Saturday, August 7, 2010

Laughing after the Storms...Part five ~ The finale...for now!

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Part Five...

For the past eleven years we have lived in our little home on two acres. When we arrived we had six kids and our seventh arriving just one and a half months later. We now have nine sweet blessings and have loved watching them grow up. Our oldest is almost 25 and our youngest just 3 1/2.  We  will continue to weather many more storms...that's just part of life...part of the growing! As I watch my children mature and hopefully when they are ready....leave the nest...I will continue to Trust the one who allows me to walk through these storms and laugh!

We have had many many changes as our children have grown. Four have graduated from the same high school. One graduated from UGA with a degree in Anthropology and has the hope to become an Archaeologist one day...anyone want to hire a great young man? Two who have moved married and one just trying to be more independent...they both are within reach of becoming teachers. One fresh out of high college and trying to figure out where God is taking her on this life journey. Two in high school and three still at home...homeschooling. My husband has had several job promotions over the past 11 years. But all have kept us here...allowing a much needed rest from our many moves...our many storms. We have always felt our lives are in God's hands... we will go wherever and do whatever He calls us to do.  Chances are our next promotion will take us out of state...but maybe not! Only my guide knows!

All I know is... I have to place my heart in such a condition that I will follow Christ even into the storm!
I have seen several storms in my life and  they have at times weathered me tremendously...but I have stood firm on the foundation that rest beneath my feet. I will not be shaken...I will look at the face of fear and doubt...and I will Laugh! I will laugh with my very first husband! He is the one who has walked this journey along side me. He has encouraged me when I felt I couldn't take one more step. He has brought joy to my life. We have lived...we have loved...we have laughed...together hand in hand after 26 years.... continuing the journey!

 Trust me...He whispered!

We all have a story to tell...what's yours?
I love to people watch...wondering who they are and what is their story? A few weeks ago while sitting in church...again this thought came to mind...I know I should have been listening! I my maker! As I sat there watching I knew I had a story to tell..a journey of one girls life... trying follow her maker inspite of the bumps in the road. Inspite of what my earthly eyes might see. You may say...your story is nothing! Well to you it may not be...but to someone else it might give the hope they need to continue their journey.  You may say...My story will knock your socks off...well...tell it! There might be someone that needs to hear your story. Someone who's life just might change because of your journey. We live in a day where jobs are hard to find and life seems so out of control. We all need help...we all need guidance. Learning from others experiences can save you a lot of grief. Even give you the hope that one day you too will survive the storm.

Fight the good fight of faith....NEVER give up Hope!

Holding onto my Jesus,

My husband's cousin pointed out to me today...the road my in-laws lived on ...the house we have been sheltered in many times....New Hope Road !  Hope...Clinging to it daily!

Laughing after the storms...Part Four

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four...I'm alive!

Evacuations mean NO hotel rooms anywhere!  After calling around we managed to stop in Lake City Florida. We found two rooms at a hotel right off the exit. The one we chose was in the process of remodeling and all the upper floors were without door knobs. And people were staying in them! It was late... we were tired when we unloaded the kids. The two boys in one room with their dad and me in the other with the 4 girls. Baths and ready for bed ...I pulled down the sheets for the kiddos to jump in for a good nights sleep. NOT! There was a huge dry yellow stain right before my eyes. Mind you we haven't been in the room for more than an hour. I call the front desk to request clean sheets...and I waited. And I waited. Moving day and traveling with six kids under the age of patience! So I walked next door to get some help from my husband. And let's just say all you know what broke loose! My husband  walked down to the front desk to get some fresh sheets. I offered to change them myself ! We ended up being accused of letting our kids wet the bed and then blame the hotel for not changing the linens. After being humiliated in front of other customers we decided to leave...not before calling other hotels a few exits down. Trust me...God whispers. Long story short the hotel did not want to refund our money and we ended up in a battle with the credit card company. The hotel said our child wet the bed and we had a dog with us...A DOG! LOL! Our kids wished! I guess they saw me carry the baby and mistook her for a dog. I can laugh now....I wasn't then. All this in less than two a time when all I wanted to do was have a place to lay my head.

