New Family? No I’m NOT Pregnant.

This past weekend we made the decision to take in a 15 year old boy from China.  This is not an exchange thing, because this boy speaks very little English.  His family has decided to send him to America to learn English.  He will repeat the 8th grade at a local school so he can practice the language and then they hope he will attend an American High School.  If this time with him works out, we may have him around for a few years.  We are really hoping to make him feel at home and part of our family.

The story is even cooler than just that.  Let me back up with what is going on with us.  A couple of months ago, Dave and I decided I would go back to school for my Masters.  I’m very excited.  Starting in January, I will be going to a school in San Jose called Western Seminary to get my MFT (Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy).  The idea of working full time and going to school felt daunting.  We were wrestling with the idea of me giving up my job and just going to school.  Having the boys and I, all in college, seemed suddenly very expensive (although really it isn’t so bad.  Their school is very affordable.).

God provides! 4 days ago we got the email about the boy and the amount of money they give us, for living expenses and tutoring English, is almost what I currently make at my job, and I wouldn’t have to commute.  Well, the boy arrives in two weeks, so yesterday I gave my two weeks notice and quit my admin job.

It was time to prepare.  Sunday night we completely emptied Jared’s room (he’s mostly been living upstairs anyway) and we are painting, cleaning, and replacing the flooring.  We want the room to be done.  I joked that we were nesting for our new child.

So please be praying for our new adventure.  I’m going to be a mom again. (so much for empty nesters, right?)

I Hate Waiting

(I know, the title is ironic, given I made you wait so long between posts. I’m sorry for the wait.)

God has me in a holding pattern. My youngest is off for the summer to Cambodia and then home only for a couple of weeks and then off to college. The oldest left years ago (even though he’s only 18). Both boys will be studying together at New Tribes Bible Institute in Wisconsin starting in August (One of them as a 2nd year, the other as a 1st…I’m so proud).

We started at our new church today. It was kind of exhilarating to try something new. I feel a fresh perspective on being with God. The church is only 150 big (or so) and I’m excited to be part of something so intimate.  I was brave and claimed my usual happy spot in the front row (so I can focus).  I feel peace about this change.

I tell you these things, because my newest adventure with God is waiting…I hate waiting. The hubby and I LOVE to serve in our church. We love to serve in our home. Now we have an empty home and a new church. Every time I ask God about it, he asks me to just wait. This is definitely a new experience for me. Patience? It’s really not my strength. I keep coming up with ideas and things we could be doing (“my” ideas, not God’s…not a good way to go).

God keeps reminding me I’ve only been at the new church a day. It’s only just this month that we became empty-nesters. He wants us to rest in Him and wait on his plans.  Maybe there are things we need to mourn (like not being full time parents anymore).  Maybe there are things we need to be observing and learning (like how our new church functions).  I honestly don’t know right now.

So here I am taking a BIG deep breath and waiting…and waiting…and waiting. In this time I plan to pray a lot and not come up with ideas. Pray for me to learn big things from this experience and that I would grow in obedience to God.  (Now I’d like you all to imagine me just “zipping it” to listen to God…This will be exciting).

*Note – Video taping has started. A Steph Vlog is coming and it’s going to be awesome (I hope). Wait for it!

Yet Another Letter From Inside My Brain

Twice I have written letters from inside my brain. You can read those letters here… “Girl Teen in my brain” and “Spaz in my brain“.  Today  I have a new letter…


Dear Mrs. Iles,

I know this is going to surprise you; I am a junior high boy living in your brain.  “What?” you must be asking.  “What does that mean?”

You raised two boys and spent a lot of time with them during the homeschool years.  As you tried to relate to them, I grew to be a part of who you are.  I am the part of you that thinks fart jokes are funny and really enjoy fire.  remember that time at Starbucks a guy did a lean and fart and you texted your son to tell him…that was my work.

It’s true.  You can pretend to be a grown up if you want, but really I exist and I love things most middle aged women don’t.  The best part is that I like to laugh at inappropriate times.  I know you hate this, but it just makes me laugh more knowing you are uncomfortable when I show up.

I’m the one you argue with when you see someone in public that is different or dressed strangely; I want to judge and make loud comments.  I know you usually win these battles and I’m kept silent, but you know I’m still there and this is a struggle for you.

These are the areas I often win.  I’m the one that snorts at You Tube Videos that your sons send you.  I help you find humor in the things they find funny (like coconuts in a book about Captain Cook and Charlie Bates in Oliver Twist – that was for the boys).  I’m the one that gets you hooked on video games occasionally; there was that year we played World of Warcraft together (so glorious) and got you the high score in the family on SSX Tricky.  I am the one that loves Superhero movies, Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings (you have a dog named Bilbo, you’re welcome).

We will continue to work together.  I know we battle, but it’s almost always fun.  See you on the roller-coaster of life.

The Teen Boy in Your Brain

a.k.a. Etienne (French for Steve and your grandfather’s name)

My Own Elderly Hunger Games

My friend pointed out to me that I have offered to all my parents (my mom, my estranged dad and his wife, my mother in law) that when they get old, they can stay with me if they like. She wanted to know what I would do if they ALL took me up on it. This made me think of some funny scenarios.

I would basically have a Elderly Hunger Games on my hands. I will be a responsible daughter and take care of family, but it’s not my problem if they don’t get along. They may attack each other for dominance in the space or just a bit of peace and quiet.  I’d fill a cornucopia with walkers and canes so they could battle it out.

I also pictured Elderly Brady Bunch. I’d get some bunk beds in there and a little night light. They could stay up late talking about their aches and pains. We could get a live in nurse that would be like our Alice.  I’d pay to watch that TV.

I could have the Elderly Scooby Gang. I’d have them take care of my dog and give them little mysteries to solve every morning to keep them busy. I could hire a dude to drive them all around in a van. Maybe they could find their missing social security (or marbles).

What shows do you imagine happening with this motley crew?