The day Soph lost her mind, and hubby found it...with God's help

This morning I was listening to KWAVE 107.9 FM and a song began to play......it is called, "You Are So Faithful".

I flashbacked to 6 years ago around this time, when I literally lost my mind, and hubby had to drive 2 hours to Malibu to find it (and me, and 2 year old Caleb). I felt the Lord prompting me, "Go ahead, sweet child, share your journey with others." And I said, "But Lord, do we really have to let everyone know about my past? I mean, now they'll all know I've gone insane. I think I was far beyond gone, as I recall." He said, "It'll be alright.....trust Me". When Caleb was 2 years old, I was a stay-at-home mom trying to adjust to the demands of a still-nursing, active, colicky little toddler who didn't sleep* much at nights.  * Note: The phrase "Sleep Like a Baby" should be outlawed because it is an oxymoron. Babies DON'T sleep, they doze off and shriek as soon as you tiptoe out of the room. Ask any new parent and they will share this secret....unless they are too tired and sleep-deprived to tell you thise truth! (^_^).

Trying to still keep up with pre-baby lifestyle, I continued to stay 'busy'. I also volunteered to help with the Jr. high group in our church, hence I started staying up late into the wee hours (2-3am) doing online newsletters while Caleb was asleep. And in the daytime, I'd do mass research. I wanted to stay in control, to not feel like I'm doing 'nothing' at home, so I increased instead of decreased my workload, not realizing that adjusting to life with a newborn can take a big toll on a new mom's sleep, self-esteem, physical and mental health.

In Febuary 2004, I started experiencing insomnia spurts, one of which lasted 4 nights. On the 5th day, I experienced my first psychotic episode and drove 3 hours north until I ended up near the shores of Malibu. I experienced hallucinations and heard voices the whole drive up the 5 freeway and drove until my tank was amost empty. My cell phone was out of battery and I didn't know where I was. Caleb was in the car and it was a miracle he didn't cry the whole time, and we hadn't gotten into a car accident (since voices told me drive thru walls)!


I didn't know why but I checked into a deserted motel and called hubby from the front desk clerk's phone. Hubby was spooked when he got my call. In fact, he felt eerie when he came home from work that stormy evening. The garage door was open but no one was inside the darkened house. I told him I was at an Inn and gave him the address inscribed on the back of my door key. He went online and was surprised that this indeed is a 'real' hotel, and shocked that I was in Malibu alone with our 2 year old, apparently in a state of confusion.

Mission Hospital

He and his brother Joseph drove in one car to Malibu to find me, then he drove my car and me/Caleb back home. What followed were 2 more nights of insomnia, delusions, hallucinations, and confusion. By Sunday, he drove me to Mission Hospital's Emergency Room because I had not slept at all in 6 nights. On the way to the hospital, this song was playing in the car. He was startled when I started singing this song... he figured that since I was singing praise songs, I was probably not possessed by demons (though, 2 nights before he had prayed over me with Ephesians 6:10-18, just in case I was!). It was a blessing to have my in-laws, mom, siblings and loved ones in church praying for hubby and me and helping us during those uncertain and scary days !

I ended up getting sent by "Lynch" mobile (yes, strapped down) to the most runned down hospital in the area, since other (more humane) hospitals needed authorization/referral. This 'next-step-above-poverty-level' hospital was the only option without needing a doctor's authorization, hence it was the one I ended up in. (I still tease hubby that I will get back at him for not putting me in any of the luxurious private oceanview hospital rooms along Newport coast or Laguna beach)! Only College hospital was available on that fateful weekend (and yes, I am thankful for their care, even if the place looked like a little prison and they spoke to us like parole officers). I stayed for many days and during that time, the psychiatrist shook his head often and misdiagnosed me as schizophrenic 沒救啦! 精神分裂症?! Hence, he told hubby I may be here a long, long.....long........ time.

(End of Part 1 : Take A Tea Break?)

