Grandma’s Bookbag – Acting It Out

If you have read our blog for more than a year, you probably know that we have a yearly tradition of acting out one of the books in Grandma’s Bookbag. The Twins’ Picnic is a lovely Rod and Staff book describing twins who want to have a picnic and how their mom responds and helps them with the picnic.

For our re-enactment, we start by reading the book together. Then we act the story out page by page. When the children were younger, I was Mother and two of the children were the twins. When there were more children, we improvised characters by adding more children in and giving them “S” names to go with the twin names, which were Stanley and Susie. 

Now there are so many children that I am only the director, and we have a narrator, mother, and each of the twins plus the younger grandchild who just hangs around until it is time to carry things to the picnic location.

It is a simple, wholesome activity to do with my grandchildren and they truly love it. I asked Abby, now 11, and Bethany, 9, whether they wanted to keep being part of the Twins’ Picnic. “Absolutely!” they told me. So we are making plans for what it will be like when Deborah, their youngest, is old enough to participate and looking forward to how we might act it out. 

Trusting in Jesus,

Joshua was the narrator for his family’s picnic. He is reading the prayer they are going to say together.

“Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast
established the earth, and it abideth.”  Psalm 119:90 

Scripture Memory: Looking Down the Road, Part 4

Haven’t you been so blessed by Anna Marie’s series on Scripture Memory? If you missed any, here are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. The following post is a huge inspiration of long-term Bible memory faithfulness.

We recently had some longtime friends of Gigi and Grandad’s over for dinner. These dear saints spent many, many years distributing thousands of Bibles with the Gideons, and their love for God and His Word radiates from them. When the topic of Scripture memory came up, Mr. H. pulled from his pocket several well-worn pages containing a hand-written reference list of the hundreds of Bible passages he has memorized over the years. He told us anytime a verse really spoke to him in his morning time with the Lord, he would memorize it and add it to his list. Every day he reviews several verses on his list. It was such an amazing testimony to see how he has treasured God’s Word, how it is “nigh him, even in his mouth and in his heart,” and how it truly has transformed him over the years to be more and more like Jesus Christ.

I hope you have elderly saints who live near your family who have been memorizing over the years and who you can hold up to your children as good examples to inspire them in memorizing God’s Word—yet I fear such godly examples may be rare.

At the same time, parents, I wonder if this is the habit of our own lives? Are we consistently memorizing verses, keeping track of the ones we have learned, and regularly reviewing them? It will be hard to inspire our children to memorize and live Scripture if we are not.

“But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15

May each of us approach the end of our lives with a long, well-loved, and dog-eared list of Bible verses that we have memorized and meditated upon over the years.

God bless you,
Anna Marie 

“But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and
in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.” Deuteronomy 30:14

Wholesome and Inexpensive Outing

A relay race :: Christopher, Mary, and Anna
Passing the baton on for the relay race.

Steve and I delight to see our children investing in their children (our grandchildren) with memory-making, wholesome outings. A trip to the park for a walk (or for the littles it was strider and bike rides) and picnic isn’t costly, but it is exciting for them and becomes part of those precious family memories they will treasure in years to come. 

Christopher’s most recent outing included invitations to the rest of the family who might be free and spur-of-the-moment able to come to Weston Bend State Park for a walk and picnic. So on our family text thread, they told their plans and invited anyone who wanted to come and could to join them. John, Chelsy, and Axton were available for the walk. Our girls joined for the walk and picnic, and Steve and I went out with Gigi for the picnic. 

Trusting in Jesus,

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:1-2).

Operation Christmas Child Annual Fundraiser

My sisters and nieces hosted their annual Operation Christmas Child Breakfast Fundraiser this past Sunday evening. Yes, because of scheduling conflicts, breakfast for dinner seemed best, and it worked out so well.

