Karly’s Garden

Many of you have met my beloved friend, Karly Wahlin, through her beautiful music, blog, poetry, and my stories about her.  I met Karly several years ago when I was invited to produce a CD of her soulful classical piano music.  Karly has lived with a condition called Rett Syndrome for all of her 26 years.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Rett, it combines symptoms from epilepsy, cerebral palsy, autism, Parkinson’s Disease, and acute anxiety.  She is also legally blind. Because she is non-verbal, Karly communicates through typing on a keyboard while someone stabilizes her hand.  She struggles mightily just to breathe and needs assistance to walk.  While her body is in almost constant revolt, her mind is clear, bright, brilliant, and perfectly functional.

Lately Karly hasn’t been feeling well.  Friends and family have been eager to offer support to this wise and lovely person.  But how?  Karly recently gave us a clue:  she asked her mom to let people know that flowers help her feel better.

Almost immediately the vision for Karly’s Garden sprang to life.  This will be a haven for Karly and her family to rest in beauty — with a pergola, birdbath, flowers, and plants. Linder’s Nursery is lending support to the project.

I have been constantly humbled and inspired by how much Karly contributes to this world.  In spite of her almost overwhelming challenges, she has touched so many lives in unforgettable ways.  Perhaps she’ll touch yours and you’ll be inspired to donate to her garden refuge.

To read more about Karly’s garden andmake a donation:


To visit Karly’s incredible blog:


Thank you, Karly, for your generosity, wisdom, and beauty.

I am honored to call you friend, fellow artist, and teacher.



About Barbara McAfee

Barbara is a voice coach, singer/songwriter, keynote speaker, and author who merges lessons from 12 years in organization development with the transformational power of sound. Her book, Full Voice: The Art & Practice of Vocal Presence (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) was a #1 Amazon bestseller in Business Communication. The book is based on her 25 years as a voice coach, supporting people from many professions in learning how to access the full power and expression of the voice in service to their work and relationships. Barbara’s musical keynotes blend practical content, sophisticated humor, and thought-provoking questions on topics including voice, leadership, and engagement. She was “the band” for Margaret Wheatley’s Women’s Leadership Revival Tour, which visited 15 North American cities. She also appears with authors Parker Palmer and Peter Block. Barbara has produced seven CD's of mostly original music and is founder of the Morning Star Singers, a volunteer hospice choir in the Twin Cities. She lives across the street from the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.
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One Response to Karly’s Garden

  1. Barbara, I feel incredibly lucky to know of Karly through you. Though I have never met her personally, her story and her wise voice have touched me just as much as if she was a close friend. Her CD has brought me countless hours of soul-filled listening. I am sorry to know that she has not been well and will gladly stop at her blog to help with the garden project. It’s the least I can do to say thanks for all I have gained from her sharing of herself and her journey in her writing and music. — Lucy

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