I had difficulty recognizing hubby and was constantly in a state of confusion in the first days following my hospitalization. By day 5, hubby had given up all hope (and his own resources) and just gave me to the Lord. He had considered selling our home and quitting his job to stay home to care for me (well, if I ever did come home). But his brother urged him to keep his job or we won't have health insurance. Caleb wasn't weaned during the week of my hospital stay, and would wail uncontrollably at nights. Hubby joined him and the new father and boy wallowed in the depths of sadness and despair.

Miraculously, on day 6 (Friday), I woke up in the morning and remembered who I was, who hubby was, and that we had a 2 year old son! The doctor was thrilled when I answered all the routine questions correctly and told  ME to TELL hubby when he visited that night....that I can go home on Monday! Yeay! 能離開醫院啦!

When hubby came to visit me, I told him the good news but he looked dubiously at me and patted my back. I bet he thought I was being discoherent 胡說8道 and was probably confused again, so he ignored me! By Monday morning, hubby came running and told me that my doctor contacted him. He said the doctor sounded surprised and filled with disbelief that I had miraculously recovered and was clear-minded and chatty. Hubby could not believe that I had regained 'consciousness' (awareness?) precisely the morning after he had given up trying to research/solve my insanity on his own! On the way home, I proudly told hubby, "See? I told you the doctor let me go home!"

So on day 8, we went home. I know that it was God's miraculous works that I could be here, chatting with you online, about my special experience. God is good, and I have experienced first-hand His soverignty and protection! I was like the US Airways  airplane that survived the perilous flight, not because of my own strength, but because God's hands protected me and carried me down to safe waters!


In the past, I was a perfectionist. I studied hard, worked hard, and expected good results. Not only with work, but with people (family, spouse, kids, and especially ~ myself). I relied on my strengths, and I enjoy praises for the hard work I put in. Everything from studies to work to home care, I felt in control. I didn't know that the same rule does not apply to parenting, hence reality did not meet my expectations. In the past I worked hard not only at my job, at maintaining my home, but with my service to God as well. "Here, God, watch what I can do for you! This sounds like a good project, let me take it up for you Lord! See how much I love you and serve you with my talents!"

Ever since my hospitalization, I realized that *gasp*... I don't have to do ANYTHING to win God's favor or unconditional love. The months after my recovery, I began SSRI meds and still had insomnia on and off, and I literally could not do much but was merely 'surviving'.

But it was in the darkest nights that I reached out and experienced the love of my Heavenly Father. Psalms 103 sustained me in the sleepless nights (when I had a miscarriage and when I relapsed shortly after Abbie was born, but God helped me through those trials too!)  He didn't need me to do anything for him, because He is one who can easily enlist a donkey to speak for him or carry out his work through a Big Fish (just ask Jonah!).

All he wants is to have me sit beside him, share my heart with him, and enjoy Him, because He loves me and died for me! It dawned on me that everything I've done in the past was for ME, and my glory, so when I lived for myself, I "lost it" (John 12:25)! This journey could be the worst, yet the BEST thing that happened to me. I was liberated from all my self-imposed-have-to-dos, and just sat by Jesus feet (I was so weak I couldn't go anywhere anyways) and listened to Him share His love for me.

Ministry is no longer about 'doing' as it is 'being'... being close to my Heavenly Father, and glorifying Him any way He chooses, like sharing my tales from the dark side with you all. We all can glorify him in repetitive tasks (often unnoticed by anyone) like diaper changing, trash throwing, dinner cooking, and kiddie chauffering. So moms, even if our babies don't rise up and call us blessed, we know that we are doing it for our Lord, and we desire to hear "Well done, my good and faithful servant" from no one other than Christ himself.

I am slowly getting back on my feet. Now we all know there's GOT to be a God because how else would two adorable kids survive until now with a mom whose brain takes unscheduled and prolonged 
vacation days? God has taken over our family rudder and steered us toward safety.  Since then, I've begun to behold others with more compassion. I no longer feel awkward around those with "odd" 怪怪的 behaviors when I see them in the malls or Walmart, as I was once one of  them. I used to look at ''cruel' moms or guys on the news and jeer them when the lawyers use temporary insanity as 'excuses' for their behavior. Now I see them differently.

