I have been trying to write this post for the better part of two hours. I keep writing something and deleting it, writing something and deleting it.
To be honest with you, I guess that is because I don’t know what to say. A dear friend of mine got some very bad news this last week, the kind you never think you or someone you love will get, and she has been on my mind ever since.
I wish you could meet her. I wish you could know the kind of friend who extends grace when you don’t, who challenges you by example, who makes you laugh out loud with her stories.
The kind of friend who, when you show up unannounced at her doorstep Wednesday night, welcomes you inside, no questions asked, comforting you more than you are comforting her, demonstrating faith in the One Who Made Her as you recount specific Providences together.
And I’ve thought a lot about Providence over the last week, in fact, about the power that is at work in a greater story than that of my or her individual life, about the One who gives us friendships and experiences and doctors with diagnoses. I read something this last week about how we’re each a tree in a forest, and the story isn’t about a tree; it’s about the forest, and the story about the forest is a better story than one about a tree.
I thought about it Saturday afternoon, when a different friend had her heart broken; then later, when I walked out of work at 4 PM into 67-degree daylight and felt the sunshine that falls on us all, regardless of how our day is going or what we are wearing or how we live our lives; and again when I talked to my brother about the beauty of seeing all our needs met, over and over again, while we stepped through piles of leaves on sidewalks lined by barren trees on Sunday.
We were saying, Wednesday night, that it’s scary to not know what the future holds; but, then again, we never know what the future holds, do we? From where I sit today, I’m remembering the love that provides specifically, that sustains through change, that never ever fails.
I am clinging to it or, rather, it is clinging to me. And I am stepping into the future I do not know, that I’ve never known, moment by moment, by faith.
Roasted Acorn Squash
This is barely a recipe and much more of a reminder that sometimes the best things in life are the most basic, like sunshine and warm November days and, friends. After you put this squash in the oven, filled with good things like butter and sugar and maple syrup, it comes out all soft and sweet, as delicious as candy and so simple to make.
1 acorn squash, halved
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoons real maple syrup
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
dashes of salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scoop out insides of squash and discard.
Add half of butter, maple syrup and brown sugar to the hollowed-out sections of each half of the squash. Sprinkle with touches of salt and pepper.
Place upright on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat, and bake for one hour or until fork tender. If you want to go all out, try stuffing it with apples, nuts, and cranberries.
About Shanna Mallon
Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.