Reflect, find joy, be thankful, keep track. These are things I want to do more, be better at. I’m battling a season of pessimism and cynicism and my best weapons are thanksgiving, beauty, and goodness. Here are notes I jotted down at the end of the day throughout July.

Taking note of one good thing, one beautiful thing, one thing to be thankful for each day. (Dina Relles, at commonplace, does this with stunning simplicity and gorgeousness each month.)

1 deer bounding through wheat fields

2 pinatas

3 a luscious bounty of u-pick strawberries

4 Minnesota fish fry and fireworks

5 seeing old friends, with new beards

6 raspberry chocolate ganache bars and tea and deep conversation

7 long runs in fresh shoes

8 paddle boarding quietly, ssshhhh, watch the mother loon and her two babies

9 Midwestern Northwoods cabin holidays

10 bike rides on rolling country lanes

11 thunder that wakes me up in the middle of the night, falling back to sleep to the sound of rain on grass

12 teenagers who catch their international flight on time, but barely

13 triathlon training on a still, chilly morning

14 blueberries

15 pulling paddle boards behind the boat while Tom does headstands on them

16 feeling loved by church people

17 fleeing a rainstorm at a restaurant, from the outdoor patio to indoor seating, with a glass of white wine in one hand and my siblings around me

18 Running shoes that don’t pinch my fat toes

19 sisters, all together

20 Family reunions, family Olympics

21 Saying ‘thank you’ in person, for a priceless gift during a moment of brokenness

22 lingering for long, slow Minnesota summer sunsets

23 powdered donuts hanging from strings and eaten with no hands, a timed race

24 nieces who run lemonade stands and offer massages for $0.15/minute

                  24B. full rainbows curved over farmland, one pot of golden wheat to another

25 biking through sprinkling rain and purple-black storm clouds

26 twin birthdays. 17!

27 groups of giggling teenagers

28 sharing the vision for my work

29 my first triathlon, with my brother

30 when my kids and the kids of lifelong friends develop deep friendships

31 overnight, multi-state college tours with twins