Archive for the 'Matthew & Amanda' Category
“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty; it ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” – John Adams
“Indeed, it is an indisputable fact that all the complex and horrendous questions confronting us at home and worldwide have their influence in the single Book [the Bible].” – Ronald Reagan
“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” – John Adams
“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of the government in the next.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Hold fast to the Bible. To the influence of this Book we are indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this we must look as our guide in the future.” – Ulysses S. Grant
“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government. In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important? And what duty more pressing… than … communicating it to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?” – George Washington
“Whenever you are to do a thing, though it can never be known but to yourself, ask yourself how you would act were all the world looking at you, and act accordingly.” – Thomas Jefferson
“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” – Gerald Ford
“It is the responsibility of the citizens to support their government. It is not the responsibility of the government to support its citizens.” – Grover Cleveland
“Public virtue cannot exist in a nation without private virtue, and public virtue is the only foundation of republics.” – John Adams
“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favors.” – George Washington
… a little late! More details to follow soon, Lord willing…
“Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.” Psalm 144:15
Stop for a minute.
Look around you, and think of three things that would typically bypass the eye, yet are beautiful and touching once noticed. Simple things: a child reaching on tip-toes trying to wash dirty hands in the kitchen sink; a little boy coming up, tenderly calling your name, asking you to play with him; the tenderness of a sister who gives you a hug “just because.”
Bask in the goodness and mercy of your Heavenly Father. He Who orchestrates the years, the days, the minutes, and the moments is worthy of our praise. Pause to remember a few of the blessings He has so freely bestowed on your life. Take a moment to embrace a little sibling or play a game with them. Wrap your arms around the neck of your parents and tell them how much you love them. Take a deep breath, look out the window, listen to the chirp of the bird’s song. Your Savior, your Lord, your Heavenly Father planned all of this! And He did it for you.
Will you ever regret looking into the eyes of your little brother and saying, “I love you?” Will you look back five years from now, and wish that you hadn’t taken all those pictures together? How often do you give a hug to encourage a sister?
These are all things I need to remember. So often in the busyness of life, I get caught up in what I have to do, the things I have planned, the goals and dreams that I want to pursue. And while these things are good things (and most of them are indeed things that do have to be done), I often miss the smallest of blessings by not taking a moment to look, to encourage, and to praise the One from Whom All blessings flow!
May we all strive to look at the smallest of details that the Lord so carefully and masterfully puts together and praise Him for the beauty He creates in each day!
What a joy it was, last month, to celebrate Victoria’s graduation from high school! Such a precious time to be with loved ones — particularly Matthew, Amanda, and our precious little niece, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins — and rejoice in the goodness and grace of the Lord in allowing her to reach this milestone in her life.
The plan for the day was to host, at our home, a dinner and music recital – as has been done for the past three Neely Team graduates. However, the Lord had other plans. With the forecast calling for rain all day on Saturday, two days before we realized that something had to be done! In His mercy, the Lord worked it out that the local church we use for hosting FEW Conferences, and where Matthew and Amanda were married, was available for that day. In a joyous scurry of activity, we prepared as much a possible on Thursday evening for the change. Friday, we left early and were away all day in Greenville, SC, for our cousin Austin’s graduation from Bob Jones University, arriving back home around midnight. Early Saturday morning we headed over to the church to get everything set up and ready… and, as He always does, the Lord worked everything out in good time, providing strength and creativity to accomplish each task.
The evening went well. One of the great blessings of the day was the presence of the Elliott family – Victoria’s beloved harp teacher and her parents – who graciously drove up from Greenville, bringing along the pedal harp, to assist in the recital. We pray that it was both an encouragement to the many dear believers present, as well as brilliant testimony for our Savior to the unbelievers who attended. Below are some pictures for your enjoyment:
Enjoying that precious bundle of blessing and joy (oh, how we miss her!):
Four generations! To God be praise.
Congratulations, dear sister, on your entrance into this new phase of life. We love you dearly and praise the Lord for you! May your eyes continue to be upon Him alone as you move forward into the exciting future He has in store for you.
And, by the way, welcome to the Alumni Association of Sheridan Hills Christian School…
After the arrival of two precious little ones, the Wilkes and Neely aunties hosted a joint baby shower for the happy mothers. Oh what a joy it was to work together to make this happen!
Practicing for motherhood – see how many baby clothes you can hang on the clothesline… in just 45 seconds… while keeping your baby happy and talking on the phone to your mother!
Writing thoughts for the new mothers, and then opening gifts:
Presenting the final two gifts: a double jogging stroller for Wilkes Team 2, and a jogging stroller/car seat combo for Wilkes Team 3!
Enjoying sweet fellowship and rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord together:
Other snapshots around the Farm during the weekend:
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward… Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Psalm 127: 3,5
The Lord has added to our family! We are rejoicing in God’s merciful kindness toward us in the arrival of this precious grandbaby.
“Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” – Psalm 127:3-5
“The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” – Proverbs 10:22
“And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.” – Isaiah 58:11-12
“For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.” – Psalm 86:10
“Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.” – Psalm 128:1-4
“Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.” – Psalm 72:18-19
Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. Psalm 32:11
After far too long of a separation, the Lord blessed us with us with an opportunity to travel north to visit Matthew & Amanda and the Wilkes Team. Words fail to describe the thrill of being together once again as family, fellowshipping, making memories, and rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord.
Rejoicing… that word seems to best describe the weekend with which we were blessed. In some measure, is not this the way each of our relationships should be with Christ? Should we not yearn so much to be with Him — to commune with Him — that seasons of prayer and fellowship are our greatest delight? That spending time in His presence thrills our hearts and gives us new hope, new energy, new zeal for His work? May it ever be so in every one of our lives.
Soon after our arrival, a fantastic memory was made as … a great number of Thera-pit-ic cherry pit packs were opened!
On Friday, the whole merry band loaded up and went ice skating (the first time for many of us)! Zipping around, laughing at both successful and unsuccessful attempts to get the hang of it, falling, slipping, gliding… what special memories were made. Thank you for this special treat, Uncle Mark & Aunt Alice. Though we left the rink with one broken arm, the goodness of the Lord was evident even in that incident, and we look forward to trying this delightful sport again sometime.
Friday evening, we celebrated the birthday of a very special patriarch. We love you, Grandpa Wilkes!
On Saturday morning, the parents went to the farmer’s markets and left the rest of us at home. First on the schedule was breakfast in Matthew & Amanda’s apartment! Such a special, joyous time together; their hospitality is first-rate!
Later in the day, the Lord blessed with a chance to rid the property of a sly predator that had been sighted nearby. Several previous attempts had been made, but were all unsuccessful. At last though, the perseverance of many resulted in a dead fox and hundreds of safer, happier chickens!
As we press onward in the race, looking unto Jesus Christ, this weekend of rejoicing with our dear family will remain as a special and treasured memory. Looking forward to next time!
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. Psalm 33:20-21