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 with bunny-ears

When we arrived at L’Arche after a 13 hour drive, I didn’t want to sleep; I wanted to wake people up and hold them in my arms. But I chose, instead, to enjoy the house itself.

Things had changed since my husband and I moved away. New paint colors appeared on the walls, new artwork adorned them, and new people lived within them. Yet even so, I had a visceral sense of home.

Now, that L’Arche house isn’t ‘perfect’. It has held some tensions and discord over the years. But it has also held love. And love lingers in a space; it’s what makes people feel peaceful the moment they walk in the door.

It made such an impression on me, the way the house seemed to have absorbed everything that had passed between its walls into a bedrock of peace. And I thought: If a house can do that, so can we.


That peaceful feeling remained as I read with Leo**, as I sat next to Miguel and scribbled in my journal as he scribbled in his magazines. And even though I knew that the house wasn’t ‘mine’ anymore, I still felt like I was a part of it, a thread in the tapestry.

And the pattern became even clearer on our last night there. After supper, I overheard Leo talking about me to one of the other guests. He indicated to me and said, “Hey, guess what? She writes books now.”

It’s hard to explain the feeling I had as I overheard those words. It was the sense that someone has hit the nail exactly on the head, that they have said of you the most wonderful thing that could have been said.

Leo implied that he approved of my choice to write, that he was proud of me for it. He seemed to say that what I do fits into the spirit of L’Arche — into that home, into those hearts.


On the day my first-grade teacher told us that we’d be writing our own books, I knew that writing was the life for me. What could be better than making a book? (That first book was titled, “My Brother,” and it was a straightforward, terribly-illustrated account of life with Willie.)

Since then, I have always wanted to be a ‘real’ writer, and I am tremendously thankful for the ways in which that dream has come true. I’ve written and published two books in the last two years, and I’ve been working on my next project for some time. And on that note, I have exciting news to share.

To begin, I spent this past summer writing a proposal for my third book. And in the process of seeking representation for the project, I came into contact with an independent publisher who had a wonderful idea:

What if we were to publish a story as a Kindle Single, just in time for the holidays?

Now, this wasn’t part of my original plan of agent first, then publisher. But if I’ve learned anything at all from L’Arche, I’ve learned that the best things in life are not part of my original plans. So I said, Yes. Let’s do it.

With that, I am proud to announce the forthcoming release of I Was a Stranger to Beauty.

ThinkPiece Publishing plans to launch the digital book this winter; it will be available for Kindle, Nook, and iPad. I’ll be sure to share more details as they become available.

It’s funny; usually, when I have a launch coming up, I feel nervous and scared. But today, all I feel is peace.

Maybe it’s L’Arche, maybe it’s Leo, or maybe it’s simply the love that went into this work … the kind of love that surpasses fear. 

Whatever it is, I can’t wait to share this book with you.


Where have you felt an inexplicable sense of peace? Join the conversation in the comments below!

*L’Arche is a faith-based non-profit organization that creates homes where people with and without intellectual disabilities share life together. I spent 5 years serving the DC community in various caregiving roles.

**Names have been changed to protect privacy.

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  1. R December 3, 2012 at 3:31 PM - Reply

    So proud of you. <3

  2. Véronique December 3, 2012 at 4:08 PM - Reply

    WOW! This is wonderful Caroline! Congratulations!!! I have an Amazon Kindle and will be looking for it!

    • Caroline McGraw December 3, 2012 at 4:09 PM - Reply

      🙂 Veronique, thank you so much! It’s lovely to see you here; I was just thinking of you, and hoping that you and P are having a wonderful holiday season thus far.

  3. Allison December 3, 2012 at 4:11 PM - Reply

    I’m so proud if you, dear Cari!! And what a beautiful cover!! I can’t wait to read it. And I’m so glad you felt such peace coming home. You, love you.

    • Caroline McGraw December 3, 2012 at 4:18 PM - Reply

      Thank you, Alli! That means so much to me. (And I was equally wowed by the cover – it’s amazing what designers can do.) You, love you too.

