At the end of a long week, I have had enough of words on screens, of words with child and spouse, trying to understand and be understood. I’m ready for fewer words.

Some creatives turn to crafts–this is not me. I cannot glue or scrapbook, paint or decorate. But put me in the kitchen, with vegetables, and I find joy. Sometimes we feel most the most love when we do what we love, and it aligns with how we can love others. Cooking answers this perfectly for me: I love the creative process, my family loves the creative result. Either way, it’s a break from all the words. It is active, yet contemplative. It is soul restoring.

It’s fall, so the requisite butternut squash succumbs to peeling and paring, its neck beaded with droplets. Working with my hands, I cube, toss with melted butter, roast.


Part of the joy of cooking for me is the challenge: using what’s on hand to create something satisfying. I had marinated shrimp the night before, but not served it. I dig through the fridge to find veggies to accompany it. While squash roasts and rice simmers, I slice. Carrots, peppers, mushrooms, onion and garlic (always garlic).


I tumble them into one of my favorite retro bowls.

The veggies cook, then meet with the shrimp, if only briefly.

To cook, to feed my family–this is how I show love. And it’s a curious thing: when we do something loving, we experience love. With a simple meal (but one in which I ignore the microwave or “convenience” foods) I feed both bodies and souls–especially my own.

How about you? What brings you joy? What loving act allows you to experience love yourself?