An Explanation for Little Ears

I’m delighted to share with you a special guest post from Anna Marie on a pertinent topic. We’re approaching the monumental Roe vs. Wade decision that has cost over 60 million lives. As conservative parents, how does one explain this to children? 


After the Life Chain blog post, a question came up about how we tell our children about abortion. Before answering “how,” which is pretty basic, we want to first say “why” we feel it’s important.

Children naturally desire to understand the world around them. As parents, we want to give them accurate answers to their questions, and also volunteer information to them that will help them be successful in life and better able to discern good from evil. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished” (Proverbs 22:3). The young man described in Proverbs 7 was “a young man void of understanding.” At the same time, we remember the admonition in Romans 16:19 to be “wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.” Simple concerning evil doesn’t mean someone does not know what evil is and that evil exists, but rather that they are unmixed with and harmless regarding the details of that evil.

So how we do this with abortion? Our children are all young and are satisfied with quite basic answers. They know that babies grow inside of a mommy’s tummy, and we’ve told them that some mommies do not want their babies to be born and go to a certain kind of doctor who kills the baby inside of the mommy. This is called abortion. We love little babies, and it’s very sad when that happens. The children understand the concept and this naturally leads to family prayer for needs we hear of from those who are involved in pro-life ministry–often praying for mommies who are in difficult situations.

Love,
Anna Marie

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made:
marvellous are thy works;
and that my soul knoweth right well.”
Psalm 139:14

Random Life for all the Maxwells

I want to share random life pictures over the past few weeks. We’ve settled into a slower pace after the busyness of the holidays and wedding, but also, quite a few of the family (including the extended family) have battled the flu! It just makes one more grateful for feeling well when you’ve been pretty sick.

We’ve enjoyed beautiful snow mixed with frigid temperatures. God is good all the time, and we rejoice in His blessings. Enjoy a peek into life!

Love,
Sarah

Before we left for the wedding, Cathy Jo and Anna made treats for a honeymoon gift.
John opened Cathy Jo and her family’s gifts before he left. They were so creative!
The morning we left, Cathy Jo, bless her heart, vacuumed John’s car.
A quick picture with a friend before leaving Iowa.
Fellowship with sweet friends: a girls’ lunch!
Learning a new game
With John’s leaving, Jesse rearranged the area and moved his desk into the corner where John’s bed had been. Jesse showing us his new area.
Kansas City is famous for barbecue, so we took Cathy Jo to JackStack when we had a girls’ afternoon out.
Coffee!
Had to take Cathy Jo by IKEA! We girls toured the kitchens and enjoyed talking about aspects we liked/disliked on certain setups.
Saying good-bye to CJ at the airport
One needs a bit of explanation on this one. Mary was actually trying to spot Cathy Jo past security, when this lady walked by to pet Ellie. Thus the disparity on height. Pretty great capture, Anna!
Soup for one sick with the flu
Baking with Aunt Mary
Sweet Melanie reading to her sick kiddos. Some days call for pajama days!
Mary drew this for Liddy as a thank you, and I had to capture a picture. WAY CUTE!
I drew Joshua for the little kid Christmas draw, and I wanted something to encourage his thinking skills. This robotic mouse has been perfect!
Family outing for the Christopher Maxwell’s!
Ellie trying to share with Arnold
We met our friends for lunch last week (we each drove a distance)–sweet times of fellowship. We missed Anna who was still really sick with the flu.
The moms
Snow!
Jesse and me after shoveling

“I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait,
and in his word do I hope.”
Psalm 130:5

Caroling in Real Life

One of the joys of our blog is hearing from YOU. So when we received this e-mail below, we couldn’t help but smile and share it. This reader we’ve loved for years (and met in person!), and she gave permission for us to use her story. Totally down to earth and amazing writing! 


Well, we did it. WE CAROLED. In true Team E fashion. Nothing about this adventure was particularly elegant, but a lot of fun was had! The children chose the slowest, longest carols out of the songbook and practiced them. The dirge-like sounds that filled the house were music to only God’s ears! Then they picked some peppier carols, thank goodness, because no one should be subjected to all seventeen-gazillion verses of The First Noel against their will. Then we made cookies of varying sorts; have you heard of chocolate crinkle cookies? They’re supposed to have a lovely cracked-powdered-sugar look. Supposed to!

