Parenting Alphabet Challenge

I have been nominated by Coralie at My Life as a Mom to take the Parenting Alphabet Challenge.

The idea is to use all 26 letters of the alphabet to describe what parenting means to you.

This post at my take on the Alphabet Challenge.

Here are the answers that I’ve written. I bet you can relate to most of them.

Top of image says: A to Z What Parenting means to me, click to read. 
Then below is a picture of a mom who is throwing her child in the air. They are both sitting under a tree.

Parenting Alphabet Challenge

A for Affection

I have three children and all 3 love to give me hugs, kisses and snuggles. Since my oldest daughter was born, I have been sharing my personal space with one to three kids.

The sweetness and love given to me are amazing. But, also the affection I feel for my kids is sometimes overwhelming. The love of a mother is amazing and has no comparison.


B for Blood

I know that nobody like to think about blood or talk about it. But, if you are a parent then you know that there will be blood— I will just leave it at that

C for Compromise

My children are the king and queens of compromise. They can compromise their way into almost anything. My husband and I try not to feel too bad about this since we believe we are raising future lawyers or hostage negotiators.

D for Doll

I have two daughters and one son. When each of my daughters was born, they looked like porcelain dolls.

They had fair skin, bright blue eyes and pink cheeks. I would regularly be stopped so that people could look at my babies.

E  for Energy

The amount of energy needed for parenting is like nothing I have experienced before. I would compare it to running a marathon— but I have never done that.

But, this is not just about the energy I need but also the energy my children have. My husband and I are trying to figure out how we can bottle our children’s energy and sell it.

All that to say, if you have kids then you know how much energy a child has.

F for Falling

I think that at least one of my children has fallen at least once a day for the past 9 years.

No….. that is not an exaggeration. I am not sure it’s normal, but for one reason or other, falling happens all the time. Every time I think that maybe we could have just one day without a fall, someone falls…. Oh well. We will try again tomorrow.

G for God

As a Christian, I try and live a life that is glorifying to God. That includes parenting. I am not the perfect parent, but I have God who is the perfect father. God gives me wisdom, patience, direction, and love– all the things I need to be the best parent I could be. I would not be able to parent without His help.

H for Help

Parenting is hard work and no one can do it alone. Everyone needs help to parent children. It is so important to make friends and be connected. It’s even more important to ask for help when you need it and accept it when it’s offered to you.

I for Isolation

As a stay-at-home mother, parenting can feel lonely and isolating. Even though I am surrounded by kids all day long, I still feel alone. The best way to bear isolation is to make some mommy friends.

J for Jokes

My children love to hear jokes and tell jokes. We will often just tell each other jokes and ask if the kids have new ones to tell. The funniest thing is listening to a 3-year-old trying to tell a joke. They try so hard and are so sincere about it that it’s hard not to laugh.

K for Kisses

I give my kids kisses all day long. I also receive kisses from them on a regular basis. There is nothing sweeter than receiving kisses from your babies. (ps, I still consider my 10-year-old my baby)

L for Laughing

One of my favourite sounds in the world is the sound of my children laughing. There is no better sound in the world. What I love about my children’s laugh is how contagious it is. When one of them starts to laugh, we all end up laughing. We have had many sweet memories of laughing together.

M for Markey

Markey is my last name. I can’t look at the letter M and think of anything else. Not only does my last name start with an M, but I have two daughters and both of their names start with the letter M. So, the letter M is very special to me.

N for NO

If I got paid for every time I said the word no, or one of my kids said it to me I would be a gazillionaire. Yes, I know it’s not a real number, but I think it makes the point. The word no is said in our house so many times, I have lost count.

It always amazed me how many different ways the word no can be said.

O for Overwhelming

As a parent, there have been many days that I have felt overwhelmed. Parenting is a hard long journey with changing stages and challenges. Every time I feel like we are on the right path we are faced with a new challenge.

P for Patience

Lord, grant me the patience I need to raise these children. I love my children…. But they have a way of driving me nuts and to the point of crazy.

Those are the moments when I have to dig down deep and use every single ounce of energy to show patience and love.

Q for Questions

The word Questions make me think about this song.  The song is one that my husband and I listened to together before we were even dating and it seems to have become a theme in our marriage and in our parenting.

As a parent, it’s important to ask questions and to get to know your kids. They won’t always what to chat, but that does not mean you give up.

R for Relaxation

Is relaxing even possible as a mother? I know it might sound crazy, but I have found ways to relax and take a break from my kids when I needed to. Each and every parent needs to take some time away and relax. It only makes you a better parent.

Other Blog Posts

S for Songs

I love to sing and often say that my life might as well be a musical. If you lived with me, you could hear me sing all the time. My kids also sing all the time. I actually almost named my 2nd daughter Robin because of how much we sing in our house. Not only do I love to sing, but I love to listen to music as well- certainly when I’m upset. I made this playlist to listen to to help change my mood.

T for Tantrums

I am very familiar with tantrums. Every single day, there is one child (and sometimes all 3) that finds things to be upset about and then has a tantrum. These are sometimes hard to handle, but I have found that the best thing to do is to be calm and not respond in anger.

U for underappreciated

As a mother, I often feel overworked and underappreciated. I do so much around the house and I barely get a thank you. But, even though they don’t appreciate me now, I know that there will be a day when they understand everything I did for them. Because I still call my mom and say Thank you and I’m sorry.

V for Victory

Every day there are small victories. It is so easy to look at all the bad things that happen every day, but there are also victories. These can be small: like my child getting an A on a math test. Or, it can be big– like not backing down after giving consequences for bad behaviour. Either way, there are victories every day and it’s good to take note of them.

W for War

Some advice that people like to give is to pick your battles. Well, for me, it was more like having to choose what war I was willing to fight.

I have very independent and strong-willed children. So, most days I feel like I am preparing for war.