 The next day... the hurricane missed the area and residents were allowed to return to Motel 6 on Cocoa Beach! New town home...a new chapter. For weeks we looked for houses. Finally finding one on a golf coarse not far from our new church. Sound exciting? Well....we were taking over a lease from the previous renter. Renting for a while is what we decided was best until we got to know the area. The home owners...they were in the middle of a nasty divorce and the house was on the market. It was a beautiful home in a new community. Not many homes were being built and not many selling...we thought we would be ok for a year. We found out after moving in ...the owner still had some things stored there. So what storage space we had ...we shared. Months after moving in... an investigator came looking for the previous renters. I don't like renting! After our year was up we decided it was best to find a different home. We looked at many options and decided to continue renting. Not really feeling we would be here too long. Another year of renting  and  new friendships made. We did a lot of traveling back and forth between Georgia and Florida for many many visits home. Still our hearts longing for home...longing for Georgia.  We saw a lot while living near the space center. Many shuttle launches...exploding rockets...and our daughter getting to meet John Glen. Florida fires and smoke so thick you couldn't see but just a few feet in front of you. And a new gift for our family of 8. Before we knew it my husband took a new job back in Atlanta.This moving expenses. Now I see Lord why we couldn't seem to find a house to buy. We were free to worry with selling our house. The only thing...I'm pregnant and I'm not much help.

Three years in Florida and it's time to say good bye. This chapter closed and a new one to open. We said goodbye to the friends we had made. We were going home! But as before... home would be different. My husband's dad had suddenly passed away while we were in Florida. Friend's kids have grown. All would be different...all would take time to adjust!

My husband's mom came down to help us move. This time our trip consisted of... driving a moving van towing one car and pulling our camper behind the other. Back to Georgia...back to living with my mother in-law while we searched for a home. Once again our life back into storage...but not our friend's basement. We wanted to keep our friends!The end of March to mid July we searched...and searched....and searched. Do you know how hard it is to find a house big enough for 7 kids and two adults? One we could afford with plenty of outdoor space. I wish we had made that list again!

Having grown up in Gwinnett county...we looked there. It was no longer a small community like we had known. Traffic was real busy and people everywhere. So we began to look further out...out to where our kids could run and play...and just be kids.! My husband had a commute that took him into the heart of Atlanta. That commute would limit us as to how far we could be. We ended up finding our current hour commute to his office door. Perfect! The house was empty waiting for our large family to destroy it  lovingly move in. Ready for move in was music to the ears of a very pregnant mom of 6 kids and a son with a broken leg. Yes...a month after we got here our son fell from a homemade zip line and broke his leg in two places. Not a way to start your summer. So he and I sweated it out for the next few months. Waiting...waiting and waiting! I couldn't have been more thrilled to get a move on with getting in our house. Just 1 1/2 months before baby #7 arrived we took possession of our little home on 2 acres. Poor Mr. David next door...he must have thought we were on a field trip when we drove up in our huge van! I guess we did look like a school group!
To be continued...the growing continues! And the laughing!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Laughing after the storms...Part Three

Part One
Part Two

Part Three...

Living in Memphis far away from friends and family. Learning to be a family...learning to be a couple. The three and a half  years spent living there had many trials and many blessings. New friends! Fun...laughter...tears and then it was time to leave. Back to our home state...continuing to write our story.

This move was great! Finally a new job and paid moving expenses! Where were they when I flew home from Maine with a 1 week old? For the next few months we once again settled down in a hotel. This time with 4 kids...but in Georgia.The days were filled with house hunting and trying to adjust to living back in the community we once called home. We were thrilled to be back in our church...but that to took time to feel at home again. I knew things wouldn't be the same as when we had left three years earlier. But my brain couldn't help but expect people to be frozen in time.When we left our friend's kids were babies and when we returned they were adults!

