Snowflakes resting on trees as you come over the mountain.Your friend wearing your ridiculous orange gloves drinking a girly seltzer at his own brewery just to make you laugh. Your cat purring to greet you. Tired dogs after a fun-filled weekend. A bald eagle flying overhead at the start of your week. The people who show up to help you with your old beat-up tractor and push out round bales so you don’t have to do everything alone. Basketball games and cheer and Chinese for dinner together. A smile from a friend. A long embrace from the heart. A heart that’s full with happiness. A life you love to lead.

These are all beautiful things. So is having the chance to start over after a week – and month – riddled with challenges, miscommunications, overreactions, and grief. I saw a meme that said January was definitely a free trial month and that 2024 starts Feb 1. So I decided to move that start date back a few days, starting with this weekend and it feels amazing.

Clean slate. Starting over.

See? That’s another beautiful thing. That each day is a new day, a fresh start, and another chance to grow closer to those that you love. Those that you’re just getting to know. Those that are there for you. Those that won’t take no for an answer and keep showing up every day, even if it’s just from around the corner. Knowing you always have somewhere to go to, someone who is happy to see you, and even is there in your worst moments when you owe them an apology for falling apart – and they say that’s okay, you’re allowed to be a mess sometimes, and kiss your tears away. And make you laugh. And make you smile. And toast to the game with you because they know it made you happy. Group chats filled with laughter. Seeing friends old and new to make new memories together. Football food and fun together. Listening to you talk in circles even though they know you’re tying to be done but also know you will always, always follow your heart. And still holding on to the knowledge of the past but not letting it ruin your today or your tomorrows.

There are things worth holding onto, and I am so grateful to have that in my life. There are people who truly care, even when you feel at your most fragmented unlovable self. Another week together here, then back on a plane for another week down there this time hopefully with some sun, and then back north again with a visit to a lifelong friend, more basketball games and cheer and Chinese. And then heading even further north for a family vacation and winter carnival that shares happy pieces of your own childhood with the people you care about and love.

This. This is what life is made for. To see the beautiful things all around us even when the sun isn’t shining and even on the days you have to look a little bit harder, they’re still there. All of the beautiful things, all of the magic, all of the love.

Yes, let’s start over. I’d really like that. This is home and it is truly one of the most beautiful things.