All posts by Teri Maxwell

Joys of Grandparenting

As our grandchildren get older, we plan to give them practical Christmas gifts just like we did for our children. Last year, we gifted Abby (11), Bethany (9), and Christina (7) with Hobby Lobby gift cards along with an outing, including lunch, to use them. Since that was extremely successful, we decided to it repeat this year.

Our shopping trip happened the Monday after Christmas. In our travel conversation, each girl discussed how she planned to spend her gift card. 

Abigail was interested in acrylic paints and canvases like Bethany bought the year before. Bethany said she had begun doing sewing projects and wanted her own sewing supplies. Christina was happy with the card making supplies she purchased and used last year so she was excited to get more of those.

Grandpa added a bit more to the shopping trip by challenging each girl to see how close she could come to spending just what her gift card was for. To facilitate this, we brought clipboards with paper on them and pens for the girls to write down what they were getting and the cost of each item, adding them up as they went. That was challenging because some things were on sale and there were other coupons that could be used.

Then it was a drive back to Leavenworth and stop in at Taco Bell for lunch. Steve and I had our salads waiting at home so we sat and talked to the girls as they ate. 

We thought the girls did a wonderful job of shopping, keeping within their budget, and being content with what their gift cards purchased. We were blessed by the gratitude the girls expressed multiple times for their Christmas gift cards, shopping trip, and lunch.

Trusting in Jesus,

“The law of thy mouth is better unto me than
thousands of gold and silver” (Psalm 119:72). 

Mayflower and Plymouth, UK

Recently a blog reader sent us a note and some photos we thought you would enjoy. Here’s what she said:

I am a blog reader from the UK. I loved seeing the books you suggested for Thanksgiving. I actually live on Plymouth UK, and we are preparing for the Mayflower 400 festival next year. I was walking past the Mayflower steps the other day and thought that you might like to see a couple of pictures of what it looks like. The first is close up with both flags. They have just built a new arch ready for next year.”

The second is a bit further away so you can see the houses behind it and the steps themselves.”

The last is the view out to sea which would have been what the pilgrims saw just before they set off.”

It was interesting to learn of the 400th year festival coming up and preparations for it. We especially liked the photo of what the pilgrims saw as they began their adventure into the unknown in search of a place where they could worship God in freedom.

Trusting in Jesus,

“But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh
such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him
must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

Feed My Starving Children

Recently I joined Christopher, Joshua, and Ruthanne as a Feed My Starving Children volunteer, packing nutritious meals for third world starving children. Christopher has done this with Joshua before, but this was Ruthanne and my first time. Grades K-2 require one adult per child. I was thrilled to be part of their team.

The whole Feed My Starving Children packing process is amazing with multiple stations set up in a gym type setting in a church where 8 to 12 people at each one pack meals consisting of vitamins, soy powder, dried vegetables, and rice—measured and weighed for individual packets. Packing is fast-paced, loud, and motivating. After all, we were packaging food that would feed starving children. 

I held the bag under the funnel for the ingredients to be added to, and Ruthanne weighed the bag. If it was overweight, she took some out, and if it was underweight, she put some in until it fell in the correct weight range. Christopher and Joshua manned the station where each bag is sealed. 

Our volunteer slot was for two hours but with training and cleanup, we probably packed meals for 1.25 hours. The group we were with packed enough meals to feed 167 children for one year. 

You can find out about Feed My Starving Children events in your area by visiting this link.

Note: One consideration is that the music is loud and not as conservative as many might prefer.

Trusting in Jesus,

“And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and
filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are
needful to the body; what doth it profit?” James 2:16 

Grandma’s Bookbag – Acting It Out

If you have read our blog for more than a year, you probably know that we have a yearly tradition of acting out one of the books in Grandma’s Bookbag. The Twins’ Picnic is a lovely Rod and Staff book describing twins who want to have a picnic and how their mom responds and helps them with the picnic.

