John Goes International

John is leaving the country to visit friends who teach English as a second language. Please pray for travel safety and for adjustments as he adapts to life in a different culture. We’ll be sharing his adventures through pictures on the blog, so keep an eye for updates over the coming weeks!


John with Tina recently on our “celebrating Mom’s retirement” day, which I’ll be sharing about soon.

“Let the words of my mouth,
and the meditation of my heart,
be acceptable in thy sight,
O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer
Psalm 19:14

God’s Goodness: Happy Resurrection Sunday

Imagine with me. Step back over two thousand years ago. Jesus had just given His life on the cross and was buried in the tomb. Matthew 27 verse 61 says, “And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.” After watching the crowd crucify Jesus, they weren’t afraid to be identified with Him. They wanted to be as close to Him as they could. But because of the Sabbath, they had to leave.

You’ve probably experienced the crushing sensation of losing a loved one. As a comparison that isn’t even hardly a comparison, imagine how the Marys felt as they left. Their Messiah and Savior had just died! Did their tears flow-did they talk as they walked—or were their hearts so burdened, there were no words to express? The next day probably passed slowly. Every second, every minute, every hour. Imagine. But it passed, and the next day, when there was a hint of light in the horizon, they rushed to the tomb. Was it a beautiful sunrise, the kind one hopes for on a Resurrection Sunday morning? Perhaps the sky glowed with hues of orange and vibrant pinks, with shafts of light radiating from the golden sun. “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”

Again. No fear. Just love for their Lord. An earthquake occurred first—whether they saw or felt it, we’re not told.

When they reached the tomb, they saw an angel who had come from Heaven and rolled the stone away. His clothes were brilliantly white, and his presence so awe-inspiring, one would fear just to see him. But he assured them not to fear. 

“… Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead: and behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him; lo, I have told you.”

They left quickly, their hearts bursting with joy. Imagine! Quickly was not quick enough—they ran! They had the greatest news ever.

Jesus conquered death.

I’m grateful for my Savior’s sacrifice. Friends, Jesus offers eternal life to you. But it’s a gift, and a gift one must accept. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” [Romans 10:9-11]

As I ponder all that surrounded His death and resurrection, I think of His goodness. Jesus cares for us. He is burdened with our burdens. Think about the Marys. Jesus didn’t have to send an angel to tell them, but He did. He delights in blessing His children. He wants us to learn to trust Him in all things. Marvel in God’s goodness this week. Let it sink deep into your heart.



“Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever
I have commanded you:and, lo, I am with you alway,
even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Matthew 28:20

Mary Maxwell’s High School Graduation

Mary’s graduation was a celebration day! We started out like a birthday, with a special breakfast.

Being the youngest, Mary didn’t complain about being the last in school and not having “company.” She was characterized by a cheerful spirit, diligence, and a willingness to work hard. Mary is definitely “a creative.” I’m not talking about the adjective definition of creative but rather the noun. Mary’s mind thinks outside of the box when it comes to design and creating beautiful things.

We’re excited to see what the Lord has in store for her. Thank you for all your comments. She’ll be responding with a post of her own. An interesting trivia fact you may not know is Mary wasn’t even born when Nathan (the oldest) graduated from high school. ;)

That evening, Friday the 12th, everyone gathered for dinner. Mary planned the menu with grilled chicken, potato casserole, Texas toast, 7-layer salad, and Oreo pie. After clean up (Joseph is our star dish-washer!), we moved into the living room. First, we had Bible time. Then, we did something we started with on Joseph’s graduation. Each person came prepared with a special Scripture verse(s) that the Lord gave them for Mary. They shared it with her and then prayed. What a delightful opportunity to bless Mary! After that, we showered her with gifts. In addition, Mary gave Mom the charcoal sketch and a special card. Then, Dad and Mom presented her diploma. It was now official: Mary Maxwell had graduated!

With little ones, things wind down a bit earlier than for us older ones, so after the young families left, the rest of us enjoyed more talking time.

I’m so thankful for Mary and her love for Jesus. She truly sparkles for Him! Congratulations, Mary!

Chocolate chip muffins
Chocolate chip muffins
Before dinner, I thought it'd be fun to grab some pictures of Mary.
Before dinner, I thought it’d be fun to grab some pictures of Mary.


Mary Maxwell
Mary Maxwell
The special 7-layer salad.
Our griller.
Our griller.
When you have nieces and nephews, you get these cute things.
When you have nieces and nephews, you get these cute things.
This picture was a little feat to get--as in, the counter was extremely helpful.
This picture was a little feat to get–as in, the counter was extremely helpful.
Bethany, a happy server!
Bethany, a happy server!


Abigail is a proficient reader, and Bethany is right behind her.
Abigail is a proficient reader, and Bethany is right behind her.
Jesse praying over Mary.
Jesse praying over Mary.
Anna sharing her verse.
Anna sharing her verse.


The principal and teacher who offered 30 years of service. But they're not done. They're more involved than ever helping families across the country on a daily basis.
The principal and teacher who offered 30 years of service. But they’re not done. They’re more involved than ever helping families across the country on a daily basis.


GiGi and Mary
GiGi and Mary
Abigail finger-knitted this for Mary.
Abigail finger-knitted this for Mary.


We gave Mom a special "thank you for 30 years" gift, which we'll share with you all soon ;). One hint: it's a day outing.
We gave Mom a special “thank you for 30 years” gift, which we’ll share with you all soon ;). One hint: it’s a day outing.


“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser:
teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
Proverbs 9:9

Mary’s Gift to Mom

I’ll be sharing about Mary’s graduation party soon, but for now, I’ll show you what she gifted Mom with that evening. Mary’s artistic skills have blossomed, and she surprised Mom with this beautiful, charcoal sketch. Mom was thrilled!


“Her children arise up, and call her blessed…”
Proverbs 31:28

Lydia Joy Maxwell

Lydia Joy was born at 5:31 p.m. on Monday, March 23rd. She weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces.

We couldn’t have asked for anything different with a wonderful home delivery (we’re grateful for our amazing midwife). Mommy and Baby are doing great!

Anna Marie and I spent a lot of time talking and praying about Lydia’s name. For me, talking about baby names has been something enjoyable these past few years when a little one was on the way. Anna Marie, on the other hand, so enjoys thinking about baby names she has been doing it since she was a little girl. We love the name Lydia Joy for a number of reasons. First, Lydia in the Bible was a woman who loved God, worshipped Him, served Him, worked hard, and was hospitable (Acts 16:14, 40). A literal translation from the Greek for Lydia means travail, implying hard work. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit that should be prevalent in the life of a follower of Jesus, and we felt it was a perfect middle name for Lydia. And as many of you know, she does share a middle name with her cousin Susannah Joy who, eight years ago today, entered into the fullness of joy living in the presence of Jesus Himself!

Our prayer is that Lydia Joy will be one whose joyful spirit is a testimony of her love for Jesus as she diligently works at the tasks the Lord gives her.

“Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:2)

Thank you for your prayers, and we covet your continued prayer support as we seek God’s grace to raise these little ones in the nurture and admonition of the Lord! Parenthood is delightful, amazing, fun, and challenging–we’re loving it!

Rejoicing in His mercy,
Christopher and Anna Marie

Meet Lydia Joy.
Meet Lydia Joy.
Tiny hands!


Sarah holding Lydia this afternoon.
Sarah holding Lydia this afternoon.

“And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple,
of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us:
whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended
unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
Acts 16:14

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