Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thankful for "I Can"

Tiny Tim demonstrating his idea of a perfect holiday

How were your Thanksgiving holidays?  Did you travel, or did you have visitors?  Or did you curl up at home for quiet, happy days inside and out?

We were headed towards a joyous holiday with my sister and her friend, staying over two nights and leaving our great neighbor Dorcie in charge of feeding The Poppit, N'yala Kate Garbo, and of course, Tiny Tim.  With that important detail covered, we piled enough stuff in the car for two weeks, let alone two days (can you tell we are infrequent travelers?). Along with clothes, camera, gifts and knitting, I had made unbaked cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls, ready for Thursday's feast:

What the well-packed Taurus trunk looks like
And what Thanksgiving feast would be complete without homemade Cranberry, Pear and Orange Relish?

Also known as Powerful Women Relish
Anyway, this holiday proved to be full of love, rich with meaning, and included three days of eating wonderful food prepared by everyone during non-stop conversation and reconnection.

And as older people are want to do, I drove home thinking about other Thanksgivings, other lifetimes, feeling pretty overwhelmed with gratitude:

For the love of a good man
For an amazing family and extended family
For the gift of good health my family enjoys
For good people as our good neighbors
For the good people who honor us with their friendship
For the amazing grace, love and personality each of our cats possess and share

For learning how to grow food from the garden, being able to give to friends and family healthy food and contribute to the Food Bank
to bake delicious bread from scratch,

yada, yada, yada

This is not an ode to my innate wonderfulness or capacity to write long and sappily.  Far from it, because this year, I have been privileged to meet an amazing group of people whose daily courage, honesty, love and compassion inspire me to keep going, keep trying, and keep understanding what is really important in life.

Team Inspire

This amazing website is a clearinghouse of on-line support groups for chronic illnesses, health and behavioral health, too.  People from around the world join for free, choose the support group(s) that meet their needs, and start reading and writing posts and journals.  Since I live very successfully with chronic depression now, and gave a lot of time to my local National Alliance on Mental Illness, I started with

Mental Health America

Quickly, I saw that an on-line support group was the 21st century bomb.  You didn't need to get dressed, put on make up (or not, then feel bad that you were too depressed to put make up on), warm up the car, or any of the reasons people give for not going to something that generally feels good if you do it.  The support group wasn't a specific time--it was all the time, whenever you needed it or you thought an Inspire friend could use some company.  And the people, oh my goodness, how incredible these strong, smart, funny, tender, seasoned, vulnerable, acerbic, likeable, compassionate, heartworn, brave, brave, brave people are!

They are old and young, men, women, people from this continent and at least two others, and from every walk of life.   Being in their company, walking in their shoes, humbles me and unlocks more room in my heart.  Because of Team Inspire and my friends there, my motto and credo has become "I Can."  I can for me and I will "I can" for my Inspire friends and the people I love and care for.

And that's a promise.

Don't forget to have a sane holiday season, one that focuses on making memories with people you care about, not getting the best deal.

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