  4. carolyn December 3, 2012 at 4:11 PM - Reply

    boy announcement was a great hook…..
    i thought it might be a baby..
    and it is a new baby,

    • Caroline McGraw December 3, 2012 at 4:20 PM - Reply

      Haha yes indeed it is – a good point! I was thinking of that as I was writing this post, remembering the way I just dissolved into tears the first time I saw a print copy of Love’s Subversive Stance (my last ‘creative child’). Thank you, Carolyn!

  5. Mary December 3, 2012 at 4:18 PM - Reply

    Congrats, hon! Very exciting 🙂 It was so good to see you when you were here.

    • Caroline McGraw December 3, 2012 at 4:21 PM - Reply

      Thank you – it was wonderful to see you as well, my dear friend. Big hugs!

  6. emily December 3, 2012 at 4:30 PM - Reply

    “Now, that L’Arche house isn’t ‘perfect’. It has held some tensions and discord over the years. But it has also held love. And love lingers in a space; it’s what makes people feel peaceful the moment they walk in the door.” – beautiful story, beautiful writing!

  7. Tess The Bold Life December 3, 2012 at 5:29 PM - Reply

    Love this Caroline and congrats on your new book. I love the title and the cover. Let me know if I can help you promote it. You’re amazing! xo

    • Caroline McGraw December 3, 2012 at 6:03 PM - Reply

      Tess, you are the best! Thank you so very much for that compliment; I really appreciate (and happily accept) the offer to help spread the word as well. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the time frame for the launch!

  8. Renee December 3, 2012 at 6:21 PM - Reply

    Wow! Congratulations, Caroline! I will be looking for it, as well!

  9. Metod December 4, 2012 at 12:42 AM - Reply

    Caroline, how nice to hear that you had a chance to revisit your extended family at L’Arche.
    What a sweet homecoming! They must be so proud of you….as we are here at AWCC.
    I’m very much looking forward to your beautiful writing and the stories. And I got a kindle…yeah!!! 🙂

    PS. I love the title and the cover too!!!!

    • Caroline McGraw December 4, 2012 at 3:47 PM - Reply

      A sweet homecoming indeed – thank you, Metod! And thank you for the affirmation on the book – if I recall correctly, you have a complimentary copy coming your way (due to last year’s Love’s Subversive Stance re-pricing)! 🙂

  10. Caitlin December 4, 2012 at 12:43 AM - Reply

    YES!!!!!!! We are so excited. And I love stories about strangers. Way to go CGM. It looks beautiful already- maybe I’ll get LFS a reader for xmas… complete with McGraw titles. xoxo

    • Caroline McGraw December 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM - Reply

      Oh, good idea! Thank you, Caitlin – it was so wonderful to visit with you, Luke, and the babies. Thank you for sharing your new life with us! xoxo

  11. Gillian Marchenko December 4, 2012 at 1:48 AM - Reply

    Wow! So great! Can’t wait to read it :). CONGRATS!

    • Caroline McGraw December 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM - Reply

      I really appreciate that – thank you, Gillian! I’ll be sure to keep you posted on publication details too.

  12. Dorothy Copps December 4, 2012 at 1:04 PM - Reply

    Congratulations! Dear One! I too love how you capture the love at L’Arche with your profound words. Sometimes i have trouble expressing the good because of the discord, and this was so encouraging. love you! Dorothy

    • Caroline McGraw December 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM - Reply

      You are so sweet, Dorothy – thank you. I’m very glad to hear that the post was an encouragement to you who have encouraged so many (myself certainly included)!

  13. Lizette Valles December 4, 2012 at 5:36 PM - Reply

    Caroline, this is so exciting! Congratulations! You have so much to share! 🙂

    • Caroline McGraw December 4, 2012 at 6:58 PM - Reply

      Much appreciated; thank you, Lizette – for the affirmation and for all that you do. 🙂

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