Reflecting Light: Wishes for World Autism Awareness Day

It was just another visit to the Home Depot in the weeks before World Autism Awareness Day. Since we're renovating our house, my husband visits the store on a near-daily basis. We were laughing about paint colors ("'Manhattan Mist'?! That's just ... toxic!") when I saw them. The blue light bulbs. I didn't have to read the signs. I've volunteered with Autism Speaks, and written for their blog as well. I knew what the bulbs were for: Light It Up Blue for Autism Awareness. When I saw that display, I had this sliding sensation in the pit of my stomach; ...
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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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Wherever I Go: An Open Letter to L’Arche

L'Arche* friends, I miss walking beside you through the world. I miss holding your hand, Cassandra**, and how your fingernails always dug into my skin. Holding on tight helped you to balance, so I'd leave them there until I had to -- ever so gently -- pry them away. We'd re-grip, but a few steps later, your nails would dig in again. I'd sigh, maybe, but mostly I wouldn't mind the crescent moons left behind. They were imprints of trust. You'd ask me to take you out ... for tea, for sweets, for a break from routine. Because life was ...
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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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A Small Story of Love (and a Big Announcement Too)

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and welcome back! Since the last post here, I've traveled over 2,100 miles by car, traveling with a mission of seeing as many beloved people as possible. (It seems logging 2,000+ miles is becoming a Thanksgiving tradition around here ... fellow far-flung travelers, you have my sympathies!) What a ride it has been. There are so many stories I could share. But today, I'll tell you a small story about the time my husband and I spent at L'Arche DC*, in the home where we used to live and work together. *** L'Arche buddies, complete ...
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