All posts by Sarah Maxwell

A Treasure From a Happy Reader

This letter with the most adorable picture blessed me! I’m so grateful for Adah sharing with me. Thank you to all my loyal readers for your encouragement. I’m looking forward to writing first draft of Finding Change’s sequel.

Love,
Sarah

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify
one another, even as also ye do”
(1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Monarch Butterflies

Good morning, everyone! Maybe this post from Anna Marie will inspire you and your kiddos to take on a Monarch butterfly project. Love, Sarah

A couple years ago, one of Gigi’s sweet friends who raises Monarch butterflies, brought some here to release and made it a mini field trip for the children. We loved it and then enjoyed reading library books about Monarch butterflies. Our very favorite is Monarch Butterfly of Aster Way, our introduction to the Smithsonian Backyard series which we like! (All the links in this post are Titus2’s Amazon affiliate links: see the Titus2 Privacy Policy for more information).

Last spring, the girls received their own copy of the book, a butterfly kit, and a collection of milkweed seeds to raise caterpillars and butterflies. It turned out to be a tremendously happy project that lasted all summer and into the fall. We learned about egg/caterpillar/butterfly life cycles along the way. (I said it was our life-cycle-summer as we also got to learn about lice life cycles… I much preferred the butterflies. 🙂 If you missed it, here’s a post from November about lice.)

We planted lots of milkweed (note: the seeds work best if you keep them in the fridge at least two weeks prior to planting in order to stratify), and the plants served their purpose well, because Monarchs passing through laid eggs on them and we all liked hunting for caterpillars. Even though the caterpillars ate down the plants before they got a chance to bloom, it was pretty interesting to watch them feed and grow so rapidly from day to day.

The girls would select a caterpillar and bring it inside to put in their butterfly net enclosure. Then we had to keep fresh milkweed leaves for it to feed on! Finally, one day, the caterpillar crawled to the top, shed its skin, and hung as a chrysalis. The chrysalis eventually turned translucent, and we saw the beautiful Monarch butterfly burst forth! Releasing it outside was always exciting, and then the children had their enclosure available for a new caterpillar. 🙂

I love this as an illustration of how God makes us into a new creature, and how He makes all things beautiful in His time! We know He is doing that with my cancer journey too, and are so grateful for your prayers along the way.

Love,
Anna Marie

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”
(2 Corinthians 5:17).

Backyard Energy-Burning Family Activities

Today Anna Marie is sharing some new favorite outside activities to help their kiddos expend energy! We hope this is helpful to you. Love, Sarah

Christopher is amazing with thinking of games to play with the children. When I saw a comment requesting ideas for activities to burn off children’s energy, I wanted to share a couple things Christopher did with the children recently.

Hopping races.

He tied their legs together with velcro straps he has for work projects, but you could easily use strips of an old t-shirt or something. As you can see, everyone got really into it, including Elizabeth who wanted me to “hop” her across the yard, too!

Three-legged races produced lots of giggles and helped to encourage team effort.

A new spin on freeze tag: tag with the ball!

There was so much laughter and running, and I was impressed with how good the children’s aim was while running and tossing at moving parents and siblings! 🙂 (Obviously, you want to use balls that are soft and won’t hurt their targets.)

I hope that’s helpful and maybe will jog your brain for some ways you could implement similar ideas if cool weather is keeping you indoors!

Love,
Anna Marie

“Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving”
(Colossians 4:2).

Anna Marie’s Latest Update

Happy Monday, y’all! I know there are lots of new normals happening, but I hope your week is starting out blessed. Today, Anna Marie is sharing the latest on her health. Sarah

It’s been a while since we posted an update but wanted to, first of all, thank each of you for praying for us. Since I last wrote here, COVID-19 has swept the nation, and I think most families are now finding themselves at home together quite a lot! For us, we haven’t felt many tremendous lifestyle changes as we tend to be home most of the time anyway, but it definitely adds another layer of complexity to figuring out my treatments. None of this complicates anything for God though, and we are excited to see Him leading.

We got some good news a couple days ago! My CTC (circulating tumor cell count) has dropped to 0 (in January it was 2.3; not sure what it had gone up to when surgery was done). While in some cases a 0 could indicate “no cancer,” there is always the possibility that some of the circulating cancer cells that were previously in the blood, while not circulating now, have settled in an organ somewhere (where they can lie dormant). While we are still working toward a chemo plan of some sort it was definitely a praise that there do not appear to be CTCs in my blood.

