Posted in Personal growth

When pain gets you thinking

Growing older is not for the faint of heart. I’m realizing this with every new ache, realization that I don’t have abundant energy, and bodily changes happening to me.

I’ve had knee pain in the past but nothing awful to warrant a doctor’s appointment. But I thought ‘what the heck? My deductible is paid, I’ll get it checked out.’ A practical move.

X-ray showed some kind of bony defect where a piece of bone has wandered away from its original spot. This impedes circulation and creates pain. Now I’ll be getting an MRI for clarification of what’s really going on. This condition requires physical therapy, and possibly surgery. Doctor mentioned seeing a Sports Medicine physician, which is hilarious because I don’t play any sports!

My mother in law says, “I know what it’s like to be young, but do you know what it’s like to grow old?” I used to roll my eyes at this comment but that’s changing. No, I don’t know and I’m clumsily navigating it now and hopefully have long ways to go. It’s a frustrating task both emotionally and physically. A friend told me that the saying on her grandmother’s wall plaque helps her to see the bigger picture: “aging is a privilege denied to many.” Ain’t that the truth?!

Just like every life phase, forties has its challenges, questions, and joys. It’s a good thing if nothing breaks, doesn’t hurt, and keeps moving. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic, but a lot of my friends share this same sentiment with me: tinge of sadness to the process of getting older and gripping new life challenges and changes.

But I’m learning how to do it gracefully, with some hiccups here and there. The other day seeing a new line on my face made me sigh. I said “Oh. My. Gosh!” More loudly than I thought, because my kids kept asked what was wrong.

But there’s much happiness to getting older too. You appreciate more, develop a better sense of humor, empathize more, and be more comfortable in your skin. When I goof around at home ad sing or dance dramatically, Elliot laughs but ends by telling me only to do that home. It would embarrass him if I did that in public. That kind of freeness comes with age I believe. Thank you for the compliment…

I know I’m not alone feeling like this. Middle-aged friends, let’s do this well and have some fun with it!

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.” —Madeleine L’Engle

“The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.” ~ William Wordsworth

Having a silly selfie moment
Playing around with sticker features

And God is good through it all!! Through all the life seasons…there are some low valleys, and I’m there often, but I’m so glad God is my helper and peace giver.

Posted in Personal growth

A Thankful Thanksgiving 2019

Photo by Caleb Wood on
November 27, 2018. 1st discharge. SLLPtuffed toy as consolation from hospital gift shop. Next destination: pick up Whole Foods holiday meal for Thanksgiving dinner next day.

What a year it’s been. It started with a big cloud looming over my head. Our family had just surfaced from a traumatic 2018 November and December when Ellis got hospitalized for abdominal migraine 3x’s in 2 months. Until this time, we’ve never heard of abdominal migraine or knew of its diagnosis.

I didn’t realize the extent of its overwhelming nature until we had been home for a few weeks. Once everything settled, a tsunami of sadness overtook me and the years of care-taking stress just hit the fan.

Great thing is that we’ve only had 1 hospitalization this year. I am so grateful for this. It’s the worst feeling when your child keeps getting sicker and you have no choice but to beeline to the ER and gets admitted. We cope but it’s difficult to account for sudden life disruptions.

2nd discharge. December 2018
3rd discharge. Ecstatic and ready for Santa’s presents. December 2018
December 2018: Play room at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

You just go, go, go. This year’s hospitalization landed on our vacation to San Diego and on Mother’s Day. When the nurse mentioned mother’s day, Ellis wished me a good mother’s day as I sat in the hospital bed next to her crying my eyes out. I couldn’t believe the situation: Ellis writhing in stomach pain, Elliot acting like he was not sad that Legoland trip may be postponed, and Chris trying to keep us all intact in case we decide to continue with our vacation or go back home.

May 2019. On our way to Legoland…a blip on our journey.