X for (E)Xtreme

Okay, so I couldn’t come up with a word that actually begins with X so this will have to do. There is nothing in our house that is experienced normally. Every emotion is taken to the extreme. This might sound bad, but it’s not just for the angry and frustrated emotions but also for the happy and exciting ones. It seems like everything is at the extreme.

Y for Yuck

Kids are messy! They poop, throw up, have runny noses and so much more. There have been many times when all I can think of is: YUCK!!

Z for ZZZzzzzz

ZZZzzzz for sleep (or should I say lack of sleep). When babies are born, they sleep for about 20 hours a day.. But just because they sleep that long does not mean that moms get that much sleep. As a mom, I am either sleeping or fighting kids to go to sleep on a regular basis.  I now regret every nap I never took.

I hope that you have enjoyed my A-Z on parenting. Some were negative because parenting is not a walk in the park. But, there is so much I do love about being a mother. And, no matter how hard it is, or how tired I am I love being a mother and would do it all over again.

Need More

Parenting is hard and we all need help sometimes. Click here to get free parenting resources.

Please share this post with family and friends. Thank you

Nominations:

Part of this Challenge is to now nominate people to make their own list.

If you want to be part of this challenge, then please say so in the comments below and I will contact you about how to make this list for yourself.


How to make the most out of time with Kids

My oldest daughter turning 10 this year and I am freaking out a bit. So, I want to make sure that I make the most out of the time I have with my kids. In this post, I will share 10 ways you can make the most out of your time with kids.

Picture of a girl who is lying down and  has blonde curly hair. She has a smile on her face and has her hands on the face with her elbows on the ground. Above her picture are the words: how to make the most out of the time you have with kids.

It seems impossible that she is 10. The time since her birth has flown by and every day I realize that we don’t have that much time with her.

We only have 8 more years before she is an adult.

That is not that much time!

The Solution

10 years may seem like a long time, but realistically they will fly by and before I know it we will be celebrating her 18th birthday and she will be going out into the world.

The idea makes me miss her already and makes me mourn the time I wasted and have not taken advantage of.

So, the only solution is to make the most out of the time we have left with her.

But making the most of the time can be hard, that is why I made a list of the things you can do to make the most of the time you have.

I have also created a free resource that will help you plan out your time.

10 Ways to Make the most out of the Time with Kids

1. Plan Ahead

I am not the biggest planner, but I find that blocking off certain days for activities in my week helps me be more productive and able to spend quality time with kids.

How I plan my week/month

To plan out my week and month I make a list of all the recurring things I want to do.

My list looks like this:

  • Date night/ 1 night a week
  • Husbands night out/ 1 night a week
  • Children program/ 1 night a week
  • Mother-daughter date with Meredith/ once a month
  • Mother-daughter date with Madeleine/ once a month
  • Daddy daughter date with Meredith/ once a month
  • Daddy daughter date with Madeleine/ once a month
  • Daddy son date with Seth/ once a month
  • Mother-son date with Seth/ once a month
  • Family fun night/ once a week

Putting it all together

Once I have my list, I then fill out my calendar.

So for us, our month may look something like this.

2. Put your Family First

When my husband and I make our calendars, we put our family first. That means that we will in our family time first and then if there are slots left then we add to what we want to do.

3. Make time with kids

When something is important to you, then time is not a factor.

Each of us has so much time, but we always think that we don’t have enough time.

The truth is that we have all the time we want for the things we like.

I never seem to lack time to blog, write or spend time with friends, but always use lack of time as an excuse to spend quality time with my kids or clean my house.

To make time with kids, I have to make that a priority and maybe say no to something else.

4. Don’t overcomplicate things

Quality time with your husband or time with kids does not need to be elaborate or complicated.

When I was younger, my dad would go grocery shopping every Saturday morning. One morning he invited me to come with him. We both enjoyed it so much that it became our ritual. Every Saturday morning I would go grocery shopping with my dad.

It was a great time together and I will never forget it.

So, it’s not so much what you do with each other, but that you spend time together and your child feels loved and paid attention to.

But time with your child can also be more planned out and special. These times may take a bit more planning but are always worth it.

There are so many things you can do with your kids.

Things to consider when planning a date with your child

  • What does your child enjoy?
  • How much energy do YOU have?
  • What will the weather be like?
  • How much money will you spend?
  • Do you have transportation
  • How will nap-time affect the activity?

5. Be Flexible

When planning time with Kids, it’s important to be flexible.

Life has a way of throwing curveballs and unexpected things. When that happened, then it’s important to be flexible.

When my children were younger- I would make plans to go to the park or something else. But then my child would be sick or need a nap when I had planned to go out. In those moments, we need to learn to take our cues from our children and have flexibility.

It’s OK to change your plans or even drop a date night. The most important factor is that you don’t make skipping quality time a habit.

6. Talk to your child

When spending time with kids, it’s important to take the time to talk to your child. This is a necessary step in getting to know your child.

When you talk to your child, you learn all sorts of things. This such as their likes, their dislikes, and what they enjoy doing.

You can also learn what type of time they want to spend with you and whether or not they feel like they are spending enough time with you or need more.

All 3 of my kids love spending time with me. But, my eldest likes to sit and chat, while my younger 2 just want uninterrupted mom snuggles.

When you know what they love to do, it’s easier to plan quality time with them.

7. Plan with your child

My oldest daughter loves to bake, draw and sow. I try to do one of those things with her once a week.

But before we do, we will sit down together and look for ideas to inspire us.

Even the planning time is quality time. It shows your child that you love them and that you are excited about the things they want to learn and do with you.

We love to bake together so I made a private Pinterest board with all the things we want to make together. Then, when shopping day comes around, we have lots of recipes to choose from and we don’t waste time looking for recipes when it’s time for us to start baking.

