Happy New Year! Or in Japanese, 開けましたおめでとうございます!In 2017, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary, were blessed with a first pregnancy, visited family in the U.S., reunited with dear friends, performed together as “Meoto”, and made many wonderful memories.

It was also a year of challenges that started off with recovery from pneumonia, and included clinic and hospital visits on my part for heart and lung troubles, as well as later for what might have led to surgery (but fortunately didn’t). I struggled with the gap between looking healthy on the outside, and my true condition. Explaining to those around me was difficult, especially when the illness wasn’t obvious. However, managing my health issues brought my husband and I closer together, and made us realize deeply the meaning of marriage being “for better or for worse”. It was also the year in which I lost my great uncle unexpectedly.

In addition, we made lots of big life choices, like deciding not to renew the contract of our cute apartment in 2018, and making big steps toward moving to our bigger home. 2017 included seriously evaluating our commitments and work, and praying over every choice to prune something out, or to nurture something new. The year was all about building our family foundation first.

One thing we learned in 2017 is that it is very important to seek God’s will above the will of people. For example, when we were single, we were involved in various activities. As we joined together as husband and wife, it was necessary to take a step back and ask God what direction we should take. Sometimes this meant disappointing people! We experienced pressure to take on more work, or to stay involved with certain aspects of ministry. When we evaluated prayerfully, our decisions didn’t always match the desire of those around us. This was a good time of spiritual discipline for us, to truly focus on God’s voice, and to seek His peace in everything.

Through it all, God has been faithful, and we are truly blessed. I am especially thankful for marriage with a man who is one of the most godly, prayerful, and patient men I know, and whose wisdom and sense of humor I always appreciate. We look forward to another year of blessings and challenges!

Other highlights of 2017: 

  • Masashi celebrated his first St. Patrick’s day, and ice-skated for the first time
  • I started wearing braces
  • Masashi made an effort to encourage me during times of illness by taking me to musicals and opera, including Finding Neverland
  • A co-worker/friend and I started meeting for weekly prayer time
  • We visited the beach (unbelievably, it was my first time to visit the beach in Japan!!), Norikura, and elsewhere
  • I did more acting on television
  • I began teaching CLIL (Content and Language Integrated Learning) classes on topics such as Human Rights, Immigration, and etc., and added on teaching 2nd year high school students

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