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Maxwell 51: Empty Nesters, Empty Vesters? End of an Era


Coconut Flan

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34 minutes ago, Melissa1977 said:

 I think Jesse loved the bass, so he had to change it for the guitar (or vice versa). 

His Twitter handle is bassplayer... very telling. I hope all of them can overcome their childhood hang-ups and play as many bass as they want or sew whatever they like - even things with contrasting buttons!

11 minutes ago, Captain Obvious said:

Not sure if Mary ever got to the point where it was a possibility, but I wonder what Steve would have done if Mary had been good enough at sewing to open an Etsy store and sell stuff. They have friends (the Leake girls) who sew and sell head coverings for women/girls and hairbands for babies and seem to be doing quite well with it. There's a decent market out there for Modest Wear, plus there are always options to sell baby stuff like cloth diapers. 

Mary liked to letter as well. I also wonder why Anna and Mary have never made anything of their face painting and balloon animal skills. They actually were good. They could advertise and use pictures of their nieces and nephews. They could do it at fairs, children birthdays and church events. Maybe even as a side gig for additional income while they study. (Not sure how much you have to invest in materials to do that.)

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8 minutes ago, Austrian Atheist said:

His Twitter handle is bassplayer... very telling. I hope all of them can overcome their childhood hang-ups and play as many bass as they want or sew whatever they like - even things with contrasting buttons!

Mary liked to letter as well. I also wonder why Anna and Mary have never made anything of their face painting and balloon animal skills. They actually were good. They could advertise and use pictures of their nieces and nephews. They could do it at fairs, children birthdays and church events. Maybe even as a side gig for additional income while they study. (Not sure how much you have to invest in materials to do that.)

They had a booth at the fair of course every kid who got a balloon or face painting got a Jesus tract to go with it.

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2 minutes ago, SPHASH said:

They had a booth at the fair of course every kid who got a balloon or face painting got a Jesus tract to go with it.

Yes I remember. But always only once a year at this one fair... (Maybe also a case of: don't make an idol of making little children happy!)

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4 hours ago, Austrian Atheist said:

Thanks. She uses Instagram and Twitter but not one picture of her artworks and no mention of Sarah's books as far as I can see. That's strange. The only post I could find about her on Tits2 was from 2009: https://blog.titus2.com/2009/01/01/happy-new-year/ 

Honest question: why wouldn't you disclose the full name of the illustrator of your books?

 

When the book was first introduced, you could view a sample and Abigail was listed as the main illustrator with Mary credited for the cover. I remember searching for the info because the skill level of the cover was markedly different from the featured spread and I was curious to find out if Mary was responsible for both.

Here’s my post from back then:

 “  On 11/17/2020 at 12:02 PM,  jegfile said: 

Did Mary do the illustrations? I loved the double page one. Give credit where credit is due, Sarah!”

“I don’t think she did. I seem to remember a post about it that said she was too busy (doing what, I don’t know, since illustration was supposed to be her assigned task) but I could be wrong. ETA: Just looked it up. Mary did the cover (which is kind of wonky IMO) and someone named Abigail Koilpillai, who I think is a friend of Sarah’s, did the illustrations“

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Catching up on the Maxwell thread, saw the topic name but didn't have a chance to read through it all until today.   All I can say is Wow!

Anna and Mary at college and Sarah has moved out.   I am glad for all of them, though like many here, I am darn curious what brought that all about.   Agree that events/changes (or a combination thereof) were factors in this, still, and not for the first time, I would love to have been a fly on the wall of the Maxwell home.

Like for many posters, while the change is good for the Maxwell daughters, it seems strange at the same time.   So much of our snark was centered around grown adults still at home, kept in (or perhaps chose) a life that was more like that of a child's.    I guess now we will have to look to the Arndts for the "crazy dad keeping his adult kids stuck at home" snark. 

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Something we haven't really discussed yet is what will Anna and Mary do once they graduate. As far as we know they already did one year online and we aren't sure how long their program is. It is very possible that come May they will be right back in their bedroom at their parent's house. Now, I have a feeling this taste of freedom will help prevent that from happening; however, we can't be sure. 

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16 hours ago, Caroline said:

Thanks for posting the link to that blog.  I didn't know about that one.  I think the economic angle for allowing the daughters more freedom makes sense.  It makes me wonder if Steve didn't allow sports or musical instruments or any other outside activities because of the expense as much as to isolate his kids.  Our daughter was on a  competitive swim team and took piano lessons for years.  Nothing extra-curricular is cheap.  