8. Don’t push your child too far

If you are doing something with your child and you notice that they are not enjoying it, stop doing it! It’s that simple.

Don’t feel bad either if it’s something you thought they would love – kids are unpredictable!

They may love something one day and be indifferent to it the next.

When you know your child, it will be easy for you to know when they feel angry or worried about an activity.

When that happens, you can make the call as to how long you want your child to try and learn something and when it’s time to stop and try again another time.

9. Try again

There have been many times as a mother that I have tried to do something with my children and it was a complete fail.

The activity either stressed me out as a mom or was too much for my kids.

But, the negative experience does not mean that we should never do that again.

It just means that maybe it’s something you don’t do for a while and try again when the kids are older or you are more rested.

For example: when my oldest daughter was younger, I took out the play dough. I was so excited for her to play with it, but it was a complete mess.

The stuff got stuck in the carpet, on her foot and all over the house.

It got too much for me.

It took me a few years, but eventually,I brought out playdough again.

The next time I tried, the kids were older and I was more rested so it went so much better.

It’s OK when things go badly. You know your limits and it’s important to listen to them. But, don’t let one negative experience keep you from trying again.

10. Take the time

I hope that by reading this post you have come to understand that what you do with your child does not matter as much as just spending time with your child.

Your children just want to spend time with you. They are going to love anything you do with them because it’s with you.

Free Resources

To help you make the most of your time with your child, I have made this free planning guide. Click here to get your free parenting resources.

Check it out and let it help you make the most of the time you have left.

How do you make the most out of the time you have with your kids?

Make sure to comment below. I would love to know what you have to say.

2 young girls hugging each other. Both girls are smiling and they are standing in a forested area in fall time. On top of the picture are the words: 10 ways to make the most our of time with kids. www.onedeterminedlife.com
3 girls standing shoulder to shoulder. They are all looking straight at the camera and smiling. Above the picture are the words: 10 ways to make the most out of time with kids. Below the picture are the words: www.onedeterminedlife.com

How to teach your Kids to Love God

My biggest wish for all 3 of my kids is that they know and love God. My deepest desire is for them to have a relationship with Him. Therefore, I regularly ask myself, how do to teach your kids to love God?

In this post, I will share with you 5 things you can do to teach your kids to Love God.

A mother sitting next to her son reading a book to him. The words: 5 ways to teach your kids to love God- are on top on the picture. At the bottom of the picture are the words: www.onedeterminedlife.com

My Relationship with God

I love God because I know Him. I know who He is and understands what He has done for me. Our kids will learn to love God the same way.

Since I don’t want to get this wrong, I spend a lot of time praying about how I can teach my kids the love of God. Thankfully, the Bible has plenty of wisdom to guide our parenting. Through studying the Bible and prayer, I’ve come up with 5 ways to teach your kids the love of God.

One caveat before we dive in; you can do all these things and be a great parent but your children may still choose to not love God. You cannot force your children to love God, but you can make it easier for them to know Him.

5. Ways to Teach Your Kids to Love God

1. Read the Bible to them.

The best way to learn about God is to read His word—the story of His love for us. The bible is full of wisdom given directly from God. In today’s world, we get lots of advice. But, the best place to turn to is God’s word.

“But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

(2 Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV)

If we continually turn to God’s word with our kids, it will teach them how they too can use God’s word in their lives.

There are many other ways to teach your kids to love God. I have partnered up with Kira who blogs at Joy Pursued and you can  read the rest  here 

teach your kids to love God, teach your kids about God, how to teach your kids about God

Free Resources

Do you have a hard time putting time aside to spend time with God? If so, fill in the form below and get access to free parenting resources.

6 Types of Books Children should read

My children love to read. But with all the options out there, it’s hard to know what types of books we should let our kids read. In this post, I will share 6 types of books children should read.

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One of the main reasons my children love to read so much is because we have hundreds of books in our house.

Making books available is the main cause that helps foster the love of reading in my children.

BUT, it’s not just about having any book available. Parents should have the right books available.

Because if children only have access to books they don’t like or can’t read then chances are they might develop an aversion to reading.

6 types of Books children should read

 

1. Books at their reading level:

When choosing a book for your child to read it is critical that it is at their reading level. If a child picks a book below their reading level, they might get bored with reading. On the other hand, if they pick a book that is too difficult, they might get discouraged and uninterested.

If you are not sure what level your child is reading, consider asking their teacher to access them. The assessment will help guide you in choosing books at the right level.

**This post contains affiliate links, please see Disclosure Policy**

2. Books on topics they find interesting

If your child loves spiders then get books about Spiders (Beginners)

“spiders, even if it is weird for you. Not only will your child show great joy in reading, but they will feel supported in their reading journey. This is even more important when you have a boy. Boys have a harder time reading so choosing books on topics that they are interested in will help them read more.

3. Different genres:

I am guilty of finding one genre and sticking to it. I am not the biggest fan of change. But, occasionally, I will pick out a book in a different genre.

I thought I was not a fan of fantasy but one day a friend suggested I read Eragon. I was not sure I would like it and I was bored with everything else I was reading so thought I would give it a try.

Once I picked up the book and read it, I loved it! I needed up reading the whole series.

By reading different genres, children (and adults) can discover new topics of interest and new authors.

4. Books that show daily life

There are so many books out there that depict children in real-life scenarios. These characters are dealing with the same stuff as your kids might be dealing with.

In today’s world, kids have to deal with a myriad of different issues. They might not believe you when you say you understand. But by reading books that show characters dealing with similar issues, children will feel understood.

Children will also feel like they are not alone. They may also get some ideas about how to handle certain situations.

5. Books that teach you something new

One of my favourite books that my kids bring home from the library are ones that not only teach my kids something new but where I learn something as well.

These books are usually encyclopedias or nature books. They usually have great graphics and lots of great information.

