Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Getting Back Into The Swing of Things

Happy New Year! At least it was about a month ago. So according to my records, the last time that I posted anything was back in November! That’s a long time to not have posted anything in the blogosphere. Hopefully this post will set me back on the road to being a regular blogger. As a counselor, most of my time is not spent in the classroom. I do however; teach one class at the end of the day. I mention this because I currently have them working on an assignment, which requires them to make their own blogs. The topic is communicating through technology, so I thought that it would be a cool assignment for them. I gave them the option to blog about whatever topic they chose if it was of interest to them. So far I have seen them create blogs about everything from skateboarding to dyslexia. Watching them be so enthralled in this activity has sparked a flame back in me to get back to my own blog and so, here I am. Wow…a lot has happened in the last few months! That being the case this particular post will be sort of a mish-mash of things.

I finished the chemo and had another kid back in October. I went back to work in November after spending most of the first semester out for medical leave. We also got to go home for Christmas, which was a very needed trip. I love living in Seoul. I love city life and all that that entails. But having not been home in a year and a half, we were beginning to need a change of scenery…badly! I have to say it was extremely relaxing to not have to think culturally. We were just Americans in America. We know that world. I really appreciated the drive-thru restaurants. There were no language frustrations. I so enjoyed the convenience of it all…or should I say the ease of it all. It was just a good visit overall. I was especially happy that my family got to meet my son for the first time. My daughter is also old enough to understand the different family titles like aunt, uncle, etc.

I guess one of the biggest things to happen recently was that I recently celebrated my 35th birthday! 3-5! I can’t believe I am only five years away from being 40 years old. It’s amazing to think that people that were in their thirties used to seem so old to me. Now I’m that person! People always talk about when it is that you really feel like an adult. Well let me tell you, I think I have reached that point! Two kids, a wife, etc., etc. Considering all of that I have to say that I am extremely blessed. All in all, this post is my attempt to get back into the habit of things and I have a lot to discuss over the next few months…or at least I think I do. Stay tuned. Be Motivated! Be Inspired!

Oh yeah one last thing. Shout out to S.P.G. for the post on Facebook! FYI, I was already getting ready to start back writing.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Back On My Grind


Hopefully everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I have enjoyed looking at all the foods that people have been posting on Facebook. As for the Kings, we had our traditional Thanksgiving meal a little earlier with some people from my job. My actual Thanksgiving day meal was a little more simplistic. I enjoyed a juicy burger stuffed with cheese inside and hand made tater tots. Not only that but I got to enjoy it with a good friend from work. At this point, some of you may be saying to yourself "I thought he stopped eating like that?” Well I did…kinda. At this stage I am more on the “everything in moderation” mentality. Since I have reached my goal of dropping 100 pounds, I feel that as long as I don’t go overboard and continue to exercise regularly I should be okay.  Actually, I am really starting to get back into a regular exercise and healthy eating routine. It was very difficult to do either of those things while undergoing chemo due to the extreme nausea and exhaustion that chemo brings. I guess the good thing would be that
My Thanksgiving Meal
most of the time I was so sick that I didn’t want to eat. Actually there were many days when I couldn’t even think about, smell, or talk about food because it would make my stomach turn. Thankfully all of that is over now, except for the fact that my eyebrows still haven't come back fully. 


Making an organic fruit smoothie for lunch
Anyway, this past week was used to get myself back into the routine of going to the gym multiple days of the week. Although it was Thanksgiving week, I knew I had to get back into doing that asap! I can honestly say that by the time Saturday came I was back in a place mentally that I wanted to be in. I find it amazing that for someone who was never really active, I am now the type who feels horrible if I am not active for extended periods of time. I guess that’s a good thing because I now believe that the chances of me gaining all that weight back are very low.  I really knew that I was doing good when I decided to survive off of liquids all day Saturday due to the fact that we were going out with some friends Saturday night to eat. That was one of the best decisions I had ever made! All I can say about it is that the empanadas at On The Border are dangerous! I hyperlinked it in case you were curious. I packed away three of them and almost ordered more! But like I said, I figured something like that would happen so that’s why I worked extra hard at the gym that day and took in very few calories after breakfast.



