Tag Archives: Christmas

Caroling in Real Life

One of the joys of our blog is hearing from YOU. So when we received this e-mail below, we couldn’t help but smile and share it. This reader we’ve loved for years (and met in person!), and she gave permission for us to use her story. Totally down to earth and amazing writing! 


Well, we did it. WE CAROLED. In true Team E fashion. Nothing about this adventure was particularly elegant, but a lot of fun was had! The children chose the slowest, longest carols out of the songbook and practiced them. The dirge-like sounds that filled the house were music to only God’s ears! Then they picked some peppier carols, thank goodness, because no one should be subjected to all seventeen-gazillion verses of The First Noel against their will. Then we made cookies of varying sorts; have you heard of chocolate crinkle cookies? They’re supposed to have a lovely cracked-powdered-sugar look. Supposed to!

We picked the street nearest us with the fanciest light display and trotted off bearing baggies filled with cookies. Everyone had hats and coats and mittens THAT MATCHED which means I’m an excellent mother. We didn’t warn anyone we were coming, and at a few houses we just sang in the driveway, unheard—but that was good, for various melodious reasons—and prayed for those houses anyway. How can you not feel prayerful when you’re singing Hark the Herald?! One or two folks were home, and they got cookies AND hugs (our youngest is a hugger), and one neighbor said she’d been caroling before but had never been caroled TO. (She seemed to indicate this was a blessing. And she took the cookies.) Our son was happy to tromp through the snow to deliver cookies on the doorsteps of people who weren’t home. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that the fancy front doors aren’t necessarily where one enters the house up here; New Englanders often enter through the back or side door and leave the front door for show. But I hope they got found anyway! Otherwise, mice. Hmm, maybe I should do a drive-by and check …

Anyway, we had so much fun we got in the car and drove to a widow friend of ours, who greatly appreciated our carols, and then to another family who are empty-nesting. I didn’t realize what a lost tradition it is, at least in our cold, dark neck of the woods!

The kids want to make it a tradition. I’m all for it! I might even plan stuff in advance! Thanks for the inspiration.


Wasn’t that amazing? If you’ve been inspired from something (anything!) on the blog, we’d love to hear about it.  We’re excited to share what the Lord’s doing here at the Maxwells and Titus2.

Love,
Sarah

“For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in
Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God
ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.”
(1 Thessalonians 1:8)

Christmas Day Recap

I know, I know. You probably want some wedding pictures, but I don’t have our iPhone captures ready yet. Watch for them Monday! In the meantime, I’ll share with you our Christmas Day. The extended family came over on Saturday, the 23rd, but on Christmas Day proper, our immediate family celebrated. The last time with John single.

To begin with, we did our traditional 12 days of Christmas WOD. Jesse planned the workout, and it was great! We missed Mary, who had just started a cold, so she opted that it was better to pass.

Another tradition is the guys make breakfast. While they cooked, we girls enjoyed a game and coffee. The guys did an excellent job of sausage gravy, biscuits, and scrambled eggs. We enjoyed lingering over breakfast and just talking.

Then, on to gifts. Since we don’t have any little kids in the home, we took our time. I love to see the thoughtfulness and planning that goes into each gift.

I’m grateful for the Lord’s blessing of family!

Love,
Sarah

I know who this picture was for!

This is the new place Arnold likes to be.

John and Anna often disguised their gifts to each other, and John carried on the tradition again.

Anna received a new exercise mat, and John began a sit up contest with her. He won.

A little bluetooth speaker, perfect for listening to the Bible and music!

Matching down vests for Mom and Dad!

Mary and Jesse made this for Dad. Hours and hours of love went into this beautiful piece.

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. Jim Elliot

Jesse received a Henry Morris study Bible.

John, Anna, Jesse, and Mary gifted Mom with the decorations on the end table (lamp and the other items). It’s wonderful!

Hmmm. Nothing like giving Dad shoes//and lots of them! You know how shopping is: you can order multiple styles and sizes to find one that works.

“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written
for our learning, that we through patience and comfort
of the scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

Full House and Happy Hearts

Last weekend, we were in Kansas, celebrating Christmas with the extended family Saturday, the 23rd. What an incredible, growing bunch they are! You should have heard all the happy talk, laughter, little kids, and joy.

This year, we tried something a little different. Each adult (excluding Dad + Mom) was in a pool of names, and they gave to just one person. Then, the cousins each gave to one cousin plus an aunt or uncle. Some of freely shared who our person was, while others kept it a secret until the day. We really enjoyed being able to just focus on two people! Dad and Mom gave and received gifts from everyone. One thing I especially loved was hearing how the little ones came up with ideas for the aunt or uncle they bought for all on their own.

