In the Year After: For Dreams of the Future

January 14, 2019




We are two weeks into 2019, and I'm still confused where 2018 went.


Last year, there were a lot milestones ahead of me, and this year kind of came up all-of-a-sudden-- we're not really sure of any milestones ahead. But here's a fun fact: this is the first year Michael and I are really in charge of making our decisions -- as husband and wife and also as human beings. Inevitably then, this is the first full year we feel that the freedom and the weight of that responsibility.





Looking back, I made a lot of progress last year (my mental health journey, getting my Bachelor's degree, upgrading to "wifey", etc.), but God has also made it pretty clear that there is a whole lot left for me to work on. Many of these things have become the foundations for my resolutions this year.


Admittedly, thanks to my personality type and my ADHD, sticking to goals of any kind does not come naturally to me. But as I get older, and now that I am a wife, I can see the ways that consistency is vital to living a joy-filled life.


But enough blabbering.  Let's chat about my goals for 2019:


# 1. Gratefulness.


Last year, I chose two words to cover me: "grace and peace". I wanted to fill all those pivotal moments I knew were coming in grace and peace. 


But unfortunately, I wasn't really successful, especially in the grace department.  I had less anxiety than I had in 2017, but I was the really the queen of knee-jerk reactions. Truthfully, I very rarely asked God to live out grace and peace in me.


As we move deeper into this new year, grace and peace are still very important to me, but I want specifically declare a word I feel particularly humbled by since getting married: "gratefulness". 


I am unbelievably blessed to be married to Michael. To be honest, it's hard to leave for work in the morning, because, as corny as it sounds, I love being around him. He is continually looking for ways to love me even better. 


And I am absolutely honored to be the first in my family to graduate college.


But here's the kicker.


I complain about my degree. A lot. I am not currently working in the field I studied for four years (Strategic Communications) and even though I couldn't have asked for a better place to work, there are times when I feel like all the money and heartache that were poured into my degree were wasted. 


And even within our short 5 months of marriage, I have already taken my husband for granted. The long hours he spends in the kitchen making food for me; the huge sacrifices he has made (and continues to make) in order to be in WA with me; the dedication he shows when he wakes up with me and goes to bed with me, even though he doesn't technically need to for a few more hours; his uncanny ability to take care of me when I'm sick; his forehead kisses and his calm and gracious character.



And I'm over it. 


I'm over being selfish. 


So, "gratefulness".


To me,  this is the most powerful word God could have given.





# 2 :  "Let it be"


If you are in any religious circle during the holidays, you know that in the weeks leading up to December 25, we go through the whole Christmas story. From the angels visiting their respective humans, to the star guiding the wise men, to the birth of Jesus Christ. We know the story. 


Or at least we know it from Sunday School. 


The Nativity is an indescribable testament to the power and humility of God, but it's also neck-deep in the "Sunday school felt board" category of Bible stories. Details can easily become 'boring' and feel inaccessible due to the sheer number of times we hear it.


But this year, God had something different in store. I found myself focusing on Mary's reaction to the angel, when he (fairly melodramatically, in my opinion) announced that Mary, a virgin, will become pregnant with the Son of God. 


"Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

- Luke 1:38 (ESV)


Don't even get me started on how crazy my reaction would have been if an angel (who I probably would have considered a ghost and/or a hallucination) rolled up and told me that I'd become pregnant with a baby I didn't try for (and couldn't even name), and that I would be the raising the real-life THE SON OF GOD. 


*deep breath*


But what was Mary's reaction?



Let it be. 


And that's why she was chosen.


She was chosen to be the bearer and the nurturer of the only ever perfect child, Jesus Christ; the one who would find baby Jesus a home after the manger; the one who would be there for Him as he grows and becomes a man of ministry, still without any flaws. And she was also chosen specifically to be the mother that would be forced to say goodbye to her Son as He died an unlawful death on a cross. 


And the one who would wrestle with the reality that three days later, her Son, the Son of God, will rise again. 


She was human. It was all technically unknown, from the time of the angel and to the foot of the cross. Sure, there were prophecies and she was a woman of tremendous faith, but she was still human.


There's this saying my mother-in-law used to tell my husband when he was a kid, and now he tells tells me when I begin to compare myself to other people.


It is originally spoken in Mama Apa's heart language, but essentially, this is what it means:



"They have bones and you have bones. They bleed, and so do you. Because of this, you are able." - A Melpa Proverb


Mary, the mother of Jesus, had bones, just like me. 


She had faith in the same God I believe in. 


And she said, "let it be". 



#3. Be more intentional in the way I communicate. 

This is three-fold. 


Think before I speak.

As a human person, this is a hard thing to do. But as someone as scatter-brained as I am,  it's exceptionally difficult. I am learning to slow down and let my brain settle in the silence. RIght now, I do not trust my brain to remember what I want to say, so I say it as soon as I think of it.


Sometimes, it's a rabbit trail response. Sometimes, it sounds super mean. Sometimes, I regret what I said. And most of the time, I should have just kept listening. 


By allowing this space in conversation, I hope to cultivate stronger and healthy relationships with the people I love. To become a better wife,confidant, friend, daughter, and writer. 


Text people back.

Sorry to everyone who has just been chilling in my messages for weeks. I want to get better. 


This sounds trivial, haha, but it's the way we communicate now, and when I don't text people back, I loose out on an opportunity. Our friends and family are all over the world, and I want to be more disciplined with what technology has to offer. 


Let go of fear.

I've never really felt intimidated to talk on the phone or strike up conversation with people. Well, until last year. I guess I lived enough life to realize that failure and embarrassment are possible--and having a degree in Strategic Communication just adds a complex to it. I started to miss out on opportunities because I decided it wasn't worth the risk of coming off as nervous or unprepared in a conversation. I don't want that for me or my family any more. 


#4 Let my creativity shine & be challenged. 


If college only taught me two things, one is that I am a creative, and two,  I need ways to express that (lest I explode). This is also three-fold. 



Turning ordinary moments into opportunities 

From going above and beyond in the crafts I organize for the girl I nanny for (check out my Instagram highlight, "Nanny Life" to see this in its beginning stages), to writing and drawing more, I want to craft a world that inspires those around me. 


Pursuing creative avenues of business

A heart for entrepreneurship is something my dad gave to me, and I want to act on it this year.  Michael and I have a business plan we have been working on for a long time, and it's about time we release the first stage in 2019. *winky face*


Expanding my creative reach into photography and carpentry. 

These are two things I love deeply, but have little experience in. I want to take opportunities to challenge myself and make mistakes in this, so that one day, I can look back and not only build up a little home around our family, but I can also document the life we live inside of it. 



 Our little family goals:

(PSA: These are actually kind of boring, so if you're not a curious family member or super excited about our finances, just skip to the bottom) :


Make significant progress on immigration.

  • Pay a large sum in government fees, asap. 

  • Pay off our first set of lawyer fees in April (no more $350/ month, yay!)

  • The ultimate goal is to get Michael his residency by the end of this year, but unfortunately, we have no real way of knowing if this is possible, logistically. 


Build our credit. 

  • We lived in PNG an then we were told that credit cards are the devil. 2019 is our year to (wisely) set the records straight. 


Grow our savings account.

  • We want to move into a better apartment by the end of the summer.

  • Once Michael gets his residency, we will be able to return to Papua New Guinea for the first time since 2014. 



Well, what an adventure that was! Thanks so much for making it this far, and I'd love to hear what you think. 


May your 2019 be joy-filled and jam-packed with the greatest memories yet. 




With Love, 

Meliah Apa








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