Birthday Recap

We celebrated Mom and Mary’s birthdays together before Dad and Mom left. Then, on Mary’s “at-home” birthday, we made the day special amidst our busy schedules. She’s a sweet sister and has a gentle, grateful spirit. We missed being with Mom on her birthday, but we loved knowing she and Dad were having a special time together!

Then, a peek into Mary’s birthday.

Christopher’s crew came and sang Happy Birthday and brought cookies.
Nathan’s crew brought Dairy Queen.
Debi is so adorable.
Ticket to Ride and dessert

“She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness”
(Proverbs 31:26).

Sarah’s New Book in Test and Editing Stage

Sarah Maxwell

Y’all, the sequel to Finding Change is making incredible progress as we near the copyeditor deadline of September 21st!

Test readers are hard at work and loving the book.

I’m in the midst of heavy edits but nearing the stage of less edits.

Beautiful illustrations are being created.

Mary’s cover is beyond gorgeous and in process.

My parents are an incredible support team, enabling and helping me in any possible way.

I covet your prayers. This is an intense season but the finish line is in sight!

Love,
Sarah

“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

Hiking Colorado’s Highest Mountain

Since Steve and my Colorado vacation was last minute, we didn’t have the training time that we had other summers to prepare us for hiking 14,000 foot peaks. We didn’t have any real conditioning preparation time on this short notice. We thought we would at least try one and turn back if we couldn’t make it. 

We chose Mt. Elbert, even though it is Colorado’s highest mountain, since it was only an hour from our cabin, a class 1 (on a scale of 1-4 with 1 being the easiest) climb, and a reasonable round trip distance—9.5 miles. It was also the first 14er hike I ever did 8 years ago. We thought we had good potential to summit.

We started our hike at 5:00 a.m. in the dark using headlamps. I love starting in the dark and then seeing the forest begin to be light as the sun rises. 

The first 1.5 miles was pretty tame, but then it took off from there. We quickly felt our lack of training! There were some parts still in the tree line that were quite steep—zapping our strength. Switchbacks definitely make it easier.

We summited about 10 a.m., ate lunch there, took photos, and enjoyed the vast beauty of God’s creation that only the top of a 14er provides in its views. Then we started our 4.5 hour trek back down. Most of the other hikers on the mountain hiked faster than we did both up and down, but they were a lot younger too!

Steve and Teri on Mt. Elbert

This hike, the Lord gave us two different great, extended conversations about spiritual things with other hikers as we went down.

Steve and I were both exhausted when we still had two miles of the downhill to go, but one step at a time, we made it back to the trailhead. We were blessed to have cloud cover for those last two miles and to get back to our vehicle before the storm hit. As we got in the van, it began to rain.

We are grateful to the Lord for the health that allows us to hike a 14er, especially considering Steve’s coronary artery disease, angina, and stents last year. He didn’t have any hint of angina during our hikes indicating the diet is working well. We don’t take for granted our hiking together, knowing that there will come a time when we can no longer do it, and that each hike might be our last. 

Trusting in Jesus,
Teri

“His foundation is in the holy mountains” (Psalm 87:1). 

Changes for the Maxwells

With the Covid shutdowns in March, our retirement home church was one of the first shutdowns to happen. Steve had been feeling for a few months that it was time for our family to be back in a “normal” church. However, it would have been extremely hard to leave those who were currently part of the church. Steve didn’t know how it would ever work, and then, suddenly, we weren’t allowed to have church at the retirement home anymore.

The church we have settled into is only five minutes from our home. For many years we commuted to Kansas City at least 30 minutes to church and sometimes closer to 40 since the church changed locations a couple of times.

Our heart’s desire has been to have a local church, one we can invite people to. And we did that with our retirement home church which was local, except that people didn’t feel comfortable going to it. Now our church is a known church right in our own town. It is easy to invite friends to it.

We already knew many people in the church and have met new friends. The preaching is outstanding. It is again a new season for our family after 18 years of having a nursing home or retirement home church.

For our married children who were with us at the retirement home church, Nathan and Melanie are currently attending the same church we are. Christopher and Anna Marie need to stay home because of Anna Marie’s lack of immunity because of her chemo.

We enjoy our family Sunday lunches at 1:00. That gives everyone time for their church, getting home, us getting lunch prepared, and them getting to our house. Joseph and Jesse are driving from Kansas City so that’s almost an hour after their church lets out.

“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it:
except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain”
(Psalm 127:1).

Anna Marie’s Update: Settling In and Treatment Continues

It’s been about a month since the last update update, so here’s what’s going on. Love, Sarah

Hello All,

It’s so good to be back home, settling into a combination of new and old routines. Since my immune system is still compromised, we are currently keeping physical distance from anyone outside our immediate family. This is very different from how our lives have been over the past few months with so much willing help from our supportive family! My sister was with me and Simon Peter since March… here for a month prior to flying back to Washington with us in mid-April, helped so much with Simon Peter’s care while there, and flew home with us and stayed for a week helping us re-acclimate, and babysitting while we had some oncology appointments in Kansas City. And obviously, Grandma Maxwell, Anna, and Mary were here for hours each day while I was gone… so it’s definitely different now. Distanced outdoor visits and walks have provided nice opportunities for chatting—and Facetime is available for other times (and states)!

Christopher’s flexibility in work hours is a blessing, and I’m grateful for his willingness to help out with the children so I can get extra rest. We were excited to start our new school year last week and are settling into a good routine. I’m so very thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow with all of them! I love doing school with them again (I find that I really enjoy elementary school in my 30’s. Any other moms relate? 😉 ) That’s certainly not to say it’s always easy, but I’m reminded again that God’s grace IS sufficient. Maybe it’s easier to remember and rest in that when peacefully quarantined in a hospital room than it is when the noise and needs of six little people are whirling around me, but my need is exactly the same and so is His grace!

There were a few delays with getting my anti-HER2 therapy going at the local hospital, but everything came into place, and I got my first subcutaneous injection there a week ago Friday. I enjoyed meeting and chatting with the nurses. From here on out (until at least April) I will be going to Kansas City for treatments on Thursday afternoons. Some weeks it will just be for Vitamin C at the naturopathic oncology clinic; other weeks I’ll also be going to the hospital for treatments. After meeting with my naturopathic oncologist and going over recent lab work, we also will be looking into dental work and chelation (detoxing my system of heavy metals) in the next few months.

It was nice to see my blood counts starting to come back up in last week’s lab draw. We were also glad that my circulating tumor cell count (CTC) showed “none detected” a couple weeks ago. While that’s not a guarantee I’m “free and clear,” it is definitely nice to have that number at zero.

Thank you all for praying and supporting us through this journey!

Love,
Anna Marie

Anna Marie Maxwell

“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
).

Christian Reading Books for Kids

Encouragement comes often for Sarah’s books, whether through cards and letters, via email, through a blog comment, or a random phone call when someone is ordering. She is so excited about Finding Change’s sequel! This week, she hit the milestone of sending off the pre-release version to test readers, and she’s on her final weeks of editing.

“It was a true gift from the LORD to find your books recently. We ordered the whole series at the beginning of the pandemic and they have brought meaningful family time into a difficult situation. We have read the first 9 books of the Moody Series aloud as a family, and they have been such an encouragement. Thank you for writing stories where a family loves Jesus and one another. We are so grateful! You have given us a gift that we cannot thank you enough for.” In Christ, the VP Family

“To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the
morning, and thy faithfulness every night” (Psalm 92:2).

The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.