All in all it feels good to be back in the swing of things. I can say that I enjoy living like this. I am also considering doing something like a martial arts class. I have actually taken taekwondo and judo classes before but I didn’t stick with them. I think I will revisit one of those disciplines again. Luckily I live in a place with several different styles of martial arts classes that I can consider. Since the Judo class lasted the longest I might go that route again. So for those of you who are reading and you feel that the Holidays will be your downfall, I want to encourage you by saying that if you fall don’t stay down.  Also, should you fall don’t beat yourself up, it’s inevitable. One last thing, you don’t have to wait until the New Year to decide to change. I started in November two years ago. Just take small steps and then progress. Be Motivated! Be Inspired!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION: WHAT A YEAR!

MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION: WHAT A YEAR!: Fall Colors In Seoul It’s that time of year again here in Korea.   It’s freezing cold! At least to me that is. While I love living here...

WHAT A YEAR!

Fall Colors In Seoul
It’s that time of year again here in Korea.  It’s freezing cold! At least to me that is. While I love living here, there are those things that I could probably do without. One of them being the cold that comes with winter. In spite of how much I hate the cold, I do have to say that I am extremely thankful that I am alive to be able to feel the cold! As a matter of fact, as I reflect on the past eleven months, I have a lot to be thankful for, and what better time to reflect on those things than November, the month of Thanksgiving?

Over the past two years, I would have to say that November is a month that seems to hold some major life milestones for me personally. It was this month two years ago that I decided that it was time to take control of my weight and health, the end result of that decision being a final weight loss total of 100 pounds.  Actually it was 106 pounds, but I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging.  No seriously, I don’t want to brag because I really have to thank God for giving me the focus to accomplish that goal after trying and failing so many times before. Where am I today in my weight loss journey? Well, I have gained about ten of those pounds back in the last couple of months or so, but I have recently began the process of making sure that that stays in check. I NEVER want to be that close to 300 pounds again! You can read all about that process here and here for those of you who may be interested.

Speaking of the last couple of months, I would have to say that they have been nothing short of what I would call a Job experience! You know Job, pronounced J-o-b-e (jōb), the guy in the Bible who had it all, so to speak, and then went through a series of seemingly insurmountable trials. Only to be triumphant in the end and come out more blessed than what he was in the beginning. Before I continue, I do want to say that I don’t really see myself the way that the Bible describes Job, being an upright and righteous man and all. I definitely understand that any blessings that I receive is totally undeserved. Also, anything negative that happens to me I can really say that I haven’t lived perfectly enough to think that those things shouldn’t  happen to me. As far as Job is concerned, I have always pictured him as some “super saint” of sorts. Instead I feel that my comparison to him can be found in the fact that I have gone through some pretty major trials this year including but definitely not limited to losing my grandfather, my wife’s grandmother, and two close childhood friends and I am now sitting here looking at all of the blessings that God has given to me in the end.

Trying To Combat Nausea With Lemons!
I guess the trials really started last summer. Last summer, 2012, is when I first noticed a strange, nagging pain in my side. Over the course of the following months, that pain became worse and worse. It even became so bad that I would have to lie down when it came, because I couldn’t really move, and being horizontal was the only way that I could get any relief. It wasn’t until December of 2012 that I got the shocking news that I had cancer! As with my weight loss, you can read about my cancer diagnosis here and here.  Well, after going through surgery in January and being told that everything seemed to be fine, I was then told in May that the cancer had returned and that I should undergo chemotherapy.

