When a People-Pleaser Decides to (Gasp) Tell the Truth

The note reads, "Caroline possesses a respectably expansive vocabulary." Intellectual assent is easy. Being people of peace? Shifting from self-blame and people-pleasing to compassion and honesty? Sure thing. But putting these things into practice when we're angry and upset? That's another story. Luckily, life continually offers us opportunities to learn ... which are often disguised as conflicts. *** My dear friend Tam recently lent me a copy of Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life. Nonviolent communication (NVC) is, to quote author Marshall Rosenberg, "a way of communicating that leads us to give from the heart." As I read, ...
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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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It’s Time to Tell the Truth: Guest Post at The BridgeMaker

Hello & happy Friday! First, I have a new guest post up at The BridgeMaker! The BridgeMaker connects people who are looking to find faith, share inspiration and celebrate personal change. (Sound familiar?) Photo Credit: Ashley Baker Haselton As author Alex Blackwell writes, "On the brink of divorce several years ago, I needed to make a few changes within myself before my life could change. Knowing creating positive change was necessary, I started down the path of learning how to appreciate exactly what I have." Today’s post is here: It's Time to Tell the Truth (My Letter to ...
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Who’s Right In Front Of You?

When I first saw her, she was striding across Connecticut Avenue. Not in a crosswalk, mind you ... in the middle of the road. She had bright blond hair and a dark tan, and she was walking across what DC residents know is a very, very busy street. At rush hour. With a pronounced limp. In fact, she seemed to be almost dragging her right leg. Cars honked their horns, stopping abruptly to avoid her. Still, she carried on. Busy DC street.Locals will recognize this as 14th St NW, not Connecticut Ave NW. Both are, of course, quite busy.Photo ...
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Leave Me Alone … And Please Come Find Me

When I was in high school, I lied to my mother. Don't lie to mamma ... especially since you have the same smile. One night, when she asked me if I’d completed my homework, I told her I had. But I'd left one assignment unfinished, and it was due the next day. I didn’t want to miss my favorite TV show of the moment (Buffy or Felicity?), and I knew the rule: no TV until your homework is done. So I made a plan. I fibbed and felt bad about it (but not so bad that I didn't ...
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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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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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Have You Been Imagining Those Prison Bars? (Or, Don’t Re-Enroll In High School)

I had this dream one night. In the dream, I was in my twenties. I was living with my parents in New Jersey, in the house where I grew up. Since my career had apparently stalled, a faceless, intimidating authority figure strongly recommended that I re-enroll in high school, to 'get back to basics' or something like that. Good news: you've already graduated! The thought of re-enrolling filled me with dread, but I did it anyway. I didn't think I had a choice. For weeks, I struggled to re-learn my old routines, fumbling through locker combinations, math tests, ...
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To See Beauty First: A Video

Hello and Happy Monday! Since I'm traveling this week, I'd like to share a video with you in lieu of the usual post. It's a 10 minute talk I gave as part of the Faith Inclusion Network's March 2013 "That All May Worship" conference. (I thank Karen Jackson for her wonderful work in organizing the event, and for sending me the recording as well.) A Wish Come Clear readers who receive posts via email may recall the story I sent out about my experience speaking at the conference two months ago; it's reprinted below. To make sure you don't miss ...
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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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