2019 – Pondering the Journey


It has been quite a while since I have taken the time to write and explore my thoughts about living here.  I am now almost half-way through my second year of teaching abroad in China.  Just typing that sentence is still quite surreal because it is so dramatically different from what I thought my life would look like just a few years ago.

I am sitting in my classroom with a delightful cup of vanilla rooibos tea – just one of the many things I had never experienced before moving here.  A really good friend of mine introduced me to that South African delicacy last year.  The irony is not lost on me that I am drinking tea from another country in a land where I am surrounded by TEA…

I have been reading many posts showing 2018 in review, but one post really caught my attention.  A former colleague of mine posted something about her word for the year in 2018.

I had never read anything like this before and it got me thinking…

How might my outlook change if I, too, chose a word to focus on for an entire year?

So, I’ve decided I would embark upon a new challenge for 2019.  I am going to choose a word to focus on this year.

My word came to me in the most ridiculous of ways, but I choose to believe that nothing is coincidental in this life.  God orchestrates all things – the monumental and the minuscule.

If you have spent any time on Facebook, I am sure you have seen those little games that generate information for you.  I don’t usually play along, but recently I did two of them.  One of them was a quirky little test that produced predictions for 2019 – which is, of course, not something that I believe can be produced by computer code on a social media site.


The first “prediction” was Krista’s word for 2019.

I was quite surprised that the word it suggested was something that I often struggle with, sometimes completely fail to demonstrate, but many times think about and would like to be a better representation of…

My word that I will focus on this year will be…


a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.
“tears of joy”
synonyms: delight, great pleasure, joyfulness, jubilationtriumphexultationrejoicing,   happiness, gladness, glee,   exhilaration,   exuberanceelationeuphoriablissecstasy;

“We are too prone to engrave our trials in marble and write our blessings in sand.”

Charles Spurgeon


All too often, I find myself demonstrating the quote with the way I react to situations in daily life – forgetting that so many are watching the way I respond.  I firmly believe that I was sent to live here for a reason, and that reason often involves being a witness to things that I cannot safely talk about.

This makes my reactions and responses all the more important to onlookers.  What I hope they see and what they actually see are not always congruent.

I do not make resolutions because by nature, I don’t keep them very long.

Instead, what I am proposing is an increased awareness, if you will.

What I am hoping is that 2019 will bring me opportunities to practice writing my blessings in marble instead of sand.

I am certain that it will.

The only thing that I can do is resolve to try harder, to see things differently, to practice JOY…

You may be wondering why I chose the image that I did for this post.

I was recently in Taiwan and had the opportunity to see an art exhibit of a famous artist of children’s books.

I was drawn to this image.

It seemed to me that the girl depicted here was on a joyful journey.

I would like to join her on that journey.

I hope that you will too.

Here’s to 2019 – there are still 362 pages left to write!

One Comment

  1. Susie Bartley says:

    Joy is an exceptional focus word for 2019. I plan to share some of that joy with you a little later this month. I, myself, am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Mostly, with joy. As you know, Don and I tend to throw our whole selves into everything we do. We have frequently been disappointed that those with whom we worked did not contribute the same. This time, it is different. God has placed us with Nick and Melissa who demonstrate and verbalize their appreciation and love for us. At the same time, there are multiple positive changes at our church under Mark and Jeddie’s leadership. I am attempting to enjoy and experience every moment at home, yet looking forward to getting back to the Willke’s home. There is great joy in both. I don’t want to miss ANY of it!


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