Posts filed under Being a Wife

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month! 

I know most of you know that.  Pink ribbons are everywhere.  I love the awareness part, but not so much the pink ribbon.  Here is more information why.

Because the statistics say 1 out of 8 women reading this blog will have breast cancer in their lifetime, I feel called to share the things I have learned along the way. 85% of the women diagnosed have no family history of it. Having been a miracle two times now, I'd like to offer some ideas to reduce the risks to our bodies.

Are you at risk?

Are your hormones high?   Have your hormones checked next time you are getting blood work.  I never knew to do this and my hormones were 5 times the acceptable range when I had cancer.

Are you overweight?  I was. Ask yourself if you are more than 60 pounds over the weight you were at 18 years old.  Fatty tissue makes estrogen, so this will put you over your body’s desired amount for estrogen. Maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly minimize your risks. 

Do you have dense breast tissue? A routine mammogram will discover what kind of breast tissue you have.  I recommend thermography instead, but either way, discuss your breast tissue with your doctor. 

Do you watch your environment and lifestyle?  How we eat, what we put on our bodies and how we live does largely affect our risk of breast cancer.   These are the biggest areas we can change. Exposure to solvents, plasticizers and other industrial chemicals in the products we use can increase our vulnerability.  Pesticide residue on the foods we eat is included in this.   

So avoid . . .

  • cigarette smoke (even smelling it)
  • processed foods (everything on the inside aisles of the grocery store)
  • hormone replacement therapy (that includes the pill)
  • more than one alcoholic beverage or cup of coffee a day (not my coffee!!!)
  • non-organic produce (eat mostly fruits and veggies!)
  • chemicals like parabens or BPA that mimic estrogen in products (check your shampoo, make-ups, lotions, etc)
  • stress in your life (learn to make margin)

I know it’s a long list, but if only someone had told me! 

God has a plan in all things and I believe, for me, it is my job to help inform you all!  God has given us many resources in this world to combat the evil of breast cancer.  Yes, I think it is evil and reminds me a lot of sin.  He has given us wonderful food to eat – his food that comes from trees and vines.  Not plastic man made food in colorful boxes.  He has given us iodine to rub on our thyroid or iodine pills to help regulate our estrogen.  He has made curcumin, grape seed extract and pomegranate supplements that help to reduce our risks.

I pray you will make the changes you need to so you will not be one of the eight. I believe God has given us everything we need to live this life.  I just wish I had known and changed sooner.  Praying for health for each of you reading this!

2 Peter 1:3 Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

 ~Jeanna Young

When Jeanna is not writing, speaking, event planning, or homeschooling, she can be found scrapbooking her life,  redecorating her home, loving on her husband,  planning fun events for her kids or eating healthy to stay cancer-free!

Five Times a Week

All great change in America begins at the dinner table” – Ronald Reagan

As we start into the new school year, I begin to protect the family calendar.  More importantly, I have to guard our family dinnertime with all my might.  Every sport and kid activity desires to claim this precious tradition and rob my family of our time together.  The every day moments that make us “The Youngs” are on the line.  The opportunity to pour into my kids during this daily practice will change who they are.

When the kids were little, every meal was at the dinner table.  But as they grow older, our goal is always a minimum of 5 family dinners together.  This can be either sitting down in our home or out to dinner. Meaning, of course, no cell phones, iPad, TV or invited guests.  Dinner together involves my family together – eating, talking, praying, laughing and loving. 

Here are just a couple of benefits:

1.  Your kids will eat more vegetables and new foods that you introduce.  At our house, you are required to eat the vegetable on the table.  Whatever it is.  We started this in the beginning.  They don’t have to finish the starch or the meat, but the veggies?  Definitely!  My kids will only eat a new food at our dinner table.  At least, I can get them to try it!

2. Your kids will be more emotionally healthy.  Studies show kids who eat with their families at least 5 dinners a week are less likely to get depressed, think of suicide or develop an eating disorder.  84% of teens were quoted as saying they would rather eat with their family, but “don’t tell my parents”.

