Thursday, October 13, 2016

The details of a dishwasher

Hey Peeps—

Last week was like a Mazda commercial at the Repenning house.  All we did was “zoom zoom” from here to there.  I was in Loveland all week for a conference on none other than Lactation, and Billy kept the crazy train moving from point A to point B here at the house.  He didn’t forget one single kid all week, and I learned how to help mothers breast feed their babies.   Maybe this simple equation will help you understand our week just a little more:  Breast milk + everyone made it to school/home = win.  Not that you asked.

Life is hard! Am I right?  There are days when you are just grateful you all made it home safe and sound and have a bed to fall into.  By Friday night we were all drained.  Come on, 40 hours of learning about lactation?  You have no idea how many videos of the “perfect latch” I watched.  So on Friday night all I wanted to do was crash.  This was all a pipedream, crushed by none other than Billy, who I lovingly refer to as my “dream crusher” when he makes grand announcements about broken appliances.  We were all sitting around the dinner table with various fast food, as the fridge was empty, and Billy declared, “the dishwasher is broken”. 

Considering we paid $50 bucks for the thing 8 years ago, I’d say she had a good run.  Instead of doing my normal “Lisa freaks out”, I calmly announced we could buy a new one with all my “extra” lactation class money.  Isn’t that just how things work?  You make a few extra bucks and something breaks, like a dishwasher or someone’s leg.  I’d planned on using that money for food, but was grateful to have it to buy something we needed right then and there!

Billy and Faith headed to Home Depot, I went to get groceries for my empty fridge.  I shopped with a purpose—to get home before 10 pm.  By the time I arrived at the cereal aisle, Billy’s texts were blowing up my phone.  All our appliances are white and there was only one option.  To make matters worse, he mentioned it was not the right dimensions to fit in our kitchen.  Billy started to wonder if we should get a stainless steel one.  I texted back to say wait until we all got home again and could look on line, and that making a decision for a dishwasher at the end of a long week was starting to seem unwise.  He agreed, packed it up and they headed home to help me unload a full trunk of food.  

As I pulled into the garage, Faith called me from Billy’s phone.  She said, “Mom, dad wanted me to tell you he’ll be home in a minute to help with the groceries, but he found a dishwasher on the curb at the neighbors and they are giving it away.  He’s loading it in the car right now.” I laughed out loud.  Faith added, “This could be a God one”. 

By Saturday afternoon, our “new”, not to mention, WHITE, dishwasher was up and running.  Billy, the life long learner of the family, used the opportunity to help the boys learn to install an appliance, and I sat on the deck in the sun smiling from ear to ear.  I mean, come on, a free dishwasher, on the curb at 9:30 on a Friday night that happens to fit perfectly in our odd shaped counter hole, and it is the RIGHT color to boot. 

People, do you get this?  Do you believe God cares about the details?  Do you see that even our dumb little problems matter to the God of this universe?  And if He actually cares about a dishwasher, don’t you think he cares about the state of our world, our nation, our government, and how we live and act?  God is bigger than this election. He is not sitting up on His throne ignorant to the crap we are all appalled by.  He sees it too.  He is not surprised by one thing.  He may seem distant, but you guys, He cares.  I wonder if God ever wishes He could just fix it all, the mess our country is in, just like He did with our dishwasher.  I’d love a happy ending, but I don’t think on November 9th, 2016, we will all wake up breathing a huge sigh of relief.   We will not dodge any bullets.  One of them will win, and no matter what God is still God. 


Voting is a privilege and our responsibility as citizens of this country.  I will vote, but the sense of pride I have had in other elections will be absent this time.  What I cling to more is the sense of conviction I have in something bigger than an election in the USA.   God has a plan and a purpose, for you and for me.  The future is His, not the next president of our nation.  I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t afraid for the future and for our children, but I serve a God that reminds me He cares about our lives, right down to a broken dishwasher.  What a beautiful gift to get, a daily reminder that God cares about my minutiae.  Thank You God!  You are a good, good Father!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Redemption at Outdoor Lab

Hey Peeps—

Wow, how about that debate the other night?  Am I right?  Remind me next time to have more snacks laid out and ready.   I blazed through all my junk food before the first rebuttal.  I had to.  It was the only way to make it bearable.   Next time I will be more prepared, I can tell you that.  

