Mount Harvard and Mount Columbia: Part 2

–With all the wedding and trip posts, I never got our 14er summits finished. But, I’m not leaving them undone. If you want to refresh your memory, here is Part 1. I’ll be sharing some Christmas pictures later, but for now, here’s Colorado!–

Team A (Joseph, John, Anna, Jesse, and Mary) saw wonderful progress and made Harvard’s summit at 7:20 local time. Pretty amazing! They enjoyed a cold and windy but beautiful summit. The clouds and sunrise made for a dramatic light show that morning.

This doesn't look so hard, but actually they had to climb a rock that required you to hold on, and if you let go, well, you don't want to go there!

This doesn’t look so hard because the picture doesn’t show the exposure to the right, but just below the summit they had to scramble a rock which proved to be one of the more interesting places of the climb.

Way to go, y'all!
Way to go, y’all!



After consulting the weather and deciding it didn’t look prohibitive, they decided to start the traverse.

IMG_7896They were one member short as John decided to head back and do some work in town. On John’s way off the summit, he made a new friend (check the picture).

Talk about a selfie! I guess the goat got the memo too.
Talk about a selfie! I guess the goat was pretty pleased too.

Meanwhile, Team B (Dad, Mom, and I) began the steep trek up one of Columbia’s slopes. It did look daunting, but we knew that step by step, we’d make progress. As we climbed, a young lady caught up to us, and we enjoyed talking. Then, she went ahead. She disappeared after awhile, which meant our path wound around the mountainside. Due to the loose rock (also known as scree), it made the climb unpleasant. I knew if it wasn’t pleasant going up, it wouldn’t be pleasant going down. But that part didn’t have to be faced at the moment. As we climbed higher, the wind grew stronger.



Back to Team A. They were attempting to accomplish what is considered a rigorous mountaineer experience.

Here you see the traverse to Columbia. Yes, it’s that far off.

They followed the cairns and light trail which generally stayed to the right of the ridge. They then crossed to the left of the ridge and descended into the basin to avoid a section of the ridge that was practically impassable.


After they started descending towards the basin, route-finding became significantly more difficult. Cairns disappeared and there was certainly no semblance of a trail to follow. When they started traversing below the ridge, the terrain became rough and they found themselves scrambling across fields of boulders the size of cars.

In many ways the back side of ridge was a bit of a box as there was no easy way to continue descending into the valley, and the best way out was over Mt. Columbia (which wasn’t visible). This element, and the fact that thunderstorms were likely coming that afternoon as evidenced by the clouds starting to develop, made the lack of navigation quite disconcerting. They prayed and asked for the Lord’s wisdom as they pressed on. It was a stretching time for them, as it was an uncomfortable feeling not knowing for sure if they were on the right route.

This is the basic they descended into to avoid the ridge.
This is the basic route they descended into to avoid the ridge.
Here Columbia’s summit is easily visible before they descended into the basin. Notice how far off it still is?

After perhaps a 1/2 hour of scrambling and pushing on, they started coming across an (very) occasional cairn, which was an answer to prayer.

I’ll finish up with Part 3 sharing the summit stories.


“I sought the LORD, and he heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.”
Psalms 34:4

Merry Christmas!

We rejoice in God’s gift: His Son, Jesus. We can’t imagine life without knowing Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior.

With love,
Steve, Teri, Sarah, John, Anna, Jesse, and Mary plus the rest of the crew


“But when the fulness of the time was come,
God sent forth his Son, made of a woman,
made under the law, To redeem them that
were under the law, that we might receive
the adoption of sons.”
Galatians 4:4-5

Building a Child’s Faith: Christmas Comes to Sunflower

I love to hear how the Lord is using Titus2. Read one e-mail we received last week. Merry Christmas!


We’ve been enjoying your book so much and it has made quite an impression on our six year old, Josiah. He was reading Christmas Comes to Sunflower to me while I did the dishes this afternoon. When he read the part about the children needing only $43, he raised his hand up in excitement and said, “This is turning into the best book I’ve ever read!” (He’s an AVID reader!) He looked on the front cover and said, “Sarah Maxwell did a GOOD job writing this book.” Later when he heard the washing machine repairman tell me that our machine was beyond repair, Josiah immediately told me, “Mom, we can do what the Moody family did.” I asked him what that was. “We can pray,” he responded.

Thanks for allowing God to use your talents for His work, impressing upon young children’s hearts (and adults) God’s Truths!



“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give;
not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7
(a verse I signed for the pre-order books:
it goes along with the theme of the story)

Posted in: Misc., Products

Health Insurance Alternative: Samaritan Ministries

Over the years, the topic of health insurance and what we do for it has come up. It’s also been a popular question in the small business session at the Energize Conference. Maybe you need health-insurance and haven’t been sure what to do. Or, perhaps your health-care dollars go to providing unethical procedures, and that’s troubled you. How would you like to be a part of a cost-sharing program where your money goes to help other Christians who have health needs?

