Ever Hopeful

I wrote this to my Worship Team a few nights before Easter and sent it on Easter Sunday morning:

My Beloved Worship Team, 

For the first time in 15 years, I am not able to be with you all and share our traditional Easter Sunday brunch together. For the past 5 years I’ve scurried around during Holy Week setting up centers for Good Friday, practicing our special music, arranging flowers around our old rugged cross, getting the Upper Stage Room ready with centerpieces and picking up a special treat to enjoy together. I feel thrown off, completely undone, and it’s dizzying how we ended up here. Instead of feeling excited with great expectation, I feel heavy-burdened by all the loss and grief, and utterly alone without you, even as I am with my warriors about to go do this Easter Sunday worship together. 

This will surely be an Easter to remember, and needless to say, not because it’s a joyful celebration. We’ve experienced so much death this Lenten season, I almost want to say let’s skip Lent next year. Or for the next few years. Even as we get ready to sing together, I still find myself asking God, How long, O Lord? How much longer, O Lord? Why, O Lord? 

But today is about resurrection. Even as my heart is wrenched, I feel myself being pulled by the power of resurrection. We’ve experienced that agonizing Saturday much too long this season. And I desperately want to believe the word of the women, that Jesus is risen! Could it be true? Has he really rolled the stone away? Has he really entered this room, THIS room of doubt, fear, anxiety, and questioning? Are we allowed to… can we celebrate his resurrection and victory over death? When I imagine his disciples in that room as they realized Jesus had come in, I don’t necessarily imagine joyful celebration. I imagine just absolute shock and disbelief (a la Thomas) and incessant weeping. Just incessant weeping. At least that is how I would react. 

And that is my reaction now. It feels altogether impossible to celebrate resurrection when there is so much death around us. But as Christians, we hope for the day when all of our sorrows and tears will pass away. We can trust in the one who will restore all things to wholeness and make everything right. One day. And we recognize that day is not today. And so while we praise God for the resurrection this Easter, we can also cry out and ask him our why’s. His faithfulness is not contingent upon our faithfulness. And that’s a relief. 

It’s true, we’re physically apart, but we are woven together by the thread that is faith in the resurrection of Christ. Let’s worship with one heart, one mind, one accord today. As one body. Just as he’s called us to. Miss you and love you so very much. 

Ever hopeful,


ALL of my feelings

Day 9: Start of a new week and it’s TOTALLY gloomy and rainy here in Queens. Very accurate reflection of the state of affairs in our city and world.

This morning I felt a sense of despair. Like this reality is hitting me for the first time. Last week I felt excitement at all the creative ways we can engage with people online and connect and spend time doing things I’ve always pushed off. The guitar case still has not been opened. I also had a dream last night about being at a big buffet with lots of different foods and many, many people and just enjoying sharing food together and making sure I get the best dishes they have to offer. LOL Is this my greatest secret desire that manifested in my dream???

I also feel extremely grateful for Rich’s midday offices, which have kept me grounded. I’m also thankful for my teammates in the band and AV team who have been coming in on Sundays. Being able to worship together on Sundays even virtually has been a lifeline. I’m also thankful for my friend who initiated playing board games online and a group of us played a couple last night that really seemed to work well! Play is a non-negotiable in these gloomy days. In fact, Steve found this great post about online board games so check it out if you wanna play with your friends/family! https://www.boston.com/…/03/18/board-games-online-with-frie… (We played Dominion yesterday and it worked like a charm.)

I’m just now hearing about people I know who have contracted the virus and that has probably contributed to the despair. This morning I read Psalm 11 and that wasn’t really comforting, although I am gaining a new appreciation for David’s brash way of describing his state of affairs and pleading to God in the ways that he often does (which sometimes sounds selfish! haha). Lesson of the day is that God can handle all of my emotions, like ALL OF THEM. My despair, anger, unreasonable requests, annoyance, frustration… and all those other emotions I often try to withhold because of my limited understanding of who God is. I can be my full self and he still loves me. And you! Now THAT is comforting.

For those of you feeling emo today, I encourage you to embrace all of your feelings and accept yourself just as you are. It’s okay to let it out, cry if you need to (just try not to hurt others while that’s happening) and we can start again tomorrow.

Longest Week

Day 4 – THIS HAS BEEN THE LONGEST WEEK OF MY LIFE. Do you feel that way? I love staying home generally so it hasn’t been insufferable but why do the days seem so long….

