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.