Now this next part may sound a bit strange, but honestly the thought of undergoing chemotherapy was scarier to me than actually having cancer! I guess it was all of the horror stories I had heard about people, including family members, who had gone through chemo. That fear was only heightened after my consultation with the oncology nurse. It was during that meeting that I was informed about all of the possible side effects of chemo. I couldn’t help but think, out loud, that the side effects sounded worse than the cancer itself! For that reason it took two months before I actually got up the courage and fear to go through with it. I added fear because I feel that I had to become scared enough of dying and not seeing my wife and kids any more, that it pushed me to finally do what my doctor suggested. So in August I began three months of the most horrible thing I have ever personally experienced in my life. It was so bad that when I went into the hospital to begin my second round of treatments, I began to have a panic attack in the hospital. Actually, I had panic attacks every time I went in after that first week and each week I would try to think of excuses of why I couldn’t go through that week’s treatment. Needless to say, I now hate hospitals!

Well, my treatments ended on October 22nd and as of November 15th I am officially in remission! Thank God! Another reason for me to thank God is because two days after my treatments ended, my wife gave birth to our second child, Kaleb Andrew! Although he came a bit early, they are both healthy and fine and he will be a month old this week! I am also thankful that through all of this, our firstborn remained healthy and recently we celebrated her third birthday. That may not seem like much until you consider the fact that she spent at least a week in the hospital each year for our first two years here due to major lung and breathing issues.

My Wife A Few Days After Giving Birth
It also helped that we had some major support from our circle here in Korea. As always my number one supporter was my wife. There is no way I could have gone through this by myself. She was the one pulling me up off of the floor when I broke down one day. She was the one who supported me when I said I wanted to try natural treatments. She was the one who after dealing with her own pregnancy complications, seemed to get miraculously gain the ability to take care of herself, a toddler, and a sick husband. Not only am I thankful for her, I am thankful that God gave her the ability to handle all of that responsibility.

I am thankful for the support of my friends and coworkers here. They really became extended family! So much so that my daughter began to call several more people auntie! I guess that’s another tab in her third culture kid life in that she now not only has African-American aunties, she also has Caucasian and Korean ones as well! Unfortunately one of her favorite aunties who happened to be African, moved back to South Africa this week after serving as a missionary here with her husband for the past two years. We will definitely miss Auntie Marcia, Uncle Siviwe, and their little girl. You can read about Marcia’s own weight loss journey here.




Janet & Vayo Saying Goodbye
My Brother And Janet
I am thankful for my family back home in the States. Although they were not here physically, I am thankful for their supportive prayers and conversations over the phone. I have to give a shout out to my sister-in-law Angela for her encouragement. She too underwent her own cancer battle a few years ago and has become a local spokesperson for breast cancer awareness and research. I also want to give a special shout out to my brother Terry, who will probably never read this. He was the first member of my family to come visit us. That visit really gave me a boost mentally and emotionally. There are soooo many other examples of how we saw God’s hand in our lives during this time that if I wrote about them this post would be the length of a chapter in a book…a very thick book! Instead I will just end it here by saying don’t take life for granted and there are blessings in everything even when it may not seem like it. Happy Thanksgiving! Be Motivated! Be Inspired!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Most Exciting Two Days of My Life

There are times, although not as often as it used to be, that I still look at the munchkin and think, “man I am somebody’s dad!” Although I was like most people as they grow up, I generally imagined myself being married with some kids one day, I still have to say that it is something else when it actually happens. The other day I went to the store with a friend of mine and we started talking about being husbands and fathers. I looked at him and said; “you know it’s moments like this when I’m trying to find the Gogurt  packs with the little cartoons on them, or the orange flavored Jell-O because she won’t eat the peach, that remind me that I am definitely a dad now!” He then reminded me of the fact that I am about to have another one to join her. The thought of that was both exciting and shocking all at the same time. Exciting for the obvious reasons. Shocking because almost 3 years ago it seemed that I was living out a movie scene that was playing out the day that my first one was born. Join me as I recount the details of October 12, 2010.