House a frustrating experience! After touring many many homes...not seeing anything that was "The One"....We gathered the kids together and made a list. The list included 1 thing from each family member that they would like to have in our home...or outside the home! We then prayed and brought our list before the Lord. The list got tucked away...not sure why I kept it... and we continued our search. A few weeks later my husband picked up a real estate  magazine while waiting on our realtor. One particular house caught his eye. Due to a busy schedule we just drove by the house before our realtor could schedule a viewing. As we drove up to the house the owner was in the yard. We were invited in  for a personal tour...and fell in love. As we walked through chills began to consume my body. The list...the one we made with our kids. The one we brought before the Lord. EVERYTHING on that list was included in this house! SOLD!!! After we moved in  and started unpacking ...the list just appeared one day. As I looked over it in amazement...WOW! My God cares enough to grant the desires of my heart and the desires of my kids hearts. As a testimony to our family and friends...The list was framed and placed on our mantel. I need to find that list and post a picture of it. Once again I had a home of my own! Trust me...He said. I have a great plan for your life! Oh the sweet whispers of my Lord!

The next four years were spent making memories and new friends while in our little house in Inglenook. Our family grew by two while living in that special home. Now we were a family of 8 and had no idea of our future...but excited to see where God would send us next! And next He did!

In order to obtain a better job...promotion...sometimes you have to be willing to move anywhere. We did have a large family and more money would be great. But one thing I've learned from our many moves is...Learning to depend on God when your in a strange land with no family and no friends! We have made so many friendships all across the US. Some we still to this day keep in touch with. Our many travels have taken us to many places...but there's no place like home!

So once again my husband started the application process...and we were off on our next adventure! Once again leaving our home state to a more hot tropical climate...Merritt Island. They had a Calvary Chapel !!!!
Moving to a new community and being familiar with a fellowship there made this move all the more exciting.

The movers came...this time we filled the whole moving semi! It's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate in just a few years. And the weekend we chose to move...a hurricane decides to hit our new destination. The word was the island was being evacuated as we were traveling. No one could even remember the last time they had an evacuation. I guess it was our welcome to paradise parade! Oh Joy!  What a way to start our new adventure!

"I have a plan He whispered"... as we are traveling with 6 kids(youngest was 3 months) loaded down and towing our other car behind us. Yeah Lord...but I am so very tired from this moving day. I just want to get to my "own home"...which was a hotel(Motel 6...but hey it's right across from the beach) on Cocoa Beach for the next few months with our 6 kids. Hotel living is OK for a week...but after that it gets really old! Again... My ways are not your ways...Jeremiah 29:11
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I'm trusting you Lord....but not really liking this kink in my plans!

Stay tuned...I'm still kicking...and screaming!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Laughing after the storms....Part Two

Part One

Part Two...

Well our little girl arrived..13 months younger than our son born before her. Our oldest son was not yet 3. Three kids in less than three years...all in diapers! Yes..ALL in diapers! My first potty training experience was a nightmare! Some days it was really hard to smile... hard to think beyond the storm that sucked me in with a mighty rushing wind. In the world's eyes I was too young to be married...much less have three babies by the age of 22. But in God's eyes...He had a plan! When I surrendered my life to Him...I willingly placed all my hopes,dreams and desires into His hands.  I loved being a wife and mom...if only all this other stormage(I made that up) would disappear!  Again getting my eyes off of the one guiding me through...I would trip and fall...bumping into walls all around. Looking for a door to escape. Each day I would hear my Lord whisper..."I have a plan...just trust me!" Trust is really difficult when your whole world is diapers and wondering if you will ever have a home of your own. Patience is not my best quality! Our fellowship...the one we helped start... was our place of refuge. Friends who supported us through prayer and fellowship...they may never know how important they were  to our little family way back then. And our families...they were our backbone. They were extra hands and feet. They fed us ...clothed us ...and gave us shelter. They loved us during one of the most difficult times of our married life.

As we continued to seek the Lord  over the next year...things began to change. Finally...a light at the end of this very long tunnel. My husband left the concrete work...glady...and began to work for GSA. Not long afterwards... he applied for a couple of positions out of state. One in Virgina and one in Memphis Tennessee. November 1989 Memphis bound...we left my in-laws with a truck load of our belongings that we hadn't seen since moving from our little home in Snellville...two years earlier. Thanks to our dear friends for storing our life in their basement all that time. Off we went headed to Memphis Tennessee...leaving behind our family and friends. We often talk about the timing of it all. God knew it was time for us to learn to be a family. As hard as it was for us to leave our home was the best decision we ever made!

