Cynthia Lim: A Sorrow That’s Always There

Cynthia Lim is author of the forthcoming memoir, Wherever You Are, which chronicles her journey after her husband suffered a cardiac arrest, resulting in brain injury. Cynthia talks about the challenges she faced to help her husband achieve a good quality of life, her determination to maintain normalcy for their sons, and what she misses from her relationship with her husband prior to his disability. She also talks about how writing has helped her to understand her experience and also how painful it was to re-read her journals as she wrote her memoir.

Carole Yu: Caring for Yourself and Others

Entrepreneur and independent business owner Carole Yu talks about coping with her husband’s death from cancer while raising two young daughters. With support from Camp Kesem and other organizations, Carole helped her daughters survive and thrive despite the devastating loss of their father. Carole also talks about how she found the strength to follow through on her own life dreams one step at a time.

Camp Kesem is a nationwide community that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer:

Richard Hoff and Schuyler Ha: Expanding the Definition of Family

Richard Hoff and Schuyler Ha share the story of their family, including the many logistics they worked out in order to bring their now 10-year-old daughter into being, the consideration they put into the structure and dynamics of their family, and the environment in which their daughter is being raised. They also talk about the gender dynamics at play in their roles as two male parents and how their personal experiences of otherness has helped them to coach their daughter in understanding the social challenges of her hearing loss and wearing hearing aids.

Tanya Ward Goodman: An Enthusiastic Embrace of the World

On today’s show I’m speaking with writer Tanya Ward Goodman, author of Leaving Tinkertown. Our conversation examines how she uses her writing practice, which she likens to the process of composting, to learn her mind and understand experience. We discuss how the experience of taking care of her father during his decline from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which she chronicles in Leaving Tinkertown, allowed her to develop her own identity and question deeply held beliefs. Tanya also talks about what the experience of caring for her father during his illness and death taught her about what it means to live well.

Happy New Year! Looking Forward and Back

At the start of the New Year, many people make a practice of reflecting on the year that is past and anticipating the year that is to come. These reflections are a story of what has happened to make us who we are, and our anticipations are a story of who we want to become in the New Year.

In keeping with the tradition of the season, in this episode host Diane McDaniel takes a quick look backward at 2017 and forward to 2018.

REAL is on Hiatus! Return January 2, 2018

REAL is now on hiatus. We’ll be back on January 2, 2018, with more stories adversity, resilience, creativity, and transformation. This episode is a sneak peek of some of the stories on which we are currently working:

  • As 2018 approaches, we’re thinking about for the New Year, and so we’ll start the year with an episode on that. Let me know if you’d like to contribute your thoughts.
  • I spoke with Tanya Ward Goodman about her book Leaving Tinkertown, how writing about real people affects your understanding of them, developing an individual artistic vision, and writing about Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Richard Hoff and Schuyler Ha came into the studio to share what it’s like to be two men raising a daughter, some of the questions that they’ve encountered about their family, and how their own experiences with difference have helped them teach their daughter about how to think about her differences.
  • Carole Yu shared with me how she and her young daughters endured the death of her husband in 2007, how the national organization Camp Kesem helped the girls feel normal and connected despite their loss, and the paths each member of the family took to chart individual futures in which they could thrive.
  • And more…

Thanksgiving Special Episode

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in United States and a number of other countries. It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It’s a day for gathering with family and family friends and for engaging in family traditions and rituals.

To mark the day this is a special episode of the REAL podcast. This crowdsourced episode is comprised of reflections on gratitude and of how we celebrate Thanksgiving from Philippe Browning, Catherine Davidson, Laura Diamond, Tanya Ward Goodman, Chris J Rice, Laura Silverman, and others.

Chris Rice: Becoming the Author of My Own Life

Writer and visual artist Chris Rice talks about growing up on the road, traveling between the Bible Belt and Southern California as the oldest of nine children and caretaker of her younger siblings. Witness to the legacy of epigenetic trauma and suffering, Chris became an outsider and observer of the imagined lives she might inhabit in the future. Chris also talks about the healing power of love and the importance of community to protect and foster the vulnerable.

Find Chris’ work at

Celeste Young: A New Relationship to Experience

Mindfulness meditation practitioner and Dharma teacher, Celeste Young, talks about her search to lessen her suffering and develop a new relationship to experience, as well as the joy she now feels in sharing what she loves with students who are dealing with anxiety and stress. Celeste also talks about developing a balanced relationship with the technologies that both claim our attention and connect us to community and how being silent and practicing mindfulness can be a doorway into compassion for oneself.

Find information on Celeste’s events, corporate wellness, and individual sessions at

Halloween Special Episode

Halloween is an evening for trick-or-treating, dressing in costume, carving jack-o’-lanterns, playing pranks, and visiting haunted houses. Halloween is also a day for remembering the dead. This crowd-sourced episode is comprised of stories about Halloween.