So it was about 8 or 9:00AM the morning of October 13 here in Seoul. Can’t quite remember the exact time I just know I hadn’t been at work long. By that time I had been away from my wife for about three months because I had to leave her in the
First Pic That I Got
States with her parents due to pregnancy complications. Anyway, at that point in time I knew that she would be having a c-section; the problem was that I really didn’t know when. That made it very difficult to plan a flight home for the delivery. While I was at work, I happened to be checking my Face Book page…don’t judge me. I had received a message from her mother or my brother; I can’t remember which one, saying that my wife was having another emergency and that they were going to go ahead with the delivery. A rush of excitement, fear, and anxiety rushed over me at that point. There was so much for me to do to get home. Being there for the delivery was already out of the question. I had come to terms with that fact after talking to my brother. He told me that sometimes life is like that. Sometimes you miss out on certain things to do what you have to do.  The first thing that I had to do was tell my principal what was going on. By this time everybody knew my situation and they were all expecting me to have to jump on a plane at any point. I would like to add that I work at one of the most supportive schools ever. A few weeks before that, unbeknownst to me, they had raised enough money so that I could buy a plane ticket home when needed! So upon, telling my boss, who just yesterday left Korea to move to Nairobi Kenya, she began crying. She looked at me through teary eyes and said, “you’re gonna miss the birth!” I was able to console her though but I didn’t have time to waste on being sad.

My Wife A Few Days After The Birth

With the help of several people I frantically tried to schedule a flight to Atlanta that afternoon. After securing one I got back to my place as soon as possible to pack, or I should say throw some stuff in a bag and run! On my way to the airport, I couldn’t help but to think about who she was going to look like, what size she was, etc. Once I got to the airport, my wife’s mom sent me a picture that she had taken. That did it… I was in love! I also thought “wow, she doesn’t look like me.”  Now I know it’s just that new baby look. An already long flight seemed even longer. I didn’t think I would ever get home. Sitting next to me was a gentlemen that I took the liberty to show him the picture of my new daughter. I’m pretty certain he didn’t care but he did say congratulations none-the-less. Once I landed in Detroit I figured at that point, I would get a sense that it wouldn’t seem as long since it was only about an hour and a half flight from Detroit to Atlanta. I was wrong. It still seemed like it took forever, add that to the fact that I was on one of those small connector flights. I didn’t care how uncomfortable it was though; I probably would have run there if I could! It was about 7:00PM October 13 Atlanta time when I finally reached my destination. She was actually born on the day before but if you factor in time differences, you get the point.  I was so anxious, I didn’t wait for anybody to pick me up, I just jumped in a cab, and something I would never have done before living in a city like Seoul. It was around 9:00PM when I got to the hospital. My wife looked like she had been drugged, but she was able to pull it together when I walked in the room.  Although I missed the actual birth, my wife and I got to meet the munchkin together due to her not being able to move from the surgery. The following morning we went down to the NICU and finally met 
Meeting Each Other
the third member of our family. She was so tiny that I was scared to touch her because I thought I might damage her! Fast forward to June 2013. The Munchkin will be three in October, with a brother or sister in the works...we keep getting conflicting details about that one. While it's very tiring having a 2 year old, I wouldn't trade her for anybody else! Before I go I want to say happy Father's Day to my dad, my father-in-law, my brothers, my nephew, and all my homeboys around the globe who are dads! Be Motivated! Be Inspired!
Christmas 2012



Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mountains Are Made To Be Conquered!

Well, I’m back. It’s been a while since my last entry. I finally have been able to get a moment to catch my breath and clear my mind long to enough to actually think about what to write.  The last month and half has been nothing short of total chaos! Such has been the case that I almost titled this entry “A Series of Unfortunate Events”! You know, after the children’s story. I remembered though that the purpose of my blog is to motivate and inspire so I chose to come up with a title that was more positive. Without going into too much detail, I will just say that we, my wife and I, have had to deal with everything from a possible miscarriage to the sudden death of one of my childhood and high school friends, which I wrote about in my last entry. We have talked several times about how back in December I had this nagging feeling that some serious trials were coming our way this year. So far that all seems to be holding true. Thankfully it seems that some of that may be subsiding to the point that I actually can see the silver lining in several of those issues, although I would have still preferred not to go through them.

