Posts filed under Parenthood

The Days are Long, the Years are Short!

As I walk into my laundry room, pencil lines mark the time. We have measured each of my kids over their lifetime on the door. Some of the rough lines are over my head now. I gaze at the ones at my knees. Remember when?

My children are all growing up . . . little by little . . . day by day. The wall shows me the progress – the years are represented.

When they were little, people used to say, “Enjoy this time! It goes by so quickly!”

Somewhere between the dirty diapers and sleepless nights I heard “them”, but it seemed so impossible to revel in those days. For I don’t function well without sleep and I am more of a task-master than a lover of all. So motherhood with all of its daily challenges became more of a checklist of things to do than a season to enjoy.

As more children came, the minutes were swallowed up by the fleeting hours of the day. My to-do list became longer as they grew from toddler to child.  We continued to mark their growth with pencil marks on the wall.

And now some of them beginning to drive. One of my children is just about to bloom into a woman. I spend my days driving all four from activities to classes and shuffling through the many needs each has. After all these years, I am only doing the best I can with this parenting job. I have certainly not arrived. I have learned to love more and be more patient. Is it enough?

But sooner than I think, our home will be an empty nest.

Yes, it has gone by . . . quickly.

“The days are long, but the years are short”, one wise woman told me once.

I can feel just the slightest feel of remorse and sadness, if I ponder these truths.

“Am I doing the best I can?”

“Have a cherished enough of the moments?”

“Did I miss too many working or in ministry?”

“Should I have . . . ? Could I have . . . ?”

Do any of you feel like this? I haven’t always gotten it right. I have been selfish and had my own agenda. I can look back and think of all the mistakes I have made.

But when I stop and ask God about it, He reminds me they are His children. I have been given them for a season. I will not be perfect, but I am who my children need. I feel more and more these days that parenting is really more about me growing to be more Christ-like than it ever was about raising them up in the first place. God’s got them in the palm of His hand.

For now, I will remember to appreciate the little things, like reading a book to my youngest two before bed. I was consistent with my first two, but with busy days my younger two haven't enjoyed this staple routine. I do know those are moments they will remember. Traditions passed from one generation to the next helps me gather memories, too, like our Advent of Books in December.  

We have a new book coming out next Tuesday that will be great for both of these endeavors - A Royal Christmas to Remember. 

My goal is to be able to look back and not feel guilt. I am the queen of “should haves” my husband says. However, I don’t want to “should” all over myself when my children are grown.

So today – with days I have left - I will take each thought . . . each “guilt thought” . . . every “not good enough” thought and ask the Lord His opinion. If I need to change, He will tell me. If I need to rest or let go, He will tell me. But in every moment, I want to enjoy.

Because the days are long, and the years are short!

What do you do to remember and make memories?



~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!


My Dad's Parenting Secret

My dad always made me think I was the sunshine of his life.

He always told me he was proud of me and that I could do anything I set my mind to. He never let a day go by without telling me he loved me (even when I was an adult). When he was around, I always felt cherished and adored. My picture of God has been established through my father's devotion to me.

When I was a grown woman, I asked my father, "How do you think you made me feel this way?" He let me in on a little secret . . .

"I smiled at you and sighed big as if I had waited hours to see you", he told me.

"I practiced entering a room with you there and smiled every time. It took work, but eventually it became natural".  He continued to explain that the world's troubles would overtake him and he would be grumpy and upset often. He saw he was taking it out on his kids so he decided to practice smiling and sighing happiness when we were around.

It worked. The Bible says in Proverbs 15:30 "A cheerful look brings joy to the heart".

Smiling! Such a simple act has so much power.  

Who knew? In fact, much research has been done on the subject. I have felt convicted myself to smile more at my children and husband too.

Smiles are the first building blocks to a healthy relationship with your baby.

Smiling at your baby plays a part in bonding and helps them feel safe and secure. Chemicals released during smiling and laughing help grow the brain and the nervous system, researchers say.