I’m grateful for family.

And now we are in Iowa, gathered for John and Chelsy’s wedding!

Love,
Sarah

Dad and Drew

Drew knew what he wanted to buy for Uncle Joseph: work rubber boots! That little guy was so excited!

John went to Iowa the day before to spend time with the Bontragers + extended family, and then he and Chelsy came to celebrate with us Saturday!

You probably don’t understand how special of a gift the above was! Andrew had Ruthie, and he wanted to get her glasses, as Ruthie loves Tina’s glasses. That look is priceless.

Liddy had Mary!

Calia’s love of animals came through with her gift!

A selfie going on here.

Ruthie knew she wanted to get me a hat and a pink one!

Drew making use of his new dump truck.

My sweet “puppy.”

This is an extremely practical gift: a director’s chair for Mary to use with face painting.

Melanie did an incredible job with calendars for Dad and Mom. I love looking through them.

Mary’s labor of love making cards for GiGi!

Some rested in the afternoon, and some of us played games.

We did our traditional Christmas program in the evening.

“The meek shall eat and be satisfied:
they shall praise the Lord that seek him:
your heart shall live for ever.”
Psalm 22:26

Can You Hear It? || The Sound of Peace on Earth!

It’s the song of Christmas, celebrate His birth! It’s the chorus, that rings in human hearts! God came down, here with us, it’s the song of Christmas.

Some of us attended a beautiful Christmas program Sunday evening. I love the Christmas season in general, and these sorts of events make it even more special. I sat in awe and wonder, as Christ’s coming to earth and His sacrifice for us felt so real and close. The Gospel was presented clearly, unashamedly, and in a heart-felt manner. I’m so grateful for how much time, effort, and love the cast put into the program. It was amazing!

We’re looking forward to Christmas caroling this weekend in the frigid temperatures here in Kansas. In fact, we just might have a little snow. How perfect!

Love,
Sarah

Right before it started.

Yes, a live camel!

Since it was the last show, people were invited to see the camel or go back stage.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given:
and the government shall be upon his shoulder:
and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God,
The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

Family Times at Christmas

I want to give you a peek into the joyful get-togethers we had around Christmas. We have so much to be thankful for!

Traditionally, our extended family comes over for Christmas Eve. It’s an all-day event, with a special breakfast, gift opening after that, a snack lunch, naps for those who want, games, then our big dinner, followed by the Christmas program.

Then, on Christmas Day, we Maxwell kids do a 12 Days of Christmas workout, the guys make breakfast, we go to a retirement home and sing carols, and then we exchange gifts in the immediate family, followed by another dinner for whomever wants to come.

Love,
Sarah

Jesse and Calia
Jesse and Calia
This was Drew's first time to hold Calia, and now, he's very anxious for more turns. It's adorable.
This was Drew’s first time to hold Calia, and now, he’s very anxious for more turns. It’s adorable.
Tina gave Dad and Mom a big spatula.
Tina gave Dad and Mom a big spatula.
Bethany made a sachet.
Bethany made a sachet.

I think it’s so sweet how the little girls made some gifts. Very meaningful!

Abby made little purses for the aunts.
Abby made little purses for the aunts.
Betsy made a birdhouse with her daddy's help.
Betsy made a birdhouse with her daddy’s help.

DSC_3183DSC_3203

DSC_3249

Drew helped himself to someone else's present: so cute!
Drew helped himself to someone else’s present: so cute!
Joseph had an amazing idea. Joshua loves all brands of equipment, including Stihl. He can spell it for you too! Joseph made him a shirt, and Stihl sent Joshua a gift of the hat, sunglasses, and sticker!
Joseph had an amazing idea. Joshua loves all brands of equipment, including Stihl. He can spell it for you too! Joseph made him a shirt, and Stihl sent Joshua a gift of the hat, sunglasses, and sticker!

DSC_3341

DSC_3342

DSC_3369

Elissa made Mom baskets.
Elissa made Mom baskets.
Drew and Anna
Drew and Anna
Elissa and Joseph
Elissa and Joseph

DSC_3421DSC_3470

Dad and Mom with their 2 grandsons.
Dad and Mom with their 2 grandsons.

Then, our Christmas program that evening.

DSC_3504

DSC_3525
Lydia
DSC_3532
Elissa, Bethany, Abby

DSC_3533

The workout crew (plus me, but I'm taking the photo)
The workout crew (plus me, but I’m taking the photo)

DSC_3628

DSC_3638
Dad, Jesse, John made us breakfast

DSC_3641DSC_3688DSC_3745DSC_3793

DSC_3809

“… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15