The next three years were a growing experience. Finding a church home wasn't as easy as we had thought. We had been attending a Calvary Chapel  the whole time we had been married. And there was not a Calvary to be found anywhere in Memphis. We did attend a couple of different fellowships over the next three years...but really missed our church back home! About 8 months after moving to Memphis we were blessed to find God was giving us yet another gift. This time was so much better...less stress...and no one was in diapers! Our precious daughter was born 9 months later with a sweet and quiet spirit! Now a family of 6 and I had a home of my own...enjoying being just a wife and mom.

I sometimes wonder why God allows us to go through some of the things that we struggle with. Some things we do... they seem so insignificant now and at times seem crazy to others...but may play a major role in our lives years down the road. My husband was in the Navy right out of high school. While there he surrendered his life to Christ and felt God was telling him to resign. He obeyed the Lord and resigned. Because of his obedience... years later his short term in the Navy was just long enough for him to receive VA status. Over the years that status has helped in many,homes etc. Had he resigned any earlier he never would have received that status. Had he not resigned...he might have missed out on God's blessing. God's timing is always perfect! I often think how different my life would be if I had not chosen to obey the Lord. How many blessings I would have missed had I looked through the world's eyes.God sees the whole picture...he sees beyond the struggles...beyond the pain and hurt. God give me your eyes to see beyond the craziness of this life!

More later....part three!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Praying for Olivia...update post surgery!

Update from Barbara....

Hi everyone

It has been a long day but Olivia is finally out of surgery, in the room and actually sleeping. The stent is somethng that really, really hurts so it will be a day or two before she is comfortable with it. They also drained the abcess and sent the fluid to the lab for testing along with the cholangitis. The Doctors want to make sure that they have the right antibiotics and back up antibiotics in case they need them.

The next 24 hours are critical. Several things can happen. They could have accidently nicked the liver, this will kill the liver quickly because they go so deep inside of it...then, aspirating the abcess and putting the stent in could cause the infection to seed and spread, rapidily. I could list more but you get the picture. So, if you so feel led by the Lord to pray, and I know so many of you do...please pray.

I want you to know that this room is filled with the prayers of all of you. Yesterday and today.. more than once...we have circled Olivia, held hands and lifted our love and heart to the Lord. I love to come into our room because it has such peace. Thank you all for that.

I amazed to know stories after stories of people becoming closer in their walk with the Lord, the families becoming closer while they pray for us, families reaching out to non-christian family members and the stories go on and on and on. We only hear a small part of them. What glory God must be getting through all of this. What pleasure He must feel to have us look to Him, love on Him and get to know Him better. I am so thankful that if we have to walk through this that God's story is being told and miracles are being seen..even outside this small hospital room. And that is what the family of God is all about. What we have we share...whether it is our testimony, our food, our talents..whatever He has put in our hands to give..all of you have given.

Bless all of you. Please continue to pray for Ms. Martin, Sawyer, and also Jesse's family. Jessie went home to be with the Lord and I know their family could use some prayer.

In His Grip


Laughing after the storms...part one

Married at the age of 18...I didn't have a clue what life was about. Fresh out of high school married to my knight with shiny tools a builder during a time when the building industry takes a nose dive. Hard have no idea! Hopes and dreams of what I thought life would be like...gone. We all dream of that perfect wedding and white picket fence. But are we really prepared for life...good and bad? Do we really know where to find shelter during the storms of life?

Three months after our wedding we were expecting our first child. Our 1 year anniversary we were buying our first home. And few months later hard times hit. Houses ones buying! A lot to take when your just 20 years old.  In the midst of  trying to hang on to all that we had... our faith is what was keeping us strong. God is good ...even in the worst of times! Even when things got worse...and they did...we never went hungry(maybe didn't have what we wanted...but we ate)..and we never went without shelter. You can let hard times make you strong or you can let it get the best of you ! It's your choice!

