As always, Thanksgiving has a way of getting minds geared toward things we’re thankful for, like food and family and faith (check out the Amish Pumpkin Pie Squares this week!). This year is no different, yet things just aren’t the same anymore. Much has happened in the past year.

For as long as I remember, I was impressed with the idea of making a list of things I’m grateful for; now, as I contemplate on another Thanksgiving rounding the corner, I feel like I may be shifting some gears. As a little girl at school, my lists included food, shelter, friends, and the likes.

Now I think of a young girl in our community who is my age, with whom I spent many happy hours during childhood days, who is now fighting cancer. Famous COVID has given the entire globe a scare and created a major turn of events. Then there’s all the unrest and political trauma. I wonder just what it would be like not to have a safe, secure country to live in? What would it be like to have our nation shaken to where we would no longer have all these comforts?

I stop and ask myself, “Really, where is my security?” If it’s in these items on my thankful chart, what if all these things near and dear to me would someday be at stake?

I then look to my Savior, as if looking into His eyes. I see peace. I see rest. Truly a rest that nothing can ever disturb. Then I know what it is that I really am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I thank God for the solid, unchanging gift of Jesus and His love and provision for all who set their hearts on Him. Meanwhile, I’m oh so thankful for friends, family, home-cooked meals, a house to provide shelter, knowing that all these things really are a gift that I do not deserve.

I cherish my dear husband and the six precious children He has given us. Yet, by His grace, I give them all back to Him, only to find out that in His hands, they really are so much safer than in my desperate grasp.

When I asked 9-year-old Julia what she is thankful for this Thanksgiving season, she responded, “For Jesus who died for us, and a Daddy who works hard, so we have money to buy things we need, and also for a good mom and daddy, and brothers and sisters.” Austin says he’s thankful for his baby brother, Joshua. My heart melted when Hosanna looked at me with shining eyes and stated that she is thankful for her mother. (Oh, may the good Lord finalize the adoption in His good time!)

This year we were excited, along with our children, to make a trip to Danville, Ohio, to spend time with Daniel’s parents and siblings, including his sister Mary who so richly blessed us with her help after Joshua’s birth. Now it’s all at stake. Who knows what all will happen with lockdowns, and what is considered safe and unsafe by then? No doubt, it would cost tears from our little ones to not get to see Mary. Even though it does not seem fair for the children, it would provide an opportunity for them to simply surrender and be content with what cannot be changed.

Whether at home or away, Amish Pumpkin Pie Squares will be a treat for Thanksgiving!

This Amish Pumpkin Pie Squares recipe gives you a lot of what you get with pumpkin pie, except it’s able to be served more individually, which is perfect in the pandemic.

Even before the pandemic, bars and squares are popular among the Amish because of their portability, you can feed a large group of people and easily transport bars.

Amish Pumpkin Pie Squares:

Crust:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup all-purpose flour

Filling:

2 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin

1 (12-fluid ounce) can evaporated milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (optional)

Crumbs:

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, softened

Baking instructions:

Mix together butter and brown sugar then mix in flour and the oats to make an oatmeal crumble crust to press inside a 9- x 13-inch baking dish.

Bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

While the crust is baking, prepare the filling ingredients.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and mix in white sugar. Beat in pumpkin and evaporated milk (I use our own fresh milk.). Mix in salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves.

When crust is finished baking, pour over hot crust.

Now mix crumb ingredients, and sprinkle over filling.

Return to the oven and bake an additional 20 minutes, until set.

Let cool before cutting into squares.

If desired, serve with a dab of whipped topping on each piece.

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