You might be onto something. Yes, Steve was all about keeping his children's hearts (so much so that he wrote a book about it, and homeschooled and packed them off to nursing-home church where they'd have no same-age peers) but the economic considerations do make sense. Especially considering that when he yanked the boys out of sports, they weren't raking in $$$ touring and selling a bunch of books. Someone upthread commented that they seem to be free with their spending on quality gear, tools, etc., but there's a vast difference between buying one good-quality hammer or power saw that you'll use for the next 40 years and paying dance tuition, Little League registration, cleats, shinguards, ballet shoes, leotards, bats (why does every kid on the team need their own now?) sports/dance camps in the summer, etc., plus transportation to all the practices/games/performances and medical bills when they get injured, year upon year, especially with multiple kids.

I think a lot of times fundie parents come up with a pious-sounding excuse for why something won't work rather than just come out and say "transportation is going to be too much of a pain" or "we really can't afford it." I grew up pretty fundie and dearly wanted to do dance, but my parents were concerned about homosexual influence (don't come at me, that was the fundie talking point about dance 30-40 years ago!) My daughter has danced for years and I have yet to get a whiff of any homosexual agenda being pushed in her tap classes. So maybe it wasn't about the ideology so much as they just couldn't afford it. (I look around at the dance recitals now, watch the kids who are on competition teams and dancing in half a dozen or more numbers in any given year all with different costumes, tights, shoes, etc, and wonder how they're affording it on top of tuition and travel costs!) In my parents' defense, they were paying for my music lessons already, so it isn't like I lived a childhood deprived of all opportunity - I just got told that something I wanted to do was "bad" but maybe it was really just "expensive."

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4 hours ago, FluffySnowball said:

Also, sewing is such a “typically female” hobby, I just can’t wrap my head around Mary not being allowed to enjoy it. She could sew and still not step a single tow out of the strict fundy gender-role line.

I thought it was Mary who led the switch from home-made frumpers to off the rack, modern modest. Initially, at least, their retailer of choice was Christopher & Banks, which I have only seen in outlet malls. So quite possibly the argument was that the women would look more attractive and it would cost Steve less to purchase ready-made clothing.

Speaking of publishing costs, a friend of mine owns a small publishing house and he has switched entirely to print-on-demand. No more boxes of books in the basement waiting for the next time the septic tank backs up or the water heater springs a leak.

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2 hours ago, Black Aliss said:

I thought it was Mary who led the switch from home-made frumpers to off the rack, modern modest. Initially, at least, their retailer of choice was Christopher & Banks, which I have only seen in outlet malls. So quite possibly the argument was that the women would look more attractive and it would cost Steve less to purchase ready-made clothing.

I just don't understand how it would've been at all cheaper. I've been to a Christopher and Banks outlet. I didn't find anything in the way of long skirts for anything resembling an amazing price, much less a matched set of four of anything. If you can get fabric for $3-4 a yard and make a frumper out of a pattern you already own that doesn't require any notions because you leave out the zipper, even a fabric-thirsty pattern like McCall's 3129 (the princess-seam frumper they favored most) that uses 3+ yards per person is still going to give you a modest jumper for $15 or less per person (maybe less, considering they probably figured out how to dovetail those pattern pieces together to minimize waste when they were stitching up a family set) and then you can mix and match with your knit tops that you probably bought on end-of-season clearance, whereas if you get a great clearance deal on a skirt from C&B it's probably going to be $10-15 by itself, and you're still going to need a coordinating top AND a shade shirt to wear under that. I know the Maxladies are very petite and petite stuff tends to stick around on clearance racks long enough to get down to a lower price than it would for us average-sized folks, but...I still don't see it.

I lean more toward, somebody said something to Steve. Like the way the pastor of this new church influenced him to send Anna and Mary to college. Somebody he had at least a little bit of respect for may have hinted that the ladies would look better and draw less attention to themselves (y'know, the basic definition of modesty) if they wore off-the-rack modern modest. I mean, even the later-seasons Duggars in all their thrift-store glory looked more normal and, in that way, modest, than the Maxwells did in a uniform of floor-length frumpers. Maybe it was Jim-Bob?

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6 hours ago, Melissa1977 said:

Sewing and playing instruments are praised activities in Maxhell. They were a band for a while. But once you get a passion for it, you have to stop and change it for something less fun. I think Jesse loved the bass, so he had to change it for the guitar (or vice versa).

I don't ever remember Jesse playing bass, but I only followed them since 2010. Christopher was playing bass then, and around the time he got married and left the band, Mary picked it up. I do recall he played mandolin quite a bit, and sometimes steel guitar? I seem to remember him playing piano sometimes as well. But I don't have any recollection of him playing bass. I hope if he's used the bass in his Twitter handle, that it's because he chose to learn the instrument and loves it, not because he was forced into (or out of) playing it because it was perceived as an "idol" by Steve.

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1 hour ago, Bethy said:

I lean more toward, somebody said something to Steve. Like the way the pastor of this new church influenced him to send Anna and Mary to college. Somebody he had at least a little bit of respect for may have hinted that the ladies would look better and draw less attention to themselves (y'know, the basic definition of modesty) if they wore off-the-rack modern modest. I mean, even the later-seasons Duggars in all their thrift-store glory looked more normal and, in that way, modest, than the Maxwells did in a uniform of floor-length frumpers. Maybe it was Jim-Bob?

