In the midst of paint buckets, cedar-scented candles, and paperback mysteries, I found another piece of myself. The ability to create cozy unearthed itself as I unpacked boxes of our belongings. As I worked, our home was filled with soulful music and jazzy notes that spread warmth to every corner. Art hung on the walls, new rugs warmed my feet, and spicy soups came together. It felt like coming back to life.

We threw a party for my man, to celebrate another birthday, and our rooms were filled with friends. We toasted and laughed as kids and adult men played in the yard. This was all in the first week of our favorite autumn month.

Each day in November there has been another reason to be grateful, another small moment bringing my view back into focus. The tree that sounds like clapping in our neighbors backyard, waving to our mailman every day at 4:30, laughing as we tried to install wallpaper, the sweet moments keep coming.

I realize these types of moments never left. They are always there for those who are willing to look. But over the past year my ability to stay plugged into the present and find small moments to be grateful for has been severely damaged. It's never come easy to me but now I find it even more challenging. Yet in the midst of November rains, adding house plants, and making a wreath for our new front door, gratitude is becoming a little more of a habit. Staying in the present, though a ton of work, is becoming a teensy bit more natural. As I made our house a home, it unlocked something inside of me, something childlike and needed.

Last night I drank hot toddies on an old swing set underneath fiery cotton candy skies. It was crisp enough to demand a long sleeved shirt, a rarity in November. In that simple moment, alone in a damp backyard, I gave thanks. Breaking bread with my heart and soaking in the gifts of the present.

The red sky faded to pale gray as the sky began to wind down for the night. My mind did the same. It lulled into peace as I realized I was living a redemption song. Messy, absolutely, but a redemption song all the same.