Chelsy’s Bridal Shower Hosted by Teri, Anna, and Mary Maxwell

Mom wanted to throw a bridal shower for Chelsy, specifically to bless her with her pantry. Mom’s so amazing! Schedules were consulted, a date picked, invites sent out, and Mom and Anna and Mary began planning! (I wasn’t much help until the last two days due to Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle and then trying to catch up on work.  I’m VERY excited to tell you that the books came in a little early, and we’re beginning to ship TODAY! Watch your e-mail for a tracking number if yours is in the first batch.)

The girls and Mom planned an amazing spread of refreshments, including a hot cocoa bar. They rearranged our living room to make accommodating a large group easier. They decorated, transforming everything into a beautiful, cozy setting.

Monday arrived, and the preparations kicked in 110%. My sisters are extremely creative and lovingly invested a lot of time in all the little sweet touches.

Since this was a pantry shower, we asked each guest to bring a spice and then other items to stock the pantry. I loved seeing the creativity with which people gifted them! One of the brothers even sent along some hot sauce and directions on how to boil water. 🙂 John and Chelsy have an awesome stock in their pantry (well, they don’t have cabinets installed yet, but hey, that’ll come!).

GiGi gave a wonderful devotional, sharing things she’d learned in her marriage to Grandad for over 65 years!

We’re so grateful for our neighbors and friends who blessed John and Chelsy.


Mary rolling out sugar cookies.

Anna had a great idea.

Mary lettering for the shower sign.

Doesn’t that just spell cozy?

Don’t you love this idea? A Date Night Jar so guests could write ideas for the bride + groom to have a creative date.Chelsy and GiGi

Abby made the pillow with John and Chelsy’s initials.

Calia was really cute helping Chelsy open gifts.

Elissa did this creative veggie tray!

Amazing sisters of mine!

So much amazing food.

Betsy’s date night idea: Play UNO!

Most of the Maxwell and Bontrager ladies. (Melanie had already gone home, so we missed her in this group picture!)“O Lord our Lord, how excellent
is thy name in all the earth!”
Psalm 8:9

Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving In a Nutshell

  1. Individual Bible time
  2. Turkey trot (some did a 5k, others 10k–great times, we were three brothers and three sisters strong)
  3. Energizing breakfast (think bacon, eggs, yogurt + fruit, pumpkin muffins, and coffee)
  4. Christmas decorating
  5. Food prep
  6. Great family time
  7. Recounting our blessings before family Bible time
Turkey trot
Maxwell Sisters

Breakfast with GiGi
Life is good
Love that smile!

Thanksgiving dinner
Danny is really camera savvy, and his smiles are the greatest!

“And in that day shall ye say,
Praise the Lord, call upon his name,
declare his doings among the people,
make mention that his name is exalted.”
Isaiah 12:4

Blessed Beyond Measure

Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle

Since y’all enjoyed random life so much the last time, I thought I’d share more again in the same style. After meeting intense deadlines, I’m enjoying a slower pace before the books arrive from the printer. I can’t wait to see them shipping out! Your response to the book has been top notch. Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle also makes a perfect gift. I’ve noticed some of you ordering two or more copies!

We’re very blessed. Life is full, and I want to give you a peek into the last month.


Speaking of intense, Mary pulled off ten illustrations and a beautiful book cover in two weeks. Coffee was a must!

Anna Marie and children made sugar cookies with the words Moody Family the day I sent the book to the copyeditor.

I really wanted my picture to look Christmasy for the book release, so I hunted for an evergreen tree in town and found one. Mary was kind to take the pictures. Doing a test photo here!

The girls finished the OCC shoeboxes the pickup week with Christopher’s kids.

Load up time!
Hmmm. Is Arnold counting the boxes?

Pumpkin donuts

Joseph’s spent many hours working at John’s house: everything from electrical to painting.

Liz and Chelsy came to visit one weekend.

Only 30 something days until the wedding, but who is counting, right?!
Calia is the cutest little helper.

Game time

A celebration run after the book went to the copyeditor (Anna was traveling, so she couldn’t join us)

Bringing in a load of wood to stock up for our fires

Anna’s been working on meatballs for the rehearsal dinner.