I love reading and saying: Wow, I never knew that. Each time I do, my daughter’s eyes grow bigger as if she thought adults knew everything.

Showing my kids that learning is a lifelong journey and knowledge can come from many different sources.

 6. A different format

Boys, typically, have a harder time reading than girls. To engage them in reading, consider a different format. I love reading fantasy books and historical function books.

My husband likes political books and books about business. My children love comic books and magazines. Some children will never like reading novels, but that does not mean that they don’t like to read.

If you are having a hard time getting your child to read a book, consider looking at other types of reading materials.

The best places to start when exploring different formats include Comics, magazines, e-books, graphic novels, Lego instructions and so on.

The possibilities are endless. Observe what your child enjoys doing and find an opportunity for them to read something related.

There are so many books to choose some. So many that you may not know where to start. If after reading this you are still not sure where to start then ask your child’s teacher or spend some time at the library.

Teachers and librarians know exactly what sorts of books different children like and can help you narrow your search.

Need More?

Do you need help with parenting? If so, click here and get free parenting resources that will make your life easier.

In the comments below, share the types of books your child loves. Please share this post with family and friends. Thank you.

Positive Ways to React When Your Child Misbehaves

As a mommy to a one-year-old, I know that my child misbehaves.

I sometimes wonder if it’s way too soon to introduce the concept of discipline.

Today, I will share with you 5 positive ways to react when your child misbehaves.

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Could there really be a way to introduce him to the idea of ‘yes and no’ or ‘right and wrong’ at such a young age? Needless to say, I was determined to find a way to gently nudge him in the right direction.

Research shows that how we react to our children’s behaviour has a profound effect on how they behave in the future.

Reacting too strongly (or not strongly enough) to misbehaviour can lead to repeated issues which can last indefinitely.

I mean, think about it. they look up to us, not only to tell them how to but also to teach them by modelling the desired behaviour.

If you’ve been wondering whether or not to introduce the concept of discipline to your little ones, consider the following advice to correct your child’s behaviour, but remain a positive influence at the same time.

This week, I am honoured to have a guest blog written by Kermilia.  She’s the mama behind The Millennial Stay-At-Home Mom blog. Read the bio at the end of the post to find out more about her. Connect with her on her blogtwitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

5 Things to do when your child misbehaves

1. Keep Your Cool

I know we all have had days where we’ve had it ‘up to here’ with our kids. However, the most important thing to keep in mind when your child misbehaves is to remain calm.

Losing your cool while trying to improve your child’s behaviour doesn’t set a positive example of how to act in stressful situations.

In fact, it does the exact opposite.

Children are extremely observant and the last thing you would want is for your child to become anxious or timid around you due to fear that you’ll lose your cool.

Instead, if you’re feeling upset or overwhelmed with your child, try talking it out with them. I’m a huge advocate for verbally communicating with young children.

Baby talk is cute and all but by communicating with them in a normal tone of voice works wonders for their rapidly developing language and speech skills.

2. Don’t Highlight Misbehaviour

Children often act out because they are looking for attention, whether it’s positive or not. If yelling or throwing a tantrum proves to be a good way to get your attention, they will undoubtedly keep doing it whenever they see fit.

Of course, you can’t ignore misbehaviour completely – you need to make sure your child stays safe. But, try to avoid showing extra attention to them because of negative actions.

For example, if your child throws a tantrum because he wants a toy at the store, try telling him that you won’t talk about it until he calms down. If he continues to cry, browse the store as usual and remind him that you won’t talk about it until he calms down.

As tempting as it may be to yell or ‘nip it in the bud’ to avoid a crying spell in the store, I’ve found that my son calms down much quicker when I ignore his misbehaviour and suggest an alternative instead

3. Take Special Notice of Good Behavior

It’s been found that children react very positively to encouragement, affirmation, and approval. Not only that – praise also makes your child feel more capable, which is good for self-esteem.

Therefore, when a child misbehaves, you want to make sure that you are intentional about giving praise to your children for good habits and behaviour.

If your child gets no encouragement or attention from positive actions, they may turn to misbehaviour in order to feel noticed.

4. Stay Firm

Usually, when parents clearly and firmly demand that their child do something, it’s safe to say that the child generally knows that there aren’t any other options.

However, this isn’t always the case.

Nevertheless, it’s important to use a calm tone of voice when speaking with your child but remember to remind them that you mean what you say.

Of course, being firm doesn’t mean yelling or being mean to your children.

It just means not to give in to them so easily.

5. Learn to Accept Mistakes

Children make mistakes in how they behave, just like adults sometimes do. It’s important to remember that kids aren’t tiny grown-ups and they lack much of the knowledge and experience that many adults have picked up over the years.

Misbehaviour may not be desirable, but it is a perfectly normal part of being a kid.

By modelling desired behaviour for your child, rather than simply scolding them for bad behaviour, you help to make sure they understand what they can do to behave better from that point forward.

Need More?

As parents, it’s our job to teach our children how to navigate the world around them. For free parenting resources, click here.

Reacting negatively to misbehaviour can affect your kids during their childhood and later when they become parents themselves.

However, if you apply the above tips, and remain patient and positive, you can be sure that your kids will develop positive habits too.

In the comments below, share how you react when your kids misbehave. Please share this post with family and friends.

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9 reasons why parenting is hard

I don’t think I am the only parent to admit this, but I am going to say it: parenting is hard. Before I had kids, people around me would express how hard it was but I just did not understand until I was in the middle of it. Today, I want to share with you 9 reasons why parenting is hard.

Parenting is hard-- if you don't believe me, then click to read this post. #parenting, #truelives, #trueparenting, #parentingtips

So, if you just don’t understand, then this post is not for you. If you are a parent, then you can probably relate. If you don’t have kids but want to know about what parents go through, then this post may also be for you.

