From Ugly Cry To Deeper Why (Vulnerable Video)

Ever have one of those days when you feel like a total failure at life? Ever get so down and discouraged that you’re tempted to give up on your goals and dreams? Me too. But fortunately, that’s not the end of the story. …
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6 Ways to Get Rid of Perfectionism Even When Excuses Abound

“How did you start to get rid of perfectionism and make the steps to become an author? How did you transition from living your “past life” to the life you have now?” Here’s what I know: Perfectionism is fancied-up fear. To paraphrase Liz Gilbert in Big Magic, it’s fear in a fur coat. Perfectionism may seem classy and high-functioning, but deep down it’s just you being afraid. How to overcome fear in four words? Ground yourself in love. That’s the larger principle, but what does it look like to LIVE that truth, day in and day out? Here are a ...
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When Hope Seems Lost, Remember This

When my brother Willie was diagnosed with autism, he was three years old and I was five. Neither of us had been to church yet, so I didn’t have much of a God concept. But somehow, I’d already arrived at a very clear idea of heaven. I used to lie awake at night and think about it, so eager for it to be real. I believed that heaven would be just this: a place where I could talk freely with my brother. It would be a place without the limits of autism on his part or lack of knowledge on ...
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“Please Don’t Go Crazy If I Tell You The Truth.”

Have you ever heard the Snow Patrol song How to Be Dead? Snow Patrol, 2004 It's about an intense conversation (read: a fight) between two people, one of whom is on drugs. They're trying to work things out, but control issues and lies are getting in the way. The song's opening line is, “Please don't go crazy if I tell you the truth.” This line haunts me, and I suspect it haunts all of us people-pleasers. And you know why, right? Because it's the plea of our hearts. It's what we would say if only we had the ...
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Fellow Perfectionists, Come See Me

Recently, I received a message from the moderator of a Facebook group of which I am a member. It read: “Caroline McGraw, please inbox me...I need to ask you something.” There was a plummeting, zooming feeling in my stomach. I clicked away, thinking: This isn't the first time I've felt that the ax is about to fall. *** All at once, I was back in first grade. My teacher, Mrs. Sanosi, had just returned our assignments. I was a good student, accustomed to seeing “Excellent!” atop my worksheets. But this particular paper had See Me written in red ink. Dear ...
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The Work That’s Never Done

There's one item in our house that always catches people's eyes. The item in question? A photo collage that my husband Jonathan received when we moved away from the L'Arche community where we met. Farewell collages are a tradition at L'Arche DC; they feature the faces of every person that was a part of L'Arche during the years one lived there. In Jonathan's case, that means five years of faces, five years of relationships. When we first moved, I hesitated to display the collage. The goodbye was still raw; there were (are) so many people we love and miss. And ...
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Announcing: A New Documentary (Hula Skirts Ahead)

Dear friends, It's Tuesday afternoon, and I'm camped out in the guest room of my dear friends' home. I've been traveling for two weeks, from an Alabama lake house to a Pittsburgh conference center and everywhere in between. There are plenty of stories to be told, but today, I'd like to share a short documentary with you. Longtime A Wish Come Clear readers may recall a mention or two of this film; it's been in process for two years. In 2011, Edwin Mah -- an American University professor and independent filmmaker -- wrote to me and asked if I'd be ...
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Renovations of the Home & Heart: A Tale of Transformation

Miguel*, one of my friends from L'Arche**, was in the ICU last week. Whenever something like this happens -- and despite the wonderful, highly specialized care he receives, it happens several times a year -- my heart aches. It always seems colossally, brutally unfair, these illnesses and hospitalizations. It reminds me of truths I'd rather not remember: that I am not in control, that my friends at L'Arche are growing older, that I cannot know how much more time they -- or any of us -- have left. There's a terrible powerlessness that comes with knowing: if we choose love, ...
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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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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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