A Barbecue at John and Chelsy’s!

Recently, John and Chelsy invited all the family over for a big cookout. Friends were visiting them, so I believe we numbered almost 30! We started off the evening with some relaxed games, and then John grilled hotdogs. Although the weather happened to be a bit warm, those who needed to found shade, while the others just got a little sun and played spike ball, croquet, and corn hole. At any given time, there were many conversations going on. After dinner, we opened God’s Word and had an awesome Bible time.

We’re so blessed by enjoying outdoor activities again now that a warmer season is upon us.


John grilling

Chelsy is an awesome hostess: she’s efficient and organized!

This was a little-kid-try-to-play-Spike-ball thing.

Nathan and Kyle

Bible time

Myself, Kyle, Anna, and Benjamin (aren’t Kyle’s eyes strikingly cute?!)

“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,
the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;
What is man, that thou art mindful of him?
and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”
Psalm 8:3-4

Happy Mother’s Day with a Peek Into the Past

Happy Mother’s Day to our sweet mom! I thought a special twist on this year’s post would be to share some pictures over the years of Mom.

Mothering definitely costs. It is the sacrifice of yourself. And my mom displayed that beautifully.

Mom and me in Florida.

Nathan, Christopher, and I look pretty charming here, but there was a reason after three, Dad and Mom thought they should be done.

I’m quite confident you didn’t know my mom made amazing cakes.

Mom invested so much in us: making days special, going on fieldtrips and to the park, countless hours of wonderful read-aloud times, giving us an amazing education, baking with us, and the list goes on.

Here’s proof Mom liked cats way back in the day. I had a cat ((Ginger)) who had kittens, and although I don’t remember much about it all, my mom loved those kittens.

The Lord changed my parents’ hearts regarding children–and they realized the Lord should be in control of the womb. Here’s their first reversal blessing, Joseph, pictured above.

The growing Maxwell family.

Even when it took extra time, Mom included her littles as she worked in the kitchen.

After Mary was born.

Feeding the ducks with Mary.

While these cuties look charming, they were quite the handful! 🙂

Mom has invested countless hours over the years with the Titus2 ministry, and the impact she’s had on ladies’ lives will only be measured in Heaven. I’m confident of that!

Mom with her girls, Mary, Anna, and Sarah

All eight of the Maxwell young people: the fruit of a job well done!

Mom’s favorite place to be: the mountains!

Jump forward to enjoying the blessings of grandchildren! LOVE this group!

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praiseth her.”
Proverbs 31:28

Happy Mother’s Day to our sweet, sweet Mom. We can never thank you enough for your love and care for us!

Happy Mother’s Day to my sisters-in-law: Melanie, Anna Marie, and Elissa. You are great mommies to your little ones!


I love to see the Lord provide. It’s easy to praise Him for the big things, but what about the little ones? Recently, neighbors offered us strawberry plants which they needed to be taken away from their fruit trees. Fresh strawberries are amazing, and Anna especially loves them! I remember traveling through California and stopping at a roadside stand to buy strawberries–talk about an easy way to bring an extra sparkle to Anna’s eyes.

Last week, the girls built a raised bed with scrap lumber. Since our dirt isn’t very good, we also needed quality dirt. Our city gives away compost dirt, which one guy told Dad was the best ever on his garden. Dad and the girls loaded up dirt in trash cans (hey, we need a pickup!) and put it into the van and transported it back to the garden.

The end result? Lots of strawberries plants which will produce this year since they’re not new, and it didn’t cost us anything except some work!


The humble beginning!

Friends helping.

Digging up the plants.

A once-ugly-area is now a beautiful sight to look out to from our dining room window.

“He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed;
for he giveth of his bread to the poor.”
Proverbs 22:9

When Tragedy Hits, Will You Be Prepared?

Today I want to share a guest post from a faithful reader. She sent me an e-mail, and I asked permission to use it here. I’m very encouraged to hear testimonies of how the Lord continues to use Titus2 to inspire believers all over! — Sarah

Just heard my alarm go off here in what they call a “respite room” off the Neuro ICU. I thanked God for another day He’s given me and quickly checked my phone.

I found your Susannah birthday blog post. As I read through it, my mind went back to just 6-7 short days ago, before we landed ourselves here, how that 5:15am alarm would signify that it was time to get up and dress for my 6am 5k jog on the treadmill. Before heading to sweat and pant for 30 minutes, 🙂 my first stop was always the quiet, peaceful family room, where I spend my quiet time with the Lord. During those 30-40 minutes, which ALWAYS pass by all too fast, I get to draw closer to the One Who’s saved me, transformed me from the inside out, loves me, and is still renewing me day by day. He always has something to share with me through His Word and His Spirit, and I quickly jot down all I learn, knowing that when the hustle and bustle of the day begins, writing it down will help what I learned to “lock in” so I can remember it to guide me through the day, or use it help another along their way.

