I glanced at the thermometer. It was -31 Celsius outside. I passed the phone to my husband and then mentally reviewed my "to do" list:
- Set the table for breakfast
- Wake up our five children
- Make cake for church coffee fellowship
- Get dressed for church
- Make sure all our children were dressed for church
- Have breakfast
- Clean up from breakfast
- Drive to church
- Shovel the snow off the walk at church
- Make coffee, tea, and juice
I nodded, but inside I was grumbling. One more thing to add to my list. The morning rush continued. No more complications. Everyone was dressed, we had eaten, and we were getting coats on. Our fifteen-year-old daughter had helped by moving most of the tools. Just as I was going out the door, Kendall came in. "I remembered that I had the key to the church. I'll trade vans with you. The furnace still isn't working, so I'm going back to finish the job."
We arrived at church. Several centimetres of fresh, fluffy snow blanketed the sidewalk. I unlocked the church, plugged in the coffee maker, and recruited a couple of my children to help shovel snow. By now my head was pounding. I was scheduled to have an abscessed tooth removed in a couple days, but in the meantime it was painful. Thankfully the snow was loose and easy to shovel.
Back inside, most of the children found books to read and I returned to the kitchen to make coffee and set out the supplies for our weekly fellowship time after church. The early coffee crew soon began to drift in. Then it was time for church to start.
My next task was to figure out how best to configure the seating arrangement to discourage fighting and fidgeting. I sat between my youngest son and one of my twins and held our four-year-old daughter on my lap. The twin that didn't get to sit beside me was upset and started acting up. The pre-service singing time became a balancing act of finding the appropriate hymn and sorting out grievances before they were resolved physically. I tried to focus on the words.
After the opening hymns and announcements our pastor called the children up to the front of the church. I opened my wallet and distributed offering money. Then I sighed in relief as all the children made their way to Sunday School. My mind was still going at warp speed when I joined the congregation singing the offertory. We sing the words every Sunday, but today they hit home in a new way.
"Father God, we today bring our gifts to the altar. All our prayers, work, and play, all our hope for tomorrow. All of our failures and our success in this day we're living. All we are, and hope to be, in Christ's sacrifice giving.""Lord, forgive me for my grouchy attitude. Thank you for your many blessings in my life. Still my heart and my thoughts and help me to hear from You today. I bring You the gift of myself - all my failures and my successes. Amen"
At times we may feel like life is conspiring against us. I often remind my children that we cannot change what happens to us, but we can change our attitude. Obviously I need that reminder too. I'm thankful that God is patient with me and catches my attention. Hopefully I'll be able to avoid the Sunday blues in 2013 - not necessarily because circumstances are different, but because I choose a positive attitude.
(Ruth's writing and family life)
(Information for caregivers of children ages 0-5)
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