Do You Risk Reaching Out?

Have you ever received an invitation that made your heart say YES before your mind could even catch up? Ever had such a strong gut feeling that you needed to be at this exact place, doing this exact thing? That’s how I felt when I was asked to give the keynote speech at this year’s Heart of L’Arche Fundraising Breakfast in Arlington, Virginia on April 25, 2018. Titled, “Risk Reaching Out,” this talk was part of a program that helped raise over $135,000 to support the L’Arche Greater Washington DC community. L’Arche is a worldwide nonprofit that creates homes where ...
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When You’re Feeling Lost, Walk The Beauty Way (Our Seven-Year Anniversary)

We all know how it goes. We wake up in the morning, and from the moment we open our eyes, something feels “off”. There’s a barrage of anxious thoughts about work and laundry and that text we forgot to respond to yesterday. Where did these thoughts come from? Why are they slamming us now, before our feet even touch the floor? We don’t know. We just know that there’s already a feeling of dread within, and we haven’t even looked at our email or news feed yet. We feel lost and afraid; what can we do to bring even the ...
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The Risk of NOT Being Busy

When my husband Jonathan and I moved from DC to Alabama five years ago, the biggest culture shock wasn’t the Southern accents, but rather, the less busy pace of life. It was the stunningly slow turns that drivers made into parking lots. It was standing still at a four-way stop because everyone wanted to let everyone else go first. (As a New Jersey native, both of these drove me bananas. Just go already! You could not get away with these shenanigans in New York!) But the biggest change of all was the sudden halt of my own busyness. …
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From Distraction to Connection: You Need to Read with Rachel Macy Stafford (Plus an Only Love Today Book Giveaway!)

How do you resist the addictive pull of phone notifications to be present to the people around you? How do you shift from distraction to connection? How do you find the courage to be yourself when your judgmental inner voice tells you that you have to be perfect? How do you make peace with your past mistakes and enjoy your life here and now? Welcome to the second edition of our new video interview series, You Need to Read. Today, we’re discussing these powerful questions with author and speaker Rachel Macy Stafford! …
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Wanting to Leave is Enough

Let me guess: it used to be good. That job, that relationship, that volunteer position … whatever it was, it started out fine. But over time, things changed. Or maybe you did. Either way, you’ve got a secret: wanting to leave. …
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Set Down The Strings.

I have this counterproductive dance I do with my long-distance loved ones. Here’s how it goes: when I don’t expect to see faraway friends and family anytime soon, I’m pretty good at keeping in touch. I make calls, write cards, and send care packages. But when I do expect to see people soon – say, in the weeks just before a family vacation – I slack off. I don’t call, and I hold back from sharing. My justification for this is that I’m saving up the best discussion topics for in-person interaction. …
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One Question To Ask When the Going Gets Tough

On my first day of kindergarten, my mom gave me some advice. She told me what her mother told her on the first day of school: when you walk through the doors, don’t worry about making friends. Just focus on finding the girl who looks even more upset about all this than you do. Go over to her and say hello. Smile. Then, you’ll have a friend. My five-year-old-self was incredulous. Could it be that simple? With a little prompting, I gave it a shot. I walked up to a weeping girl and said, “Hi, I’m Caroline. What’s your name?” ...
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Don’t Hold Those Coins So Tightly, I Beg of You: A Story

I’ll tell you upfront: this is not my proudest moment. No, far from it. It’s been over ten years, but if I try I can still summon back the anxiety, the scarcity, and the fear that flared through my mind. Picture this: I am seated at an outdoor café table with my three closest friends. Our backpacking trip is coming to a close, and we’ve just finished a meal of savory crepes in a small village in France. I love this place because it reminds me of Belle’s village in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and also because the crepes ...
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Cross Everything Else Off Your List, Leaving Just This.

Photo: Brian A. Taylor Photography. Used with permission. Friends, the weather outside is frightful, so I'm glad to be here in my writing room, sharing this post on the true meaning of the holiday season. I'm also glad that we have central heating this winter. Happiness really is the small things, like not having to wear a hat in the house. And this reminds me of another story about four girls backpacking through Europe. It's one of my favorites, because I was one of those girls. Now, I could tell you a lot of dramatic stories about that ...
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A New Welcome and A Fresh Start

God bless the people who know you better than you know yourself. Friends til the end. (Fall 2007) The ones who challenge you to move forward, to go deeper, to be braver than you think you know how to be. My friend and former college roommate Rachel has been such a person for me. And something she said this past November has proved quite prescient. We were meeting one morning for coffee in Washington, DC. My husband Jonathan and I were on an epic road trip, and I’d planned too many dates with friends along the way. I ...
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