Our family celebrated Jack’s high school graduation on Sunday.

We love him because he is our Jack. And we LIKE him too (such an incredible blessing)!

We are truly proud of our son.

His grades in high school were excellent. AND he took such bizarre classes – things like Calculus and Chemistry and advanced Biology. Jack actually likes those classes . . . strange . . . very strange indeed!

Jack made wonderful friends. His best buds – Kyle and Jacob are just plain great guys. These 2 young men (3 including Jack himself) are truly delightful! They have been and continue to be such amazing friends.  Jacob and Kyle are a blessing to our Jack!

Kyle – Caitlyn – Jack – and Jacob all dressed up and ready for senior prom!

Caitlyn – well – she is a joy! Jason – Will – and I feel so blessed and thankful to know her too.

Jack has big plans for the future. He will be off to college in August to continue making those plans and dreams his reality.

A high school graduation is a big deal. A truly important and significant accomplishment. We needed to celebrate. To share the joy. To laugh and reflect and delight!

A party! A party was called for – even in our quiet – reserved – introverted family. (Will is our extroverted outlier.)

Yes – a great – big – hopefully fun party was called for. A party with party food: cupcakes and brownies and soda and chips and those sorts of yummy things you allow yourself to eat when you are celebrating and rejoicing and cutting loose just a bit.

A party with decorations and balloons.

A party with friends. With family. With our sisters and brothers in Christ.

A party with our people! With the people who have loved and cared and supported and listened and cheered and hugged and watched and helped and prayed for and with us and shared the journey with Jack and his family.

That is exactly what happened on Sunday. We celebrated and gave thanks with our people. And it was glorious.

The day was full of blessings and reminders of God’s presence in our lives.

It started as most Sundays do for the McFarland family – with worship.   I had the wonderful honor of welcoming a new sister in Christ into our Lord’s family through baptism.

Such a beautiful – sweet – very deeply loved – baby girl. All big – blue eyes – snuggled up in her loving daddy’s arms! She was surrounded by her people on Sunday too – by her family. By the people who will laugh and love and hug and listen and nurture and support her in the years to come. She was with the people who will pray for and with her. The people who will grow with her.   The people who will come to HER high school graduation party in 18 shockingly zippy years!

After worship – there was a church council meeting. As I said in my sermon – there are only 2 ways I get out of a church council meeting: surgery and childbirth. I don’t plan on doing either of those again – EVER! So – I went to the church council meeting like a responsible adult.   Thankfully – the church council had mercy on me – and the meeting was run with great efficiency. Perhaps they saw the mental “still to do list” running through the back of my mind on an endless loop!

Soon – Kelly was seconding Marilyn’s motion to adjourn our meeting and I was off like a mom with a party that started in less than 3 hours!   There were pickles to be poured and cheese to be plattered and chips to be opened. I needed to locate every single pair of tongs that Saint Stephen Lutheran Church owns!

I was a mom with a list and guests on their way! But much – much more importantly:

I needed to chat with Caitlyn’s mom and meet her aunt and laugh with Caitlyn and chatter with her grandma Doris.

I needed to admire Caitlyn’s baby pictures and take a minute to remember baby Jack and the way it felt when he FINALLY fell asleep with his head on my shoulder.

I needed to remember and to be present in the moment and to smile at Jason and hug our sons. I needed to give thanks for my incredible blessings!

And then – the party started. Our family and our friends and our sisters and brothers in Christ arrived.   They filled our church fellowship hall.   They chatted and chattered and laughed and talked. The fellowship hall got nice and noisy! It was absolutely – positively wonderful.

Owen – Todd (Jason’s cousin and the best man in our wedding 25 years ago) – and Jason

John Stuart McFarland is our son. Jason and I may have done a lot of the heavy lifting when it came to raising this nifty guy. We have loved and cared for him and walked with him and listened and nurtured. But we did not do it alone. We did it with our Lord and with our people. With our family and our friends and our sisters and brothers in Christ.

As I stood in the fellowship hall on Sunday afternoon – I remembered what Jack had asked me with just a touch of fear on Saturday evening as we prepared for his party.

“So – Mom – do you have a prepared talk for the graduation party?”

“Nope – I don’t. Should I?” was my response.

“NO – but you are the lady who writes a 15-minute-long sermon every week and I just thought you might have something prepared that you wanted to say.”

Hmmmmmm . . . .

Our nephew Nic – Debbie – Auntie Liz – Will and Uncle John

I didn’t have a prepared talk. But if I had – this is what I would have said.

Thank you. Thank you so very – Very – VERY much! Thank you for seeing our Jack in a world that so often doesn’t see or value other people. Thank you for caring.   Thank you for loving him. Thank you for listening and watching and cheering him on. Thank you for showing up.   Thank you for being present.   Thank you for the laughter and the friendship and for each kindness (both big and small) and hug and high-five and fist bump.   Thank you for adding to our joy and making our lives richer and more blessed. Thank you for everything! We are so blessed and so thankful and so filled with gratitude.

Jacob – Jack – and Kyle

My heart is so very – very full. My cup of blessings is running over!

My heart is full. (And so is our refrigerator! Rebecca and I went A LOT overboard when we prepared the food . . .)

Thank you my friends and my family and my sisters and brothers in Christ. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

We are so blessed and so thankful and so filled with gratitude. Thank you!

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