My wife’s pregnancy seems to be going pretty good, thank God! We even found out that we are having a little boy! The munchkin is going to have a little brother…at least that was the conclusion at her last ultrasound. Needless to say I am very excited about that. Due to my wife being high risk, we decided to spend this summer in Seoul instead of flying home. Actually, I should really say her doctor decided for us. At first we were extremely disappointed by that, but given the way our lives have been recently, we need a period of nothingness. Some people have even been a little shocked at how excited we are to be staying here this summer. We were even blessed with a great new apartment that we will be moving into soon! I mentioned that because that whole process was also one that caused a great deal of stress for us. In the final hours though it all turned around for us. There is one last mountain, if you would, that needs to be dealt with however. As of last Monday, I was told that it looks like the “Big C” has decided to make another appearance. If you missed my entry on the “Big C” you can read about here. So yeah, it seems that my doctor found some new masses growing in my body. This bit of discouraging news came on the same day that I found out we were having a boy no less!

Needless to say that was the icing on the proverbial cake for me! After some understandable moments of anxiety, I decided to pick myself up and move forward. I have to admit that through all of this I haven’t been the strongest Christian. I have never been bombarded with so many hardships in such a relatively short amount of time as I have recently. That caused me to begin to question my beliefs, my faith, etc. Thankfully God reigned me back in. I have to believe it was God because I just did not have the mental, emotional, or spiritual strength to do that for myself. So as it stands, I am awaiting word on my most current PET scans. Nevertheless I have resolved in myself to work on this naturally. I have been really encouraged by a lot of the information that I have been reading concerning natural cancer treatments. I’m pretty sure I will run into some resistance but it definitely can’t hurt! Now that my mind is beginning to clear again, I am reminded of James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith 
produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I believe if I can lose 90 pounds, then I can conquer this mountain as well… with God’s help! Be Motivated! Be Inspired!

One last thing, make sure to keep following as I document my natural treatment journey. I’m really pumped about it! Also, you can check out the following links to get more information. There is a ton of information out there but these are just a few links that have given me some insight. Not to mention a plethora of YouTube videos that you can search through.



Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jason Passed


I went back and forth a few times trying to decide if I wanted to write this post.  I guess it was more of a sense that I can’t believe that I actually have to write this. Ultimately however, I have decided to write it and so here goes. The other day I came home and got some news that hit me like a Mack truck. My wife came and sat at the kitchen table while I was fixing a sandwich and she said, “I got something to tell you.” Now any married man knows that when their wife starts a conversation off like that it either means trouble or she’s pregnant. I knew it wasn’t the latter because, well, we’re in the process of that right now.  As is usually the case when she starts off that way, I got a sense of nervousness as I waited for the next words to come out of her mouth.  She then proceeded to say, “Jason passed.”  Those words will forever be frozen in my memory banks. So, I know at this point you are probably wondering who Jason is.  Simply put, Jason was a friend.

The last two days I have really been thinking about my childhood and teen years. The more I thought about it, I realized that Jason had a part in several of those memories. So I want to share a few of those memories with you. One particular memory that I have is of how we used to spend countless hours playing Street Fighter on Nintendo. I can’t help but laugh when I think about how whenever he would lose to the game, he would protest by saying, “the computer cheated!” If we were not playing Nintendo, which was rare, we were playing Monopoly or building something out of Lego blocks. Another funny memory that I have of Jason is how he would always say to me, “y’all house is too hot!”  Then I would have to go through the routine of explaining to him that my dad wouldn’t let us turn the air conditioner on until he got home from work to avoid running up the bill.