Thankfully my house is a non-stop whirlwind of activity, so I don’t have loads of time to get worked up over the upcoming election.   Having four kids doesn’t leave me with a ton of extra time.   This past week was no exception. 

My son Will is in 6th grade, and spent last week at Outdoor Lab.  Our school is fortunate enough to get to use Idrahaje, an amazing place up in Bailey, where my kids have gone to camp during the summer.  Idrahaje has been around since 1948—the longevity only making them better and better.   They have a great variety of outdoor activities like repelling, rock climbing, high ropes, horseback riding…and more.   Whenever we pick the kids up from their week long adventures, one thing they all talk non-stop about is the food, as if their baked oatmeal was gourmet.  Don’t try to copy it either.  I’m telling you, it’s not the same, so says Faith.  Our kids love the staff up there too, who make the week more than just fun, but deep and meaningful. 

So you can see why we are thrilled that our kid’s 6th grade class gets to spend a whole 4 days up in the beautiful mountains surrounded by sweet folks who happen to love Jesus, and know how to give our kids a great time!  This year was extra special as Jack got to go along as a high school leader.  He’s a junior this year, and worked very hard to make it happen.   His letter to the administration was straightforward and ambitious.  He said, “Not only have I worked with kids before, I bring something else to the table—I’m CPR certified”.   The boy is legit. 

On Wednesday, the little sister and I made our way up the mountain, through the amazing Colorado colors of fall, and spent the day watching Will and Jack do a variety of activities and living life to the fullest.  Seeing Jack as a leader was surreal.  I told Billy that if being there for a week, missing all that time in Chemistry class earns him a “C” it would still be worth it.    Jack was in his element, leading those kids with kindness and patience.  What a gift for this mom, one I will cherish. 

Will had a great time too, and has the scabs all over his legs to show for it.   He was a “Ninja squirrel” and had an awesome group of kids to hang with all week.  I loved walking around with them during orienteering class, seeing all of them take the teaching very seriously and then use a compass to find a landmark.  I’m so glad Will now knows how to not get lost in the woods when we are camping.  I suppose my method of  dropping jolly rancher fire candy wrappers is no long necessary.  

After lunch, Will’s group spent time at archery.   Did you know archery teachers take their job VERY serious?  Apparently arrows can really mess up a face.   Will shot those arrows with all his heart, and while he wasn’t perfect, he learned and was challenged, and I loved seeing him work through his task and not give up. 

Driving home that day, along highway 285, I felt nostalgic about my kids and our school, and all the twists and turns life throws at a person.   A few weeks ago I was feeling jaded and cynical about all the hard challenges that come with being part of a small community.  I even told Billy that when Zoe begins kindergarten next year I will not put myself out there like I did with the other 3 kids.   I went on to say I was going to keep to myself and have giant walls up everywhere so I never got my feelings hurt again.  I was angry and convinced that I was going to be a completely different person this next time around.


And then I went to Outdoor Lab.   I saw several mothers I’ve come to know and love over the years, even the ones who don’t love me back.  I laughed with several of them as we shared stories of our kids over the past 7 years of memories.  I hugged the teachers who have my phone number and text me when my kid does something good or is forgotten by his carpool.   I saw the principal who sat and had lunch with Jack and explained to him in depth what he would need to do in order to get a job as a teacher.  I was touched deeply by the goodness of people, and how they were giving abundantly to a group of kids who all came home with amazing memories of Outdoor Lab.  The day redeemed my cynicism and hurt, and reminded me that some of my very best friends are in my life because I put myself out there and said hi to another mom.   The day redeemed the call to break down my walls and instead clothe myself in love.  I didn’t go up to Outdoor Lab to learn a lesson.  I went to see my boys.   Funny how life works.  A simple day can change a heart and remind a person to be who God calls her to be.  God is a good, good Father.