About Marilyn

Marilyn is wife to Rick, Mom to 14 children, Nana to 16 grandchildren (and counting!) and homeschooler for 37 years. She and her husband own Character Concepts which they started for the purpose of helping others raise children with a strong, godly character and Biblical worldview.. They have developed character curriculum from preschool through high school, based on what they found worked when teaching their own 14 children over the years. Her passion is to help young moms raise kids of character and enjoy the journey!

Part 2- How to Use God’s Word to Address Character Issues in Your Home


Character is so lacking in our culture today. Really, it’s more important to train your children in godly character than in any of the academic subjects. It is, in fact, a solid cornerstone for life. God seems to make a way for those who have learned to intentionally strive to build godly disciplines into their lives. Knowledge alone ‘puffeth’ up. (1 Cor. 8:1) Character, unfortunately, doesn’t just happen. It must be taught and cultivated. Children need to learn practical handles to apply it to situations they face day to day.

For years I have been distributing a handout called Identifying and Dealing with Offenses to moms wherever I speak. It is a list I made from observing the negative character traits in my own 14 kid’s lives. As I would see a problem area crop up, I went to the Scripture to see what the Word had to say about it, and then I made up short answer questions for the kids to use to help dig out the treasures of God’s Word concerning each issue.

Through the years, moms asked me to develop a study to make it easier for them to use, hence—Growing in Wisdom.

Continue reading Part 2- How to Use God’s Word to Address Character Issues in Your Home


Empty Tomb Cookies


These cookies are an excellent activity to make with your children as your family prepares for Easter. We’ve given you a recipe before for Resurrection Rolls. This one is similar- Empty Tomb Cookies. I recently made them with 5 of my grandkids! Thanks to Faithful Provisions blog for the fun and excellent idea.

This activity involves making special cookies- where each ingredient and step is a representation of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. Have your Bible with you as you make them! There are passages to read and thoughts to discuss as you make the cookies. It’s really a neat experience.

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Making a Resurrection Garden


Have you seen the Resurrection Gardens that are all over Pinterest? (like the one pictured, below)

I think I first saw this project displayed on Pinterest by Melissa Holt. Thanks for the wonderful idea, Melissa. I’ve been wanting to do this for a few years now, and today we finally did.

I am currently watching 5 grandkids as their mom just had a new baby boy yesterday, and this seemed like a perfect project to attempt.

The kids gathered the pebbles and rock for the tomb from their creek this morning early before they came over. We had to run to Lowes to purchase the terra cotta tray. It cost $4.00.

Today we planted the grass seed. I am going to use this as a centerpiece for the Easter Season. Today is Feb. 28th and Easter is April 1 this year, so the grass should be growing well by then and we can enjoy it all during the season!

Here’s how our completed project (before the grass has grown) turned out:

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Part 1- How to Use God’s Word to Address Character Issues in Your Home

Build Character in Your Children
How to Use God’s Word to Address Character Issues in Your Home.

Do you grow weary of hearing your kids complain or argue with you or their brothers and sisters? How can you control their outbursts of anger? Did you know that God’s Word has a LOT to say about those issues and so many more? In fact, the heart of every problem you encounter with your kids is addressed in the Word, and He gives us the wisdom for knowing how to deal with it.

Consider Ephesians 4:

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind…..  But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.”

We learn here 3 commands :

  • We are to lay aside or PUT OFF the old self. Romans 6 tells us that our old life has been buried with Christ and we are now dead to sin. However, we must present our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. “But now you also, put them all asideanger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices” \
  • We are to be RENEWED IN OUR MINDS – We renew our minds by memorizing and meditating on Scripture, by learning what God’s Word says and acting upon it daily. Joshua 1:8 tells us “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”  We are promised success if we meditate on God’s Word.
  • We are to PUT ON our new self. Colossians 3 tells us “So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity”  We are to actively strive to cultivate these qualities in our life. The Holy Spirit is there to guide and help us.

Continue reading Part 1- How to Use God’s Word to Address Character Issues in Your Home




This is one of our favorite recipes for a cold winter day . There’s not much prep time involved. I always keep the ingredients on hand and make it if I’m short on time. Rick loves to use the leftovers to take to work the next few days.

