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 through a terribly difficult time, and (eventually) arriving at a place of acceptance and love.
In a way, it’s all of our stories.

It’s the time you got back up … even though you didn’t think you had the strength to stand.
It’s the time you trusted … even though you’d been hurt in the past.
It’s the time you opened your heart … even though you were tired and wanted to go home.

We’ve all been strangers to the beauty in our own lives.
The question is, will we stay that way, or will we learn to open our eyes?

Thank you in advance for taking a moment to …

  • Read the excerpt below. If you like what you read …

  • Buy the book and support a great cause too. As mentioned in the video, 5% of proceeds from the first month’s sales go to L’Arche Washington DC, an amazing caregiving organization that provides homes for life for adults with special needs. Also, please …

  • Share the news with those in your network. (Friends, family, nosy neighbor.)

The excerpt is below; thank you again for your support!


At root, a pearl is a ‘disturbance’, a beauty caused by something that isn’t supposed to be there, about which something needs to be done. It is the interruption of equilibrium that creates beauty. Beauty is a response to provocation, to intrusion.”

~ Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper: Starting from Scratch

I’ve always felt a special connection to pearls. They’re my birthstone, true, but it goes deeper than that. Here’s what I love: the idea that an object of immense value can arise from an annoyance. A grain of sand slips into an oyster’s shell, and the oyster’s defense mechanism swirls around it, gradually taking the shape of a pearl. The unsuspecting oyster is provoked by a minuscule intruder, and, over time, that intrusion becomes a thing of beauty. Likewise, my story starts with provocation and intrusion … but in my case, the irritant was much more significant than a grain of sand. It was my younger brother, Willie.

Willie is my only sibling, and he was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. Like most brothers and sisters, we have obvious similarities—a tendency toward obsessive-compulsiveness, a penchant for politeness, highly sensitive natures—as well as some differences. Willie is a gifted musician, someone who can hear a new song a few times and then walk over to a piano and play the melody. He has a photographic memory; he can watch a set of film credits once or twice and then type out the entire list of names on the computer. He’s got a great sense of humor, too, one grounded in purposeful mistakes. He loves to take quotidian phrases such as “A wish come true” and alter them on purpose. “I’ve been dreaming of a wish come … clear!” he’ll say, and burst out laughing. “What about a wish come … blue?” I’ll counter, and he’ll crack up again. When we were growing up, it was always easy for me to make him laugh.

Willie also has a gift for mischief. When he was two, he walked out of the house early one winter morning. My parents panicked at his disappearance, but they soon discovered why he’d vanished: to prance about in the freshly fallen snow. When they opened the front door, he was stomping cheerfully around the yard wearing nothing but a T-shirt and snow boots. When he got older, he’d run away on a regular basis; he was fast, and he had a knack for slipping out of sight. He’d be swimming in the duck pond at the park with policemen trying to coax him out before anyone knew that he was missing. My childhood is peppered with memories of riding in our Volvo with my mom both of us scanning the sidewalks for Willie. The car’s leather seats would stick to my legs as a combination of fear, excitement, and annoyance swirled through my veins. When we’d find Willie at last, his blue eyes would be half-sheepish and half-triumphant.

Buy the book and read on!

Share This:


  1. Tess The Bold Life January 14, 2013 at 2:39 PM - Reply

    Congratulations! I love the cover and I’m positive the content is even better. You are one of the most loving and genuine people I know online. You’re changing lives!

    • Caroline McGraw January 14, 2013 at 2:52 PM - Reply

      Tess, what a beautiful affirmation – thank you! I’m so thankful to have connected with you (speaking of loving and genuine …) 😉

  2. Donna January 14, 2013 at 5:31 PM - Reply

    How lovely, how awesome and wondrous is the journey seen through the eyes of love. I thank God that he allows all things to work together for good, however painful and frightening they may seem at first. Thank you that your words give hope and healing. So beautifully done!

    • Caroline McGraw January 14, 2013 at 5:32 PM - Reply

      Mom, that means the world to me. Thank you! You and Dad are my heroes. <3

  3. susan shannon January 14, 2013 at 5:57 PM - Reply

    Done! How wonderful Caroline…perfect timing. I especially needed this today and am looking forward to reading your new Kindle Single (which I just downloaded). Best wishes for all the success in this endeavor you so richly deserve.

    • Caroline McGraw January 14, 2013 at 6:02 PM - Reply

      Wow, thank you Susan! I’m so glad it came at the right time for you; I hope you enjoy the Single!

  4. Metod January 14, 2013 at 7:27 PM - Reply

    Thank you for this beautiful gift. I can’t wait to start reading your story. I’ve been such a fan since your first book and I’m so thrilled to see your third addition in our home library.

    • Caroline McGraw January 14, 2013 at 10:13 PM - Reply

      You are most welcome, Metod! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support and encouragement. I hope you enjoy the book! 🙂

  5. Gigi Susan January 14, 2013 at 7:52 PM - Reply

    I have been following your progress in writing your Kindle single, and am so very thrilled for you to have arrived at launch day! Congratulations! You help color my world with happiness. I have downloaded your book and am going to get to reading it here in just a few moments. Kudos!

    • Caroline McGraw January 14, 2013 at 10:14 PM - Reply

      Gigi, I’m so glad! Comments like yours make launch days worth all the work that goes into them. 😉 Enjoy!

  6. Joan Fischer January 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM - Reply

    Dear Caroline,
    Congratulations on the release of your new book! Just reading the excerpt leaves me wanting to read more. I have no doubt that I will be quickly and entirely absorbed into your story – words written with in faith with love, tenderness, compassion, and insight. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.
    Love, Aunt Joan

    • Caroline McGraw January 14, 2013 at 10:28 PM - Reply

      Thank you so much for the support – and on your birthday too! 😉 Honored to be sharing this book with you. <3

  7. Susannah January 15, 2013 at 7:58 AM - Reply

    Biggest congrats Cari!!! I’m so excited for you and I’m excited that I will be able to read it on Kindle Cloud! It’s really awesome to see you publishing more of your work and continuing to walk down a path that you’ve been passionate about for so long. 😀 All the best my dear friend!

    • Caroline McGraw January 15, 2013 at 5:28 PM - Reply

      Sweet Suz! Thank you so much. 🙂 And in turn, I look forward to hearing more about where life is taking you in this engagement season! xo

  8. […] my husband and I moved to a new state, where almost everyone was a stranger to me. The last few months have felt like those first days of summer camp:  a bit lonely and […]

  9. […] school lunches — and my family — were ‘unusual’. When I started packing lunch, I brought what I ate at home: a […]

Leave A Comment Cancel reply

Related Posts