Melanie and I have been blessed over and over again as we’ve read your comments in response to our “Joy” post below. We were overwhelmed with the reminder of how many “unmet friends” we have who have faithfully prayed for us and will continue to. Thank you so much!
As many of you know, Melanie and I have desired to know God’s will for us in the area of children. We thought that children would come quickly after we got married. However, for us and, we’ve learned, many other couples this was not the case.
God has spent the past 4 1/2 years teaching us to trust and lean on Him. We have had to give this area of our lives over to Him, and seek not to take it back. At times this “teaching” has been easier than other times. I have prayed that God would size our family however He can best use us for His glory, whether that means with or without children. And yet, our heart’s desire this entire time was that He would open Melanie’s womb.
We have been blessed by countless numbers of prayer warriors. Our families have faithfully prayed, our friends have commited themselves to prayer, even acquaintances and those we haven’t met have lifted up our desire for children. For example, multiple of my younger brothers and sisters have prayed nightly for “Nathan and Melanie to have a baby.”
And now, in direct answer to these prayers, our hearts are over-joyed as we announce that God has gifted us with a pregnancy. Melanie is now carrying our first child. We anticipate Baby Maxwell’s arrival mid-May of ’07. Truly God is gracious. We continue to covet your prayers for this child’s protection and sustaining these next months.
Today was a catch up day for the Maxwells. Many things needed to be done after being away for a month! The big job on the agenda was cleaning out the shed that was built last year. We needed to completely re-organize it so we could optimize our space for all the books and other items that need to be stored out there. Team work is an amazing thing.
Our garden produced bountifully while we were away. Here’s our crop of jalapenos! We do enjoy spicy food :-). Mom said there are more flowers on the plants, although with the cooler weather coming, I don’t know how much longer they’ll produce.
BTW – we have just a few more openings for the marriage retreat, November 10-11th. If you’re interested, please see this link.
We had been working to transition Chippy to his new home. It started by buying a little rubbermaid shoebox and drilling a hole in the end of it. We then filled it with wood chips and put it inside his larger cage. The idea was to create a safe home that would be inside his cage and would keep him dry and protected from cats once we had moved his cage into the tree. It took him a day to adapt to his new “shoebox” house – but he did great.
Next, we moved his cage (with the shoebox in it) out onto our back porch so he could enjoy the sunshine and get used to being outside.
The final step was to put the cage (and shoebox) up into a tree. This was a big step for him because we actually installed the cage upside-down in the tree (the cage has a wire mesh top and a plastic bottom). We wanted the plastic part at top so he would have even more rain protection. We took all the wood shavings out and put newspaper down so his feet wouldn’t get caught in the wire mesh. Jesse helped with drilling some boards to install as a base for the cage, and Grandad helped Joseph attach the cage to the tree and the boards:
ChippyÂ seemed to quickly adapt to his new surroundings.
Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. was the time for the “opening of the cage”. Joseph and Anna opened the cage:
It did not take long for Chippy to come out of the cage and begin to enjoy his freedom! What a blessing it was for us to watch as he began exploring up and down the tree – venturing out on each limb. We rejoiced in his freedom, in much the same way the Lord must rejoice when we are willing to surrender our sin and live in wonderful obedience (freedom) to Christ!
Very soon, we found ourselves staring up into the tree to see where Chippy was at (yes, this does put a bit of strain on the neck):
It has now been several days that he has been enjoying his freedom. We haven’t seen him leave the tree yet, but know that he will be exploring more and more as time goes by.
At the door to his cage (the wooden slats across the opening to the cage which are visible in the background were designed by Joseph to keep cats out of the cage and also hold the door open):
Enjoying a snack on his “front step”:
For some reason, he enjoys hanging upside-down in his cage to drink his water!
We’ve enjoyed watching Chippy in the tree – and wonder if he will be around when we return from our upcoming trip in early October (today is a big packing day!). While we’re gone Grandma and Grandad will be filling up his water and leaving food for him (he – as any good squirrel should – enjoys nuts).
We’ve been amazed as we have watched Chippy naturally "be" a squirrel – following the instincts which God has given him. While we will miss interacting with and caring for him, we’ll definitely notice and appreciate the little squirrels that are around us much more!
Yesterday was the first day of our twenty-second year of homeschooling. I have five completely different students than I had on that original first day of homeschool in 1985. First-day-of-school photos have been a yearly tradition. Joseph is in 12th grade, John in 10th grade, Anna in 8th grade, Jesse in 7th grade, and Mary is in 4th grade.
We have also learned that we have our first-day-of-school the week before we want to begin our academic work. I spent all my scheduled school time meeting with each child, going over his schedule, looking at every book, setting up school notebooks, and evaluating if there was anything else to be done in order to begin our book work.