TGIF: Girl Meets Boy, Freaks “The-Heck-Out” and Runs Away. The End.


On L-bombs, sex without tears and overheard conversations on the skytrain.

Confession: I rarely read the Old Testament.

I stick to the stories of Peter, Paul and Mary. No, not these guys. I mean Peter the fisherman, Paul “the-artist-formerly-known-as-Saul” and Mary, J.C.’s Mama.

Every once in a while, I’ll go back to Genesis to retrace Eve’s steps in the Garden of Eden. I ask myself if I would’ve eaten the apple. Who am I kidding? Heck! I’d even send Adam off on a quest to find ice cream for the lattice-crusted apple pie we’d share with the cherubs later. You can’t eat apple pie without ice cream!

The Bible is a scary read. Spoiler alert: It’s not about a sandal-wearing hippie named Jesus (hay-soos) who said “dude” a lot and sang “Heal the World.” It’s a complex story with so many layers. The OT, especially, is full of graphic tales about crazy kings, crazy violence and crazy siblings. The Kardashians have nothing on these guys.

I can’t believe God hasn’t hit the red button by his bedside labelled “Blow Up Earth.” He must love us, or something.

Emo Tuesday

Tuesday was a weird day.

For some odd reason, I found myself reading through a story in the OT on my morning commute. True to form, it was a tangled story about incest, rape and murder.

I’m a visual person, so I thought I’d try something a little different this week. This is my novice attempt at an infographic that outlines the story (according to me). I’m not a theologian, so please, let’s not fight. In the words of Michael Jackson, “I’m a lover not a fighter.” (Read the full story in 2 Samuel 13-18.)

Anyway, here goes:

As the story continues, Absalom declares war on his father’s kingdom and ends up getting killed in battle. When David hears the news of his son’s death, he is grief-stricken:

“O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom!
Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

For some reason, this story moved me to tears. Yes, tears. At 7:45 am. On the skytrain. On my way to work. Tears about this ancient text that seemingly has nothing to do with my life. And yet, it reads like a father-son version of Romeo and Juliet to me.

They loved each other. They were both hurt. They couldn’t work it out.

Or like Sir Elton John sings, “Sorry seems to be the hardest word …”

I was so distraught by the story, that I sent a private message on Facebook to my gfs Idelette and Kelley, the moment I got to work.

The story got me.

Right in the left ventricle.

Emo Tuesday, Part Deux

After a relatively uneventful day at work, I headed back on the skytrain to start my long commute home. It was in the brief silence between two songs on my playlist when I heard a sentence that made me stop dead-in-my-tracks. The guy sitting next to me was talking with a girl next to him:

“I just wanna f***, you know? I don’t want to deal with the f***ing tears.”

Woah …

I paused my music.

The girl sitting next to him was unfazed.  She added, “Tell me about it. I’ve dated some guys in the last couple of months and they keeping dropping the L-bomb. I mean, what the eff? It’s just sex.” (FYI, the “L-bomb” is saying “I love you.”)

I was flabbergasted.

Here are my notes after listening to their conversation:

As I listened to the whole story, I picked up on the fact that this was just two brokenhearted people afraid of being hurt again. Their sarcasm-laced apathy screamed: “I’m scared of being hurt again!”

Similarly, David and Absalom went through life numbly, without resolving their issues. They both felt justified in their anger and grief and couldn’t get to the place of mending their relationship.

Both stories, ancient and modern, don’t get to experience the “overlap.” These two illustrations are indicative of a much larger problem, we, as in the royal “we,” cop-out and settle for the counterfeit.

It’s only when we are willing to look our human fragility in the eye and say, “I’m going in!”–like firemen who run into a burning building, that we truly experience the bliss and delight of being in authentic relationship with one another.

I think going through life with a fake sense of bravado leaves a big gaping hole in our chest. An emptiness. A deep ache. A groan for something real.

I’m sick of surface conversations about the weather, the stock market and traffic.

I want the tears, the L-bombs, the ugly cries, the fighting, the growing, the stretching, the humbling, the learning and the standing-the-test-of-time.

I want to experience the overlap: love, affection, intimacy and connectedness in all my relationships. Even at the risk of getting hurt.

I want the real deal.

I’m going in.


Here are 5 things that made me smile this week:

Swagger Wagon + The Art of Cleanup + Yugoslavian Architecture + Painting With Thread + B.J. the Chicago Kid= TGIF!

1. My friend Michelle posted this video on her Facebook wall earlier this week and I died laughing. I think I watched the video 10 times. Plus, we actually own a “Swagger Wagon!” Download the catchy tune here. Where my mother fathers at? 🙂

2. Dear Monica (from F.R.I.E.N.D.S) meet your competition, Swiss artist Ursus Wehrli. I’m tickled by The Art of Clean Up: Sorting and Stacking Everyday Objects. How cute are the little alphabets in the soup neatly lined up! Extreme OCD = Art? 🙂

3. Old Yugoslavia has some crazy futuristic architecture y’all. Hello 2032! See more pictures here.

4. I’m so impressed by Portrait Embroiderer extraordinaire Daniel Kornrumpf. He paints hyper-realistic faces with a needle and thread. See more of his amazing work here.