As children grow, their circles widen, but their parents’ approval still is central to their development. One researcher said, “Smiling stimulates our brain’s reward mechanisms in a way that even chocolate, a well-regarded pleasure-inducer, cannot match.” When we smile at our children, we make them feel like they are eating candy!  It makes them happy and relaxed. They quickly point out real smiles are required, not fake ones. You know the grin that brightens your face and makes the edges of your eyes rise? This is the smile to bring comfort to your children. My dad sighed to let us know he was really happy to see us. Fake or not, it worked on me!

When should we smile at our kids? When he enters a room . . . when he leaves the house . . . when we come home from being away . . . when he wakes in the morning and as he goes to bed at night!

So much smiling, you say?

Here is the deal. Not only will this one act help us raise a calm, intelligent and confident child, but it has benefits for us too.

Smiling is important for our health. It can lower blood pressure, improve digestion and regulate blood sugar. Smiling can lead to laughter, which helps you sleep better. When we delight in another person, we trick our minds into believing we are really happy, even if we are not. Endorphins are released, creating a "feel-good" sensation.

More importantly, we are God's smile to our children.

He is a good father and delights in us. How much more should we show this to our children? Just as my picture of God is a direct result of my relationship with my father, so I am painting a picture for my children of who God is. Let me remember to smile as I see them, delight in the things that delight them and remember to play.

As I type this blog, I am reminded myself to smile at my children as we begin a fresh school year with no surgery to get over or pain to muddle through. I think I have forgotten this very important lesson my dad taught me. Life makes it easy to frown sometimes.

I love this quote from Mother Teresa:

"Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other—it doesn't matter who it is—and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other."

How will you "smile" more this year?

~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!

Posted on September 15, 2016 and filed under Parenthood.

5 Character Lessons in a Lemonade Stand

As summer is coming to a close and the days are getting shorter, my kids are still asking to do a "Lemonade Stand". A wonderful American tradition rises on the corners of your neighborhood evoking memories of days gone by.  We can't just pass by, so we stop by to encourage these young souls in their first entrepreneurial endeavors.

Here in Southern California, our summer heat will continue through September and into October. So it is appropriate for the kids to be asking.

As they squeeze their lemons and bake their chocolate chip cookies, I begin to see God at work.  Our lemonade stand brings about teachable moments on character qualities for my children.  I recognize subtle opportunities for them to grow in their character. For as in everything, a simple pursuit can help us grow in the areas God has for us.

Here are five reasons why I love to say "Yes" to a lemonade stand and why you should say "Yes", too.

1.  They meet our neighbors.  Our house is situated on a busy corner with a horse trail and path to the park.  So there is plenty of traffic. Just like anywhere, we are all busy. So are our neighbors. We have to make an extra effort to meet them and stay in contact with them. Making cookies and lemonade invites them to come over and say "hi" and take a minute to chat. This offers opportunities for further interaction in the future and helps my children know those around them. These moments require a smile, kindness and manners from my children, creating a teachable minute for my kids.

2.  They understand what it means to own something. In a small way, this little lemonade stand becomes their first business. They spend about an hour preparing. They use their creativity to bake cookies to perfection so everyone will want to buy them. After a few lessons from me, they are self-sufficient (I always help with clean up). It takes them minutes now to make homemade lemonade with lemons from our tree.  They think up new ways to decorate their stand and how to attract more customers. Painting signs and picking flowers, while grabbing one of my table clothes drives them to be more creative in their endeavor.

3. They learn new skills and brush up on old ones.  Owning something means being able to take responsibility and leadership. Not only do they have to smile and be kind, but they must make the right change, which requires math and quick thinking. Sometimes they have a crowd and this demands so many skills from them: attentiveness, decisiveness, and resourcefulness. My children are also learning the art of salesmanship. My dad and my brother can "sell ice to an eskimo", so some of them come by it naturally.  However, I notice how they encourage the customers to add something to their order or invite them to come back another day.

