When Dreams Fall Apart

Thursday morning update: Thank you all so very much for your love and concern. Vet sat with her last night before going home, and she was calm. Ellie’s surgery will happen about 9am Central.

I’m going to be really raw with you all tonight and share what’s going on. There’s not always a good way to share hurts and disappointments, because sometimes they involve other people.

Ellie, my English Cream Golden Retriever, has been a sweet buddy to me since I got her three and a half years ago. She’s such a loyal friend and super smart too.

A dream of mine has also been to raise puppies, so I pursued that route once she turned two. Ellie went through extensive testing and turned out beautifully. Even the vet said breeding her would only improve her line. Her hips, which can be a weak link on goldens, scored in the top 5%. Excellent.

Last month, I bred Ellie to a gorgeous male. We all were excited about puppies in August, and it seemed my dream was coming true. Two weeks ago, Ellie had a concerning issue, so I took her to the vet. He checked her progesterone and even ran a blood panel, and she seemed okay, so we scheduled an ultrasound for the 10th. In dogs, gestation is very short. About halfway through, you can check for pregnancy via ultrasound.

Giving Ellie some love when she wasn’t feeling well

Ellie hasn’t been herself since, but some of that could be attributed to being pregnant. This afternoon with anticipation, I brought her in for an ultrasound. I watched the screen as the vet moved the wand over her stomach, and instead of seeing little puppy sacs with beating hearts, we discovered infection. This wasn’t a small infection either. After drawing blood and testing it, we found her white blood cells are dangerously high. Because of that, Ellie needed to stay so they could start her on an IV and antibiotics, keep her overnight, and do surgery in the morning.

That was hard. Really hard. Yes, the loss of dreams, but to leave my sweet girl and to know she is so sick. She’s the kind of dog who doesn’t even like to go to a vet, and here she would have to stay. I took off her collar and leash and said good-bye with tears. The vet and his staff have been incredible and super helpful through this whole process. They assured me they will take good care of her, and I know they will. They hope I can bring her home Thursday night yet.

Life doesn’t always go as planned, but the Lord uses disappointments to draw us closer to Him. While I don’t understand, I know this is minor in the grand scheme of things. I trust, and I rest. Yes, I do shed tears and pray that Ellie’s infection will go down overnight and the surgery goes well so I can bring her home.


One of her favorite places is to be on the porch in the morning while I have my Bible time.

“A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast …” Proverbs 12:10

Scripture Memory With Little Children, Part 2

Joshua on the Jonah night

We enjoyed the comments on the first post in this series on Scripture memory. It is so important that we seek to fill little hearts with God’s Word to prepare them for salvation and a relationship with Christ.

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,
which are able to make thee wise unto salvation
through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
2 Timothy 3:15

In Part One, we talked about a free ebook download Whatever It Takes and then three memorization techniques: listening to an audio Bible (free from Faith Comes by Hearing or also VerseLocker), reading personally and as a family, and repeating frequently.

In this post, we will look at three more.

Singing —I love Scripture songs. I memorized most of Psalm 119 with a friend years ago using recordings available for free here and now have started working on them with the children. Also, I stumbled across this site looking for 1 Corinthians 13 in song, and I love her version of it. Memorizing Scripture through song is a wonderful way to memorize, and was an approach to memorization that God wanted the Israelites doing in the Old Testament.

Writing—We like using Scripture passages for copy work. Some of our children love doing copy work, and for others, it’s more of a task that needs to be done. If they’re working on penmanship anyway, it’s nice that they get the dual benefit of reinforcing memory verses.

Motivating—When Joshua memorized Jonah last year, we told him we would have a “Jonah party” with some of our extended family. He got to plan out a program with a few songs, quoted the entire book, shared a little sermon about Jonah, and we finished with a dessert of his choice. The evening was delightful, and Joshua had a blast. In addition, our family memorized a chapter for the Scriptorium in Kansas City earlier this year and having a “deadline” helped keep us all motivated. This year we are participating in the National Bible Bee, and I am very excited about the memorization and study we are doing on the theme of worship this summer!

We were originally going to do this as a two-part series, but a question was asked about choosing, keeping track of, and reviewing memory verses that we will answer in an upcoming post.

Anna Marie

A New Kind of Birthday Gift

Dad and Mom are blessed to have such a growing group of grandkids! Over the past 10 years, Mom shopped and kept up with a gift each child would like.

