Videos of Rhiannon and Fran


If you’ve read chapter one of Unteachable Lessons you know all about my wife Fran and my late daughter Rhiannon (who passed away in 2014). Thankfully, we have a number of videos of Fran and Rhiannon singing together, as they often performed especially for events related to the Atlanta L’Arche Community. Here is a collection of some of the videos we have posted to Youtube over the...

Julian of Norwich, Francis of Assisi, and Centering Prayer: Three Mystical Books for Children


Yesterday I received an advance copy of a wonderful book coming out this fall, that tells a simple children’s story about grief and loss, while using the wisdom of Julian of Norwich to underscore the message that “all shall be well.” All Will Be Well: Learning to Trust God’s Love by Lacy Finn Borgo, illustrated by Rebecca Evans, will be published in October, so you can get...

Cindy Lou Harrington (1953-2021)


Friends, I am sad to have learned of the passing of our dear friend Cindy Lou Harrington. If you have read Eternal Heart you met Cindy Lou on page 59. She was my daughter Rhiannon’s teacher for many years, but in addition to her work as a special educator she also had a career as a singer-songwriter; she released several albums and was a regular in the Atlanta country music scene for many...

Seven Years in Heaven


Yesterday — August 30, 2021 — marked the seventh anniversary of the 2014 passing of Fran’s and my daughter, Rhiannon. It was a stormy evening here in Atlanta, as we began to feel the wrath of Hurricane Ida. So Fran and I just grabbed carryout personal pizzas from Rhiannon’s favorite pizza joint, Uncle Maddio’s, and then came home and watched one of her favorite...

The Communion of Saints Who Watch Over Me As I Write


Today’s post is just for fun! This morning on Facebook my cousin Danny, up in Manhattan, made a comment about the beautiful icon of the Holy Cross, written by iconographer Fr John Walsted of Staten Island. I decided it would be fun to show Danny that I have a replica of that icon right above my computer. So I took the picture, and then realized, “Well, he might want to know about some...

Pictures of Rhiannon


My saving angel was… a chronically ill little girl. If you’ve read Unteachable Lessons, you know that the “star” of the title chapter of the book is my stepdaughter Rhiannon. As I wrote the book, I mentioned several friends and memorable moments from Rhiannon’s life and our shared life as dad and daughter. I thought it might be nice for this blog to collect some of...

Requiem for a Not-Quite-Friend


On the day before my 58th birthday, a man who was just a few weeks older than me died. I’ll just call him “H.” I met H. when we were in the seventh grade. We went to the same church — my family and I were newcomers, joining the small…... Read more at Patheos

Rhiannon’s Vigil and Funeral


On Thursday, September 11, a vigil for Rhiannon Gladelle Wilburn took place at Wages and Sons Funeral Home in Stone Mountain, GA. The family received guests from 7 to 8 PM and at 8 PM a brief prayer vigil was presided over by Father John Molyneaux, CMF. People told stories — mostly humorous — and Rhiannon’s dear friend Cindy Lou Harrington sang two of Rhiannon’s favorite songs: her...

Fran and Rhiannon singing


Here’s a video of Fran and Rhiannon singing at a Methodist Church earlier this month. This was filmed at St. Paul’s UMC in Grant Park, Atlanta, where Fran and Rhiannon provided music as part of the church’s disability awareness Sunday on March 6, 2011. Thanks to Laura and Talley Wells of Friends of L’Arche Atlanta for inviting Fran and Rhiannon to participate in this...

How is she doing?


I had the occasion to speak with a friend yesterday with whom I haven’t spoken in over a year. We did the obligatory “how’s it going?” conversation, and of course, that led to the hardest question of all: “How’s Rhiannon?” For readers who do not know the story of my stepdaughter, she was born in 1985 with polycystic kidney disease, which is, according to...

Kale Salad


Sunday the lay associates had a potluck lunch at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, to celebrate the birthday of our monastic advisor, Father Anthony, as well as the eldest monk of the community, Father Luke, who turned 99 today! Fran brought one of her more recent discoveries: Kale Salad. It was quite the hit. One of the lay associates actually took the salad around to everyone, raving about how...

A Kiss from Mom and a Lesson About Suffering


Early this morning (August 15, 2009) I had a dream in which I was standing outside a building, like an officer’s club on a small military base. It felt like I was in Florida or somewhere else where the winters are mild. There may have been palm trees, but I’m not sure. What I do remember is that I stood outside the building, with tables and chairs all around me, as if this were a place where...



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