Like any kid, our bicycles were our main mode of transportation. I recall thinking to myself that some of the places that we rode to on our bikes should only have been done in a car. At least that’s how it felt at the time. One particular bike adventure was the reason I got in trouble one Saturday. As was my custom at the time, I left the house on this particular Saturday morning on my bike and spent the day on one of our neighborhood excursions.  I was gone so long, that when I came home, I was greeted by an angry father who explained to me how he waited for me to come home to rake leaves. Instead he had to do it. He did leave them for me in nice little piles for me to remove! As we got older we traded our bikes for cars. One of my favorite memories was the time Jason had gotten one of our friend’s car and was supposed to pick him up from his job later that night. So of course while he had the car we went joy riding.  While riding along I began to smell something burning. Smoke then began to spew from the steering wheel! Jason, as he was apt to respond, yelled, “I’m going to take this piece of ---- to him right now!” When we picked up our friend, Kevin, we both proceeded to tell him about how he tried to kill us by having us ride around in that car. I don’t remember Kevin’s reaction to the whole thing; I just remember the three of us laughing so hard about the scene that we could barely talk!  To top it all off, as the three of us left Kevin’s job, one of the headlights went out so we had to make sure to take as many back routes as possible to avoid any cops, especially since Kevin was driving without insurance at the time. It’s funny how teenagers don’t see just how serious some things are! I have known Jason for over 20 years now. In the course of that time Jason went from being a friend, to becoming another member of my family. He was basically my third brother. My parents generally treated him that way.

Unfortunately, as we got older, things changed.  We gravitated towards different groups. I left home to go to college and he decided to stay. We had some major fallouts with each other. I got married and eventually moved what seems like a world away.  Things changed. As I write this I haven’t talked to Jason in about 2 ½ years.  I do wish I could have told him goodbye. I wish I was warned. But…Jason passed. I will never get to reconcile with him as we generally always would at one point or another. For that reason and the fact that I live so far away that I won’t be able to go home for his funeral, I have decided to remember our friendship as it used to be.  Be Motivated. Be Inspired. For Jason.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mrs. Hardee


Recently I was sitting in my office and I begin to reflect on my time as an educator. June will mark the end of my seventh year as an educator. While some may look at that number and scoff, it is no small feat. I began to think about my first job in a small town back home in Georgia. The mental aspect of that job was grueling most of the time because it was in what is known as an “alternative school”. I won’t spend much time talking about what that means, but you can Google the phrase for more information. What I will say is that it was a pretty tough way to cut my teeth as an educator. Being a teacher was never something that I actually wanted to do growing up. As a matter of fact it was much, much later in my college career when I decided to go that route.  I generally thought of teaching the way a lot of people think about teaching. You’ve heard them before, the ones who smugly recite this phrase, “those who can do, and those who can’t teach!” Well I was one who felt that way. I begin to see things a little differently after spending some time working with youth in my local church, although I was barely twenty years old myself at the time. Before that though I was influenced greatly by Cliff and Claire…you know the “Huxtables”. Those fictional characters put in me the idea that I could be anything, including a doctor or a lawyer. I chose doctor. So with sit-com dreams in tow, I hauled off to college, enrolled as a biology/pre-med major and set off to become a doctor…any guesses on what kind?  It wasn’t long before I realized that Cliff and Claire were fictional and that the road to becoming a doctor required more work than I was willing to put in at the time. So after changing major, a few times I might add, I finally settled on history. 

