What Happens When You Surrender to Stillness: A Story

It was the best birthday present I could have given myself: an hour to just be. There I was in restorative yoga, lying on my purple mat, posed to surrender to stillness. In case you haven’t tried it, restorative yoga is a sublime form of deep rest that releases tension on every level. I love my local studio’s class, but I don’t go much. The poses are deceptively simple, so often I convince myself I could do them at home. But of course I am a recovering perfectionist and workaholic, so you can imagine the result of that rationalization. ...
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Contentment is NOT a Foreign Land. (Plus, the Trailer!!!)

One morning, I sat down to write feeling crazy and desperate. I was deep in the midst of a waiting season, and -- much as I'd like to think otherwise -- I'm not the most patient person. (Maybe you can relate?) I wrote: “It's all hopeless. So many times I've put my heart out on the line – in a post, a proposal – and received no response. Hearing nothing is worse than hearing no. Ask any writer, any artist. You can move on from a 'no.' But a 'nothing' can eat you alive. I hate the uncertainty of it ...
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In My Arms: A Guest Post by Gillian Marchenko

Happy Holiday, friends! Today, we're opening our doors to a guest. It's my pleasure to introduce Gillian Marchenko. (Her tagline: "The world is full of people who seem to have it all together ... Gillian speaks for the rest of us.") She's an author and national speaker who lives in Chicago with her husband Sergei and four daughters. Gillian writes about "stumbling faith, Down syndrome, adoption, depression, motherhood, and lots of grace." I shared a guest post on Gillian's blog earlier this year ("The Most Beautiful and Terrible of Promises, Lessons Learned from my Brother with Autism"), and I'm happy ...
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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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Coming Home: The Liberation I Found at L’Arche

Happy Memorial Day, U.S. readers! This article was originally published in America, February 11, 2013, and is reprinted with the permission of America Press, Inc., americamagazine.org. I remember exactly where I was standing. It was in a small hallway at a L’Arche home in Washington, D.C., when I met my friend and housemate Pedro. At the time, I was visiting L’Arche for a series of interviews. I had not yet received an official job offer, but even so, I knew that I would be coming to live and work there. I could feel it in my bones; this was where ...
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Completing the Party: Thoughts on Grace

This is the (edited) text of a talk I gave at Living Spirit Church on Sunday, April 28th. Enjoy!  Once upon a time in 2008, I was on routine at L'Arche*, feeling downcast. Most of the assistants on our house team were leaving that summer. Yet even as I dreaded saying goodbye, I saw a silver lining: I'd build stronger relationships with those who remained. You can't always get what you want ...   I wanted to mark this place and time when I decided against despair. So I asked Theresa** and Cassandra** if they'd like to do ...
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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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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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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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