Celebrating life with someone you love should be summed up to this:

Every burden I have carried
Every joy -- it's understood
Life with you is half as hard
And twice as good.

Thoughts at midnight.

As these tears fall
And soak the grounds
In weakness and shame
As I crumble in brokenness
I lift up my head
To look to the cross
Where You so lovingly proclaim
How You took
All my failures
My anguish
My pains
My loss
And hopelessness
To be the most corrupted thing
On that cross of salvation
Before you embrace me 
With Your arms that protect,
To promise to shield
And provide me with plenty
And hold me
In Your nail-pierced hands
The True Shepherd
With the rod that defends and the staff that guides
Help me believe. 

In the midst of the dark valley of the shadow of death

  5 Then at last the Lord of Heaven’s Armies
      will himself be Israel’s glorious crown.
   He will be the pride and joy
      of the remnant of his people.
 6 He will give a longing for justice
      to their judges.
   He will give great courage
      to their warriors who stand at the gates.
12 God has told his people,
   “Here is a place of rest;
      let the weary rest here.
   This is a place of quiet rest.”...
16 Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
   “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
      a firm and tested stone.
   It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
      Whoever believes need never be shaken..."
(Isaiah 28 NLT)
"The truth is, when something bad happens, it is the devil reacting to something good that God has started... Just look at what the devil is doing and see it in reverse. That is what I [God] am doing, multiplied many times over.”
(NCC devo - Apr 29, 2010)
I don't know if I'm exaggerating my current predicament, but I'm finding comfort in the One who is more than willing to love me where I am, and to stay with me to the end and wash the trash of this world off my tired, weary feet with his loving, nail-pierced hands. 


You ever get the feeling that you just gained a trusted alliance with one of the most senior leaders in another business unit, but might have inadvertently created an enemy in your direct boss?

 Lord, either change me, or change the boss. I speak shalom peace and rest in this complicated season.

THE LORD is my Shepherd [to feed, guide, and shield me], I shall not lack.

He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters.

He refreshes and restores my life (my self); He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him--not for my earning it, but] for His name's sake.

Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over.

Surely or only goodness, mercy, and unfailing love shall follow me ALL the days of my life, and through the length of my days the house of the Lord [and His presence] shall be my dwelling place.

Some serious thinking.

You know something's not right when the unease in your Spirit leaves behind a deafening, eerie silence.

For the past few weeks, I feel like my passion for my work has nosedived into an all-time low. I thought I was good at my job. Now I feel boxed, dry, empty, and compromised.

This was not what I signed up for nine months ago. Where did that spirit of excellence go?

I want to prove them wrong that I can be better than this. This is not me at all. I feel like the drive for passionate learning has been completely zapped. I feel nothing for what I do now.

Should I quit and take a break from it all? I don't know.

My God lives in a box-free world. He lives uninhibited in the supernatural where he divulges the gifts of the righteous freely to those who ask in Christ.

Lord, I so need that right now.

My lunch buddy.

Having slept at 1.30am the night before, my mind, body and soul craved for coffee endlessly the minute I stepped into church at 7.30 this morn (and thankfully someone blessed me with a cuppa). Unfortunately despite the caffeine fix, I was very close to dozing off in the middle of another exciting sermon during second service, and I was more than ready to go home right after lunch. 

Through heavy lids, I dragged my feet to Koufu@Millenia Walk where I could eat outdoors in peace and feel the breeze in my face. 

But then just as I set my tray down on the table, this creature decided to hang out with me to watch: 

The camera phone is deceiving. This was a lot closer to me than it looks here.

