COVID-19, Stay Home KC, Week 3

Last week was the hardest so far and held some of the sweetest moments we’ve had yet.

In difficulty, I realized I had to cut off the socially distant social calendar I was still keeping for my kids and myself. We were being intentional but not careful enough. Kids and neighbor friends were getting closer and closer despite the best intentions and moments of mask making. I couldn’t help but help when I saw people who needed help. I wanted to give a safe version of our usual egg hunt and do a socially distant happy hour outside on a beautiful day.

After a hard conversation, an informative article from a well-known pediatrician, a reckoning of limits and desires, and a knockdown drag-out with Drew, we made major changes to our habits and those of our children.

Stay home.

No playdates.

Some schedule adjustments for work.

My underlying emotion, deep inside, and pointing to a reality that needs a healthy outlet, is anger. Mid-week I was mad. Why? Disorientation and grief and feeling so stuck.  And all the while, we were journeying with Jesus towards the cross and resurrection. Oh and we were also cooking with veggie stock and fixin’ to fix the mailbox.

Because my major ways of operating are to lead, act, direct, assist, help and push through, mostly for others, not myself or my own people, I live with gut intuition and “never” rely on statistical projections and blanket directives. This is an unprecedented time for all. Why was I just catching up on how much impact it needed to have on me?

And then they canceled school for the rest of the year.

Yes, I’ve been wrecked by how hard this is for the underprivileged and burdens the already vulnerable. I’m grateful and praying for the hard-working health care workers and truck drivers. I’ve been praying for families with pain, financial hardship, and precious pregnant people. I lamented the racial injustice of the disease around Kansas City and elsewhere and disagreed with churches who decided to forgo the governor’s restriction (and scripture see: Matthew 22:21 Jesus said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.” Romans 13:1 “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities”).

We have suffered very little by the great disruption. And yet the reckoning.

Being often angry, quick to apologize and graciously forgiving, as a way of life in our family, we moved on with a new direction. Then I got this EnneaThought email that helped too.

Cutting off people, activities, and regular rhythms, eliminating most of the ways I was working in my job to lead and relate, means I am cutting off a lot of my default and essential ways of being.

Less action, no space for practical intuition. Barely any room to be constructive for others. The eradication of ego is a painful place.

I knew I could grow even in the freedom of reading here why it was so hard. Like weeping Mary who meets Jesus in the garden and thinks he’s the gardener (John 20), I  was finally wandering around, wondering what is next and how to return from disorientation, pace through grief, and restore right-relationship.

All week I read great devotional thoughts and listened to a helpful podcast on media trauma and sanity for moms. Those snippets are below for the non-skimmers and mostly for my reflective, time capturing benefit.

For fun, and because we are beyond blessed and living a Spirit-filled life in light of the resurrection, we:

  • Attended a dance party hosted by Oakley, DJed by Drew (“Everyone go get your costumes!”)
  • Watched Onward, more  Task Master and the rest of Top Chef All-Stars 2010 
  • Finished our puzzle
  • Projected through the mailbox replacement with joy (Thank you DJ Drew)
  • Gave the affirmation game a twist and told everyone one by one around our dinner table, 1- What we liked about you today, and 2. What we like about you always.
  • Did an artistic and relevant nightly reading and prayer for Holy Week. (Thank you Marisa Avramovich)
  • Dyed eggs and did a hunt with June and Henley at a distance
  • Made multiple putt-putt courses in our garage.
  • And most magically, we had an 87-degree day and put the sprinkler underneath the trampoline. The exclamations of joy, laughter, fun, and let’s keep doing this will ring in my head for weeks.

With the weather swinging almost as wide as my emotions, we made it to Easter Sunday. Once again, the tension between celebration and loss was palpable. We made food and shared it. Receiving delicious and memory infused dishes in return. We napped (not the Easter usual) and played together.

There continue to be candles lit and flowers alive on our table, and with that, and the Love around and inside me, I KNOW we will make it.

But seriously, how do we live out Jesus’ words, “To whom much has been given, much is expected?” Luke 12:48?

Pictures and more reading below.

PE Stations on the deck- pogo, hula, soccer kick, and Skip It

Putt-Putt inside helped on the windy and rainy days later in the week

Saturday night hail and driving rain!

So much warmth. So much fun.

