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"Your life is not a problem to be solved but a gift to be opened." ~ Wayne Muller

10 Ways to Ease Depression With Only Your Pen

hand in jail

If you’ve been with me on this journey for a while you’ll know that one of my lifetime struggles has been with depression.

It took a long time for me to identify with that part of my story, and then again, to admit it out loud. In fact, as I write this, I’m cringing a little.

I’d rather tell you I have it all figured out. How depression is behind me and I have all the answers sitting snugly in my back pocket. But that’s not how it goes with this ugly illness. It finds you in the cracks where you try to seek joy. And sometimes, you wonder if you’ll ever out-run it.

Depression is the secret that pervades many households—the one most hide away from in shame. I keep writing about it because as I learn how to catch up with, and hopefully outrun, this thing, I want to bring many others with me on the journey. And the fact that so many people do hide away makes me all the more determined to bring this thing into the light.« Continue »

The Mama Notebook: Gluing My Children Together Again

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I’d never fully understood the term “coming unglued” until I became the mother of toddlers.

I saw it happen to both of my daughters in turn, how exhaustion could creep up when no one was looking and pull them apart at the seams. They would fall into wailing heaps of little girl limbs with more pointy thrashing bits than you’d think possible.

I could almost measure the gap widening between their emotions and their sense of logic when this happened. Conversation was out. So was every other of my reason-based parenting strategies. My only feasible goal in those moments was damage control: contain the flailing limbs, calm the screams, and keep everyone safe until the storm raged itself out.

Mercifully, the meltdowns have happened less and less frequently as my girls have grown into elementary school age. They’re confident and fun-loving kids, and rarely does one of them fall to pieces. When it happens though, I find my creative problem-solving skills tested like never before.

My old damage control approach only works to a point now that my girls are older. For one thing, we have the first marauding bands of hormones sticking their machetes through the girls’ feelings and taking their personalities hostage at inconvenient times. Also, managing my daughters’ behavior is less of a priority to me now than engaging their hearts and minds is.

It’s not enough to teach my children how to act; I also need to teach them how to identify and handle the factors behind their actions. « Continue »

The Power to Write New Stories

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When the security guard stopped me on my way out of the grocery store, I knew he wasn’t chasing after me because I forgot something at the register or dropped my keys from my purse. No. He was stopping me to check my bags. This is a common occurrence in my brown skin. Once every [...]

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When We Fear Our Own Light

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This post is one from the archives, originally published in March of this year. I wanted to share it with you again because it represents the heart of The Gift of Writing. I’m also on a mini-break from writing right now as I soak up some rays in Europe. I hope you’re having a great [...]

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I Am An Unfinished Woman

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I am unfinished. Understanding this at its core continues to come in waves for me. It’s an awareness I now carry with me every day of my life. I am a work in progress. There are many layers to who I am and I will never be complete. Feeling an unexplainable void in my early [...]

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How to Write Inspirational Memoir (Giveaway!)

This week I’m excited to introduce you to writer and friend, Emily T. Wierenga. Emily is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commissioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books, including the memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). This recently released memoir is testament to [...]

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