This week things have been in limbo again because we don’t know if before Sunday, the city will go on lockdown, or “Shelter-in-Place” (Gov. Cuomo keeps saying this will never happen and goes on frequent rants about how these terms are unhelpful; btw, what a nonanxious presence in this anxious time) and we won’t even be able to live stream our service. In the meantime, we’re operating as if we will go on as last Sunday, trying to improve the live stream experience for our people. Big ups to Tom Henry for upgrading our software and getting us ready for another Sunday of live streaming only. I hope, I pray we will be able to do it.

Yesterday was our regularly scheduled monthly DAWG (Day Alone With God) and Jackie told us we have to take it because when we’re home we’re probably working more than ever (she’s right). I was like, do we have to take it cuz isn’t every day a day alone with God at this point? But she said we have to, so I did. I can’t even begin to describe the kind of leader Jackie has been through this entire thing. I may take an entire post to just honor her so I’m gonna leave it at that for now. Needless to say, she’s been amazing.

My biggest takeaway from being home and observing Steve working this week (this is really only the second time I’ve seen him in action) is that he is basically a therapist (is this why I married him and didn’t even know it). And a good one at that! He works in the financial industry and has lots of clients VERY worried during these tumultuous days. He’s been on calls nonstop since Monday morning allaying everyone’s fears and anxieties, grounding them in reality, but also walking alongside them, listening to their concerns and then painting a broader picture, that things will get better eventually (but not before being bad for awhile). I thought yay, we’re working from home so we’ll see more of each other and just hang out, but actually it’s almost like usual, he goes into the room and comes out only for bathroom and food breaks. He always makes sure to kiss me on the forehead before going back in though. ) If he has the virus, I guess I have it now too. And vice versa.

I’ve been thinking about FBLiving and singing a song or something. Something to break up the week a bit. If you have any song suggestions, send them my way. I can’t do them all but I can do one. LOL omg, DO I BRING BACK SAS???? Years ago when I was doing the whole music thing a lot I had this thing thing called “Suggest A Song” (SAS) and I can’t remember if it was Tuesday or Thursday or whatever… anyways, IS IT TIME TO REVIVE THAT??? But I don’t wanna sing Taylor Swift or Bell Biv Devoe so I will be using high discretion.

Keep washing those hands and staying home if you can y’all!

Jittery goodness

So it begins! NYC officially closed schools starting today, for at least a month, and NYS is now prohibiting restaurants, bars, concert venues (public spaces) from opening except for takeout/delivery services. We live right next to an elementary school and it has been eery on this Monday morning, not hearing the usual chatter and hubbub of kids getting dropped off by their parents and school buses.
Steve and I are both working from home now and that’s been a shift. I do a lot of my work at home regularly so it’s not much different for me BUT now that Steve is also here, we’ve had to figure out different spaces where we will do conference calls (he’s had 4 of those already today) and video meetings, and such. Figuring out what to eat is a new normal for the daytime since I just usually make do with like rice and egg and seaweed (my go-to “Korean” meal).
I did want to share about yesterday. So yesterday, my church (New Life Fellowship) decided to move to live stream only for our Sunday service. We’ll be doing this for the forseeable future to do our part to flatten that curve as much as possible! Thankfully we have been live streaming for at least 2 years now (maybe 3?) so we had the infrastructure to do this seamlessly. Of course, there were a lot of details to iron out but for the most part things went smoothly. But I couldn’t believe how jittery I was going into it and during the service! They weren’t BAD jitters, though… now that I have the benefit of hindsight, it felt very similar to the night I released my first album, like an excitement about something really momentous that’s about to happen but also tons of anxiety about whether or not things will go well. I knew our people would be watching from home – our people love church and love to worship! – and I felt the gravity of the situation. How historic and memorable this day would be. How this will be one of those days I remember for the rest of my life.
And so when we went live, something broke open. I don’t really know how else to describe it but there was this SACRED SPACE that was ushered in, and now I can’t even say ‘into the sanctuary’ because it wasn’t about physical space. It wasn’t the best stream and it wasn’t the perfect service but something transcended our physical space and I felt the joining of hearts of all of our viewers and our team… that we were breaking new ground, and maybe, quite possibly for the first time, I really understood that God exists in a place (that’s not even the right word), in a plane.. in a dimension? that cannot be contained in buildings or rooms, or gatherings… it’s something else altogether that we cannot see but we can be aware of and maybe not necessarily feel but can definitely be felt. I feel like I’m speaking jibberish here but it was a holy moment. I just KNEW that our community had formed a bond through that moment.
I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. And I miss everyone all the more. I realize not everyone reading this believes in a higher being or spiritual world and that’s okay. But I do think what I’m describing is not reserved for the spiritual. So if you have an outer-body type experience these days, do tell! I’d love to hear about it.