9 reasons why parenting is hard

1. The hours

The hardest thing I had to get used to when I first became a parent was the hours. Before children, I loved babysitting and taking care of other people’s kids. But it was when I had my own that the reality set in that I understood how much time parenting takes.

In the first year of a child’s life, they are completely dependent on you 24 hours a day. It was the continual need and the never-ending demands that drained me in the first year of having a child. I was not expecting to have my time so eaten up and to have a child need me for every moment of every day with no days off.

I slowly came to understand that parenting is a 24-hour job with no breaks and no vacation. Even when your kids are asleep or in school or you’re away for a date, you still worry about the kids. Your brain is always on parent mode.

2. The crying

I hate crying. I despise it. I do everything in my power to stop my kids from crying. With kids, it seems like there is always one child crying at all times. Sometimes, it seems like they have made a pact to take turns and slowly torture you with the consistent noise of screaming.

Other times, they just all cry at once. I have 3 kids, and there have only been a few times when all the kids are screaming at the same time. Those are the days I am tempted to just give up and walk out.

3. The attitude

My eldest daughter is 10, my second daughter is 7, and my son is 3. I have noticed that with both of them, there was a shift from baby-crying mode to attitude mode.

This shift comes at around 3 or 4 and then strengthens at around age 6. They want things their own way and are willing to fight for it. It’s also when they start talking back and sometimes yelling at you. My eldest daughter was 3 when she first yelled to me and said that she hated me.

It’s hard to not take these outbursts personally and to not let them affect your actions and thoughts.

It’s also draining to try and go a few rounds with strong-willed and persistent children.

4. The loneliness

Before I stayed home with my child, I thought the idea of a stay-at-home mother sounded wonderful. It was not until I had been home for a while that the loneliness set in.

I was the first one out of my group of friends who had a child. My older sister had a child 9 months before me and was still on maternity leave, but not for that much longer.

I went to bible study once a week and that was about it. I spent the rest of my days taking care of my child all by myself waiting for my husband to get home. Sometimes, out of desperation, I would walk the mall of the store, but even that became a headache and more work than I was willing to put in.

It was not until my child was one that I figured out I could be a bit more liniment with her routine and get some adult time in during my day.

When the kids are young, you’re never alone, but you feel so lonely. The child does not talk and takes up so much of your time. Boredom soon sets in.

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5. The expectations

In today’s society, we have a way of covering things up or putting a shiny face on things. As mothers, we hardly ever admit that we feel inadequate to do the job or that we need help.

We keep our silence because as women we are to be strong and loving every minute of the stage we are in. People all around us tell us what we should be feeling like and that they miss this stage and tell us how fortunate we are and how fast it all goes.

The truth is, these ideas may be the reality for women past the stage we are in, but as we sit alone at home with a crying child it’s hard to enjoy it or have the perspective that one day we might miss this. There were so many days I hated every minute of the day. I wished them away.

Then, when people would say: this too shall pass– I would feel guilty for not experiencing “the joy of motherhood”. I had to learn to reconcile my reality and my expectations. When I did, I was able to enjoy the journey more.

6. The never-ending mess

If you have kids you understand that they come with mess. Whether it’s sticky fingers, dirty laundry or the pile of toys on the floor, there is always a mess. I don’t mind cleaning up once, but what drives me nuts is when I clean a room and 10 min later it’s in the same state as it was in before I started.

Some days, I don’t even put toys away, knowing full well that the same toys are going to end up on the floor yet again. The work around a house is never-ending. When one task is done there is always something else that can be cleaned or organized.

7. The balance

I have no problems understanding women who say that they lost themselves when they had kids. Children demand so many pieces of ourselves. Pieces that we may not have known we had until they were taken from us.

When having kids it’s hard to find time for yourself to make sure you don’t lose that part of yourself you want to protect. Balancing alone time, family time, activity time, work, date night etc is hard.

There are so many pieces to fit together and finding a balance that works for you and your spouse and children is almost impossible. Finding that balance is one thing, but keeping it up is another. It takes planning and forethought and compromise.

8. The emotional drain

At the end of each day, there hits a point where I am done. There seems to be nothing left in the tank. All of the items listed above take a toll on our emotions.

Sometimes the thought of starting again the next day makes me want to cry. My children drain my emotions empty and hardly ever fill it back up. Keeping myself emotionally stable is hard.

9. The responsibility

As a parent, it’s our job to turn out decent human beings. We are responsible to teach them manners, and a worldview. We are responsible to teach them everything from how to eat properly to appropriate ways to respond to stress.

I don’t know about you, but the weight of responsibility weighs on me. Also, teaching children how to do things takes so much energy and time and can be very draining.

I love being a mother of 3. It’s the best thing that I do every day, but it can be hard. I know many parents who struggle with parenting and everything that goes with it.

You are not alone!!!! We all struggle and fumble our way through parenting.

Do you agree with my list? In the comments below, share with me the part of parenting that is the hardest for you. Please share this post with others. Thank you.

5 Activities to Do with Kids at Easter

Easter has always had a special place in our family’s calendar. It’s the perfect time to brainstorm our most creative ideas on how to make every moment count. Click to read: 5 activities to do with kids at Easter.

Easter has always had a special place in our family’s calendar. It’s the perfect time to brainstorm our most creative ideas on how to make every moment count.  In this post, I will share 5 activities to do with kids at Easter.

Spring activities end up being a mixture of indoor and outdoor family fun activities.

Kids at Easter look for any opportunity to munch on chocolate, engage in loud storytelling, and take part in the local egg hunt tournament.

This is the first time I have had a guest blogger write for me. I hope you enjoy this list of 5 activities you can do with your kids this Easter. Thank you, Zarah Lewis!!

My kids love Easter because we’ve always put so much effort into making these several days special and because they always have a say in our family festivities.

