Posted in Personal growth

On the mend

Everyone in the Suh family is finally on the mend from a recent flurry of winter-related sickness. Three out of four of us, excluding Chris, took antibiotics for bronchitis, strep, or a sinus infection. Thankfully I was the last one to get sick.

At the first sign of a cold, I diligently started taking Nyquil, Airbone chewables, and ginger tea before bed to reduce sick time. I was hopeful that this would be a mild cold case, but the persistent migraines made life miserable. I took Advil for that, but as the migraine got worse I’d forget when I took the last dose. So I’d wait it out a few hours more before I take more. Then it finally dawned on me that this might be a sinus infection since it was affecting mainly the head and eye area.

A quick visit to the doctor’s office improved the migraines drastically. The effects of the antibiotics started working and by the second day, the headaches had subsided. Through this experience, I’ve developed more empathy for people who suffer from constant migraines; it’s debilitating and everything becomes bothersome.

The past week was a lesson in forcing myself to rest when I couldn’t let go of all the things I thought I had to do. Today is a new day and I’m thankful for feeling better. Looking forward to healthier times and waiting expectantly for God’s peace.

Image from Biblestudytools.com


Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

Rest, rest, rest

Elliot is almost over his croup turned bronchitis from last week. It was obvious that he felt unwell when he took afternoon naps and had a loss of appetite. Overall, it was a busy week with doctor’s appointments, recovering, and taking various medications: antibiotics, steroids, over-the-counter pain reliever, and doing breathing treatments at home.

I took last week in stride and hoped that I wouldn’t get sick too. But last night I felt the first inklings of a cold: lightheaded, pounding head, achy body, and a yucky tasting cough. I consoled myself that at least Elliot was feeling better and Ellis hasn’t been throwing up. Ack! I got ahead of myself because Ellis felt queasy right after waking up and ran to the bathroom. Today was the first time she threw up without someone next to her.

The best scenario was resuming our regular activity schedule this week, but it’s having to be pushed back again. In the big scheme of things a few days will not break or put us behind since we can do make-up classes and still catch up to our lessons. But when I am tired, it makes those changes seem large and daunting. I wonder, where is my faith in all of this? God has brought me through challenges much bigger than this and I believe He can do it again.

Psalm 32:8

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
    I will advise you and watch over you.

At-home breathing treatment with nebulizer. It’s helped so much with his coughing.

Today has been a rough day. I’ve been dealing with cold symptoms, fatigue, and extreme guilt that I couldn’t help Ellis this morning. Other nagging thoughts: I’m inconsistent with homeschooling lessons and our learning environment is too scattered. I wonder how our learning journey turned into this burdensome task. It used to be an exploration of budding interests and having fun learning together. But once I put so much pressure on myself, it’s begun to lose its spunk.

“I love a broad margin to my life.”

Henry David Thoreau

I need to give myself some margin and enjoy this time with my kids.

Rest. Must rest. Need down time to recover.

It’s a daily lesson in surrendering my fears and insecurities to God: let go and let God. Another lesson is setting my priorities in order.

Psalm 37:7

“Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently or Him to act.”

Philippians 4:6

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”

Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

Purposely taking life slow with depression

From past experiences, I learned that waiting for depression to go away on its own doesn’t happen. If left neglected, it gets worse over time. After a sleepless night, I called the doctor’s office and made an appointment for that afternoon. The kids came with me; while I spoke to the doctor, they sat outside the office door eating snacks and playing on their tablets.

Having depression is not obvious: appearances and demeanor can be misleading. To others you seem to be doing okay externally; you’re smiling, functioning, and not visibly in pain. Talking about it is not easy: it’s not the best conversation starter and there is always the lingering fear that people will not like you or avoid you because of it.

“You are so brave and quiet. I forget you’re suffering.”

Ernest Hemingway

I tell myself that everyone gets depressed at one time or another, but does that mean I need to see a doctor about it? I don’t feel like my usual self, but is it bad enough to take medication? How can you differentiate between regular sadness or something more? Isn’t it reasonable to feel this bad after all that’s happened recently? BUT I don’t have time for this; get over it will you!!, I tell myself.

I wonder why I need to justify it to myself or someone else. It doesn’t need to be a confession (wise words from a professor referring to a childhood memory of meeting my parents at four years old, but her words seem relevant in this case too). Why can’t I accept it as part of my story and my reality??

