Mary’s Lettering Projects

Over the past several months, Mary has mastered two major lettering projects. I want to use this opportunity to encourage young people to learn new skills. Mary didn’t just pick up a paintbrush and letter. No. She spent hours practicing on sketch pads, studying lettering, and improving her skill set.

When Mary decided to use Jim Elliot’s quote for Dad’s present, she again thought outside the box. She contacted River Valley Woodworks, for custom barn wood. He made it the specified size and sanded it the perfect amount.

Mary first stained them and put a vignette to add dimension. To create the style she desired, Mary designed it on her computer and printed it out. She chalked the back of the paper, and laid it on the board and used a pencil to outline the top to leave a faint chalk that she could follow. The entire process required much dedication and time.

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily,
as to the Lord, and not unto men.”
Colossians 3:23

These are powerful quotes from two great men of the faith.

“He is no fool, who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
Jim Elliot, who gave his life for Jesus at the age of 28

“Only what’s done for Christ will last.” C.T. Studd

A Simple Key to Teaching Children Writing Skills

Over the years, a common question I’m asked is how I started writing. While I didn’t have any aspirations to become a writer when I was young, my mom helped develop creative writing by a simple project she incorporated into my homeschooling English curriculum.

Starting in 6th grade, every week I wrote an elderly relative or friend. I needed to make one paragraph extremely descriptive—so descriptive the reader would feel like she was there. Those letters cultivated my creative spark. When I began the Moody Family Series, those years of letter writing helped me develop scenes.

No matter what your child does with writing in the future, this letter project will not only sharpen their skills, but it will bless others.

Since I know writing is an interest for some of our readers, I’d love to share some things on that topic. If you have specific questions you’d like me to address, please leave them in the comment box below, and I’ll see about using them in a separate blog post.


Sarah Maxwell
Ellie and me

“Finally, be ye all of one mind, having
compassion one of another, love as brethren,
be pitiful, be courteous.”

1 Peter 3:8

The Second Annual Spring Grandma’s Picnic

It’s official. My mom hosted her second annual Spring Grandma’s Picnic, along with Anna, Mary, and me. This year, our number happily grew, and wow, what an awesome group of cousins!

We’ve found to do something consistently, one must plan for it, and then do it! What might the Lord be nudging you to do on a regular basis? 🙂

We enjoyed these sweet littles, each other’s company, and the blessings of spring sunshine.


After swinging and lots of energy expended on the play structure, Mom set up hopscotch.

Buddy jumped right in.

Picnic time!

Time for the three-legged races. I loved seeing the variety of pairs. This one was pretty evenly matched.

But, I will say, this: Tina + Betsy totally outdid them all.

Pretty adorable.

And these two were really cute. But they did get the last place.

You can see how far ahead of the rest they were!

Time for blindfolds.

What a special time!

“My meditation of him shall be sweet:
I will be glad in the Lord.”
Psalm 104:34

To Susannah, A Letter From Your Aunt

Dear Susannah,

Today is your 11th birthday. It’s hard to imagine you 11 years old here on earth because my memories of you are as a beautiful one-day-old baby. I think you and Bethany would have looked very similar!

Susannah, we loved you before we even knew you existed. We’d prayed for your daddy and mommy to be given a child for several years, and oh, the joy we felt when they told us about you! The days and weeks passed, a little too slow it seemed, as we were anxious for you to arrive.

One night, while we were away on a ministry trip, we got a midnight call from your daddy, saying they were on their way to the hospital. Mommy was having contractions. How far away Florida felt from Kansas at that moment! During that next month, Mommy was pretty much on bedrest. That didn’t keep you from being as active as ever, and you had well-earned the nickname Thumper.

The day came about a month later. Your birthday. You were so gorgeous: a headful of dark curls, chubby cheeks (even for a preemie!), and tiny, blush-pink lips.

Your time here lasted three short days. Days filled with hope, prayer, tears, and then releasing you to Jesus.

I want to tell you something, Susannah. Your parents are brave. It took courage to face losing their longed-for little girl, to go through grieving, and to hope again. Yet, they did. It was hard, really hard, but they walked courageously, not allowing their grief to overcome them. Eleven years later, God has given them a happy, full home with five more children. But you’re not forgotten. You’re still missed.

You’ve given me a new compassion for those who lose babies. You’ve taught me that weeping may endure for a night, and one’s heart feels like it’s been crushed, but joy comes in the morning. You were created in God’s image, a beautiful, amazing treasure on loan to us for three days.

We love you Susannah, and we can’t wait to see you in Heaven!

Aunt Sarah

“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb… And they
shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And
there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light
of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign
for ever and ever.”

Revelation 22:1&4-5

Sweet Times in God’s Creation

We’re enjoying these beautiful spring days mixed with some winter leftovers. 🙂

Anna has taken Christopher and Anna Marie’s children on walks as her schedule allows. Love these smiles below!

After a run with Nathan Friday, Mary and I joined themLydia “walking” Ellie

“Nevertheless he left not himself without witness,
in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven,
and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”
Acts 14:17