Excitement Abounds: Can You Guess?

I’ll give you a hint. We surprised a certain person this morning with the news.

Come one, come all. Let the guessing begin!

Love,
Sarah

Friday morning update: You all are great guessers, and the guesses are accurate, but we have another piece of the puzzle that’s not being put in quite right. I’d like a specific — it’s the real reason for this trip. Keep at it. Someone is going to nail this, I know!

Friday afternoon update: Congratulations, Daybreaking, you guessed it. Read her comment to see what the answer is.

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“Give her of the fruit of her hands;
and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
Proverbs 31:31

Blessing Elissa and Baby

One of our sweet neighbors, who also came to Joseph and Elissa’s wedding, wanted to throw a baby shower for Elissa.

Mrs. K (the neighbor) and Mom planned the event and enjoyed working together. Anna and Mary helped with invitations, food, and decorating.

The almost-four hour shower was full of joy. We had a special devotion by Mom; Elissa’s mom shared funny moments from E’s childhood; we played three games; we fellowshipped; we ate; and Elissa opened gifts. Whew!

Babies are such a joy, and it was exciting to welcome this little one to Joseph and Elissa’s family!

Love,
Sarah

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Mrs. K is on the left, sharing our beginning instructions.

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Mom's devotion
Mom’s devotion
The expectant mama
The expectant mama
The moms praying for Elissa and Baby
The moms praying for Elissa and Baby
Elissa's mom sharing funny moments
Elissa’s mom sharing funny moments
This game involved dividing into two teams. You had to hold the baby doll, talk on the phone, and pin clothes onto the line.
This game involved two teams. You had to hold the baby doll, talk on the phone, and pin clothes onto the line. The next person didn’t have to pin them on but rather take them off. Whichever team got done first, won. It was quite a loud game, with lots of cheering going on.
Even Bethany and Tina helped. They worked together as one person. Anna gave one the phone and the other the baby. So cute.
Even Bethany and Tina helped. They worked together as one person. Anna gave one the phone and the other the baby. So cute.
Abby managed hers all by herself.
Abby managed hers all by herself.

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Such a cute baby stroller!
Such a cute baby stroller!
Anna and Mary were great help with the food.
Anna and Mary were great help with the food.
Joy!
Joy!
Another game was to feel items in the diaper bag and then try to write down what you felt.
Another game was to feel items in the diaper bag and then try to write down what you felt.
Food time!
Food time!

Drew really enjoyed himself and loved exploring a new house.
Drew really enjoyed himself and loved exploring a new house.
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Talk about some action here.
Bethany, with her mommy's help, made burp cloths.
Bethany, with her mommy’s help, made burp cloths.
Abby knit a hat and is working on another for when the baby is older.
Abby knit a hat and is working on another for when the baby is older.
One of Elissa's sisters made her a beautiful diaper bag.
One of Elissa’s sisters made her a beautiful diaper bag.
Mom and Ruthie
Mom and Ruthie
I told you there was action. How can there not be with so many littles ;)?
I told you there was action. How can there not be with so many littles ;)?
You don't have to take many guesses to figure out which aunt gave this creative gift.
You don’t have to take many guesses to figure out which aunt gave this creative gift.

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The coordinators with the mama
The coordinators with the mama
The two moms and Elissa
The two moms and Elissa
Maxwell girls!
Maxwell girls!
I realized this was the entire bride/bridesmaid lineup 11 months ago.
I realized this was the entire bride/bridesmaid lineup 11 months ago.

“Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer,
and he that formed thee from the womb,
I am the LORD that maketh all things;
that stretcheth forth the heavens alone;
that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.”
Isaiah 44:24

Keeping Track of Memories Is Important

Through our almost 41 years of marriage, Steve has made it a priority to nurture our relationship, give me a break from my normal household responsibilities, and figure out ways for us to have very special time for the two of us in the midst of raising a large, growing family.

I have a treasured file on my computer that lists any time that Steve and I have had a night or more away—just the two of us—the last 23 years. Would you believe when I counted, I have 39 different occasions? That averages more than 1.5 get a-ways for the two of us per year. Some of those we would have forgotten without the list.

Regrettably for the first 17 years of our marriage, I didn’t keep track of those outings. During the early years of our marriage, weekends away for the two of us were perhaps even more precious because we had to hire a babysitter in order to leave home. I wish I had a listing of those times as well. 

I want to encourage you to keep memory lists—pretty easy with computers—of special events you want to be able to recall such as husband/wife retreats. It might seem at the moment that you will never forget, but 25 years later, memories aren’t quite what they used to be!