3.  Your kids will learn to say “no”.  Kids who dine with mom and dad regularly are less likely to take a chance smoking, drinking or using drugs.  Connecting with mom and dad on a regular basis gives them the parental engagement most kids are looking for.

4.  Your kids will do better in school.  Only 9% of kids who eat dinner with their families 5 times a week struggle in school compared to the whopping 40% of kids who don’t.  Studies also suggest talking with adults helps vocabulary and manners.

5.  Your kid’s heart will bond to yours.  If you go the extra mile, not just eating together, but conversing and laughing together, your kids won’t want to miss dinner.

What do we do?

Our family starts dinnertime at the preparation where at least two children are involved as part of their daily chores.  One child has the chore of setting the table and one child helps mom prepare.  We rotate day to day.  We get dinner ready and chop vegetables.  Most the kids are happy when there is a new recipe to surprise everyone with or if it is a favorite family meal.  When dinner is over, one child does the dishes so mom can have a break.

When we all sit down to dinner, we have a routine everyone can count on.  First, we wait for everyone to get their food.  Next, we pray and thank the Lord for the food and we bless it to our bodies.  Thirdly, kids eat quietly while mom and dad talk for about 5 minutes.  Honoring my husband this way is always appreciated.  As the kids have gotten older, the rule has gotten more difficult to keep.  Still, it is part of our dinnertime.

We try to make things fun!  We have a box of questions to use to create fun conversation.  Many of our guests request we ask these at dinner.  Also we do what is called “Pits and Peaks”.  Tell us one thing (or more) that went well today or where you saw God at work – PEAK.  Tell us one thing that didn’t go as planned or areas God might be growing you – PIT.  Drawing out my children and hearing about their day (even if I have been with them) is priceless.

So as I am filling in the calendar for the new year, I put in the soccer, tennis, ballet, AWANAs, speech & debate and youth group.  Remembering when will dinner be.  On some days, dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. so we can all get to church and other days it will be at 7:30 p.m. when everyone is home.  Flexibility is the key!  I know our pastor’s parents told us sometimes they waited until 9:00 p.m. when everyone was home.  The family that eats, prays and laughs together – stays together! 

Maybe Ronald Reagan is right.  By keeping this practice, we may change the face of America!

How are you keeping the family dinnertime sacred?

*Statistics from health.com

Jackie's Journey: the Longest Journey

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     “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.”   I Thessalonians 5: 24

  “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it.” I Thessalonians 5: 24

How many years have you been married?

 Does fifty years sound outrageous?

  Marriage is the proving ground for developing our loyalty toward God.

My parents were married 74 years and my husband’s parents were married 47 years, so 50 years does not seem inordinately long to either of us…

I met my Prince at university, and if you were to ask our college friends, they would be astounded that we are celebrating our Golden Wedding Anniversary!

Most did not give us two years!  Ralph and I are polar opposites in almost every way.  However, we had the one element in marriage that will guarantee longevity…we were both individually committed to “burn out” serving God wherever He led us. My husband’s godly zeal and spiritual leadership in our home has been preeminent and a constant for the last 50 years! 

I have been blessed with a man who has loved me unconditionally, and when he said “for better or worse” he meant it.  We have weathered the storms of life with near death experiences more than once, and his loyalty to God and me is noteworthy.  Ralph and I continue to learn and grow together.  “Deference living” - rather than compromise - is a key to our taking our two wills and finding harmony in God’s will.

Ralph’s name means “bold counselor” and that he is! He is a man of motion and direction.  He was once told he is an ”afflicter of the comfortable and a comfort to the afflicted!”  I could write a book with all his wise one-liners, biblical formulas and scriptural definitions.  His capacity to see things in Scripture and interpret them from the inside out to give a total new look to a familiar verse is uncanny! 

