The First Day of Spring Picnic

With the arrival of nice weather, it seemed like a perfect time for a Grandma, Aunties, and grandchildren outing to the park to play and have a picnic. The girls and I packed sandwiches, apples, chips, cookies, and water for all. Since so many of the little ones are in car seats, we took Nathan and Christopher’s minivans.

It was a perfect day, with wonderful children, and everyone had a delightful time as you can see.

Trusting in Jesus,

“Children’s children are the crown of old men;
and the glory of children are their fathers”
(Proverbs 17:6).

Susannah’s 10th Birthday

Happy 10th Birthday to my little niece, Susannah, who is celebrating in heaven. For those who are new to reading the blog this past year, I’ll explain the purpose of this post.

Nathan, my oldest brother, married Melanie in 2002. They both were committed to letting the Lord decide how many children they had. Four and a half years later, they were ecstatic to find out the Lord was blessing them with a little one! I think one of the hardest things in life is waiting–and they were a beautiful example of patiently waiting on the Lord. Melanie’s pregnancy was high risk due to multiple factors, and she was on bed rest quite awhile. Then, little Susannah was born March 21st, 2007, 6+ weeks early. But being early wasn’t the problem. She never moved or opened her eyes. In the womb, she had been an active little one, even earning the nickname Thumper. During labor, Thumper was carefully monitored, so it was a mystery to the doctors as to what happened.

Death is inevitable. 10 out of 10 people die. But saying good-bye is hard. Really hard. I now have an empathy that I never had for those whose little ones have entered heaven on the early side. The crushing sensation–the darkest night–would “normal” ever feel “normal” again–yet, even in the midst of sorrow, spring bloomed, and slowly the hurt began to heal. 10 years later, Nathan and Melanie are surrounded with five children. God’s mercy is abundant.

But even with time, that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten. Just yesterday, when I was making tortillas with Abby and Betsy, I thought about Susannah–we think of her as a baby, but the reality is, she would have been 10 today. So, yes, we miss her here on earth. But the separation is only temporary. Because of Jesus’ shed blood and His mercy, we’re heaven bound!

For those who have lost little ones in any stage of pregnancy, stillborn, SIDS, or some other situation, know that we care and we hurt with you. 

If you can handle a tear-jerker, here’s the slideshow of her short life.

The music is by Joseph, Anna, Jesse, and Mary. Joseph wrote the lyrics.


“… weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”
Psalm 30:5

Love and Respect Marriage Conference – Part 2

We enjoyed the Love and Respect Marriage Conference. Before we went, we weren’t quite sure what to expect, because the book seemed fairly repetitive. So we weren’t sure if the conference would be the same way. Wow! It wasn’t at all. We found the live experience to be concise and amazing!

Steve felt Emerson Eggerichs was possibly the best speaker he had heard, both in the Christian and business arena. If you are familiar with Ted Talks, it was equal to and greater than those. 

The conference involved a reasonable amount of time. They packed an amazing amount of information into Friday night and Saturday morning, but the presentation riveted our attention. It was condensed and yet covered the key points, being highly practical.

This conference isn’t about breaking into small groups or couples having assignments to do together. It is all teaching time. Through out the conference we laughed, everyone else laughed, we saw husbands poking wives and smiling, and wives poking husbands and smiling.

There were 800 to 1000 in attendance at the Aurora conference, and the majority of couples were in their 20’s or 30’s although there were couples into their 60’s like Steve and me and even older.

Almost all went forward at the end to recommit their marriage to the Lord by implementing what was learned and asking forgiveness for past failures. Likely the ones who didn’t go forward weren’t going to try to move since the front filled up quickly and only the aisles were left for others.

It was clear that hearts were touched. Steve and my hearts were! After almost 43 years of marriage, we learned things that we are excited to put into practice in our marriage.

It was a simple, yet highly applicable, message that could transform a terrible marriage and energize a great one.

The proof in always in the fruit. We believe that the message was right—biblical and personal.  The fruit depends on whether those in attendance will implement it. From the stories shared, it is likely many will. That is exciting, especially with the number of young couples who were there.