These various kinds of emotions teach me that parents cry for their children in good and bad times. Difficult as it is, I find it a blessing to have this privilege.

Made it to Legoland…Ellis got sick again here and when her condition improved, I started crying with relief. Then, totally happy posing for this picture. Emotional roller coaster. May 2019

The strangest thing is that in these times I have incomprehensible peace. They make up some of my sweetest memories of bonding with Ellis, spending quality time with Elliot when he visits with Chris in the evening, and tag teaming with Chris. There’s a fluidity that only God can provide to us in these situations.

Thankful for much this year. Good days, bad days, in-between days. In those bad and in-between days, thankful for people who lift up my spirits. These incidents are reminders that God is faithful and works through people to show his love.

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. Psalmm 29:11

And thankful for Whole Foods’ holiday packaged meals. Thankful for family, friends, neighbors, community, hospitals, teachers, kind strangers, Starbucks drive-thru, memories made with friends and family. And of course, thankful for God who loves me (when I have a hard time loving myself) despite my flaws, quirks, and silliness.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Wishing you a joyful and gratitude-filled day.

Thank you awesome readers for your encouragement, friendship, and visiting my blog. You readers make my blogging journey rewarding and enjoyable!

Posted in Christian songs/ faith, Personal growth

Separation anxiety : Riley Clemmons’ song

My six-year old daughter, Ellis, still experiences separation anxiety. Yesterday morning I sat in the back of her science class because she refused to let me out of her sight. It’s been like this for months.

I used to think Elliot, now 8 years old, had worse separation anxiety than his sister, but I unintentionally overlooked Ellis’ in dealing with his. It could be that she is going through a phase too. It’s hard to know what’s really going on with kids each time they go through something. So many questions!! So many worries!!

My hypothesis is that her heart condition fuels her insecurity and separation anxiety. She’s always had me by her side, in good or bad times. When she feels sick, she won’t let me out of her sight. For her first two years, I couldn’t leave her longer than an hour. When she noticed I wasn’t there, she would cry inconsolably. I used to call these years my 5-mile-radius life.

When she was younger…dreading the check-ups. We usually came home crying together.

The mommy inside of me wants to be there for her as much as possible, but my needs get overshadowed. I worry about me getting sick and not being able to care for her. I can’t think about it for too long because I end up in a puddle of tears and worry. The worry spreads and these times I need the peace of God to cover an imminent panic attack. My weakness brings me closer to God.

Last month Elliot got sick with a middle-of-the-night- tummy ache. I stayed up all night comforting him. My body went through the care taking motions and comforting him through the night. He must’ve seen me walking to and fro bathroom to bedroom cleaning up and then dozing off on the floor. He apologized in the middle of his stomach ache for keeping me up that night, and even in my tiredness, my head told me to tell him it was okay and that I just wanted him to feel better. My mouth was moving but my emotions were flat.

The sun was rising and I let out a deep breath wondering how I would go about the day. The song “Fighting for me” by Riley Clemmons came into my head. It was comforting to sing the lyrics, to myself of course…it would’ve been too bizarre to break out into song at 5 a.m.

Yes, I can’t do it alone with my strength, but God can supernaturally fill in the gaps. In what fashion I didn’t know, but I know He has given me respite in surprising ways in the past. He will do it again.

“You will never stop fighting for me

When I can’t fight or myself

Every word is a promise you keep

Cause you love me like nobody else

You stand up for me

In the darkest night

When my faith is weak

You’re still by my side”

This song gave me the words when I didn’t know what to say. I’m terrible at remembering Bible verses, but song lyrics are much easier to recall when I need them.

Posted in Personal growth

Back on my blog after vacation…missed my readers and sharing.

It’s been weeks since my last post! In that time, we went and came back from vacation to San Diego and visiting family. I’ve been wanting to post but it’s hard to chisel out a time to sit and write. First weekend back, so we are finally getting back into the groove of our normal life.