There are several Christian health insurance alternatives (and yes, the IRS allows exemptions for Samaritan Ministries).

About 13 years ago, I joined Samaritan Ministries. I’ve loved being a part of such an amazing organization! Each month, you send your share to another family or individual who has had a need. The prices are very reasonable for an individual, couple, or a family. If you decide to join, please list my parents’ names, Steve and Teri Maxwell, as the referral. This will bless Titus2 with a credit which will help the ministry.

Although I’ve never had to submit a need, Nathan and Melanie, who are also members of Samaritan Ministries, have had needs to be shared. Samaritan Ministries has taken amazing care of Nathan and Melanie’s health-care expenses. With their preemie babies and other complications, Melanie said she’s not worried when she’s in the hospital about their medical costs.

One thing we strongly recommend is to also enroll in Samaritan’s Save to Share (for needs over $250k). It adds only a small amount every month, and it’s worth it. If you have a catastrophic need, suddenly that extra you’ve paid is nothing.

So, if you’re thinking about a health insurance alternative, check out Samaritans. All of us Maxwells are in the program. Be sure to check out the section on pre-existing conditions.

If you have questions please ask Samaritan’s directly.

They are truly a ministry. The last few months, there has been too much share money, so they’ve reduced the amount everyone has paid in by a certain %, instead of keeping the extra. Pretty incredible!

Merry Christmas!



“But my God shall supply all your need according
to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:19

Joy and More Joy

Thursday, December 11th, arrived, a day that promised to be very joyful. After untold hours of music practice over the course of many weeks and six actual “pre-performance” concerts, the community concert day dawned. We were grateful for many answers to prayer. The weather was mild (no snow!), the lead singers were cold-free, set up went smoothly, and there was just enough room for everyone who came to the concert. Praise Jesus.

We set up and practiced in the afternoon. We’ve used this same location for all three years that we have had a community Christmas concert, and although they had construction blocking the main entrance doors, it still worked out great. A little after 6 pm, the first attendees arrived. What a joy it was to see so many we knew and some we didn’t know filter into the room. By the time it was 7, the room was crowded with many people, so Nathan and some others began to set up more chairs in the back. I love seeing my family work together.

You could feel the enthusiasm from the audience as my brothers and sisters opened with their upbeat rendition of Joy to the World. Interspersed between songs, we shared testimonies, and the little ones recited Scripture.

It was such a beautiful evening! We love to share Christmas joy, and talk about Jesus, His birth, and love for mankind.

It was hard to pick out just the right pictures for this post, so I erred a bit on more than less.





Dad, Mom, and I arrived a little early, and I grabbed their picture while we waited for friends to start arriving.DSC_6380DSC_6390DSC_6396DSC_6398

Christopher and Joshua played a little harmonica duet in the middle of a song.DSC_6403DSC_6413DSC_6425DSC_6417DSC_6421DSC_6443

DSC_6453DSC_6465DSC_6468Don’t you love Tina’s stuffed animal? Tina has such a cute personality.


Wide angle from the front row.




I was going to do a quick family picture for C&A, and Tina jumped in the shot. She was too cute to ask to not be in. I told you she has quite the personality: why miss out on a fun picture with your aunt and uncle? Then, the next collage happened. I wanted to get a picture of the almost-twin cousins, but getting two 2 year olds to stand next to each other after a long evening proved to be a little challenging, especially for Joshua. DSC_6646


He was all done at this point.

DSC_6657DSC_6661Drew was tuckered out too. So sweet.

A very special thanks to each in the group who put so much time and effort into the concert.


Jesse: Mr. Creativity, group leader, song arranger (we’re talking no sheet music), plays keyboard, sings


Joseph and Elissa: Joseph plays guitar, play mandolin on one song, sings lead/Elissa plays guitar, rhythm shaker, sings harmony


John: Banjo guy, all-around-lively-guy, offers moral support (as in keeps everyone laughing), sings


Anna: Plays fiddle, sings lead and harmony


Mary: Plays bass, sings lead and harmony


Me (Sarah): Photographer 😉

“But Mary kept all these things,
and pondered them in her heart.”
Luke 2:19

Bringing Christmas Cheer

Wednesday, the day before the concert, we brought Christmas cheer to some elderly friends. It was truly a joy to share with them.

Elissa had a bit of a cold, so she stayed back, and we really missed her (especially one certain person).

After countless hours of practice and then six trial-runs for the concert, we were ready to move on to the real thing: Thursday evening. That post will be up next.



Quite the array of walkers!


A friend was very sweet to grab my camera when I went to play Carol of the Bells with the rest.DSC_6131DSC_6136DSC_6149DSC_6159DSC_6166DSC_6169DSC_6175DSC_6178

Praying before starting!DSC_6183DSC_6197

“… To visit the fatherless and widows
in their affliction, and to keep himself
unspotted from the world.”

James 1:27