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

Beef Liver Dog Treats

I’ve posted about Ellie’s dog treats before. They are highly effective for training and motivating a dog. I recently saw the price drop, so I ordered another bucket. I’ve never seen the price this low ($20.95), and who knows how long it will last. Ellie would give you her stamp of approval.

Here’s the link on Amazon. (Titus2’s affiliate link, so you can read our disclosure here.)


“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast…”
Proverbs 12:10

Spring Back to Winter

We’ve had quite the week. From the tornado sirens going off Monday night when a strong storm was in our county capable of producing a tornado to snow today. Yep. So I have to erase my words on no more down coat for this season. I’ve had to wear it twice lately. The flowering trees burst forth this past week due to our lovely temperatures, but with the cold and snow, we’re bidding them a short good-bye.

I’m so thankful for our Lord who creates times and seasons. What a beautiful reminder that the Lord supplies our every need. Psalm 146:15-16: “The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.”

Watch for a post soon with Benjamin’s newborn photos. I can’t wait to share. He’s simply adorable.


Monday the girls and aunts enjoyed a walk and the beautiful flowering trees.

Content in Christ – Debt Free House – Part 1

We are excited when we hear stories of young men who have committed themselves to debt-free living and then are able to purchase their first home debt free. That is the theme of our book Buying a House Debt Free. We are delighted to share this story with you about a young man who read that book and was inspired. Our hope is that his story will inspire you and your children.

Our 2nd born son, Mark, began courting last October. The courtship is going well, and he and the young lady he is courting are ready to get engaged once he has purchased a house.  

Mark lives at home and is an air conditioning mechanic working on commercial refrigeration in Jacksonville. We live in a small rural community north of Jacksonville.

Mark has saved a significant amount of money but not near enough to buy a new house or buy a piece of land with the intent to build. 

He remained committed that he would pay cash for the best deal he could find. We did much praying and looking and helped him look. The Florida real estate market is such that prices are typically overpriced. n Mark’s case, this meant the best he could find was a used mobile home on a couple of acres.

We looked at nothing but HUD foreclosures in Nassau County (north and west of Jacksonville). In some cases, these were 20 to 30 miles from our residence. Mark has great building skills and helped me build a 2-story addition in 2011, so gutting and fixing a foundation home or mobile home was not beyond his skill level.

This story will be continued in another blog post.

“It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth” (Lamentations 3:27).