Christian missionaries are people whose passion is to make the Lord Jesus known to the whole world.  They are completely under the command of King Jesus (Ralph often rolls out of bed, stands at attention and salutes heavenward, committing his day!), and they will go anywhere, under any circumstances, for no pay, with poor living conditions and food, even though no one ever notices.  They know their Sovereign is watching every minute, and that is the only reward and joy they seek…a true missionary is someone who will risk everything for the sake of the lost of this world…this is my husband!

We have a precious heritage that is a loving reminder of our loyalty to God and our responsibility into the third and forth generations.

God's faithfulness...!

God's faithfulness...!

Our lives are based on Proverbs 3:5,6: Trusting the Lord with all our hearts and allowing Him to direct our paths. Matt. 6:33:  “Seeking first the King of heaven” and allowing Him to supply everything we need for life and godliness.

We are convinced that He takes the weak and confounds the mighty.  We are proof of His faithfulness…I Corinthians 2:1-2 speaks my heart, like Paul’s, when he says, “…I did not come to you with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling. My message was not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but God’s power”.

If we had these 50 years to do over again, we would like to serve more and better, as we were bought with the price of His bloodRomans 6: 16-18 says, “We were slaves of sin and now are slaves of righteousness”.   We work daily on being better slaves!

Have you found your marriage to be a proving ground

for your faithfulness to God? 

However impressive or challenging your marriage may be, 

it is the genuine proof of the degree of your loyalty to God.

Are You a Fun Mom?

I think I used to be fun a very long time ago, maybe before I was a mom. One of the reasons my husband married me in the first place was because he says I am fun (that was his #1 reason).  But as the years progressed and we had more kids, I changed.  My hormones were up and down. I slept less and took on more stress. I don't think I am fun anymore. 

With the kids, I often feel like the referee, the teacher, the cook, the maid, and the taxi.  Somehow it drains all the FUN out of me!

But I want to be a fun mom!  I always have wanted that . . .

After cancer, my attitude has been transformed.  I take each day that God has given me. I don't wait for the “next time” or when things might be “perfect”.  I just dive in because today might be my last.  Today might be your last. 

You just never know God's plans for you.  I think it is sad that it took cancer to get me back to being a more in-the-moment kind of mom.  One thing, I am no longer a bystander.  I now do so many more things than I used to, instead of just sitting around and watching others do them.

For instance, our Bible Study group, Elements, heads down to the beach each Tuesday with all our kids.  Each week I coax the ladies I am with into the ocean with me for a half hour.  One of them has not been in the ocean for 15 years!  We take in the waves, talk and shiver in the chilly Pacific waters.  I feel rejuvenated and refreshed. Today I asked the girls how old they felt jumping over the waves.  "12", one of them said.  Ah, we are living life! 

Now there are a bunch of health benefits to going in the ocean every week, which I just have to mention here.

First, the minerals in the sea air decrease stress and increase a sense of well-being.  Salt in water preserves the melatonin, tryptamine and serotonin levels in your brain.  This helps with fighting off depression or improving your sense of well-being. Going in the ocean water with your back to the breaking waves is like a reset of your emotional state.

Second, studies indicate that the minerals contained in the ocean’s water help with arthritis, psoriasis and even depression.  Other skin diseases, such as rosacea, eczema and rashes from plant allergies or heat are positively affected by the ocean water.  We decided today that we felt our skin was softer from our once-a-week plunges.

Third, ocean water contains iodine, which boosts thyroid function and improves the immune system.  When you are in seawater, the amount of oxygen carried throughout your bloodstream is improved and more nutrients are carried through your bloodstream to fight off free radicals. Ocean water also improves circulation of blood to organs.

Next, the swells and currents in the water act as a lymphatic massage to your whole body.  Being in the ocean water for a half hour is just like paying $80 for an expensive spa lymph massage.  Only God could know what our bodies need and provide a free alternative for our health.

