I will admit to having good days and bad days. And these days I am having quite a few of what I think of as “medium” days. Those in between days that are just sort of okay. The medium days aren’t bad – but they just are . . .well they just are the days of my life. They are my life as I know it now. They are what we are all calling our new normal. And they are certainly different. Really – really different – aren’t they?
I get up. I wander downstairs after Jason reminds me that it is in fact time for the adults in the McFarland household to be on duty. I have a cup of coffee in my favorite flowered mug while reading the news and bugging Jason with my delightful running color commentary on how I would fix the world if I were in charge. And Jason pretends to find what I have to say is absolutely – positively riveting. (He is probably conjugating Greek verbs in his mind while I jabber away.)
Breakfasts are made and eaten. Dishes are sorted. We seem to have a lot of dishes now that all of us are a home full time. Of course – both McFarland sons are currently growing like weeds on Miracle Grow so that probably accounts for all of the extra dishes!
Jason pulls up Will’s day of distance learning on the computer, because I can never – ever remember all of those passwords (and he can). We decide which grown-up is going to 1st grade with Will for the day. Will’s 1st grade teacher – Mrs. Meers – is amazingly awesome so going to 1st grade is surprisingly fun! I wish that my 1st grade teacher had been like Mrs. Meers. Seeing Mrs. Meers and her sweet – loving – kind smile just makes me smile too! I am going to miss Mrs. Meers in June. She has made NTI a blessing, and I sure was not expecting that.
Then the day’s juggling begins. Work. Homeschooling Will. We usually do “our” reading lesson first. Checking email. Sending Will outside to jump on the trampoline so that I can think an entire thought in peace and quiet and he can burn off some of that busy 7 year old boy energy he is so full of!
Working on my sermon while Will is outside.
Next we do our lesson on conjunctions or we write in our weekend journal. Then Will gets another break, and I check email and make sure that I didn’t miss any calls.
I am nosy and listen in while Jason and Jack chat about Jack’s Latin assignment or his math assignment or Jack’s computer programming assignment or whatever Jack is working on this particular morning.
Then Will and I are back at it for Will’s daily math lesson. He is learning to add numbers like 27 plus 16. And he is using strategies like number bonds and number tapes and quick tens and ones which I never used in school.
Then Will gets a break. He usually plays with Legos or watches videos on his I-pad while everyone else works.
Then lunch. The boys eat while Jason and I go for a two mile jaunt around our neighborhood to get some fresh air. I hate COVID-19 with a deep and abiding passion – but lunchtime walks with Jason have been an unexpected blessing. These walks clear my head and help me keep my perspective on just about everything.
Then after lunch and our walk Will gets sweet – sweet freedom. And I work while saying things like “Sweetie – Mommy is working . . . “ “That lego plane (boat) is totally amazing.”
Or the classic – “I know that it looks like I am not doing anything – but this is what it looks like when I am THINKING . . .”
Or the always handy-dandy “PLEASE stop talking to me!”
Or “THE NEXT PERSON WHO BOTHERS TO ME WHO IS NOT BLEEDING OR BROKEN GETS DRAWN AND QUARTERED!”
Last week after one of these little outbursts on my part (I have some growing to do. I am most definitely a work in progress . . .) I was flipping through my work binder looking for my current to do list when I came upon this . . .
Does it look familiar? It should. It is a collage of some of our blessings from God that we all wrote down last fall.
It stopped me in my tracks. I stopped looking for my to do list and I just started reading. And I started thinking. Then I started remembering sitting in the sanctuary writing about God’s blessings in my life in the fall of 2019.
Well – I thought to myself – you know what – life has changed a whole lot since last fall when I added my blessings to that list – but the blessings from God for which I was thankful haven’t actually changed.
Last fall I was thankful for God’s grace, love and mercy. . . and that is still absolutely – positively true.
Last fall I was thankful for Jason, Jack, and William . . . and wow – I am spending even more time with them than usual! (We are spending A LOT of time together. . .so much time together!)
Last fall I was thankful for our Christian community. Okay that one was harder – but you haven’t disappeared. We just can’t gather together safely right now. But we will – I believe that we will. And I still get to email, text, and talk on the phone with you during the week.
Last fall I gave thanks for my home. Well – I sure am getting to spend a lot of time there/here right now!!!
Last fall I gave thanks for the blessing of nature and nature is absolutely, positively glorious right now.
Last fall I gave thanks for our extended family. The people I think of as “my people.” I gave thanks for the McFarland-Markward clan. I gave thanks for Bob, Linda, John, Elizabeth, Nic, and Bella. These people have taught me what it means to be family. They along with Jason, Jack, and Will have taught me about unconditional love and laughter and fun. I delight in being with my family. This is my family in the truest sense of the word, and they are one of my life’s greatest blessings! My people – yes – I thought to myself – this blessing from God remains! My crazy clan still loves me and I still love them.
The blessings of my yard and nature and my passion for art – yes – still there.
And on and on and on through the list of God’s blessing to me I went.
My life is different. My life has changed. But God’s blessings haven’t gone away. God is still God. God is still caring for me and blessing me.
This wretched pandemic has changed my life in some rather dramatic ways – but God hasn’t stopped caring for me. God hasn’t stopped loving me. God’s blessings continue.
I am not trying to be an unrealistic Pollyanna. I absolutely get that these days have been incredibly hard for so very many – many people. So many folks have lost so much. Loss and grief and pain and heartache abound. I know this. Our own family is grieving. But – this simple sheet of aqua-blue paper reminded me – that our God is still God. That has not changed. And it will never change. God is still blessing me. I have so very -very much to be thankful for. I am blessed. God is blessing me now – even in the midst of this trying time.
And so I encourage you to take some time today to try to remember what you put on your gratitude list last fall. What/who were you grateful for last fall? Has it changed?
What are you grateful for now? Make a list. Write it down. Did you know that grateful people actually tend to feel better and to suffer from less depression and anxiety (science backs me up on this)?
Life comes with highs and lows – twists and turns – ups and downs. And our God is with us through all of it.
Make that list. What and who are you grateful for?
Seriously – write it down. . . just like we all did together last fall.
In Christ and with Love –