Moments over Money


A moment to pause gazing at the San Gabriel Valley.

With the rise in goods and inflation at a rising 9.1%, I thought it was timely to write, reflect, and move on from this thing called money.


I am not sure about you but when I think about my best moments, or Epic moments, it’s not usually centered around a fancy restaurant or a car that was brought home to our driveway.

They are moments when something serendipitous happens, or an unexpected encounter with someone, or something that just feels right in the gut of my abdomen.


I have also noticed that the word Epic has been used quite loosely lately.

The slang definition is

It means that something is awesome,great,unforgettable.

When I did another Google search, I found The true definition is “Epics are grand, long compositions about the heroic deeds of men and women.”


Well, I can’t say the Iler family has had grand, long compositions of heroic deeds.


However, I have to say that all of us who have lived through a pandemic have experienced a form of heroic deeds. Then you add if you are a teacher, have children yourself, if you are a frontline worker, well you get the idea. Yes, we have all experienced heroic moments.


But the point of this is not to focus on heroism but what have been some truly unforgettable moments that required little or no monetary value.


Iler family small moments that are Big Moments.

Here are some Epic moments in the Iler home that I hope every family has a chance to experience:

  • Childhood memory: Cruising down PCH (pacific coast highway) in a red VW bus, eating zucchini fries with sand between my toes. This was a weekly occurrence when I was growing up. We would go to the beach, swim in the waves, and pack our ice chest with food. The big treat was either getting those amazing zucchini fries or soft served ice cream on the way home.

When I see a VW bus, now 30 years later, that is the first image that comes to mind.


  • Witnessing a Baby chick hatch: I know I have said this many times, but to see an actual little animal emerge from an egg was absolutely fascinating. We were all gathered around the incubator in the kitchen cheering on these eggs, not knowing what they were going to look like or if they were going to make it.


  • Swimming with seals that surrounded my daughter and me at Laguna Beach. This was almost a magical experience. We swam out to a lagoon near Shaw’s Cove and hoped to see some Girabaldi fish.

To our surprise, the water was murky that day. Instead, what brushed by my side was a harbor seal. I immediately waved to Hannah and we came to the surface. There were 5 seals just swimming around us. The look she gave me was what carried me through the moments when she was wheeled into surgery later that year. It is still one of my best October beach moments with my daughter.


  • Receiving a Card from a friend when I was struggling with motherhood. Enough said. . . the words let me know I was not alone.


  • First time I saw Zion mountains. . . majestic, awestruck. Words cannot even describe it.


How many sunsets have you seen recently?

  • Eating a lovely dessert after a long hot hike in the San Gabriel Mountains- watching the sunset.

It was a blistering hot day in Southern California and all of us Ilers were grumbling a bit. We didn’t have a swimming hole to jump in that day and the mood was becoming a bit stagnant.

So, we packed up some amazing treats from our favorite bakery and began the long walk up a steep mountain at 7:30 pm. The girls were initially not finding the beauty in this.

But when we got to Sunset Bench and saw the “diamonds and rubies” (Scott’s mom lovingly calls the city lights gemstones) glittering before us, everyone had a huge smile on their face.I didn’t know at the time but Scott snapped a picture of us. This picture is imprinted on my heart.


Iler Woods believes you can renovate on a budget.

  • Renovating an entire room with a budget of a few hundred dollars. We told our daughter Rebecca that we could change up a bedroom but we were not going to buy a bunch of new items.


It’s amazing what you can do when you are forced to be creative. She decided she wanted a pallet bed frame, repurposed wood for a headboard, rearranged furniture, decoupage wall art, and then found strings of lights to set the mood in this middle school room.

She said “I feel like royalty now.” It’s so nice to know that it really wasn’t designer items that made her feel like royalty, it was the fact that she made something new again by refreshing her landscape.


I jokingly say with a friend that I wish we could go back to the times when people traded goods and services. What is the need for this monetary system?


I could easily survive with gardening, Scott could make wood items, and we know enough family and friends who have talents that we could rely on for making household necessities.

But we live in a modern society and we are surrounded by materialism. It is truly up to all of us to make a conscious effort to say no to consumerism and enjoy the small moments.


Because as you all know, the small moments are the big moments.

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