This is the worst time of year. March in Minnesota is yucky: cold, dreary, dirty. The newness of winter and the freshness of the snow are gone. It drags.

What makes it even harder is that two years ago at this time I was in beautiful Coffee Bay, South Africa. It holds my heart more than I ever imagined a geographic location could. I spent my days on those hills above the ocean, watching the waves roll in, sitting still in the warm sun; exploring rocks and shells, pools of water and sea life.

I'm watching the sun set outside my window at work just now and it is gorgeous - reminds me very much of this Coffee Bay sunset, two years ago. Something about the hues are just right.

And I have been thinking a lot these last few weeks about why exactly it is that I choose to be where I am - when there are so many other more desirable locations in the world. Then I am remembering how lonely South Africa was for those three months.

My friends and family are here. That's what makes Minnesota energizing, breath-taking, and ultimately fulfilling. I take you all for granted far too often. Sarah, you are the ocean waves. Abby, you are the sea shells. Shannon, you are the goats and cows (not so flattering, I realize, but they make me laugh just as you are always able to do). And Mom, you are the sun - keeping my heart warm.