In many cases, clinical depression can be brought about by situational stressors (pressures from school/work; postartum stress/hormone shifts; loss of job/house/finances; loss of one's health or family members; loss of relationships through diseases/accidents/ divorce; prolonged suppressed anger; sleep deprivation/irregularity, etc.) or biological triggers (neurological/
chemical/hormonal imbalances), and these individuals are suffering, in pain, isolated, and need help. I know others' struggles, now that I'm officially one of the subjects my UCSD abnormal psychology textbook was describing!

Whatever the reason, God calls us to love one another, and to see others better than ourselves. Our marriage has also strengthened in the storms of my health crisis. Since walking the paths of those suffering from insomnia and depression, hubby and I  began to see and love with a compassion we didn't feel before. Sometimes thorns in the flesh do wonders!

Your footprintsand Jesus'!


~ Post Scriptus ~

It is one thing for hubby and I to know about God, having been raised in a christian home (as pastor's kid and a kid of a single christian mom, respectively). But it is a whole new ballpark when your life (and family, marriage, health) depended solely on God. In our case, hubby and I were holding on to Him for dear life! There are things in life no one but God can help you with, like....sleep! 

God is good and forever faithful! He never leaves or forsakes us! People ask me if I'd be a stay home mom if I had to do it all over again. My answer? YES! And I'll even sacrifice some sanity in order to experience the hand of the Living God in my life! The day Soph comes to the end of herself, is the day Christ begins to reveal himself, his presence and power!

Twice today, God reminded me (thru the Bible and the radio): Come to me, my child (all ye who are burdened), and I will give you rest 來找我,我有重擔的孩子,我就使你得安息 ~ ~ .
Thank you all for your faithful prayers for me and our family! God bless you! Do not be afraid of trials, because when the night is darkest, the star (YOU) shine brightest!

p.s. Truth be told, being institutionalized is really not that bad. The worst thing about it is actually.... the food! But we all know not to expect too much from hospital food  (^_^).


The drenching drama Continues.....

I think that we've gone from Exodus back to Genesis here in California....because we were in the desert (drought)...but now... we have a flood?

Today Abbie and I were stuck home because it's another round of winter storm.... We slept in and watched lots of news/Disney movies. At one point, we heard funny noises from the garage and back yard! Guess who it was?

That was Jubee bird, who gets really excited when it rains. Maybe the noise reminds her of the amazon jungle (where she should probably be), and she will talk up a 'storm' when she heards petter-patter of rain!

Then Abbie and I heard noises like rocks hitting our roof and windows. Here's what we find!

After an hour, we hear and see MORE ice come down! I feel like we're living in Seattle! Or is it Noah's Ark? When will the rain ever end?

In the channel 5 news, it was so funny to see 2 guys playing football (in anticipation of the Super Bowl) without shirts on, in the SNOW!

And this doggie rescue is incredible! Hang in there, maybe the rain-a-thon will end tomorrow morning!


What a stormy New Year! What Next?

Mallard ducks use the athletic fields as a pond while students at Sycamore
 Junior High (Anaheim) wait for classes to begin Thursday morning.

This is only 21 days after the beginning of the new year and decade...but so much has happened already! For one thing, we had a 7.1 earthquake last week in Haiti, which was the biggest in 200 years. It destroyed the capital of port-de-prince, and 100,000+ have lost their lives, 200,000 were injured and 2 million+ are left homeless.

Then on Tuesday (2 days ago), we had a historical storm-tornado-hail-storm marathon (weeklong storm)! I don't recall California every having tornadoes, and seeing it with my eyes and on the news still feels surreal!

I was home alone when it all happened. Hubby was safely at work in his sturdy business building. The kids are safe in their reinforced school and preschool (calvary chapel church) building. And me? I was hiding under my computer table covering my head (as directed by KCal 9 news anchor) as we braced for the tornado, which had a monstrous personality of its own.

The tornado came down from Fountain Valley/Long beach, made its way to Yorba Linda/Fullerton, then down to Laguna Hills/Mission Viejo, then went down to San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente.

I could not believe there were 3/4 inch ice falling on my back lawn! The windows and sliding glass door by the computer table sounded like they will break! I opened the back door and wind hit me like waves, and (the camera and) I got drenched trying to film this footage for hubby...(had to clean the lens during the taping).