She’s cooking them in her smoker, and let me tell you. The meatballs are out of this world incredible!

We’re doing something a little different for the extended family’s Christmas this year, and Jesse + Mary were working out the details one Sunday evening.

One night, the doorbell rang. Look at the adorable scene that greeted us. The little kids recited part of Luke 2 and then sang for us. Super special.

The guys enjoyed a brothers’ and dad night out before John’s wedding.

We girls enjoyed chocolate-mint frozen drinks and games.

And to wrap it up, love this adorable (being silly) face!

“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things,
even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.”
Psalm 107:43 
(Can you tell Psalm 107 is one of my favorite Psalms?!)

Happy Thanksgiving, with love!

We are so blessed, and we wanted to share with you through video this year. Huge thanks to Mary for compiling and editing it!

“Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness,
and for his wonderful works to the children of men!
For he satisfieth the longing soul,
and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.”
Psalm 107:8-8

A New Christmas Book, Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle

Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle is a book I’m passionate about. It’s no secret I love Christmas, and I’ve had a dream of writing Christmas novels. I wrote my first one in 2014, and this autumn, another story took shape.

Those who’ve previewed Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle describe it as: electrifying, vivid, captivating, engaging, and wholesome.

Christmas is right around the corner in Sunflower, and life is full of surprises. Some good, some not. Mr. Gibson is at the root of them, but what can twelve-year-old Moses do? At the town hall meeting, Moses is proud to watch his older brother stand up against opposition, but the new piece of information is troubling. When their Christmas season turns into a crisis, can Moses handle what’s before him? Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle will tug your heartstrings in this incredible story of hope and love.

Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle

This book has a slightly older audience, as I reached for ages 8-14, with my main character being 12. I brought the Moodys back in, although they’re now ages 12-21. This book is a stand alone from the rest of the Moody Family Series.

Pre-order bonus: I’ll sign the first 200 copies of Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle. Books will begin shipping on December 5th. This is a perfect read for your holiday season! Grab a copy for your family and another to give away. For more information or to pre-order, stop by our online store.

I am excited about Sunflower’s Christmas Miracle. Dream. Come. True.

Also, while we’re announcing new things, Preparing Sons has received a face lift, inside and out (the content is the same). Pre-order your copy as it makes a great Christmas gift for Christian families with sons! They will begin shipping at the same time as the Christmas title.


“Delight thyself also in the Lord;
and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Psalm 37:4

Face Painting, What Supplies You Need to Start Off

Mary’s been asked what supplies are needed to start face painting. Special thanks to Mary for sharing!

I’ve pretty much just used dry face paint, which is activated with water. That way I can control it. For example, if a kid is sweaty, you’ll want it really dry, so it’ll stick and not run. I use Wolfe face paint for my color. (Here’s a link to a blue Wolfe paint. All the links in this post are Titus2’s Amazon Affiliate links. See our Privacy Policy.) But I use Diamond FX for white and black. I think they’re pretty similar though, so I have no idea how it ended up like that.

Investing in your brushes is totally worth it. I have middle-of-the-line brushes. I went to Michaels and got their highest end (I think about $10 per brush), but they would be an art store’s middle line. Dad has taught me how to very thoroughly clean them, and the time is well worth it to make them last longer. Some face painters use sponges, but I haven’t done much with them. But they are a good way to apply a lot of paint in a short amount of time.

See the picture below for some of the brushes I use. I was very overwhelmed when I went shopping for them and had no idea what I needed! My favorites (and I have multiple of each of these for ease and speed of changing colors) are: 1/4 and 3/8” angled, 6 rounded edge, 14 round, and 4 round.

A funny thing that’s become a necessity in my face paint tub is baby wipes. A lot of kids eat candy at events and sticky is everywhere. Keeping a bit of sanitation is handy. I use an inexpensive brand from WalMart.

I started with this kit from Amazon, and now purchase the bigger, individual colors as I need them, expanding my palette here and there when possible, which is really great!


“And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and declare his works with rejoicing.”
Psalm 107:22

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