Getting to Church from my Rural Home on a Somewhat Icy Morning in 51 Steps

Rhonda Franz
5 min readMar 7, 2019

I slid around a little in my minivan for a little over half a mile before turning back and hitching a ride.

The view from window in step #11. Not in photo: ice-covered hill on the road leading out of neighborhood. Plus icy steep hills and sharp curves on highway into town. (Also, Northerners: don’t laugh. There are like three ice-treating trucks in the county where I live and they don’t come out here.)

It all started the evening before:

  1. Prepare psychologically with the forecast: snow, and possibly icy roads, are predicted.
  2. Fret. Then fret some more. because I teach the children’s class on the first Sunday of each month (that’s tomorrow), forgetting that there’s whole Bible verses about what to do when I worry and want to give in to anxiety.
  3. Remember that I am not even the person who thinks we should all be on roads like this, and generally have no problem with events being cancelled, or simply not going if they aren’t.
  4. Decide I should text the children’s leader (who knows exactly where I live) to give a heads up, because my husband is working and it will be just me and kids. But I don’t want to seem like I’m jumping the gun. So I wait.
  5. Read her text that she sends to me a little later, relieved that she has assured me I don’t need to fret if I can’t make it in the morning. Also, my children are half the class that usually come to the Sunday School time.
  6. Relax a bit, pray up, and remind myself that I can’t control the weather, or the outcome of what tomorrow brings.
  7. Put my teaching bag in the car, so as to be prepared.
  8. Get up the next morning, do my normal morning routine.
  9. Look out window numerous times, seeing absolutely nothing awry.
  10. Do other things, albeit distracted. Because, the forecast.
  11. Look out window again, this time to see the yard and street covered with snow, and more steadily falling.
  12. Check social media a ridiculous number of times on the off-chance someone in my friend circle has been driving around outside of town and inside through the whole town at 6:30 on a Sunday morning in order to report to me about the road conditions.
  13. Turn on the local news and watch and listen.
  14. Plop food on counter for any awake kids. Holler for them to wear layers and tell them I don’t yet really know what we’re doing.
  15. Hope that some tweet, some FB post, some 12-second meteorologist prediction will tell me exactly what I’m longing to know: if I drive to church this morning…will I and my three children end up down the hill off the side of our rural highway, hidden from view and covered by snow drifts so that no one can hear our screams and we’ll have to survive on the now-expired bag of food for the Little Free Pantry that got left in the back of the car like a month ago?
  16. Call out: Lord, Lord. Where is your still, small voice? Or loud, big, booming one? I’ll take either. I MEAN, IT’S SUNDAY!!!
  17. Watch local news again. Watch it every time I go through the living room.
  18. Keep watching local news as I try and dig out the dark long thermals and warm leggings from a pile of dark leggings and long thermals that I put back in the corner of the closet because it’s March and ISN’T SPRING COMING WE HAVEN’T EVEN HAD ANY SNOW AT ALL THIS SEASON IN FACT WE’VE WORN SHORTS A TIME OR TWO ALREADY.
  19. Remember that God is in charge of all things, including and especially the weather and He is in control. After all, I’m (maybe) GOING TO CHURCH today.
  20. Watch local news as I make sure all the kids are up and grabbing something in the kitchen to eat because it’s looking like we might really be going. Besides, the news reporter seems to be driving just fine.
  21. See car spin off the road from the dashboard-mounted camera in the news reporter’s car.
  22. Hem and haw. Hem and haw some more.
  23. Decide we might really do this.
  24. Go to late-sleeping boy’s room and wake him, encouraging him to wear layers and get downstairs to eat because we might, might be going to church. None of which he hears.
  25. Scramble for snow clothes, not just church clothes. Wonder if I have such a thing as “church show clothes.” Remember this is what happens when I don’t pick out my clothes the night before as I was raised to do.
  26. Decide to put on thick leggings over thermal leggings.
  27. Second-guess this decision because…church. And I can’t find a long enough sweater to wear and I don’t wear leggings as pants.
  28. Remember that my church family can be pretty casual as clothes go. Everyone is quite kind and welcoming and no one will think ONE THING of it. But I will.
  29. Dig in hamper because that’s where a couple of the long sweatery things are, pull one out, and then decide it won’t work.
  30. Briefly mourn why I did not keep the oversized, long sweaters from the 80’s.
  31. Fetch longest, warmest hooded wool sweater I can find and put it on. Realize it still looks like I am wearing leggings as pants.
  32. Sigh, and give it up.
  33. Still noncommittal and frustrated, holler at last waking boy to get up and layer up and eat up AND I MEAN IT.
  34. Communicate a few times with neighbor who goes to my church, and also who has pick four-wheel-drive pickup.
  35. Release two well-dressed kids to play in the snow for a bit while I’m still getting ready, the normal morning routine having been completely disrupted.
  36. Witness last-awake boy eating breakfast as I walk by.
  37. Still feeling like I’ve dressed for a workout, realize I can wear my coat (which is long) over the thermals and leggings and shirt and sweater all morning to appropriately and modestly cover up my leggings that I don’t mean to be wearing as pants. Feel relieved.
  38. Start minivan, back it out, holler at playing boys.
  39. Holler at boy still eating breakfast to make sure he has coat and gloves.
  40. Start car. Let it warm up. Holler at everyone to get in.
  41. Tediously back out of driveway and through neighborhood with a little slippage. Feel a wee bit unconfident.
  42. Pull out onto rural highway after not stopping at stop sign because ice, tires crunching and crunching some more.
  43. Drive 20 feet, get a rather uncomfortable feeling, turn around in nearest driveway before hitting all the curves and that cliffy-no-barrier area where we could go down embankment (see step 14).
  44. Drive back through neighborhood to our house.
  45. Decide we’re staying home.
  46. Get call from Neighbor With Pickup Truck, who ensures me that we are welcome to ride with them later for church service, since they have extended cab and all of us will fit.
  47. Decide that’s what we’ll do.
  48. Inform my kids, lecture about gloves and ice and no fighting in the neighbor’s car and don’t forget to thank the neighbors profusely.
  49. Walk up hill to neighbor’s house with kids, now seriously having given up concerns about my thermals and leggings and not-long-enough-sweater because I JUST WALKED UP A HILL IN MINUS 10-DEGREE WIND CHILL AND I NOW CARE LESS WHAT I AM WEARING AS LONG AS I AM TOASTY WARM.
  50. Ride to church with neighbors, noting how the roads are now quite drivable, relived to have made a decision and carried it out.
  51. Fret that I’ve stuffed all my kids and myself in my neighbor’s truck when I guess I could have made it myself.



Rhonda Franz

home operations specialist | editor | I write, raise boys, & exhibit ridiculous enthusiasm over the littlest of things.,