Mixing Night–Please Pray

Dad, Joseph, and Jesse are headed into the recording studio now (9 p.m.). There was an opportunity to go in a night earlier then scheduled. Please pray for their traveling safety, as a winter storm has begun and will continue over the next thirty-six hours.

Please also pray for their time at the studio as they listen to the mixing and give input! Please pray for the Lord to give them His strength.

Rejoicing in my Savior,
Sarah for the rest

“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalms 17:8).

Pushup Challenge Question

We received this as a question:

“What do I do if I can’t even do 1 beginner pushup? I know that sounds pathetic, but I really tried and I guess I just don’t have much arm strength.. I know I need this exercise, and my husband thought it’d be a nice way for us to begin family exercise, but I am unsure how to start.”


Good question. It’s not pathetic at all. Arm/shoulder strength isn’t a given in anyone; and there are probably more people in your boat than you realize.

To make pushups easier we need to minimize gravity. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Here are some options:

Try in front of your stairs. Stand or kneel (depending on ability), and then lay against the stairs. Put your hands on the stair that hits just below your shoulders and try a pushup.

Or, stand upright in front of a wall. Move your feet back 2-4′ depending on your ability. It will be more difficult the farther you stand from the wall. Keep your body straight, lean forward to where your forehead touches the wall, and push back. You might want to mark the floor where you will be standing each time.

Any other questions?

God bless,


“That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:6

Pushup Challenge Update

We had someone email us and tell us that much of the text in the Pushup Challenge – Details post was cut off! We worked very hard to get that post up on time and then were disappointed that technology had thwarted us. Oh well.

There are pictures and text at the bottom of the post that are important. Most will need to refresh the page (refresh button or control F5) to get it to correctly load. If you are still having problems, let us know.


Posted in: Misc.

Pushup Challenge – Details – Begins Feb. 1st

Let me start by saying this is a tough post to write. Ideally this blog post will be:

• Short

• Answer tons of questions

• Make perfect sense regardless of your skill/fitness level

• Adequately prepare you for the next 28 days of pushups.

Please read the entire post before starting anything.

A Word of Caution

The goal of this challenge is fitness, not injury. You need to listen to your body. Pain (usually sharp) is your body telling you something is wrong; it’s a warning signal. Stiffness and pain are different incidentally. You’ll probably have stiffness.

We would encourage you at no point should you go to total, complete exhaustion. If 100% is complete exhaustion, try to stop at around 75-85%. How do you know where that is? Frankly that’s hard to say, and it varies for each person. Listen to your body. Pushing yourself is good, doing pushups when you’re tired is good, but knowing when to take a break is critical.

Anything I should know before starting?

Most fitness professionals will encourage you to warm up. A quick Google search on “how to warm up exercise” will provide a plethora of information. As Maxwells, we don’t do a lot of stretching because there is increasing evidence that static stretching causes problems. But, to warm your muscles up for 3-5 minutes or so is a good thing.

Step 1- Where are you at?

Let’s find a starting point. How many pushups can you do unbroken? Unbroken? Meaning, without having to take a break. I just hit the floor and tested mine, 31. My face is flushed, and I’m breathing heavier than I was a few minutes ago. To restate from a previous post, this is not a competition; it’s fine wherever you’re at. Melanie’s is 16 (beginner type). Please comment on this blog post with your first name, last name initial, and your number of unbroken pushups. It would be great if families posted together in the same comment.

Step 2 – Start at the correct level.

We have attempted to put forth three levels that take into account where you are at and build from there. Will everyone fit into one of these perfectly? No. More on that below. This table provides suggestions on when/how to increase. You do pushups each day, for Levels 2 and 3, the number increases daily. For Level 1, it increases every other day. If in doubt, choose Level 1.

Column 2Column 3Column 4Column 5
Initial UnbrokenFeb 1 Starting NumberDays to IncrementIncrement  by Number
Level 1<10321
Level 210-25511
Level 3>251012

Let’s look at the above table closer. Column 2 helps you place yourself in a Level. Column 3 shows how many pushups we suggest you begin with on February 1. Column 4 shows when you increase your pushups – Level 1 every other day, Levels 2 and 3 every day. The final column shows how many pushups we are suggesting you increase by.

Let’s put the above in sentence format.
Level 1 starts with 3 pushups on the 1st of February and the 2nd of Feb. On February 3rd and 4th, he/she does 4 pushups, and on the 5th and 7th, 5 pushups…
Level 2 starts at 5 pushups on Feb 1st, Feb 2nd is 6 pushups, the 3rd of Feb is 7 pushups….
Level 3 starts at 10 pushups, and adds two per day. Feb 1st one would do 10 pushups, Feb 2nd, 12 pushups, Feb 3rd 14 pushups….

Any caveats on the schedule?

