What will we leave behind when we die?

I recently took a trip to Penang. Hugged my daughter in the morning (she doesn’t want to go; I don’t want to force her) and said goodbye as best as I can, given the strained relationship at home. And I wondered, in the event if I leave home and never make it back, have I done enough to say a great goodbye to this life and the people in it?

I’ve been thinking about death a lot. I mean, I’ve always been morbid—I carry my organ donation card with me so that the hospital has the permission to use my old body to give someone a new life. But increasingly, I’ve been thinking about death. Call it age. Call it maturity. Call it losing loved ones and seeing others lost theirs.

I don’t fear death, for I know of my eternal hope and destination when I die. But I fear the life that I didn’t live when I’m alive—people who I didn’t show enough love, dreams that died when I do, leaving merely footprints-in-the-sand in people’s lives, washed away as soon as the next wave comes.

I’ve read this amazing story of Susan Spencer-Wendel, who when diagnosed with ALS, decided to leave the best memories for her family. Her year of living with joy. See, more things to add to my thinking-about-death-a-lot list.

I don’t want to wait for an illness to remind me my time is up. Live it up. Love more. Quickly. Nor death’s hand to suddenly come and snatch life away, leaving no chance for goodbyes.


I guess that explains why the change of my perspective during the trip to the market with my mother-in-law, where I see her in a different light.

Why I’m giving on-a-whim mini awards to my husband.

Mini awards for loved ones

Created a Spotify ‘long drive ahead’ playlist based on his songs request to accompany his driving, quietly enjoying seeing his enjoyment and his singing along.
Spotify play list Long Drive
Also thinking about my work a lot—talent, gifts, contribution, serving, dreaming, opportunities. How do I tie it together, if at all?

So I’ve been thinking about death a lot. And what kind of footprints I want to leave, with God at the center of it all. One moment at a time.

A Day Ahead Prayer

My morning prayer


I’ll leave you with this short animation trailer, ‘Inner Workings’ from Disney about living life using both your heart and mind. You gotta go watch Moana to watch the full animation though. C’est la vie.

Inner Workings from Walt Disney

And this delightful scene of an old man making his work enjoyable. Kinda like the ending in the short animation above.

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Empathy: the missing link between pain and hope.

We usually celebrate those who rise above the storm. Winners who thrive in terrible situations in their lives. I do too. I love champions like that. But some of us find it difficult to accept that there are people who love God dearly, who don’t blame God for their terrible situations in life, would still be sad, or even depressed.

One thing I felt uncomfortable and confused with the messages I received from certain Christian articles, some sermon messages, and well-meaning Christians, etc. is—the quick downplay of one’s emotions, situations (whatever it is), and the emphasis on perspective, God’s Hope, faith…The keywords here are: quick downplay.

I know that He is in control. I know about changing our perspectives. I know about choosing our responses. I know all that. And we do need to have that and live it out.

But it doesn’t take away the emotions and pain, certainly not the situation. It’s hard to choose a good response to not cry when you are bleeding.

For me at my low point of life, being ‘preached’ that we should focus on God (while this is true), makes me struggle even worse. It makes me struggle with my struggles. That the sadness must be taken away because, you know, God is hope. It makes me feel guilty that I’m feeling sad when I have so many things to be joyful for.
It makes me feel—less than a Christian.

Don’t get me started that yeah, guilt doesn’t come from God, it comes from Satan, yada yada. I. know. that.

In our zealousness to guide people back on track—have we moved too fast to point people to the bigger picture—unconsciously downplayed the complexity of emotions, and therefore desensitised pain?

Is it any wonder that people are lonely in their pain in a world of fixer-uppers?

When we acknowledge people’s pain in their weakest moment, we give them strength and hope because—someone understands.

Do that often enough, chances are the person will have enough strength to rise, one step at a time.


I cried at this scene. I can relate to me, to my daughter, to the many others who are struggling. It’s one of the reasons why I never say ‘chin up!’ to people.


I have the tremendous blessings of a handful of people who were coal bearers during my current winter season in life. These are the precious people who literally and figuratively sat beside me when I have no more words and no more tears to shed. God gave me His strength through them. Receiving the comfort on my bleeding wound, I can then better hear the message of hope. So, I wanna say thank you to each of you. You know who you are.