After our first son was born things continued to nose dive...and 19 months after Justin was born we were blessed with his little brother. During this time we had our house on the market...just 1 year after we had moved in. It was either sell or lose it. My husband left the building industry to work for SBA(Small Business Administration). Flying to Maine before our baby was born to help with disaster assistance. After months of being gone,Justin and I flew to Maine(with my doctors approval) to visit my husband. Well guess who decides he wants to be a Yankee? Yes..A few days before I was to fly home...3 weeks early...little man decides it's his time to join our family vacation. While away our house did sell. My sister...who flew up to help me..and I ...flew home less than a week after our baby arrived. I came home to a sold house and having to pack up our home. No time to recoup! Was there a time when I questioned if God was real? You bet I did! At times even doubting if He really understood how much I could take. A month later My husband returns home and we leave our home to live with my in laws. I must say moving into someone else's home is a very humbling experience. However...I think I had the best in-laws that ever was! They had raised 9 children on their own...during times of hardship also. They were our shelter during this storm in our lives. If anyone understood...they did!

As we adjusted to this way of living....praying things would get better...My husband took another job with SBA. This time it was in California.  A few months after we moved in with my in-laws... were are off on another adventure trekking across the US in nothing other that our only vehicle...A pickup truck. Sounds like a song to me! Seriously...I can laugh now! It wasn't as glamorous as it sounds. Traveling with two kids under the age of two in a pick up truck ....trekking across the US. We arrived in California a week later to a nice hotel where we settled in for the next 6 months. Hey... they even cooked our breakfast every morning!

While there God once again chose to bless us with our 3rd child. Talking about adding to an already stressful time...OK God this really isn't all that funny.  We have two kids already...the youngest is just 5 months old and the oldest just turned two. God I can't do this! But I did and He helped me along the way. Teaching me that as long as I keep my eyes on Him...I will and can do this...along with a peace that passes ALL understanding. Once again I had a perfect pregnancy..all the while in a foreign land. Yes... California was very foreign to this Georgia girl. If it weren't for Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa or Calvary Chapel West Covina ...I might have walked back home. Although we missed family and friends...this 6 month "tour of duty" allowed us to be a family and trust God with what ever He was trying to do in our lives. After the aftershock we experienced one morning..I was ready to leave! I can handle tornado weather and really bad Georgia storms. Earthquakes just don't thrill me! The end of this job couldn't have come soon enough!

We returned...yes driving that pickup...6 months later. This time 2 kids and 6 months pregnant...I really can't believe I lived to tell about this! Back to our in-laws...back to looking for work! July 4th we welcomed our little girl and boy did she ever light up our lives! And continues to do so even today! My husband did find work...Pouring concrete walls. He said it was the hardest job he's ever done! Watching him come home exhausted was heart breaking. But it was work and where God had us until something better came along.

Part two coming up...check only gets better!

Sometimes we find ourselves in the midst of the storms of this life. Wondering if God really does exist...does He even care? I say Yes! He loves you and is right there in the midst of the storm with you. If you allow Him to guide you through that will come out a stronger person! Maybe your storm is a lot different from mine. We all have them during the different seasons of our lives. Hang on for the ride! One day you too will look back and be able to laugh and say "Wow...God really did carry me".

Praying for Olivia...Surgery at 11am!

Update...Olivia is out of surgery and the word is success! I'll post more details as soon as I hear something.

Thank you for walking this road...covering the King family in prayer!

Update from Barbara ....

First of all I just want to thank you for all the notes and posts of encouragement and prayer cover. I am amazed at how many people are covering our one little family. Thank you so much. We feel very blessed and are thankful for each one. I am trying to get back to each one but it will take me a bit to do that. And before you say, "Don't worry about that"...if those precious prayers were going up for your little just have to get back to you.

Today we have the first surgery at 11:00am. They are attempting to go through the bile duct to the stricture to give Olivia's liver some relief from a very sick liver at this point. With this procedure though, it should give her body the opportunity to heal. We did find out yesterday that the absess we thought was outside the liver, well, is actually inside the liver. We also have Infectious Disease on board now because the Gram Negative bacteria is a pretty nasty one. I could go into details but really..inquiring minds do not need to know. My precious friend Susan went through the details of it for me on the internet last night (she is a Doctor) and sorted it out so I would not have to have those ugly details but assured me we have the best care possible right now and they are doing all the right things. The bottom line is that we will be here at the hospital a while working on getting Olivia better from all these set backs but the liver seems to be at a place it can recover. That is a good thing.

