December 24, 2012 § 1 Comment
May this season be one where there are lights of hope and love.
Love, Abigail & Pakou
December 7, 2012 § 4 Comments
A few weeks ago I went to a little town in Northern Wisconsin for a personal retreat. For the past few years I have had a practice to take a few days away from the city pattern life to listen, restore, and rejuvenate my soul. The first few hours were a bit frustrating with the silence around me and the noise within me, but the peace from freedom did come.
How do you rejuvenate your soul?
November 26, 2012 § 3 Comments
This past weekend in a game of Scruples I was asked a question similar to this, “You have a foreign name that may be difficult to pronounce. Do you change it?” Automatically I replied with a strong, “No.” Recently, I realized that being known and called by name has a stronger tied to my identity than I previously thought. There’s something to having someone greet, ask, direct, and affirm me by using my name – Pakou. Sometimes when I type my name out and that red, squiggly, error line appears under it I get a little irritated. It’s my name not an error.
Of course, in the simplest form names are made of phonemes and syllables strung together, but to me they are so much more. Sometimes just mentioning someone’s name a photo strip flashes moments of smells, conversations, touches, and feelings of that person in me. How quickly that happens.
When I was younger I would cringed whenever someone new mispronounced my name. I absolutely wished my name was Josephine or Isabella. Not anymore though. I like Pakou. I’ve fallen into it even if the red, squiggly, error line continues to appear.
What are you disregarding today?
October 29, 2012 § 6 Comments
Dream comes true – I rode my bike to work.
Last week, I had training at a near by convention center and decided to bike. My bike still has a flat so I borrowed my roommate’s bike. I was quite nervous about the ride because I’m riding a bike not made for my size, traveling on a new path, and the weather was windy and cold. I did it anyways. I packed my backpack, put on my helmet, and layers to start the ride.
I made it to my destination with no accident. It was tricky riding against the wind. At times, I thought I would get blown over into the creek but I stayed on course. I felt really comfortable stopping, starting, turning, going up and down hill, and going faster than normal. It felt really great! Ladies and gents, I’m officially saying it, “The days of learning how to ride a bike is over!”
Celebrate with me by sharing one of your bike stories. I would love to hear it!
October 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
The other day I was playing the game Guess Who? with two middle schoolers who both have a cognitive disorder. I was working on using descriptive words, turn-taking, and how to construct a question. One of the students was having great difficulty with the game so I sat next to him giving him starter sentences, modeling, and prompting which pictures to knock down. At the end of the game the young man decided to show his secret person to his opponent. At this point I said,
“Grass (name obviously changed), why did you do that? You’re suppose to keep your person a secret.”
He replied, “Oh no!” I didn’t know.”
I responded with, “It’s okay. We’re all learning. You’ll get this next time we play.”
As I quickly cleaned up the game he grew silent.
In a quiet, extremely soft, but very clear voice he said, “I’m sorry I didn’t know how to play the game.” He said it in a way that made it seemed like how I perceived him was dependent on his skill. My heart was crushed. I care about him for who is, not what he can do.
I assured him with these words, “Grass, we’ll get this next time. You’ll get this. You are awesome and we’ll get this.”
He smiled. We gave each other a big high-five and then he left my room.
This interaction made me think about the people I interact with daily and deeply want them to know how much I care about them is not based on what they do or do not do, how much money they make, or what they look like.
Instead of a list of weekend do’s I decided to make up one: See someone as who they are.
October 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
In this moment I believe that life is full of so much uncertainty.
I was talking with a friend about all of the uncertainty that fills our day. I invest in relationships, pursue passions, and travel across oceans by more faith than I think. Do I have all of the answers? No. Do I continue on? Yes. Why? It’s the settling, bitterness and apathy that I refuse to surrender to.
At times, the process to move with faith is so hard. It’s often expressed in tears, questions, and fear. The process to move can be so heavy, as if the weight of that heaviness seeps into the crevices of my life, making it even more so. However, I continue to return to a comfort and encouragement that I am a part of something bigger than me.
Recently, a tune that has been on repeat and carries this theme of moving with faith is this song by The Soil & The Sun. Take a listen, in its entirety.
Goodness, my vulnerability cup has been tipped over, spilled out off the coffee table and onto the carpet.
Help me, Readers, what encourages you to have the faith to keep moving?
October 11, 2012 § 4 Comments
I realize I don’t do my hair anymore. Impatience with growing out a pixie cut (10 months) has led to some apathy with my hair. Wash, some days put in a little cream, and air dry. I have very thick hair and when it was long it would take hours to dry. Now it takes a quick car ride with the window down, moments of making breakfast, or checking email before a to-do list agenda begins.
Although I don’t do anything with my hair I’ve also received the most compliments. What? I don’t do anything to it. I’ve learned that the most simple things may just be the best things. Who would have thought!
Currently, there are other simple things in my life that I absolutely enjoy:
I love it when someone makes coffee for me. It’s a gesture I hardly ever refuse. I usually embrace it with wrapping my hands around the warm mug and a smile of gratitude.
I really enjoy soft scented candles. There are a few placed all over my home, but my favorite sits in my room.
The hugs, kisses, and love I get from these two are the best an Auntie can ever receive.
What simple things are you enjoying these days?
October 1, 2012 § 2 Comments
Is it too late? Can I still share? Readers, enter with me back in time.
A little over a month ago, I went east with my sister to visit my cousin in Washington DC. We spent our time walking the history filled cobblestone paths, ate delicious food prepared by local chefs, and filled up with inspiration and gratitude as we walked in the museums. Below are some snapshots from my time in DC.
One of my favorite moments of this trip was seeing the masterpieces in the National Gallery of Art. I did a solo walk through the works of Motherwell, Pollock, and Rothko. It felt like I was walking through this secretive visual story and every other painting demanded a moment of my time. As I walked through the gallery I couldn’t help but feel like each painting deserved to be acknowledged and appreciated. The strokes, the color, and the massive creations made me pause sight after sight.
What has been one of the most interesting or inspiring places you have visited?
August 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
Part of me slowing down will be taking a writing break from the blog for a couple of weeks. Abi will continue to share and I will return in September. Enjoy the last few posts of the summer.
August 17, 2012 § 1 Comment
I have been forced to slow down.
I have been experiencing what I thought was an allergic reaction to a lip balm I was using, but it actually may have been a symptom of a major imbalance in my body. Also, a lower back pain has been such a nuisance these past few days. It takes me a while to sit and raise from a seat, but I can’t sit for very long. In trying to figure out this imbalance the natural way, I’m going on the Candida Diet to help flush out the “bad/extra” in my body. Hopefully, in time, my body will return to a healthier state.
1. Do listen. Take some time, away from distractions, to observe how you are doing mentally, physically, and spiritually. At the beginning of a yoga class last week, my instructor quoted Red Hawk from his book Self Observation:
We are so conditioned to believe that when we see a problem that we must immediately fix it, one of the most difficult things to do in this work is to observe without interference neither judging nor changing what is observed, lay down your sword and cease fighting weary traveller, the fight is a trap.
2. Do ground yourself. I find that I can be really focused when I’m sewing. I’m surprised at how many hours I will work on a project, even if I have to start over three times to get it right. After working on a sewing or craft project, I feel so good (singing does this to me too). In the midst of frustration and failure, I’m still able to find joy in this part of who I am. What activity grounds you? Do it. Who grounds you? Go and be with them.
3. Do celebrate. Celebrate the home you have, the love you feel, the ability to freely move, and the creativity that is in you.