This chili is my husband’s favorite, and it’s quite original! I never had chili growing up. I’d only heard stories of chili con carne my dad had been served while he was in the Navy; being from the North, I thought he was saying “chili corn carne.”… hence the addition of corn in this chili recipe!

My husband loved it and the kids did, too, and that’s been a favorite main dish for 27 years now. I hope you will enjoy it, too.

Continue reading Chili


Teach Your Kids to Choose Their Words Wisely


Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Words can be so damaging or so uplifting. Words can tear down or build up.  Words can discourage or encourage. We are doing our kids a huge favor if we teach them Biblical guidelines for choosing wise words; AND it will eliminate LOTS of problems in our homes, too.

Scripture has so much to say about our words. One Scripture we used in our home as a good guide for choosing your words was Ephesians 4: 29 ” Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification [according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

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12 Ways to Communicate Love to Your Kids


How can we show love to our children?

First, let’s look at what God says love will look like:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provokeddoes not take into account a wrong suffereddoes not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truthbears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;

What might that look like on a daily basis?

Here are 12 practical ways we can communicate love to our children- whether they be toddlers or teens:

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More Ideas for Easy Family Devotions


Family devotion time doesn’t need to be complicated. I remember little Matt when he was about 3 or 4; he would get his pillow and stretch out on his back underneath the coffee table every night with his feet up in the air touching the bottom of the table top. We never let our kids disrupt family time by running around being loud, but expected them to listen quietly. Matt, listening quietly, would fall asleep every time! Sweet memories. It’s okay. They’ll pick up a whole lot more than you think even if it appears that they aren’t being real attentive.

So, continuing with suggestions for easy Family Bible Times, let me share with you several more ways we spent time together as a family learning about God. (Miss Part 1? Read it here)

Continue reading More Ideas for Easy Family Devotions


Ideas for Easy Family Devotions


In raising our 14 kids I can’t say we’ve always been consistent in family devotion times. It actually got much harder as the kids got older and had so many out of the home commitments. But before we got to that stage, we had fairly consistent family Bible times.

In the next couple of posts I plan to share some of the things we did that proved successful but not overwhelming to accomplish, as well as some of the resources we developed that can be picked up and used without prep time on Dad or Mom’s part. Rick was a dad who had a physically intensive job so he would come home very tired and not at his creative best, so something that did not require a lot of preparation was important for that reason. Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation.

Family Devotions don’t have to be in-depth, or extremely time-consuming. They don’t have to follow a particular formula, and you don’t have to have visuals and activities planned out to accompany your time together in order to “make it work”.  What is important, really, is that you try to set aside some time to simply lead your family in listening to God’s word and discussing it together. If you want to do more, great! But, if you cannot- don’t lose heart! Do what you can. Little is MUCH when God is in it!

Here are Easy Ideas and Resources for Family Devotions:

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The Irritation List (or Keeping Your Sanity)


Here’s a little project that really helped me focus years ago.

I remember Rick coming home one evening. I had several kids at the time- probably 5 or 6. He asked how my day had been and I told him not so good.  It seemed like a thousand things went wrong. When he asked me what they were, I couldn’t really focus on what they had actually been– there were just a lot of them.

So he told me the following day, whenever I was irritated by something, to write it down in a notebook. I thought, “ok, but I’ll be writing all day long!”  What I actually discovered the next day was that it was only a few things that were frustrating me, but they kept happening again and again.

These were some of my irritations:

1-One of my sons, not intending to cause problems at all, would fling the door open and holler, “MOM” so he could discern where I was. It was not only irritating to be hollered at, but sometimes it woke the baby who had been difficult to get to sleep in the first place.

2- Also, when putting the laundry away, I reached up to put jeans on the stack on the closet shelf and the whole tippy stack came falling down on my face.

3- After school I told the kids to put their books away. Everyone seemed to need help because the bookcase was crammed with books and they wouldn’t just go in easily. The pages were getting bent, too.

4- Another of my sons seemed to think it was his place in life to irritate the others, and he was good at it. I’d hear his name whined out loudly by the toddler multiple times during the day.

Continue reading The Irritation List (or Keeping Your Sanity)