For our re-enactment, we start by reading the book together. Then we act the story out page by page. When the children were younger, I was Mother and two of the children were the twins. When there were more children, we improvised characters by adding more children in and giving them “S” names to go with the twin names, which were Stanley and Susie. 

Now there are so many children that I am only the director, and we have a narrator, mother, and each of the twins plus the younger grandchild who just hangs around until it is time to carry things to the picnic location.

It is a simple, wholesome activity to do with my grandchildren and they truly love it. I asked Abby, now 11, and Bethany, 9, whether they wanted to keep being part of the Twins’ Picnic. “Absolutely!” they told me. So we are making plans for what it will be like when Deborah, their youngest, is old enough to participate and looking forward to how we might act it out. 

Trusting in Jesus,

Joshua was the narrator for his family’s picnic. He is reading the prayer they are going to say together.

“Thy faithfulness is unto all generations: thou hast
established the earth, and it abideth.”  Psalm 119:90 

Wholesome and Inexpensive Outing

A relay race :: Christopher, Mary, and Anna
Passing the baton on for the relay race.

Steve and I delight to see our children investing in their children (our grandchildren) with memory-making, wholesome outings. A trip to the park for a walk (or for the littles it was strider and bike rides) and picnic isn’t costly, but it is exciting for them and becomes part of those precious family memories they will treasure in years to come. 

Christopher’s most recent outing included invitations to the rest of the family who might be free and spur-of-the-moment able to come to Weston Bend State Park for a walk and picnic. So on our family text thread, they told their plans and invited anyone who wanted to come and could to join them. John, Chelsy, and Axton were available for the walk. Our girls joined for the walk and picnic, and Steve and I went out with Gigi for the picnic. 

Trusting in Jesus,

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:1-2).

Steve’s Diet for Heart Rehabilitation

Many have asked what we decided to follow for Steve’s heart rehabilitation. When we shared about the stents, we received blog comments that started us reading and researching. 

We (Steve and I) ended up following Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s The End of Heart Disease protocol (Titus2’s Amazon Affiliate links are in this post, see our privacy policy). We liked the carefully evaluated studies he quoted and the fact that his information did not appear to have a personal bias.


About 17 years ago, Steve was diagnosed with high cholesterol, and it was recommended he be on a statin drug. He didn’t want to do that. At the time, through our Christian health-care, cost-sharing program, we were introduced to Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live book and followed that protocol for six months. Steve lost 45 pounds (he started out weighing over 200 pounds) and brought his cholesterol down with food only. (When Steve’s doctor saw the results he was amazed and said “keep doing what you are doing.”)

However, we then read other heart/cholesterol information that led us to believe what was most important in regard to heart health had to do with blood glucose and insulin. So we began to eat things that weren’t allowed in Eat to Live, but that we liked and monitored our blood glucose. Our blood glucose was okay so we continued on that way. 

Steve gained back much of the weight he lost but didn’t think it mattered since he was exercising, and his blood glucose was fine. However, as we sat in the cardiologist’s office on March 4th, 2019, facing a heart catheterization and possible stents, we looked at each other and asked, “How did that work for us?”– obviously, not so well.


With The End of Heart Disease eating plan, we (Steve and I) don’t eat: meat, dairy, sugar, refined grains, oil, or salt (For those who are healthy, small amounts of meat are acceptable according to Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live.) We eat vegetables, fruit, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and whole grains. We have learned a whole new way of eating and even preparing food. Who knew you could stir fry without oil or cook without salt?

Steve has lost 30 pounds, and according to Dr. Fuhrman’s recommendations has a few more to lose (possibly 10). I think he looks great, he feels good, and we recently climbed a 14er in Colorado. His cardiologist says with what he is eating, he is fine not being on a statin. The most amazing part is: after jettisoning everything we knew and loved about food, we are actually enjoying this new way of eating. 

Trusting in Jesus,

Steve and Teri Maxwell, Handies Peak, August 2019

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable
unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of
that which is to come.”
1 Timothy 4:8