Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another Reason to Rejoice

We just found out about the Sunday Rule for Lent this year. For our family sacrifice, we decided to repeat last year’s disavowal of ice cream. We had been successful in that, although our daily bowl of ice cream was missed, mostly because it was an easily controlled urge. All I had to do was not buy it when I went food shopping.

Last year, we didn’t realize we could have ice cream on Sundays, and actually went the whole 40 days without it. This year I knew we could have it that one day, but decided not to buy it anyway. It would just be beckoning to us all week long.

I finally had a chance to take my ten-year-old daughter out to buy a new softball bat with her birthday money. Her birthday was around Christmas, but the pickings were slim at the sports store in the middle of the winter. So, on my last free Sunday of the season, we headed out before the big snowstorm. I am really not a big shopper, and the big stores are pretty far away, so I tend to save up all my errands. We hit Sports Authority for her birthday bat, Toys’R’Us for my son’s upcoming birthday, and Panera Bread. (We also looked for a Barnes and Nobles, for which she had a gift card, but couldn’t find one.)

I had been carrying around several “free cookie” coupons from Panera Bread since the summer, when my kids had earned them from the Library Summer Reading Program. We stopped in. “The chocolate chip cookies are just coming out of the oven,” the lady behind to counter said.

My daughter leaned in to me and whispered, “I gave up chocolate for Lent.”

I whispered back, “It’s okay. On Sundays you can have what you gave up.”

Her face brightened.

The lady waited impatiently. “Do you know what you want?”

“Yes, we’ll take the chocolate chip cookie please.”

It was so hot that she had trouble getting it into the container without breaking it. The manager cautioned us to be careful.

When we got home, the snowstorm began. After dinner, I served chocolate cake. My eleven-year-old had given up desserts entirely, and was happy to hear she could have some.

What did my almost-eight-year-old son give up? “Being annoying,” at the behest of his sisters. He decided to be really strong and not be annoying, even on Sunday.

And what rewards we reaped! A whole 14 inches of snow that night, and no school! Even my husband stayed home, an extreme rarity for him. They made an igloo. While they were shoveling, I took our 2-1/2-year-old out. The snow was up to her knees, but she insisted on getting through it herself. “The snow is big,” she said.

“O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.”
Psalms 98:1

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