Please Pray for Anna Marie’s Surgery, Tuesday Morning

10am Central Time update: They’ve just taken her back for surgery, and it’ll be likely 1.5 to 2 hours.

Thank you for your prayers for Anna Marie. Her surgery is scheduled for about 10 am, Eastern time, Tuesday, the 18th.

Anna Marie has a beautiful spirit throughout this whole situation and truly is leaning on the Lord Jesus as her strength.

Thank you for covering Anna Marie, the surgeon, the medical staff, and Christopher in prayer.


“My soul, wait thou only upon God;
for my expectation is from him”
(Psalm 62:5).

Part 6: The Book Writing Process

“I think it would be very educational (not to mention fascinating) for you to guide us blog readers through the process of writing a book. From the initial idea to the finished product, step-by-step.” A blog reader

To read the previous five parts, see these links: Part 1Part 2Part 3,  Part 4, and Part 5. To recap, we’ve looked at steps 1-10 of my book writing process.

  1. Ideas
  2. Outline
  3. Character Profiles
  4. Pre-Book Trial Run
  5. First Draft
  6. Editing
  7. Illustrations
  8. Test Families
  9. Copyediting
  10. Cover

Today, I want to bring this series to a close with the last step, what we can call Prepress.

After the manuscript is back from the copyeditor and the changes are gone through, we do more proofing on paper before the final layout in InDesign. Anna often does the layout if she’s available. We also scan in the illustrations and make any adjustments needed in Photoshop.

During this time, I’m working on chapter titles, which do not come easily for me. Often test families will give their ideas, and family members will pitch in too. There is more proofreading in the final layout, checking to see what could have been missed, and making sure the format is how it should be. These times provide amazing opportunities to rest in the Lord, because it’s intense with deadlines.

Once the book goes to press, we will receive two proofs. I get to take a deep breath when I upload the book and enjoy catching up on things I let go. During the press stage, one proof is usually a PDF to make sure the fonts and all the formatting went through properly to the printer’s setup. After the books are printed, we’ll receive another proof. It’s a book that is almost finished just not bound. We make sure everything looks right, because once this proof is approved, well, it’s final. I’ll check to make sure every page is in order, no text is missing, the illustrations and cover look good, etc.

Now, we’re onto the finish line, preparing the book description for the website, getting the product image set, and lining up all the details for the release. Once the book is announced and we have them in hand, life gets busy again as we ship books.

I’m so grateful for my loyal readers, and it’s often I’ll receive a letter, telling their favorite part of one of my books. The sequel to Finding Change is in final outline form, and I really hope to be writing the first draft soon. Due to some work responsibilities and family things, I had to take a mini-break but will be back to it shortly.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series, and feel free to leave a question in the comment section if there’s something more you’d like to hear about. I also hope this inspires you younger writers! There’s a need for godly reading material that is edifying.


“Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing” (Psalm 100:2).

Simon Peter’s Newborn Photos

When Simon Peter was 8 days old, we took newborn photos. Christopher set up studio lighting in his living room, and we went to work. I’d recently purchased some new props and was excited to try them out. We started with a quiet environment as the other five children were at Grandpa and Grandma’s.

We did our standard pose first, wrapping him, and then instead of a basket, we used the new crate. I loved how it turned out.

Simon Peter was such an easy baby to work with, sleeping most of the time. When we added the dynamics of an all-children photo, wow, that was a fun one to do. Then, capturing an entire family photo with some energetic (and tired!) littles–it was such a blast. Thankful for this amazing, happy family!


Simon Peter Maxwell
Mama and her baby
Anna Marie, Simon Peter, and Christopher
Pure, simple miracle
Christopher Maxwell children
Soooo sleepy!
A growing family who loves the Lord Jesus!
Christopher and Simon
To end with, a behind the scenes peek.

“Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ,
to them that have obtained like precious faith with us
through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”
(2 Peter 1:1)

Surgery Scheduled for Anna Marie Maxwell

You’ll hear from Anna Marie in this post with the latest update. –Sarah

“And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in Thee.” Psalm 39:7

This journey has so often been one of waiting. And waiting. And more waiting. But as I read the above verse recently, I was reminded that our hope is not in tests, treatments, medical staff, surgeons, pathology reports, etc. Our hope is in the Lord!

That said, we know that God often uses medical teams and are thankful to now have a surgery date set to remove my tumor on February 18th. We are going out of state to a surgeon who specializes in laser surgery. The children will all stay here in the care of Grandpa, Grandma, and the aunties to whom we are very thankful; handing over the care of six children ages seven and under is no small request, but I know it will be a special time for them!

About a week or so after surgery we should have a complete pathology report.

