What Do I Have to Offer? A Story of Wine, Wonder, & Worth

As she spoke, the rest of the women in the circle grew still. We were gathered to celebrate a friend expecting her first child, and together we'd shared stories and blessings for her journey. We'd laughed, cried, and laughed some more, but now we were quiet. Hello to a friend's sweet baby. (2012) We were listening to a young woman who shared that she and her husband wouldn't be having children. Her story moved us all. But she didn't just focus on herself; she encouraged the mother-to-be, offering help and support. Afterward, I made sure to say hello ...
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For You, If You Don’t Want to Get Out of Bed in the Morning

It's a bright, beautiful day, but I'm not really seeing it. The world looks bleak. A bombing at the Boston Marathon, a city-wide manhunt, ongoing violence and terrorism the world over ... the hate seems very heavy, and the love feather-light. Part of me wishes I could be a small child again, blessedly unaware of all this. And what is the deepest wish of a child but to be safe, held, home? *** Photo Credit: Brian A. Taylor Photography And that calls a story to mind. To begin, I should tell you that I co-led the opening of ...
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2 Guest Posts + 2 New Book Formats = 4 Reasons to Smile

Hello & happy Monday! Today, I'd like to share a few exciting announcements with you. First, I have a new guest post up at MissMinimalist.com! (Longtime readers may remember my first guest post there 2 years ago as well - how time flies!) Miss Minimalist is all about “living a beautiful life with less stuff.” Author Francine Jay is a gracious, articulate writer, and her site is an excellent resource for simplicity-seekers. Today's new post is, Real Life Minimalist Update: Caroline McGraw. Welcome to A Wish Come Clear, readers from Miss Minimalist! Thank you for visiting! I'd like to invite ...
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All Too Familiar: A Story for National Siblings Day

One Tuesday night this winter, I was babysitting my friends’ children, three-year-old Eliza* and one-year-old Mitchell.* I watch them on a weekly basis, so I have a working knowledge of their routines and habits. But on that particular Tuesday, Eliza did something I didn’t expect. When she noticed her brother Mitchell getting a little fussy around bedtime, she stepped closer to him and looked into his eyes. He grew still. Then she stepped away, her hands partially covering her face. And then … Older sister. (Used with permission.) “Ah BOO!” Eliza exclaimed, moving her hands away from her ...
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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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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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Are You ‘Silent About Things That Matter’?

I celebrated Valentine's Day by doing something I've never done before: calling animal control. It all began when I started learning to drive our stick-shift truck. During 'driving practice', I'd have (metaphorical) blinders on. It was me against the truck, and the battle demanded every bit of my focus. Meet Curley, the sweet puppy I grew up with. Gradually, I started looking around as I drove. When I did, I noticed an elegant German Shepherd with mournful eyes. She'd bark at me, but I could tell her heart wasn't in it. She was chained to a tree. She ...
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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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In the Silence That Follows: A Love Story

My dear friend Brooke recently wrote, “I want to listen to what I really want to be working on, what I really want to be writing, where I really want to be spending my energy … and then do that.” This resonated with me, because I've been having trouble listening lately. And when I am having difficulty listening, I am most in need of guidance. Authentic listening is a lot more demanding than it sounds. It asks that you stop and be still. And in the terrifying silence that follows, it asks that you open your heart to what you ...
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