One step at a time. Life is not perfect but living it well is my wish. God doesn’t abandon me when I’m hurting; He draws me closer. I’m thankful God’s grace covers me when I’m feeling this way. All the condemnation, that I’m a bad believer, a sell out, a weak person, is not from God but from the enemy telling lies. What a time to actively listen for God’s affirming words and his promises by reading the Bible. I’ve been reading it a lot lately.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
    Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
    I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Going through this so early in January is a wake-up call. This year I need and want to intentionally focus on living slow. All this constant internal pressure to do more and stay busy deflates me. I want to find contentment in this space of ours and stop reaching for what I think I “should” do. So cliche but true: quality over quantity.

Photo by Nacho Juárez on Pexels.com

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming “of it.”

Helen Keller


Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

A personal talk about depression

Photo by Bryan Schneider on Pexels.com

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that November and December of 2018 was an upheaval of sorts with my 5-year-old daughter getting hospitalized three times in one month. When she gets sick, it affects our whole family taking us time to recover and settle back into our regular life. After the last hospitalization, we spent the last week of December catching up on sleep and physical rest.

January couldn’t come any faster. I wanted to put 2018 behind us and start new: a new year, a new attitude, new experiences, new adventures, new plans. The first two days of this year went well for me. Then, on January 3rd, a rush of sadness and hopelessness swept over me. These feelings surfaced intermittently, but I pushed them away so I could keep moving forward. But at Ellis’ cardiology appointment on January 3rd, a casual conversation with the social worker brought my despair to light. I didn’t know why it was a big deal that we had a rough month; I was doing just fine.

On these clinic visits, parent/s and child meet with various specialists to discuss issues, progress, and questions. Many parents with children who have chronic medical conditions suffer from depression, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD (hospital experiences become a war zone in the mind). Doctors always ask parents how they are holding up. But this time it was evident to me that I was not okay. I recalled what happened each time, which events led up to it, and how I was coping; having someone ask me with sympathetic eyes just broke me down. I was hurting.

My depression has made another grand entrance in my life. I’ve struggled with it since my twenties, and I notice it reoccurs with major life changes or stressers. It’s hard to talk about depression openly with all the negative stigma attached to it and as a Korean-American. These kinds of things are rarely discussed, acknowledged, or admitted in Asian cultures; there’s lots of shame attached to self and to one’s family. It can be seen as a sign of personal weakness and lack of willpower. Oh well. So be it.

I have depression with propensity for panic breakdowns. I wish I didn’t have it and many times I white knuckle it through those anxiety sweeping moments. But talking about it releases the grip it has on me. Sometimes I get tired of smiling and making it seem like I’m doing fine when really I’m scared and hurting badly inside. This kind of stuff is hard to share: what if my feelings burden someone else?; what if it makes people dislike me?; will they think I’m crazy?; will this label me?; will people think I’m a bad Christian?

I don’t want to be seen as the party pooper who walks around with a dark cloud above my head. It’s not all the time, so I would rather keep it to myself. With depression, it’s hard to articulate those waves of sadness and hopelessness that overpowers the self.

I made a doctor’s appointment the next day. My current medication was not working. I couldn’t let it get worse; I really was holding on by a thread. I’ll see a therapist again. My constant irritability and crying were affecting my family members; it wasn’t only about me anymore. I feel very vulnerable and weird sharing this on my blog. But this blog is about my life and how can I ignore it. Believing in God does not mean that I’m immune from things like this; God is here in the midst and helping me work through it. I cling to Him more in times like this.

I’m learning that it’s better to seek help to get better than to sweep it under the rug. I do the latter a lot and it explodes in various ways. I hope anyone who is depressed and feel hopeless will reach out for help. It doesn’t have to stay this way.

BTW, if my writing sounds defensive or too explanatory, please understand. This is a vulnerable topic for me and something I feel ambivalent about. Thanks readers!!

Posted in Personal growth

5 upbeat and inspiring Christian music that our family love

My kids and I listen to K-Love all the time in the car. Their music is just what they are known for: positive and encouraging. The worship music they play is catchy, lyrics inspiring, and overall message encouraging to remember how much we are loved by God and changed by his love.   

We continue this music listening streak in the house with Google Home. One good time to play music is when the kids are lagging to get ready. My “brush your teeth” mantra gets ignored until songs start playing and their little bodies start to groove. Another time is when our day is in a lull: music energizes us and gets us into a better mood. 

A cute bear statue from the new garden at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital

There’s many more, but I’ll only list 5 today. For me I’ve noticed that if the list is too long, I just glance (due to my very short attention span).You could check out one song a day or all of them in 30 minutes or so. 

If you get a chance this week or feel like you could use a burst of happy, check out any of these songs or their music video on YouTube. Snap your fingers and smile!! 

  1. “Happy Dance” by MercyMe
  2. “Beautiful Day” by Jamie Grace
  3. “Joy” by King & Country
  4. “Changed” by Jordan Feliz
  5. “Grace Got You” by MercyMe