That brings me back to the beginning of my little story. So here I am seven years later, at the end of my first year as a guidance counselor and I was reminded of the impact that another person had on my life. That person was my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Wyonnie Hardee. Brace yourself; this will probably get a bit sappy. While I do remember teachers before and after her, like my kindergarten teacher and my first grade teacher who took my class to the local Christmas tree farm one year, Mrs. Hardee would have to have been the most influential teacher I have ever had. It was the 80s and I was attending a predominantly African-American elementary school at the time. There seemed to be a good mix of black and non-black faculty members although the principals were usually black. Mrs. Hardee, in my opinion, was the quintessential teacher. She was motivating, graceful, intelligent, and cultured.  She was the real life version of Claire Huxtable.  Also much like Claire, she could be pretty stern in her disciplining. She would rap our hands with two little sticks that she named "Big Slim" & "Little Slim". Which one she decided to use depended on the severity of the offense committed. She was able to make even the most hardened student perform like a Rhodes Scholar, at least for fourth grade. While I was sitting and thinking about that time in my life, a co-worker walked into my office and I begin to tell her about the time another student and myself were rewarded for making the highest averages on our report cards by getting to attend a Bob Hope performance. So try to picture two little black kids going to see a Bob Hope performance. I didn’t even know who Bob Hope was! But that was a testament to the type of person Mrs. Hardee was, she was all about exposing us to things that we were not used to.  One of the most memorable times that I have of her was the time that I decided to discontinue my participation in the local spelling bee. I had just placed second in the school wide competition, which meant that I would then get to compete in the citywide competition. One day during practice however, I decided that I had had enough of the practices after school and was going to quit. Shortly after I got home that day, I saw Mrs. Hardee’s olive green Buick pulling up outside of our house and I knew it meant trouble. She had actually come to persuade my mom to make me do it because she felt that I had the potential to make it. Although my mom never made me rejoin the practice sessions, I have always regretted the fact that I never went back.


Those memories made me Google Mrs. Hardee and I came across this article that was written about her and her husband some years ago. Their life story, while amazing, was not surprising. I was amazed to see the things that they went through in order to realize the “American dream”. Most of the things highlighted were things that I never knew until I read the article. I couldn’t help but think to myself that after all these years, this woman still has a lot teach. It also reminded me that all of those doctors and lawyers out there would never have become such without teachers.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Grateful


In the words of Ice Cube, “today was a good day!” I’m extremely grateful to be able to say that considering the ebb and flow of life over the past four months or so.  As I think back over the course of that time, it was good to have a day like today. So I want to use this time just to highlight some of the things that transpired today that really made me thank God for his blessings.

Unless you have been living under a rock, I’m sure that you are aware that we are staring down the barrel of a seemingly impending war between the U.S., South Korea, and North Korea. In light of that, I can’t help but to think about the millions of lives that are at stake while government officials on both sides seem to play this huge game of Russian roulette. Officials, I might add, who will never see the frontlines because they will be somewhere hold up far away from any real threat of danger. While they may be willing to put at risk the lives of others, I was reminded today just how precious life is. Today I had my third doctor’s appointment since my surgery to remove a tumor that turned out to be cancerous. For the past three months I have been going to the doctor to have blood drawn and then returning two days later to get the results of something called tumor marker levels. Tumor markers are different chemicals that your body produces when there is possible tumor forming in your body. Normally it should measure around 0. My first blood test measured around 5, which was good. The day before my surgery it shot up to 17, 10 being the beginning of the upper limits, so that wasn’t good. It possibly meant that the cancer was spreading. A week after my surgery it had decreased to 11 but my doctor wasn’t satisfied with that so I was told to wait another month. Which brings us to today’s appointment. So today I got the good news, my levels were at 4.5! As soon as I walked through door he said you’re okay. I was reminded of Psalm 118:17 where it says, “I shall live and not die, and declare the works of the Lord!” I left that office with a definite pep in my step and gratefulness in my heart! So now, instead of every month, I will now have appointments every two months for monitoring purposes.


She's going to be a big sister.
Hope it's a boy...but I'll take a girl.

Something else that made me think about how precious life is the fact that earlier this week it was confirmed that my wife is pregnant! Yep, another little munchkin is on the way. I have to admit that the excitement of all of that was somewhat overcast by the memories of my wife’s first pregnancy. To make a long story short I’ll just say she had complications so severe that it resulted in her having to remain in the States while I came to live in Korea. We were separated for six months! So you can imagine why pregnancy can be a somewhat nervous subject for us. All in all we are trusting God that this one will go a bit more smoothly. After today’s appointment though I have to say that the excitement went up a notch with knowing that I don’t have to worry about the cancer thing right now.

