Searching for Treasures

Some of my most cherished memories from growing up are from when we would go visit my cousins on the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. The little town of Port Townsend was one of my favorite destinations with its ornate Victorian buildings and its proximity to the Puget Sound.

As we drove into the city, down its lone main street, you could smell the salty air and see the wind causing ripples over the waters of the Sound. My excitement would mount as we passed the restaurant my uncle owned and the Sandcastle toy store, where we were sure of getting a present.

During our time there, my cousin and I would spend hours on the rocky beach, dreaming and imagining all sorts of scenarios. We found old boats and went on pretend voyages, we hunted for crabs and seashells. We went up to our ankles, but no further, in the frigid waters of the Pacific.

And we searched for treasures.

Courtesy of photobucket.com

Walking along the line made by the foam of the ocean as it washed up on the shore, I would scour the path in front of me.

A glimmer would catch my eye.

Calling out to my cousin to join me in my find, we’d bend down and stare into the water.

A rock.

Smooth from being tumbled about by the waves, glistening as the rays of the sun bounced off it, the color enhanced by the water from the ocean.

Tied up in our shirt, stuffed in our pockets, carried in a bucket; these treasures would accumulate throughout the weekend. When it came time to head for home my parents were reluctant to allow any of my collection to accompany us. And by that time I could usually see their point. The color had faded after the water dried; what once had seemed extraordinary was now everyday.

::

As a single teenager, my treasure I sought was a godly guy who would ask me out and accept me for who I was.

As a college age girl, I now longed for that ring that would change my name.

As a newlywed bride, I dreamed of the days when I could stay home with our small children and take care of our home.

As a young mom, I look forward to end of diapers, spit-up, and sleepless nights.

The treasures that I sought as a child at the beach and as I’ve matured into a woman all have something in common: my perspective is what makes them important. As the sheen comes off, the newness fades, the extraordinary once again becomes everyday.

::

Yesterday I talked about my battle with depression.

One of the things that has helped me in this battle over the years has been to recognize what things in my life can trigger a depressive episode. Those situations, states of mind and seasons of life that naturally lend themselves to an oppression on my spirit.

Repetition. The mundane. The everyday. These things are hard for me to endure. I’m severely task-oriented. I thrive on to-do lists, goals, vision-casting and deadlines.

Being a SAHM, much of what I do is never-ending. There will always be laundry to do, dishes to wash, meals to cook and bathrooms to clean. Many times I am not able to cross a chore off my list because it doesn’t get finished before I have to start again.

However, I choose how I view my life. Instead of seeing these things as mundane, I can recognize that all throughout my day there are moments that are extraordinary.

One of my favorite discoveries online has been Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky. Here’s how Emily describes it:

Celebrating the small things does not come natural to me. Most of the time, I am in survival mode, thankful to make it to bedtime. That is why I so love this project. For these moments, in this place, I slow down. If only for a few minutes, we have permission to take the time to unwrap the small, secret gift of the everyday. I’ve set aside Tuesdays to share a moment that may have otherwise disappeared under the pile of daily tasks. Instead, stop. Notice. And be thankful. (Emily, Tuesdays Unwrapped)

It’s a change in perspective. It’s recognizing that although they seem never-ending now, these moments will not go on forever. It’s once again making the everyday extraordinary.

::

Instead of feeling frustrated that Silas would not stay asleep unless he was being held yesterday, making it impossible for me to get anything done, I can rejoice in the fact that he giggled in his sleep and I didn’t miss it.

Rather than getting annoyed that Ezra is once again taking 10 minutes to climb up the stairs to our house, I can rediscover the sounds, sights and smells of the world around us with him.

Usually I would impatiently hush Cora’s constant singing and chattering, but instead I can recognize that my daughter is people-oriented just like her father and that she just wants to connect with me.

Elijah might have spilled cereal all over the floor in an attempt to make his own breakfast, but I can choose to recognize his budding independence and encourage him for trying.

::

These might seem small and trivial to you, or maybe that’s another lie from the enemy to make me feel that my life is unimportant.

I am choosing a perspective that says:

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17

Even if it seems every day and ordinary.


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31 Comments

  1. L.L. Barkat says:

    I love the treasures that can be found in sand. And the meandering process of finding them. I like the idea that maybe I could wander through my days looking for polished glass and stones that wash up in the rhythm of the moments.

    (Lately I have been adding a daily dose of Mr. Bean to my days too. Laughter is a great healer of melancholy… which I am prone to :)

    1. Melissa says:

      Meandering. Just the word I needed! I have definitely discovered that if I have an agenda my day is crazy because with four children at home something always comes up to disrupt my plans. When I’m content to go with the flow and enjoy my children everything is easier. And Mr. Bean? That takes me back to high school when my husband (then- boyfriend) was obsessed.

  2. Beautifully written. One of the reasons I love Tuesdays Unwrapped too. Praying for you to continue in His persepctive. So glad I clicked over from Emily’s. I’m going to take a look around.

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m so glad you did too! :)

  3. Lynnette says:

    i say you can also rejoice in the fact that Silas likes to be held, my little does not unless you walk with him, no cuddles from him

    1. Melissa says:

      My kids have cuddled in spurts. Eli was a huge cuddler. Cora wasn’t as a baby, but is now. Ezra wasn’t as a baby, but is starting to now. Silas – he loves him some cuddling, and I really do love it! :)

  4. Dana says:

    Loved this post Melissa. We really are so alike ya know?! Except for you are an amazing writer! ;) Obviously, there are a lot of differences between you and I but I can relate to so much of what you write about..depression, being task oriented, having a hard time with the everyday and mundane… thank you for the reminder that it’s all about perspective and to look for the extraordinary moments that bring so much joy! Time to go change a diaper…! (the ultimate never ending task that needs to be done again before I can cross it off of my ‘to do’ list!) haha! love you roomie!

    1. Melissa says:

      I still remember our first night in the dorms when you climbed up on my bunk and we talked and talked. It was amazing to me to discover how alike we were, because I felt like we were so different. You were so girly, put-together, stylish and I…wasn’t. :) But I loved discovering that our insides were the same and you got me without me having to explain myself. I love how our lives are still so similar and different, just like then.

  5. Haley says:

    Beautiful. What a good reminder. It’s all about taking the things that others “might find small or trivial” and appreciating that they are YOUR unique treasures. :-D …By the way, I didn’t find them small or trivial. Rather, quite beautiful and meaningful.

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Haley! :) Wish you and I could get together IRL and talk over some Starbucks. Miss you, friend!

  6. Kathleen says:

    “As the sheen comes off, the newness fades, the extraordinary once again becomes everyday.”

    This is so true! And so well stated. I have not struggled with depression, but I definitely hear you. Sometimes choosing to look for the grain of positive buried in the mound of negative is the only thing we can do to turn our attitude around.

    1. Melissa says:

      It’s all about getting rid of the baditude. :) This is something that transcends depression, something I think all of us struggle with at different times. I know it’s something i need to remember daily.

  7. Beautiful imagery!

    BTW, as a 40 something mom with two teen boys and one in college – I often remember back to when my boys were as young as your kiddos. Now I feel nostalgic and even mournful because I cannot repeat those mundane moments with my beautiful tots.

    Don’t miss a minute by wishing it would move along. You’ll blink and it will only be a fading memory that you’ll miss terribly someday.

    1. Melissa says:

      I take your advice very much to heart. I know that no matter what I will someday miss these days, but I don’t want to regret missing them now.

  8. Anna says:

    I loved this post. It’s one of my favorite Tuesdays Unwrapped posts, I think. How beautiful how you described the way a treasure loses its gloss of extraordinary and becomes ordinary. I, too, dreamed of having a guy pursue me… then dreamed of becoming a wife… then a stay-at-home mom… and now, I dream of more order and more sleep… the list goes on.