God is giving us the opportunity to be His vessel. Can we learn to be empathetic to a hurting person in need?

Kids get hurt in a divorce

The side effects of divorce

This article is written for married couples in different stages of their marriage; rocky or otherwise. It’s not for those who are in an abusive marriage, a spouse who’s a serial gambler or cheater, etc.
It’s also for those of you who are thinking of getting married.


Let me begin with the lamest duh-mest statement: Divorce is not pretty.
Of course, it’s not pretty, one would say. Breaking up is painful, and it’s a bloody mess. But after the divorce, it should be a happier future, right?

Well…for some of us who haven’t experience living the mess; months on, years on, I will attempt to share a glimpse of life after divorce.

First up, let me clarify, I ain’t divorced. My husband is. I married a divorcee with the sole custody of his beloved daughter.

Secondly, this is a reflection of my personal experience. If you are living a happily-ever-after unscarred life after divorce, I’m happy for you.

With that said, let’s dive into the most important message of this article:

The consequences of a broken family last a lifetime.

Let me repeat, l-i-f-e-t-i-m-e.
Lifetime.
Lifetime.
Lifetime.

If you don’t read on, just remember the above statement.


Here’re the side-effects of divorce which I’m still dealing with after almost ten years, and on a regular basis.

In no particular order:

  1. Trying to reduce the pain of the divorce for my step-daughter with more love, but.
  2. Daughter is tired of going back & forth two houses.
  3. Daughter is coping with having no say in bio-mum & dad’s plans in moving her around.
  4. Daughter misses bio-mum and misses dad, but they are not together. Torn.
  5. Me trying hard not to feel rejected, but.
  6. Handling the backlash that surfaced from years of the daughter being shuffled back & forth her dad & bio-mum.
  7. Getting angry at bio-mum for regularly not keeping to her words of sending daughter back on days that she said she would, but.
  8. Feeling helpless when bio-mum insists on her plans and we can’t confront her because we don’t want daughter to be caught in-between.
  9. Learning to suppress disappointment when we made plans with daughter but bio-mum decided on a whim not to send her back.
    (So you think it won’t be complicated to arrange for your kids to be shuffled over the weekends, or holidays to see the other parent?)
  10. Me feeling like an idiot when husband talks with daughter and the word ‘mummy’ came up and to the eaves-dropper, that word is obviously not referring to me.
  11. Daughter during her tender age of seven comes home from seeing her bio-mum and cries her heart out because she misses her. And there’s NOTHING I can do to take that pain away.
  12. People making statements to me like ‘oh, she’s not your daughter, is it?’
  13. People making statements to me like ‘why don’t you have one of your OWN? It’s different, you know.’
  14. People asking ‘does she like you’?
  15. People ‘advising’ me as a stepmum to leave the raising and disciplining of the child to the father.
  16. Mother-in-law said a few years back ‘when daughter grows up; she will go back to her mother’.
  17. I’m scarred. Still not able to rub those statement off my mind.
  18. Me feeling that because there is no bloody umbilical cord, we may not have that kind of bond as mother & child.
  19. Whenever I chose to believe otherwise, statement 12-16 came back to haunt me.
  20. Rinse & repeat.

My ultimate pet peeve is the naivety of parents thinking (hoping?) that their kids will be fine eventually.
Yes, they cope.
No, they are affected and will be for the rest of their lives.
And so will your life.

Please give your marriage a fighting chance. 


Note: Item #9 happened today. I was angry. Not at the situation per se, but angry at how the world makes divorce a norm; to end what can be reconciled. So it prompted me to write this article.

I’ve Snapchatted and asked the permission of my daughter if I can share this post because I don’t want to embarrass her. She said yes—it would help other families. And ended her message with I love you, and I miss you. My darling daughter, I will always love you. 


18 Oct 2016—I’ve received good response and comments not only on Facebook but Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger as well. Thank you to everyone who took the effort to comment. It encouraged our family. If you think the article will be helpful to someone out there, feel free to share it. Never know who may need it and read it. God bless.