Welcome to AWBA

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Companions on the Journey

In recent years I have been blessed with wonderfully creative companions on the journey with me.   As an artist, I have been encouraged and uplifted through the richness of expressions of faith offered through music, art, sculpture, dance, photography, poetry and so much more.  Websites and blogs focusing on every aspect of faith development are abundant, and it is challenging to not become overwhelmed with the wonderful resources available with the aid of technology.   What to keep up with and what to release?  Periodically, I want to share with you some of what I have found useful in hopes you may find a piece of encouragement through the creative expression of another.  If I were to begin telling you everything I love about these four people and how they have impacted my life and some of  the choices I have made in beginning this new ministry, this post would be much too long.  So, check out any or all of these links and perhaps one will be just the nugget of inspiration you need for the day.  Do you know a blog or site you would like to share that might encourage a caregiver or someone with chronic disease?  Send them to me at director@myawba.org and we will include some of them in our monthly newsletters.  If you would like to receive the monthly Always We Begin newsletter, visit www.myawba.org and register on the home page.

Christine Valters Painter offers a five minute meditation on Silence and an abundance of other treasures through her website.
Stacy Wills has two blogs - Mandalas and Sacred Alter
Betsy Beckman,The Dancing Word, and you can see Betsy doing what she does so prayerfully at Dancer.
Michael Landon shares his thoughts on Grief in ways that inspire and offer hope.  Michael has facilitated on-line workshops for AWBA in the past, and he and I are brainstorming for  another offering this spring.

Perhaps, in this very moment, you could benefit from a reminder that your body is not your enemy, that color continues to exist even when darkness surrounds, that music and imagery can provide opportunities for a deep breath, and/or that God is nearby in times of sadness and loss.  May something in the words, images or movements of these gifted individuals bring peace to your soul this day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Story of One

“I never look at the masses as my responsibility; I look at the individual.  I can only love one person at a time - just one, one, one.  So you begin.  I began - I picked up one person.  Maybe if I didn’t pick up that one person, I  wouldn’t have picked up forty-two thousand ... The same thing goes for you, the same thing in your family, the  same thing in your church, your community.  Just begin - one, one, one.”  - Mother Teresa of Calcutta

In the first post, “Welcome”, I wrote that one of the goals for this blog is to give our readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into AWBA.  As you choose to be served or to serve through AWBA in some manner, it is important to know what is beneath our surface so that you come to know us.   

This week, I want to share with you about our Board of Directors.  Some of you may have board experiences that are not particularly favorable - meetings that exceed the intended time limit, a sense of non-productivity for the time invested, board members who do not seem genuinely glad to be present, board leadership that lacks focus and purpose -- you get the idea.  Then there are those experiences such as my own last night, and that seems representative of how our monthly meetings unfold.  I leave energized and affirmed from the discussions.  I may return home with a very long to do list, but that is a good thing!  

We close and open our meetings with blessing and prayer.  Last night, we were led into a blessing time by one of our members who shared a writing by Mother Teresa of which the above is an excerpt.  Oh, how I love these words and this image I found today of Mother Teresa surrounded by a crowd and intently focused on the One in her hands.  Thank you Deb for this offering.

You are our “One.”  When people hear our mission “to provide spiritual care for caregivers and those living with chronic disease”,  I am often reminded that this is an awfully large net we have spread for ourselves.  As I hear the stories from those who reach out to us, and from those with whom I am in regular contact, I can easily become overwhelmed with the abundance of stories held in this net that is AWBA’s place of service.  Yet, at the same time, when I hear a story of One, I am right there with the individual.  I hear the details.  I hear the specifics of their unique journey.  And, in that moment, I am again captured and encouraged for what we are about.  AWBA will do a workshop, an event, an offering for whomever shows up in need of support and nourishment.  We see AWBA growing one by one by one.

I am grateful for a Board of Directors charged with maintaining daily operations and  keeping a firm grasp on our future while simultaneously being unified in the value of the Story of One.  In a culture obsessed with how many are buying a product, attending the seminars, sitting in the pews, hitting a website, etc., I do believe that as we focus on the One, the numbers and resources will take care of themselves.  

AWBA’s is blessed with a gifted, passionate, compassionate, focused, and energetic board.  Stop by to learn more about them at www.myawba.org/aboutus.php. They are the wings of Always We Begin Again.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"What do you want me to do for you?"

I find many nuggets of relevant wisdom in the Bible and this is one of them.  In Matthew 25:29-34, Jesus enters into conversation with two blind men sitting by the road.  He calls to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”  It would seem that anyone with vision and a small bit of awareness would assume these blind men want their vision restored.  My interpretation of this encounter is that (1) Jesus chose not to assume based on his perspective, and (2) Jesus desired that the men articulate what they want and to hear themselves speak the words.  For me personally, there are times when life feels so chaotic that when someone asks me, “what is it that you want” - surprisingly, I can’t answer other than mumbling something about making it all go away.  That pointed question invites me to dig beneath the surface of the immediate circumstances to discern what is at the root of the mess in which I find myself at that moment.  Then (and most  importantly), I need the courage to ask specifically for what I  want.  Not easy to do sometimes.   

AWBA asks the same of those we serve.  What is it that you  want?  We have a year of events and programs already   behind us.  But, we know that we have just touched the tip of  the iceberg.  You may or may not know what you want as far  as an end result and what an effective program might  actually look like for you.  If not, can you identify the struggles  you face?  Can you share with us what programming has  been helpful and not helpful for you in the past?  I believe  that God will help AWBA weave together your feedback to  create a pathway for programs we might offer in person and  via the Internet.  

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I invite you to respond below or, if you prefer a bit of dialogue or confidentiality, email me at director@myawba.org.

Thank you for being here this day.