Lastly, air particles break apart releasing ions into the atmosphere when the waves break.  Some scientists claim that sea air contains an abundance of negatively charged ions. These Ions are so good for us! In today’s society, we have too many positive ions in our lives.  You may know positive ions by another name – free radicals.  Because electricity, computers, TV and electronics are all sources of positive ions, it is easy to see why we have a shortage of negative ions.  Increasing our exposure to negative ions has many health benefits including enhancing the immune system, increasing alertness and improving concentration.  The negative ions from the ocean also help to reset your immune system and give you energy.

The biggest benefit is that my kids come and hang out with me in the water.  At least my girls do. So I am writing this for all the moms out there who want to stay in your beach chair this summer (like I have done so many years in a row!).  I had many excuses - I didn't want to get wet, it was too cold, I didn't want to have anyone see my overweight body, I didn't want to have to shower . . .  and so on.  JUST DO IT!  Whatever it is, experience God's creation with your kids!  Get in the ocean, the river, the lake - take that hike, jump in the pool with your kids . . . experience life!  This one life God has given you!  You never know when it will change - your kids will grow, your health may deteriorate - do it now before it's too late! 

The fun mommy in all of us is just waiting to come out. You never know – you might get healthier while you're at it!  Come join me this summer  . . . your kids, and probably your husband, will love it! Just picture our God in heaven smiling down watching you enjoy the things He made for you!  What could be better?

You shall go out in JOY and be led forth in PEACE"  Is 55:12

Cancel Cancel. And Replace

70% of the words you speak each day are to yourself . . . all inside your own head.

Of those 65,000 thoughts you have each day only 5,000 are new.

What are we telling ourselves?

The majority of us have a variety of negative things we say over and over to ourselves.  Much of it is subconscious, but so much is retold to ourselves in our mind.  We have a constant tape recorder replaying things people told us when we were young or things the Evil One throws out to deceive us.

What is a negative thought?  Whatever is not wholesome, or is proud, or just does not line up with God’s word or His plan.  These untruths bring us into a place of negativity.

Here are some of mine:

You are fat.

You are not good at that.

She doesn’t like you.

You are not a good mother.

I can’t. . . .

I should have . . . .

I know I am not the only one who struggles with negative thinking.  I am told I am a very positive person, but if you only knew the thoughts I struggle with in my head.  I can completely understand why God put this verse in the Bible.

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5

How do we take our thoughts captive?

The thing is, the thought comes in and there is not much we can do about it.  Or so I used to think.  Because my mind created such impulses and desires, I knew I needed to grab on to this verse.  I wanted to handcuff those negative thoughts and throw them in jail!

Once I attended a class on Mental Detoxing and I learned the key to this verse.  It lies in the words “cancel-cancel”.  I started to listen to my inner voice and hear what I had been saying to myself.  Once I identified a negative thought, I would say “cancel-cancel” to myself.  Then I replace the negative thought with a positive one, something more inline with God’s word.  For example, “My body is sick and I am not getting any better”.  I replace it with “God is healing my body and I will get better”.

Much research has gone into the idea that our bodies - our very cells - listen to us.  They take command from us.

Other thoughts I may have like “I am fat” can be replaced with God’s word, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”. 

You can always substitute a lie, with truth . . . with God’s word.  “Cancel-Cancel” and replace.

So I am encouraging you mom, and myself.  Can we replace those thoughts in our mind with truth, with positive thoughts?

My prayer for us today is Philippians 4:7:

“Father God, I pray for all us moms.  Help us to take our thoughts captive.  May we have the peace of you, Father, which transcends all understanding, that will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus”.

 

Recharge Your Batteries

I have often thought moms do little for themselves.

We are busy taking care of children, being a wife and focused on keeping a home.  Yes, we are doing Kingdom work right in our homes.  And it is a 24/7 job!

But, honestly, are you tired?

Are you burned out?

Have you snapped at your children lately?  Or your husband?

A few weeks ago, in Yosemite, I stole the time to take one of the art classes in the National Park – four hours long!  My mom and friends watched the kids as I sat under the trees painting Half Dome.