Trusting in Jesus,

We had a nice dinner out after the conference.

“But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to
everlasting upon them that fear him,
and his righteousness unto children’s children.”
Psalm 103:17

The Generations Advance

Recently I did standardized testing for our 8-year-old homeschooled granddaughter, Abigail. It was a nostalgic time for many in our family.

Abby and I our first morning

As public schooled children, Steve and I received our standardized testing in our public school classrooms. Nathan and Christopher started standardized testing as homeschool students in the back room of a Christian bookstore. When we moved to Leavenworth and began leading the local homeschool group, my parents did the standardized testing for the homeschooled children at the Main Post Chapel on Ft. Leavenworth. Over time that facility was no longer available to us. Then my parents did the standardized testing for our children in their home – grandparents giving the standardized tests to their grandchildren.

Now my first grandchild has reached an age for standardized testing, and I am in a season of life where I have the time available to do that for her.

We planned four mornings for the testing, but with only one child being tested, we could go at her pace. Almost every test she finished in half the allotted time and that included double checking. In just two mornings from 9:00 to 11:15, she completed the whole Iowa Basic Skills battery. Of course, we had a break in the middle for a snack and some chatting.

For me it is a special season to move from the mothering tasks of homeschooling to the grand-mothering tasks of supporting the next generation in their homeschooling.

Trusting in Jesus,

Abby brought me chocolates our second day!

“A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and
a word spoken in due season, how good is it”
(Proverbs 15:23).

Love and Respect Marriage Conference – Part 1

Where is your marriage at? The pits? A step away from separation? Doing fine? Doing great? Over-the-top-fantastic?

In a counseling course Steve and I took last year, the instructor encouraged every married couple to attend marriage enrichment conferences on a regular basis—every year if possible. That challenged Steve and me because we so cherish occasional opportunities to get away alone together. We didn’t know if we wanted to share that time with sitting in sessions in a conference, but we began considering it.

We knew there was always something we could learn that would make our marriage even better. We also are on the lookout for resources for those who come to us with marriage problems, and there was also the possibility that if we went to a marriage retreat or conference it would be an encouragement for our married children to do the same.

I had a friend who read Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs, and she told me how much she liked it (that’s Titus2’s affiliate link to Amazon, see our disclosure policy here). We had that book in our house, so I started to read it. I thought it was great, and then Steve and I started reading it together at night.

My friend later told me she had looked into a live marriage conference by Dr. Eggerichs, but they were too far away from her. Since I had liked the book, I decided to check in to the conferences too. Sure enough, in Denver, just 8 hours away, was a live conference the middle of February.

Steve and I gift each other with a night away for Mother’s and Father’s Day so we decided to make this trip our 2017 gifts. 

We drove to Denver Thursday afternoon, February 16th, attended the conference Friday evening and Saturday morning and drove home on Sunday. That gave us 16 hours of talking time while we drove, the conference itself, plus time before and after it to enjoy being together away from home.

In another post, I will give a report on the conference itself.

Trusting in Jesus,

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be
to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives,
even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.”
Ephesians 5:24-25

Benjamin Maxwell’s Newborn Photos

Wednesday afternoon, Mary helped me with Benjamin’s newborn photos. Usually, it’s Christopher and me doing the photos, but this time, it ended up to be just me. So, since I don’t know the whole professional-light-set-up-the-living-room thing, we decided to use only natural light. It worked out perfectly.

The first key was wrapping him. You know that really cute swaddle? Babies love it, and it gets them nice and calm for their photos. And usually asleep. Well, I wasn’t any help with the wrapping part, and I’m grateful for Mary taking several tries at it until she had little Benjamin in a good wrap.

Anna helping Mary as she wrapped
Usually, babies will sleep, but Benjamin decided to watch us for awhile. So sweet.

Love all that hair!

Christina, Abby, Benjamin, Andrew, and Bethany Maxwell

Mary was amazing
We were so happy to get this one.
Finally. Asleep.
Daddy + Son

“… but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:4

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