So as I sat on the train headed home today from my appointment it also made me think about my trip to Indonesia and just how beautiful it was there. I know that seems random, but if you have ever lived in a city the size of Seoul you’d understand where I’m coming from. No smog, no crowds, just beautiful scenic views of jungles, seas, and islands. I have added some pics to give you some idea of what I mean. In my opinion it is some of God’s best work and so I am grateful for that as well. Be Motivated! Be Inspired!
This is how I felt after my appointment today!











Monday, April 1, 2013

Apa Kabar?



So you may be wondering what is up with the title of this post. Apa Kabar basically means “how are you doing?” It’s kind of sad that during my trip to Indonesia that is the only phrase that I could remember regularly. Between that and the phrase “selamat pagi” which means good morning, you couldn’t have convinced me that I wasn’t one of the locals! In spite of my severe lack of skills as it pertains to the Indonesian people, I did not encounter one person who treated me like a total idiot, that is except maybe some of our own students. There were so many things that we were told to try to remember to do and not to do. For instance one simple thing that we were told to be careful not to do was stand with our hands on our sides/hip. For the people on the island, this was a sign of confrontation. So of course this was something that yours truly did faithfully, not on purpose, but faithfully. I have to say that it was somewhat embarrassing whenever one of our students would give me that “Mr. King what’s going on with your hands” look. Another thing that I couldn’t seem to remember to do was remove my hat whenever we walked into a building. Now this was especially interesting to me because I generally do that anyway no matter where I am, but for some reason I kept forgetting to do it when on the island.

Hard at work building the last part of the wall around the school.
I pondered why it is that we as humans seem to want to do all the things that we are told not to do. I’m almost certain that had no one told me not to do those things, I wouldn’t have had any inclination to do them. One of the adult leaders who went with us suggested that it must be the sin nature that is in all of us. You know, that thing that makes us want to do the exact opposite of what we know we should or shouldn’t do. I guess from a biblical standpoint it is one of those things that make us human in a sense, at least in the human weakness kind of way. There were other things however that I did remember to do pretty well like place my right hand over my heart when greeting someone to show friendship. The people in the village were extremely welcoming of us. Although some of our students said that a couple of the Indonesian kids, “gave them the finger!” I chalked that up to more of that sin nature that is in all of us no matter where you live in the world.
The local mosque
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Indonesia is a country that is about 98% Islamic and there were signs of that all around. For instance there were several little girls and women that I saw wearing the head coverings. I was somewhat shocked to find out that the principal of the school was a woman. Also, there was a local mosque that we passed each day as we went back and forth to the school to work.  I thought that that would be somewhat intimidating. Most of my mental images of Islam come from western media. While it was definitely the major religion, it was in no one an intimidating experience. We were told however to be careful about sharing our own beliefs as to not jeopardize those who are committed to working in the region full time. Speaking of work, our students really got into the spirit of things by working hard and teaching the kids some English.

The kids in the village were the ones who really stole the show…at least for me. Everyday that I went to the village, several little boys would run up to me and start yelling “King, King!” In the beginning one kid, after learning my name was able to relate that to King Kong, so that became a running joke among our students. Another one called me Master King! I assumed he was trying to say Mister so I corrected him. He learned the lesson so well that when one of my co-leaders called me King Kong, he looked at her and said, “no…Mister King.” I pretty much figured that I would be somewhat of a curiosity for the villagers both young and old since they don’t see many black Americans or black people in general. Although I did find it cool that so many of the older men looked like my mother’s dad! Other than showing them Christ likeness, one of my personal goals was to give them a proper image of what an African-American is. It really felt good to go to a place that hardly ever sees people of African decent and using that opportunity to give them a positive image instead of the usual stereotypical personas that are so prevalent in society. All in all I’m not quite sure if I will ever have the opportunity to go back to that village, but I will definitely count it as one of the big cultural experiences of my life. Be Motivated! Be Inspired!