In Featured, In, Marriage

thankfest bowlsNineteenth-century American scholar Henry Van Dyke said, “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”

Van Dyke’s words from a century and a half ago came flooding forward last week into my kitchen and into my marriage with Nancy Lee. She had done something kind that simply touched my heart and I wanted to express my thanks. So I went to her, looked her in the eyes and told her how grateful I was for what she had done. I expressed how thankful I was for her and for what she had done, saying, “Thank you — thank you very much!” Nancy Lee, of course, replied “You’re welcome.”

But somehow I wanted to do more. The feeling of gratitude that I felt inside needed to be expressed in some tangible way. That’s when I noticed two acorn squash sitting in a basket on the kitchen counter. Tapping into Nancy Lee’s love language of gifts I went to work preparing something that I knew she would love: Acorn squash with Harrelson apples.

Something happens when we express thankfulness. The simple phrase, ‘Thank you” has power beyond our understanding but within our reach. Relationally speaking, edges soften, foundations get a little sturdier and love grows stronger and deeper. When that happens in a marriage, couples experience a bond that can hardly be measured. Can you think of the last time you looked at your spouse and said thank you — really said thank you? What happened? How did your gratitude change things in your relationship? Perhaps you want to express some gratitude to your partner today. Here’s a sure-fire way to get the party started!

When the soup was ready I set out two place settings and called Nancy Lee to the table. As we shared this simple meal Nancy Lee looked me right in the eyes and told me how grateful she was for what I had done. She expressed how thankful she was for me and what I had done. She said, “Thank you — thank you very much!” And I, of course, replied “You’re welcome.” Such a Thankfest!


Ingredients ~

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 Harrelson apples, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 Acorn squash, roasted, about 4 cups
  • 2-3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cups milk (can be any combination of ½ & ½, 2% and or whole milk), warmed

Method ~

Heat the butter and the olive oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat; add garlic, onion, carrots and apples stirring often until softened, about 10 minutes. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the cooked squash, the vegetable stock and the nutmeg. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes being careful as the thick mixture may splatter. Add the warmed milk bringing the mixture to the desired consistency. Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the soup. Adjust the seasonings, and adding any additional stock or milk to bring the soup to just the right consistency. Serve, enjoy, and give thanks.

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