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Prayer Journal: Day 195

Day 195

A Reflection on the Five-Year Anniversary of my Dad’s Death

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. – Psalms 19:14 KJV

Today, on the five-year anniversary of my dad’s death, I am taking a moment to meditate and be quiet.

Through the resurrection of Jesus, death’s sting will be removed, but the pain we feel in our hearts from loving a loved one can linger long after the event passes.

Even though Jesus had told His disciples that he would die and be resurrected, they still grieved. Their hearts were filled with joy when they saw Him risen.

I still see my dad in my dreams frequently. In the last dream I had of him, I recall seeing him walking ahead of me, so quickly that I couldn’t catch up. I remember wanting him to slow down in the dream, but I was unable to communicate that to him. He had gone ahead of me.

In experiencing death, our loved ones have gone before us. They are at rest. They are at peace. They are no longer in pain.

There will come a time when there is no more death, tears, or sorrow. 

I look forward to that day on Jesus’ Second Coming when I will see my dad again.

It will be a joyful day.

Amen.

To read Henry Akao’s obituary, please click here.

Prayer Journal: Day 156

Day 156

Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess. – Hebrews 3:1 NIV 

When our thoughts turn to Jesus, there is less room to worry about things that don’t matter. In most cases, the things that we worry about today, we won’t even remember in five years.

Returning our thoughts to Jesus is a meditative practice. It is normal for our minds to wander, and when we catch ourselves over-thinking, we can gently turn our thoughts back to Jesus. Then we can experience peace. 

Jesus is our high priest. He is worthy of praise.

Excessive worry–and turning our thoughts away from Jesus–can be a form of idolatry. Idolatry can be anything that takes our attention away from God, but He is able to transform our thoughts. Amen. 

Prayer Journal: Day 96

Day 96

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. – Psalm 116:7 NIV

Our dishwasher broke last night, and although it took time to hand wash the dishes, my husband helped dry them. Washing dishes in and of itself is like a meditative practice. I  could feel the warmth of the water. Even my two year old wanted to help. It became a family activity. 

The Lord keeps us close. He blesses us with people in our lives who help and appreciate us. He helps us solve problems and to be thankful for what we have. 

During the busy pace of this world it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, but our Lord brings us back to thankfulness. Amen. 

A Tribute to My Dad on the Anniversary of His Death

Today is the three-year anniversary of the death of my dad. In life, my dad taught me many things, but in death, he continues to teach me, although he is physically no longer with us.

This year, the lesson is mindfulness. Last year, I failed to completely unplug from technology on March 14th, which disrupted the way I wished to honor my dad on the anniversary of his death and left me reeling, enraged, and struggling with unforgiveness for the rest of the year. At first I blamed others for violating such an important day to me. If they only knew what I had been through and what my family had endured after my dad suffered from Alzheimer’s for 12 years, they would not be bugging me via PM on Facebook.

Now I realize I have control over what I take into my life, and what I choose NOT to allow in.

This year, I have decided to completely unplug from technology on March 14th. My phone is in airplane mode. My Kindles are silenced. My email is set to an away message. I won’t be checking Facebook. I especially won’t be responding to private messages. My laptops are off. This very blog post is prescheduled.

Being in the present moment has always been hard for me. I often find myself worried about the future, about work, and about how others have treated me in the past. The Bible tells us not to worry. I’m still working on that.

This year mindfulness is especially important because I have my beautiful baby boy, Jacob Henry, who is 9 months old. Henry was my father’s name.

One thing that I have observed about Little Jacob Henry is that he lives in the present. If he falls and bonks his head, he cries. And then he gets over it.

He eats mindfully. Every new food and texture is an opportunity to learn and explore. He nurses. He clicks his tongue and smacks his lips when he’s done.

He naps. He plays. He drools. He crawls. He giggles. He sighs deeply when he’s bored.

The similarities between babies and the elderly before they part this earth are notable. Jacob Henry wears diapers. So did my dad before he died. Jacob Henry eats mushy foods. So did my dad. Jacob Henry is almost completely reliant on me and my husband as his caregivers. So it was with my dad and my mom, who was an amazing caregiver to him. My dad was a man of few words, but when he spoke it counted. So it is with Jacob Henry. Jacob occasionally says “mama and dada.”

In Jacob Henry is a little bit of my dad, Henry. I wouldn’t have it any other way. They never got to meet each other in life, but they sure are alike.

Today I’ve set the intention to do one thing: breathe. Breath is a gift from God. Now that I have seen my dad take his last breath and have also seen my son take his first breath, the breath has even more significance to me.

Henry Akao and Gina
Jacob Henry Decker, 9 months old, and Gina Decker
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