The Wonder of Christmas

“… And his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

I closed my eyes, marveling as a 120+ voice choir sang those incredible words. My heart burst with joy, and I knew this was only a foretaste of what the Heavenly choir will be like. The joy grew even greater as I listened to the Hallelujah Chorus.

So where were we? Friday night, some of us enjoyed the opportunity to attend a Messiah concert in Kansas City. This was our third year, and what a treat it is! God’s Word is powerful, and I love how Handel used Scripture for his lyrics.

The holidays are busy times, but may we never forget to slow down and enjoy the wonder of what God did for us.


Dinner out first

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved.”
John 3:17

John’s House Remodel Continues

Y’all! We’re down to twenty-something days until the wedding! The flooring will go in today and tomorrow, and wow, it’s great to see John’s house taking shape.

In early October, John called for a sheet-rocking party, and the guys made time in their schedules to help. I love how my brothers include their children when possible in a project.

Since the sheet-rocking, there was a lot of work done on the walls with painting (you saw some of that in the random life posts recently) and now they’ve tiled the kitchen and dining floor.


Drew was very pleased to be over with all the big guys.

Night help

I love this. Tina enjoyed time with her daddy, and as a bonus, she ran errands with Grandpa and Grandma and got a candy cane. 🙂
Unloading cabinets!
Making sure the marks on the wall are correct for the cabinet line.

“In the Lord put I my trust…”
Psalm 11:1

Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle Is Shipping!

It’s very exciting to see Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle shipping out to homes across the world. I marvel at God’s enabling grace during the intense season of writing + editing the book.

Attention blog readers, I’d love to see pictures of you reading the book. In fact, I’ll even do a blog post with some of your pictures. So send them to me at the e-mail address listed on this link. I can’t wait!

More than ever, this book has rekindled my love for writing, and while I catch up on all I left undone these past two months, I’m setting my focus on another book. It’ll have new characters you’ve never met, and I’m excited to jump into their lives.


I guess Arnold thinks this is an interesting book.
Mary packing orders
Signing books


Pizza party to thank the family for all their help
Our friends were in town again briefly, so we were able to meet up for coffee.
Rachel was a HUGE encouragement to me throughout the book process.

“My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things
which I have made touching the king: my tongue
is the pen of a ready writer.”
Psalm 45:1

2017 Maxwell Family Photo Session

This year, coordinating our family photo seemed nearly impossible. We almost gave up! Trying to work out schedules with four family units, John’s travel schedule (you can imagine why), weather, and well, the list could go on. Amazingly, right after Thanksgiving, we had a perfect day, and everyone was home and available. I’m grateful for the effort put into this picture: the young mommies getting their kiddos ready, Mary and Anna for finding a location, Mom working out schedules, Mary deciding on colors and drawing out an arrangement of how we’d be grouped, etc. Y’all are an awesome family!


We girls went early to see where we wanted the location in the field before everyone came.
The location
A selfie going on here
The Maxwell Family 2017
Mom and Calia
Maxwell sisters

This is what happens when one needs to pause and tries to rearrange our pose. It just wasn’t working right.

Steve and Teri Maxwell Family

The final product! Love that family of mine!

“One generation shall praise thy works to another,
and shall declare thy mighty acts.”
Psalm 145:4

Chelsy’s Bridal Shower Hosted by Teri, Anna, and Mary Maxwell

Mom wanted to throw a bridal shower for Chelsy, specifically to bless her with her pantry. Mom’s so amazing! Schedules were consulted, a date picked, invites sent out, and Mom and Anna and Mary began planning! (I wasn’t much help until the last two days due to Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle and then trying to catch up on work.  I’m VERY excited to tell you that the books came in a little early, and we’re beginning to ship TODAY! Watch your e-mail for a tracking number if yours is in the first batch.)

The girls and Mom planned an amazing spread of refreshments, including a hot cocoa bar. They rearranged our living room to make accommodating a large group easier. They decorated, transforming everything into a beautiful, cozy setting.

Monday arrived, and the preparations kicked in 110%. My sisters are extremely creative and lovingly invested a lot of time in all the little sweet touches.

Since this was a pantry shower, we asked each guest to bring a spice and then other items to stock the pantry. I loved seeing the creativity with which people gifted them! One of the brothers even sent along some hot sauce and directions on how to boil water. 🙂 John and Chelsy have an awesome stock in their pantry (well, they don’t have cabinets installed yet, but hey, that’ll come!).

GiGi gave a wonderful devotional, sharing things she’d learned in her marriage to Grandad for over 65 years!

We’re so grateful for our neighbors and friends who blessed John and Chelsy.


Mary rolling out sugar cookies.

Anna had a great idea.

Mary lettering for the shower sign.

Doesn’t that just spell cozy?

Don’t you love this idea? A Date Night Jar so guests could write ideas for the bride + groom to have a creative date.Chelsy and GiGi

Abby made the pillow with John and Chelsy’s initials.

Calia was really cute helping Chelsy open gifts.

Elissa did this creative veggie tray!

Amazing sisters of mine!

So much amazing food.

Betsy’s date night idea: Play UNO!

Most of the Maxwell and Bontrager ladies. (Melanie had already gone home, so we missed her in this group picture!)“O Lord our Lord, how excellent
is thy name in all the earth!”
Psalm 8:9

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving In a Nutshell

  1. Individual Bible time
  2. Turkey trot (some did a 5k, others 10k–great times, we were three brothers and three sisters strong)
  3. Energizing breakfast (think bacon, eggs, yogurt + fruit, pumpkin muffins, and coffee)
  4. Christmas decorating
  5. Food prep
  6. Great family time
  7. Recounting our blessings before family Bible time
Turkey trot
Maxwell Sisters

Breakfast with GiGi
Life is good
Love that smile!

Thanksgiving dinner
Danny is really camera savvy, and his smiles are the greatest!

“And in that day shall ye say,
Praise the Lord, call upon his name,
declare his doings among the people,
make mention that his name is exalted.”
Isaiah 12:4

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