Dad’s Birthday Recap

We enjoyed special family times on Dad’s birthday.

The weather has been extremely nice and unseasonably cool the past few weeks. After personal Bible time, Dad and Mom took a walk. They’ve been clocking in extra miles due to Colorado training (yes: this is your official hint that we’re about to leave! double hooray!).

Breakfast included a delicious egg casserole.

A surprise drop-in from Nathan’s crew to sing Grandpa happy birthday.

When we have parties at our house, wow, the place rings with lots of giggles, noise, and activity!

Anna smoked meatballs in her smoker. BEYOND AMAZING!

Pumpkin pie: Dad’s favorite!

Ellie’s lazy way of tug-of-war
Liddy and Mary

We are so blessed by our godly dad and grandpa to the littles.

Can’t wait to share with you our adventures in the mountains! Stay tuned!


“The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places;
yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
Psalm 16:6

Four Ways to Make Your First Day of Homeschool A Breeze

Y’all, I’m excited. It’s back to school time! I loved those days when we were gearing up for a brand-new year.

Here are some things that could help you streamline your first day of back to homeschool. These come from watching my mom, a veteran homeschooler who experienced 30 first-days! But she would be the first to tell you they weren’t all dreamy. Through trial and error, she discovered some best practices to help her achieve peaceful days.

1. Purchase school surprises for your kiddos.

A huge highlight to me on our first day was school surprises. Simply put, Mom bought new school supplies plus some fun extras. Here are things you could purchase (and hint: it’s the weekend, so run out to the store, as I know many of you are starting next week!).

  • Notebook / binder (the more colorful and cuter for girls the better, and manly ones work well for the boys!)
  • Sticky colored tabs (we used these to mark where we were in textbooks)
  • Pencils in fun colors or mechanical pencils
  • Erasers (not the ordinary pink ones but funky colors!)
  • Rulers (those bendable, really slick ones!)
  • Coloring books for young children
  • Fun crayons (they seem to come in all shapes, sizes, and scents!) or markers for young children
  • Browse the back-to-school aisles: they are full of ideas!
  • Puzzles
  • A reading book (hint: a Moody book!)
  • Candy (yep, I really said that! what child doesn’t like candy?!)
This was Mary YEARS ago with a school surprise!
Nathan, me, Joseph, and Christopher many years ago!

2. Ask for your children’s input on their schedules, the flexible areas.

My mom was awesome with this. There were certain time slots that needed to be held to, but other times that I could plan, and I loved working on my schedule.

3. Plan a pre-first-day-of-homeschool.

School doesn’t just happen. So plan a non-actual-school day, but make it a super fun day. Make an awesome breakfast (hint: Chocolate Chip Muffins), give school surprises to the kids, go over their schedules, and play some games! To top it off, plan a special dinner so Dad can feel included to. Or, better yet, order in pizza. Now doesn’t that sound incredible?

The year 2000 school group.
The year 2000 school group.

4. Be excited yourself.

If Mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy! Put that smile on your face, and enjoy your time too. New beginnings are always fun, when they are planned for correctly and with proper expectations.

My mom is Queen of practical advice, so I encourage you to check out some of her wisdom:

Three Crucial Steps to Fruitfully Start the Homeschool Year

First Day of School

School Year Preparations

First Day of School Disaster or Success? 

Back to School

All 8 Maxwell Young People

Y’all! This is fruit! All eight of us Maxwell young people on Mary’s graduation evening.

Happy making your first day the best ever!


“So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom,
and apply thine heart to understanding.”
Proverbs 2:2

Operation Christmas Child In August!

Last Saturday, Anna and Mary and the nieces did their second annual fundraiser for the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

Our schedule has been pretty full lately, but the girls squeezed in this event. They planned an incredible breakfast: homemade cinnamon rolls (fresh, folks, as in Mary was up at 5:30am Saturday!), breakfast casserole, fruit, orange juice, and coffee. They decorated the table for Christmas, and to be honest, it DID feel like Christmas as we had cooler temperatures plus rain that morning.

I loved the thought and care put into everything. The girls served their guests, they sang a special, Bethany shared about what the shoeboxes are used for, Abby recited a passage from Luke 2, and Christina showed items from a box and how they are beneficial to children.

The family gave generously, and today, the girls are going shopping with the littles for items for the boxes! You might think November and shoebox collection week is a long way off, but now is the time to be collecting items (especially on sale!), so that you can be prepared!


Preparing the day before!
Such a cute group.
Making cinnamon rolls
The girls wore Christmas outfits!

Girl cousins

Tina went around with a box for donations.

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to
support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus,
how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Acts 20:35

Calia Takes a Trip

Calia’s personality is amazing. It’s pretty much a combination of adorable + precocious + spunky + energy. She recently went on a trip with her parents, and we think Joseph’s clever “ride” for her was just her style.

Calia makes friends easily and adores dogs!

I want to say she’s partial to Golden Retrievers, because she’s been around Ellie.

I’m not sure who Calia gets more of her personality from! 🙂

“Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord…”
Philippians 3:1

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

How grateful we are to the Lord for your life and testimony. Most wouldn’t know that in your teens, your heart was broken when your parents divorced. You didn’t know the Lord at that point either, so it was the hardest thing you’d ever experienced. But on December 5th, 1975, your life made a complete change as you repented of your sin and asked Jesus to be your Savior! I stand amazed at the godly man you are. Even though you didn’t grow up in a Christian home, you determined to learn how to raise a family for Jesus. And you did! You truly have given us a godly heritage, and every single one of us Maxwell young people are grateful for that!

If I were to describe Dad’s character/personality in six words it’d be: gentle, compassionate, dedicated, disciplined, enthusiastic, honest.

We love you, Dad! Happy Birthday!

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to
give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope
that is in you with meekness and fear.”

(1 Peter 3:15)

Through the Bible in a Year

Two years ago, Sarah wrote a stellar blog post about reading through the Bible in a year. It motivated me to read through the Bible yearly. Before that, when I read my Bible, I read for a half hour with somewhat of a planthrough the New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs and start over. Every three or four years, I read through the whole Bible. Because of Sarah’s blog post, I decided to try consistently reading through the Bible in a year.

We are usually challenged to read through the Bible in a year starting on January 1st. I didn’t want to wait for a new year, so I began on July 14, 2016 and finished on June 5, 2017. I commenced again on June 6. I keep track of it in Evernote on my computer. I like to put dates in my Bibles, but Bibles don’t hold up like they used to, and mine are regularly needing to be replaced.

Back in Genesis again, I was reminded of noteworthy details of creation that I forgot from the previous reading like God creating light and darkness on the first day before there was a sun, moon, or stars. I am intrigued that He created grass, herbs, and trees on day three when the sun wasn’t made until the fourth day.

I read about Abraham sending “his eldest servant of his house” back to his country for a wife for Isaac. I was drawn to the prayer the Eleazar prayed and God’s answer to it.

Anyone else do yearly Bible read throughs? How many have you done? When do you start?

Trusting in Jesus,

This is my great-great-great (or more!) aunt’s Bible who was a missionary. She marked her read throughs!
So sweet to see her markings of each time she read.

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for
our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the
scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).