4. They are called to work side by side with their siblings. I don't know about your house, but my house witnesses more than a few disheartening interactions between my kids. I ask the Lord for wisdom so often He must be sick of the request. When they are pulled together striving for the same goal, somehow they forget the argument a few hours before and work together. I love to watch them dream up new ideas for cookies or new endeavors, like when they woke up at 5:00 a.m. to do a "Coffee and Muffin Stand" for Election Day. Each day character is built on small moments like these.

5. They are blessed to be a blessing. One of the requirements in our family is if they do a lemonade stand, they are asked to give 10% of their earnings to the church or a charity.  We feel this standard will set them up for life as they learn to give right off the top of what they have received. The conversation it brings with it reminds me that we are all sinners. Learning to be generous is a character quality that develops over time as we realize how much God loves us. Every time they want to keep "their hard earned cash", we remind them, we are all "blessed to be a blessing".

A lemonade stand is a simple, but fun way to learn with our children. I love that God gives us every day experiences to learn so much from Him. We don't have to wait for the big moments to pour in our kids’ character. We can embrace the opportunities He gives.

How do you help build character into your kids?

~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!

Posted on September 1, 2016 and filed under Parenthood, Character and Virtue.

Celebrating Passover Seder Dinner

The table was set with gilded table linens and pillows to recline. 

The lamb was roasted and the Seder plate full.

Our children dressed in costume to make it a full experience.

Last year, we invited another family over with kids the same ages on the Thursday before Easter.  We took all the leaven out of our house and began to decorate.  We put tables on the ground with pillows to sit on so we could “recline” like Jesus did in the Last Supper.  We dressed in traditional-feeling clothing for an added effect.  We ate lamb, read the Haggadah, drank the “fruit of the vine” and ate the bitter herbs.

Ever since I was in my twenties, I have enjoyed hosting and attending Seder dinners during Easter week.  Keeping “the ordinance in its season from year to year” (Exodus 13:10).  As a mom now, we have incorporated the Seder dinner into how we celebrate the Resurrected King. So much imagery and scripture fulfillment make it a “must” for our family.

Now some of you may be wondering what is a Seder dinner?

The Seder, a festive Jewish holiday meal, actually means "order." It is called this because the meal is done in a certain order, which takes us from slavery to freedom. The Haggadah—which means "the telling"—is the book used at the Passover Seder. The Haggadah explains the foods on the Seder plate, recounts the highlights of the Exodus, and includes songs, prayers, questions and vignettes. A Christian Seder dinner shows the fulfillment of the Messiah and how Jesus is our Passover lamb.

The dinner is full of faith lessons and connects the Old Testament with the New.  One can easily see how Jesus came to fulfill the prophesies of old when one participates in the Messianic Seder dinner.  I love how the tradition incorporates our children by asking these four questions during the Seder dinner:

Why is this night different from all other nights?

Once we were slaves in Egypt, but now we are free.  God asked us to set aside this night each year to remember—just like Jesus did at the Last Supper. We are to remember we are free, but bought with a price.

On all other nights we eat either bread or matzah, but why, on this night, do we eat only matzah?

The yeast represents sin. So we have cleansed it from our house.  See the stripes on the matzah? They remind us how Jesus was beaten for us and we break the bread to cherish how He was broken for us.  We were delivered from slavery and given new life.

On all other nights we do not dip our vegetables even once, but why, on this night, do we dip twice?

As they wept for their lives as slaves, so the salty parsley represents their tears.  But they also painted blood on the doorposts of their home with hyssop branches so the angel of death would pass over that fateful night.  They were miraculously delivered because the Passover Lamb, Jesus, has become the sacrifice for our sins.

On all other nights we eat either sitting up straight or reclining, but why, on this night, do we all recline?

Before we were slaves, but now we are able to recline as free people.  The price has been paid for our lives. We are no longer bound and chained.

