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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…

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. 




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.



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.



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!

IMG_3384 IMG_2581

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

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
  • IMG_8801

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.

Connection Trees Part II


As humans we are created by and for connection. While connection and relationship occur across a broad range of human relationships, I explore the ramifications for marriage.

The tree in the picture for my marriage counseling meeting two is a connection tree. “CONNECTION” is written down the trunk. The roots of connection are two fold: TRUST and INTIMACY.

The TRUST sub-soil or trailing roots involve:

  1. commitment (a deliberate intention to another person)IMG_8201
  2. proximity (alignment of your life with another’s)
  3. engagement (an ongoing, care-taking of the togetherness)

The INTIMACY sub-soil or trailing roots involve:

  1. identity (understanding that you are loved so you can give love away to another)
  2. love (the paradigm, perspective, and plausibility through which we view the other)
  3. conflict (a dance that involves taking turns, lots of energy, and risk. Conflict happens because of the depth of intimacy and for it. To avoid conflict is to avoid intimacy. Disengagement deadens relationships over time.)

With strong roots and rich soil, with the unseen and intangible foundation of trust and intimacy,                                     a couple’s connection tree bears fruit.

Fruit is visible and tangible. Fruit are the habits and behaviors that show on the outside of a couple’s life together.

  • What do they do? (make a home, have sex, make conversation, grow their personalities as individuals and a couple, work jobs etc….)
  • How do they appear to others? (how do others describe their communication style? what does their house feel like to others?)
  • How does being married feel? (what emotions do they experience? what feelings occur most often? what does their silence together say?)

(Here, on the handout, you can draw leaves on the upper branches and write: communication, friendship, parenting, sex, time together, having fun, shared interests, emotions, listening,  etc…)

Fruit comes the way fruit does

  • With seasons and stages (parenting and child rearing fruit)
  • With flavor and appearance (bright and shiny mostly but with bruises and rotten ones in every bushel)
  • With show (an image on the outside that reflects, or can betray for a moment, the actual health)

Fruit grows up and out of the roots of trust and intimacy. If there is a problem with the fruit, it’s probably a manifestation of a root issue. Under the surface, the roots feed what shows on the outside. Fruit problems that are simply fruit problems, like a wife’s dislike of a beard he’s growing, will resolve on their own. Fruit problems that reveal root issues, like a partner no longer asking questions about the other’s day, isn’t just a listening issue- it’s an abandonment trust problem.

The invitation is care about the roots and not so much about the fruit. It can be easier to talk about “His personality this…” or “Her feelings that…” or “We can’t communicate right now…” or “What will people think if we…” without tracing the lifeblood of the argument down to its root cause.

When trust is broken because there is a lack of commitment, a disengagement, or a misalignment…hearts hurt. People trail away.

If intimacy is shattered because one person refuses to accept the love and value of their own identity, breaks their love paradigm for seeing the other, or refuses to give love away anymore…marriages hemorrhage.

Broken people enter into bonds of marriage that are not supposed to be broken. It seems impossible and inhumane. However, to enter into a sacred and deliberate, sacrificial and mutually beneficial relationship with another, is actually the most human and Godly thing we can do.

If God designed it, God will sustain it.


Our Jamaican honeymoon in July 2004

When I sat in the bridal room on July 10th, 2004, I shook. I had just realized I didn’t love Drew enough right then to last a whole life together. The love I felt I had to offer that day felt tiny, immature, and naive. Then I remembered and had someone read to me, 1 John 4:16-17  which says, We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect.”

God is the creator and sustainer of relationships and love. If Drew and I could rely on and live in God, God would grow our love for each other to be more perfect. We, 12 years in, do indeed see the progress and God’s faithfulness.

The Bible begins and ends with trees. The last trees are alongside a river flowing down from God’s throne seen in a vision, On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit,with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations. No longer will there be a curse upon anything.” Revelation 22:2-4 

The promise and the ever present pull of God is toward these life trees. Trees that bear fruit to provide abundance and medicine for healing. Curses lifted, life restored.