Before our trip, our family was in knots. Going through with our vacation plans is always laden with challenges. So many things to consider and discerning if Ellis will be healthy enough to make the trip. We were a bundle of nerves.

This time was no different. Ellis got sick with sudden vomiting and tummy aches starting 2 days before the start of our vacation. Elliot looked sullen. He knew what this meant: postponing our trip. It broke my heart to see him pretend like he didn’t care, yet when she threw up in the car the day before our trip, he cried. Then, Ellis cried saying she didn’t want to be sick; she wanted to go to Legoland. My immediate response is childish, but it’s a reflection of how I feel about the uncertainties: throwing my hands up in the air, shaking my head, and just walking away.

However, we successfully made it to San Diego making stops every 2 hours on our drive. It was a super long drive but at least we made it to our destination. whew…We were all smiles, sighs of relief, and in good spirits.

Reservoir rest stop on the way down to SD

Chris and I were blown away that Ellis did not get sick once on our trip. A-ma-zing! It felt like a real vacation with going on roller coaster rides, getting our feet wet in the beach (Ellis’ first time), eating way too much ice cream, zoo outing, playing carnival games (sadly, I kept losing), checking out tide pools, visiting a lighthouse, etc.

I feel so thankful for God’s mercies and for His goodness. I appreciated this special time to do things that we haven’t been able to do in the past. We also got to squeeze in quality time with my parents and Chris’ family.

It’s hard to articulate in words, but I remember feeling that I will miss these moments afterwards. It was a blend of happiness, nostalgia, and sepia-tone memories. We may come back next time, but we will have grown and not be the same as we were then.

I inadvertently came across a book called Creative Evolution by Henri Bergson, a 20th century philosopher, at a bargain books bin. The dust cover has this old and worn-out look to it, and I knew instantly it was coming home with me. First published year was 1911, and second one 1944.

In the foreword written by Irvin Edman, his words about memory resonated with me in thinking how I felt in San Diego. I’m not completely sure what it means, but it rings a bell. Here it is:

“Memory in action is not a dead deposit; it is a living and functional focusing of energies. It is life at the acme of attention, creation and decision. Memory is life cumulated and brought to bear as alternatives of action, as impellingly realized possibilities of choice. Memory is the living reality, the past felt, those moments of heightened consciousness which we feel as suggested opportunities to make the future.” p. xiii

Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

When depression surfaces

When depression begins to hover over me, I feel an immediate sense of dread. The other feelings associated with it are hard to articulate; they don’t make sense either.

It’s a vulnerable subject to talk about, much less write about it on my blog. But I started this blog to share stories about me and my life, and this dark stuff is part of that story. I tried writing an encouraging and happy blog post, but my heart wasn’t in it. Life goes up and down, and I’m down in the valley for the present. But I’ll climb out of it like I have in the past. These experience teach me that people are fragile, no matter the external, and a smile can hide many tears.

I tell myself that if I try a little bit harder and hold fast to that positive attitude, I can overcome it. Maybe if I keep busy I’ll forget too. Maybe I’m a bad Jesus follower and a poor witness of my faith. The more I push it down, the grumpier I get. One thing I detest about this is how it affects my family. My kids wonder why mommy cries for no reason and gets hyper-annoyed by things that were non issues in the past. Disowning it takes it toll on all of us.

When people I know share stories with me about their panic attacks and bouts of depression, I empathize. It’s tough enough dealing with those feelings without the extra stress of convincing someone that you are not feeling this way on purpose. I need to return that kindness towards myself.

Ready for battle…I’m feeling her attitude!

I’m grateful for God who knows and still loves me. He doesn’t get offended by this kind of stuff. Instead He draws closer and shows me, through various ways, that I am not forgotten. I have purpose. One thing I don’t want is for you to feel sorry for me. I’m just sharing what’s on my heart with you.

K, giving myself a big high five that I am not going to delete this post but will publish it. Eeeeek.

Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

— C.S. Lewis