Random Life from Family Times to Book Launch

Y’all, happy Monday! We’re only 26 days away from Christmas. These past 7 weeks have been full of blessings and opportunities to lean on the Lord Jesus. We are grateful for His guidance in our lives.

There was a lot that went into Learning Lessons going to press and then the steps it takes to launch. I love seeing the books ship out and already hearing feedback from happy readers!

We are grateful for all the Lord has given us: work, church, serving opportunities, and time with family.

I hope our U.S. readers had a blessed Thanksgiving!


Dad and Mom working on Scheduling Kits together
Calia enjoying Ellie snuggles
Final book things
Christopher’s family worked on their garden before bad weather rolled in.
Sunday lunch with family and friends
We had snow the end of October, and Dad took Christopher and Anna Marie’s kids on rides. They really enjoyed their time! What a great grandpa!

Celebration after voting day–the kids’ helped campaign for a local guy.
Dad and Mom working on a project together
Sunday times
Anna’s birthday dessert.
Mom with Anna enjoying time together
Watching Nathan and Melanie’s kids so they could have dinner out. Love having a full table!
Andrew is a bookworm!
Gigi often eats with us on Saturday nights, and Jesse and Anna joined us that night.
Quite a game going on here, even Grandma joined in.

More work projects together!
Signing books!
Dad and Mom shipping!
Special sister time

“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing
give thanks: for this is the will of God in
Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Happy Thanksgiving 2020!

The Maxwells, left to right: Mary, Anna, Steve & Teri, Sarah

Our hearts of full of gratefulness to the Lord Jesus “who only doeth wondrous things” (Psalm 72:18).

We are grateful for salvation. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

We are thankful for family, including the addition of four in 2020 (Jesse marrying Anna and babies Simon Peter, Caleb, and Elliot).

We are thankful for you, our Titus2 readers. Thank you for your love and encouragement.

May today be a special day of remembering all the Lord has done for you this past year. Our God is so faithful and good!

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Maxwells

“Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness,
and for his wonderful works to the children of men!” (Psalm 107:21)

Our Best Resources to Underline and Highlight Bible Passages

Our family loves our individual time of reading the Bible and praying each morning. It has been a valuable habit that we are grateful to the Lord for instilling in our lives. Good habits can be difficult to start and easy to break while bad habits are easy to start and hard to break. Sadly, the flesh resists things that are good.  

We find going to the Word first thing after we get up is important to cementing that discipline. We each have a comfortable and quiet place where we read and pray. We also like to note verses that are important to us. Some prefer to highlight, some underline, and some both. Highlighting was all we knew for years until recently some have come to love underlining. It takes more time to underline, but it looks “cleaner.” 

For highlighting, Sharpie Gel Highlighters are the favorite (Amazon links in this post are Titus2’s Amazon’s Affiliate link, and Titus2 earns from qualifying purchases, see the Privacy Policy). For underlining Pigma Micron 01 (.25mm tip) is wonderful. Black is primary, but they come in an assortment of colors. We have experimented with various items for the straightedge. If the Bible column is three and a half inches or less, old credit cards work well although they are quite stiff. Steve prefers flexible plastic templates because they contour with the page nicely. We haven’t cared for small metal rulers as they are abrasive against the pen’s tip.  

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).  

Announcing Learning Lessons, Book 2 in Hill Top Adventures

Learning Lessons, Book 2 in Hill Top Adventures, is now available and will begin shipping right away!

Watch the video and read more below.

Learning Lessons

Emma’s world takes on a new sparkle now that she’s a Christian and learns to forgive Aunt Shannon for the accident that took her little sister’s life. But trouble is brewing with Landlady over Taffy.

The autumn days fly by with adventures at the coffee shop job, helping with Hunter’s leaf business, Hill Top’s city-wide yard sale, and a day at the library. All the while, tension builds with Landlady, and when Emma is faced with her biggest fear, what will she do?

Learning Lessons will keep you on the edge of your seat! I LOVED it!!!” Angélica, 11

“This book is not just for kids! I was very pleased with the strong messages of choosing to forgive, despite the devastating circumstances that may try to consume us… and also the power of loving people. It all felt very real and was easy to relate to.” Olivia, mom

The book also includes 10 illustrations, with three being double spreads (so 13 full-page illustrations). I’ll give you a peek below at one of my favorites. Learning Lessons is my longest book so far with 243 pages and 23 chapters.

Although I recommend reading Finding Change (Book 1 in Hill Top Adventures) first, it’s not absolutely necessary. I give enough hints of what happened in the last book, one could read this as a standalone.

Wholesome kids’ reading books are hard to find, and what could be better than gifting kids you love this Christmas with these books? Order 4 or more copies of Learning Lessons, and save 10%. Or, order all of my books for only $99. That’s over 2000 pages of quality reading! Also, free shipping for orders of $25* or more in the United States.

