In this Home we do Second Chances; in this Home we do Love


On Creating a Family Culture that speaks Identity, Acceptance and Love

By Angela Sunshine Doell | Twitter: @adoell

Home interprets heaven. Home is heaven for beginners.
-Charles Henry Parkhurst

I love God’s wisdom in choosing to place humans in families. We hear a lot of talk about tribes–our need to belong in a group; run in a pack. We’re intrinsically wired for community. As a mom, I’m aware that one of my most vital responsibilities is creating culture in my home. If my children were created to crave acceptance and identity, I want them to find it first right here in these walls.

There are things that make your family unique, and mine. Nobody gets you like family does (at least, that’s how it’s supposed to be.) In our home we use the same shorthand–we share a unique culture, laugh at ridiculous inside jokes nobody else would find funny, share the same memories–both sweet and bitter. We all know what it is to lay awake at night because Dad is snoring … We share a love/hate relationship with the crazy family dog. Our home smells and sounds familiar to us alone.

I believe it takes some carefully thought-out action to develop lasting culture–the kind our children will carry with them, that marks them positively for life. It’s cultivated when we develop family traditions, when we carve time out of busy schedules to connect at the dinner table, and when we purposefully remind our children who they are, and why they belong.

A Statement of Culture

There’s a large chalkboard in the foyer of our house. It holds valuable real estate because it’s the first thing you see when you walk in the door. When my husband and children walk in at the end of the day, I so want them to feel the peace and ease of home–where they’re known, where they’re celebrated. A little while ago I decided to overhaul the chalkboard, wiping the slate clean to write out a simple Family Manifesto that I found and just love. It’s simply who we are, and what we do:

In this home…
We do second chances
We do grace
We do real
We do mistakes
We do I’m sorrys
We do loud
We do hugs
We do family
We do love.

QUESTION: What would your Family Manifesto include?

About Angela:

Angela is a lover and a fighter. She and her husband Rod have been married for 17 years and they have two beautiful children, Madison (15) and Miller (11). Angela works with the creative & media teams at Relate Church in Surrey, BC where she oversees graphic design, art direction and marketing. She loves finding beauty in everyday life and is passionate about communicating hope and the reality of a living Jesus through media and design.

Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker


  1. Hey! It’s super flattering that so many people have adopted this writing as their own family manifesto…because I wrote it for a plaque we sold in Gold Crown stores in 2005! You can still buy it on a customizable card on our site:

    Unfortunately, we’ve had so many people love it that it’s been showing up on products other people are selling illegally lately. Hallmark has taken out an additional copyright on this editorial to protect it. It’s totally fine to make your own personal artwork with it for your family (and customize it to fit your crew!)…not cool to use it on products meant for sale. Let me know if you see it being sold somewhere, ladies!

    • Ah ha! Thanks Sarah! It has definitely taken on a life of its own. Thank you for sharing – I’ll direct people to this site when they ask about the original.

  2. I just stumbled on your site while looking for a family manifesto of my own. Time to paint it on a big mural for the living room wall! Thank you for this beautiful post. Now I feel even more compelled to create a manifesto for the family culture we are aiming to create. It might also include, “We do forgiveness.” or maybe “We do listening.”

  3. The original author for the “In THis HOme” peom is Ebner. I once had a purchased peice. It is one of my favorites.

    • BlutoS says:

      Is there any more information you could give us on this poet Ebner? A first name or something? I’d love to buy one too!

  4. amieleigh says:

    those words are originally from a hallmark card produced from original copy by a hallmark writer for the company

  5. Hi Angela!
    I own a vinyl lettering company called Wall Written. I’ve seen your Family Manifesto in a few shops on etsy, and I love it! I was wanting to create a fun design based on it (perhaps with a couple additions) but I don’t want to take words that belong to you and start selling them without your permission. I was wondering if you are the original author of the Family Manifesto, and if so, if you are willing to allow me to use it in a design on my website.
    Emily Miller
    Wall Written

    • Hi Emily! I’m not the original authour… I would love to know who is! I can’t even remember where I first heard or saw this statement, I think it may have been in a magazine… but I had it written it in a notebook and adopted it a few years ago, and I LOVE how it’s all over pintrest and other sites now. 🙂 It’s beautiful.

