Christen Young

My life, my story. My life for His glory.

Category: Family Time (page 1 of 7)

Teenage Terror (aka Happy 13th Birthday Raine)

2015-08-25 07.40.08

Today, my first baby, Jillian “Raine,” turns thirteen and gets to finally be the teenager that she has thought that she was since about the age of two. This morning she left for school, speaking in an Australian accent that she swears is British and dressed in imitation of “The Doctor” specifically the 9th Doctor from Doctor Who. I hugged her, kissed her, pinched her chubby cheeks, and sent her off to school shaking my head in wonder at how strange amazing my little baby has grown to be. She is as tall as me now which is hardly an accomplishment, but I literally remember her just being born and the trauma beauty of giving birth to my first child. Continue reading

Happy Father’s Day Myron


Today is Father’s Day, but it is also the eve of the first Heavenly birthday, of our beloved college cheerleading coach, Myron Doan.  It is impossible to believe that a year has passed or that he is really gone.

My husband and I both have amazing fathers that we love dearly, but on this Father’s Day, I have found my thoughts resting with Myron.  Myron may have not had biological children of his own, but he was a true father to so many. I know that I have written about this before, but to my husband, Jared, and I, Myron will always remain one of the most important pieces of our family.  Continue reading

Tim Hawkins Rocks!

Showing off my VIP badge to the sold out Tim Hawkins with John Branyan comedy event. Jared was my date and even he laughed until he cried. Date nights are so much fun especially when you get to laugh and appreciate the gift of joy that God has given us. So thankful for this wonderful evening and to my dear friend for buying us the tickets!  Tim Hawkins is still my fave comedian of all time, but John Branyan was also “flippin” incredible.  

Mother of the Year…Or Not.

            Pre-Meltdown Decker
Yesterday, my four year old, Decker, and I enjoyed a quiet, breakfast meeting at the local Library’s cafe.  I met for prayer and Bible study with my bestie, Heidi, while Decker sat in a comfy chair and watched Netflix movies on my old phone.  He was so well behaved and quiet that at one point I had to check to make sure that he was still even there. (Don’t worry, he was just sitting behind Heidi and since I am short he was hidden.)  At the end of the meeting, he lovingly kissed me and asked politely if we could go into the library.  Feeling like the world’s most amazing mom, I marveled at his good behavior as we have been working really hard to help shape him and guide his typically strong will.

