It’s been a vacation for the ages. We arrived on Saturday. Peck caught a stomach virus that night. He didn’t fall asleep until 2 AM. I didn’t sleep at all. Grandpa forgot all of his medications. Being the weekend, they couldn’t be shipped until Monday set to reach us on Tuesday. The spa didn’t work. We’d chosen this house because of the spa, hoping it would be relaxing for our parents. Monday night Grandpa caught the stomach virus. He and Grandma were up all night. Tuesday, we took him to the ER for fluids. Due to his many health issues, something as simple as a stomach virus could escalate very quickly. We needed to be sure it was a bug and not one of his other conditions acting up. Tuesday, my cousin’s son was stung by a jellyfish.

By Tuesday night, I was stressed to the max. After I woke at 4 AM this morning due to insomnia, I wandered downstairs and went through my memory scriptures for the first time in several days. The Holy Spirit gently reminded me of my need to abide in God.

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

Of course, I was cranky, stressed, and a poor example of Christ. I had forgotten to remain in him! Then, I called my good friend, and we discussed theology for almost an hour. My spiritual reserves overflowed. I saw our trip in a different light.

Cousins from three different families frolicked until they collapsed with exhaustion. Only to rise up again and pursue play with the same passion as Olympic athletes. My sister and I gleefully embarrassed our children by singing all the words to “Soul Sister” at the top of our lungs in public. My nephew and I went out in the middle of the night to witness the glory of creation through the meteor shower. Daddy felt well enough to sit and watch Shark Week documentaries with us.

Perception colors events. What one chooses to dwell on determines joy or sadness. I find, for myself, how much I’ve remained in the Lord directly correlates to my mood. So for today and the rest of my trip, I choose joy.