All posts by Sarah Maxwell

A Moody Family Series Book Makes a Surprising Difference

It is such a joy to receive emails and letters about how the Moody Family Series and Hill Top Adventures are impacting lives. We want to share part of one such email about a Moody book. Read what Julie says:

“I just want to tell you the difference your books (and we’ve only read the first one so far) have made to my daughter and now our homeschool. My daughter has autism so she has a short concentration span and gets overwhelmed easily. I really do enjoy preparing her school work but her struggles and lack of enjoyment were discouraging me greatly. 

“Last week after I’d discovered your book I started to read it to her and the more I read the more she was clearly enjoying it. She is a good reader but reluctant to read aloud. You can imagine my delight and amazement when out of the blue one day she asked me, ‘Can I read some now?’ She read aloud fluently and when she got tired handed it back to me. In a couple of minutes, she was ready for reading again.

“She has been baking and asking for chores to do as Mollie Moody is influencing her in many positive ways! Yesterday I decided to spend some time incorporating the story and characters into her school work and prepared worksheets on each of her subjects using the book. For example, for math I gave her problem questions based on Mollie’s baking business working out how many cookies Mollie needed for her orders, etc. 

“Honestly, her concentration stunned me and her enjoyment as she worked through these worksheets. Afterward, she told me it was so much fun it didn’t feel like schoolwork. 

“God is good and I’ve been praising Him so much for this wonderful breakthrough. I feel so encouraged and like a burden has been lifted to finally have found a book she loves and that’s motivating her own learning. I’m so looking forward to reading Book 2 with her as their homeschool will hopefully help influence us in so many positive ways.” — Julie

Julie shared some pictures of her daughter below, and you’ll notice they now have Book 2. These kinds of testimonies bless us so much!


“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).

Warmer Weather and Projects

Happy First Day of March.

After our arctic blast, our temperatures skyrocketed 60 degrees warmer! The vehicles were dirty from all the salt and slush, so Anna and Mary took time to wash them on one of our first nice days.

Dad and a friend from a church split wood on Saturday, and Joshua stayed nearby, working on cutting up small branches. It’s wonderful to do projects!

Then, Christopher and crew took down my outdoor Christmas lights to bless me.

May praise and thankfulness be the words we utter this Monday! Psalm 103 is one of my favorites. Verse 1: “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”


“Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2).

Random Life, Starting out the New Year

Happy Monday, everyone! I’m overdue with Random Life (last one was end of November!), so I’m starting fresh: January 1st until now for Random Life.

The year started in full swing, with church, ministry, family times (including birthdays), and work.

In these changing times, we know our citizenship isn’t here on earth. May we use every opportunity to share Christ!


You just never know what crew we might have for Sunday lunches.
Love to see Anna Marie smiling!
Cozy reading time
Anna watched Nathan and Melanie’s kiddos so they could have time away.
Dad and Mom finished out the babysitting as Anna had some things she needed to do.
Candlelight and prayer as we remembered the Roe vs. Wade ruling
Burrito time
My birthday cheesecake!
Coffee and time out on my birthday
Birthday dinner with Gigi
Mom with Axton and Elliot for their Monday afternoon playtime. The boys love it!
Ellie (barely) tolerating Arnold sniffing her. I think he liked the smell of Ellie’s ear drops she gets at bathtimes.
Although we’ve had a lot of cold weather lately, we did have some sweatshirt-worthy weather in January.
Love this little girl!
Making an anniversary sign for their parents
Dad, Mom, and I went to Joseph and Elissa’s to celebrate Caleb turning 1.
Flag time with Gigi (she was in the garage due to the snow)
Axton turned 2!
Opening a wedding gift from a blog reader!
Axton felt pretty big to have a Bible like Grandpa
We had Christopher and Anna Marie’s kiddos over one night.
Ruthie’s birthday evening (well, not her real birthday but her gift of coming over to our house)
This foursome went on a Sunday afternoon walk in VERY cold temps.
Another birthday girl, Elizabeth!
New chicks!
Christopher with some of the kiddos
Nathan’s crew going out for ice cream on one of the coldest days of the year!
The newlyweds got coffee and went on a walk on probably the coldest day of the year. Sweet memories!
Like I said at the beginning, you never know what crew you’ll find on a Sunday. This was a sweet lady from our church.
Arnold overseeing (literally) the new microwave installation

“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).

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’d like to introduce you to a gem of a recipe we found years ago on the back of a Gold Medal flour bag. We modified the recipe, and you’ll see what we’ve turned it into below. It’s an easy-to-make double chocolate cookie with no-fuss ingredients.

I made these on Valentine’s Day and thought I’d document them to share with you all.

PS: Thank you for all the kind words. My improvement is slow, but I see progress. Praising the Lord for His mercy.

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa (we also added an extra 2 TB.)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter (softened)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips (You can also use less/1 cup is fine)

Preheat oven to 375º. Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a mixer, beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until creamy. Next, beat in eggs.

Slowly beat in flour mixture. When it’s combined, add chocolate chips and beat (yes, you read that right) for 30 seconds to a minute to even two.

Now your batter is ready to bake. Spoon dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet (or we love our baking mats). If you want small cookies, a teaspoonful is fine, or, for a regular size cookie, we use a cookie-dough scoop to form that size. Bake eight or so minutes or until set.


“Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that
is within me, bless his holy name” (Psalm 103:1).

When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned

It was a beautiful Saturday morning in June. Anna, Mary, and I were exercising in our home gym. It’d been a long time since we’d enjoyed a work out together since most mornings, either Anna or Mary was at Christopher’s helping get the kids ready for the day. We were near the end of our workout, and I was on the back extension machine. I’ve done it many times before, but this time, with great exuberance I went forward too far, and I hit my head on the metal post. Really hard. I got a concussion.

Some accidents cost a little, some cost a lot. This happened in the midst of my Learning Lessons project, and I had deadlines I wanted to meet along with keeping up my normal work responsibilities.

What followed were headaches, dizziness, pressure in my head, and an overall awful feeling. My doctor thought perhaps a 3-6 month recovery. By January, I had mostly good days.

Enter last Saturday. I hit my head again, in a different way. This time, I stood up under the edge of a cabinet, hitting the top of my head—hard. My fast-paced life filled with work, ministry, and activities suddenly tail-spun into slow-pace.

God has been so gracious, and in the midst of this, I’m learning to accept challenges that haven’t been the norm in the past. I’m learning to rest when needed. I’m learning to rely on God’s strength and not my own. And I’m learning to accept limitations. This wasn’t in my plan. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

The doctor said what I’m doing now for self-care is good and helped me with headache management.

But I think in all of life, we have opportunities to accept challenges and accept them with thankfulness.

Perhaps cutting back on outside activities to heal may just allow the time needed to push forward on Hill Top Adventure’s Book Three outline. Who knows. Last time, being at home helped me write and edit Learning Lessons. Our God is always good–ALWAYS.


“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore
will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Those Little Glimpses of Warmer Days Ahead

For part of the week, we had sunshine and warmer temperatures. Spring promises to come, but today, we have snow and cold. The changing of seasons is another reminder of our amazing God!

Debi with Ellie on Tuesday. I love photos with little kids and Ellie.

“He appointed the moon for seasons:
the sun knoweth his going down” (Psalm 104:19).

“…Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever:
for wisdom and might are his:
And he changeth the times and the seasons:
he removeth kings, and setteth up kings:
he giveth wisdom unto the wise,
and knowledge to them that know understanding” (Daniel 2:20-21).