Celebrating God’s Goodness

God has been so gracious, and Finding Change was complete proof to that. I hit many obstacles along the way. But His mercy kept me going and pressing toward that goal, knowing He had called me to this specific story.

The day my book arrived from the printer was indeed a celebration day! My family threw a surprise party making a favorite meal of mine (pizza!) and ice cream for dessert! They have all been a huge support to me through the process, not only offering suggestions and helping to refine the plot but freeing me up from responsibilities. I’m so blessed.

To me, it’s an exciting fact that books are arriving in homes, because that means the story has reached its end destination: kids! We’d love to see pictures of your kids reading the book to possibly include in a future blog post. Just e-mail them to managers@Titus2.com.

One sweet girl wrote: I pre-ordered your book, Finding Change, and when it got here yesterday {December 5}, I read the whole thing that day! I could not have found a better children’s fiction writer! My whole family loves your books! Katelynn

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the
high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:14

Melanie Maxwell’s Christmas “Pick” Recipe

Now that we’re onto another second sister-in-law recipe, you may have figured out what we’re doing. A blog reader requested the sisters-in-law favorite Christmas recipes! So, we’re working on fulfilling that. 

Melanie’s Christmas pick is actually our favorite cinnamon roll. 

We use a basic roll dough, which is one that has been previously posted on the blog, but I’ll post it again.

Recently I oversaw the making of these cinnamon with Nathan and Melanie’s kids so we could document it for the blog. The kids really did pretty much all of the work. These are awesome cinnamon rolls.

Maxwell’s Favorite Cinnamon Rolls
(if you want to see the step-by-step instructions,
this is the link to our Light and Fluffy Rolls
which is what we used)

1 1/2 Tablespoons (heaping) yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
3/4 cups warm water (100-110º)
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
6 TB. honey or granulated sugar
1 egg room temperature (Put egg in bowl with hot water to warm it for a couple minutes.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon dough enhancer (optional)
4 1/3 cups flour – white or wheat or a mixture (This is measured by scooping the flour into the measuring cup and leveling it off with a knife.)

Filling:
melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Step #1: Heat water to 100-110º. Pour warm water into a mixing bowl. Add yeast and sugar. Gently mix together with a spatula and let proof for 5 minutes.

Step #2: In saucepan, melt better. Then add milk and honey until warm.

Step #3: Pour the milk+honey+butter mixture into the yeast mixture.

Step #4: Turn mixer on, and add egg, salt, dough enhancer, and a cup or two of flour. Finish adding the rest of the flour and knead for 7 minutes.

Step #5: Place dough in oiled bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap, then put in oven at 120º to rise for an hour. I heat the oven up to 180º and then leave the door open until the temperature drops.

Let rise until doubled (about an hour). Lightly flour hands and top of dough as often as needed. The dough might be slightly sticky. 

Step #6: Punch dough down. Divide into thirds. Roll one portion out. A key is not to make it too tall. Otherwise, your rolls will be huge. Brush with melted butter. Then, sprinkle on 1/3 of the brown sugar + cinnamon mixture. Tightly roll up, and then cut (we use floss).  Put in a greased pan. Let rise until doubled (I put ours in a warm oven). Take out of oven, preheat to 375º, and then return rolls to oven and bake until golden brown (around 15 minutes). Do not over bake! Frost with your favorite frosting recipe. Ours is a standard Betty Crocker buttercream icing. 

We use dental floss (not flavored, lol) to cut the cinnamon rolls,
and it works beautifully.
This is about how tall you would want it.
Drew brushed on the butter.
Benji adding his approval.
Before we baked them
The final product
100% kid approved

“Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know
to refuse the evil, and choose the good.”
Isaiah 7:15

Daughter and Mom Time

I enjoy seeing how Mom has embraced the value of scheduling things that are important to her. As you know, she has scheduled reading time with her grandchildren, play time with them, weekly lunch and grocery shopping with GiGi, etc. 

Mom invited us girls for a day out, and because of how crazy and complicated our schedules were, we scheduled it over a month in advance to get it to work!

We got supplies for our caroling treats at Hobby Lobby, ate lunch out, and enjoyed shopping at Eddie Bauer, Home Goods, and Carters (our outlet shopping center is great!). I’m grateful for a loving, close-knit family.

For you moms, how about starting to schedule specific time with your girls? Those relationships are some of the most important in all the world!  

Love,
Sarah

Anna checking out all the fine print exclusions for a $10 off coupon we wanted to use. You know those work! 
Searching for the perfect turkey.

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an
example of the believers, in word, in conversation,
in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12

Shoebox Packing Parties

Over a week period, Anna and Mary organized shoebox packing parties, inviting different family members. Even the adults enjoyed being a part of the process.

The girls have a heart to minister–whether to kids at the Bible club or in ways like the shoeboxes. They poured so many hours into shopping, planning, and then the final put-it-all-together sessions. 

The process was set up like an assembly line, and then each group received info on how to do it. Usually, it was one of each item but sometimes two. Plus, if you packed a girl box, it needed a hairbrush and a girl-themed water bottle (with hair ties!) versus a boy who received a comb and boy-themed water bottle.

It’s exciting to join others all over sharing love to these sweet kids. We love Samaritan’s Purse doing what they do In Jesus’ Name!

We spent some family time putting the boxes together.
Calia was beyond excited to pack the boxes!

Now onto the delivery!

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in
love one toward another, and toward all men,
even as we do toward you.”
1 Thessalonians 3:12

Finding Change In Stock Today!

Today is the day Finding Change arrives here at Titus2. We’re gearing to begin shipping pre-orders this afternoon. 

I’m so excited for the heart-pull of the plot and characters. 

Without the help of many, this book wouldn’t be here. From my family, to the pilot testers who listened to my plot to the real testers to others I turned to for advice to my cheerleaders, y’all know who you are! I truly am so grateful!

Mary, my sister, gave it her all and spent countless hours from September-October crafting the illustrations and cover. She pulled it off beautifully.

Mary working on the cover

To celebrate recently, we girls took a long run in a pretty area and got coffee on our way home. Part of our run took us through a quiet, cozy town, one I had actually considered patterning Hill Top after but instead chose another. 

If you’re debating about the perfect gift for a child you love this Christmas, this book could have an eternal impact on their life. 

Doesn’t the picture make you smile? This is a test reader’s response when they finished the book.

From a test mom: “You wove so much into a book, and it hit every emotion.
We laughed and cried and agonized and cheered.
The character development was incredible.
We adored the characters.
Like, we LOVE LOVE LOVE the characters.
My kids are STILL talking about them!” 

“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always
having all sufficiency in all
things, may abound to every good work.”
2 Corinthians 9:8

Anna Marie’s Favorite Christmas Cookie Recipe

Y’all, I think we’re officially in the Christmas season! I’m excited to share with you Anna Marie’s favorite cookie recipe. It’s simple to make and easy to include littles. 

Vanilla Butter Cookies

1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and mix well. Add salt and flour (1 cup at a time). Form 1-inch balls and roll in sugar. Stamp with cookie stamp. Bake at 350° about 8 minutes or until edges are barely turning golden. Enjoy about 3 dozen cookies.

(Note: Anna Marie’s cookie stamps are Rycraft brand.)

Lydia, Ruthanne, and Anna Marie Maxwell

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.