Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Our December Gratitude List. What's on Yours?

From Mara

We thought it would be nice to use our mid-week post at the end of each month to list a few things we were grateful for that month! If you know me, I tend to be a little (a lot) sarcastic and more of a Angry Little Asian Girl (cartoon character) than a Hello Kitty (also a cartoon character). But as a parent and spouse, I have learned the importance of gratitude. It was always easy for me to see what I was dissatisfied about with my life, but it took me a long time to learn how truly important it is to be able to identify and be thankful for what I have. Simply taking the time to recognize what blessings we have can make each day brighter. I firmly believe that gratitude allows for more grace in our lives.

We would love to hear what you are grateful for this month. Please comment below!

This month I am grateful for:

Medical care. Last week I started to feel sick. I thought I had a cold but by Wednesday night, was very sick and thought I should probably see a doctor. I went to our local Kaiser Urgent Care clinic, was given medicine, and was better in time to enjoy the holidays with my family. 

I am so grateful to have access to this level of medial care. Sure it was a hassle and sure I didn’t want to spend the money on the extra appointment, but I'm grateful I have medical insurance so I don’t have to choose between going to the doctor or feeding my family. I'm also extremely grateful to the smart people out there who invent things that heal us and the dedicated people who manage to get through medical school to be doctors. And finally, I'm grateful that I'm healthy enough to be able to return to health. SO GRATEFUL.

Crock pots. Seriously, the Pineapple Brown Sugar Crock Pot Ham was miraculous. I got the recipe from Facebook. It was ridiculously easy to prepare, not very expensive, and DELICIOUS.

My dad's strange Christmas gifts. So my dad went through a phase where he insisted on buying unique (strange) gifts for the family. Sometimes they were meant to be jokes, but usually it seemed as if he’d gone to some effort to pick something he thought might actually be useful. Several years ago he bought our daughter a scrolling LED sign. At the time, we thought “Oh cool—whatever,” but it has turned out to be a great gift because we use it on important days in our lives and it makes them extra special. 

On birthdays, we type in Happy Birthday and on Christmas we type in Merry Christmas. We can add hearts and stars and it scrolls along all day long, reminding us what a special day it is. And it is unique; when people walk into the house, they say, “Wow that’s so cool!” At the end of that special day, I always feel a little sad when I turn the sign off, but I'm also so grateful to have it. It makes our special days extra special and always reminds me of my dad.

Our very unique LED scrolling sign (And one of my favorite pictures my mom drew!) 

From Toni

This month I am grateful for:

Mara's dad's cooking. I live with that same dad she writes about above. He feels bad that he can't make my health problems go away, so some time ago he decided that what he could do for me was to cook a delicious dinner each night. Every year, the food gets better and better. This month, he was in fine form, cooking everything from fish that melted in my mouth to fried rice and eggs that tasted as if they'd come from a gourmet restaurant. 

But on Christmas Day—also the second night of Hanukkah—he outdid himself, cooking Syrian Jewish food from recipes he found on the web. Dinner featured Keftes (meatballs in a sweet and sour sauce with cherries) and Kibbet Yatkeen (Pumpkin patties—an early version of latkes before they were made with potatoes after they began to be imported from the Americas). The food was so exotic and delicious that our two guests and I were swooning over it...and that was before he brought out the burned caramel custard for dessert. Grateful indeed!

Mara. It was Mara's idea for us to start this blog together. I am so grateful to her for it. It's put us in closer contact than we've been for years. I've learned so much about her from reading what she shares here...and I think she's learned some new things about me. In addition, I love that so many people have written me, saying that a mother-daughter blog is a wonderful and unique idea. Finally, the blog is connecting me with readers of my books and other writing in a new way. I'm so grateful to Mara for coming up with this idea.

Christmas and Hanukkah overlapping. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it brings back cherished childhood memories. I wrote about them here: "Hanukkah and Christmas Overlapping: Hallelujah!"

Speaking of gratitude, in 2014, I wrote a short piece for Psychology Today with advice on "What to Do When Gratitude is in Short Supply." If you're interested, you can find it here.

And finally, Mara and I are grateful to all of you for reading our musings.


  1. Lovely, and now you've both made me very, very hungry. :-)

  2. Ha! Seriously, the ham was so good. :) --M