5. When a musician you respect recommends an artist, you listen. That is exactly how I discovered B.J. the Chicago Kid. Miss Jill Scott posted this on her Facebook wall on Friday.

Listen to his version of the Sam Cooke classic, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” So beautiful.


So my SheLoves peeps:

Is there a relationship in the your life that you need to mend? A relationship that you need to take ownership of? It could be one of your parents, husband or a girlfriend. I dare you to say, “I’m going in…”


– Perhaps, there is a new relationship on the horizon that you need to nurture. It could be getting to really know one of your colleagues at work, or a new neighbour or perhaps a love interest?

I’m smiling to myself as I type this because one of my gfs just started dating someone officially this week and I’m SO proud of her for giving love a second chance! You know who you are. 😉

Love you more than Vietnamese summer rolls filled with rice noodles, avocado, carrots and cucumber, (<- Recipe)


To read more TGIFs from Tina: Click here.

SheLoves Half-Marathon for Living Hope
– How it all got started? Read the story: HERE
– Donate: HERE
– Facebook Event Page: HERE

Tina Francis
My name is Tina. Loved ones call me: Teen. Words are my chocolate. Music, my caramel. Photography, my bread. Girlfriends, my butter. Confession: Some girls dream about Manolo Blahniks or their next Hermes bag. Not me. I dream of freshly baked bread, perfectly barbecued meat & steaming bowls of Pho. My dream lover *cue Mariah Carey song* is someone who would read out a menu to me in Barry White’s baritone voice. I celebrate food, ask for help, interrupt conversations, laugh and cry hard, acknowledge the elephant in most rooms, fight for the underdog and believe in the power of storytelling. I was born and raised in Dubai and currently live in the beautiful city of Vancouver, known for some of the best sushi in the world.
Tina Francis
Tina Francis


  1. Tina. I’d like it if you did that for EVERY story in the OT. apparently I’m a visual person too…. That is WAY easy to understand. And I LOVE that you are shedding light to the subject of ‘it’s just sex’… Arghhhhh….. I will be passing this onto my youth girls fo SHO. love you more than words.

  2. There are a thousand ways this article has woken me up. Thanks once again, Tina… you always manage to talk directly to my heart.

    Swagger wagon rocks!

  3. Shilpa Samji says:

    Tina, loved this TGIF. You have such a way with your never fail to make me stop and think.

  4. Your words have wings, girl. So proud of you.

  5. Oh Teen! What an incredible post. I bow in humble humility to your superior powers of wordsmithing. You. Are. Incredible.

    with so much love and admiration!

  6. Kelley Johnson Nikondeha says:

    You are rockin’ it this week, Tea! You handled the OT story masterfully, imaginatively and honestly – even WB would be proud! Glad you did not let the ancient story scare you – but rather *leapt* in and wrestled with it.

    Did you update your profile? LOVE it!!! “I celebrate food, ask for help, interrupt conversations, laugh and cry hard, acknowledge the elephant in most rooms, fight for the underdog and believe in the power of storytelling.” Great way to say who you are every day!

    See, now this is why I love Fridays!

  7. Tina, thank you. Thank you for this. Your articulate insights inspire me, and this one stirs me up. Like I said, you have a gift.

    p.s. We’re all about the Swagger Wagon (we saw it shortly after we got our Toyota). My white-as-they-come, Scandanavian-German-almost-Von-Trappian husband nurtures delusions of being half-black (really), so we frequently roll down our windows and blare the hip hop while bopping our heads. The kids love it.

  8. This.was.BRILLIANT.

    And it’s just what I needed for a break – given I am still at work on a Friday. And not just any Friday – but the Friday before a long weekend. But who’s to complain – right?

    As for wanting the ‘real deal’ – HIGH FIVE!

  9. love…i mean LOOOVE!!!!!! you are so great, i look forward to this every week now and am so totally never disappointed! LOVE it 🙂

  10. OH and PS: I love the stacking of ordinary things! I don’t even have a favourite. It’s just cool.

  11. Do you ever have an off-day? Sheesh. Every Friday is like a kick in the face, but in a good way.

    I think there is at least one relationship I need to nurture (besides the obvious family and friends): there is a lady that we got to know when we lived in our old condo. While we were living there, she lost her middle son, who was fourteen. I will never ever forget hearing her tears and screams from the hallway, probably when someone asked how she was doing. “My baby is gone! He’s gone!” Heartbreak in its purest form.

    For some reason, she took a liking to us, especially Finn, (even before the tragedy of her son) and I really think we were placed in her life for a reason. All that to say, I think I need to pursue this friendship (not sure what to call it?) and see what God has in store for it.

  12. Joryli Muyco says:

    So good Teen. So good.


Speak Your Mind