Can I encourage you to celebrate the Seder dinner with your family this year?  You can find it at a local church or Messianic Jewish temple. You can also look online to find everything you need to create the experience at home.

I hope we can all celebrate next year in the New Jerusalem!

~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!

Do-It-Yourself Easter Tradition!

Mommy, is it time to bring out the colored eggs?

Are we finally 12 days away from Easter?

Is it my turn to open the egg tonight?

When my kids were little, we started the tradition of the Resurrection Eggs.  I made our little colored egg set and it has lasted all these years.  As I look back on different family traditions we have adopted, I think counting down to a holiday has always been a favorite.  My kids enjoyed doing something every day.  I love these eggs that no only are fun, but also build faith and wisdom into my kids’ lives.

Creating a sense of heritage and expectancy, we open a different egg each day. I have also heard of families doing all the eggs at once. Inside each egg, a surprise object and corresponding verse tells the Easter story.  Each day builds up to Jesus’ death and resurrection while giving tangible items for my kids to remember. Many of these years, I had a stack of great Easter books to read, one a day, counting down to Easter.  Of course, we ate chocolate, too.

Since many of you who read this blog have little princesses and knights, I thought I would give you the plan to make your own Resurrection Eggs.  They have been around for many years.  In fact, you can even purchase a set from Family Life.

Whether you make them or purchase them, my hope is you will start this new tradition this year.  You can make them or order them this week and be ready to start on March 16th - twelve days before Easter.  They are easy to make and not expensive.  I hope you will enjoy this craft that will give you years of enjoyable memories, as it has in our family.

Making Resurrection Eggs

To make the Resurrection Egg set, you will need an empty egg carton,12 plastic eggs (different colors, if possible), and 11 story starters with verses (shown below).  First, number your eggs 1-12.  Then place the story starters in each egg that corresponds to the number. Copy off the verse and put inside the egg, too.


(1) Jesus enters on a donkey - a small plastic branch or leaf

   Matthew 21:1-11; Zechariah 9:9







(2) Judas betrays Jesus - a dime

Matthew 26: 14-16; 47-50, 27:3-4; Zechariah 11:12-13; Psalm 41-9


(3) Jesus eats the last supper and washes the disciples' feet -small bite size saltines sealed with shellac and small cloth or soap

John 13:3-17; Mark 14:22-26



(4) Garden of Gethsemane - a small plastic cup or let children form small cups from clay

Mark 14: 32 – 41; Luke 22: 39-46



(5) Jesus is arrested and goes before the Sanhedrin – piece of twine

Mark 14:43 – 64




(6) Peter denies Christ – a rooster (can be paper copy)

Luke 22:33-34; Luke 22; 54-62



(7) Soldiers mock Jesus and he is sentenced to death - a small thorn or piece of a small rose bush stem/ I made a sign “King of the Jews”

John 19:1-16



(8) Crucifixion of Jesus - hot glue two small twigs together to make a cross that will fit into the egg or a nail, and a die (for the soldiers casting lots)

John 19: 16 – 24



(9) Death of Jesus – small sponge

Matt. 27: 45-56; Psalm 69: 21



(10) Burial of Jesus – a small piece of linen cloth or gauze and a spice (piece of vanilla bean) 

John 19: 38-42




(11) The Tomb-a stone (you can purchase pretty ones in bags in the craft section of stores) and paint the egg black 

Matt. 27:62 - 66



(12) He is RISEN!  leave this egg empty

Matthew 28:1-10; Psalm 16:8-11




Creating an Easter Book basket

Reading books along with opening the eggs is a wonderful tradition to start.  We do a similar practice at Christmastime.  If you don’t have any Easter books, I would suggest ordering a few this year and adding to your collection each Easter.  You also can fill in your collection with books from the library.  Here are a few classic Easter books to review.