 

“Along with our anxieties and hurts, we also bring our disappointments to God. If anxieties focus on what might happen, and hurts focus on what has happened, disappointments focus on what has not happened. Again, as the saying goes, revealing your feeling is the beginning of healing, so simply acknowledging or naming our disappointment to God is an important move. This is especially important because many of us, if we don’t bring our disappointment to God, will blame our disappointment on God, thus alienating ourselves from our best hope of comfort and strength. . . . ” Brian McLaren

 

It is true that your life is not about you; rather, “your life is hidden with Christ in God. He is your life, and when he is revealed, you will be revealed in all your glory with him” (Colossians 3:4).  The True Self does not cling or grasp. It has already achieved its purpose by being more than by any specific doing of this or that. Finally, we have become a human being instead of a human doing.

And yet even in our pursuit of the True Self, we must be careful not to reject the parts of ourselves that are not there yet. The most courageous thing we will ever do is probably to accept that we are who we are. All the truly transformed people I have ever met are characterized by what I would call radical humility. They are deeply convinced that they are drawing from another source; they are simply an instrument.

So we can pray the simple Christian prayer of “Lord, have mercy.” From our place of humility, God can work through us to help our loved ones, neighbors and the most vulnerable. As Francis of Assisi said to us right before he died in 1226, “I have done what was mine to do. Now you must do what is yours to do.” [1]

– Richard Rohr reflection excerpts from 4-8-2020.

Media trauma: a significant traumatic event experienced through media. 

-Traumatic events are more traumatic to people watching them from their devices than for the people in the actual event.

-The difference is the connection between brain and body- in the actual moment our body is on alert and is usually in a community of people (ie: Boston Marathon). When we watch something on our phone, we sit still and absorb it in our body without movement or energy from our built-in body responses or the assistance of community with others. 

– The COVID-19 pandemic is for our kids’ (aged 3-18) September 11th. The impact of this trauma will put a stamp on their brains and bodies (memories and effects) that need care and attention. If kids are neglected during this time, the damage could last decades.

-Mom’s have to teach, and work and parent right now. We cannot do three at once. The work one can come last.

  • A few notes from Rumors of Grace with Bob Hutchins and guest Jenny Black. 

 

 

COVID-19, Stay Home KC, Week 2

Week 2 at home is in the books.

We got a little creative and projecty in week 2.

  • Andi and parents painted her room a lovely shade of pinky-white
  • Eli bought 16 different parts and built his own scooter 
  • We borrowed some toys built an awesome Play-Mobil neighborhood
  • Oaks unbuilt and rebuilt a huge Lego Mech
  • We played 4-square in the street for recess
  • Eli made a sign for Bobby’s bday and did a drive-by parade party
  • We did a Wyldlife Egg drop off at doors of kids we are glad to know and reach out towards
  • And we dug and hauled and planted because….
    • If you give your yard a trampoline in November, you might still be working on install in April….The kids dug dirt to avoid bottoming out on the low side. Then we moved the dirt around the yard and realized we could fill stump holes and plant grass seed. And if you plant seed, you’ll realize it’s now time to replant the hostas we dug up from the garden now covered by the trampoline. And if you’re out there watering hostas and new grass seed, your kids are going to invite you to jump on the trampoline you bought in November. And if your kids invite you to jump with them, you say yes at least once a week, cherishing the time they want to spend with you.

And then because we were channeling Top Chef, 

Or because we were channeling Little House on the Prarie, 

  • We started messing around with a sourdough starter and making crumpets and biscuits (a project every 12 hours!) 
  • and we made veggie stock (slowly boiled old veggie scraps for over 12 hours!),
  • and we made black beans from dried black beans (they soaked for 12 hours and then did some low boiling for 3!)

At one point I dissolved into giggles on the kitchen floor…we were in pretty deep. The smells! The dishes! The partnering with Drew 🙂  Oh, and we should probably also make dinner.

Alas, we were amazed and grateful for the gifts we were given.

Those hostas are from Castaway, Binny and Bill Pearce, and Angie our neighbor.

The sourdough is from James and Laura who have been very faithful to being on call all weekend for questions.

We were given grace to connect with others and play games over Zoom Friday night for Nat’s birthday and Saturday with friends. Our kids watched Hook and Oaks’ enjoyment was evident on his sweet smiling face.

Now it’s Holy Week and the weather will get into the 80s mid-week.

Perhaps with fewer projects, we will let prayers and play direct us to deeper connections with Christ. What an odd Easter.

We will seek perspective and community following Jesus on the journey through victorious welcome, to paradigm-shifting dinner, into agonizing garden wrestling, humiliating subjection unto death, bewildering waiting and wondering, and finally, reality-altering resurrection.