Thank you all so much for your prayers, encouragement, blog comments, etc. I wish I could respond to each of you individually but since time is limited—please know we have read and been encouraged by each one! I know you’ve been praying for us to have peaceful hearts and I can honestly say I have felt the Lord’s peace through this season of change and uncertainty. I still have some times of feeling emotional, yes, but they’re not times of despair or hopelessness. God is faithful; He has shown Himself faithful and He will not change

Looking unto Jesus,
Anna Marie

“As for God, His way is perfect: the Word of the Lord is tried:
He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him.” Psalm 18:30

Random Life From Tough Times to Baby Days

So much has happened since our last Random Life. It feels like a lot has changed, and yet things are still the same. But in a way they aren’t.

We shared with you all the news that Anna Marie likely has cancer. How are we dealing with it? We’re grateful we know Who holds all things in His hands. Yes, while what Anna Marie is facing is possibly very serious, none of us are guaranteed another day. I could be in a car accident tomorrow and ushered into the presence of Jesus. We are very prayerful for Anna Marie and being as supportive as we can with their needs while all the time looking to the Lord for what His will is.

January was filled to the brim with work, ministry, helping Christopher and Anna Marie and Joseph and Elissa, and somehow managing to keep up with our personal lives as well. The Maxwell crew has also had their fair share of colds and other similar “bugs,” including John being hit with pneumonia several weeks ago. We’re thankful most are on the mend.

Enjoy a peek into Random Life.

A Nathan Maxwell family outing shopping for Christmas gifts
One evening before Christmas, Anna planned a special Christmas party for we three sisters. It was such a sweet time of being together after crazy schedules. We enjoyed a walk with hot cocoa, and then back at home, Anna made a great peppermint snack mix, and we wrote cards to people we wanted to bless.
Before Bible club one afternoon, Anna and Mary purchased small-dollar items at Walmart that the children could wrap and then give to their moms. It was such a HUGE hit. The kids were very excited to pick something out and then wrap it!
Someone requested to see the caroling card. I meant to post it with the post on it, but I overlooked it.
Preparing Christmas food
December didn’t afford much time for Christmas shopping, but Anna and I took the Friday before Christmas to go. Then, the next step was wrapping. When Betsy heard I hadn’t gotten any wrapping done, she wanted to help that Sunday afternoon.
Mary and Jesse wrapping gifts
Giving out little Christmas gifts at church
Andrew likes to help Grandpa after church
Twelve Days of Christmas workout with Maxwell siblings, a yearly tradition
The three pregnant sisters-in-law on Christmas Eve night (and they even coordinate!): l-r: Anna Marie, Elissa, and Chelsy
Mary giving a Bible story at club
Sunday afternoon
This tradition of making biscuit pizzas actually goes way back to when Nathan was young. He had a little cookbook of recipes, and this must have been one in there. I think we used to make them on Mother’s Day, and now Christopher’s family does at Christmas time.
There Danny is again fascinated with the coffee maker.
This was a cute sight when I was going somewhere. Anna (who gave Betsy running shoes for Christmas) was out on a jog with Betsy and Christina (both of whom had new running skirts on).
Drew and Benjamin enjoyed a fire station tour with Melanie while the girls had their shopping excursion with Grandpa and Grandma.
Yes, Ellie actually rides on a sled.
Speaking of Ellie, here she’s begging to go to Christopher’s backyard to play.
The group who welcomed the New Year in!
TIme to bake!
An edible fruit arrangement thank you gift for Anna
Playtime with Grandma
Mary and Debi
Ruthie and Liddy cleaning the house with Anna and Mary.
One could confidently say lots of babysitting happened!
Card time
Cleaning and organizing at Elissa’s before baby
What a crew!
Anna Marie with her doula as labor was induced
Candlelight vigil after the Roe v. Wade anniversary.
Mom meeting Caleb
Axton turned one!
Nathan with his little helper
Shopping at IKEA
Gigi with Simon Peter.
Anna went to visit her sweet friend, CathyJo, out of state. CJ lost her mom to cancer last month. They were the family I mentioned in the last Random Life post going through heartache and sadness during the Christmas season. Mrs. D no longer experiences the pain of cancer and is with Jesus! We will see her again in Heaven. But there is still that empty gap in their lives.
Mary with Simon Peter
Ellie likes handouts from the littles.
Shrinkwrapping Managers of Their Homes books
I enjoyed baby photo sessions too!

“And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times
or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power”
(Acts 1:7).

Update and Prayer Request for Anna Marie Maxwell

We want to thank you so much for praying for Anna Marie and also give you an update. They are currently working to get the surgery scheduled. As you probably know, pretty much all things medical take time—even when one is trying to work ahead and anticipate delays, etc. It’s looking like they’ll have another consult with a surgeon on Monday and will hopefully come away from that with a surgery date. Please pray that God will confirm His will and lead in this process.


Christopher and Anna Marie Maxwell — a family photo from Simon Peter’s newborn session. We’ll be sharing photos on that later!

“Commit thy works unto the LORD,
and thy thoughts shall be established.”
Proverbs 16:3