It's one thing when you're walking on the street with one of those things in your way, or when you watch it perch among the trees at a distance. It's another thing when you realize soon enough that it landed on the chair next to your table to deliberately face you in the eye, watching when you'd give up the scraps. 
I realized at that moment that I'd never seen a crow so up close and personal. And now that I have, it hasn't left a very favorable impression on me for several reasons:
1. It's a crow. 
2. It's big.
3. It's black. Like, completely covered in black. You'd think maybe there'd be a hint of colour like what the mynahs have. Heck even an eagle looks nice. But it only had a slightly brighter shade of grey around its neck. 
4. The beak and claws. They look mean. It will pick a fight and dig your eyes out if it has to. Besides their eyes, they're the blackest of black that you can imagine. The kind of icky black that resembles more death than sexy or alternative cool. 
5. Crow = scavenger = filth = trash eater. 
Fortunately it had enough sense to not annoy me as I finished lunch in peace. It flew away for a while before returning in the exact same position when I was almost done, watching what I'd do next.
I stubbornly stayed in my seat, and he waited patiently for me. 
A few minutes later, another patron went to another table nearby and had his lunch. Only this time the crow actually grew bold and flew to the very table where he ate. The fellow waved him off, and as the crow landed on another chair, the man's eyes stared at the crow with shock and a hint of uneasiness, and practically drank his food in. 
The crow made a second attempt to pick off the patron's plate as soon as he was done. This time, it was rewarded when the annoyed patron decided to carry the plate to another table, where the crow happily fed on the scraps of the chicken bone while the neighbouring birds swarmed in. Unfortunately for them, the cleaner came over and took the plate away before any of them had the chance. 
By this time, the crow had smugly flown away with his own lunch, chicken bone and all. 
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"It's OK to be sad."

For the broken and are in an emotional funk, this is for you.



It's OK to be Sad

by Christina Holder


I didn't know what I "had." All I knew was that I was in one big emotional funk.

I had recently returned from living in war-torn Liberia for about a year, where I had experienced great sorrow, witnessed sickness, watched as friends died, and even had my own life threatened through an armed robbery. I had returned to the United States only weeks away from turning 30 and moved back in with my parents. I was unmarried, unemployed, boyfriendless, childless, and a whole lot of other "un-" and "-less" words.

I was anxious and sleepless and cried a lot. Disappointed because I was a writer who loves to describe all things, all I could call myself was a generic "sad."

I struggled to communicate to my friends how I really felt. I attempted an e-mail description that was hardly poetic or helpful:

I don't know what my deal is, but I need to change my scenery. I'm determined to get out of this rut.

I decided to leave my hometown for a little while and embark on a road trip to Washington, D.C., where I had lived before Liberia. (See Part One of this series, "Did Jesus Get into an Emotional Funk?" for how that all began.) I wanted to see my friends and get away from feelings of isolation and sadness.

I felt the need to talk to someone — to somehow express what I was feeling without feeling ashamed. I had been discouraged by my efforts so far (I felt like I babbled and couldn't communicate clearly) and some of the responses I got when I tried.

Although well meaning, two people told me that whenever they get sad, they think about how worse off people are in other parts of the world. There's not much of a rebuttal when someone tells you that there are people who have circumstances worse than you. How could my sad feelings compete with malnourished children or rape victims?

They couldn't.

But they also shouldn't have to compete. My emotions, no matter how light they seemed on the world's suffering scale, were still my emotions. My sadness and anxiety and grief and frustration were all real. I couldn't ignore them just because other people might be hurting more than I was.

That was part of the reason I went to see a counselor.

I had done it before about two years ago when a serious ex-boyfriend and I had broken up. It was the most difficult emotional trial I had been through, and the breakup felt like a mini-divorce. I had gone to see a counselor with both feelings of hesitation and shame — feeling defeated that I couldn't handle things on my own and feeling embarrassed that I had to pay someone to listen to me pour out my life story. I had never been comfortable with people who talked about their therapy like they would talk about the weather, and so I mostly kept my counseling sessions a secret between me and my close friends and relatives. I worried about what people might think of me if they found out.

Since then I've concluded that there isn't any shame in professional counseling. It helped me move on as a healthier, more confident person. I was willing to try it again.

The best part about professional counselors is that they are neutral people who are trained to make you feel comfortable and unashamed.

On the second day of my week-long trip to Washington, D.C., I set up an appointment with a counselor I'll call Liz.

As I sat on a comfy couch in her office, Liz told me a truth that I hadn't let myself believe.

"It's OK to be sad," she said.

Liz told me that I was being really hard on myself. It's one thing to be unemployed and not looking for a job. Or to be living in your parents' house and not working on a plan to move out. But you aren't doing these things, she told me. You aren't being irresponsible.

