This is my 2018, in a nutshell.
**I hadn’t blogged (or journaled) in a while, and I consider not writing a barometer for how “engaged” I was or was not to how my life was going along. That I had not written for a long time says I’ve mostly been just “going along” with life, and that’s a bad thing for me personally.
It’s not that nothing major happened in my life the past year. It’s probably because I hadn’t paid enough attention, or was too unintentional to stop, meditate, journal, and evaluate my life. In years past, I was more intentional in doing those things because it made me more conscious of God’s presence in my life, and also made me more prayerful. This is something I definitely want to change this coming year, and I know I have to be more intentional about it.
Speaking of major happenings in my life, I finally started working again at the beginning of the year.
Those who know my life know I stopped working for 5 years because I went back to school to study Optometry. Those 5 years were a very interesting time of my life, because from being independent and working, I was back to being financially-dependent and studying. So much happened in between those two phases of my life. Through it all, God sustained me. He is really the one constant.
Me working again meant more wiggle room financially (among other things), and one of the things I enjoyed being able to do more consistently again was to tithe, to bless others through financially supporting missionaries and causes we believe in, and having a little extra to make memories with my husband.
Tithing shouldn’t be an issue in the life of a Christian, in my opinion. But there were times I didn’t do it consistently, and so I pray that I will really obey in this area. Giving is also a barometer for Rayjohn and I in terms of our spiritual lives. One of our core values as a family is generosity, and we want to be consistent in this area as well. I believe that God’s economy is so rewarding for givers, and it’s so much more fulfilling than receiving, for sure.
This year, Rayjohn and I traveled together for the first time since our honeymoon. Again, that had to do with my studies, and frankly, as a matter of priorities. We went to Japan for 2 weeks and really enjoyed the experience of traveling together again. (Will blog about this separately).
We loved Japan so much we’re planning to go back again sometime, but in the meantime, we are saving up for next year so that, Lord-willing, we will have saved enough to visit family in the US. I really want to spend more time with my mom, as she is again fighting an uphill health battle. Please, pray with us for God’s gracious healing.
Also, my twin sister moved to the US just last week. So, that’s another reason to visit often, hopefully.
I am always reminded of this quote from our pastor: “Ever spending decision is a spiritual decision.” Indeed, how we use money speaks volumes on where are our hearts are. That’s why we would rather invest on memories, relationships, experiences and being a blessing, than buying material things that are temporal and could take away from our focus and purpose.
Some of this decisions include not having a Netflix or cable subscription, because we know how addictive TV watching can be, and by having a subscription, our thinking is, we want to maximize how much we’re paying monthly, and so, we’d have to watch. And that takes away from our precious time which we can use instead to make disciples, or make memories, or read the bible, and so on and on. In fact, one of the blessings God allowed me to enjoy this year is to continue to disciple. And to be more consistent in attending my long-standing singles dgroup, 9 years and counting! (which I chose to still be part of even though I am already married and part of a couples dgroup)
Just a few days ago, my dgroup got to relax in Pico De Loro, thanks to our leader Ate Jill. We all had a blessed time of fellowship over food, games, and activities. And I got to bring Rayjohn too :-)
(Full disclosure: we’ve also been flip-flopping on whether to buy a gaming console (Switch) or not. Weighing the pros and cons–having one makes get-togethers more fun, but also increases the temptation to play–and for me personally, I’m aware of the weakness in me. I have claimed before that if I were not a Christian, I’d absolutely have no problem spending hours of my time gaming. End of disclosure :-)
Speaking of buying stuff, I recently helped my friend move in to our house, because she had been looking for a place for some time, and we just happened to have a spare room to rent out (because Kz had moved out already). When she arrived with her stuff, I must honestly say, I really was blown away with how much stuff a person can have (haha, love you Mel!) Having experienced life in Japan, I really appreciated their emphasis on minimalism and simplicity. Just look at how simple our accommodations in Japan were:
And I realized, there’s so much we can learn in that respect. One goal that we have going to 2019 is to live with as few stuff as we need and not have an attachment for things. I’ve spent the last 2 days decluttering and I’m still amazed at how much stuff there is in the house when, to be honest, Rayjohn and I have not been buying anything at all. Mostly, it’s stuff from all who lived here–my parents, my siblings, even with my uncle–and, seeing how much there is makes me want to move out to a smaller house and live with the essentials. Haha!
Speaking of which, again. we are really praying to move in to a simpler, probably smaller house, with fewer clutter and dust. Living in the only house I’ve known my entire life has it perks, like being cheap and central in terms of location and convenience, but also, I think the time is coming for us to let go of this house and make newer memories elsewhere. Wherever that is, and whether that’s in 2019 or much later on, only God knows. Please join us in praying for these things we’re working on as we approach 2019. Thanks for reading!