My haven’t these weeks brought some interesting changes into our lives?!?

Some of the changes have been annoying.  Some of them have been awful – heartbreaking even.  And some of the changes have been unexpectedly nice.

One of the positives for our family has come in the way our family expanded just a little bit. 

As you know – Saint Stephen is our Kentucky family.  Our boys’ emergency contact people after Jason and me are Saint Stephen folks.  Mimi, Papa, Auntie Liz, Uncle John, Bella, and Nic all live in Richmond, Indiana for most of the year, and that is just a bit too far away for their schools to call if Will misses the bus or if Jack locks himself out of the house. 

Jack and Will know to call in a Lutheran if there is an emergency.  We have told them since they were tiny – these are your people.  They love you.  If you need help and you can’t reach Mom or Dad – call someone from church.  They are your family too, and they will help.  (Heck – if what you have done is dumb enough it might even be smarter to call in a “back up Lutheran” before you call in your parents!)  But that is a lot harder to do these days.  Social distancing has made so many things harder – hasn’t it? 

So without any local family – we decided to make our family just a bit bigger for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

We are most definitely in isolation and so are our across the fence neighbors.  We are taking isolation very seriously.  But – our neighbors have become our special people to lean on outside of our nuclear family.  (They have always been our cool neighbors anyway!)  We are in quarantine together as our own little pod, and it has helped a lot.  It gives us so much comfort to know that our boys have two responsible, safe, mask-wearing (wow – that sounds odd doesn’t it) adults right across the fence should they need another grown-up and their girls have the same thing in Jason and me.  (We even shop at the same grocery store.)

Mary and I can swap recipes and chat about raising children in this strange new reality.  We can also swap ideas for home schooling (something I had once said I would never – ever do.  I really have got to stop saying stuff like that!).  Will can burn off some energy with someone other than Jack which I am sure Jack finds to be a relief.  And the world just feels a little less ominous for our three littlest ones who we are keeping very – very close to home these days.

As a part of trying to make the world a lovely place for our children in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic – Mary invited us to join in an Easter egg hunt last weekend.  It was just what the McFarland family needed.  We filled bright, cheery plastic eggs with all sorts of yummy – chocolaty goodness to hide in our adjoining yards and then with heaping Easter baskets of rainbow colored joy Mary and I had a delightful 20 minutes of “hiding” the eggs.

I loved being part of hiding the Easter eggs, because I always miss out on this part of the fun at Saint Stephen.  I often get to fill lots and lots of eggs for our Easter egg hunts at church – but I am always leading worship when the hiding of the eggs takes place.  I still would rather have been in church on Easter, but it was fun none the less.  We may just have to make this a new annual tradition.  I am sure the children wouldn’t mind more candy!

Their girls and our boys always have an Easter egg hunt at church – so it was nice to do this for them this year too.  I quipped to Jack that he got to do an Easter egg hunt without the sermon this year.  And Jack’s completely deadpan reply was – “Umm – Mom – I have heard them all.  All of them. . . ”  Oh yeah that’s right – Jack has heard ALL of them.  Well – I like tell my children all of the time – you can never get too much God!

Obligatory – “why yes we are having fun” picture for the moms . . .
On the hunt!
Too busy to look at the camera.
A very busy lady!
Why yes – we did make the 16 year old play along – it was good for him!
Check out the loot! Perhaps 25 eggs each was a bit much. . .

These days are difficult. We cannot deny that. COVID-19 has changed our lives in so very – very many ways. We have all lost so much.

But not everything is awful. Not everything is bleak and grim. Our lives still contain good things and blessings from God. We need to be willing to look for them – to open our eyes and our hearts to see them and to look for them.

Where are you seeing God’s presence in your life these days? How is God making himself known to you?

I saw God this weekend in rainbow colored eggs and in chocolaty smiles and in green grass.

I heard God in friendly hellos called from a safe social distance while I walked in our neighborhood and in singing birds and laughing children.

We are never alone. Our Lord has promised us that he is with us always. I encourage you to spend some time today seeking God’s presence in the small things in your life that you might just overlook.

In Christ and with Love –

Pastor Kerri

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