, welcome them, accept them, meet their needs and be strong enough for their push backs.

Being child-like means expecting people will love you. Kids believe they are worthy of climbing into the lap of one who loves them, into the arms of one always open for an embrace.

I bet the little kid came to Jesus just like Oaks to my lap, “Of course I can walk into a crowd of amped up adults…that guy loves me, he’ll have me.”IMG_8042


Andi dances. She always has, and only for one semester in a studio. Andi’s debut was a Christmas Day dance in my sister Natalie’s basement. She was almost three and she had moves, but mostly she had the freedom to dance what she felt no matter who was watching or what they thought.

We do family dance parties and they’re magical for sure, disco balls and all. But Andi dancing for the couch of three watching? Andi dancing alone, willingly, without sunglasses or a costume, with self choreographed moves…at age ten? That,  I happen to find astounding. She did it Friday night to a four minute song while Drew, Oaks, and I encouraged and watched in awe. Creative, free, and expressive she moved. We oohed and cheered. Being child-like is being free to express what you love to do or make- boldly and proudly.   (IMG_0181-ANIMATIONClick on the picture of Andi and she’ll dance!)


It was Friday she danced after Thursday when she swam. Eli and Andi’s swim careers have always been childlike. Being childlike is wearing a one piece, swim cap, goggle lines and participation ribbons all night. They just want to be where their friends are, back at the blankets in-between swims, playing games, coloring with markers, and appreciating the attention of coaches who know their names and advocate for their personal bests.

When you don’t care what people think of you, when you don’t care what you look like, what do you gain?

Jesus says, “The kingdom.”

A place where there is love, there is freedom, and there is enough.


Kids ask for big things and expect to get them. Jesus also invites this- He is the one who gives more than anything we might think to ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).

It’s not hard for my kids to ask, “Can we can print 10 copies of coloring sheets? Open a new jar of peanut butter because it’s smoother to spread? or Run water for playing with the hose for 30 minutes?” They don’t think about how ink runs out, or water costs money, or multiple jars of open peanut butter is cabinet clutter. They think about maximizing the moment, serving the whims of their friends and utilizing resources that seem to be sitting there.  Why do I (all adults?) seem so bent on worrying about when things might run out? Childlike is fully enjoying the gift of whats available without worry. IMG_0366


Eli has been at Boy Scout camp (Bartle in Osceola, MO)  for six days and will stay another three. We miss him but he’s thriving. Being childlike is putting on the full uniform and carrying a backpack holding  anything you might need for the adventure.

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Eli left in full “Class-A” dress- its green and brown and button up- an outfit that matches him to others on the same journey. Clothes that say, “We are all in this together. From any house or home life, a Scout is a Scout. Who cares what you “regularly” wear.” When he added the hat they gave him before he left and strapped on the pack, we knew he was fully embracing the risk, the separation from family, and the freedom of the trip. His tent mate is a kind boy named Matthew and they’ve thrown sand around in a game of bags and their dirty clothes into the same stinky mesh laundry bag.

Being childlike is being brave enough to grow up, secure in who you are and who you’re with. 

What I saw in Eli on Sunday was a kid, surely, but a growing up one. He was going on a hike with a friend, and no adults. He was showing us around places he’s conquered we knew nothing about. Eli was kind and respectful but playful and competitive too.


Jesus is correct, kids get the kingdom. When you are a kid, you are free to play. Play involves imagination and big messes. Play means the world is out there with a place for you to create in it. Kids look for others to see their stuff, cheer them on, know their tears and pains, and pick them up. Kids are vulnerable without trying to be- they must cry out.

I love my kids and want to be more like them. I want to go back to when I didn’t know and didn’t care what I looked like or who might not like or accept me. I want to walk and talk, write and sing (loooooong shot!), without fear.

If the kingdom is a place of love, acceptance, enough, security and joy, I know there are kids there and I have work to do to get in. Jesus, help me be childlike. 

*Since I’ve sat down to pen this post, two of the occasions about which I’ve intended to write have been happening- three books read to a snuggled-in boy on my lap and 30 minutes of uninterrupted water play with our backyard hose.

** Those snakes, Precious and Bumblebee, are a part of the ecology center at Bartle. I never expected Eli or Oaks to be so curious or brave as to hold a snake. Wow…they were tough. Andi’s engagement and interest never surprises me with the animal kingdom. She is a lover of all God’s creatures- fuzzy or scaly. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Walk Away Dinner and Drew’s New Walk

IMG_9535In early December, Drew and I did what we do best- love each other well when far from home, work, parenting and shared responsibilities. We’ve done this before- we were amazing in Austin when I went to officiate a wedding in 2011, we loved each other to the max in Michigan on our 10 year anniversary trip in 2014, and we are all-in with each other at Young Life All Staff conferences in 08 and 2016. In Miami, Drew was in conferences all day and I did some work and a lot of laying on a beach in awe and gratitude for getting to spend a December day that way- the latest installment in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a great beach read! At night we got to dine together, catch up and enjoy long conversations and the view.

