Helping Boys Become Men

Just when do boys learn to enjoy work? When do they learn how to do tasks and chores that men do? When do they learn how satisfying a job well done is?

We have sought to involve our sons in projects as they grow up. (Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family goes into that extensively.) Working together times include opportunities to teach skills, and have wonderful fellowship–a win/win.

We have been helping Christopher’s family more lately and Dad has been able to include Joshua in some of his projects. Here are some recent examples.

“For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands:
happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.”
Psalm 128:2

Anna Marie Update: Only What’s Done for Christ Will Last

We know it’s been awhile, and we have an update for you from Anna Marie! Happy Monday, y’all! Love, Sarah

Hello Everyone,

What a delightful week Christopher and I had that last week of May/first of June! We are so thankful for everyone who helped that come together! We’re so blessed by the help from both of our families making this time of chemo out here possible—Christopher’s mom doing school with the children, Anna and Mary helping with meals and “life” for hours each day, my dad driving me for chemo and Vitamin C IV’s, my mom and sister caring for Simon Peter… the list could keep going! And then for Anna and Mary to completely take over with our children (right after Mary experienced her foot injury!) for just over a week was a tremendous gift. Among other things, we especially enjoyed a day trip to the Mount Rainier area where we honeymooned, and once again had a delightful time sitting and talking by a lake not far from the cabin we stayed at. Nearly ten years has definitely seen a lot of change in our lives! 

When I wrote my last update, we didn’t know if chemo could resume right away or if my blood levels would be such that we would have to delay for a week. As it turned out, there was a week delay (combined with the week delay when I was in the hospital). We were disappointed to have the setback, but also thankful for my oncologist’s caution. He switched me to a different medication to boost my white blood cells since for whatever reason I was not responsive to the first one they had me on (which is probably why I ended up in the hospital with neutropenic fever).

The new medication is working great. My blood levels were such that I was able to resume chemo treatments on Tuesday, June 2nd; and then rather than decreasing following chemo, the blood counts continued to climb and looked great last Tuesday, June 9th. Praise the Lord! At this rate, if all goes smoothly, my last treatment should be July 14th. It will be great to be HOME; but meanwhile, God is giving me opportunities and through them, deepening my walk with Him in this season of chemotherapy and quiet rest.

Mary made a beautiful plaque as a wedding gift for John and Chelsy with a line from C.T. Studd’s poem—“Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I thought the plaque was beautiful; and as I thought about it later, I realized what a foundational truth that is in all of lifeparenting, schooling, etc. I found the full poem (will copy below), printed it, and began reading it to the children frequently at breakfast time. (It’s really sweet as they all like to chime in on the “chorus” saying “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”)

Fast forward a couple of years and here I am, twice a week in a clinic with other people battling cancer. The hope and joy and testimonies of the brothers and sisters in Christ I have met there is a tremendous encouragement to me. But the hopelessness of others is a grief that is waking me up to the fact that, by allowing me to have cancer and be in this unique position, God has, in a way, sent me as a “missionary.” (And really, aren’t we all, in whatever place God has us right now?)

Just last Tuesday, a newfound friend (who is battling stage four pancreatic cancer) and I were talking about the opportunity cancer presents to share Christ. She expressed the same sentiment I have been feeling more and more: cancer brings into full view the reality that “only what’s done for Christ will last.” As she and her husband say frequently, “Everything else is going to burn.” It gives us quite a platform to share from, and we want to be making the most of every opportunity to make Christ known to others.

Christopher and Simon Peter

It starts in our own hearts: having a soul that is quiet before Him, content with what He has given us, believing the Truth about Him as laid out for us in His Word—such as, He is always good, always in control of all things, always will give us the grace we need, etc. Over the past few weeks, I have been doing a Bible study titled Quieting a Noisy Soul that has been a huge blessing to me as I am seeking to quiet my heart. It has been my habit to easily be stressed, frustrated, or worried about things that are a daily part of life as a homeschool mom; but the reality is that stress, frustration, and anxiety stem from a heart of unbelief (rooted in pride). God is glorified when we can approach the pressures of life with a quiet heart confident in HIM!

I am grateful for all your prayer support! Whether that the chemotherapy would be effective and that God would protect me from any long term side effects, or that I would have a meek, quiet, and peaceful heart, or that He would use my feeble attempts to share Him with those who are, quite literally, perishing—thank you. 

Two little lines I heard one day,
Traveling along life’s busy way;
Bringing conviction to my heart,
And from my mind would not depart;
Only one life, twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
And stand before His Judgement seat;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice,
Gently pleads for a better choice
Bidding me selfish aims to leave,
And to God’s holy will to cleave;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years,
Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;
Each with its clays I must fulfill,
living for self or in His will;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore,
When Satan would a victory score;
When self would seek to have its way,
Then help me Lord with joy to say;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep,
In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;
Faithful and true what e’er the strife,
Pleasing Thee in my daily life;
Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn,
And from the world now let me turn;
Living for Thee, and Thee alone,
Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;
Only one life, “twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

— extra stanza —

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.
And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be,
If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee.
    -C.T. Studd

Anna Marie

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus
Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious
stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest:
for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the
fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is” (1 Corinthians 3:11-13).

