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 Anna’s. 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 

Joy Abounds: Special Memories Leading up to the Wedding

Y’all, we have a lot to catch up on! Some were surprised not to know Jesse was in a relationship. While our family is very public, for the sake of privacy for individual family members, on different relationships, we choose to keep it quiet based on preference. Jesse enjoyed an amazing courtship, and we’ll share more on that later.

Obviously planning a wedding during COVID-19 time held its interesting twists. Jesse and his new bride handled it beautifully. They knew the important key was their Christ-honoring, marriage union and having family there to witness it. The wedding was in a state where it was considered essential but still limited to a small number. Because of restrictions, they couldn’t have a reception.

Anyway, because Anna and Mary have been over at Christopher’s house so much to help with the kids, some of our last days together were very precious. I’ll share a glimpse into special times during these past few weeks.


Jesse moving his things out
Anna, Jesse, and Mary have enjoyed Sunday evening walks together for quite some time. These three share a special bond. I grabbed their picture as they were headed out for their last one with Jesse single.
We had a special prayer time for Jesse before he left.
Last Sunday lunch with Jesse (single :))
Saying good-bye to Jesse as he headed out two days earlier than we did.
Bridesmaids chats: Jesse and Anna’s sisters
Special times
Checking out a photo location Friday with the to-be bride and groom
At our VRBO

“Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and
keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall
serve him, and cleave unto him.”
(Deuteronomy 13:4

Gigi’s 88th Drive-by Birthday Party

Gigi turned 88 in the midst of Covid-19. Nathan and Melanie planned and beautifully executed a drive-by birthday party for her. 

It turned out to be an exciting evening here as Anna and Mary prepped Christopher’s children with costumes and then decorated their bikes and a wagon since they would be the side walk part of the drive-by celebrating.

Many friends who drove by decorated their cars or carried Happy Birthday posters, adding to the festivities. There were smiles and laughters, waves, Happy Birthday shouts, and socially distanced conversations from vehicles to Gigi’s lawn chair. Andrew loved running to the cars for any cards or gifts to be delivered to Gigi. 

Nathan wisely set up the cupcake stand just beyond the driveway so guests could visit with Gigi, and then pull forward for the birthday dessert.

The amazing Nathan Maxwell family who coordinated and put on the special party!

We were personally blessed to be part of the birthday celebration for Gigi and also by the outpouring of love for her:

>>From Nathan and Melanie thinking of and carrying out the party, right on the heels of a long-distance wedding trip
>>From Gigi’s friends and family who made the effort to leave the comfort of their homes to drive by (some neighbors walked by) and greet her
>>From Anna and Mary’s investment in making it extra special for Gigi and Christopher’s children. Christopher’s children could have just walked over and said, “Happy Birthday, Gigi,” but the costumes and decorated vehicles made it that much better for everyone.

Gigi is a loved part of our family, her church, and our community. 

“One generation shall praise thy works to another,
and shall declare thy mighty acts” (Psalm 145:4). 

Home and Reunited

Tonight we’re sharing an update from Anna Marie. Love, Sarah

My blood count started multiplying quickly, and I was discharged from the hospital yesterday at 10 AM! It was such a joy to see Simon Peter in his car seat when he rode along with my mom to pick me up! Needless to say we have enjoyed some good snuggles.

And then this morning, an even more joyful reunion when Christopher arrived! We are so delighted to be together, and so grateful for Maxwell grandparents and aunts taking care of the five children in his absence.

Tomorrow I will go to the cancer clinic, and they will begin the usual routine of drawing labs and then giving me a Vitamin C IV. Once lab results are back (within an hour) my oncologist will decide if I can tolerate another round of chemo or if we need to delay. While I am hopeful we won’t have further setbacks, we also don’t want to push ahead before I’m ready.

I read Psalm 145 today and one of the themes that stood out to me was praising God for his mighty acts and wondrous works. My time in the hospital afforded so many opportunities to share with doctors, nurses, and other staff how the Lord has led and blessed us throughout this cancer journey. He is good, always good—whether we can see it or not—but there have been so many examples and little stories of His faithfulness that we have seen! 

Being in quarantine with no outside visitors meant that I could give undivided attention to conversations with nurses and I truly enjoyed getting to know them. I never would have guessed that I would be so excited by middle-of-the-night fellowship with precious sisters in Christ, while they were checking vital signs and drawing labs. It was a reminder that it is the same God at work in all His people conforming us to the image of His dear Son… “for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). In a way, I hope I don’t have to return to their care; but if I do, I know I will see many friendly and familiar faces!