We walked to the children’s area where I browsed books and he flitted from place to place, climbing on playthings, picking books, and watching other kids play.  He picked some books to read with me while we were there, and we sat side by side snuggling as we read.  Then, it was time to go, and I enforced the three book take home limit that he knew about from the start.  However, when it came time to take only three books, he was less than happy.  When I say less than happy, I really mean that he growled, yelled, and like a tiny terrorist; started giving demands.  He then threw off his shoes and told me that he was running away forever.  Like the USA, I don’t negotiate with terrorists, so instead I firmly ordered that he come with me or face punishment. Instead, he ran off angrily and when I searched for him he ran, laughing, expecting me to try to chase him in a cat and mouse game through the book aisles.  This was not my first rodeo, so instead I gathered his shoes and books and walked slowly toward the checkout desk. I walked purposely and looked forward, pretending to ignore him, yet watching him in the glass which mirrored him following far behind me, issuing more threatening demands.  Normally I am a fan of immediate punishment and have been known to put my children in time out in the middle of wherever we are, or whatever store we are in.  However, knowing Decker, this was not my best move as it would escalate into a full blown tantrum in the middle of the quiet library, so it would be better to discipline in the privacy of our home.  Not only that, but if he ran I would have to give chase throughout the entire library and more chaos would ensue.  He followed me to the checkout desk, but then ran off screaming and hid in the back of the library behind a chair.  I finished checking out and calmly walked to the back of the library where a young man looked stunned to have a child hiding behind his chair.  I smiled at him and gingerly scooped up Decker (who is way to big for me to hold considering my issue with pain, but I had no other choice).  Decker struggled to escape, but I ignored him and walked on.  Then came the tricky part. I had to get my books and his drink out of the book basket while not letting go of him.  I put him down and held his hand, not letting him go.  He screamed to be let go as I continued to ignore him, scooped up the books, then quietly asked him to hold his drink.  He grabbed his drink and threatened that if I didn’t let him go he would dump it all over the floor.  Reprimanding him, I put my books down, snatched the drink and looked for the closest trash can.  As everyone in the library was now watching us, a sweet woman asked if she could help me carry my books and stuff, so that I could grab him and walk out to the car.  There was no judgement in her voice, just a true, loving desire to help.  I asked her to throw away the drink, thanked her profusely and then calmly carried a screaming Decker and everything else out to the car.  I silently strapped him, as he roared and threatened, into his seat and trying to get a reaction from me, he declared that he would unbuckle his seat belt as we drove away.  I told him, still calmly, exactly what his punishment would be if he did that and he immediately halted his attempt. When he settled down a little bit, I explained that when we got home, he would receive punishment for his numerous offenses and listed exactly what each one was and why it was not acceptable.  
Once home, he continued his tirade, but this time it was as he sat in “time out”. I had talked to him about each of his offenses and exactly why he was receiving the consequences of his actions–he understood, but that didn’t mean he was happy about it and tried every excuse to worm his way out of his punishment.  I had to stay strong and consistent though, so I maintained his consequence and walked away from him while replaying the whole situation in my head.  I love that Decker is strong willed…I know, not many parents would say that, but it is true.  I know that when shaped by the Lord, his strong will can be used for God’s glory.  It can help him to stand firm in his faith and not waver, however, without discipline, without shaping from the Lord, it leads to sin.  I critically examined my actions in the situation.  Should I have punished him immediately, chased after him, left the books there, done something different? My mom always quotes a friend who says that “God gives us each one strong willed child to keep us humble.”  Was this my lesson for the day, humility?  I sought the Lord, praying that He would give me wisdom, that He would shape Decker.  In the end, Decker calmed down, repented of his actions, and truly asked forgiveness. We hugged, kissed, and snuggled then finished the day without any other issues. I am sure that other parents will criticize my choices or actions, yet I know that I remained calm, consistent, and I don’t answer to the crowd of onlookers–I answer to the Lord. Is discipline something that I enjoy doing? No, not even slightly, but I know that the outcome for sin is severe if I don’t. Romans 6:23 ESV “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Just as I have to answer to the Lord for my actions and face His discipline and consequences for me, if I love my children then I have to discipline them in accordance with the Lord and His will.  Just as “the Lord disciplines those He loves”, I will continue to show my love to my children through appropriate discipline as the Bible commands.
Hebrew 12:5-11 ESV “…’My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises ever son whom he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  Besides this, we have earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them.  Shall we not much more be subject to the father of spirits and live?  For they disciplined us for a short time as it seems best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

Updates and “Baby Watch 2013”