We have been consulting with various oncologists to decide on the treatment plan we feel is best for me. The Lord used some unlikely circumstances to get us in contact with a medical oncologist in Seattle, with whom we consulted remotely. He does chemotherapy in a different way than is “standard of care” yet with very good clinical success (over the years he is seeing about a 1% recurrence rate vs. 10-15% recurrence rate with standard chemo)—all of this with less toxicity and suppression of the immune system typical with standard chemo. We would love to get the chemo plan administered locally, however, because it is not yet widely used in the medical community we suspect that won’t be possible. Which means I will likely be going to Seattle for three months of treatment. As you can imagine, there are a lot of logistics to that, especially with COVID-19 right now. We are praying that we can find someone to do it locally or that God will make the way clear for me to get treatment in Seattle.

I have a few ideas for upcoming blog posts. I’ll have to work to keep them pretty short (not one of my strengths) since my time is limited, but I’m excited about some special activities we’ve done recently that you might enjoy trying with your own family! A sneak preview is that we did our Scriptorium virtually with a couple other participating families by using Google’s free video-conferencing technology. Another day, we did a solidarity pack from Feed My Starving Children and free activities from Compassion International to have an afternoon/evening focused on children in poverty in other countries. It helps put “quarantine” in perspective when you think about how abundantly blessed most of us are compared to so many in the world! And it’s a good reminder to be praying and looking for ways to bless others instead of focusing solely on what’s happening in our own lives right now.

Love,
Anna Marie

“For there is not a word in my tongue,
but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou hast beset me behind and before,
and laid thine hand upon me.”
Psalm 139:4-5

Changing Times, Stay-At-Home

(Last week, kids loving Ellie!)

Life has seemed to change by the hour over these past two weeks. It became even more real for us this week. Yesterday began our county’s 30-day order of Stay-at-Home.

We’re grateful for all the healthcare workers who are giving of themselves to help those in need. We’re praying for them and those affected by the pandemic.

We’re thankful for family! I can’t imagine how lonely it would be for a single person during this time, so please, reach out to that single person through text, FaceTime, phone call, or a letter to show you care.

Our last family lunch (at that point: the recommended/allowed number was 10 or less) before the order went into effect

Titus2 orders are shipping out as normal, and we’re grateful for the postal system continuing. Literally, overnight the world became homeschoolers, and ladies have expressed their gratefulness for scheduling advice (more coming soon!).

Since kids have more time (okay: I think most everyone does without social activities), we decided to offer Book #1: Summer with the Moodys, for 40% off (limited time). Since the book is set in the summer, even those who normally go to school will love it.

Depending on how long your stay-at-home order is, you could try to make the book last if you read one chapter per day (20 chapters).

We plan to keep the blog updated as our (new) daily life is underway. How are you doing with everything happening? How is it affecting you? And how can we be praying?

Spring is pushing out the cold, winter days, and we’re welcoming it with gratefulness to the Lord Who is so worthy of our worship.

Please remember, share Jesus and His redeeming love with those you see!

Love,
Sarah

“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep:
for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety”
(Psalm 4:8).

How to Make Slime

We want to share a great activity to do with kids: SLIME! It’s quite easy, although it may take a time or two to get the perfect combo.

Homemade Slime

  • 1 cup Elmer’s glue (can be purchased in big jugs)
  • Food coloring
  • About a teaspoon of baking soda
  • Contact solution (can be purchased from stores like Walmart)

Warning: do not make this anywhere near carpet, because it will be a forever reminder.

First, find containers of some kind to mix it up in and measure in Elmer’s glue. Add some food coloring (to your liking) and stir. Next, add a teaspoon (or a small spoonful) of baking soda. All the while, stir. And stir some more.

Add less than a tablespoon of the contact solution. Stir and stir. When it starts to glob up and you can try to get it in your hands, go ahead. Knead it back and forth. You can add more contact solution if needed, but a fair warning. If you put too much in, it’s irreversible. It’s better to knead it a lot in your hands. If it flops, don’t worry. It’s probably too much contact solution. Go for it again.

Your kids will love stretching and do all kinds of creative things with their slime.

“Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the
earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice,
and sing praise” (Psalm 98:4).