(Vanity shot of my kitchen. It’s never actually this tidy.)

I am a harsh friend by times. I can be critical and unhappy and mean, even. I can walk into your house and think how lovely it is, and how well it’s designed, and how pretty the walls are…

And when I come home, my home, by comparison, can seem – less. Instead of the comforts and the benefits, I notice the failings and the weaknesses. I am judgemental.

I have a beautiful home. She’s a well-built old girl. She has a century-old kind of beauty that modern homes simply can’t duplicate. I’ve spent hours in her huge kitchen, baking muffins and mixing hot chocolate and visiting with family and friends around the table. This family I love has cuddled together in her living room, tucked into blankets on the ever-fading couches, early mornings with the children and the rocking chair, evenings of books and movies and the sharing of space and time.

She’s kept us safe from wind and snow and she’s endured our complaints about her old age and her aches and pains with the grace of the elderly.

She’s a grand dame.

Today, instead of judging, instead of criticism and unhappiness and I wish, I thank her.

I thank her for all she’s been to our family over the years. I thank her for putting up with the bumps and bruises we’ve given her. And I promise her less judgement and more love.

Today I see her beauty.

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting.

Ralph Waldo Emerson