When that pre-alarm goes off on my phone saying “almost treadmill time!”, I feel like I’ve been interrupted and haven’t really finished, although I know He’s called me get up, take care of my body, and be the best wife/mother I can be for these gifts He’s placed in my life.

And so goes pretty much every weekday around here. Just a normal, ordinary routine.

That’s also how last Thursday began, same as usual. When my husband kissed me goodbye that morning to go to 3 pretty basic appointments, little did I know we’d be spending the following night together in the ER, in an ambulance with lights and sirens on, and pondering the words of the doctors’ initial report: “bleeding in the brain.”

Your blog post made me really ponder how important it is to spend time with the Lord every day because His Word indeed is bread to the eater. It feeds us and nourishes us and sustains us, and will be the only thing that carries us through when calamity hits.

But beyond that, it’s also seed to the sower. Our private times with Him will also give us something that we can give to someone else, whether it’s our children that we’ll be around most of the day, an ICU nurse that doesn’t know Him, or whoever God places across our path.

What came out of Nathan and Melanie (and the rest of you) as you walked through those days is STILL giving seed to the sower today! Encouraging others, fueling their faith, proclaiming his power, and spreading the truths of the peace only He can give. 11 years later! Wow.

If I had the platform of readers that y’all had, I’d encourage them to make daily Bible and prayer time with the Lord their #1 priority in life TODAY—during the routine, repetitive day to day lifestyle. NOT when tragedy comes. Time spent in His Word is time that you’ll never regret.


Marina and family

PS – the happy ending to this story is Marina’s husband is home and doing very well.

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste!
yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”
Psalm 119:103

Random Life: Spring and Sunshine!

We’re very blessed here in Kansas! I’m thankful for the Lord’s abundant mercies and His provision.

I’m going to let the pictures mostly tell the story with a little explanation below each.

Happy Monday!


Our Resurrection Sunday group!

Benji loves Ellie, and Ellie loves the children too. She likes to keep tabs on leftover food raining down from the highchairs! Here she’s enjoying some scraps.

Anna and Mary were blessed with an opportunity to do face painting and balloons for a church event. Here Mary did a volunteer’s face before everything began!

Yes, we had temperatures in the teens! Dad and Mom love working together on projects, so on free dump day, they took scrap wood to the dump.

Shopping the after Easter sales for Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes.

Sorry I forgot to put an Arnold + Ellie picture in last random post.

This cat seriously gets himself into the most unique places. Don’t worry. I made sure he could climb out, and he did.

Beautiful sunny, cool days!

And of course, the little nieces adore Ellie.

Yep! I mentioned we had snow three Sundays in a row, and this is proof.

Nathan and Melanie took a weekend away to go to our local homeschool conference. My sisters delight in watching the kiddos, so it was a perfect combo.

Daddy time so Mommy could concentrate on the conference.

Guess who they saw?!!! Christopher and Anna Marie (who went for a morning) and Melanie’s sister.

Back at home, the aunts’ creativity reigns here. Flashlight find n’ seek for the kids’ snack.

Some Ellie training.

A marching band through our basement. Yep! Ear protection was almost needed. Quite the enthusiastic bunch!

Enjoying baby goats!

Fellowship with an out-of-state friend.

Special aunt + niece time at my fave coffee shop.

Christopher’s family celebrating Anna Marie’s birthday.

Nathan and his kiddos out for a treat.

Jesse doing yard work.

Dinner at Joseph and Elissa’s.

Jesse and Kyle

This cute dog of mine! 🙂

A kids’ song about the walls of Jericho going on right here.

Tina is a little pro at dog training. She even has Arnold watching!

Nathan’s awesome to include his kids on work projects.

Sewing project with some company!

One of my top favorite snacks at the moment: vanilla yogurt topped with granola and fun chocolate pieces.

Nathan and Anna took a run the other day (Mary and I were unfortunately busy), and look what greeted them at the end. So perfect.


You can tell how our temperatures really jumped from cool to warm (notice Ellie’s tongue). We’re soaking in the amazing sunshine!

And now, these delightful evenings to enjoy family parties outside.

Calia showing Anna her plants which she helped Mommy (Elissa) to start.

Benji is like a cuddly teddy bear. Very, very cute.

Sooooooo, I’d love to hear what your favorite thing about spring is?!

“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith
virtue; and to virtue knowledge”
(2 Peter 1:5)