Recently, they had an idea. Instead of a physical gift, the child gets a special evening over at Grandpa and Grandma’s. There is a string of summer birthdays, so Mom got right on scheduling.

The kids have totally loved their special time. After all, isn’t the gift of quality time something to be valued?

We began with Abby, then Joshua, and last Christina. Up next will be Danny and Drew, the birthday-cousin-twins. They will have separate nights. 🙂

“And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,
shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:7

Of the Red, White, and Blue

Patriotic colors. Red, white, and blue. We wear them as a symbol that we belong to this country, and we’re proud of our heritage. Red signifies hardiness and valor, white is purity and innocence, and blue is the symbol of vigilance and justice. We’re grateful for the patriots who bought our freedom with their own lifeblood.

The Pledge of Allegiance declares one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

One nation under God and with justice for all. Sadly, our beautiful nation has taken God out of so much, including the right to life for the preborn. Justice for all means they should have a voice too. They’ve done nothing wrong to deserve to die.

If you have given your life to Jesus and are trusting in His shed blood, I encourage you this Independence Day to cry out for repentance for our great nation.

Happy Independence Day!


“Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such
as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth,
judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor
and needy.” Proverbs 31:8-9

Father’s Day Recap

July is here y’all, and we’re down to less than a month before Anna and Mary arrive home. Thank you for praying for them. The Lord is blessing their time, and they are seeing spiritual fruit.

We celebrated Father’s Day early with the girls, but we celebrated again on Father’s Day proper. For Mother’s and Father’s Day, we cancel our extended family lunch so the young families can celebrate however they like. Then, in the evening, whoever wants to is invited over to our house.

The four of us (we’re a small group, just Dad, Mom, Jesse, and me) received an invitation to join Christopher’s crew for lunch. After lunch, we moved into the living room and enjoyed talking. Christopher got out a whiteboard and began drawing. He draws a new picture each day to encourage the kids to look for what verse it’s showing during Bible time (hopefully a post on that later). Joshua and Ruthanne watched him, and I was curious about the picture too. Suddenly, I realized.

BABY announcement. We loved sharing in on the joy and seeing the kids’ reaction too!

In the evening we had a delightful time blessing Dad and being in God’s Word — all 20 something of us, and 3 generations. I’m grateful to be a part of a family who values children.

Since only some of us knew the baby news, Joshua announced before the cousins recited the Scripture they’d done at church earlier.
Happy hugs and rejoicing
So much activity, and this isn’t even a wide angle.

“Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage
for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.”
Psalm 119:11

Baby Dolls and Carriers

It’s been a busy week on the Maxwell home front, so I’m sorry we haven’t had another post sooner. You’ll hear from Anna Marie below. –Sarah

Thank you all so much for your sweet comments and joining our excitement for our new baby on the way! We are so very blessed!

One question was asked that we thought others might be interested in as well, so decided to make it a separate little post.

“Are your girls using the Ergo children’s baby doll carriers? What brand of baby dolls do you prefer? I like that larger size.”

Before Elizabeth was born, I thought it would be great to get new baby dolls for Ruthanne and Lydia as gifts once the new baby arrived. I found some 20” dolls on Amazon that I loved—and then was thrilled to find that our Walmart had almost the exact same dolls for $5! I don’t know why they were that price at our store just then, but it was such a wonderful little blessing to find them! They are made by JC Toys and can be found on Amazon here. (All links in this post are Titus2’s Amazon affiliate link and bless the ministry. See Titus2’s privacy policy.) It’s been perfect that they can wear size newborn to three-month clothes and the girls have actually become quite proficient in baby changing—even able to help change Elizabeth with their skills. 🙂

The baby carriers they have are these. They work well, though the 20” baby dolls are maybe a little bigger than it’s designed for. Elizabeth is using one that works well with smaller babies (helps to tie it together in the back to keep it from falling off shoulders).

And mine is an Ergo Omni 360. I was given an Original Ergo before Joshua arrived, which I loved and used a lot; and then received an Ergo Omni 360 after Elizabeth was born and highly recommend it as I feel like the company made some great improvements. The biggest pluses, to me, are being able to carry a newborn without an insert, and being able to carry older babies forward-facing while maintaining a good ergonomic leg position. They’re expensive, but if you have baby gift money … you can buy them at Bed Bath and Beyond using a 20% off coupon.

Happy baby-carrying!

Anna Marie

“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their
youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones,
polished after the similitude of a palace.”
Psalm 144:12

The Maxwell family and ministry blog of Titus2.com.