Anna and Mary purchase items for shoeboxes throughout the year, especially when items are on sale. After Valentine’s Day and Easter, they stock up on cuddly stuffed animals. At back to school time, they buy crayons, rulers, notebooks, pencils, etc, in quantity.

If you’ve considered doing shoeboxes, please consider it this year. It’s about five weeks until the National Shoebox Collection week. Samaritan’s Purse shows love and compassion to those in need, doing what they do In Jesus’ Name.

We’re grateful to have a family who values children, and the OCC fundraiser is a time to give to others.

Learn more about Operation Christmas Child at their site.


Mid-afternoon, Abby, Betsy, and Tina came over to help Anna and Mary get ready. The girls all pitched in to transform the house into a Christmas whirlwind.

Setting the table
Breakfast casserole ready to bake
Making frosting
Decorating the table
The fan club, Arnold loved all the activity
Abby practicing for the program
Mary’s cinnamon rolls are delicious
The girls ate early so they could serve their guests.
Dad and Mom with Benji, Deborah, Axton, and Drew–love this!

Betsy shared about what they typically put in the shoeboxes.

Fellowship afterward
The OCC Breakfast Team

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the
name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God
and the Father by him.”
Colossians 3:17

Steve’s Diet for Heart Rehabilitation

Many have asked what we decided to follow for Steve’s heart rehabilitation. When we shared about the stents, we received blog comments that started us reading and researching. 

We (Steve and I) ended up following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s The End of Heart Disease protocol (Titus2’s Amazon Affiliate links are in this post, see our privacy policy). We liked the carefully evaluated studies he quoted and the fact that his information did not appear to have a personal bias.


About 17 years ago, Steve was diagnosed with high cholesterol, and it was recommended he be on a statin drug. He didn’t want to do that. At the time, through our Christian health-care, cost-sharing program, we were introduced to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live book and followed that protocol for six months. Steve lost 45 pounds (he started out weighing over 200 pounds) and brought his cholesterol down with food only. (When Steve’s doctor saw the results he was amazed and said “keep doing what you are doing.”)

However, we then read other heart/cholesterol information that led us to believe what was most important in regard to heart health had to do with blood glucose and insulin. So we began to eat things that weren’t allowed in Eat to Live, but that we liked and monitored our blood glucose. Our blood glucose was okay so we continued on that way. 

Steve gained back much of the weight he lost but didn’t think it mattered since he was exercising, and his blood glucose was fine. However, as we sat in the cardiologist’s office on March 4th, 2019, facing a heart catheterization and possible stents, we looked at each other and asked, “How did that work for us?”– obviously, not so well.


With The End of Heart Disease eating plan, we (Steve and I) don’t eat: meat, dairy, sugar, refined grains, oil, or salt (For those who are healthy, small amounts of meat are acceptable according to Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live.) We eat vegetables, fruit, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. We have learned a whole new way of eating and even preparing food. Who knew you could stir fry without oil or cook without salt?

Steve has lost 30 pounds, and according to Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations has a few more to lose (possibly 10). I think he looks great, he feels good, and we recently climbed a 14er in Colorado. His cardiologist says with what he is eating, he is fine not being on a statin. The most amazing part is: after jettisoning everything we knew and loved about food, we are actually enjoying this new way of eating. 

Trusting in Jesus,

Steve and Teri Maxwell, Handies Peak, August 2019

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable
unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of
that which is to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8 

True Friendship In Action

Recently, before putting the Bible away that my mom uses for Bible time at our house, I opened the front cover to see what the publication date was on it. That date was 1973, but I also found something very special—a handwritten note on the inside cover to my Uncle Dick (Richard) from a now-unknown friend, Jason.

Jason was obviously a good enough friend of my uncle’s to give him a gift that offers the truth of eternal life along with a personal testimony. I am very grateful for friends who loved my uncle enough to reach out to him and invest in him spiritually. I want to be that kind of friend who cares for the souls of others.

Trusting in Jesus,

“He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he
that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the
wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).