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Monday, October 31, 2011

All trick...(is Halloween ever Happy?)

My dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you. Rather be glad that you are sharing Christ's sufferings, so that you may be full of joy when his glory is revealed.

1 Peter 4:12-13(GNT)

“Rivaling Hurricane Irene of 2 months ago, millions of customers lost electricity in this Severe Halloween Nor'easter.”
Severe Storms report NECN.com  

We don’t really celebrate Halloween…were evil spirits seeking retribution?    Saturday, October 29, (aka Mischief Night Eve) we gave over what seemed half our lives to sit more than 6 hours in my son’s dojo as he amongst many received new belts after breaking boards as part of the promotion ceremony.  We so love all the things that we love about his school, the level of instruction, the sense of the community, that the fact that we anticipate enduring at least 5-6 hour ceremonies on days where there is invariably extreme weather, e.g., mid-summer heat wave, driving rain, October Nor’easter (yes, these have ALL happened) that I guess we should’ve known what we were in for…. we didn’t. 

Because I did anticipate we’d be tired and I didn’t think I’d want to cook, I suggested we pick up Chinese take-out on the way home, particularly given dangerous weather conditions, downed power lines, broken trees and branches littering our way, and to foster a sense of celebration about our young man’s accomplishment…(in retrospect, you are always able to see the wisdom of things that simply appear to be good ideas.  Why don’t we just recognize discernment when we see it???)

After dodging falling ice and fallen trees, slick roads and snowflakes, we arrived on our half-dark block.  My BFF’s house across the street was lit like any other evening.  Oddly, the houses on our side of the street looked a little more like A Nightmare on Elm Street…

Power failure, and man, was it cold.

At my husband’s insistence, I called my BFF, proffering Chinese for a warm place to hang for a bit.  She basically hung up on me saying I was wasting time talking on the phone when we could already be coming through the front door.  You know that kind of soul deep gratitude that makes you want to cry a little bit when you think about it?  We happily, gratefully headed across the street to hang out for a little while…were we ever thankful…

We hung out long as we dared, grateful for friendship that doesn’t require constant conversation or much explaining, and the knowledge that “the circle is round,” meaning (hopefully) we give as much as we get, then we headed home.  We’d already spoken to my husband’s parents, and knew that just one town away they were safe, warm, and secure in a well-stocked, well-lit home.  They’d offered, we demurred, given that it was too late and too dangerous for us to travel any further than we could walk.  We assured them that if the situation warranted, we’d be glad to accept their hospitality on the morrow. 

It was a cold, long, cold LONG night.  The kids tried bunking together, sharing warmth and company (it didn’t last the entire night, but I applaud the effort).  Everybody slept 3 layers deep (leggings, sweats, tanks, t-shirts, socks), but the ambient temperature in the house was sufficiently cold that nobody slept well.  We were all upstairs; the location to which heat rises….the dog was on the ground floor….he was my 5:30 wakeup call….

Sparing you at least some of the minutiae, we packed up and decamped to the Grandparent’s home at their sincere invitation. (Mischief Night? I'm just sayin')   The good news is that we stayed at my mother-in-laws house.  The other news is that we were….staying at my mother-in-laws house.  I love her and she’s wonderful, but…

Since Saturday evening, I’ve been calling our gas and electric provider for status updates on our restoration.  As of Saturday evening, restoration was anticipated no later than Monday, 11:59 pm.  As of this writing, noon on Monday (Halloween), we’re looking at Friday, all tricks….is Halloween ever happy?? 

The Word says “do not be surprised at the painful test you are suffering, as though something unusual were happening to you.”  So the lesson is that painful tests are not unusual? Yikes! Okay, so if I didn’t think before that I needed any more lessons on character and faith, I’m pretty certain now that I’m at least at my quota for the month/year, right Lord? The Word also says, “rather, be glad that you are sharing Christ’s sufferings…” okay, so I’m not glad.  I’m just not that good, yet.  The best I can muster is retaining my sense of humor, which I hope is a sort of gladness.  So, today’s lesson is that it’s not quite all tricks….but it is, mostly.  That I can still laugh is a blessing.  That I haven’t already dissolved into tears, which I might do later, in the privacy of my own shower in my “warmed only by the mid-day sun” bathroom, is both treat and blessing.  And though this is not the end of my saga, it is the end of this lesson.             

Life is never all tricks and no treats; treats are where you find them.  When you’ve lost power but your BFF hasn’t AND invites you over right away, you are abundantly blessed.  When you need a place to go, and people who love you invite you to stay less than 5 miles away, you are abundantly blessed.  When despite the jokes and the stereotypes, you know you can go to your “only child” husband’s parents home and feel like you’re the child and not the one that married into the family, your orange plastic pumpkin overflows with all your favorite things.  And in slightly wrinkled, slept-in sweats, desperately in need of a shower and a spa day, you remember the most important part of the lesson, that being our regular reminder that God is Good.         

Today’s Feast: Homemade Egg Drop Soup

Back story-Saturday night, dinner was Chinese take-out. While we didn’t order egg drop soup, the one I make from scratch is so much better than takeout that I don’t order it anymore.  Once you master this recipe, you won’t either…. 

2 cans low sodium chicken broth
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
3 large eggs, beaten
Dash soy sauce (to taste)

Heat broth in heavy bottomed sauce pan on medium high heat until it bubbles very gently at the edges.  Pour in the eggs in a gentle stream, stirring the broth gently.  The eggs will cook as they hit the hot liquid, cooking into ribbons.  Toss in the scallions and just allow them to begin to wilt.  Serve immediately. Serves 4 as a first course, or 2 as a meal (particularly with the add-ins)

Making it sexy….add any or all of the following after the eggs:
  • ·         diced shrimp (about ½ C)
  • ·         shredded cooked chicken (about ½ C)

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