Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
The sounds of summer could not be more pleasant tonight as I sit outside waiting for the moonrise. The kids are inside, in bed, or watching Netflix…they might even be playing video games. Either way, I don’t really mind. I’m just reveling in the warm summer night and the sense of contentment that is filling my soul.
This past month has been full for the Repennings. We decided to kick off the summer with a bang. Well, not so much a bang, but more of a booster shot. Poor Jack. After his tetanus shot, he had to go to work, because now he’s a grown up and has to act like one. I did have to call the pediatrician to make his appointment though, so technically he’s still very needy. Speaking of the doctor, Billy has a medical procedure tomorrow involving a camera, and I’ll be driving his driver after that appointment. Apparently you can’t drive yourself, once you’ve had your picture taken invasively, if you know what I mean.
Other than our medical issues, we are having a great summer. We kicked the summer off with a visit to a small Christian college for Jack to check out in hopes of attending next year. You haven’t seen small until you’ve seen this little college. The dorm, classroom, and cafeteria are all in one building. Oddly enough, this situation could not be more perfect for our son Jack. He was so excited after the visit and hopefully by this time next year, we’ll be preparing for his next adventure!
After the college visit, our family caravanned with good friends to Branson, Missouri for a little vacation time in the “show me state”. We were not sure what to expect as Missouri was not on our bucket list, however some other friends told us there are many fun things to do there. We discovered this before we even arrived in Branson, as we happened upon the Osceola Cheese factory off the highway several miles from our actual destination. Faith and Daelyn sampled over 20 types of cheese, and while that may sound exciting to some of you, I felt my gastrointestinal system binding up as they took each little bite.
Once we arrived in Missouri, I promptly told everyone what we would be doing for the next 3 days. Our agenda was simple: Visit the Titanic museum, go to Silver Dollar City, and rent a pontoon boat while spending an allotted 8 hours on Table Rock Lake. No one could argue with me, as no one knew what else there was to do. Turns out my agenda was spot on, and we proceeded to have an absolute blast.
Hands down, our family enjoyed Silver Dollar City the most. SDC is a huge amusement park, with a theme from the late 1800’s running through the whole place. All of it was fun—the rides, the knife show, the food, but even more there was a sense of courtesy within the park. People were kind, the vendors were helpful, and the price of admission was completely worth every penny.
Our family doesn’t get to vacation every summer. For one thing, taking 6 people on a trip is really expensive. We have had many summers go by where we didn’t do much more than go camping or enjoy the great many options Colorado has to offer. The blessing of this trip is not wasted on me, and for our kids, it was another opportunity for them to learn gratitude while experiencing abundant joy. We would be remiss if we did not talk about the benefits and treasures of a trip like this, from mile 1, till we pulled safely into the garage at mile 1806.
There’s no denying we are raising kids in a culture of entitlement. It can be difficult to scold them for acting this way, especially when we adults are the ugly example of being entitled. Billy and I are just as guilty as the next guy, and it takes a lot of work and discipline to change our propensity toward selfishness to having hearts filled with thankfulness.
God’s Word calls to “give thanks in every circumstance”. Thanking God is simple when you are on a road trip, spending money on cheese and tee shirts. Giving thanks on the other 360 days can be really hard. How do you give thanks when you have a child diagnosed with a terminal disease? How do you say thank You to the God of creation when you read of yet another shooting? How do you give thanks for the day in and day out, the chronic, the empty, the alone?
Very few things this side of heaven make sense to me. Jesus makes sense. The gift of being a mother makes sense. Creation makes sense. Love makes sense. Other than that, I often feel very sad about the world around me. I can choose to dwell on the things that leave me feeling depressed and discouraged, or I can choose to find the lovely in the mire. What will I dwell on today?