We picked the street nearest us with the fanciest light display and trotted off bearing baggies filled with cookies. Everyone had hats and coats and mittens THAT MATCHED which means I’m an excellent mother. We didn’t warn anyone we were coming, and at a few houses we just sang in the driveway, unheard—but that was good, for various melodious reasons—and prayed for those houses anyway. How can you not feel prayerful when you’re singing Hark the Herald?! One or two folks were home, and they got cookies AND hugs (our youngest is a hugger), and one neighbor said she’d been caroling before but had never been caroled TO. (She seemed to indicate this was a blessing. And she took the cookies.) Our son was happy to tromp through the snow to deliver cookies on the doorsteps of people who weren’t home. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the fancy front doors aren’t necessarily where one enters the house up here; New Englanders often enter through the back or side door and leave the front door for show. But I hope they got found anyway! Otherwise, mice. Hmm, maybe I should do a drive-by and check …

Anyway, we had so much fun we got in the car and drove to a widow friend of ours, who greatly appreciated our carols, and then to another family who are empty-nesting. I didn’t realize what a lost tradition it is, at least in our cold, dark neck of the woods!

The kids want to make it a tradition. I’m all for it! I might even plan stuff in advance! Thanks for the inspiration.


Wasn’t that amazing? If you’ve been inspired from something (anything!) on the blog, we’d love to hear about it.  We’re excited to share what the Lord’s doing here at the Maxwells and Titus2.

Love,
Sarah

“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in
Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God
ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.”
(1 Thessalonians 1:8)

John and Chelsy Maxwell’s Wedding

The day dawned early for some and cold for all. We girls arrived at the church about 7:30 to get ready. The single and newlywed bridesmaids got ready first, and then the mommies showed up a little later.

The girls and Cathy Jo sang songs.

They also made sure to practice the whole-walking-down-the-aisle thing.

Coffee also arrived with a very kind brother of ours, so a peppermint mocha with the needed caffeine gave a delightful boost. Mom, Anna, Mary, and I helped with the little kiddos, and then, suddenly, things switched into high gear. All the children needed to be dressed, hair fixed, bridesmaids totally ready for pictures, etc, etc. If you haven’t experienced being IN a wedding, well, I hope you get the opportunity. It’s really such a special thing!

We are grateful for the Lord’s protection. On John’s way into the wedding, his truck hit ice on a bridge, and he slid sideways across it. The oncoming vehicle managed to pull off onto the shoulder, avoiding an accident. Wow! Praise the Lord for His mercy.

Anyway, back to the wedding morning. The photographer did a great job of working with such a huge bridal party. Most of the pictures finished about noon, and then we grabbed a quick lunch in the basement. Although I have to say, at this point, I didn’t have much of an appetite. The day’s excitement and reality of what’s happening hits about this point. At least for me!

My oldest brother, Nathan, and his youngest, Benji!
My oldest brother, Nathan, and his youngest, Benji!
Joshua looking very sharp

The five Maxwell brothers
Chelsy!
The bridesmaids with Chelsy
Chelsy and Anna

Our lovely friend, Cathy Jo, totally blessed us. She helped Christopher and Anna Marie with their children.

My parents

John and Chelsy’s goal for the wedding was for the Lord Jesus to be honored and glorified. Another goal they had was for each guest to feel welcomed and loved. As their wedding party, we were their ambassadors, so we enjoyed mingling with the guests and talking. John was also greeting guests. People invested so much to come. They drove through bad weather and traversed many miles.

My dad’s sister and her husband

Ten minutes before 2, it was time for all the bridesmaids, flower girls, and bell ringers to gather in the back room. I figured we had awhile to wait–I knew John was giving a welcome. We talked, and prayed, and talked. And tried to relax.

Moments before the wedding

But suddenly, it was time. The doors swung open, and we quickly became a jumble of trying to get in line. With 14 bridesmaids, and going in the opposite order, well, you have to think quick.