Thanks to our firmly rooted customs and traditions, we have grown even closer as a family. We use every Easter to discover new ways to bond. Here’s my list of our absolute favourite Easter activities that will bring your family together for this wonderful holiday!

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5 activities to do with Kids at Easter

1. Annual Easter plays

One of my favourite activities to do with kids at easter is to put on plays.

While not all kids enjoy being in the spotlight, creating a home theatre can encourage even the most introverted kids to come out of their shy shells and enjoy the wonders of role-playing.

Older kids like to take over the reins, so make sure that everyone is happy with their participation and encourage your kids to support each other and share their duties.

Parents usually take the back seat, and your support can mean the world to them. Helping children feel included and they will soon start putting out their own suggestions and planning the next Easter play before this one is even over!

2. Easter arts and crafts

Kids at Easter are always looking for an opportunity to take out the craft supplies. No kid will miss out on a chance to colour, draw, and make a mess!

My kids have shown their artistic tendencies across the wallpapers on their bedroom walls. Ever since our first family Easter, we all take part in decorating the Easter eggs.

It was my children’s idea to decorate the Easter eggs with colourful permanent markers. We have now been using them for several years and they are still the absolute number one tool for designing Easter eggs. In fact, the eggs turn out to be so pretty that the kids have a hard time deciding which ones to eat first.

3. Cooking adventures

Easter meals and treats are something kids at Easter do not want to miss. Making sweets or meal together somehow bring more pleasure than any other holiday in our home.

Ever since the first Easter we celebrated as a family we have spent time in the kitchen. We spend all day cooking our favourite dishes and decorating the dining room table. This has become one of our favourite traditions. Working together helps my kids learn how to work as a team, and makes them feel truly appreciated when they get to contribute.

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4. Egg hunts

The easiest activity to organize for kids at easter is an egg hunt. They can be simple and done in your backyard, or they can be large events.

Every year, our town organizes a wonderful egg hunt with bake sales, lemonade stands and spending time with the Easter bunny.

Our kids always bring their own bunny ears, and we like to help them with their face paints to completely transform them into true Easter bunnies.

There are music performances, bunny races, and organized plays to keep your kids occupied. It’s a great day to spend a few hours in the sun, playing with bunnies and other animals and looking for those delicious treat-filled eggs!

5. Easter picnic

Kids at Easter are always looking for fun things to do outside. One of their favourite things to do is to plan a picnic.

You can fill your baskets with fruits, sandwiches, and freshly-squeezed orange juice. Then you can bring a large blanket or two and go to the nearest park or forest to spend time in nature. If it’s not nice outside you can have a picnic in your living room.

You can also enjoy other outdoor activities, such as playing volleyball, fly kites, reading stories to each other or just enjoying the warmth of the sun, and you will have amazing family time away from all the chores and worries.

Easter is the perfect time to learn about history, so you can also turn your picnics into educational sessions where you can teach your kids how this cherished holiday came to be and the various Easter traditions across the world.

Kids are curious by nature, so they will likely ask many questions to which you don’t have the answers, so you discover the answers together as a family.

Whichever activity you choose, you can’t go wrong because your kids will be eager to spend time with you. Doing these activities together will help develop their creativity and curiosity. At the same time, your family bond will certainly grow stronger. And of course, prepare for countless moments of absolute bliss that will become some of your favourite memories and inspire years of Easter holiday fun!

In the comments below, share your favourite activity to do with Kids at Easter. Please share this post with others. Thank you.

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A close up picture of a white wood woven basket with blue eggs inside.  On top of  the picture are the words: 5 activities to do with kids at easter. Below the picture are the words: onedterminedlife.com

1 simple trick to help children count their blessings

As a mother living in North America, I know we are blessed and have so much to be thankful for. 

But my 3 kids don’t seem to understand the privilege they experience and complain about everything. 

A few years ago, the complaining was non-stop about everything and I knew something had to change. 

We started immediately and implemented a few things that helped our children count their blessings.

The art of complaining

My children regularly complain about their food. To help them see how much food we have and waste, I wanted them to see how others aren’t as fortunate. 

The kids were too young to volunteer at a homeless shelter, so we turned to YouTube and showed our children videos of people experiencing famine. 

The images were raw, but they got the point across. The kids could see how so many people don’t have enough food for one meal a day-  let alone 3 meals a day and countless snacks. 

This image has a title and a grid with 3 images. The title is, 1 simple trick to help children count their blessings. Each of the 3 pictures are of happy kids playing together.

1 simple trick to help children count their blessings

When our kids exhibit behaviour we need to address, the first thing we do is pray about it. 

Then, we turn to the Focus on the Family and their Kids of Integrity family devotion series. 

This time, I printed the lesson on gratitude and went through it with the kids. 

I read the stories, looked through the scriptures and asked the guided questions. 

This resource was easy to use and applicable to the different ages of my kids. 

I find fighting behaviour with scripture is a great way to give the kids a Biblical view of how The Lord wants us to act. 

Ending the day with grateful hearts

Nighttime always brings out anxiety in my kids. They focus on things they can’t control which leads to more anxiety and fear. 

To help them, I encourage my children to focus on things they can be thankful for. 

Their response is they have nothing to be thankful for. 

I then encourage them to thank God for their hair, then their sight and so on. 

Then I tell them that if they are still feeling anxious, they can start thanking The Lord for every toy and piece of clothing they own. 

This exercise helps them see how many things they have to be thankful for, and it helps their minds shift from being anxious to being thankful. 

These moments have helped my children count their blessings.

Verses about Thanksgiving

  • 2 Corinthians 4: 13-15 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.
  • 1 Chronicles 16: 8-10 Oh, give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples! 9 Sing to Him, sing psalms to Him; Talk of all His wondrous works! 10 Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the Lord!
  • Philippians 4: 4-6 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

6 simple strategies to encourage children to pray

As parents, we long to see our children grow in their faith and develop a vibrant prayer life. Teaching them to pray and encouraging them to engage in meaningful conversations with God is an invaluable gift we can give them. Continue reading as I share 6 simple strategies to encourage children to pray.

