• Memory
  • Mar 2, 2024

Today I turn 35.

It’s been a year of God teaching me about prioritization.

It feels like a part 2 as last year was a year of focus. God knows I have lots of ideas, lots of thoughts, and tend to day dream and dream about all the what ifs. Me and my imagination.

Sometimes though, my imagination gets me in trouble. I ignore the tough realities of my life. I’m $40k in debt, spending more than I earn, and wasn’t making any changes as I had hoped one big opportunity would be a great reset.

A few months back, I applied at Webflow and made it to the final round. So yeah, I was pumped!

It felt like a great reset on my life. For the second time in my life I wouldn’t just be living paycheck to paycheck paying off my debt along the way. I’d be working for a company that I not only greatly admired but one whose product empowered me as a designer to create real experiences.

It felt right, but they didn’t offer me the job. I was that close. In a matter of seconds after reading that email it wasn’t meant to be. But, man did I have a great time going through the interview process. Imagine getting to meet the people on a Zoom call who, up until now, you've seen during live or pre-recorded videos. Also, got to connect with them on a bit deeper level. Rather than being unknown, we are now acquaintances.

In hindsight this would have been an easy fix. Rather, I needed to work on fixing the problems and bad habits of my life that I consistently ignored—my spending. And while other things in my life I feel so lucky with, working through my financial situation has been a big faith walk. Through this I know God has something great for my life as he has called me to build a tool only I can build that will positively impact the world.

Okay enough of me and financial struggle and more on that calling later...

Here are some this year’s highlights in no particular order:

Traveled to Oklahoma for the first time with my best friend, Monique, to see her best friend that I call Pepé. Immediately, it felt like home. Pepé’s parents are great. I didn’t feel like an inconvenience to them as we didn’t have any history and were merely writing the first pages of the first chapter of this “life book”. We were there for a friend of a friend’s wedding. I definitely danced and we all had a good time.

Moments before the wedding I would receive a call from where my oldest, Lilo was staying with her sister Kiya. She had bled everywhere and needed to seek medical help immediately. I was stressed and an emotional mess. Lilo means the world to me. She’s been part of my life for 9 years and those 9 years have certainly had many lows and highs.

Oh and Kiya, well Kiya was a new member of the family! Ever since my divorce and Lani going with my ex-wife I’ve felt bad that Lilo lost a sister. So after debating on it and Monique saying that I better get her... I got her. She’s been such a great pup and keeps Lilo on her paws.

Speaking of family...

There were two events that have got me wanting to spend more time with my grandparents. The first one was surprising my grandma for her 80th birthday (I jokingly asked others if it was a good idea to surprise our 80 year old grandma). She was so moved because she thought it was just a little surprise birthday party with some of her close relatives. But, it was actually a home filled with almost everyone she loved and cared about. Seeing her scan the room and notice more unexpected faces brought happy tears to my eyes and hers.

Then came a lot of sad tears. My grandpa (on the other side of my family) passed away January 1, 2024. Several days while on his bed unable to speak I sent him a voice message telling him my life updates and what he taught me. We all deserve more voice messages and more chances to spend time with one another. Life is special and it’s fragile and just like that my grandpa was in Heaven. I thought his death wouldn’t be emotionally hard on me as I hadn’t spent a lot of time with him in my life. This wasn’t the case. The days leading up to his death I realized that we were very similar—we both made our families laugh and both very stubborn. I miss my goofy grandpa.

Another thing I missed was helping out in church production. After going to an Elevation Worship concert among really any other concert I always love the lighting design. When I worked at my former church as the Experience Lead my favorite places to serve were on lights and video switcher. Three and half years later I would return to the video switcher role and serve for my now church’s youth conference. Watching back at the recording I’m proud of what everyone involved accomplished. If I was in youth this would be a forever positive memory.

Lastly, I had the opportunity to work with Scenery, a video editing web app. From branding and wire framing to web design and Webflow development this project was very fulfilling. My lead was their CMO who believed in content-first and together we made a great new website for their out-of-beta product launch. While I have liked focusing more on the web design phase this past year I enjoyed owning the entire process going from branding all the way to Webflow development. And do it with high praises from the client with my favorite being—he was fun to work with. Shoutout to my friend, Corey for this opportunity and continued friendship. Without him I don’t know where I’d be in my freelance website journey. I’m so grateful to call him my friend.

Along with Corey, I’ve became friends with some other great guys. We are all in this web design/development industry and all of them know my aspirations. Their support has been awesome!

Back to my calling...

The other day I received more clarity on what God has called me to build. First, I rewatched what was prophesied over my life. Alex prophesied over me that he sees me building something with technology that is creative and that only I know how to build because God has the vision for me while citing Proverbs 25:2.

Secondly, in a great chat with Kenneth I should be focused on building “The Duolingo for Bible study” and not something that is “more manageable” or easier like a Notion template. Why? It distracts from the core vision I was given and why not start with a MVP. The barrier I placed up was not knowing the technicalities but he said that’s why you have me and others who are more than willing to help out with that side of things. I get to focus on the vision and the visuals. I was pumped!

Lastly, in chatting with one of my pastors about what I believe to be Hike 2.0 (special shoutout to Monique) which again is this memorization app like Duolingo but for Bible study. He said, omg! I’ve been working on a simple guide on reading the Bible.

So, this idea which I call Harvous (aka Hike 2.0) had so much clarity and affirmation to start now.

It feels like a season for training—getting ready for the big race of doing what God has called me to build (Harvous). In the season of training I do the work that I don’t necessarily love but I’m good at and more than able to do. Oh and creating healthier habits now like with my spending for a brighter more sustainable future for me and my family.

This year is me transitioning away from always thinking about the future to doing the things now for that future.

"Seize the day. Because, believe it or not, each and every one of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing." -Robin Williams