I think the church is a more recent development than the clothes. They haven't worn off homemade frumpers in many, many years. Certainly they haven't worn those clothes in the all years I've followed them, and I really started following them in 2017.

Maybe they just wore the frumpers for special occasions like in the family pictures. I'm trying to figure out when the switch happened based on the blog. In earlier years, they're clearly still dressing like fundies, but now with homemade frumpers. I had to go back all the way to 2011 and beyond to find pictures of the girls/women wearing frumper consistantly in everyday life. I think either Steve realized that they stuck out from everyone else while touring, Teri and the girls got tired of making the frumpers, and Melanie was modest without frumpers.

P. S. Does it count as a "frumper" if it's just the skirt?

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5 minutes ago, Bluebirdbluebell said:

I think the church is a more recent development than the clothes. They haven't worn off homemade frumpers in many, many years. Certainly they haven't worn those clothes in the all years I've followed them, and I really started following them in 2017.

Maybe they just wore the frumpers for special occasions like in the family pictures. I'm trying to figure out when the switch happened based on the blog. In earlier years, they're clearly still dressing like fundies, but now with homemade frumpers. I had to go back all the way to 2011 and beyond to find pictures of the girls/women wearing frumper consistantly in everyday life. I think either Steve realized that they stuck out from everyone else while touring, Teri and the girls got tired of making the frumpers, and Melanie was modest without frumpers.

P. S. Does it count as a "frumper" if it's just the skirt?

No, the church is definitely the more recent development; they just owned up to their previous Sunday night involvement (and I forget how long they'd been there) when they pulled the plug on the nursing home church because of covid and started attending on Sunday mornings. I'm not saying a pastor of a church influenced them on the clothes, I'm saying SOMEONE that Steve has at least a little bit of respect for may have put the bug in his ear that his wife and daughters didn't look their best in the homemade frumpers.

If you go back through the blog, up through almost all of 2010, including all of the family portraits leading up to that point, it was all frumpers. Matching frumpers for portraits and while on tour, a variety of jumpers (mostly McCalls 3129) for everyday. In the Christmas 2010 recap they were trying on what appeared to be brown blouses or jackets; in the late-night recording-session pics that followed immediately after Christmas, the girls were almost always seen in layered shirts (like a long-sleeve knit top under a short-sleeve button-down or polo shirt) with long skirts. They had kind of been easing toward that look in the fall of 2010, by wearing a zip-front fleece vest or sweater vest over a frumper and long-sleeve shirt, but after Christmas 2010 that was the actual attire. The frumpers peeked out once or twice after that, but not as an absolutely mandatory daily uniform the way they had been before.

I scrolled back through the blog and in the early Uriah days (2009) they show Teri trying out a hand steamer since they wouldn't have room for a full-size ironing board on the bus. So maybe the hassle of ironing all those floor-length cotton frumpers without an ironing board was the dealbreaker? But once they switched to off-the-rack, they wore an awful lot of cotton blouses for conferences which would still have been a lot of work to maintain on the road.

As for "does it count as a frumper," I only count it if it's a jumper (American definition - a baggy dress worn over a shirt, not a sweater as a jumper would be know in England) so no, just the skirt wouldn't count, no matter how unflattering it looks.

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The Christopher and Banks stuff is likely because Leavenworth is the boil on the buttocks of humanity and the "mall" had a C&B, Penneys, Sears and Maurices

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4 hours ago, Bethy said:

I just don't understand how it would've been at all cheaper. I've been to a Christopher and Banks outlet. I didn't find anything in the way of long skirts for anything resembling an amazing price, much less a matched set of four of anything. If you can get fabric for $3-4 a yard and make a frumper out of a pattern you already own that doesn't require any notions because you leave out the zipper, even a fabric-thirsty pattern like McCall's 3129 (the princess-seam frumper they favored most) that uses 3+ yards per person is still going to give you a modest jumper for $15 or less per person

You make a good point. I would not expect to find fabric I like for that little money and I would figure in the value of my time. When I was working I calculated my hourly rate based on what I earned at my job. So because sewing is not something I absolutely love doing, making my own clothes is very expensive. 

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14 hours ago, Austrian Atheist said:

Thanks. She uses Instagram and Twitter but not one picture of her artworks and no mention of Sarah's books as far as I can see. That's strange. The only post I could find about her on Tits2 was from 2009: https://blog.titus2.com/2009/01/01/happy-new-year/ 

Honest question: why wouldn't you disclose the full name of the illustrator of your books?

