Guest Post: Janet Surette

I met the lovely and gracious Janet Surette at a writer’s conference last May in Asheville, N.C.

Janet is on the right. Our sweet and equally lovely friend, Heather, is in the middle. And I am on the left. With the big hair.

Janet is on the right. Our sweet and equally lovely friend, Heather, is in the middle. And I am on the left. With the big hair.

She was a tall, willowy Canadian that ate gluten-free and exhaled wisdom.  I followed her around like a puppy, and she let me.  If anything, Janet is a woman of contentment and joy.  A woman who “can laugh at the days to come” (Prov. 31:25b). I want to be like that.  

Not only is she a sweet friend, but she’s written a book that I love and that (yay!) you can win at the bottom of this post. She also spells “honour” with that cute extra “u.” As, I imagine, she also does with “saviour” and “favour.” I’m jealous. Americans cannot get away with that.

So, please, enjoy this wonderful guest post from Janet this week, and check out her website and book while you’re at it. (And don’t miss the giveaway at the end. It’s a favourite around our house.)

Hehe. See what I did there? 


Build It or Break It?

by Janet Surette

“The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.”   Proverbs 14:1


Today you have a choice.

And tomorrow.

And the day after that.


As women establishing our households, which we’ll define as the atmosphere, habits and relationships in our homes, the Bible teaches that we are faced with this choice:

Build it or destroy it.


If I want to be named in the ranks of the super-wise, I’m going to intentionally make choices with my words, looks, actions and attitudes that add lovely features to my home.  Features like beauty, stability, peace, order, joy and holiness.

If I prefer to leave a legacy of foolishness, I am going to opt for words, looks, actions and attitudes that chip away at, deface and crumble my family life.  I have witnessed families being destroyed by external circumstances or foolish husbands, but in more cases than not, I have seen women destroy their homes by their own doing.

We all have our “tearing” tendencies.  I regularly battle mine:

  • Fretting over what has to get done in a given day.
  • Picking at and “improving” my young ladies, instead of nurturing and enjoying them.
  • Going WAY too long between shower cleanings.

But God, always coming through on His promise to bless my faith-filled efforts, has turned this girl into one happy builder! Today I want to share with you some of the choice “bricks” I reach for that have added stability and beauty to my home over the last 19 years.

To build your house:

  1. Preempt the fight – just choose to diffuse it before it explodes.
  2. Choose a gentle tone even when you don’t feel gentle on the inside.
  3. Read one Proverb for each day of the month.
  4. Soften the endless request and commands of the day with tender names like “Sweetheart”, “Honey” or “Darling”.
  5. Use candles or music to create an inviting atmosphere.
  6. Have a plan for meals, do some dinner prep earlier in the day and have the table set.
  7. Read one chapter a day from an inspiring book written by a wise person.
  8. End each day with a clean kitchen.
  9. Surprise your kiddos with random acts of silliness, like sopping-wet, dishcloth fights in the kitchen or opening your daughter’s window in the car wash. (Yes.  Yes I did.)
  10. Play with your hubby’s hair while riding with him in the car.
  11. Pack daily love notes in lunches.
  12. Write an inspiring quote or verse to memorize on a kitchen blackboard or on a card by your sink.
  13. Seek forgiveness quickly; grant forgiveness readily.
  14. Cuddle awake your darlings, bringing tea to the sleepy teen when necessary.
  15. Plan and work so that you are not busy in the evenings when your family is home.
  16. Minimize drastically the time your family observes you looking at a personal electronic device.
  17. Choose to invest your minutes creating something of value for the precious ones in your life instead of consuminginformation about someone else’s life.
  18. Choose to look at the mundane, family responsibilities through your “Glad Glasses” and not your “Grumbly” ones.More on that next week.
  19. Take a holy nap. (Holy Nap: a brief rest taken intentionally for the purpose of joyfully engaging family and preventing sin!)
  20. Use sweet speech, not volume, to increase your persuasiveness.

What about you, fellow builder?  What are your bricks of choice?


To the giveaway!


My girls love The Prince and the Gift, and so do I. The illustrations are beautiful and the message is even better. If you’re raising a female in the 21st century, she needs to hear this. 

To enter to win, leave a comment below. This time, I want to hear your favorite adult book. And for an extra shot at winning, become a subscriber to receive e-mail updates. I’ll announce a winner next week!

Janet is an author, speaker and blogger from Ontario, Canada who loves to show how God’s perfect ways intersect beautifully with everyday life.   She is a happy bride.  Mom to three darling ladies.  And an old school girl who loves God, home, deep friendships, a good nap, solitude and perfect grass.