The Easter Story by Patricia Pingry

The Legend of the Easter Egg by Lori Walburg

The Easter Egg by Jan Brett      

The Country Bunny by Dubose Heyward

P. Zonka Lays an Egg by Julie Paschkis

The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt

Easter in the Garden by Pamela Kennedy

The Flowering Cross by Beth Ryan

Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs by Melody Carlson

Of course, we would love for you to add our book, A Royal Easter Story, into your collection as you create wonderful family traditions to celebrate our Lord and Savior. 

What traditions do you keep and enjoy this Easter season?

~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!

Posted on March 10, 2016 and filed under Parenthood.

Easter Eggs: History and Faith Lessons

Growing up, I was always told Easter traditions began in the depth of pagan rituals.  So when I became a Christian, I shied away from certain holiday festivities.  Now as a mom, I have begun to come back to many of these “fun” traditions to take a close look for myself.  I have been pleasantly surprised at the history of many traditions.

With Easter quickly approaching, Jackie and I are taking a couple of traditions and exploring their roots and meanings.  We are so excited about Easter ourselves with the release of our new book, A Royal Easter Story.  The book has Easter eggs throughout the story and we did it on purpose! 

I have a new appreciation for all things commercially Easter.  You see, if our nation didn’t have these traditions to experience, they would not celebrate Easter.  They just would not do it!  Similar to Santa Claus, the Easter bunny and all the trimmings allow us to invite friends to Easter service and talk about Easter freely in our community during this time of year.  Saying, “He is Risen!” to the grocery clerk is not as crazy as it would be any other time of year.  For that reason, I think God looks down upon many of these traditions (although not in the Bible) and smiles!

Eggs were the symbol of new life before Christ’s crucifixion. Eggs are God’s creation and they do carry new life, regardless of who claims the symbol. When Christians began celebrating Lent in the year 330, they fasted for 40 days prior to Easter.  They abstained from all meat . . . including eggs.  Once the 40 day fast was over, they had an abundance of eggs to consume.  Breaking the fast on Easter morning, lent itself to eating eggs, which quickly became tradition.  In Jewish Seder Passovers, a hard boiled egg is also part of the meal.

Various traditions are associated with the dying of Easter eggs. An ancient story tells of Mary Magdalene being summoned by Emperor Tiberius where she explains Christ had been resurrected. The doubtful Caesar pointed to an egg and exclaimed, "Christ has not risen, no more than that egg is red"—after which the egg in question miraculously turned blood-red. One Eastern Orthodox myth presents either Mary Magdalene or Mary, the mother of Jesus, placing a basket of eggs under the cross. The blood of Christ fell on the eggs, turning them red. According to another tale, Simon of Cyrene was an egg merchant who had to leave his basket of eggs to help Jesus carry the cross. When he returned, he found that his eggs had changed color!

Eggs can be used to teach faith to your kids this Easter.  You may dye them, hide them, fill them, roll them or eat them! Your traditions are as personal as your family heritage is to you.  There is a quick faith lesson you can share with your children of any age. An egg’s hard shell can represents Jesus’ sealed tomb, and cracking the shell symbolizes His Resurrection. Eggs, which often remind people of new life because some creatures are born from them, reminded early Christians that Jesus is the true source of new life spiritually. 

Deepening the symbolism for your children you may choose a couple of ways to demonstrate this to your children. 

Egg knocking

This two-player game is messy, but does bring the point home.  Each player takes their egg and knocks it against his or her partner’s saying “Christ is Risen”. The one whose intact egg breaks open the other egg is considered the winner, and the broken egg is symbolic of Jesus’ empty tomb on Easter morning. You can do this with each family member until there is a “winner”.

Egg rolling

The tradition of rolling Easter eggs down hills began centuries ago in Europe as a way for children to celebrate how the stone that had sealed Jesus’ tomb rolled away on the day of His Resurrection. In the 1800s, one of the world’s most famous Easter egg rolls began: the one on the White House lawn (which first took place on the U.S. Capitol lawn), where children gather on the Monday after Easter to roll Easter eggs across the grass with spoons. Your family may choose to participate in a community egg roll if there’s one in your local area, or hold your own.

