So Much to Celebrate: Thoughts on A Wish Come Clear’s Second Anniversary

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day! Here's what I'd like to share with you today: 1. A tremendous amount of gratitude. The launch of my new Kindle Single*, I Was a Stranger to Beauty, has been an amazing experience. I'm so thankful to have released this book with ThinkPiece Publishing; Adam Wahlberg and his team have done a phenomenal job. (And remember, sales support a great cause too: 5% of the proceeds from the first 30 days go to L'Arche DC.) And thanks to your support, the Single debuted at #3 in the Special Needs Memoirs and Special Needs Ebooks ...
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Launch Day: I Was a Stranger to Beauty is Here!

Oh, happy day! Thanks to ThinkPiece Publishing, my new Kindle Single* is here! It's titled I Was a Stranger to Beauty: A Story of Special Needs, Simplicity, My Brother Willie, My Friend Miguel and A New Way of Seeing the World. (I'm fortunate to have a fantastic publisher who shares my affinity for ridiculously lengthy subtitles.) *If you don't have a Kindle, don't worry! You can read Kindle books with Amazon's (free) Kindle Cloud Reader. If you have Amazon Prime, you can also borrow the book through Amazon's Lending Library. *** This book is the story of a family moving ...
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In a Dark Time, Do You Dare to Welcome the Stranger?

About a year ago, I encountered a few words that changed my life. When we first met as roommates, we weren't sure we had a thing in common. Nearly 10 years later, her friendship is a treasure. You know what I mean -- it's the moment when a lyric from a song or a verse from a poem suddenly shoots right through you. It's that AHA of recognition that comes when you read something and say, "That's it exactly." This happened to me last year when, after leaving a stunning photography exhibition featuring actors and actresses with developmental ...
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10 Reasons to Give Thanks, 10 Days Before Thanksgiving

It's that time of year. Mom, thanks for making me such a lovely princess costume for my very first 'dress up' Halloween! We're putting away the Halloween costumes (or, in my case, enjoying photos of past ensembles!) and making plans for the upcoming winter holidays. We're hitting the road and opening our doors. And in the midst of it all, we're giving thanks. At the moment, I'm thankful to have 3 guest posts (From Helplessness to Courage: A Sister's Story at Autism Speaks; Love Takes the Lead: A Story of Struggle at The Bold Life; Becoming Whole at ...
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The Summer I Ran Away (and What Brought Me Home)

Hilton Head, 2012. Photo Credit: Donna Fischer Once upon a time, I ran away from home. I ran in a very structured, organized, responsible sort of way, which is to say, I disguised the escape. *** When my husband and I visited family last month, we spent time with my parents, brother, grandparents, and an aunt and uncle too. I'm blessed with a wonderful extended family, and I feel particularly close to this aunt and uncle. Why? Because I lived with them for a summer seven years ago. When people asked me why I was staying with my ...
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I Wanted To Blend In, But Special Needs Mean Standing Out

She leaned toward me as she said, "I'd always wanted to blend. You know? I never wanted to stand out. And when I had my son, I knew that I would have to lay that down, and it was hard." Photo Credit: Brian Taylor Photography My new friend Kristy was sharing her experience as a mom to a child with special needs, speaking about her challenges in a straightforward, matter-of-fact way. It takes courage to speak one's truth to a (relative) stranger, and I admired her for it. I leaned in, listening. "I know just what you mean," ...
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Trying to Learn, Seeking to Love? Start Small. Always.

A mosquito lands on my leg, and I swat it away. I'm in our front yard, pulling weeds with my husband, Jonathan, and trying to understand my own confusion. It's the perfect time of day to be outside, just before the sun sets in our small town in Alabama. As I pull out the roots, I'm thinking about the conversation I just had with my mom and my brother Willie. I'm thinking about how, for all the knowledge we as humans have gained, there are still so many things we don't know. For example, we don't know precisely why one ...
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Get Outta Here, Guilt: Staying Close While Saying Goodbye

Here's my theory: moving is like throwing a stone over the lake of your life -- eventually, the ripples reach to every part of the water. I arrived at this idea as I talked with my mom this week. In the course of conversation, she said, "Your brother keeps forgetting to say "Alabama" instead of, "Washington, DC" when he prays." Every night at supper, Willie prays: "Thank you God for heaven and for prayers, and for food, and for my sister Caroline and Jonathan in Washington, DC ... " Remembering this, I felt a sinking sense of guilt; not only ...
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Breaking News: Your Birthday is a Big Deal (As Are You).

In my book, a birthday is a Big Deal. I realize that this may make me sound a bit naive or child-like. After all, isn’t making a fuss over birthdays something you’re supposed to, well, outgrow? Many of us claim to have outgrown birthdays, but I don't think that's true. It's more that we've metered our expectations. We've lived long enough to know that many celebrations don't turn out as planned, that high expectations are a setup for disappointment. We've had friends and family members forget our special day, and, in turn, we've forgotten the special days of others. We've ...
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100 Posts on Disability, Caregiving, and Courage (and Why We Fear Public Speaking More than Death)

I stare down at the small pile before me: an outline of my talk (8 pages long), 2 books to read from, and 1 cough drop, just in case things get desperate. This is it, I think. There's no going back now. I'm standing in front of a small audience at St. Francis of Assisi church, about to give a talk entitled, "Not A Burden, but a Privilege:  Ministry Alongside People with Special Needs." And boy oh boy, am I nervous. I try not to think about the camera filming me, or the raw ache in my throat that had ...
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