I could go into all the hard, ugly facts but really here is what I know because I have spiritual eyes and not just those earthly eyes to have to listen to the facts, face them and then get on my knee's and listen.

I know yesterday I received a lot of notes to encourage me and for me not to lose hope. I truly have not. To be honest, you guys keep me so balanced you have no idea. Between people sending cards and notes, friends stopping by and being encouraging and cheerful, to just letting me be tired and unsociable at times....just to recoup from the moment of not so great news...we are surrounded by love and how can you get discouraged with all that? What a wonderful thing it is to be in the family of God. I truly see how wonderful that is. Love does cast out all fear. I do have moments, then I breathe, then someone is here to hold my arms up and I walk on. Amazed that I can even put one foot in front of the other..or even the same shoe on each foot...:) But I do, we do , and we make it each and every day.

I have to tell you to go to the profile page of friends of Olivia ...scroll down and you will see an awesome, beautiful picture our friend Mike did for us. as a fundraiser. I don't have all the details on it all but you have to see the is beautiful.

I have to run...the day is getting ready to start but thanks so much for all the prayers, for everytjhing...we love you all.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Praying for Olivia...Update about another surgery

Update from Olivia's mom....

I really do not want to send this update out. Partly because I am a little afraid for my precious daughter and partly because I just want God to step in and fix it all.

But, here is where we are at right now. Olivia is getting sicker but currently the infections (she is on 7 high power anitibiotics) are not at bay. They do not want to open her up and fix the bile duct because that could cause the infections to go rampant throughout her body. Where they are not sure if she could survive it.

On the other hand, they have to fix the bile duct so that they can get her better enough to fight off the infection. So, they are going to try and place a temporary stent through her bile duct to allow it to flow for a couple of weeks and let her get better. Because she is getting sicker. Once they see evidence of the infections clearing they will do the surgery to go in and repair the bile duct permantly. But the least amount of invasion on her body right now is the best course of action.

Wow, never in my wildest dreams could I have come up with these scenerio's. Olivia was crying this morning asking "why me"...I wish I could answer that so now more than ever I have press in and ask our Heavenly Father to have grace and mercy on our family. To heal her, to give her peace, and to give us all clear understanding.

Now, more than ever I think do I understand weeping at the altar. I know I have been face down on it before but I understand the impact of beseeching the Father on someone else's behalf. Today, my redeemer does live, He is sitting at the right hand of the Father and I know we have world peace, war, cancer, a lot of big prayers needing to be covered but today, I think He is sitting there talking with the Father about Olivia.

So, thankyou for all your prayers, support and love. We are blessed in many ways and I am so thankful for that. We are hanging in there and we thank you for hanging in there with us.

In His Grip, holding on tight


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Praying for Olivia....Updates and possible surgery!

Update from Olivia's mom....

I know, I know...I was just too tired after a long up and down day yesterday. But, today we know a little more than we did and what the future may hold.

It seems that it is not the artery that has been blocked. They thought yesterday that the artery was blocked because of the MRI but the Ultrasound showed that it was not. That is a good thing because the liver not getting blood would cause serious damage to the liver. But, now they feel it is just the bile duct issue. Again. But, they feel that it is right at the connection from the liver to the small intestine and so they would go in and do surgery as opposed to putting in a stent. Though, of course we would not want any of it to happen, this is definately the better case scenerio of the two situations. But, they want to wait a few more days and see if it clears (insert here that I have no idea why from the surgical standpoint because we have dealing with this since transplant) but from the infection side I can see why they want to wait. That infection is a nasty little thing and we would not to spread it if possible any further.

So, Olivia is feeling icky but not as bad as last week, Yeah, and maybe there is a light at the end of this tunnel that seems to be spiraling out of control. Prayerfully. Though surgery again is not what anyone wants to do and the risks are even higher...well, it just seems the best course of action. So thank you for those prayers that they can finally pinpoint what is wrong and there is a way to fix it. And maybe, it will be a long term fix and this will definately be that miracle to change Olivia's life in this area at least.

Well, I have lots of other thoughts but I have to run...treatments....but thank you all for the prayers...thank you for continuing to pray for Olivia and others going through so much..and thank you for the cards and notes has been such a blessing and encouragement to us.

In His Grip