Easter egg trees

Decorating our dining table is the hollow eggs that hang from our egg tree.  This Easter tree represent Jesus’ tomb, which became empty (hollow) on the first Easter after his Resurrection. I brought this tradition back from Germany in my college years. It recently has become more popular in the United States, but is a centuries old tradition in Europe. You and your children can create an Easter egg tree by making small holes with a knife or needle at the top and bottom of uncooked eggs to blow or drain out the yolk and white parts inside, then putting either ribbons or hooks through the top holes to attach the hollow eggs to the branches of a tree. If you’re short on time, you can substitute modern plastic Easter egg ornaments that are as easy to decorate with as Christmas tree ornaments. The tree you choose to decorate may either be a live one that’s growing outdoors, or a craft tree that is small enough to fit indoors.

No matter what you choose to do this Easter, I hope you are able to incorporate the faith lesson of Easter eggs with goal to appreciate Jesus’ resurrection better and add a bit of fun for the kids!

~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!

Love Is the Foundation

Bickering floats through the air as we are on our way to Awanas.  My children, who are blessings from the Lord, argue and complain to each other.

“Mom, she is humming too loud!”

“Mom, she is on my side and is leaning her arm against me!”

“MOOOOM!  He just stuck his tongue out at me!”

I sigh.

Do you ever sigh? 

I want them to love each other.  To love our little family.  To love the church. To love others. And most importantly, to love God.

Sometimes, when these daily episodes of selfishness and irritation creep in, I have to remind myself that they are learning.  They are sinners, just like me.  So I will sigh and recall this truth.

I don’t always respond the way I should either, even though I love all of them deeply.

As we go into this weekend, I am prodded by this verse in Matthew, where Jesus tells us the greatest commandments.  There are only two and they both involve LOVE.

“You shall LOVE the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like it is this, you shall LOVE your neighbor as thyself.” Matthew 22:36-39

As we roll into Valentine’s Day, I know it is a consumer holiday.  But I can’t help it, I want to buy my kids candy and gifts because I love them.  Remember, my love language is “gifts”.

But more than that, I want them to know God’s love, which they will learn from me first, before they know it is God.

By a kind word.

By a helping hand.

By time spent with them.

By a smile when they come in the room. 

By a kiss and a story before bed. 

By daily prayers for them.

They will never know how much I love them until they have children of their own.

Until then, Bruce and I will be God’s love to them, until they own their faith.

One way we help them see how to love others is my surrounding them with great examples.  We hang out with cool people who serve and love Jesus.  We discipline them when they do something wrong because we love them.  We engage with community in love and generosity.  We watch movies that bring out the good and love in others.  We READ BOOKS that focus on the love of others.

If you are looking for a good Valentine’s Day present for your princess this Valentine’s Day, may I suggest one of our Princess Parables books?  Each of them was birthed out of LOVE and teaches Love.

Princess Hope and the Hidden Treasure shows the love between a child and her grandmother.  She would sell everything she owns to buy her lost ring.

Princess Joy’s Birthday Blessing teaches little girls to love their family and to be generous towards others because she is blessed to be a blessing.

Princess Charity’s Courageous Heart demonstrates love by the princess rescuing a hurt boy.  She cared more for another person than herself - showing love in her actions.

Princess Grace and the Little Lost Kitten presents the opportunity to love her father by being responsible for the kittens.  When the kitten is lost, she not only loves the kitty enough to search for her, but she brings her home to show her father her devotion.

Princess Faith and the Mysterious Garden lays out the dilemma of the never-ending problem garden.  The princess shows her love to her family and her father by persevering and having patience.

A Royal Easter Story focuses on saving a little girl in the woods and finding her family.  Love is the central theme of this story from the little girl to the Easter Celebration where Christ is center.  The greatest love is Jesus dying for us on a cross.