Blessings on the planting of your connection tree Haley and Walker.

For married friends, lets take care, pay attention, tend and nurture, dig up and burn away dead pieces, and bear fruit for the good of the world.

Connection Trees

I’m in a pre-marital counseling season this Spring. I never take for granted the privilege to hear from a couple at the precipice of their forever which is really, a continuation of their connection and a jaunt on a long journey.

My second IMG_8202meeting is titled, “Connection at the Core”. We talk about trees.

We start by talking about Genesis 1 and 2. I briefly explain God’s creation story is one of invitation, relationship and participation. As the story unfolds in chapter one, God looks and says, “” six times. Finally, in Genesis 1:26-27, God (three in one) says, “WE will create people in OUR image”.  The seventh “It is good.” is actually a “It is VERY good” and refers to this Image-bearing human set in the garden.

During the creation account in Genesis 2, God looks over everything created and proclaims once,”It is not good.” God looks at the one human and says, “It is not good for people to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) So out of triune relationship, out of self-giving, mutually beneficial, loving relationship within God’s self, God gifts humans with relationship.

The essence of God is perfect relationship. As people, made in God’s image, we are at most basic, and yet fully realized, made for relationship.

Genesis 2:24-25 affirms the original human relationship was one with beautiful freedom and vulnerability. People were naked and unashamed. With God and each other, they were invited into provision, trust, freedom and abundance.

God’s first command was “Eat! Eat freely! Enjoy!” (Genesis 2:16)  with one caution. “Eat everywhere EXCEPT from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:17)

God is offering all they need and the boundary in which to enjoy it best. In one metaphor, God is like parents who gives their kid a hammock and say, “Lay! Enjoy! Play all over our grassy lawn and strong trees. Please, just don’t hang your hammock in the middle of the street.” There are guidelines and recommended uses for all the things we use to live.

In marriage, God’s caution is not for the restriction of enjoyment, but for the fullest of healthy relationship.

God says, “Let me keep the knowledge of what is good and not good. Let me decide ultimately what is best. You, humans, eat from the tree of life. Be together, enjoy the world. Do life. Depend on me for the decisions of what is good and evil. Come to me to find knowledge. Don’t take it for yourself.

Knowledge, full life, real health, was supposed to be found in dependence, and interdependence. Through relationship with God and right relationships with each other, people could KNOW and were deeply and fully okay with being known.

When the created people break the rule, they supersede God’s caution, and they purport, “We can know for ourselves.” They seek knowledge outside of relationship. They put their hammocks in the street.

The fallout is devastating. Instead of vulnerability and intimacy, there is hiding and shame. Instead of peace and harmony, there is defensiveness and blaming. Instead of freedom and health, there is hard work and heartache. Forgoing provision, the people shrink along in scarcity.

Next post- how we tie this all back to marriage in the 21st century.

tree pic




Recently Overheard Around Here

Beep. Beep. Beep. 

It was 6:35 and I was up on a Friday morning. I was sorting laundry in our bedroom before I started the two-story journey I would walk over eight times that day from bedrooms to basement laundry.

I moved two pieces of clothing and was stopped by a sudden need/desire: COFFEE.

I contemplated stopping mid-task to go downstairs and make the coffee, then coming back up to finish. As soon as I had courageously resolved to continue folding, forgoing coffee for another 10 minutes (15 if you count the extra five minutes I’d spend waiting while it brewed), I heard that sweet beep.

Three beeps. Three generous beeps. The coffee was made, ready, and waiting for me.

Downstairs, Drew had made the coffee for me, not even aware I was now awake. He loves me. He really loves me. Without enjoying a drop of coffee himself, ever, Drew has taken to making it for me. Not every day but increasingly more often. And often, just in the nick of time.

Thank you Drew.

Am I wrong Mom? 

Oaks came streaming through the garage, trailed by two little friends- aged five and four. They were all yelling.

Oaks: “I’m not wrong!”

Alex: “You are wrong. He is dead.”

Ben: “No he’s not. He’s a baby. You’re wrong, he’s a baby.”