It's also OK to grieve that God hasn't brought you a partner and that you feel alone, she said.

I felt a little better. At least it was good to hear someone else affirm my feelings and speak some truth.

But I also knew I needed more than a comfy couch, a box of tissues and a feel-good counseling session. I felt like something deeper and more complex was going on inside of me.

Liz suggested that I might be dealing with some post-traumatic stress from my time in Liberia. I had faced intense emotions — witnessing suffering and sickness and death — and it was difficult to reconcile all I had experienced with the life I returned to in the United States.

Her advice to me was to let myself feel those emotions without feeling guilty but to continue working on a plan — with God's guidance — that would improve my life. She also suggested that I keep my hope and confidence in God.

Now that was difficult advice to follow. Sometimes I have to force myself to hold onto hope.

But I remembered that Jesus didn't live with just suffering or just hope. He knew how to live with both suffering and hope.

He wasn't ashamed of expressing Himself. You knew when He was mad (Luke 22:45-47). You knew when He was sad (John 11: 33-36). You knew when He was suffering (Matthew 26: 41-42).

And he wasn't ashamed of what he felt.

Perhaps Jesus wasn't ashamed of his emotions because He was confident that the Father knew Him through and through. There wasn't anything that God didn't know about Jesus. They were bound to each other. Jesus had surrendered Himself completely to God. It would be impossible to keep His emotions from His Father.

But in the midst of expressing those intense emotions, Jesus also knew something quite unique. He had hope in God's plan. He knew that God's will was a perfect will — and that God's will couldn't be spoiled.

I think there is an important distinction between our feelings and our actions. Sometimes the sadness or fear we feel is natural. We can't stop it, and I don't think we should be ashamed.

But at the same time, I think Jesus' example shows us that there always is hope. He is asking us to trust Him. He will step into the midst of utter despair and brokenness with us. We must fight to remember that He is a God who is loving, just and in control.

"Why all this commotion and wailing?" Jesus told those who were mourning the death of Jarius' daughter. "The child is not dead but asleep." (Mark 5:38-40)

And arise, she did.

Jesus is standing in the midst of our trials. He is standing with us — even when it doesn't feel like He is there. He wants to create life out of death. He wants us to arise, as well.

And we will.
sarcasm, Lucy the Pony

Writer's Block.

I sit here waiting
Wondering what I can write
But no words came. Sigh. 

Dear Brain,

How have you been? It's been a while since we last produced anything substantial for this blog.

Remember how we used to contemplate with amusement about life? Well, specifically mine, but still it was something to think about. 

Remember how we started this whole diary thing when I was still a quiet bratty little nine-year-old wishing more people paid more attention to me? And how it evolved into an online blog which started in the early 2000's? Did you marvel, or at least wondered, how much the writing's changed? Was 2009 a year full of transitions for you? And what were the expectations for 2010? 

Well, it's already the second week of March. Any thoughts? 


Has it been a season of restful increase so far? Or has it been so restful that there hardly has been any content to produce at this point?

I'm beginning to miss how we used to freely express ourselves, open and vulnerable for the world to see. Now every time I prepare to write something new, you draw nothing but a blank.

It's like the black screen of death, except that you are more hollow because I can actually hear the wind blowing through my ears. 

Weren't you ever tempted to just pour out my thoughts, and take advantage of the unsatisfied desires in my heart to blab out to the world? Or did the the words die stillborn just before it even had the chance? 

Whatever it is, I hope you come back soon. These pages have been as dry as February when the clouds came without a single drop of rain, and I'm itching to write something. Having nothing to show for it is an extremely lousy feeling. The cracks on the floor are showing evidence of severe literary drought. And it doesn't help when you start acting up in the middle of the night in the form of a completely forgettable movie where the scenes make no sense whatsoever, let alone carry any divine message that require special spiritual assessment and interpretation. 

Please come back soon. You know where to find me. 

Yours sincerely, 
The Owner of the head that keeps you from running. 
sarcasm, Lucy the Pony

Nonsense post.

Learned two new terms today:

Annus horribiis - a horrible year.
Annus mirabillis - a year of miracles.

That's it. But I'll bet they'll be fun to use when given the chance. Hehe.