There is still time to order these books off of Amazon or from your local Christian bookstore for Valentine’s Day.  We hope your girls will love them and learn to LOVE because of them.  Our prayer has always been to give you moms tools to train up your kids in righteousness.

As for loving our kids and teaching love, I am right there with you.  I pray for each of us an extra dose of grace as we speak into this generation.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

~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!

Posted on February 12, 2016 and filed under Character and Virtue, Parenthood.

The Good Father

Our newest story in the Princess Parables series, A Royal Easter Story, weaves together a number of different lessons.  Just as God’s word can have many applications in just one verse, A Royal Easter Story does as well.  The beauty of using God’s word as the foundation for a story allows for a richness of many applications.

 One of the underlying storylines to teach your kids from the new story is found in Luke 11:11,12. 

"What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”  

“What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?”

With Easter right around the corner, most of us will be putting together the egg hunts, Easter dinner and the highly-anticipated Easter basket.  Would you ever consider putting in rocks instead of colored eggs? Pebbles instead of jelly beans? Or a snake in place of a chocolate bunny?

Never! Right?

I love giving gifts to my kids.

Their faces light up with eyes shining with excitement.  Hugs flow freely, even with my teens.  Smiles and gratefulness follow a well-chosen gift.

I am just a little giddy inside myself.  Nothing is as good as being the giver. I especially love to grant their requests, when I can.  I always want to be the “Yes!” mom.

Our God is the “Yes!” God within His will.

The story in Luke teaches us three things, which in turn are great teaching tools in A Royal Easter Story.

Our God gives good gifts

The story is intended to be absurd, even in the 21st century.  But the stark reality is, if our fathers here on this earth treat us well, how much more our Father in Heaven does.  He longs to give us good gifts.  Not a million dollars from the lottery, but the gifts He knows will grow us and mature us into the person He has designed us to be.  As we gift Easter baskets this year, let us not forget to remind our children that God gives great gifts.  The best gift was His son for our lives.

We can pray with confidence and persistence

If God is so good to us, then we can come to him to ask for what we need.  He is our good father and wants to give us what is beneficial for us. Because of who God is and what He promises, we can pray knowing He will answer and do what is best.  We can remind our children, just as they may not always get candy for breakfast and cake before bedtime.  Neither can we expect to have prayers answered that are not wholesome for us, but we can come confidently knowing God will give us everything we need.

Because of our Heavenly Father’s character, we can treat others right

Jesus is asking us to treat others the way we want to be treated – the Golden Rule. This verse sets up the perfect story to teach kids not to worry if things don’t turn out the way they want.  God has everything under control and he has “your back”. We can treat people as ambassadors for Jesus and not worry about what we get in return.  God is already ready to give us good gifts.  We don’t need to worry; we just need to do the right thing.  This is an important truth the princesses learn in A Royal Easter Story.  They have to give up winning the race to rescue a lost little girl, but in the end, they are blessed to have done the right thing.

We are so excited for you all to read this book to your kids.  Can you tell?  Have you ordered it yet? 

A Royal Easter Story came out on Tuesday, just in time for your Easter basket!

~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!

Life-Giving Home

2016 is off and running . . .

Have you taken a moment to sit and create a framework for your home this year?

Yeah, I know.  When?

Most of us are trying to create home for our kids to grow up where they will feel creative, loved, inspired, and nurtured.  We want them most of all to have a life-changing relationship with Jesus.  We want them to feel protected, valued and encouraged to take on the world.  Whew, how do we do that with all the running around and crazy schedules we keep?

Are you all idealists like me?

When reality kicks in, my ideals are pushed to the side in the face of TODAY.  If I don’t have a plan for my family and my home, my great intentions are just that – only intentions.  So how can we create this environment for our family?

I am excited to tell you about a new book coming out from my friend, Sally Clarkson, called The Life Giving Home this February.  You just have to read it!