Be gone, tiny little voices inside my head!

I’m at the tail end of planning content for our Ash Wednesday service next week. This is my 5th time creating a contemplative service for Ash Wednesday and I have to say, it is one of my favorite parts of this job. It’s also one that induces indescribable inner turmoil.

While planning, I get to come up with themes and contemplative prayer centers designed to help people get centered in this upcoming season of Lent. I love to go outside the box and introduce new music, and have folks consider aspects of their faith they haven’t really thought about. It’s also a beautiful time of self-reflection, where I spend time myself on the concepts, challenge myself and spend extra time in silence and reflection.

However, right around this time when I’m about to wrap things up and buy materials, create signs and programs, WITHOUT FAIL, I hear this tiny little voice in my head that says a host of things I cannot silence.

Are you sure this is enough? Are people really gonna get this? I don’t think so.

You haven’t done nearly enough work to get this idea to fruition.

You don’t really know about this so you have no right to make other people think about it.

It’s all gonna go down the toilet.

No one’s gonna like it and it’s not worth the time and effort.

And then it inevitably turns into this:

Just give up. It’s over. 

WTF. Be gone, tiny little voices inside my head! This service is happenng whether you like it or not.

Life isn’t through just yet

It’s 4AM and I’m wide awake. It’s been awhile since I’ve had time to think for myself… I’m driving on a mostly empty road and an old friend’s song comes on from my “Songs I Want to Listen to” playlist. And I’ll shield my life away… 

It leads me to a treasure trove of memories. I think about all of these incredible songs written by people I know and none of them really pursued it much further. We all had careers to realize, families to start, money to make. I feel saddened by the idea that there are hosts of unwritten songs that could have existed. Mine included.

I’ve had my excuses. I got married. I took a new job. No one really showed me how to do it. It’s too late now. I’m too old. Maybe it’s just not for me. I’ll just shield my life away. But I know if don’t write these songs I’ll always regret it. I know if I keep these parts of myself dormant, there will always be unfinished business (as I heard someone say earlier today).

Then there’s also this sense of inadequacy which I have to contend with regularly. It’s hard to put words to it but it’s this notion that if these so very talented folks are not doing it, why should I? They’re much better writers, singers, musicians… if they’re not gonna pursue their art, then why should I even try? Comparison doesn’t make me want to be better, it actually just makes me stop dead in my tracks.

It’s easy to quash the voice when I wake up every morning, the voice that says I have to write the songs today. There’s so much on the to-do list, so many emails to respond to, too many people to talk to… and so right now, in the silence of the night, I rememer why I love staying up late. That voice comes rising up and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. I have no inhibition to tell it to be quiet. I have no will to squelch it. You must write the songs today. Now. This is why you were born. 

So I heed the call. Because my life isn’t through just yet.



I…. wrote a song. Fine, I’ve written many songs, but it’s been awhile and it feels different on this side of things. This is a song I had in my archives for many years, hoping to include in a future project that never happened. So as I prepared for our Good Friday services this week, I decided to re-write the song to accompany a prayer center around Jesus saying “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Real light topic.

So, here it is. It’s called, “Abandoned Me.” I’ve decided to let go of my need for fancy production and expensive mics blah blah blah. This is where I am and this is what I have to offer. I’m happy to share this not-so-happy song. What else’s new. 😉

Dying Young

I thought I was gonna die young.

I’ve never had the courage to even think about ending my life, but maybe it was my subconscious coming into play somehow. But here I am staring at 40 and perhaps that’s young to some who have crossed to the other side, but it doesn’t feel like it to me, even relatively.

I was supposed to have gotten a lot done by now. Not really in the way of marriage and children – I never really thought about that – but more like in my creative pursuits. It was easy to dream in my 20s and much harder to actually do something about those dreams. Fear gripped me. But I told myself that THAT can’t be my excuse. So I moved forward. And every step I took felt like I was dragging a ton of bricks behind me. And every once in a while one of those bricks would come swirling at me and hit me right on the head. I went down. Then I got back up. I went down again. And then somewhere along the way, I got tired and I just stayed down. Then I fell into a ditch.