Janet is an author, speaker and blogger from Ontario, Canada who loves to show how God’s perfect ways intersect beautifully with everyday life. She is a happy bride. Mom to three darling ladies. And an old school girl who loves God, home, deep friendships, a good nap, solitude and perfect grass. She blogs at

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Add or view comments (17 responses) >


  1. Janet Surette said:

    Follow ME around like a puppy dog? I just about stalked you that week! Thank you for your glowing words. After that, I think I’d like to line you up to write my obituary – it might earn me higher standing in heaven!


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      I guess we were in good company then. 😉

      And, no, I will not write your obituary. With the way you eat, I suspect I’m going to go long before you anyway. 🙂


  2. Linda McCourt said:

    I have 3 beautiful granddaughters and a daughter and 2 daughters-in-law. I would love to join your blog or site and to win the book. My favorite book is the Bible. The Bible and Bible studies are the only books I read since I hit rock bottom and recommitted my life back to Christ 18 months ago. Before that I constantly had a romance novel in my hand and now I am not interested.


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      What an amazing testimony, Linda! Thank you for sharing. 🙂


  3. Laura said:

    Wow, that is good stuff. Thanks for sharing this, Hannah. How could I ever pick a favorite book? This blog reminds me of ONE of my favorites–“Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman” by Anne Ortlund.


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Oh, that is such a good one, Laura. Should be read by everyone (female, that is. 🙂


  4. Mary King said:

    Sweetness is the best way to keep a ‘home hold” on an even, happy keel. I enjoyed your blog today.

    My favorite book was a child’s book that I read for the first time a month ago. I had said in a knitting group that I had tried to read Charlotte’s Web fifty plus years ago and just didn’t get into it then. One of my friends presented a copy and challenged me to read it. It is a sweet story that told about our living our life to the fullest and helping others to do the same.

    I love books and would love to win one from you.


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      That’s such a good suggestion, Mary. I think there are a lot of books that we read as kids that would mean much more to us now. I recently re-read all the Little House on the Prairie books and found them so much more wonderful than I ever did as a kid. And I also read another middle-grade one (ages 10-12ish)recently called, “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.” If you’re looking for an easy read, it is simply wonderful. I cried reading it. Many times. 🙂


  5. Jamie said:

    I think sometimes I get so busy “doing” that I forget how important a role I play in setting the tone for our family and home. Thanks for the encouragement and gentle reminder! I don’t pick favorites as a general rule (there are too many things I love!), but one of my favorite adult books would be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (and yes, I can hear Josh yelling, “Nerd alert!” on that one, and he’s right – but I’m OK with it.) 😉


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Jane Eyre is one of my mom’s favorite’s too, Jamie, although, I admit, I haven’t read it.

      And since the most recent book I’ve seen Josh reading is called “The Psychology of Music,” I think he has waived his rights to call anyone else a nerd. You are in good company. 🙂


  6. Andrea Garrison said:

    My favorite book, Hannah’s Hope by: Jennifer Saake


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      I’m not familiar with this one, Andrea. I’ll have to check it out. Thanks!


  7. Lindsey Taylor said:

    My favorite book as a child was ” The trumpet and the swan . ”
    Favorite that helped my faith ” Mere Christianity “


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      I’m ashamed to say that I’ve started Mere Christianity many times and never finished it. It has nothing to do with the book because it is, of course, amazing. I just tend to start books and not finish them. It’s a terrible problem that I blame my kiddos for. I’m just too darn tired to read most of the time. Thanks for sharing, Lindsey. Oh, and I’ll have to check out The Trumpet and the Swan. It sounds vaguely familiar…


  8. Tara said:

    We have actually been focusing heavily on creating a “kind” environment in our house lately. My husband and I did not grow up with gentle or encouraging parenting and have to overcome the style we grew up with every moment of every day with our children. I feel like it is my most pressing difficulty-as the one who has been gifted with this stay-at-home mom gig.
    I was a voracious reader from the beginning of my memory, so it is hard to pick a favorite. I love history, classics, and comedies. One of my favorite childhood memories of my mom reading to the 3 youngest of us is of a book called “I Am A Bunny” by Ole Risom. The bunny is the cutest.


    1. Hannah Post author said:

      Yup. We stay-at-homers, I think, face some moments that our husbands will never completely understand. And those moments are the ones that severely challenge every iota of kindness, patience, gentleness that we can muster. It’s frustrating, since those things are suppose to come naturally to moms. But then we forget we are dealing with little sinners every day…and that we are just big sinners. I have to pray continually for the fruits of the spirit to be evident in me because without the Holy Spirit’s intervention, I can be one cranky woman.

      And I LOVE I am a Bunny. We read that one almost daily. It’s adorable and short. Two important aspects of a good children’s book. 😉

      Thanks, Tara, for reading and commenting!


  9. Heather Bock said:

    I wish I had written earlier, but I loved this, Janet! Your book IS truly amazing, and I’m so glad you wrote it. Girls need to hear that message.

    And I understand the “going way too long between shower cleanings.” I wish I didn’t understand quite so well…


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