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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When You’re Not Sure What’s Most Important: A Course in Priorities, Courtesy of John Franklin Stephens & Tim Shriver

Reading at L'Arche I settled down at my desk to start my workday, plunging into administrative tasks. Deep down, I knew that this wasn't the best idea, but I didn't feel like writing. I didn't have any 'good' ideas. But then I started feeling guilty. Why hadn't I called my friends in the Northeast, where Hurricane Sandy hit? Granted, I knew they were safe, but I wanted to hear their voices. So I made a few calls. But then I felt guilty that I wasn't getting work done. I thought, My inner perfectionist is having a field day ...
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Instructions for Life: ‘Listen to the Rhythm. Don’t Be Scared.’

If you've never seen the movie Strictly Ballroom, I recommend that you remedy this oversight immediately. It’s hard to explain why I love the film. It has something to do with the fairy-tale feeling it evokes, with its over-the-top costumes and generalized insanity. It has something to do with the fact that it’s a family favorite, that I grew up quoting it. But it’s more than that. I love Strictly Ballroom because it’s a story about active rebellion and the gift of doing things differently, getting perspective and attending to the essentials, and celebrating and accepting people as they are. ...
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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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What Holds You Up? Or, the Hands that Frame Your Risks

Photo Credit: Ashley Baker I hopped on my bike and started pedaling, determined to arrive on time. I'd left home a little bit late, but I could still make it on time if I tried. Even though I was moving quickly, I savored the crisp autumn morning around me. It was a perfect day for yoga in the park, a donation-based event hosted by Shoals Yoga. As I pulled up to Wilson Park, I heard bells chiming the hour. After locking my bike, I pulled out my yoga mat and joined the other yogis on the grass. Glad ...
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Relationships Matter, Not Things: An Interview with Tammy Strobel of RowdyKittens

This week, I'm thrilled to feature an interview with Tammy Strobel of RowdyKittens! (Tagline: Go small, think big & be happy.) RowdyKittens is one of my favorite blogs, because Tammy shares stories of her everyday life and the challenges and joys inherent in her relationships. Our interview focuses on how simplicity connects with cultivating stronger relationships. Tammy talks about the ways in which simplicity played a part in her caregiving journey with her mother and her stepdad, Mahlon. (And yes, Tammy met Bootsie, AWCC's very own rowdy kitten!) We also talk about Tammy's new book, which launched this week to ...
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The Caregiver’s Paradox, Or, Treasures of the Incomplete

**Note: A Wish Come Clear will return with new posts on Monday, Sept. 17th!** We are living in an unfinished space here in Alabama, and that comes with challenges. We entered a season of renovation when we arrived in July, and we've accomplished a great deal in just a few weeks. (And by 'we', I mean my husband, who has done the lion's share of the work.) We tore out the entire kitchen, and we're finishing a new one now. Extensive plumbing and electrical work has been required. Any cooking beyond the toaster-oven variety has been impossible, which means we've ...
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The Responsibility of a Dream Realized: Welcome, Bootsie.

When I woke up last Friday, I had no idea that a dream was about to come true. It was a typical day in Alabama. I filled our truck with bags of laundry and drove to our friends Chris and Laura's house to use their (generously shared) washing machine. As I drove, I was reminded of how fast life can change. Just a few weeks ago, I despaired of learning to drive our stick-shift truck. But thanks to your encouragement and a commitment to practice, I'm driving myself around town. Amazing. While the laundry spun, I told Laura how much ...
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When You Feel Like Giving Up … Welcome to the Family.

There's nothing like a learning something new to show you the truth about yourself. Long-time readers may recall a post entitled, "What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up." It's the story of how, last July, I faced the challenge of learning to water-ski. This year, I have to say: water-skiing ain't got nothin' on learning to drive a stick-shift. (Even though we've moved to Alabama, I don't talk like that. Yet.) *** Learning stick-shift has been like traveling back in time -- once again, I am 16, and I have no idea how to drive a car. 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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