Twins’ Picnic

Why do you think picnics are so special? It seems like almost everyone loves a picnic.

I read books to my children when they were little. One was The Twins’ Picnic by Mary Landis. As a grandma, I now put that book in the bag I take over for reading time with Nathan and Melanie’s children. When Abigail, who is 9, was little we discussed how much fun it would be to have a picnic like the twins’ picnic and act the story out.

We started that before 2013 because I have notes in the front of the book for that year with a special notation to check out the start year by looking back through our blog, although I have never actually done that.

We plan a day for our picnic, and I collect the supplies. On the appointed day, we start by reading the book.

Then I assign a character from the book to each grandchild, making up some new ones since there are more grandchildren than book characters. I narrate the book, and they say and act out what their character does.

I make notes in the front of the book to remind us of the previous year — things like who was old enough to participate, who played which character, and what we ate. We like to vary the menu just a little bit while still staying true to acting out the book.

I (Sarah) who took these photos for Mom got a kick out of this scene. Drew felt the need to hold the apples above his head to keep them from Ellie. LOL.

This year we had the picnic on our front porch for the first time. That was a cooler, shady place for us.

Our twins’ picnic is a simple activity for me to do with grandchildren, but it is one they enjoy and look forward to each year.

Trusting in Jesus,

“He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of
righteousness for his name’s sake” 
(Psalm 23:3).

Life is Always Precious and Equal

We decided to take the following blog comment and respond to it in a new blog post.

Dear Maxwells,

Being pregnant while also scared to have a baby is not an easy situation. I would like to know, what do you do to support women in such situations? Do you volunteer to help local single mothers who accidentally got pregnant and are struggling with their baby? Even if they are not Christians? What about pregnant women who themselves have serious health issues (for example cancer), making it difficult to carry a baby to term, are you reaching out to them? Would any of you consider adopting a baby from a woman who was assaulted and got pregnant, and did not want to raise the child? — Annie


To me, your questions come across as representative of many throughout this country who attempt to justify abortion. You mention that being pregnant while scared to have the child is not an easy situation, but that makes it sound as if the burden of guilt that a mother carries after ending the life of her child is easier. Just the other day a woman told me, with tears, of the guilt that she still had many years after her abortion. The pain doesn’t go away nor does their God forget the life of their child. Just because raising a child is difficult does not and cannot make it right to end her life.

One example I use is that those who minister for life at abortion mills are like a person who desperately tries to flag down drivers who are speeding toward a collapsed bridge. It seems to me that whether that person was able to get in the vehicle and drive the person on a detour is irrelevant to the fact that there still is danger ahead. That said, we take part and are surrounded by a group of people who care for the lives of the unborn and each of us fulfill various aspects of meeting the needs of mothers (regardless of their faith). Still, there are far too few of us: would you be willing to join?

While it may be an inconsequential detail, there is no such thing as an unplanned or accidental pregnancy. Man-made intervention does fail at times, but every person is wonderfully and intentionally made regardless of whether her parents were surprised or not.

To concisely answer your questions: yes, we reach out to all the women who seek to abort their child regardless of the difficulty of their situation, their health, or under what circumstances the child they carry was conceived. This is because we seek to love our neighbor as ourself.

It is interesting to me that you would make it sound as if abortion could be acceptable for a woman who had a grave health issue. I suspect you would also consider a firefighter, who risked, or even gave his life to enter a burning building to save someone else’s child, a hero. In the same way, shouldn’t the mom with a serious health issue be encouraged that the life of her baby is worthy of being saved, too, even if her life is in danger?  

While so many attempt to devalue the role of a mother, the truth remains that there is no greater commission. Getting help is not the concern, as it is certainly available. It is the recognition of life and the consideration that all are equal, regardless of their age, that is most essential.


“And of some have compassion, making a difference.”
Jude 22

Content in Christ: One Recipe for a Debt-Free Home, Part 1

We love to hear testimonies from young men who have chosen the less traveled and far better route of being debt-free even in purchasing a home. One such guy shared his experience with us recently. It shows how with vision, determination, hard work, and dedication, you can achieve a debt-free lifestyle. Here is Amos’ story, Part 1.

When I was about 16, I listened to your audiobook of Preparing Sons. I liked the book and believe it has had an influence on me. In addition, my family watched and was distinctly changed by Jim Sammons’ presentation of the Financial Freedom seminar. Teaching from the Bible about problems with debt was also included in my Accelerated Christian Education high school math curriculum. Perhaps the greatest influence on me came from memorizing each chapter of Proverbs when I was 13 and then memorizing the book again when I was 14 and reading it through many times in the following years.  

I grew up on a dairy farm. My siblings and I helped on the farm a lot, and Dad paid us by giving us portions from the sales of cows or by giving us calves. I used some of this money to buy beef cattle and thus got more funds. One of my brothers and I also had a lawn mowing business, and I tried never to spend money. I lived at home, used my parents’ vehicles, and didn’t buy myself hip clothing, coffee, or gadgets. I had thousands of dollars in savings by the time I got engaged. However, there is no way at 19 years old it would have been enough to go out and buy an average house.

When I got engaged, it was obvious that we’d need a place to live, and it seemed most sensible to build a house. My grandfather owned a number of pieces of farm land, and he offered to give me the land to build a house on. My grandfather got power put in to the property and set up a submersible pump in the well. He also dug a trench with his backhoe to bury the pipes and main wires to the house.

Dad and Grandpa dug a basement with tractors, and then I rented forms for basement walls from the concrete company so we could set them up ourselves and save hiring labor. We put old scrap metal in the forms instead of buying rebar. The company I bought the cement from also sold me a used concrete septic tank! My dad negotiated a good deal on lumber from a building center. I bought whole pallet loads of OSB and agreed not to return any boards from the loads they delivered. For framing the walls, I bought used boards from a man who was tearing down some old buildings. The boards were rough cut and only had four or five usable feet but they were still solid. We nailed these 4’ 2”x4”s together to make 12’ 4”x6” studs which were spaced every two feet.

Part 2 will complete Amos’ story soon!

 “but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.”
Deuteronomy 4:9