Random Life from Not Normal to Resuming Normal

How does one sum up 8 weeks of “not normal”? Combine that with Anna Marie being in treatment, Mom, Anna, and Mary spending tons of time helping at Christopher’s, and a brother who was preparing to get married! That’s not to mention the obvious stay-at-home mandate for Kansas until about a month ago.

I’m so grateful for the “extra” time staying at home afforded. The absence of getting together with others and outside activities helped me to focus on my book. I love watching the story unfold in first draft, and Lord willing, by the end of the month, I’ll be on to editing.

These past 8 weeks we enjoyed church (praise the Lord!) gorgeous outdoor activities, lots of walks (and runs!), garden work, Titus2 projects, the wedding trip, book writing, work, errands, and time to make special memories.

We’re thankful Anna Marie completed chemo round 7 (of 12) yesterday. That’s a huge praise!

With all the changes happening everywhere, we can rest in God’s steadfast love.


Debi is adorable!
During COVID, Nathan joined the ranks of working from home.
Garden work with Anna: you should have seen all the littles roaming around the yard, some playing and some helping during the process
Betsy, Ellie, and I enjoying a brisk spring walk
Abby made Anna Marie a hat and then a matching one for Elizabeth
Picnic with Chelsy and Axton
Picnic and then running around near where we did our family photo session
Mary and Anna trade off helping in the evenings
Mom cleaning out the van after Dad made a trip to the printer to pick up book reprints!
Anna usually has a little following of kiddos wherever she goes 🙂
Anna and Mary doing a workout in the backyard while the kids played. Creative!
The Missouri River one morning when Nathan and I were on a run.
Keeping Christopher’s family supplied with good food!
Outdoor church on Mother’s Day, and yes, it was chilly! We’re so happy to be now indoors for services.
Can you figure out what it is?
Lovin’ wearin’ Aunt Anna’s rain boots!
Mom is so faithful to homeschool the children.
Lydia’s birthday night at Grandpa and Grandma’s
Christopher’s birthday party (Anna Marie was so missed!)
Walking buddy!
Joshua doing a work project with Dad
Nathan and Melanie’s crew enjoying nature trails near their rental for Jesse’s wedding
Day before the wedding a run was in order along a beautiful area for we girls
Christopher’s VRBO was on a hobby farm, so the kids loved the animals.
Family get together after the wedding Saturday
Yes, so the wedding day ended with some drama. Mary hurt her foot (a swing broke and everyone on it basically landed on her foot). Urgent care did an x-ray and found it to be bruised and not broken. Such a huge praise! She was still on crutches for several days following and then went to being able to walk without them. She limps but it’s improved a lot.
Christopher flew out the day after he got home from the wedding to visit Anna Marie. They were so happy to be together! Anna, along with Mary when she could, watched all the kids.
Uno DOS is the new game they like.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh
down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness,
neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

Memorial Day A Little Late

Happy Monday, y’all! We’re overdue for a Random Life, and I’m hoping to take the time to prep that for this week.

Meanwhile, I want to share our family get together the end of May. Prediction of storms and rain moved our outdoor event from Monday to Saturday.

It felt so good to enjoy family times again! Due to COVID, it’d been a long time (except for some at the wedding). The cousins ran and played, the adults fellowshipped, and happy memories were made. We’re very grateful for the blessing of family! We missed Christopher and Anna Marie, who were in Washington. It just seemed not-quite-right, and of course, missed Jesse and Anna, the newlyweds, who were on their honeymoon.

What do you enjoy most about life regaining normalcy? I’d love to hear it!

This verse really struck me the other morning during Bible time, and I hope it blesses you too. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27


Anna and Mary have had such amazing hearts to help out with Christopher and Anna Marie’s kids.

“And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for
ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them” (Jeremiah 32:39).

A Peek at Wedding Weekend via iPhone Pictures

We wanted to share a preview of Jesse and Anna’s wedding weekend via iPhone pictures. Christopher and I photographed the wedding via our Nikon cameras, but for now, I thought you’d enjoy some iPhone pics.

Thank you for rejoicing with us!


The rehearsal
My lil’ buddy, Benji
Wedding day: the groom ironing
Anna’s love for kids is evident: even on wedding day, she was enjoying time with them.
Yes, and we had “help” for pictures too.
The front row. We sure missed Anna Marie!
Pictures in a park afterward
They did a small send-off before pictures in the park–and after family good-byes and more pictures inside, Jesse and Anna left.
The final good-bye with Anna, Mary, and little kiddos.

“But I have trusted in thy mercy;
my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation” (Psalm 13:5).

Anna, Anna, and Anna — Maxwell That is

The three Annas on wedding day!

Some may want to know how we plan to identify another Anna in the family to help keep confusion down amongst the Maxwell Annas. We don’t know yet! 

When Christopher married his Anna, through family discussion, Anna Marie was suggested. She concurred, and so it was.

We have some options concerning Jesse’s Anna and while no specific one has been discussed yet, one may work itself into use. The newest Anna Maxwell (see it is confusing already) would like her aunt name to be Tia Anna rather than Aunt Anna so maybe it will be Tia Anna. 

And we could always call Tia Anna by her first and middle name when we aren’t talking about her as an Auntie.

Ask in a year, and we will have it all worked out! 

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches,
and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” Proverbs 22:1