I’m Still Confused

Just sharing this so I don’t have to explain it over and over to many different people…

This year we decided to take in a Chinese student. He is 15 and a very nice boy. People warned me that we would have struggles. We were told to expect him to hide away and never talk to us. That he would be consumed with studies and would rarely socialize. All that was mostly wrong, except the part that said we would have struggles.

He did sometimes do very little communicating, however, he ate dinner with us every night and worked at telling us more things about his day as the months went by.  He was never consumed with studying, in fact he became addicted to video games and had to be reminded to get his schoolwork done.  Honestly, that was a problem we could handle.  We set boundaries for times that he could play and encouraged him to try other things.  He liked playing board games with the family, he was learning the guitar, and really enjoyed playing sports like basketball.  Sure we had some teenager moments, but nothing major (he learned not to talk back and shush us).  But over all, we liked him.

The troubles we were having all came from the woman who ran the program.  I don’t think her English was very good and she started misinterpreting texts and emails and somehow she escalated problems very quickly.  I would say that she would “fix a scratch with surgery”.  I tried to explain myself when she responded weirdly to texts, but she would just get more reactive and more angry.

Well, today he was taken out of our home by the woman who runs the program.  I’m not 100% sure what happened.  I met with the boy’s teacher last week and it turned out he was sleeping in class.  I told the boy the consequence was that he had to surrender his phone and computer every night at 10pm so he can get better sleep.  He agreed.  Last night he was up late.  I confronted him and asked him to follow the rules and go to bed.  Well, it turns out he was talking to the woman from the program.  She took it personally that I sent him to bed.  Every text today that I sent trying to resolve this was returned with a “Fine, I can have him out today.”  I kept saying, “No, I’m just trying to explain so we can be on the same team”.

It was never resolved and our exchange student is gone.  Dave never got to say goodbye.  I do ask that you pray for this boy and my stubbornness to forgive.

Too Young? Nah!

IMG_2928My 18 year old son, Nick, proposed to his girlfriend recently and now they are engaged to be married next Spring.  Yes, they are teens.  Yes, they are young.  But I keep getting asked, “Are they too young?”  My answer is NO!

(The banner behind the plane says, “Sawyer will you marry me?”)

At first the question about their age bugged me.  What I realize, as I talk about it more and more, is maybe we need to ask the question, “Are they ready?” every time anyone gets engaged (or just shut our traps and say CONGRATS).  I know people in their 40s who are not ready.  Some people need to get their own lives in order before involving others.  Maybe all engaged couples need to be able to defend, “Are they ready?”  I can honestly say that my son and his girlfriend are more than ready.

This couple has been praying together since they met over 3 years ago and have made God a central part of their relationship.  They have consistently been faithful and kind to each other for that whole time (there were no breakups and getting back together).  They don’t name call or disrespect each other.  My son has only ever said wonderful things about her to us and around his friends.  Their dreams and ambitions align for their future.  When they are in public, they don’t cling to each other and make others feel awkward, but are confident in each other, to give each other space to have their own passions.  They even took a couples class and found a mentor couple to walk alongside them as they journeyed towards their engagement.  I’ve see more maturity in them in the last year than I see in some couples dealing with relationships in their 20s and 30s.  They have a plan for the next 20 years that is pretty solid and it includes making it work on their own.

Will it be easy to be married that young?  Probably not all the time.  But I say that because NO marriage is easy all the time.  People get sick, you have to pay bills, life changes and moves quickly sometimes and you have to roll with it.

Will they miss out on the “fun” years of their youth?  If you knew their story so far you wouldn’t ask.  Individually they have worked with orphans in Africa, helped with Tsunami relief in Samoa, backpacked remote areas of Honduras to build a feeding center, traveled to Nepal to work with children and provide earthquake relief…that just touches on the surface of their lives so far.  How cool will it be to do more of that with their best friend by their side?  It was in 2012, when they went to build a school in the jungles of Indonesia, that they met. (Maybe I’m the one who is missing out on something).

What if they move back in? Well, I know that’s not their plan, but they are family and we will help them any way we can.  We will always be there if they need us, and it will be our pleasure.  But honestly, I have doubts that we will see them more than a few times every few years as they travel the world in their missionary work (and it makes me a little sad and proud all at the same time).

So join me in praying for this amazing couple as they start their next big adventure…together.

I love you Nick and Sawyer!  God bless your relationship.


How Vic and Jennifer literally saved my life

Let me start by emphasizing that I don’t use the word “literally” to mean figuratively. I try to keep that word pure and in its correct definition. So here it goes, “How Vic and Jennifer literally saved my life”.

This past weekend we went on a couples-only camping trip with 6 other couples.  The view from our tent was gorgeous:

Sawmill Aug (3)

The campsite we had was HUGE.  Each couple had their own area and plenty of elbow room.  We had 3 different kitchen areas.  Our evenings were filled with laughter and good eats.  My hubby made me a wonderful steak and Caesar salad on Friday night.

I was sitting with 4 of the 6 other couples (the 2 other couples were down the hill at their own kitchen spot) and we were eating, drinking, and talking.  In my own little space I suddenly realized for the first time in my life I had food stuck in my throat and it wasn’t going in or out.  I was choking.

I got up and walked past Vic, who was sitting next to me, and went to Jennifer to get her attention.  Right before I walked up to her she had been talking about getting another water and so she thought at first my gesturing was a request for some water.  Fortunately for me, she saw the fear in my eyes and very quickly figured out I was choking and needed assistance.  “She’s choking!”, she said.

I became very calm and stood with my arms at my sides and my eyes closed, allowing Jennifer to manipulate me as she performed the Heimlich maneuver.  It wasn’t quite working.  In my head I started processing the fact that I wouldn’t know exactly what to do if I was the one trying to save someone.  My thoughts started to become peaceful and accepting that “this might be it” (It was probably not it, but it  just might have escalated uncomfortably, and I did need saving).

I hear Jennifer yell for her husband to take over.  What we didn’t realize at the time, was that Vic was the only one in the circle of people sitting there, to actually be trained in how to perform the Heimlich maneuver.  It worked.  A huge steak chunk flew out of my mouth.

I was in shock after that for a little while.  My friends Dena and Hector helped me feel safe with their calming words and actions that followed.  My friends are awesome and I’m very thankful for them.

Note to self…chew your food.

Sawmill Aug (16)

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?)