 

COVID-19, Stay Home KC Week 1

We have been back from Colorado for a whole week of school at home. The Park Hill School district had spring break March 16-20th so we went to Colorado to carefully connect with family. It was over the top wonderful to see Grammy and Granddad, Tamara, Bill and Molly, Maama and the quints, and most especially, to stay with and wake up to Remi and Crosby Sears at John and Natalie’s classy and comfy home. We went to skate parks and climbed Matthews Winters Red Rocks trail. We went to pick up Thai food and grabbed 7-11 with napkins over the pulls of the Slurpee machine. Otherwise, we were inside homes and walking on sidewalks. Lord have mercy on all the interactions and hugs we shared. Still unknown if we are infected or not. So far so good.

Back at home, we have had a smooth week of adjusting to sheltering in place. Mayor Quinton Lucas instated “Stay Home KC” for March 24-April 24th for the city. Park Hill schools have been amazing at providing a myriad of educational modules, interfaces, personalities, check-ins, and quality education for my kids in 1st, 6th, and 7th grade.

Eli and Andi have spent the week on their computers in multiple classes on a normal schedule of red and white days. Their teachers have done amazingly well to move classroom lectures and lessons to virtual environments. Eli and Andi work diligently and independently for almost four uninterrupted hours. They are handling the social isolation well. I thank our two years of homeschool for the mental and emotional pathways already paved to handle these changes.

Oakley is enjoying his best life with hours to play imaginatively each day. He plays Lego spread through two bedrooms (his and mine) and two floors of the house. Around 11am, he comes to start his school day with a teacher check-in questionnaire, math, reading and science work and then does Ipad reading and handwriting worksheets.

A tension: Usually I dislike and want to minimize technology. Now I’m grateful my kids are into their screens for 6 hours a day. Screens are how we connect!?! Not what separates us. AND YET a screen instead of a teacher and friends in class..ick. Not the same. Especially for Oaks.

I get to work in my regular home office with extra coworkers. So far it’s scattered and getting on phone calls and zoom meetings are more interrupted but life is pretty normal for me.

Drew is working to lead, make decisions and push along a tax season now extended until August. He’s busy in all the normal ways and then some.

Andi did her Monday night dance online thanks to the professional and personal creative work of teachers at Diane’s School of Dance.

We are very encouraged and uplifted by our church’s virtual gatherings. The words of prayers and songs pierce hearts in ways we don’t usually feel. Even our kids have had youth group on zoom and a video lesson for Oaks came Monday as well.

It’s hard to believe this will last four weeks, maybe more.

  • Drew instituted family hot seat around the dinner table- great questions asked by all, sweet sharing time for sure.
  • Drew encourages us to facetime to connect with family each evening. Erica got all the Osborne’s on MarcoPolo for video sharing sweetness all week.
  • We are beyond grateful to have our new (got it in November) trampoline for frequent breaks. Sweet space for alone time, tricks, parent and kid play, and plenty of sibling sweetness and battles.
  • We worry about small businesses and want to help by ordering food from our local restaurant kitchens.

We are sad to have fun and ministry canceled- skiing in Colorado, Heather and Toby’s visit from England, YL MSLI, YL Family Camp, family dinner with the Bruces, Crossfit classes, Scouts, Oakley’s soccer season, Eli’s track season, Eli’s session at the Copper Mountain Woodward Trick Barn, getting our teeth cleaned, sports (real and fantasy), and being with our friends.

The bottom line- we have profound privilege and comfort. These past three weeks of COVID-19 have also been weeks of loss and grief for my friends. I can’t believe how the pain of losing a family member for three of my friends (cancer, stillborn baby, and suicide) adds to the uncertainity, disruption, sadness, and loss.

It feels like the theme of the week overall is great gratitude for how little we are affected. We are very blessed. We are happy with the change of pace, less to do at night, more time for each other, and lots of sleeping in. At the same time, we miss our individual activities, we wish we could do the work we find meaningful, and we like our morning bus rides with friends.

Like Paul says, “I’ve learned to be content in times of plenty (pre-COVID-19) and in want (now)”… We are learning and are sometimes closer to content than others.

How long are we thinking this contentment refining process might be?…

Our family at “church”

We miss you Crossfit Northland! Making the best of it in our basement

Oakley reads on Raz Kids

Eli and Andi- smiling and working hard

Spring Break! We had sunshine, snow and even a horse to pet within walking distance.

 

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.

 

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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.

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