So Not a Fan . . .

I am the dramatic McFarland. I talk with my hands. I love to spin a good yarn and have been known to exaggerate because I think it is fun and funny. I (may occasionally) make huge – sweeping statements. I feel deeply and passionately and will likely tell you ALL   about it. I use A LOT of exclamation points. I have already earned my high school diploma and my Bachelor of Arts and my Masters of Divinity and have very intentionally decided to ignore my writing teachers and professors who warned against the dangers of exclamation points!

Jason does no such thing. Yes – he is a man of words (but he prefers to read and absorb his words – not spew them into the universe like his chatty – chattering wife does).

Jason is the definition of calm – cool and collected. Logic – that’s Jason.   Jason is steady and even. Jason may have used an exclamation point once or twice – but it was likely in a direct quote (likely of his goofy wife)!

I am noisier and full of much more bluster.

Jack took this rather uncomplimentary picture of me and yes – I am sweeping and TALKING . . .

We complement one another nicely. I bring the goof and Jason brings the gravitas. Jason brings the logic and the questions and their meticulously researched answers). I bring the   . . . well – I bring the . . . hmmm . . . I bring the Kerri . . .

So – this past weekend – I was more than a bit surprised by Jason’s response after I rather dramatically declared – “2022 has been a wretched – miserable – stinky – awful – dumpster fire of a year. I hate 2022 with a white-hot passion! 2022 is SO NOT going down as my favorite year ever.   2022 is the year I want to blow raspberries at and tell to get lost!”

And then I proceeded to list and illustrate why I hate 2022 so very – very much:

– 1 surgery in January (me)

– 1 root canal – also in January (ALSO me)

– 1 car accident and an unethical – lying liar (I have developed a strong aversion to all electric bikes because ALL electric bikes remind me of the yucky – slimy dude who hit Jack and totaled Jack’s car and then lied about it. Mr. Unethical owns one of the electric bike stores in town . . . He was 100% at fault and lied over and over again and there was nothing we could do about it. Why yes – I am having a hard time letting this one go . . . Maybe someday – but not today!)

– 2 more surgeries in May (these were mine too)

– I may have added a lengthy whine about my deep worries over the health of the entire Lutheran Church – because attendance and participation and interest are terrifyingly low

– I listed some other stuff here like the price of chicken (inflation really is shocking these days!) – but I think I have made my point . . .

– AND now – Jason – Will and I had COVID-19!!!!!!!!!! And Covid-19 stinks – A LOT! I was an exhausted – fatigued – coughing mess with a side of muscle spasms . . .

I HATE 2022!!!! I HATE 2022 A LOT!!!!

“Indeed -” came Jason’s very Jason-ish reply. (He may have agreed with me – but he is still Jason.   It is not like he was going to get all chatty about it!)

I was expecting Jason to meet my bluster and steam and hand waving and overwhelm with a different response.   But nope – Jason – agreed with me. Even the logical – analytical McFarland asserts that 2022 has been a bit of a slog so far. This year hasn’t been filled with dazzling delights at every turn. There have been days – weeks even – when it feels like 2022 has been kicking our buttons (as I prefer to say). 2022 has been a bit of a bear. (I looked it up – 2022 is actually the year of the tiger in the Chinese zodiac which makes sense to me. Tigers can sometimes acquire a taste for human flesh and 2022 is a human-eater!)

Then – Jason and I came home. Yes – we were walking more slowly than usual because Covid-19 has slowed me down a bit. And sitting in the cozy chair beside our front window sat two of the cutest creatures known to this lady’s heart – our sweet – hazel-eyed boy and his fluffy – white kitten . . .

Will with Mimi’s Dolly and our Lily.

And I thought to myself – okay – YES – 2022 has been a bit of a slog and it has messed you around a bit BUT . . . you know better than to focus on the junk and to allow yourself to get mired down in the messy stuff. You know navel gazing is dangerous and never leads to anything positive.

So – I decided to make a blessings list and to try to think of all of the blessings and things I am thankful for (even though Thanksgiving is months and months away.) I decided to make a special effort to focus on 2022-centric blessings.

– Jack received a wonderful scholarship to his first-choice university! (The day Jack got the call from Morehead State University – I was so proud of him – I cried.)

– Jack graduated with honors from high school in May. And we were able to celebrate with a great – big – glorious party with so many of our beloved family members and friends and sisters and brothers in Christ in June. It was amazing!!!

– Jason and I celebrated 30 years as a couple in early June and later in June we celebrated 25 years of marriage. Jason . . . Jason is always at the top of my blessings lists.   The man has the patience of a saint and he loves me!

– We adopted Gracie our sweet – formerly VERY sad orange – tabby cat.   Now our Gracie is our sweet – reserved – content – orange tabby cat. Gracie is happy as a McFarland and this thrills us!

– We also welcomed Lily the hilariously funny – fluffy white kitten into the McFarland family zoo. The interview and vetting process to adopt Lily were quite stringent. For a while we weren’t certain we would make the cut.   Jason’s mom eventually relented – and decided we were worthy of one of her precious kittens. But it took time – background checks – home visits and proof that Jack was turning out okay . . . (She was less concerned about letting John and me marry her children than she was about letting us adopt Lily!)

– I will include Doug on this list . . . Jack loves Doug the dog even if I am still working on feeling and finding the love. I love Jack – so I will keep working on it.   Doug is a puppy and Doug is a quirky – traumatized – rescue puppy. We are Doug’s 3rd family but Doug and I need to keep working on our relationship. So – lots of the time Doug doesn’t feel like a blessing to me – but I am working on it!

– William is William. Seriously – this kid is a ray of sunshine. Whenever we leave the house (every – single – solitary time) he tells us that he “hopes we have a good time!” Off to the grocery store – “have a good time!” Off for a walk – “have a good time!”   Off for a blood draw or MRI or to the dentist – he truly and sincerely wishes you joy and a “good time!”   I tell Jason over and over again that I want to be just like Will when I grow up . . .

– the love and support and prayers of my sisters and brothers in Christ during my three surgeries and my recent bout of Covid-19 – have been such a blessing. I feel so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by so much love and care and support.

Once I got started on my blessings list – I realized I could go on and on and on.   2022 – is likely never going to be my favorite year ever – but it has been filled with joy and happiness and God’s blessings. And I am going to start focusing more on the joys and blessings and less on the price of chicken and the scars on my stomach.

Counting and giving thanks for our blessings isn’t just for November.   We can do it anytime.

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