You might want to keep track of visits to grandparents or their visits to your home. Perhaps it is a listing of where and when you vacationed. You will likely have a photo record, but how easy is it over the course of a 50-year marriage to remember what year you vacationed and where you went based on combing back through photos?

I have even begun to keep a list of birthday and Christmas gifts I receive each year and who each was from. I use that list to mark when I write a thank you note for the gift, in addition to the ongoing record it provides for the future. I have been known, without keeping track, not to remember whether I wrote a thank you note for a specific gift or not.

I am sure you can come up with areas in your life that you would like to have a record concerning. Even if you didn’t start right at the beginning, now is better than never. Even though I don’t have the record of our first 17 years of Steve and my outings, I am very grateful for the 23 years that I do have. Had I not started then, I wouldn’t have what I have.

Some prefer pretty journals and pens over the computer for memory tracking. Amazon has some beautiful ones. The Amazon link is an affiliate one. Read our disclosure/privacy policy here.

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

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This is how I feel when Steve plans our special get aways:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ
also loved the church, and gave himself for it”
(Ephesians 5:25).

Joseph and Elissa’s Baby Update

Hello!

Just wanted to give you a few photos I took last week of Joseph and Elissa and Baby. Time is quickly counting down until Baby makes his/her appearance. The baby is doing well and growing. Elissa is past 30 weeks now. We are grateful for your prayers during these last weeks.

Love,
Sarah

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“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD:
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.”
Psalm 127:3

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy birthday, Dad! We love you so much. You are an amazing man of God. Your desire to be used of Him with every fiber of your being is an encouragement not only to your family but also to dads across the world. Thank you for being an example!

Dad’s personality: gentle, compassionate, giving, transparent, thoughtful

Happy birthday! We love you!

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“Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way of sinners,
nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
Psalms 1:1-2

First Day of School Disaster or Success?

Thirty years of homeschooling means we have had thirty first days of homeschool.  Would you believe that in the beginning, I regularly ended up in tears by the end of that particular day? I expected an exciting, productive, energized day getting back to school with my children. Instead it turned into frustration, bad attitudes, and most of what was scheduled was not accomplished UNTIL . . . the Lord showed me the secret to success. I needed to have a first day of school before my real first day of school!!

The reason my first day of school failed was because we would:

  • Have a special breakfast – more prep and clean up
  • Have first-day-of school surprises at the breakfast table – needed to be put away before school started
  • Take first-day-of school photos – more grooming and time necessary plus the time for the individualized photos for each child
  • Hand out new school books – not part of accomplishing the day’s lesson
  • Set up school notebook – very time consuming
  • Discuss assignment sheets and daily assignment expectations – more time not given to the day’s lesson.

All of those were very special parts of our first day of school, and we truly enjoyed each of those pieces. However, doing them on the first day of school meant that we didn’t have enough time to accomplish our math, English, history, and other studies that day. Therefore the children felt behind before we started, I was disappointed that the schedule didn’t seem adequate, and the day ended with less-than-joyful spirits all around.

Then the Lord gave me the idea of having a pre-first day of school. We did all of those special activities on a day before I wanted to really begin school. In doing that, I quickly discovered they took a whole day to do.  It was a delightful day accomplishing those things without trying school work too. On the real, true first day of school, we were ready to roll with our full-fledged academic work. Smiles, productivity, and an accurate schedule – it was so much better than the tears from the past.

If you are getting ready to start your homeschool year, maybe you and your children would be blessed by a pre-first day of school that you fill with all the memory making activities and organizational tasks that you have tried to fit into your first day of school on top of academics. I think you will love the results!

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

PS-Sarah gathered some old and new pictures of Maxwell beginning-of-school days. The pictures are not necessarily from the same year, but we did list them in order from Nathan down to Mary.

Nathan, Sarah, and Christopher in the early years
Nathan, Sarah, and Christopher in the early years
Nathan
Nathan
Christopher
Christopher
Sarah
Sarah
Joseph
Joseph
John
John

anna

Jesse
Jesse
Mary
Mary
The younger five
The younger five
When Mary was the last student, and she didn't need any supplies, her treat was chocolate. Can't go wrong with that (especially if you're a Maxwell girl).
When Mary was the last student, and she didn’t need any supplies, her treat was chocolate. Can’t go wrong with that (especially if you’re a Maxwell girl).
Mary's last school picture.
Mary’s last school picture.

“Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go:
keep her; for she is thy life.”
Proverbs 4:13