From leading by example to creating a nurturing environment, we will discover practical tips and insights that will empower you to guide your children in their prayer journey.

6 simple strategies to encourage children to pray

1. Taking Turns Leading Prayers:

 Give each family member a chance to lead prayers. This can be a special responsibility that rotates among family members.

It allows everyone to take an active role in prayer and share their own words with God.

Even young children can lead simple prayers, and it helps them feel included and valued.

2. Sharing Personal Prayer Requests

Encourage family members to share their personal prayer requests.

This can be done before or during prayer time. It’s an opportunity to open up and let others know what’s on our hearts.

By sharing our joys, concerns, and challenges, we create a supportive environment where we can pray for one another and offer comfort and encouragement.

A picture of 2 children kneeling at the side of their bed praying. Above the picture are the words, 6 simple strategies to encourage children to pray.

3. Expressing Gratitude

Make expressing gratitude a part of your prayer time. Encourage each family member to share something they are thankful for.

It could be a person, an experience, or a blessing in their lives.

This helps foster a spirit of gratitude and reminds us of God’s goodness. It also encourages us to look for the positive things happening around us.

4. Make it Interactive

Prayer doesn’t have to be only spoken words. Encourage creativity and variety by incorporating different elements into your prayer time.

You can sing worship songs together, create artwork or write prayers in a journal, or even engage in silent moments of reflection.

Provide different ways for your children to express themselves allows each family member to find their unique way of connecting with God.

5. Use Prayer Prompts: 

Sometimes, it can be helpful to provide prayer prompts or topics to guide prayer time.

This can be especially useful for children or those who may find it challenging to articulate their thoughts.

Prayer prompts can include things like praying for specific people, asking for God’s guidance in a particular area, or focusing on a theme such as forgiveness or love.

10 simple prayer prompts for kids

  1. Thank you, God, for…
  2. Please help me with…
  3. Dear God, please bless…
  4. I’m sorry for…
  5. God, please protect…
  6. Help me to be kind to…
  7. Thank you, God, for my family and friends because…
  8. Dear God, please give me strength to…
  9. Thank you for this beautiful day, God. Help me to enjoy it by…
  10. God, please be with those who are sad or hurting today. Comfort them and give them peace.

Remember, prayer prompts can be personalized and tailored to fit your child’s age, interests, and current circumstances. Encourage them to express their thoughts, feelings, and needs in their own words as they engage in conversation with God.

6. Be Patient and Supportive

Remember, everyone’s prayer journey is unique. Some family members may be more vocal and comfortable expressing themselves, while others may be quieter or hesitant.

Be patient and supportive, creating a safe space where everyone feels respected and valued. Encourage and affirm each person’s contributions, no matter how big or small.

Conclusion

By implementing these strategies, you create an environment where everyone feels encouraged to participate in prayer. 

It becomes a time of unity, support, and growing closer to God as a family. 

Remember, prayer is a personal and intimate connection with God, and each person’s participation adds beauty and depth to the experience.

In the comments below share your favourite strategies to encourage children to pray.

7 Age-Appropriate Ways to Explain Prayer to Children

Teaching children about prayer is a beautiful opportunity to introduce them to the concept of talking to God, seeking guidance, expressing gratitude, and finding comfort in Him. Here are 7 age-appropriate ways to explain prayer to children. 

7 Age-Appropriate Ways to Explain Prayer to Children

1. Talking to God

Help your children understand that prayer is like having a conversation with God, just like talking to a dear friend or a loving parent.

Encourage them to share their thoughts, feelings, and concerns with Him, knowing that God listens and cares about every detail of their lives.

2. Seeking Guidance

Explain to your children that prayer is a way to seek God’s guidance and wisdom.

Teach them that they can ask God for help when facing difficult decisions or when they need guidance on how to handle specific situations. Encourage them to pray for clarity and direction.

A picture of a young boy with his head down and his hands claspt together in prayer. Above the image are the words 7 age-appropriate ways to explain prayer to children

3. Expressing Gratitude

Teach your children to express gratitude through prayer.

Help them recognize the blessings in their lives and encourage them to thank God for His love, provision, and the people and things they appreciate. Encourage them to cultivate a heart of gratitude through prayer.

4. Finding Comfort

Explain to your children that prayer is a source of comfort and reassurance.

Let them know that when they feel sad, scared, or worried, they can turn to God in prayer and find peace in His presence. Assure them that God is always there to listen, comfort, and provide strength.

5. Simple Prayers: 

Encourage your children to pray using simple and age-appropriate language.

Teach them that prayers can be as simple as saying, “Thank you, God,” or “Help me, God,” or “I love you, God.”

Emphasize that God values their sincere and heartfelt prayers, no matter how simple or short.

6. Pray Together

Create opportunities for your family to pray together. Praying as a family helps children see the importance of prayer in their daily lives.

You can have designated prayer times, such as before meals or bedtime, or incorporate prayer into your daily routines.

Encourage your children to take turns leading prayers, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings to God.

A picture of 2 children with their eyes shut and their hands together. They are both praying. Next to the pictre are the following words,  Encourage your children to take turns leading prayers, allowing them to express their thoughts and feelings to God.

7. Model Prayer

Be a role model by praying in front of your children.

Let them observe your own conversations with God, witnessing how you seek His guidance, express gratitude, and find comfort.

When children see prayer as a natural part of their parents’ lives, it becomes more accessible and meaningful to them.

Conclusion

Remember, explaining the significance of prayer to children takes time and patience. 

Each child may understand and embrace prayer differently, so adapt your explanations to their age and developmental level. 

