Gratitude Series Part IV

Just a reminder - these are past posts from social media. 

On day 6 of the lockdown here in Spain I started a gratitude series on social media. I would like to share it here, too, as some of you are not on social media. I will post eight days or so at a time until day 50. All of these gratitude posts are from during the strictest quarantine measures in Spain over March and April 2020. At the end of each post I will include some links to favorite recipes I have made recently. 

Day 30: I’m thankful for my body. Hear me out. Most of my life, I wanted to be different. I wanted to be skinny. Like, no-hips-lanky-size-4 skinny. My dear mom always told me I was strong. I misinterpreted that to mean big. Thanks to some major emotional work over the years (lots of prayer, Celebrate Recovery, counseling, restoring certain relationships, and forgiveness) I have been able to embrace who I am and how I was created. Some activities have also helped: running, yoga, strength training and even gymnastics. When I am moving, I am aware of my strength and physical abilities. This helps me be strong emotionally, too. And I also recognize the simple things my body does each day: carry me from one room to the other, cook dinner, pick up my kids, hug my husband. God made me strong, and my strength is in Him. I am thankful for my body.

Day 31: I’m thankful for the joy of good food. Now, more than ever, my creative outlet is cooking. And eating. I love trying new recipes, Spanish recipes. I love baking. I love the feeling of satisfaction that goes with planning a menu, preparing the ingredients, plating it and eating it. Some foods we have made and enjoyed include bacalao al pil-pil (cod with garlic sauce), migas (pictured here: toasted semolina originating in this region), smoky eggplant dip on salad, banana bread with milk chocolate and walnuts, a half wheel of cured sheep’s milk cheese, paella valenciana, and Korean seaweed rolls. Every day is a culinary experience in lockdown. Because what else are we gonna do?

Day 32: I’m grateful for tears. I didn’t get out of bed on time (I actually turned off my alarm in my sleep) so I didn’t get the quiet time that I so crave every day. I didn’t accomplish any of my goals. I felt tired and sluggish and tried to get out of my bad mood but just couldn’t. At the end of a cloudy, chilly day, my kids recognized my need. As the sun broke through, I came inside from the terrace and they presented me with homemade confetti, homemade cards, and they shouted, “You’re the best mommy ever!” I bawled. First of all, because I spent the day wishing I could just drop them off at school again, and second, because it was so kind of them to reach out to me in my need. Tears are cathartic. It’s ok to shed them.

 Day 33: I’m thankful for the chance to laugh! After yesterday’s tears, I’m ready today for laughter, silliness, and goofiness. Here is Lydia dancing like a character from the Peanuts cartoons. We love to laugh, and a big belly laugh is a great way to relieve stress. What is the last thing you really laughed at?

Day 34: I’m grateful for color! Imagine life without color? What are your favorite color combinations, and how/where do you like to use them? Which colors do you avoid, and why? For me, I love blue and green and everything in between. It’s peaceful. I avoid lack of color in the clothes I wear, like beige or tan. This photo is from Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, where color dances through windows.
Day 35: I’m thankful for hope. Justin and I had our twice-a-week date on the terrace. We shared struggles and talked about things, and we were feeling pretty glum. “Want to sing?” I asked. We videoed ourselves singing a song that Justin had written nine years ago during a hard time. We didn’t rehearse it beforehand, it’s just our raw hurts and fears and feelings being brought before God. And you know what? It was hard to sing some of these lyrics, because they hadn’t come true yet. But sometimes we have to say out loud what will be true. Saying just anything doesn’t make something magically true, but saying truth is where there is power and breakthrough. Our hope is in Jesus, who came to fulfill what is mentioned in Isaiah 61:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”

NachoTime Spanish | Your Way Out of Spanish Intermediate Purgatory
Day 36: Today I’m simply thankful for the gift of learning Spanish. I’m nowhere near fluent, but I’m certainly conversational. Studying since high school and living in three different Spanish speaking countries has helped, but do you know what has helped me make the greatest gains? NachoTime Spanish. It’s worth every penny. For less than $1 a day I watch video lessons, complete homework, and interact with other students and native teachers. I love it. I’m thankful for the gift of learning another language.
Image may contain: 15 people, including Nancy Buechel, Justin Kuk, Rebekah Smith-Kuk, Megan Alice and Eric Thurkins, people standing, wedding and outdoor
Day 37: Today I’m simply thankful for my family. I am who I am because of the impact they each had in my life. From my dad’s steady faithfulness to my mom’s humor and wisdom, to my Aunt Nancy’s friendliness and uncanny ability to have a conversation with anyone. From my sister Megan’s delight in the little joys of life and her empathy for others, to my brother Nathan’s innovativeness and tenacity. And lastly, my brother Charlie’s quick witted ability to make things right and put others at ease. I’m thankful for you all and for the ways our family has grown over the years to include other wonderful people: Eric, Maddie, and my nieces and kids. (Photo by Vanessa Alves Photography)

Day 38: I’m thankful for technology that allows us to be in touch with family and friends. Can you imagine being isolated without email or phone or the ability to see your loved ones’ faces? Our families and friends have been lifesavers for us during this time. From stories and games to weekly chats and worship, I don’t think we would be doing as well as we are without them. Thank you all!

| Bible Study Fellowship
Day 39: I’m thankful for Bible Study Fellowship. If you’ve ever want to read the Bible in a way that helps you understand it and apply it, this is the place. The have in person meeting groups and online groups. I have loved being a part of my Spanish speaking group this past year. It’s one of the highlights of my week!

Day 40: I am grateful for new beginnings. Is there something you have lost during this season? A job, the feeling of freedom, a loved one? In the winter, everything looks dead. But new life always comes in the spring. This is my orchid. It is currently at my parents house, along with my other plants. A year and a half ago, this orchid was just limp leaves with no blooms. After visiting my Aunt Connie and cousin April, they shared with me some advice on how to help an orchid bloom again and some potting mix. My mom took this picture and sent it to me recently, and I felt so excited. If you have lost something or someone during this time, please know that I am praying for you. If you’d like to message me, I’m happy to listen. And I hope for you that new life and new beginnings will come.