  6. Too funny that my research for a blog post would turn up an article by someone that is local! Your family manifesto has sure spread far & wide!

    • Hi Rosa! I need to clarify that I didn’t write this originally… I love the statement and adopted it a few years ago, but I actually think I first saw it written in a magazine & had copied it into my notebook. 🙂 We claimed it when we wrote it on our family chalkboard, but it didn’t originate with me.

  7. Christina says:

    Hi there! Just had to add my appreciation of your manifesto. I saw it on an item on Etsy and figured it had to come from someone and wanted to know who the original author was … and google brought me here. I love this, it just feels so honest and true. Thank you for sharing it!

    Anyway, thumbs up! (Also just noticed you’re in Surrey – me too!)

    • Thanks for your kind words Christina — We actually adopted these words as a family a few years ago, and I wish I knew who to credit the original words to – Like you, I’m not sure of the original author… Guess I need to do some research because this statement is suddenly all over the place!

  8. What a lovely idea. This is my first visit to your site and I’m finding myself nodding along as I’m reading your posts. I’ll definitely be back.

    • Thank you for visiting, Shannon! It’s always so wonderful to hear when our words find a home in another heart. We look forward to seeing more of you. xoxo

  9. Angela,

    I came across your article when I was searching for the wall decal of your “family manifesto.” Your words were heart warming – I was raised in family environment where the nine “we do’s” were almost unheard of and committing the crime of being human was forbidden and it has caused years and years of emotional damage. Anyway, my point is that I love that you encourage the act of humanness in your household and take time to celebrate ‘just being.’ Sounds like true unconditional love. 🙂

  10. I have a chalkboard too. Which is currently filled with birds, surfer stick men that Owen and his cousin drew, and Owen’s chore to do chart.

    I’ve been thinking of something profound to write, and you have inspired me. Thank you. xoxo P.S. I think our homes would jive nicely. 🙂

  11. ‘Home is where your story begins’ (above my fireplace at home).

  12. This post has been with me all day today … Thank you! I think I need to stew on it a while more to express the stuff churning inside of me. There’s lots a churning, which for me is a good thing. // I’ll let you know as soon as it’s ready!

  13. I really like your idea of putting up a chalkboard/message board to display to your family ,I am going to do that 🙂

  14. Karen Jones says:


  15. While…. I love the whole list!

    My 2 faves: We do second chances & We do real.

    Thanks for sharing Ange!


  16. Kelley Johnson Nikondeha says:

    Really great contribution, Angela! Love the idea of a family manifesto. I had to laugh, you do loud… in my house we do quiet (at least half of us do, and want the other half to make room for that!).

    In our family we recognize that we are each God’s gift to the other, and respect one another accordingly. We give never-ending and always-forviging love to each other (like the father in the prodigal son). We know that bad choices happen, but we learn from them and do better next time. We believe that Jesus wants everyone to have enough of what they need – not too much more or anything less – so we strive to be content with our just enough. We cook good (healthy and tasty) food and enjoy eating together. We dance, talk, laugh and learn. That is how we play in the Nikondeha House!

    • Angela Doell Angela Doell says:

      Ha, Kelley – Honestly, the ‘we do loud’ is a faith statement, me making room for the ‘loud’ that exists. I like the quiet, a lot… but have a son that plays the drums and electric guitar. Eek. I love your expression of “never-ending and always-forgiving love” as well as being “content with our just enough”… so good. Thank you.

  17. sherrine francis says:

    I simply love that. Thank you for sharing.


  1. […] love this “manifesto” that’s floating around the web lately. Nyla and Rene both featured great Etsy versions… […]

  2. […] research and discovered that this was written as a family manifesto by Angela Sunshine Doell at SheLoves magazine. Doell wrote her family manifesto on a chalkboard and placed it in a prominent spot so her […]

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