Simple Treasures

What do you treasure the most? For most of us, this is easy to answer. If you’re a mom like me, your answer will most probably be your children. Or your family or spouse. It might also include your job, or house, car, business or any other possession that you hold dear.

Meriam Webster Dictionary defines treasure as:

  1. a: wealth (such as money, jewels, or precious metals) stored up or hoarded buried treasure (2):  wealth of any kind or in any form: riches  b: a store of money in reserve

  2. something of great worth or value; also:  a person esteemed as rare or precious

  3. a collection of precious things

Since I still don’t have these treasures, I often find myself desiring and sometimes struggling to acquire these in some way, shape or form. To a certain extent, this is good but not when it becomes my life goal and all of my striving makes me lose sight of the joys in the present.

Come to think of it, there are treasures to be uncovered even in your normal, routine or otherwise boring day. Every. Single Day.  Some treasures are as breathtaking as the orange and purple skies of sunrise that i catch while on my way to the bakery to buy pan de sal for breakfast. Other treasures are cute enough to keep me smiling all day. Such as meeting our neighbors’ family of shih tzus on the street while walking my daughter to school. Even the silliest of things are the treasure we badly need in the moment. Like discovering that I  ran out of sugar to put into my hot coffee and then finding sachets of Dunkin’ Donuts sugar (and cream) stashed in my cupboard.

These may seem trivial to some, but finding time to be in the present and to smile during moments like these is a treasure in itself. All of these are hard to see if I am too busy going after my desired future treasure.

My hope and encouragement is that you uncover simple treasures everyday.

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SUNRISE AT THE PIER. Taken while waiting for my boat to leave during a recent trip.

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Lifeline

via Daily Prompt: Memorize

One of the few things I remember most about childhood is sitting in church every single week – almost without fail. And Bible school. On a given Sunday, we were assigned passages of scripture to memorize and recite the next Sunday. Of all the books, chapters and verses I had to memorize, one particular passage stuck with me even without conscious effort – Psalm 23. Eventually, I outgrew Sunday school and decided I would forget church, the bible, God and prayer.

But along the way and during my darkest nights, I found myself desperately clinging to Psalm 23 as a plea to the God I had forgotten. Years later today, it has turned into a song of comfort and praise to the same God who has restored my soul.

1     The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures.

I burn with fever. Hungry and penniless
The words come out of nowhere.

He leads me beside still waters.
    He restores my soul.

I am drowning in waves of despair and
Sorrow. The days are long and black.
The nights even longer; sleep is not
My friend.

He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

I walk the streets at midnight, lonely
Head spinning with a mix of lights,
Nightmares and whiskey.

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;

I feel a deep kinship with the woman
caught in adultery;
Only worse. But you
Redeem me.

you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely  goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

You rescue me from the flood
into the water; to a new and everlasting hope.
And I am born again into The One
Who died for me.

The Ties That Bind

Over a year ago, my daughter and I moved to a small town over 100 miles away from the big city where I have lived for the past 40 years. Since then, we make it a point to visit my mother and siblings regularly. This weekend, we made our 3rd trip home for the year – the last one being 3months ago.

This trip felt particularly slow and difficult. On the last leg of a dizzying almost 5hr bus ride, my daughter was already throwing up on her 4th sick bag, I was terribly nauseous, and my head felt like exploding.

The distance and inconvenience were exhausting but were nothing compared to the 3 days we spent talking, eating together, laughing, sharing our ups and downs and encouraging one another.

Things were not always this way. Just like every family, ours had its share of pain and heartache. And for years we were groping in the dark and all seemed hopeless. But God has been faithful and has not only healed our broken hearts and bound our wounds but given us a new closeness that was not there before. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3.

Perhaps no other word can evoke so much feeling and range of emotions all at once as the word ‘family’. It is here you experience your deepest pains and some of your greatest joys. It is the very place some of us spend half our life running away from and the other half trying to make peace with or return to.

A shared bloodline and a shared life along with the struggles, pain, sorrow, joy and all other experiences unique to each family, can never be denied. In the end, no matter how far you go, they will always be the ties that bind.

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My nephew sharing a quiet moment with his mom at left, and playing with my daughter, at right.

 

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I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed today when I came across several news reports about protests in America regarding issues on race. I spent a few minutes watching several people openly talk about their hate for other races different from their own. Although I am half a world away, I could not help but despair.

As a mother, this is scary, to say the least. I worry about the kind of world my daughter will be living in come tomorrow. It is so easy to live in fear and a general sense of hopelessness apart from the grace of God who sustains me and whose promises I cling to.

As a believer in Christ, it is in times like this when I should all the more turn my eyes heavenward and eagerly await my blessed hope. It is for this very reason our hearts should cry ‘Come! Lord Jesus Come!’.

Walk and Eat Cake

It is such a blessing to be living near the school of my daughter. The actual distance takes only about 5 minutes to reach by commute but because of a road closure that ensures smooth vehicle flow in front of the school, getting there via the detour takes 10 minutes.

That was until we discovered that we can actually walk from home and pass through the back gate of the campus to get there. The route is in itself Instagram worthy: tree-lined walkways of century old acacia trees, Spanish era buildings and open green fields. An added bonus was also finding out that if we also did this on the way home, we could save a total of about P1,200 worth of fare for a month. Being a sucker for savings, of course I was more than delighted.

Thankfully my daughter shares my delight and has gamely agreed to the walk. I am thankful for the extra time we get to talk and just connect because of this routine.  I get to give her encouragement, reminders and advice before we part for the day. Plus we are able to flex our muscles, strengthen our lungs, get our daily dose of sunlight and enjoy the cool morning air.

And with the little extra that we have saved, a cake and tea treat at our favorite café is in order.

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I came upon this verse tonight and I couldn’t help but smile.

I will be turning 41 in a few months. The past forty years are a testament of God’s grace and faithfulness in my life. During the darkest days that turned into months and lasted for years and then decades, I felt sure they would never end. I felt even more sure that God had abandoned me.

I now realize that in wandering through the wilderness, He has led me to seek Him and to find in Him all that I had been searching for.

If you are walking through your own wilderness right now, be encouraged. It may not look like it, but the God who made you holds you in the palms of His hand. He is always with you.

About Me

Welcome to my blog. My name is Kaz.

I am first and foremost, a child of the Father. It is my desire to know Him (Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Colossians 2:3) and to fulfill my life’s purpose until I have arrived at my final destination.

I am also a full time, hands-on single mom to a beautiful teenage daughter.  A digital artist by profession, I love books, long walks and a good cup of coffee. But really, I am just a traveler trying to make my way through this great journey called life.

I am sharing my stories with the prayer that I might encourage and inspire someone. Stories of faith, hope, motherhood, life and finding hidden treasures beneath the ordinary.

Enjoy and don’t forget to leave feedback.