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Finding the Supernatural in the Natural

Shannon SnorkelingI’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I’m not even sure why that is. Maybe I don’t want to set myself up for failure. Like by declaring that I need to make certain sweeping changes because it would doom my efforts right from the start just because I named them resolutions to being with.

I don’t like to fail. So I don’t resolve to do anything at the beginning of the year.

But still, there are times when my inadequacies are brought sharply into focus. So crystalline that I cannot ignore the glaring truth. Something’s got to change.

And that happened on the beach while we were in Florida.

We love to beach comb . It’s one of our favorite family activities. Scouring the beach for little bits of blue-green sea glass, digging for fossilized shark’s teeth, marveling over pieces of washed up coral and the constant search for the perfect uninhabited conch shell. We could spend hours combing the beach and not tire of it.

It was during one of these treasure hunting walks that I found a crack in my parenting. One of many I’m sure, but this is the one that really got me to thinking…

As Leela and I were walking along the beach, she pointed out the tiny holes that were seemingly covering the waterline. She got down on her hands and knees peering at the little dots that were spouting tiny bubbles.

This is the same beach that we’ve been visiting for her entire life. We’ve walked that beach doing the very same thing for as long as I can remember being her mother.

After poking at them for a bit, she looked up at me and asked what I thought they might be and had I noticed them?

And with that question I stood still. Did she really not know? How did I miss teaching her how the tiny clams that are washed ashore dig themselves down into the wet sand? How did I miss pointing out to her one of the most amazing sights on the beach?

With that I grabbed her by the hand and pulled her into the surf. I had her scoop up a pile of sand and surf and told her to go place it on the wet sand away from the waves.

After she placed the pile on the ground, I gently smoothed the pile into a thin layer and told her to sit down and watch what was about to happen.

And after a few moments the pile came alive and started to wiggle. A small army of opaque clam’s feet turned the little mollusks upright and burrowing for safety.

Upon seeing this, Leela excitedly ran back to the water’s edge to scoop up another handful of sand and shells, racing back to the beach to see the clams bury themselves again. Her eyes shone with wonder.

This might seem like a small thing to you but to me this was a glaring omission. I realized in that moment that I’m not teaching my girls to stop and look for the beauty in life. To look for the supernatural in the natural. That we’re charging through life like a race and not stopping to look for the loveliness along the way.

And that is one change I need to make.

In this high-tech totally plugged in world, I want my kids to stop and marvel at the magic of their world. Because the magic is there if you look for it. It’s in the tiniest of details sometimes, but if you purpose yourself to find it, you will.

So that’s what I’m working on this year and hopefully for many years to come. Not a resolution, really. A shift in thinking. An awareness of a crack that needs to be filled.

How about you? Do you believe in resolutions? Did you make any this year?


  1. I’ve done a couple of things this year Melanie, a not resolution resolution about my size (as in dress size!) and also started a jar which I am putting little notes in to remind me of things to be thankful and grateful for and happy about to be opened and reviewed at the end of the year. I am with you on the no resolutions, if it needs changing, change it when you are ready to, not just because it is January. If you were ready you would already be doing it and if not, you aren’t in the place for it.

    Obviously you are in the right place to make a change to something that you noticed, so it isn’t a resolution, it is just doing something that came along at a time that just happened to be at the turn of the year! I hope you have fun finding the supernatural in the natural this year and beyond. xx

  2. Anonymous says:

    Good morning Melanie. I also don’t make formal resolutions and agree that we all need to stop and marvel at the supernatural in the natural wonders all around us. I applaud you for showing this small but wondrous thing to your daughter. I can just about see the wide eyed joy on her face as she made this discovery. Beautiful.

  3. It seems that many of the changes you have undergone in your life, I am mirroring in some fashion in my own. I first found you when you were “The coupon goddess” and I was couponing a lot. (I do not coupon nearly like I did then, but still try to find some deals to ease our budget.) I am facing my older two girls leaving for college in a year and a half which has hit me like a mack truck. I realized one night while we were all sitting together but each on our own technology that we were not relating and seeing the world around us. So, we implemented technology rules that allow us to be together as a family and time to enjoy more of what the world has to offer. They were all grumpy at first but the results speak for themselves. All of my kids are learning much more balance in regards to technology and so am I. It is the small things in life that hold the most wonder and beauty. Thank you for reminding me of that focus.

  4. Nope. No resolutions for exactly the same reasons you didn’t make any. I’ve always got things to work on, and I’ll just work on them. 🙂

  5. I think resolutions come when they come, when they are inspired and true. In general, I think making resolutions just because you pulled down the old ASPCA calendar and magnet-ed up a new one (okay, that may just be in our home!) isn’t likely to work.

    Sounds like a lovely lesson, appropriate when it happens and not one that needed to be done before a certain age. She saw the holes, investigated and inquired….which means you taught her quite well. She knows to watch and observe and she knows how to learn and isn’t afraid of what she doesn’t know. Makes for an excellent, well-rounded young lady (and maybe a good start towards science/biology/ecology studies…not sure which of your little ladies is interested in veterinary stuff, but would fit well with being a vet assistant since she’d notice and alert the vet of any unusual issues).

  6. I actually did the opposite this year! I’ m usually the one to overhaul and make new plans. Looking back on the past few years have been so successful, I’m just doing more of the same. I’m so blessed that our family makes sure we give back, smell the roses regularly, and work hard.

  7. I too do not make new year resolutions. If each and every day I try to be a better person, it doesn’t need to be a special occasion to proclaim that I will do just that. Each and every day when I awake, I first thank God for another day. Then I know that I have to do at least one good deed that day – and it’s not the good deed of making supper for my family as that’s a given – this is the go-out-of-your-way good deed that I try to do each and every day for a stranger and sometimes someone I know, but not family. And also I try to be a better person for and with my family. I feel I’m setting an example for my children if I do what I intend to do each day. I try to teach a lesson every day, whether it’s by discussing something we see on the news or by pointing out something that they may not have noticed otherwise. And Mel, wow, we are so much alike. The first major snow storm a few weeks ago, my daughter and I were going to the grocery store together. She just mentioned that her favorite thing is looking at the untouched snow, the kind in our yard before anything or anyone walks through it. Those are the things that I try to teach my kiddos about…there is, as you put it, “supernatural among the natural.” One of the things I always say to them is, “How cool is God that He thought to give us that?” We are amazed by the tiny blue jay that sits in our pine tree or the squirrel that decides to bury some of the nuts that we throw out or the spider that we decide we should just scoop up on a piece of cardboard and set outside rather than flushing down the toilet. After all, he’s just lost and doesn’t deserve to die. Yep, you’re doing all the right things Mel. And the great part of all this, whether you’re a millionaire or just working to make ends meet, we’re all given the same beauty…we have to choose to find it and appreciate it, each and every day.

  8. No resolutions here, but I did have an AHA moment similar to yours when my 3 year old grandson was visiting over the holidays. As we were walking around, he picked up a rock and asked me “What’s its name?” I told him the rocks name was Frederick, thinking to myself, “That’s a fitting name for a rock”. Well, he went right up to my son and said, “Look Daddy, it’s Frederick”. My son then explained that what he really was asking me was what type of rock it was: sedimentary, metamorphic, or igneous. How did I miss that teachable moment? I’ve been an educator all my life! How could I just listen to the words that came out of that little mouth and not really hear what he was asking?

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