From our new daughter, one year at my new job, and my spiritual growth to learning and giving back as a developer, 2014 has been a full, enlightening year. As the year closes, I want to take time to pause, reflect upon, and be thankful for some of its moments.

I broke this up into two sections: Professional and Personal. I’ll be sharing my professional aspects first, but if you’d prefer, feel free to skip down to my personal moments.

Sass and JavaScript

I worked hard this year to really level-up my Sass and JavaScript, and although I know I can still use a lot of work on both (especially JavaScript), I learned a tremendous amount this past year.

I tailored my own flavor and style of organizing Sass, which is derived from a mix of SMACSS, OOCSS and BEM. This has exponentially sped up my front-end development and has made projects easier to maintain and iterate on with time and amongst multiple developers. I really want to, and probably should, write an in-depth post on how I approach organizing Sass and writing CSS.

I also dedicated a few weeks of studying JavaScript design patterns and refactoring old JavaScript I had written as well as rewriting jQuery to vanilla JavaScript.

The early stages were definitely humble beginnings, but I can confidently say that I’ve come a long way.


Of the new tools that I’ve discovered and learned this past year, Grunt has become an invaluable part of my development architecture and workflow.

I spent January experimenting and exploring Grunt, and after only a month, I found myself integrating it into every project. From shaving a few seconds off every Sass compile to running deployments, it has saved me countless hours of keystrokes and clicks by automating a lot of the development tasks I run on a daily basis. I wrote a couple of posts that may help those who are curious about, new to, or already using Grunt: Get Started with Grunt and Take Grunt to the Next Level


I love SVG. A project came up at Juice that I’d be handling development for, and the design team bounced ideas for animating illustrations. Initially we had thought GIFs would suffice, but we weren’t pleased with the quality of GIFs. Considering SVGs are infinitely scalable, are well supported by browsers, and work well with CSS, I set on a path to learn.

See the Pen Shoot down the Mothership! by Jonathan Suh (@jonsuh) on CodePen.

I managed to take all of the animations originally created in After Effects and recreate them with SVG and CSS. It was tough at first and tricky, but I had a ton of fun and learned a lot. It even led me to take what I’ve learned and write a post on how to Animate SVG with CSS.

Giving Back

I made a conscious effort to give back to the web and open-source community—after all, I’m a self-taught developer and designer, and with all those who’ve given me the opportunity to learn with their contributions, I felt it was only right and my turn to give back. I spread out my efforts through various channels.

Here are some of the things I did this year:

  • Wrote 13 how-to guides/tutorials on my blog
  • Answered 47 questions and earned 1,247 reputation on StackOverflow
  • Open-sourced my website on Github
  • Volunteered to teach an HTML & CSS animations workshop for AIGA Chicago students in the mentor program
  • Created and registered my first Bower package, mq-sass, a Sass library to manage media queries

4 Years of Marriage

Becky and I have been married for 4 years, and it’s been quite a journey. We’ve shared many laughs and tears, and through thick or thin, there isn’t another person I’d want to live life and share those moments with. She’s been patient in spite of my impatience and understanding through my density, and has managed to look past my incorrigibility—her love and support make me feel like I can conquer the world. She’s also an incredible, loving mother to our children—she puts in an atonishing amount of work to care for and nurture our children.

Father of 2

My wife and I welcomed our sweet, little girl, Katelyn, into our family in September. I was reminded how brave and strong my wife is, how much work and challenging it is to raise a newborn, and how much joy and happiness a baby brings to a home.

However, watching Katelyn and Silas, my 3-year-old boy, interact has been by far the most rewarding as a dad. He’s always looking out for her and is beyond sweet and caring—he has yet to show an ounce of jealousy, which, frankly, I was worried about prior to Katelyn’s arrival. Our kids have transformed our world (for the better) and have brought so much joy to our home—we can’t imagine our lives without them.

A sweet, brother-and-sister moment

1 Year at Juice Interactive

August marked one year at Juice Interactive. I’m thankful for a job and employers that allow me the flexibility to occasionally work from home so I can spend more time with my family; support my life at home and look out for my work-life balance; offer opportunities to work on fun, challenging projects with some of the smartest, most talented folks I’ve met; make work a place I can couple “work” and “hobby” together; and throw birthday parties for its employees. The environment that Juice provides not only allows me to grow as a developer but also as a husband and father.

Spiritual Growth

I’ve had many questions about my faith: things I’ve been taught, the Scriptures itself, and general ponderings. The motive of my questioning wasn’t to doubt nor was it a quest to find an alternate answer that was suitable for what I believed had to be right, but instead questioning and seeking to get a deeper, better understanding of my faith.

I still have a lot of questions and can’t say I have any straightforward answers, but I’ve learned that life, God, the Scriptures and its answers aren’t so one-dimensional, black or white, right or wrong, like I have the tendency to make things. In my attempt to define and formulate God and His attributes within the bounds of my finite mind, I must be careful that I’m not inadvertently invalidating and nullifying God’s infinite nature—Christianity and faith isn’t a science. I must be careful that I’m not using my shallow interpretation of the Scriptures as a public or internal whipping post to shame others, but instead find ways to love, harmonize, and forgive amongst our differences.

That’s a wrap—onward to 2015!

2014 has been quite a year, but I’m ready and excited for 2015 and what it holds. I’m not one to make generalized, itemized New Years Resolutions lists, but here are a few things I’d like to see happen, and with all of them I’ve already made plans for:

  1. Launch a product/service.
    I have a couple of ideas brewing, and one is in its very early stages, but I’d love to see myself build and launch something on my own (maybe even before I turn 30 in July).
  2. Attend a design conference.
    I’m not a social butterfly, and I’m uncomfortable in crowds or at parties, but I’ve been meaning to attend one for the learning experience and the chance to meet friends and people I admire. Unfortunately with so much happening this past year (3 weddings and the birth of my daughter to name a couple), I just couldn’t. That’ll change in 2015—I’m registered for Circles Conference, so I’ll see you there if you’re going!
  3. Work with friends.
    With a full-time gig and a family, it’s tough, but I’d love to find ways and/or excuses to collaborate with friends and people I trust and admire, even if it’s the smallest of projects. There’s an enjoyment and fulfillment that comes with working with friends, and I’m hoping to do more of that this year.
  4. Keep giving back.
    I’d like to keep giving back and find more ways and avenues to give. Gift giving isn’t one of my love languages, but I’m finding new ways I can give that aren’t physical or monetary and learning that it can be just as, if not more, rewarding and fulfilling.

That’s it! Happy New Year, and I’ll see you in 2015.