Nothing came easy. Everything was so damn SLOW. Most of my 30s was me kicking and screaming about how my dreams didn’t come true and waking up to realize I was delusional about the grandeurs of life. It ain’t easy. And it’s a ditch.

I told someone this – that I was in a ditch. And he asked me, “What if you’re supposed to be there?”

Well, that sucks. What’s the point of anything if I have to live in a ditch? If this is it?

I hate thinking about how slow everything happens in life. I was supposed to figure out who I am by now. I was supposed to know what kind of artist I am. Singer. Musician. Songwriter. I was supposed to be confident by now. I was supposed to have a voice by now. I was supposed to be this and that and the other thing by now.

Then I wonder, what if these things happen for me in my 40s and 50s and 60s and 70s? What if it’s just. supposed. to. be. slow. for me? Would it be any less glorious? Would it be any less satisfying? I conclude no. In fact, it would be more glorious and more satisfying because it took that much longer.

So I decide, it’s time to get out of this ditch.



You are enough.

That’s what Lisa said this morning as she wrapped up our yoga session. And that’s all it took. I could feel my eyes welling up and a second later, hot tears streaming down my right cheek. This is my second time crying during yoga class.

You are enough.

What is it about that phrase that caused such a visceral reaction in me?

You are enough.

I don’t hear that phrase enough. No. I don’t hear that phrase ever. In fact, I hear the opposite all the time. I’m running around constantly trying to prove that I can do enough, say enough, earn enough… that I can BE enough only to find I fall short. All, the, time. It’s exhausting.

You are enough.

Am I enough? Am I really… enough? Why can’t I believe it? Why did I long to hear it so much? Even my religion tells me I am not enough – but that it’s okay because JESUS is enough. EVEN MY RELIGION.

I struggle to say the phrase. And I wonder what exactly it is I’m striving for, trying to figure out what “enough” even means. I’m tired of overthinking it. I receive the words and go about the rest of my day.





1.  make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of.
The word “transform” is thought to come from an Old French word “transformer” (change in form of) or quite possibly the Latin word “transformare” (change in shape).


I’ve been pondering this word today because well, I personally use it a lot, and we use it a lot at New Life Fellowship, and also because it’s a loaded word.  In our American culture, the word “transformation” gets used for outer appearance a lot, which is fine and dandy since it’s a great word to describe a significant visual change.  If someone loses a lot of weight, gets a totally different haircut, or changes their entire wardrobe, we generally refer to those instances as dramatic transformations.

Today, however, I’m thinking more about inner transformation.  As in, what causes inner transformation? And before you jump to answer that question, let’s pause for a moment.


I wrote about Richard Rohr’s impact on my spiritual formation in my last post.  If you’re interested at all about transformation, I highly recommend you read his scapegoating series of blogs starting here.  Here’s a highlight (oh but I wish I could basically repost the whole thing!):

We are generally inclined to either create victims of others or play the victim ourselves, both of which are no solution but only perpetuate the problem. Jesus instead holds the pain—even becomes the pain—until it transforms him into a higher state, which we rightly call the risen life.

The crucified and resurrected Jesus shows us how to do this without denying, blaming, or projecting pain elsewhere. In fact, there is no “elsewhere.” Jesus is the victim in an entirely new way because he receives our hatred and does not return it, nor does he play the victim for his own empowerment. We find no self-pity or resentment in Jesus. He never asks his followers to avenge his murder. He suffers and does not make others suffer because of it. He does not use his suffering and death as power over others to punish them, but as power for others to transform them.

Jesus is the forgiving victim, which really is the only hope of our world, because most of us sooner or later will be victimized on some level. It is the familiar story line of an unjust and often cruel humanity. The cross is a healing message about the violence of humanity, and we tragically turned it into the violence of God, who we thought needed “a sacrifice” to love us.

An utterly new attitude (Spirit) has been released in history; it’s a spirit of love, compassion, and forgiveness. As Jesus prayed on the cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

I’m not even going to begin trying to explain any of this.  I confess I don’t fully understand this concept of transformation through pain and suffering but when I get a glimpse of it once in awhile, I know it’s the kind of life I want to live.  I usually get stuck in the pain of knowing that pain is required for transformation.  But I guess it’s a start.