Monday, November 5, 2012

Community

With the country so divided as tomorrow's elections approach, ugly emotions abound. Stress is probably one of the biggest "bad guys" for chronic illness. As many are looking forward to a wrap on this election, the truth is, the strong emotions that have surfaced will not simply disappear. I hope after Tuesday, we find the grace to remove physical reminders like yard signs and empty chairs that will only add salt to raw wounds as we try to move forward.

On this day of uncertainty, I remind myself of how fortunate I am. We live in a beautiful place, one that values community. Where Halloween feels like a neighborhood party. A town where we dance in the streets at the Holiday Open House and drop our own New Year's Eve ball at 9pm so all can enjoy. A place where "buying local" is a priority. We're blessed with vibrant independent booksellers and local businesses that support our community in countless ways. Food banks, soup kitchens and paper pantries help many through difficult days. We're blessed by local farmers who provide us with delicious fresh food and schools that foster excellence. We're blessed with excellent stewards of our environment. We appreciate one another. We're there for each other.

And we love our arts. A few of our family's local favorites...

The art of food 
Heritage tomatoes and apples, root vegetables, artisan cheeses, morels and chantrelles, farm fresh eggs and milk, maple syrup, lavender, honey...ah, the joys of eating simply are truly delicious! I have a deep appreciation for our local organic farmers, especially after becoming so sensitive to additives, preservatives, pesticides and finally gluten. You simply can not beat fresh food prepared simply! Catch Farm to Frame: Ripe Moments Through the Lens, a juried photographic exhibit at Crooked Tree that showcases the journey of our local foods from beautiful farms, to vibrant markets and finally to our tables.

The art of dance
Our beautiful Crooked Tree pre-professional dancers enchant us with their talent and dedication. What a joy to watch their beauty and grace! We celebrate their achievements as they fledge around the country; to Chicago, New York, and beyond and smile at the tiny tots in tutus who look up to them.

Vibrant children's and adult theater
Unforgettable performances keep us coming back again and again, making it easy to support our local schools and Little Traverse Civic Theater productions. There's always something special in the works. We're looking forward to  The Wizard of Oz  this weekend and LTCT bringing The Christmas Carol to life this holiday season!

The art of music
So much to celebrate: PHS Marching Northmen and beautiful concert bands, PHS Steel Drum Band, youth orchestras, the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, PHS choirs, Little Traverse Youth Choir, the Little Traverse Choral Society and the Northern MI Chorale. A special thanks to the many dedicated and talented performers, directors and teachers who make this so memorable!

Our home is at its best when filled with music. This fall I found the courage to join the Northern MI Chorale.  The joy of singing with a group of people ranging in age from 14 to the upper 80s was a blessing that far outweighed the physical challenges. My doctor was thrilled, citing current research supporting singing as good for your health. From improving memory and balance, to boosting your immune system and fighting stress. All great tools for someone fighting chronic illness. Recently, I suffered consecutive knee injuries, a real bummer. Singing helped lift me above this new pain and frustration. This weekend I sang in my first vocal concerts. So healing to be surrounded by beautiful voices and so poignant to hear the voices of our daughter and her friend soar in their duet, God Help the Outcasts. So very grateful for the opportunities that let us transcend disease.

Wishing you grace, strength of spirit, and blessings in the days ahead!

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