I told hubby and he (like someone living on a different planet) kept saying, "It's just hype. It's really not that bad. It's just a little rain." Easy for someone insulated in a big safe building with heater! I said I will film what went through our home to prove that it's not all in my head. I'm really not exaggerating.

It was hilarious to see this optimistic resident in Long beach.... kayaking down his street! The streets were flooded! Now I know how traumatized the victimes of floods and tornados are....and I don't even live in New Orleans or Kansas! Hopefully the rst of the month/year will not be as dramatic!

Stay safe everyone. This is a week I will never forget! Better buy a kayak... just in case!


Looking Ahead to 2010

What an exciting beginning to the year 2010! I'm going through my photo albums and realizing how much God blessed us in 2009! I'm sure 2010 will be even more exciting! Honestly, I'm tired just thinking about puting away the Christmas decorations.....should I just leave it there since Christmas rolls around again in 11 months anyways?

In the new year, it is tempting to look back and with nostalgia in our voices, and recount of how wonderful life was before 2009 (or the pre-recession era). But everything is in God's perfect plan, and with the advent of 2010, let us not look back and dream of 'the good old days' and what we've lost in the past 12 month, but rather, look forward to the assignments and blessings God has in store for us.

For one thing, due to the cut in work hours and the addition of furloughs, many (recovering) workaholics have realized that they've had more time to be with their loved ones. They've realized that true joy is investing not in stocks or real estate, but in relationships. They've struck a balance between work and family, and are enjoying their family more than ever! Their family members are happy to have them home more often (physically and mentally). And people are saving more instead of spending too!

Perhaps as my pastor Al said, in the year 2010 we all have to leave our Egypt and live a simpler (and exremely abundant) life in the desert. With God and our loved ones, our exodus into an unknown place called "post-recession life" may turn out to be the most blessed decade of our lives! Together, let's anticipate what our Lord has in store for us, His children!

An upside of all of us being in the recession boat is: No one will be actively comparing what style attire is most fashionable this season, or what fancy restaurant is en vogue this week, because won't we all be  eating and wearing pretty much the same thing (Walmart and McDonald's)? Doesn't the thought of this take the pressure off of all of us instantly?


Starting Tiger Year (2010) with Good friends!

On January 2nd, we went to San Diego Wild Animal Park with our good  family friends (hubby's brother's brother-in-law) Mr. Strong and family! I haven't been there for several years and it was fun to visit the precious animals and watch them play with their "Christmas Toy Boxes" too!

Strong and Gwo-Fen and their adorable kids Louis (5) and Ashley (3) visited us for the first time since 2004! It was a very memorable time together and we are thankful for good family friends!

The next day I was able to see my dear college buddy, JuJu (Julie), as I affectionately call her. She will be our June Bride 2010 at Disneyland!! I am so honored to be her bridesmaid (as she was my bridesmaid back 12 years ago, also year of the Tiger, as we both are!) and wish her and my Cerritos high school buddy Dr. George, a happy marriage and exciting adventure ahead!

This is a yummy "Farewell to Bachelor(ette)hood Mango Creme Brulee" Cake I bought for my dear buddies. Enjoy your life now and new life together in the near future! Give Abbie a playmate to play with soon, okay?

I thank the Lord for starting our new year off with many blessings, one of which is YOU! In life's ups and downs, knowing that we have special ones makes every year so precious and memroable!


Christmas Day in the Beautiful Grand Canyons

On Christmas morning we woke up to -4 degrees F temperature and my window sill in the bedroom had ice all over it! It was freezing and we had our Christmas breakfast in the hotel lunchroom, with Christmas song in the background.

We packed up our hot water containers and headed off to Grand Canyon! The air was so cold that white smoke was coming out of Abbie's mouth, inside the minivan! And our water bottle (and lotion, and baby wipes) froze with ice!

After an 1.5 hour drive, we saw beautiful canyons with snow-covered summits, and we played in the nearly 2 feet of snow! The road in the Grand Canyon was closed because it was covered with thick snow!

This is definately a Christmas we will never forget! Merry Christmas everyone!