I learned to see the world from a contemporary modern artist.  While this is not my favorite medium, I learned something new.  I was able to reflect on the glory of God amidst the towering granite rocks and small wildflowers at my feet.  God’s majesty is everywhere in creation and painting it brings me closer to Him.

I did not feel guilty.  Perhaps years ago I would have, but now after cancer, I see the value in time away.  Time to breathe.  Time to reflect.  Not only do I strive to do this daily in a quiet time, but now I seek out opportunities that fill my soul regularly. 

I take time to recharge so when I am present with my family and my husband, I am truly present.

This is no easy task.  At home and in my life, there are thousands of things to do and lists to accomplish.  I have to carve out the time and make it a priority.  No one else will do this, but me!

So can I encourage you, moms of princesses and knights?

Can you take time for yourself this week?  And when you do, put into action 1 Cor. 10:31.  Find your place and “bring glory to God” wherever you are.

A couple of ideas:

  1. Do something active.  Take an exercise class, ride your bike, or take a walk.
  2. Do something soothing. Take a bubble bath. Go to the spa, or get a massage.  Go to coffee with a friend.
  3. Do something outdoors.  Go to nature.  Wherever you live, God is there in His creation.  The mountains, the beach, the desert.  Find a quiet spot and journal, hike or paint.
  4. Do something quiet.  Read a book alone with a candle lit and your favorite drink.  Watch the sunrise.
  5. Do something creative.  Take the hobby out of the closet.  Start it up again: quilting, scrapbooking, pottery class, whatever makes you happy.

Our kids and our husbands love it when mom is happy and joyful. 

How will you find time for yourself this week?

A Birthday to Remember

Last week, it was my husband’s 50th birthday! 

We have many family traditions revolving around birthdays. First, we start with the ever-popular waking-you-up-in-bed-with-presents custom.  Then we have a breakfast choice for the birthday boy on a “You are Special” plate.  We almost always have a party of some kind and a more recent idea is for my daughter to bake a special cake (like the one above).

But my favorite birthday heritage is our Affirmation Dinner.

Everyone in my family knows that this is part of being a Young.  On your birthday, we will go around and share something to acknowledge the masterpiece YOU are becoming.  Eph. 2:10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

So if you are at our house on a birthday, we will eat dinner and then I will say something like, “It is time to affirm the birthday girl (or boy)! Who would like to go first?”  Then, someone will begin and everyone will participate going around the table.  That is a Young Family Rule!  Everyone has to say something!

Here are some questions that we use while affirming others:

Where have you seen God working in that person’s life?  What are character qualities that you see in that person?  What are three things you love about them?  What have they done in the last year that has been a blessing to you?  Do you see them changing the world around us, if so, how?

Just answer one of those questions and you are well on your way to an Affirmation Dinner.  Now the funny thing is I don’t always like being in the center on my birthday.  But I have this friend who insists on a girlfriend get-together to do birthday affirmation and then we do it at home too.  So on my birthday, I receive a double-dose of affirmations.

My friend, who initiates these affirmations, has the love language of “Words of Affirmation”.  She is literally “loving” me by doing this.  For some people, who have this love language, this is the best form of loving to them.  There are 5 love languages and if you don’t know yours, you can take this quick test here.

I have asked the Lord why I don’t like them that much.  Sure, I like hearing all the good stuff . . . but somewhere down inside, I feel like I don’t deserve it.  I squirm a bit.  But God reminded me last year that not only is it a blessing to hear the kind words of others that paint a picture of how I am becoming His masterpiece, but it also blesses those that speak it.  Encouraging and uplifting is a command in the Bible: 1 Thes. 5:11 encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 

The blessing of doing affirmations is found in Hebrews 3:13: But encourage one another … so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

Did it really just say that if I am not affirming and encouraging others that I might be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness?  YES!!  So not only is the one that is receiving the affirmations blessed, but the one giving it, too!

So won’t you consider blessing those around you with the words they so long to hear?  How can you affirm them on their birthdays or even today with encouragement?