The Power of Voluntelling

Voluntold

“That’s when Kelsey voluntold me that I was going to be a writer in the Facing Project,” Dr. Adam Kuban told those attending a session at the Indiana Campus Compact conference.

I love the term “voluntold.” But I would, wouldn’t I? I’m a fan of portmanteaus (mashing together two words). That’s where the term touron and glocal come from. I’ve used the hell out of each of those, so much that they don’t need italicized or put in quotes any longer.

A lot of arms have been twisted (that’s what I used to call the hard sell to volunteer I’d put on people) through the years to recruit writers, volunteers, and board members for The Facing Project. In fact, if I hadn’t voluntold my…

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If you read one book on autism, read this one

Griff Dunking

(Autism hasn’t impacted Griffin’s hang time!)

When our son Griffin was diagnosed with autism three years ago, our world got pretty small. We felt alone, as if we were the only family to have a child on the spectrum. We read stuff. Stuff on the Internet! Scary stuff and inspiring stuff, but mostly scary stuff.

Slowly we started to plan a path forward to get Griffin the best help we could. We started to connect with other people who had been where we were. I helped run, and Annie participated in, the Facing Autism Project in Muncie (read Annie’s story, read all the stories and download the bookRead More >

 
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Cancer can take, but it also can give

(Video from Facing Cancer in East Central Indiana)

Cancer doesn’t know race, religion, gender, or political ideology. Cancer has touched all of our lives. Maybe not our own bodies, but the bodies of someone we love.

That’s why the most recent Facing Project led by Dr. Adam Kuban’s Ball State class of Ingelhardt Scholars was so important. Students ran the project from start to finish along with their community partner Little Red Door.

From what I’ve seen and read, cancer can divide us, make us feel alone as we deal with our illness or mortality or that of a loved one. But cancer can also connect us. I’ve seen my mother-in-law become a one-woman cancer support group for an entire community after she survived breast…

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All we really own are moments

IMG_2874

I lay down next to my son and stare up at the stars. They aren’t mine. A hand I’ll never shake placed the glowing sticky stars to bring joy to her daughter in the dark.

“Wish it. Dream it. Do it.” Reads the acrylic letters the same hand affixed to the wall.

The woman who lived in this house before died in her 40s. Her name was Pat. People seemed to have liked her. When I called the company that services our furnace, they remembered her. I delivered the news to a stranger about a stranger’s death. Now about my furnace…

I often wonder how the hole got in the door of the Jack and Jill bathroom. It’s at the right height and size to…

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Kids & sports & bassoon lessons

IMG_3931There was a volleyball camp this winter and my wife and I wanted our 7-year-old daughter Harper to do it. It was every Saturday for 6 weeks, or something like that.

“I don’t want to give up my Saturdays,” Harper responded.

It was a shockingly mature and reasonable thing to say. Annie loved playing volleyball and we really wanted her to do it. But we really didn’t have an argument beyond that.

“Ok.”

So we didn’t sign her up.

Right now, I feel like she’s in discovery mode and it’s our job to expose her to as many things as possible. But what if she is the most naturally-gifted bassoon player ever and we haven’t exposed her to a bassoon because I’m really not even sure what a bassoon is?!

Yet…

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Struggles into strengths

Facing Project Board

(The Facing Project board)

Find purpose. Find community.

I get a lot of emails from students and recent grads who are struggling to find their way or going through a rough patch. The quarter-life crisis is real! I can relate to the struggle. I only began to discover my purpose when I was 25 and tracked down the guy who made my favorite shirt, Amilcar, in Honduras. (We’re still friends.)

I received such an email last month, and I thought I’d share my response with you. Maybe it will help you, or you could share it with someone who you think it will help. 

I first shared this in my newsletter. Go ahead and subscribe already.

Here’s what I…

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Come with me on a tour of the Midwest Writers Workshop’s new location

The Midwest Writers Workshop helped launch my writing career. I went to the conference in the summer of 2007 and by the end of the year the agent I met there had sold my first book (WHERE AM I WEARING?) to a publisher.

You should REGISTER NOW for the conference this summer if you’d like to reach the world with your words. We’re well on our way to another sell-out.

I’ve been a proud member of the nonprofit’s planning committee for the last 6 years or so. We’re growing the number of opportunities we offer writers along with the number of faculty we bring in, including agents, editors, authors, and publishing experts. We outgrew our old location at Ball State’s Alumni Center and this summer…

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What if Trump is Punking us for the best possible reason?

Trump Punkd.001

What if everything Donald Trump says and does is actually satire?

If so, here’s what he’s deftly taught us so far:

Candidates shouldn’t have to rely on million dollar donations from corporations because the candidates should all be billionaires.

We are a racist, Islamophobic nation.

Policies and beliefs don’t matter, polls do.

The media will cover whatever gets the most ratings regardless if it’s necessary information, hate-mongering, and harmful to our country.

The Iowa caucus is a horrible event that puts an obscene amount of power into the hands of of one of the whitest states (92.5), and then only those who don’t work nights, aren’t single parents, aren’t serving in the military abroad or disabled and unable to attend the live event. (h/t Mr….

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Have the Courage to be Curious

KT_LinXin

(At 25, I followed my flip flops to China to meet the people who made them.)

I’ll forever be a wide-eyed recent college grad. At least this is so in the pages of my first book Where Am I Wearing? The book follows me from the age of 22 to 31.

This is actually thrown in my face some. Browse the one-star reviews on Goodreads (thankfully there aren’t a ton) and you’ll see for yourself. I wear flip-flops! I’m too folksy! (I probably still am too folksy for some folks. For instance, I use the word folks.) I asked Bibi Russell if she knew Gandhi! What did I think I’d see when I visited garment…

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André the Giant has been dead for 23 years. Here’s why I’ll never forget him…

Andre Giant

I went to a small school and we didn’t have a lot of resources. That meant the junior high basketball team had to wear uniforms from the mid-80s. If you know anything about pre-1988 basketball uniforms you know that they were…(how to put this?)…ball huggers.

Thankfully, wearing spandex beneath basketball shorts had become all of the rage. Thanks, MJ.

So picture a Junior High basketball team in a huddle wearing those shorts with Spandex sticking out a foot beneath the shorts.

I’m not sure why I’m writing about our shorts. Maybe it’s a sort of therapy trying to recover from a season of public humiliation. What I really want to write about is André the Giant.

If you were a boy in the 80s, you probably…

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