Ellie, The English Cream Golden Retriever

Last year, I asked what y’all thought Ellie would weigh when she’s full grown. Now that she closing the gap to 2 years, I thought I would answer that question.

Ellie weighs 62 pounds. 🙂 So from my original blog post, Stormie and John (from Claire’s family!) were the closest guesses. Good job!

Update: I’m excited to announce Ellie will be bred! For more information on puppies, see this link.

Ellie and me on a walk
A pretty cushy life!

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

Leavenworth County Fair: Days 1 + 2

Dropping in to give y’all a report of the first two evenings at the Leavenworth County Fair!

Opening night, Dad and I were the support team, so we walked around and handed out cards and told people where the face painting + balloons were. I loved seeing children’s excitement as they want to hurry to get to the booth! Opening night was also parade night, which afforded us great opportunities to hand out cards to those waiting.

Having a face paint design helped to attract even more people to the booth!
Dad stopping to talk to this great guy

Occasionally, we’d go check on the girls, and when the line was long, we knew we’d better take a break on the cards. I enjoyed talking to moms while they waited, and I especially loved meeting a blog reader Tuesday night. Super sweet lady! Christopher also came for part of the evening with Joshua, and Christopher helped Anna out with balloon twisting.

Blog reader and me!

The next night, it rained, so there were less people over all at the fair. John handed out cards, while I stayed in, but you know the amazing part? The girls’ line stayed steady all night! Perhaps because the rain kept more people inside?

Loved this little guy’s concentration.
I honestly don’t know how you can get more adorable than this: matching cousin puppy faces!

Anna’s cows are impressive. It’s really fun as most of these kids are into animals and showing them.

So many choices!
Gotta love the ladybug face paint and matching balloon!
The KC Royals was a popular pick Wednesday night.
Crazy hat!
Mary’s clever way of including John in the picture.
John and Mary

Anna and Mary work steadily and faithfully. They love interacting with the children, and they also love to delight them. What kid doesn’t like to get a cool face paint or an awesome balloon?

Please continue in prayer for tonight and then tomorrow as we wrap up the fair. Pray for opportunities to share Jesus and continue to shine His light. We’ve already been blessed to have some great talks about the Lord with many folks!


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the
power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth;
to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

Content in Christ: A Married Couple Works to Pay Off Their Debt

Dad began this Debt Free: Content in Christ series last September. Our desire is not only to encourage families raising sons but also to spur couples to get rid of debt. It all begins with a vision and then that follows with implementing it.

Becoming debt-free does take work, hard work at times. It means cutting back, spending less, and yes, even doing without. But living debt-free is incredible.

I recently e-mailed with a customer, and she shared something we feel would encourage those who are working to pay off debt. This lady had just purchased the Buying a House Debt-Free book and is so excited for the vision it gave her and her husband.

Houses in our city average $1.5 million, so we won’t be buying a single-family home here any time soon (although I do believe that God could chose to do a miracle, if He wanted). We feel God led us to our condo where we put 50% down, and with rapid market appreciation and paying down extra, we’re now up to 75% paid off in 3 years. We didn’t want to get into debt but the property was about 50% of what other, comparable places were selling for and our monthly expenses worked out to be only $70 more than renting. It has enabled us to continue to be generous givers (if you want to give like a rich person, you’ve got to develop the heart to give when you’re not rich) and for me to stay home with the kids. We are keen to owe no one anything except love so that we can truly be obedient to every one of God’s commandments. Pray for us to obey his EVERY word! 

Let’s build each other up in faith! 

My husband and I started on the book during the kids’ nap time, and we are ALREADY filled with fresh vision. Without vision, we’ve been feeling like we’re perishing (Proverbs 29:18).

“Where there is no vision, the people perish:
but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).

A Saturday Project

We’ve had this green “stuff” growing on our white siding for a little while. Actually, I’ve noticed it on multiple houses in our area (hint: a perfect entrepreneur side business!), and it greatly detracts from the house. Dad figured it would take bleach and using our old bus brush to get it off. Jesse and the girls offered to tackle the project Saturday. I loved watching the transformation! The dirty, green grime left with each brush stroke. Anna spent a lot of time cleaning our deck furniture too.

This reminds me of how diligent we must be to keep our hearts pure and unspotted from the world. Sin easily creeps in, and it grows and corrupts our heart and makes it dirty. When we repent, and ask the Lord’s forgiveness, our hearts are washed whiter than snow. What a beautiful picture!

Happy Monday! Please keep us in your prayers as the fair starts tomorrow. I’ll be sure to share pictures and reports with you.


Jesse and Mary
Cleaning grime off our deck furniture!

I couldn’t resist adding this picture. Mary painted Drew’s face Saturday evening, so she could add this sample to her face painting notebook for the children to choose from. She has an awesome variety!

“Wash me throughly from mine iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.”
Psalm 51:2

Annual Children’s Photos

This is a guest post by Anna Marie.

Eight years ago, as a first birthday gift, Christopher did a photo session with Abigail.

Abigail, 2009

As the years have gone by and the number of young Maxwells has increased, this has become an annual children’s photo event including all the Maxwell cousins. Christopher takes individual photos of each child.

Andrew, 2015
Lydia, 2016
Calia, 2017

Christopher also takes sibling groupings and “bonus” fun shots.

Abigail and Bethany, 2012
Abigail, Bethany, Christina, and Andrew, 2015

It’s sweet to see these two oldest cousins’ love for and capability with the younger ones.

Benjamin, Bethany, Abigail, and Daniel, 2017

We started doing a group shot in 2014, and it’s fun to see the yearly changes.


Finally, inspiration for our wrap-up photo this year comes from some news we wanted to share. Can you guess?!

We are looking forward to meeting our newest addition in February 2018, Lord willing! It’s fun to have the children increasing so much in understanding and enthusiasm. Ruthanne runs over to me and says “Good morning, New Baby!” to my tummy every morning. I’m feeling quite well (a little extra tiredness and nauseanothing like a lot of you moms go through), and we appreciate your prayers for a safe, healthy pregnancy.

Anna Marie

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not,
to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 19:14

Anna and Mary Are Home

My sisters are home! It was a joy to pick them up yesterday at the airport (John will be back later this week). There were happy tears as we welcomed them.

I especially delighted in seeing the nieces and nephews pure delight to have their aunts back.

Wow, it’s been a long time, but we’re thrilled Anna and Mary had opportunities to minister! Thank you for your prayers. We’re looking forward to ministering at the local county fair next week!


The signs Nathan and Melanie’s crew made were adorable!

We watched Nathan and Melanie’s children last night, and they had such sweet times with their aunts.

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work
and labour of love, which ye have
shewed toward his name…”

(Hebrews 6:10)