 

Rebecca K's family were good friends with the Kleins. I remember seeing them on her blog back in the day. I don't know if they're still friends. Rebecca doesn't update her blog much anymore, and when she does she doesn't post photos of the families that her family used to socialize with.

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I think that getting rid of the frumpers also coincided a little with the slowing down/stopping of tours. They liked to match for conferences and the frumpers were an easy way to do that. When the tours slowed down and stopped they didn't need them anymore. 

I also think that frumpers "went out of style." I know that from our perspective they never were really "in" style; however, in the fundi world they definitely were. The Duggars also stopped wearing them about this time as well. 

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Another picture of Mary on the college's facebook page.  They're having Warrior Night and she's watching them play sports.  She looks so happy.  

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15 hours ago, Captain Obvious said:

On the topic of designing, though, I think we can safely assume that the cover for Joseph's book wasn't designed by Mary:

 

aoed-book-2 (2).jpg

And I'll bet he didn't need to put a actual dead fly on the actual floor and have someone reach for it at night with a blacklight on, in order to create this image.

🪰

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Mary in the stands without Anna. We have progress!

I am anxiously awaiting the day one or both are participating, not just spectating. I know spectating is a huge step for them, but solid growth would be participating! And it would be so much fun, they wouldn't know what to do with themselves!

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1 hour ago, fundiefan said:

Mary in the stands without Anna. We have progress!

I am anxiously awaiting the day one or both are participating, not just spectating. I know spectating is a huge step for them, but solid growth would be participating! And it would be so much fun, they wouldn't know what to do with themselves!

I actually see them both in the stands sitting near each other.

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3 hours ago, fundiefan said:

Mary in the stands without Anna. We have progress!

I am anxiously awaiting the day one or both are participating, not just spectating. I know spectating is a huge step for them, but solid growth would be participating! And it would be so much fun, they wouldn't know what to do with themselves!

Sadly, they never learned how to play soccer, volleyball, softball or any team sports that people continue to enjoy as adults. Even their Thanksgiving Day Fun Run was not part of an organized event; they just did it by themselves.

I don't think they even had bicycles, did they? I know their nieces and nephews have bikes (and I wish Chris would learn how to properly fit his kids' helmets so they'd actually provide some protection instead of doubling as yarmulkas). 

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I didn't notice/see Anna anywhere. Even if she's there and near Mary, it's not the two of them together, away from everyone else. I see Mary as part of a crowd; if Anna is there & I'm missing her, she's part of the crowd too. 

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3 hours ago, Black Aliss said:

Sadly, they never learned how to play soccer, volleyball, softball or any team sports that people continue to enjoy as adults. Even their Thanksgiving Day Fun Run was not part of an organized event; they just did it by themselves.

I don't think they even had bicycles, did they? I know their nieces and nephews have bikes (and I wish Chris would learn how to properly fit his kids' helmets so they'd actually provide some protection instead of doubling as yarmulkas). 

One of the first things I remember reading when I first discovered their blog, was that the kids were allowed to ride their bikes for exercise, not fun.  This was several years ago, when anything remotely fun was strictly off limits!  The other thing I remember from that first look into Maxhell was the story of Mary's orthodontist asking Mary's opinion!  At that point, I knew I needed to know more!

 

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I’m both an author who has been published by a traditional publisher, and the office manager for a self publishing company (also planning to self-publish a short story collection in November). I’ve also worked in bookstores. 

There are a lot of factors that go in to how much an author might earn. Print costs vary depending on everything from binding & paper quality to page count & colour illustrations. Printing in bulk is cheaper (per book) than print on demand, but you have to wear the cost up front and then sell the whole print run. Selling the books yourself at a conference or via your own website means a significantly bigger profit margin, because retailers such as bookstores tend to only carry stock that they can buy for at least 40% off the recommended sale price - that’s how they can pay their staff and keep the lights on. Christian bookstores would likely be perfectly willing to carry the Moody books, but Sarah would earn less on those copies than on the ones she’s able to sell directly from the Titus2 website. To give you an idea, my first novel retailed for $20AUD, and I earned $2AUD in royalties for every copy sold. But I could also buy my own copies direct from my publisher for $10AUD, and sell them directly to friends etc for $15, so my friends were getting a discount AND I was earning more.

The up front costs associated with self-publishing (that the publisher pays for in a traditional model) are cover design, typesetting, ISBN registration, printing, distribution and marketing. From the sounds of things, the Maxwells were able to DIY their covers and internal layout, they had in-built marketing through their website and networks, so aside from a few $ per title to register the ISBN, their only real expense is the printing. That can be a fair bit - again I work in AU $ but for a 300p paperback that retails for $20, you’d be paying around $7-8 per copy to a print-on-demand service like Amazon KDP or IngramSpark. Then there’s postage/shipping costs.

Tl;dr - if I was estimating ballpark earnings for Sarah, I would roughly guess #copies x retail price x 0.6.

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