Welcome to AWBA

Monday, February 23, 2015

Upcoming Events and Our Desire to Offer You Community

I am finishing a newsletter to go out in the next day or two sharing all of the exciting information about upcoming events.  If you don't receive this monthly news, you can register on the home page of our website at www.myawba.org.  This is a simple way to keep current without having to visit the website regularly.   

Everything has been updated on the Upcoming Events of our website so stop by if you would like to see what we have planned for March-June.  Registration is now open for the following:

~~ The registration deadline for the expressive arts event offered through Wellstreams is rapidly approaching - March 11.  This will be a great experience for those in the helping profession who do not consider themselves an "artist" and are interested to learn more about how those we care for can often more effectively express themselves through a variety of creative and non-verbal expressions.

~~ We will offer a workshop on creative expression and healing at the April Symposium for the National Parkinson's Foundation of Central and Southeast Ohio on April 18 in Powell, Ohio. 

~~ We have two Touch Drawing events coming up.  One in May for parents of children diagnosed on the Autism spectrum (in Downtown Columbus) and another in June for anyone impacted by a chronic diagnosis (in Worthington, Ohio).   

Details are being finalized for another equine event to take place on Thursday, May 21, at Gilgal Farm in Lancaster, Ohio.  We will do a blog post when that event is posted to our website and open for registration.

Some of you will recall that when we developed our logo last year, one of the questions I was asked was, "What word do you want AWBA to own?"  As our Board talked through this, it was clear that the word we want to own in all of our interactions with you is that of "community."  Our open gate logo

is intended to be inviting to all those impacted by a chronic diagnosis as the one diagnosed, the loved one providing support, and the professional that cares for this population.  When you interact with AWBA, we pray that you feel listened to and supported on whatever journey you may be on at the moment.  If you have never participated in one of our events, we hope you will consider joining us to experience a dose of AWBA Community.  Our events are intended to be casual, fun, and non-judgmental with a huge dose of hospitality and community enveloping everything that we do.  If you have mobility or cognitive concerns or other health needs, let us know before you register so we can work to remove any hurdles that might exist.  If you are interested in an event but carrying a bit of fear about the unknown, I  understand completely and appreciate that surprises are not always helpful.   Email me at director@myawba.org and I will tell you everything I know about the event so you are comfortable.  There are no silly questions.  If you seek a particular type of experience that we have not done or one that you believe needs to be repeated, we will do our best to make your programming vision a reality.

It is our desire to serve you, not to offer only what we think would be interesting and helpful :)  As we enter this fifth year of ministry, life is full for AWBA's team of staff, volunteers and facilitators  eager to meet you at the place of your greatest need.  Even if we cannot meet a specific need at this time,  the better we know who you are, the more effectively we can serve you in future programs.  

Register for an event, reach out to us, drop us an email.  We want to hear from you.

Friday, February 6, 2015

To Learn How to Live

“I would like to learn, or remember, how to live.” 
~ Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters

Sometimes, I forget how to "live".  I also realize there are life seasons when life shifts so much that I need to learn, again, how to live.  Amidst the details of daily life (even when there is no major concern weighing on me), I assume I know how to live simply because I am getting things done and fulfilling my obligations.  I know how to work, how to worry, how to accomplish a task, how to do the grocery shopping and the laundry, how to be kind, how to be unkind, how to sit in an emergency room, how to wait in a doctor's office for an answer, how to look at a CT scan and carry hundreds of questions about life …  you know the list.  I don't often stop to ask myself, "Have you learned how to live for this time and place in your life?"

Like many, I am drawn to the water and to boats.  This small boat was tethered to a private shoreline in Sarasota where I was doing some coursework a few weeks ago.  She caught my eye because she was sitting so quietly on the water, and her red paint popped off the sapphire blue water against the equally blue sky.  I also believe she caught my eye because I yearn for more stillness.  It seems that the water and other elements of God's creation invite us to slow down, to re-member ourselves, and, if we allow it, to wonder if we are "living" or "existing."

If you are one impacted by a chronic diagnosis, on some days simply existing may be a good day.  Given God's promise of an abundant life, I believe there are other days on which we have an invitation to either (1) remember how to live if we have been caught up in details and have simply not come to stillness, or (2) learn how to live when our circumstances pull the rug out from beneath us and how we live requires a new plan.

For wherever your life finds you at the moment, I pray that you have moments of stillness that invite you to consider this question.   If the above image resonates with you, perhaps take a few minutes to close your eyes and envision yourself sitting in this boat - blue sky above, blue water beneath, no waves to rock the boat, no people around to distract, warm sun beating on your back.  Breathe yourself into that place of peace and ask God to help you remember how to live or, perhaps, how to live from a new place.