I love that God has both of our books coming out about the same time and we are both busy launching what God has called us to do – writing books for the life-giving home.

I am just reading my copy of Sally’s new book. I feel energized and inspired by its pages.  The book is divided up into months.  There is a chapter for each month of the year with a planner to go along with it.  What better way is there to take my intentions and make them reality?

In one of the first chapters of the book (January), Sally gives a framework for getting your home into routines and rituals of your family’s life.  In the chapter, she gives ideas for de-cluttering, celebrating, daily planning, establishing a devotional and household routines.  She speaks my language when she talks about “The Morning Blessing”. My favorite part of the chapter is about establishing a "reading-hour" routine, which has saved me over the years!  Also I find my kids have kept the reading hour well into the rest of their lives, just like Sally suggests!

Our new book, A Royal Easter Story, is the perfect book to add to your children’s shelves for their “reading hour”. They can revisit the parable story over and over again, bringing them into the world of imagination and words, but also see an example from the princesses’ lives of a real life-giving home.  These princesses are the ones you want your girls to be like - full of character and virtue.  Won’t you consider filling their library with some new princesses to emulate?

You can find Sally Clarkson’s The Life Giving Home here.

You can find our newest book, A Royal Easter Story here.

Both inspire greatness and God’s ideals.

Here is a quote from Sally to close:

“So plan your days, allow flexibility, and keep moving in the direction of your ideals a little at a time. I believe you’ll see that your intentional investment of time will promote valuable habits in the lives of all those who share your home—you included” – Sally Clarkson, The Life-Giving Home 

How do you build into your family life-giving ideals?

~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!


Jackie's Journey: Raising a Loyal Knight

“In medieval times, all knights lived by a code.  Loyalty to this high calling formed the core of every knight’s identity.  It also served to define the progress of his life.” Raising a Modern Day Knight by Robert Lewis

Raising little knights can be challenging.  Little boys are born with an adventurous spirit!  They have a desire to be empowered.  These little men dream of being courageous conquerors; they are the hunters and providers.  They sense the need to become strong…the champions of good over evil…defenders of the universe! 

As you raise your little knights to be loyal, here are some practical steps that will cause learning in your little man and make loyalty a reality in his life.

My life has been filled with four little boys for the last fourteen years!  I have observed the challenges that come with raising a “modern day knight”, and I call you “blessed” if you finish the course with young knights who are loving, respectful and loyal!

Loyalty is a foundational block of our faith and calls for designated attention.  In a day when it is the least valued and our children are absent of conviction, inundated with political correctness, following their own wills, peers, Hollywood celebrities, our bad examples… the desperate need for understanding the importance of having loyalty to God, His Word, His commands, His Plan and His purpose are imperative! Teaching loyalty through respect for authority (parents, grandparents, pastors, teachers…) should be celebrated.  Blessing and protection are the promises and fruit of exercised loyalty. It should dominate all teaching opportunities with our little ones as we encourage, correct and lovingly discipline.   

A loyal knight will use difficult times to demonstrate his faithfulness to God and those he serves.  He respects those in authority and sees and responds to events in his life with obedience, understanding that protection is the blessing in the end.  Sir Andrew proves his loyalty to King and country and is given the King’s blessing for his loyal dedication and hard work.

In our newest book in the Princess Parables series, A Royal Easter Story, we introduce five valiant young cavaliers and brothers.  Each embodies a different character quality.  Sir Andrew is our example of loyalty.  His story is based on Matthew 25:14-30 and the Parable of the Talents.  We hope we will be able to bring his story to you in the next couple of years.  These chivalrous adventurers are part of the original vision we were given when the Princess Parable Books took form.  We always envisioned a series of books for those of you who have little boys and are looking for books that will challenge them to exercise honorable thoughts and actions.

We hope Sir Andrew will encourage and inspire your little knight at home as you teach him the importance of loyalty.

~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights.