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Treasure the ordinary things

October 1, 2015
By Joyce Schenk , Westfield Republican

Not long ago, I read a magazine article that struck a chord with me.

The author stressed the importance of the ordinary stuff of life. "We tend to take these things for granted, until they're gone," she said.

The article reminded me of the scenes I had been watching of the devastating California wildfires. As the fires raced across thousands of acres of woodland, home after home had been burned to the ground.

One newscast I saw was especially wrenching. The reporter interviewed a weeping, soot-stained woman, standing amid the smoking remainder of her dream home.

"It's all gone," she said in a stunned voice. "We built this as newlyweds, raised our kids here and welcomed our first grandchild. Now it's all gone. And, you know, it's not the big stuff I miss the most. It's the common things we just can't replacelike our wedding album and the kids' baby books, and.." her voice trailed off as she turned away from the camera.

I found myself tearing up in sympathy for this woman who had lost so much to nature's fury.

I recalled a conversation I had with my late husband, George, about this subject. He told me how hard it was when he was overseas during the Korean "conflict." He said, "You don't realize 'til you lose them how much you miss things like hamburgers and hot showers and fresh drinking water."

And I thought of all the ordinary things I would miss if they were gone from my life.

Yet, day in and day out, these things are so common we seldom give them any thought.

Some years ago, our friends lost their home to a flood. It took many months to rebuild and get their lives back on track.

But they never forgot the treasures they had lost, the things that couldn't be replaced like their grandmother's china and a beloved antique clock.

Learning to appreciate the ordinary stuff of life takes an awareness of the value of each moment. We get so caught up in planning for tomorrow that we forget to live today.

With this in mind, I started a list of the ordinary treasures that highlight my normal days.

--Sleeping in a freshly-made bed

--My Teddy bear, Benji, who keeps me company at my desk

--The smell of fresh-cut grass

--My worn, pencil-marked Bible

--A morning hug from my son

--A collage of family photos

--A call from one of my daughters

Now I'll challenge you make a list of the things you treasure in your life. Just taking the time to look at your world with such a list in mind will help you to be more aware of the everyday things you treasure.

If you're willing, send me a copy of your list. I think we'll find we all have many ordinary treasures in common. I'll use any lists I receive as the basis for an upcoming Moseyin' column.

Send your list to me at

And remember each and every day to treasure the people and the things that are near and dear to you. They can change in an instant.



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