Don’t miss our announcement below of the 14th special edition of Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit also releasing today!

I’m so grateful for God’s grace in enabling me to get the book done this year.


“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel,
who only doeth wondrous things” (Psalm 72:18).

Announcing 14th Printing of Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit with An Exclusive New Chapter!

We’re also excited to release a special edition of Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit. Teri added a bonus chapter. Watch the video below for more details.

Homeschooling moms have a tough job balancing the home, being helpmeets to their husbands, and homeschooling. Teri was in the homeschooling trenches for 30 years. This book came from the real-life lessons she learned through struggles with anger, depression, and more in the midst of her homeschooling life.

Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit is $7.95 each, or order 4 or more copies, and save 10%. This is a perfect gift for a homeschool mom you know this Christmas!

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible,
even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit,
which is in the sight of God of great price” (1 Peter 3:4).

How to Make Healthy, Simple Soup

Our family enjoys soup year round. For most of my married life, I made soup from a recipe. Then my daughter, Anna, introduced me to making soup with a general plan but not specifics. Isn’t it great when our children become our teachers? I’d like to share today how to make healthy, simple soup.

General Soup Plan

bone broth
chopped onion
diced garlic
diced celery
meat (ham, chicken, beef, ground beef)
chopped or frozen veggies
seasonings—salt, garlic salt, pepper, beef or chicken broth base  (those are our basics but we use basil, thyme, marjoram, and other spices)

Make Broth

Any time I have meat bones, I put them in the instant pot with at least 8 to 12 cups of water and make broth, more if it will fit in the Instant Pot. Generally, I am not making the soup right then so I put the broth in containers, label, and freeze them for a soup-making day.

Onion, Garlic, and Celery

On soup making day, I dice an onion or two and several cloves of garlic depending on the size of the soup batch. Usually I make as big a pot of soup as I can so I will have plenty of leftover soup.

Then I sauté the onion and garlic for a few minutes in the soup pot, add the broth and chopped celery (usually 1/2 head of celery) bringing it to a simmer for a couple of hours.

Other Soup Vegetables

For the soup vegetables almost anything goes that you like. 

Here are some of our favorites:

green beans
sweet peppers

I try to keep a big bag of frozen mixed vegetables and another one of corn (we get them from Costco) on hand for when I have less time to chop and dice vegetables. Then all I need to do is dump the vegetables into the soup pot from the bag. If I ever have extra time and extra vegetables I put the vegetables through the food processor, flash freeze them, and then bag them for the freezer and future easy use.

Carrots (for our soup this might be 1-2 lbs) and potatoes (4 or 5 or more) go into the soup an hour or two before serving depending on how big the diced chunks are and how long I think it will take them to soften. The green beans usually take longer than I expect, too, so they go in with the carrots and potatoes. 

Store-bought frozen mixed vegetables only take as long as the bag directs, usually 5-10 minutes.


Whatever kind of broth I am using, that is kind of meat I use. When I initially cook the meat, if there is any extra after that meal, I cube the meat and freeze it for the soup. Sometimes, I will have enough meat for two or even three batches of soup, such as from a ham. Other times, it is just a small amount of meat, and I need to cook more meat to put into the soup.

When I make the bone broth, I pick any meat off the bones that were left on it, put it in a ziplock, and label it for soup use. 

If I don’t have any soup meat stored in the freezer, I can always brown a couple of pounds of ground beef as the meat. 

I generally add the meat near the end. 


We put in at least 1/2 tsp of pepper
2 tsp salt
and several shakes of garlic salt

Then we add more of those and other spices based on taste testing. 

Anna is our best taste tester. She seasons the soup at the end by tasting, adding spices, and tasting again.

Sometimes for variety, we add tomato sauce or paste. 


When we serve our soup, we have rice or pasta to go in it. We add those to individual bowls of soup, allowing each person to choose how much he wants in his serving. By doing it this way, the noodles are not soggy when we have leftover soup like they are if we add the pasta to the soup pot. And the rice doesn’t absorb all the soup broth in the leftover soup like it does when we add the rice right into the soup pot.

Maybe I can do another post on the bean soups that Steve and I eat. I don’t do them for the girls because one of them doesn’t do well eating beans. But if no one in your family has that problem, beans are another great soup addition or simply making beans the main part of the soup rather than meat.

Complicated or Simple?

If that sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Once you have done the process just a few times, it becomes automatic and simple. Often I plan soup based on my supply of vegetables. If I bought a big bag of potatoes for a good price, and still have several left as they are getting older, I will probably make some soup to use them up.

What about your soup making? What tips and tricks can you share with me? I would like to learn more about soup making from you!

Trusting in Jesus,

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust,
so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the
flesh, but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).