We could not be more thankful for the effort GG put into making the week so great for our kids back home- as the substitute teacher and field trip aficionado, she took them to see eagles, gave them a candy shop to create a gingerbread house, and drove them all the way to Olathe for the Prairie Fire museum and rolled ice cream. Perhaps most precious, their assigned write ups of the week. Thank you Gayle!

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Back to the beach…after Drew’s conference ended Wednesday night, we were free to spend Thursday on our own exploring the town. We checked in our luggage and filled up our water bottles. We rented city bikes and rode from Mid-Beach to South Beach. Amazing street tacos became lunch before a ride across five bridges to downtown Miami. There we had a cocktail at an outdoor bar with a swing for a seat. We went to the Wynwood Art District with walls of street art that captured hope, inspired truth, and shared struggle. Building after building was covered in expression and beauty. Art Basel was beginning so many painters were in process as we strolled by in awe. IMG_9534 IMG_9532 IMG_9527

Finally, we took an Uber to the very end of South Beach and walked up the sand for a mile. We were hot and hungry and feeling a little grimy from the bikes and the beach and the downtown. Just off the beach, we saw a colorful restaurant and friendly attendant harking the specials and inviting us in. A $9 dinner option looked good to me so we asked for a table. After sitting there with waters and perusing the menu, which turns out only sold five chicken fingers or some bad pizza for $9, while most of the dishes cost $23 and looked like bad bar food, we looked at each other.

Drew said, “Do you want to eat this?” and I said, “Are you sad we sat down here?” I felt some allegiance to the friendly waitress who asked us our names, assured us all the food was “sooooo good” and had brought us water. But still, nothing looked or sounded good. Drew said, “We can eat here. It’s going to be expensive and not too good. Or we could leave.”

Leave?! Leave a table we sat at with sweaty beach walking bodies? Leave after we drank the waters?

Drew said, “We can leave. We can tip her for the waters and say we’ve changed our minds.”

Despite the social discomfort, I wanted out. It didn’t feel like a place we wanted to be. Why wouldn’t we just leave?

So we did, we stood up, addressed the waitress by name at the front of the restaurant and let her know we had changed our minds. We walked away.

Around the corner, feeling free and not at all regretful, I thanked Drew for helping us out of that one. To advocate for yourself instead of sitting idly by and enduring a situation you’d rather skip, is a good skill. We could change our minds. Realizing our first decision was a poor one, we reserved our right to take a different path.

The different path led us three blocks off the beach to a simple Mediterranean restaurant run by a hard working, kind and quiet woman, and her family. We sat on the sidewalk. Our plates of hummus, gyro meat, rice, and vegetables was authentically tasty. She brought us homemade baklava and a sincere smile with our check. The meal goes into the “Drew and Lindsey Amazing Dinners” Hall of Fame

I won’t forget the power of standing up and walking away from mediocre and expensive, to simple and sincere. What is loudest and easiest (good advertising and close to the beach!) is often a facade of what we truly hunger for, a piece of someone’s best work and a sidewalk seat for reflecting, conversing, and enjoying something real. IMG_9518

We ended our night in Miami and our trip with a 1.5 mile walk back to our bags and a cab for the airport. What you notice when you’re walking, you often miss under the roof and behind the glass of a car.

What you notice when you’re NOT walking, is how simple and essential, convenient and necessary it is to take steps.

Drew ruptured/completely tore his Achilles’s Tendon a week ago this morning. After two years of tension and nagging pain in his heels and decreased athletic movements, Drew did five months of physical therapy and deliberate stretching to get healing at the end of 2017. He was granted freedom from pain and a stamp of approval from the doctor that his tendons were ready to get back in action.

On January 4th, the action of an early morning basketball game, became a breaking point. His left Achilles tore down low in his ankle, in an explosion of connective tissues.

Drew cannot walk. Hasn’t walked since last Thursday. We are so lucky we get to borrow crutches and a kneeling cart. We can’t imagine the road of healing and rehab ahead. I’m so sad to lose my Camper walking partner and amazingly helpful husband. Drew is keeping his spirits up, perhaps more so than me, and has kept working hard at the office at at home- making me coffee, cooking our eggs, and tucking the kids in on floor 2!!!. The surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, January 16th. IMG_9680

Until Drew can walk well again, I’ll cherish the memories of our Miami walks, our restaurant walk away, and the years we’ve had to walk through hard times and amazing blessings together. With all that is within me,  I’ll cheer Drew on in his steps towards recovery on this winter walk of injury. IMG_9628