Life has been so crazy lately that I haven’t had time for many updates.  One friend described our listing our house this month at the same time as KeKe’s baby being due as ambitious…I tend to think of it as insanity.  Along with our usual family activities we re-carpeted, painted, and staged our house to sell it, as well as preparing for the arrival of KeKe’s baby.  Needless to say it has been very busy here and I have been totally overdoing it physically.
My pain levels have been super high as my increased activity levels have lead to my 20+ trigger points throughout my back and neck becoming very angry and making things pretty miserable.  Thankfully, this week is Spring break and I have been able to spend most of my time resting in bed trying decrease the muscular pain.  Sleep has been non-existent, but that is pretty normal with chronic pain.  So, my prayer requests are for the muscular pain to decrease and for me to be able to get some quality sleep.  My praise is that my meds have decreased my nerve pain dramatically–if I can get my muscular pain to settle down too then that would be wonderful.  With so many trigger points, I am starting to research the possibility that the trigger points may be causing the shoulder dysfunction instead of the assumed reverse theory.
  We are still on call in the “Baby Watch 2013” as KeKe is now almost 40 weeks pregnant.  She is of course eager to get the baby into her arms as we all are as well.  She is pretty much the cutest pregnant mommy ever and still looks all stylish even with her giant belly.  We love her so much and Jared and I are so proud of all that she has accomplished especially since moving to Springfield.  Before moving here in January, she graduated high school a semester early and is already enrolled for classes in the Fall.  She is super smart and has done all the research and preparation as far as reading and classes go to prepare for the birth and care of her sweet baby, Julius.  Though she often stays with us (and we hope to have a guest room set aside for her when we buy the new house), she has her own apartment and is thriving while a lot of the other foster teens in her independent living  program are sadly floundering.  She is very driven to succeed and it makes us very proud to watch her do so.  She is going to be a great mommy and we are blessed to have her as part of our family.  
In addition to welcoming KeKe into our family, we are privileged to welcome her boyfriend, Jared, too.  Note, this is not my Jared (Young), this is Jared Sardis.  Two Jareds is a little bit confusing–not usually to us, but to outsiders when we start talking about Jared marrying KeKe it can end up sounding really awkward if they don’t know that she has a Jared too.  Jared (Sardis) is a really awesome, supportive father.  KeKe was friends with him for over four years before they dated and similarly to my story, we relate in the fact that we are fortunate that although we wrongly chose to have sex outside of marriage the blessing is that it was only with our “baby daddies”…haha!  Jared S. and KeKe are planning on getting married eventually, but since they are so young they are wisely waiting until they are older instead of rushing into something.  We really respect Jared S., because as desperately as he wants to be here for the birth of his first son, he is currently off in South Carolina at boot camp for the National Guard.  This sacrifice of his first few months away from KeKe and the baby will in turn provide them a better future and educational opportunities.  Thankfully Jared S.’s dad is flying KeKe and the baby to Jared’s bootcamp graduation when the baby is just a few weeks old so that he can see them, but Jared won’t be entirely finished with his program until August.
People often assume that KeKe has no parents and that is why she was in Foster Care to begin with, but that is not the case with most children in Foster Care.  She has both a mother and father that she keeps in touch with and in their own way they care about her very much.  They are just haunted by addiction and behavior that keep them from being the kind of parents that she deserves.  She loves them very much, yet things are complicated.  I also get asked about how long she has been in Foster Care and the answer is that she has been in the system since she was four years old and has been in more foster care homes then she can count.  The things that she has been through break my heart as I wouldn’t want even my worst enemy to experience much of what she has been through.  The amazing thing is that her outlook on things is so positive and God was truly with her throughout all of that time.  
When she was young, she accepted Jesus in her heart.  Her grandfather was a huge spiritual influence on her.  He had a sordid past, yet in prison he gave his life completely over to Christ and walked away from his sinful life.  He shared the scripture and the Lord’s love with KeKe.  She also was able to attend church and Sunday school on and off throughout her years with different foster families and was baptized.  She and I often have long discussions about faith as I do my best to clumsily answer her questions.  I love her desire to learn more about the Lord and that she can see God’s hand working in her life.
KeKe has a heart wrenching story, yet God’s beauty is shining through it all as He is truly making beauty out of the ashes of her hurting past.  We can see the Lord working through her pregnancy and through the love of all of you surrounding her.
So many of you have prayed for her, encouraged her, and provided practically for her needs.  It has been overwhelming for her to receive so many blessings, yet it has shown her how many people care about her, many without even knowing her.  She rarely asks for anything even when she has a need, so when I asked her what she needed for the baby she initially said that she didn’t need anything.  I asked her to let me look through her stuff from an “old mom perspective” and decided that her needs were great so we went and registered at Babies R Us.  I also posted the needs for her apartment online and we watched how God used each of you to quickly provide for her needs and even wants.  I was as amazed as her to see my college roommate, a high school friend of mine, and so many others reach out and bless her with the things that she truly needed or dreamed of having.  Some dear friends opened their house to us for her baby shower, and it was the biggest baby shower that I have ever been to.  Friends of ours from church, MOPS, and the college group, banded together to bless her richly.  Later, she asked me why so many people that didn’t even know her were giving her gifts.
 She didn’t want to be seen as some poor, needy foster child, and didn’t want that to be the reason that people were so generous with her.  I explained that giving is just one of the ways that people can show that they love her and care about her future and “not that she wasn’t special”, but gave her examples from my own life of how people had felt the Holy Spirit’s urging and provided for me by paying for massage, bringing me meals, helping with my children, etc. and it is the love of the Lord that is in our lives that leads us to love others.  So, thank you for loving on her and on our family by providing for our girl, KeKe.  
We love having another member of our family and blessed that she fits so perfectly in our family. With her green eyes and dark hair, she looks a lot like Cadence leading my brother Scott to exclaim “What the Cadence!” when he saw her picture.  People often mistake her for my sister or other relative which is funny because she looks more like me then my actual sisters do.  She finds it difficult to see anything as permanent, so to see our family truly as a permanent family is instinctualy tough. It is nothing personal about us, it is just that she never has had that permanency and when she did get her hopes up that a family would adopt her, she was always disappointed.  Growing up she prayed for a family and now with the birth of her son, she will have a little family of her own.  However, I pray for the day when she can truly feel that she has a much larger family–that we are her forever family and that she also has a huge family in Christ.  I could tell her a million times that we will always be there for her, but for her to actually feel and trust that would be a miraculous step.  I already feel that instinctual motherly love for her that she will soon feel for her newborn, and I pray that one day she will be able to understand how we can have that kind of love for her and will grow to love us too.  We want her to feel that she belongs and that we are there for her in everything.
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