These past seven days, like many families affected by Hurricane Sandy, we have been without power. I just learned that our home is in an area that sustained more damage than other parts of our town, and because it involves coordination between bordering towns, that power restoration will be more complicated.
With a Nor’easter on the way this week, things may get worse before they get better – temperatures are dropping and many people will still be without heat.
It has become a test of patience balanced with mindfulness that we have so much to be grateful for. I know that power will eventually be restored to our home, and that our lives will return to normal soon enough. We will have heat, we will have hot water, we will have light, and we’ll have clean clothes to wear once again.
Others are not so fortunate. So many families have lost so much – their homes, personal possessions, and in the worst situations, loved ones. Throughout the seven days we have been without power so far, we have caught glimpses every once in a while of what has been going on in other areas hit much harder by Hurricane Sandy.
I’ve had a lot of time to think about this past week – all the luxuries that we take for granted on a daily basis – light, hot water, heat, gas, food. I watched the news and saw families who didn’t have food or water for their family, and didn’t have a place to go to the bathroom. I’ve witnessed the long lines for gas in our area, with people traveling from other states to fill their tanks.
Yes, it’s cold at night and it’s depressing returning to a dark house, but we count each and every one of our blessings – the roof over our head, a gas stove, running water, friends who generously opened their homes to us so we could take a hot shower, eat dinner in the light, and charge up our phones. Our town has done a great job providing shelter and places for people to hang out at during the day. Our local library (where I’m sitting now) has become a local hangout – there was a long line waiting for them to open this morning.
With each day that passes with no power, I notice people, including myself, getting antsier, going stir-crazy and just being on edge. Humans are impatient by nature, and in this day and age of instant gratification and instant access to information, I think it has been even harder for people to patiently wait for their lives to return to “normal.”
Lately, I’ve also been thinking a lot about the homeless who live day in and day out without the “essentials.” We’ve only been cold a few days – what’s it like to be cold every day throughout the winter with no place to call home. What’s it like not to know when you’ll get your next hot meal.
The last few mornings, I’ve been making hot breakfast for my kids on our gas stove – Pancakes with Warm Caramelized Bananas (using up the last of the ripe bananas with coconut oil and maple syrup), and I made this simple Stove-Top Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal. Temperatures had dropped to 30 degrees the night before and the boys were cold snuggled in their beds with thick blankets and sweatshirt hoods on their heads. As we sat and ate our bowl of hot breakfast cereal, we were so appreciative of having something warm in our tummies. Just watching the boys enjoy their hot bowls of oatmeal and the steam come off the top of my mug of instant coffee was a beautiful thing.
Thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts and support over the past week. Please continue to keep those who have suffered tremendous losses in your prayers.
Hot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup dried non-fat milk powder
- 2 cups rolled oats
- dash of salt
- 1 apple peeled, cut into small chunks
- organic brown sugar for serving
- cinnamon for serving
Place water, dried milk powder, oats, salt and apples in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until apples are soft and oatmeal is cooked, about 3-4 minutes.
Serve with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies says
When I saw you posted this, I was hoping it meant your electricity was back on. You’re so right, we really do take electricity, gas, and running water for granted–even though it could be worse, it’s still really hard to get by without power (and the internet!) for a week. Sending good thoughts your way…
Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator says
Oh, this is such a lovely post. It’s like a big hug. XOXOXO
ea-the spicy rd says
So sorry your family has been without power for so long, but your attitude is inspirational! Sending more kind thoughts and prayers your way, plus to everyone affected by Sandy!
Alyssa (Everyday Maven) says
You are so right Jeanette – we have so much to be grateful for. I really love this post!
Dorothy at ShockinglyDelicious says
So glad you all are OK. Here’s hoping your power is back on soon, so you can begin to regain your life. Watching from across the continent at all the devastation and tragedy has been eye-opening and heartbreaking. Wish you well!
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
Thank you for a beautiful reminder of all we have to be grateful for. And how wonderful to make a bowl of hot oatmeal an occasion for gratitude. We are all sending good thoughts for your power to be restored soon!
Kim - Liv Life says
I’ve been thinking of you these past few days, and I’m glad to read your update. I’ve never been without power for more than 12 hours, and I can’t imagine what it is like for as long as you have been going through it. Hang in there!! I’m glad you have places to go for a bit of relief, and my fingers are crossed that it all comes back soon.
Fabulous oatmeal you have here!! We’ve been pulling the oatmeal out the last few mornings too, but yours is far more interesting.
Loved your post, it does indeed put life into perspective…
This sounds like a wonderful way to warm up. Take care, and hopefully your electricity will be restored soon.
I am humbled by your beautiful approach to life and how you are still creating gorgeous and lovely food. I can’t begin to imagine what you are going through, but I can see how lucky your family is to have you!
You are quite inspiring.
justine - full belly sisters says
So glad you guys are okay. We just got our power/heat back. I feel so incredibly grateful to have a warm house on this increasingly cold days. I have friends whose homes are unlivable now and for the foreseeable future. It is a difficult time. Hope you get warm soon 🙂
Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts – our power was restored last night and we are so grateful to have heat and light once again. It feels like such a luxury sitting in our warm home again. Thinking of all those who still are not in their homes or have lost their homes.
Jennifer (Savor) says
Hello from nearby – it is so hard seeing so many in our town suffer but and do feel so grateful and proud to be bale to open our home to help others, including you. I bet Lydia (perfect pantry) and I would love ot host you if you would/could make the trip). I know it is hard to leave your community but if you want a break, I/we would love to have you visit.
Erin @ Texanerin Baking says
This post was a great reminder that we should be thankful for what we have. I complain about way too much… I should be happy with what I have! And I can’t believe it was 30 degrees in your house. That’s absolutely terrible. 🙁
I saw in your comment that you now have power. I’m so happy to hear that! And it’s great that you were able to cook on your gas stove. I bet your family was very happy to get this oatmeal!
I can imagine how something as simple as this steaming bowl of oatmeal felt comforting and soul-warming, in a way. I’m hoping things are slowly returning back to normal since getting power back…I know it can take a while to fully recover from something like that. Keeping you and those in similar situations in my prayers. xo
France @ Beyond The Peel says
Jeanette, what a lovely post. You are so right. We often take we we have for granted. The few 5 month’s stints that we chose to go with out hot water, running water, power for only an hour a day, only an outhouse and outdoor cold showers, has stayed with me. There is very rarely a day that goes by that I am not for ever grateful for clean drinking water right from my tap. But yours was not a choice! Disasters like this effect the least fortunate the most. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.
I hope you are staying safe and warm as this nor’easter comes through – thank you so much for sharing such a heartfelt post, all those affected by Hurricane Sandy are most definitely in my thoughts.
Kelly @ Inspired Edibles says
Jeanette, I was so happy to see your FB update that power had been restored to your area. What a difficult event to go through for you and so many families who were – and still are – affected. We take so much for granted… it brings a whole new perspective to everyday things – including food and this lovely bowl of warmth!
You are just impressive! I blogged about you..http://www.gratefulfoodie.com/food-allergy-support-for-hurricane-sandy/
Hope things are looking up and the week winds down.
Martha@ Simple Nourished Living says
Loved reading this post Jeanette. Please know you and all those affected by hurricane Sandy are in our thoughts and prayers. We get so caught up in the business of our lives, it’s easy to lose sight of all the blessings and riches all around us. Your post is a great reminder to not lose sight of what’s really important. Thanks for sharing.