I quickly followed Anna, and stood in the back of the sanctuary. Everything blurred together: the music playing, the wedding coordinator giving instructions for when to begin walking, and realizing the time had come. John stood at the front beaming!

The flower girls and bell ringers made for an adorable group.

The ceremony began with two congregational songs, with Chelsy accompanying. How sweet to have a bride play the piano with her groom sitting next to her!

Mr. Bontrager shared a message, and the most powerful part was when he talked about the blessing of children and allowing the Lord to choose the number a family has. The Lord’s done a mighty work in our family, because I was supposed to be the last child. God changed my parents’ hearts, and they allowed the Lord to plan their family after a seven year gap. Mr. Bontrager said there wouldn’t have been a wedding if that hadn’t been the case. Joseph, Anna, Jesse, and Mary stepped forward, and tears sprang to my eyes at the amazing, beautiful picture of God’s mercy.

John and Chelsy exuded such joy as they became husband and wife. There were two slight issues, though. When it came time for Chelsy’s personalized vows, she said she didn’t have them. So, off she and John ran to go try to find them. They couldn’t locate them, so Chelsy read them on John’s phone. Well, she got part way through, and his phone popped up with a warning that the battery was about to die! Thankfully she did get to finish. She told us later she still doesn’t know where the vows went!

I knew one of the best men was up to something when I saw a pair of scissors in his back pocket. Sure enough, at the ring time, when asked for it, he couldn’t produce the ring. A drone came flying in from the back, with Chelsy’s ring attached! Much laughter followed, and Joseph cut the ring off when the drone flew to the front.

A special part of the ceremony came when John explained to Chelsy that as he’d thought of what he could give her to symbolize giving his earthly goods to her, he wanted to give her a key to his house. It was now their house. A very special moment as he presented her that key.

The new Mr. and Mrs. John Maxwell!

Some of us in the bridal party dismissed the guests by rows. Then, people headed for the reception site, about 20 minutes away.

When we arrived, the reception bustled with activity. But somehow, everyone fit! Dinner was taco soup and cheesecake for dessert. After eating, people shared memories of John and Chelsy, and then John thanked everyone for coming. Following that, the reception hall turned into a big fellowship event!

Saying good-bye to a friend who came a long distance

These are my amazing sisters: playing games with the little kids at the reception.

The send off!

The guys did an incredible job decorating. The best part was the inflatable.

We are grateful to the Lord for a beautiful day to celebrate John and Chelsy becoming husband and wife.

Love,
Sarah

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother,
and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Genesis 2:24

 

Christmas Day Recap

I know, I know. You probably want some wedding pictures, but I don’t have our iPhone captures ready yet. Watch for them Monday! In the meantime, I’ll share with you our Christmas Day. The extended family came over on Saturday, the 23rd, but on Christmas Day proper, our immediate family celebrated. The last time with John single.

To begin with, we did our traditional 12 days of Christmas WOD. Jesse planned the workout, and it was great! We missed Mary, who had just started a cold, so she opted that it was better to pass.

Another tradition is the guys make breakfast. While they cooked, we girls enjoyed a game and coffee. The guys did an excellent job of sausage gravy, biscuits, and scrambled eggs. We enjoyed lingering over breakfast and just talking.

Then, on to gifts. Since we don’t have any little kids in the home, we took our time. I love to see the thoughtfulness and planning that goes into each gift.

I’m grateful for the Lord’s blessing of family!

Love,
Sarah

I know who this picture was for!

This is the new place Arnold likes to be.

John and Anna often disguised their gifts to each other, and John carried on the tradition again.

Anna received a new exercise mat, and John began a sit up contest with her. He won.

A little bluetooth speaker, perfect for listening to the Bible and music!

Matching down vests for Mom and Dad!

Mary and Jesse made this for Dad. Hours and hours of love went into this beautiful piece.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot

Jesse received a Henry Morris study Bible.

John, Anna, Jesse, and Mary gifted Mom with the decorations on the end table (lamp and the other items). It’s wonderful!

Hmmm. Nothing like giving Dad shoes//and lots of them! You know how shopping is: you can order multiple styles and sizes to find one that works.

“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)