Feeling Down and Discouraged? Look Into a Different Mirror

It's all too easy to get down on ourselves. Sometimes, we look in the mirror and see only negatives. We see every mistake, every time we didn't take courage. We see so many ways that we could improve, but we can't see how far we've come. We can't see how much we have to offer now, in this moment. When I get in that state of mind, I think about my friend Leo*. During my time at L'Arche**, I served as Leo's one-on-one accompanier. I was responsible for everything from his toothpaste to his bank account balance. Springfield, 2008 ...
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We, the Prodigals: What it Means to Be Lost & Found

There are few terrors worse that the feeling that you've lost someone you love. This much was clear to me on that summer night in 2008. From my perch in the passenger seat, I scanned the sidewalks as best I could, reminding myself to breathe. Everyone was looking, even the police. We'd find her. But we didn't know that, really. Cassandra* had wandered away in the late afternoon, and now it was night. Aileen, my friend and fellow L'Arche** assistant, was in the driver's seat. She had to focus on piloting the van, but I could tell that she was ...
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The Dance of Disconnection (And Some New Moves)

You’ve probably had this happen to you. Coffee & connections, 2012. Photo Credit: Sarah Bayot You see a person you love after an extended time apart. It's wonderful to reunite. You feel so fortunate to have this friendship; you’re sure you’ll keep in touch. And then you go home, back to your everyday life, and you don’t call them for months. This isn’t something you do on purpose. It’s just that one day you wake up and realize that you're disconnected, despite your good intentions. At this point, you have a few options. You can: A) Shrug off ...
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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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A Song of Joy (and Our Reason to Sing)

Hello, welcome back, and Happy New Year! Coming next Monday, Jan. 14th! First, I'm happy to share that I Was a Stranger to Beauty (my new Kindle Single) launches with ThinkPiece Publishing next Monday, January 14th! L'Arche DC* will receive 5% of the proceeds from the first month's sales. Next week's post will feature an exclusive excerpt, but for this week, a story ... *** With each New Year, I choose a word as my theme. This New Year, it's joyful. I want to embrace the fullness of life, with joy. (In fact, 'Caroline' comes from the French ...
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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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Holding on to Hope (When Everything Seems Bleak)

There are days when it’s easy to be an optimist. These are the days in which your relationships are harmonious, when your work flows smoothly and according-to-plan. And all the while, you’re acutely, beautifully aware of the many blessings that surround you. On days like this, I readily believe in grace. And, in the words of Byron Katie, “Grace means understanding that where you are is where you always wanted to be.” And then there are … the other days. A tough day of flea-fighting The down days. The days that start with you over-sleeping, or maybe waking ...
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What To Do When ‘The Less-Thans’ Strike (Hint: Do Not ‘Try Harder’)

Feeling less-than? You get the thumbs-up from me. "Sometimes, I feel like such a failure," my friend confided. "My house doesn't look as clean as my friends' houses do. I have a job, and two children under the age of three. But I think I should be doing a better job keeping the house clean." I wanted to interject, but I had a feeling there was more to the story. She continued, "After feeling that way for so long, do you know what I found out?" "What?" I asked, leaning forward. "Almost all of my friends who have ...
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Commitment Is (Not) For The Birds, Or, Show Up and See What Happens

Sometimes, it's all too much! I'm going to tell you a secret: I don't always feel like showing up to write posts every week. Much as I love to write, sometimes, I just don't feel the love. My mind kicks in with complaints: "Again? Can't I skip it?!" Often, I feel resistance because I'm scared to write about what's most alive in me, but other times, I just want to play hooky from the written word. And I have a feeling that it's true for you, too. It can be hard to summon the dedication it takes to ...
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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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