Oaks: “He’s alive. Jesus is alive right Mom? Am I wrong?”

I look at the three boys. Where did this conversation start? What was the first comment? How were they all invested but all in disagreement?

I tried to enter in immediately, but thoughtfully.

” Guys, let’s not point out when our friends are wrong. Lets celebrate each other’s ideas. Oaks you’re not wrong. Jesus is alive. He’s not dead. Alex, Jesus did die, you’re not wrong, he was dead. Ben, you’re not wrong. Jesus was  a baby.”

Ben: “And now he’s a ghost. A whispy big one.”

Oaks: “God is the biggest. He is in-con-struct-ible.”

There were more. Lots more comments in a short amount of sweet time. Little boys and big questions, thoughts, and ideas. As they grow up, I can only hope they keep wondering, keep discussing, and do less finger pointing and more other-appreciating, despite differences.

Let’s do this again next year. 


A roller blade and scooter ride down the Line Creek Trail with friend Michelle today


Skiing Copper Mountain with Grandpa


Traditions! Valentine’s Day dinner and cake with Mom.

Currently, the Gap Year is a sweet, shiny, success. We are loving being home, being together, leaving town, skiing on weekdays, laying low on sick days, creating something from scratch, and learning together. What we battled in the beginning is refined and days are smoother, trust deeper, and enjoyment higher. Eli was most adamant a few weeks ago that we should do it again next year. Just one more year? The last year before Oaks goes to school.

We are thinking, weighing, and praying. April is decision time.


How much can a heart hold?

Last week was a bright and shiny home school week. I reconnected

Let hope bloom and colors call us to Jesus.

Let hope bloom and colors call us to Jesus.

with well-intentioned ideals from the Gap Year dream stage and took Eli and Andi to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum on Wednesday morning. We looked at paintings of artists they are studying and knew what “Baroque” meant when we wandered. Thanks to their study of the timeline, we had appreciation for what 450B.C.E. Egypt looked like and how impressive that stone carving was for the ancient people. We walked and played in the chilly glass maze and met Drew for lunch at Winsteads. They bubbled over with how much they saw and the fun they had and we all ate too much milkshake.


At home, last week hosted symbiotic sibling playtime where they all listened to each other, engaged with problems solving and cooperation, as well as encouraged each other in worlds of imagination and simple play. Dreams coming true with magnets and a wide open carpet floor.

For the last 10 days however, I’ve been wrecked by news of hard things in the lives of good friends, family, and my city. I hurt and ache, pray and question. My heart is heavy and hope feels almost too big a burden after this many prayers, this many days.

Friends in chaos and pain. Family with uncertain news. A nation in transition and upheaval. And most recently, a tragedy of youth and potential lost in the death of Yordano Ventura of the Royals. Seriously, the heart, it hurts.

In the middle of all the darkness, confusion, sadness and noise, I’ve been hearing from God in good ways.

From Richard Rohr’s daily meditations:

On using our faith to follow Jesus’ example of elevating others, not an empire, he writes:

But when Scripture is read through the eyes of vulnerability—what we call the “preferential option for the poor” or the bias from the bottom—it will always be liberating and transformative….The bottom, or what Jesus calls “the poor in Spirit” (Matthew 5:3) in his opening address, is where we have no privilege to prove or protect but much to seek and become.    from 1/17/17

From a daily devotional book given to me as a Christmas present which reminds me of God’s action before my own awakening each morning, Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible Through the Year

The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad. Psalm 118:24

Living God, your knowledge of me is infinite while mine of you is tiny. The mysteries of your being and your ways are always beyond me. So in humility and reverence, help me to rest content as a follower of Jesus. Give m the loving trust to learn what you show me in your Word without going beyond those limits. Amen. 

When the pains of this world, shock, surprise, fear or uncertainty, bad news, wrongs allowed and rights thwarted, aches, pains, endings and deaths weigh on a human heart, it makes sense to depend deeply on Jesus and cling closely to good friends.

I’m thankful I have both and hold onto to hope.