Yes, Sundays. We Maxwells have made a decision to set Sunday apart. Part of that involves not exercising on Sundays. For this pushup challenge, we don’t count Sunday as a day. Numbers don’t go up, and no pushups are done.

Level 1 What if Level 1 looks too hard? Or, what if I can’t do a normal pushup?

Use what we will call beginner pushups. If you have trouble doing regular pushups, why don’t you pushup, pivoting at the knee instead? My wife Melanie will be doing beginner pushups. If you start the month doing beginner pushups, I’d suggest you stay with that movement through the duration of the month. To change styles mid-way will make progress hard to measure. Instead, wait till the end of the month, and then see how many regular pushups you can do. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Level 3 What if it looks too easy for me?

Great!! Let’s figure out how to make it more challenging. You can do what I do, and briefly bring your hands off the floor. Here’s how that works, start at the top of a pushup, drop down to the bottom. While body is against floor, briefly pull hands off floor, hands back on floor, and push back to the top.

Or, why not insert some clapping pushups? Maybe make your first 5-10 clapping. Or, make every other pushup clapping.

What if I can’t do all the pushups at once? Can I take breaks?

Sure. That’s a good idea. The goal of this is to build strength. That means your arms need to be tired. If you have to do 20 pushups, and it takes you 30 minutes, you’re either doing too many or stretching things out to far. You can break things up in a way that works for you. Here are a few suggestions. Divide your total number for the day by 2, 3 or 4, and take a 15-30 second break between sets. For example, you are planning to do 24 pushups and want to break them into three sets. You’d do 8 pushups, rest 15-30 seconds, do 8 pushups, rest again, and then the final 8. Or, try to complete 30-50% unbroken, and break the remaining up into 2-4 sets.

By month end will I be able to do (Level 1 – 15, Level 2 – 28, Level 3 – 56) unbroken pushups?

Maybe not. The goal is for the numbers to increase quicker than your unbroken number does. As your quantity keeps going up, hopefully your unbroken count will trail it, but it won’t keep up.

Also, as an aside, those that consider themselves fit will see less progress. Hopefully you’ll still see progress, but muscles that are already strengthened build slower, it’s just the way it is.

What is proper form?

Here’s what we suggest. Body stays straight, bottom of the pushup has the chest and waist touching, or almost touching, the floor. Top is arms locked out/straight. Here are some pictures to demonstrate. If you want to do them differently, that is fine.

Continue reading to the bottom.

Correct form top position (child is optional - grin)
Correct form down position
Front view down position
Notice Melanie is demonstrating beginner form
Variation with hands off of the floor in the down position. This is the one I will be doing.Â

Where do we go from here?
To restate, please respond to this post with your first name, last initial, and quantity unbroken right away. Please one post per family listing all who are participating. Beyond that, we’ll put a post up on Feb 10th asking for some information as to where you’re at. That post will have all the needed details. We begin on February 1st.


“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:20


What a great response to the test post on a fitness challenge!! We’re ready to go on our side. We grabbed a few pictures the other night to set out some suggestions on proper form, and they will be with the next post. A rough plan has been completed to cover the next 90 days; we’re looking forward to it.

As Dad did in his initial post, I would like to again provide a bit of encouragement in a few areas.

First, balance. Scripture says that “bodily exercise profiteth little.” We see that there is benefit in exercise, but according to Scripture, it is minimal. Our bodies are Christ’s temple; they are what He indwells. But, our spirit is what will live forever. Therefore, to neglect what is important for that which isn’t would not be a good thing. For someone to get their pushups in for the day, but miss their time with the Lord would show misplaced priorities.

Secondly, we are not wanting this to be a catalyst that encourages joining of gyms. We’re sure some will disagree with this, but we don’t see gyms as a wholesome environment for Christians. Between the modesty, music, and TV, they aren’t edifying. Therefore, our challenge is to encourage physical fitness that can be accomplished at home.

Thirdly, we desire to build the body, not injure it. With exertion there is the possibility of injury if there are existing physical problems or poor form/execution of the exercise. Please be sure you have correct form, and if you have any concerns or questions about your current health status, check with your physician. We won’t consider stiffness an injury. (smile)

And last, this is not a competition. We are not competing against each other. It is an “as iron sharpeneth iron” environment where we can encourage each other to improve. We’re not competing. The goal of this is to provide a forum for interaction, accountability to push on, and programming that makes it accessible for everyone in a family environment.

Scripture says that a threefold cord is not easily broken. I’m looking forward to being a part of that cord with you over the next 90 days.

Watch the blog as the next post will describe how it will work and give you the opportunity to measure your current ability. Look for it Thursday or Friday!


“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

A family team
Abby’s little stuffed animals were going to take a turn riding.

Encouragement for Today

A Kansas Hillside

“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:7-12).