    Jesus is the only Treasure that never becomes ordinary. Yet He daily meets us in the ordinary.

    1. Melissa says:

      What’s sad are those times when I start to believe that Jesus is ordinary. That’s when I’m challenged to see the extraordinary things He’s done for me. It’s always good to recall those moments when the supernatural touches our lives.

  9. jasonS says:

    Great post, Melissa. I find myself in the same boat. I get off track when I don’t feel like I’m progressing in some way. It’s like it eats at me and it’s related to everything: church, home, family, whatever.

    Perspective is so key and taking little steps and celebrating them also helps a lot. Having someone notice and encouraging you along the way is priceless. I feel like I’m rambling, but thanks for this post. Good stuff. :)

    1. Melissa says:

      I like it when you ramble, Jason. You’ve always got something interesting to say. :) Haha! And you touched on a part of it that I didn’t even mention: having someone notice the little things in our life we’re doing and encourage us in them is priceless. Thank God for my husband because he is so good at being present in the here and now and reminding me to appreciate it.

  10. Not letting the blues rule the day is a challenge for me when life is hard. I’ve learned to manage myself better, recharge my batteries, notice what is around me, and refresh my perspective — as I go, so I don’t get too depleted.

    If I find myself down a hole, I take time out (as much as I am able) until I’m strong again.

    Regular exercise and sunshine make a huge difference, too.

    1. Melissa says:

      Great advice! I’ve definitely noticed a connection between how well I take care of myself and my ability to ward off depression. The weaker I am, the easier I succumb.

  11. Angelina says:

    I am going back here in the next couple weeks, maybe this one! I love Port Townsend and all of our memories there! Me and Lauren have our yearly visit where we got and take a digital camera and just take as many pics as we can and we go to Elevated Ice Cream… the ocean side parks, the ajax and the belmont for lunch and then dinner. And Fort Warden! I love it! Oh and we visit Grandma. She is like what 97 now? :/ lol Any way, hopefully next time you come home we can all go there as a reunion and bring your kids! Think of how much fun we would all have! Love you!

    1. Melissa says:

      I wanted to go there so bad when we were up in July. I had even talked to Grandpa about us all going to visit Grandma for a reunion. But with all the wedding stuff going on it wasn’t really an option. Next time I’d love to take the kids there. I miss Chetzemoka Park and the Belmont and I’d love for the kids to see what a NW beach is like. :) We went there for Grandma’s 94th birthday when Eli was 2 & I was pregnant with Cora. I would love to go again. We’ll defnintely have to make this a priority. I can’t wait to see your pics!

  12. Shelley says:

    What a beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder to see the importance in little things. I’m far too often focused on big things having importance, but there is blessing in the small things too. I need to pay attention more to the small things, and be thankful for them.

    1. Melissa says:

      That’s one of the reasons I love Emily’s Tuesdays Unwrapped. It forces me to pause and think about what little thing I might miss that I now take for granted. :)

  13. Thank you so much for writing this today. I find myself teary at your words, mainly because – even though it’s Tuesday – I feel in a bit of a funk, living in this in-between-type place. Your words have helped to usher me into rest a bit today. So thank you.

    1. Melissa says:

      Praying for you Emily! “May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your counsel!” Psalm 20:4 Thank you for opening up a space for us each Tuesday to recall the blessings God has given us that we might otherwise have overlooked. :)

  14. Jennifer says:

    Beautiful post Melissa! I love how you said your perspective is what makes them important. So very, very true!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thanks Jennifer! Loved your picture post today!

  15. DS says:

    I was always amazed how the glimmering smooth rock would change into a dirty, everyday stone.

    I think it comes down to cherishing the very moment we discover the treasure.

    Good post!

    1. Melissa says:

      Ooh! I like that! Cherishing the moment we discovered the treasure. You should write a blog. ;)

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