This is a hymn I was thinking about while in the hospital. Our “little spaces” will all look different at different seasons. But whether it is homeschooling a passel of little ones or sharing Christ from a hospital bed, may we each be content to fill our little space in a way that brings glory to God!

Father, I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me;
The changes that are sure to come,
I do not fear to see:
I ask thee for a present mind,
Intent on pleasing thee.

I would not have the restless will
That hurries to and fro,
Seeking for some great thing to do,
Or secret thing to know;
I would be treated as a child,
And guided where I go.

I ask thee for the daily strength,
To none that ask denied,
A mind to blend with outward life,
While keeping at thy side,
Content to fill a little space,
If thou be glorified.

In service which thy will appoints
There are no bonds for me;
My secret heart is taught the truth
That makes thy children free;
A life of self-renouncing love
Is one of liberty.
    -Anna Waring, 1850

Anna Marie

“According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that
in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always,
so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether
it be by life, or by death.” Philippians 1:20

Extended Stay

Thank you all for praying for Anna Marie! Here is another update. Love, Sarah

A photo session before I left Kansas

Hi All! This is a kind of long update, so summary up front.

Disappointing news: it looks like I’ll be here for a few more days.

Happy news: Christopher is coming for a visit!!!

Now the details.

It looks like I will be here for a few more days. My ANC (a type of white blood cell count) was not 400 like I thought it was yesterday; it was 192. Today it is 247. And it needs to be 1,000 or above for two days before they will discharge me.

For some reason, my body doesn’t seem to be very responsive to the shots that usually rapidly boost white blood cell counts. The doctor did say though, she’s encouraged that production of blood cells IS starting to go up, because this is the first day my platelet count has also gone up. She said usually the two counts go somewhat hand-in-hand. And she said it can happen like this with sitting and waiting for a while, and then all of a sudden they start multiplying exponentially.

The doctor also put in an “order” to the hospital pharmacy for a few of the blood-boosting natural supplements recommended by my oncologist, so I was able to start taking those again this evening.

Obviously, I was hoping to hear that I could go home tomorrow, so this was a little disappointing. But I know God has a plan in all this and is using it for good. I guess it’s really not very often that a mom of six young children has a week in absolute quiet solitude—except for hospital staff in and out, but I enjoy chatting with them. And FaceTime, texting, etc. help me stay in touch and keep me from getting lonely. 

The part I’m really excited about, though, is that Christopher is currently planning to fly out on Monday, May 25th (which happens to be the ten-year anniversary of the morning my parents told me he wanted to come out to meet me and pursue a possible courtship)! I am SO excited to have him coming—a big ‘thank you’ to Aunt Anna and Aunt Mary for enabling this! Please pray I am home from the hospital by Monday, since no visitors are allowed into the hospital.

Since a number of you have enjoyed the hymns I have shared, I’m including one that my sister-in-law shared with me yesterday. These words, penned by a man who knew hardship and suffering, have been a great encouragement to my spirit.

If thou but suffer God to guide thee,
And hope in him through all thy ways,
He’ll give thee strength, whatever betide thee,
And bear thee through the evil days:
Who trusts in God’s unchanging love
Builds on the rock that naught can move.

What can these anxious cares avail thee,
These never-ceasing moans and sighs?
What can it help, if thou bewail thee
O’er each dark moment as it flies?
Our cross and trials do but press
The heavier for our bitterness.

Only be still, and wait his leisure
In cheerful hope, with heart content
To take whate’er thy Father’s pleasure
And all deserving love hath sent;
Nor doubt our inmost wants are known
To him who chose us for his own.

All are alike before the highest;
‘Tis easy to our God, we know,
To raise thee up though low thou liest,
To make the rich man poor and low;
True wonders still by him are wrought
Who setteth up and brings to naught.

Sing, pray, and keep his ways unswerving,
So do thine own part faithfully,
And trust his word, though undeserving,
Thou yet shalt find it true for thee;
God never yet forsook at need
The soul that trusted him indeed.

    -Georg Neumark, 1641; Tr. Catherine Winkworth

Anna Marie

“I said unto the LORD, Thou art my God:
hear the voice of my supplications, O LORD.
O GOD the Lord, the strength of my salvation,
thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.”
Psalm 140:6-7

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