Through your loving guidance and nurturing, you can help your children cultivate a lifelong relationship with God through prayer, enabling them to experience His love, guidance, and comfort in their lives.

In the comments below, share your favourite way to explain prayer to children. 

7 simple steps to Create a Habit of Family Prayer

One of the most powerful ways to foster this connection with God is through the practice of family prayer. In this post, I will share with you 7 simple steps to create a habit of family prayer in your home. From setting a dedicated time and space to involving every family member, we will explore the essential elements needed to create a meaningful and consistent prayer routine.

7 simple steps to create a habit of family prayer

1. Choose a Consistent Time

Select a time that works best for your family, whether it’s in the morning, during mealtime, or before bedtime.

Consistency is key in forming a habit, so aim for a time when everyone can gather together without distractions.

In our family, we pray together after dinner. Then, we also pray with our children before bed.

2. Find a Quiet Space

Designate a quiet and peaceful spot in your home where you can gather as a family for prayer. It could be a corner in the living room, a cozy nook, or even a space outdoors where you can connect with God’s creation.

For our family, we pray together at the dinner table. It’s not comfortable, but it’s in the same spot every day. It’s also a great way to not lose any children in the transition from dinner to prayer time.

A picture of a group of people holding hands in a circle. In the middle of the circle is an open Bible. Above the picture are the words, 7 simple stpes to create a habit of family prayer. www.onedeterminedlife.com

3. Set Realistic Goals

Start small and set achievable goals for your prayer time.

Begin with a few minutes of focused prayer, gradually increasing the duration as your family becomes more comfortable with the routine.

Some Goals can include:
  • Praying together once a day
  • Praying for a specific amount of time- I would start with a short time and build up
  • Having multiple people pray each time
  • Praying for other people
  • Making sure to add thanksgiving in your prayer time

4. Engage Everyone

Encourage each family member to participate in prayer. Share personal prayer requests, express gratitude, and pray for one another.

Engaging children by asking them to share their own prayers can foster their spiritual growth and deepen their connection with God.

5. Utilize Prayer Resources

Explore prayer resources such as prayer journals, devotionals, or guided prayer apps that can provide structure and inspiration for your family’s prayer time.

These tools can help guide your conversations with God and make the experience more meaningful.

In our family, we don’t use any resources. We just pray for the things on our minds and for people who we feel we want to pray for.

A picture of a couple hands folded in prayer over a Bible. Next to the image are these words, Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays." 
- Soren Kierkegaard

6. Be Flexible

Understand that life can get busy, and schedules may change.

Be flexible in adapting your prayer routine to fit the demands of each season.

Remember, what matters most is the genuine intention to connect with God as a family.

In our family, not every night works to pray together. Sometimes I have to work, or we don’t have a lot of time between dinner and the next activity. We want to pray as often as we can, but we are also mindful that we don’t want it to become forced or something we just do.

7. Make it Interactive

Incorporate different prayer practices to keep your family engaged. It could be singing worship songs, reading scripture together, or even incorporating creative activities like drawing or writing prayers.

One thing we do is ask our children what they want to pray for and then encourage them to pray. If they don’t want to share, that’s ok- but this way they feel included in the prayer time.

Conclusion

By setting aside dedicated time for prayer and establishing a routine that works for your family’s schedule, you create space for God to work in your lives.

As you start praying as a family, remember that it is not just a task to be checked off but a beautiful opportunity to commune with God as a family, share your joys and concerns, and seek His guidance together.

May your commitment to family prayer bring unity, peace, and blessings that overflow into every aspect of your lives.

Embrace this practice, and watch as your family grows closer to God, experiences His presence, and witnesses the transformative power of prayer.

In the comments below, share your best tips to create a habit of family prayer.

30 powerful Bible verses about building a Christian home

As parents, we strive to create a loving, nurturing, and God-centered environment for our families. Building a Christian home is not just about the physical structure but also about establishing a strong foundation of faith, love, and biblical values. In this post, I share with you 30 powerful Bible verses about building a Christian home.

These verses cover a wide range of topics, including love, obedience, wisdom, unity, and the importance of passing down faith to the next generation.

Feel free to explore these verses and discover how they can inspire and guide us in creating a home that reflects the heart of God.

30 powerful Bible verses about building a Christian home

1. Joshua 24:15 – But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

2. Proverbs 24:3-4 – By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding, it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

3. Psalm 127:1 – Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

4. Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

5. Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

6. Colossians 3:18-20 – Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

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7. Psalm 128:1 – Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.

8. Proverbs 14:1 – The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands, the foolish one tears hers down.

9. 1 Peter 4:8-9 – Above all, love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

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10. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 – These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

11. Psalm 101:2 – I will be careful to lead a blameless life—when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart.

12. Hebrews 3:4 – For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

A verse card that says this, But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15

13. Proverbs 11:29 – Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.

14. Psalm 133:1 – How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

15. 1 Corinthians 16:14 – Do everything in love.

a verse card that says, Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

16. Proverbs 24:27 – Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.”

17. Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

18. Psalm 34:11 – Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

A verse card taht says Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!

19. Colossians 3:13 – Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

20. Proverbs 15:17 – Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.

21. Matthew 7:24 – Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

A verse card that says, Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

22. Proverbs 24:27 – Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.

23. Romans 12:10 – Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

24. Psalm 103:17-18 – But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

A verse card that says Psalm 103:17-18 But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

25. Proverbs 31:26 – She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

26. Ephesians 6:1-3 – Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise—that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.

27. Psalm 128:3 – Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

A verse card that says Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.

28. Titus 2:4-5 – Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

29. Proverbs 1:8-9 -Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

30. Psalm 145:4- One generation shall commend your works to another and shall declare your mighty acts.

These Bible verses highlight the importance of building a Christian home, emphasizing aspects such as love, obedience, wisdom, unity, and the fear of the Lord.

They serve as reminders of the values and principles that can guide families in their pursuit of a Christ-centered household.

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