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Archive for the 'Trips & Travels' Category

Nov

3

A few days ago we were on our way to Greenville, SC when we were once again reminded of God’s presence and protection. We were going over a two-lane, curvy, mountain road before sunrise. As we rounded a bend, we suddenly saw two  sets of headlights coming straight toward the front of our van, as an oncoming vehicle passed another vehicle. God gave the driver of our van an extremely fast response, and moved us off the road, away from the on-coming vehicle. We were within inches of a head-on collision.

Looking back we realize that God had prepared a place for our van as we swerved off the road; there was a driveway at exactly the right place, and so we were able to swerve onto that instead of into a ditch. There was even a mailbox beside the road that the LORD allowed us to miss.

It is such a comfort to know that God is always with us. “Lo, I am with you always.” Our merciful Savior spared us from what would have ended with disaster.

“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” -Psalm 34:7-



Quebec FEW 2017–A Pictorial Review

Posted by The Neely Team

Sep

12

Happy Memorial Day

Posted by Patrick

May

29

God’s Protection

Posted by Darlene

Oct

3

This story begins weeks before when we heard an unusual and loud noise while driving back from Greenville in the “Big Van”… our beloved, white, fifteen-passenger “Grizzly.” A couple of weeks go by, and “the noise” comes and goes…

On Monday last week, Jessica and Victoria took the “Grizzly” to town to get the oil changed while they were running another errand. When they left home, the van was making “the noise” quite loudly, and so they called Patrick… they called him again as they continued to drive when they noticed that the battery light had come on.

He called them (third phone call) to check on them… and as they approached the intersection to turn into town, Jessica realized she had no brakes or steering! … But at least the noise was gone! Winking smile

God turned the red light to a green arrow so Jessi was able to make the necessary right-hand turn into town (by “man-handling” the van). She then was able to get into the left turn lane, and because God cleared the traffic (again), she was able to once again man-handle the van into the NAPA parking lot and get it stopped. The NAPA store was the original destination!

Praise the Lord – for safety for the girls as they lost all brakes and steering! That the belt broke (yes, that was the problem!) at the very intersection where the auto shop was that was going to change the oil; that we didn’t lose the steering or brakes as we came over the mountains on our way back from Greenville… the place where the noise first happened. Praise the Lord it happened in our own town with “our mechanic” there to repair it!; and that it happened “at home,” not en route to Texas, the 1600+ mile trip we left for three days later.

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What an amazing evidence of God’s provision, protection, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, and grace.

How I praise Him.



2016 NC Family Encouragement Weekend

Posted by The Neely Team

Apr

5

How do you summarize a weekend such as the NC FEW was? It’s hard. The Lord was merciful in the way He allowed each detail to play out (especially since some of us were very preoccupied with other things that had happened that week…). Sweet fellowship with other believers, motivating messages, encouraging testimonies, invigorating play time, delectable food, award winning smiles, uplifting prayer time, unity of hearts… the Lord truly blessed. Each year, we Neelys ask ourselves, “Why do we host the conference?” Every year the answer is the same: “Because we need the encouragement!” And every year, the result is the same…we are encouraged. Praise be to the Lord, Who is the Source of our encouragement.

Fellowship!

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Meal time!

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Children’s Hour!

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Sessions!

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Discipleship playtime!

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Music!

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Clean up!

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May we each continue to look to the Lord for guidance and joy as we strive to stay the course by His grace!



Nov

20

Sometimes, I need reminders that God truly does answer prayer. How quickly my faith grows weak. How easy it is, in the midst of trial, difficulty, and struggle, to doubt His promise to hear the cries of His children, and to believe that He delights in granting the desires of their hearts.

Though, as most of you who know us well already know, I am not an avid animal lover, Winking smile the beautiful testimonies the LORD has written this summer/fall through the entire puppy process we have walked through, have been almost beyond words.

Breeding our lovely German Shepherd and selling her offspring was something that was discussed at the beginning of the year, yet how to go about it all was an interesting and sometimes overwhelming perplexity. Victoria, the master of the undertaking, spent hours upon hours researching, reading, learning, and educating us with her findings. But when it came right down to it, the LORD began to show us that it was He alone Who was going to have to work everything out.

And work it out, He did!

From the research stage until the day that eight, squirmy, adorable little puppies were born (which ironically, fell exactly one year to the day after our Lab, Duke, passed on), He worked in ways that we never could have imagined. From finding the perfect stud, to the graciousness with which we were treated by the breeder, to the timing of our multitudinous travels, the arrival of a precious little nephew, and much, much more — and how all of that related to our dog and her large family, etc. etc. – we were left in awe of His infinite wisdom and goodness once again.

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Okay, so then we had nine dogs under our care.

Most days, this was a joyous experience… yes, even for me. Smile Watching the delight and excitement in the eyes of my dear siblings at this venture was truly a blessing. (And what better home school science project than watching the growth and development of eight wriggling creatures living right in your garage??!)

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But, there were other days… actually a few weeks… when most of us… even some of the most animal-affectionate ones… were downright discouraged with the whole thing. We began to question if God would really answer our prayers for loving homes for ALL of the puppies. Victoria had diligently spent hours researching advertising options, and getting numerous ads running. Someone would contact us, seem really interested, and “commit” to getting one, and then it would all fall through. This happened time and again. We had done everything within our power to sell them, and still we only had committed buyers for two of the eight.

I believe the LORD wanted us at this point. We were completely dependent upon Him, having nothing left in our own resources to resort to… and in His beautiful timing, He began to work. One sold here, another there. Then two in one day! And then another.

How foolish we were to doubt.

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Finally, it came down to having only one puppy left! Our hearts were filled with gratitude.

We still wondered if the final, sweet little female had a home (other than ours Winking smile), but life had to move on, so we took this little girl to VA with us last weekend for the FEW Conference. Coming home, the LORD knew that I needed another reminder of His goodness and faithfulness.

Literally within hours of arriving home, the text came in saying that she had been claimed.

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To God be praise. How mercifully kind He is, to hear and answer the prayers of even those who are so prone to disbelief. My faith – our faith – has been strengthened as a result of these little creatures; how grateful I am! May we never doubt that His Word was true when He said that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. Psalm 145: 17-19

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:4-5

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“Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God…”

Deuteronomy 8: 11-14a



Camping Memories

Posted by Jessica

Oct

26

We have an annual camping trip tradition with a group of friends that we’ve known for 28 years. Every fall, the group gathers to enjoy sweet fellowship together in the great outdoors. This year was no exception: we enjoyed wonderful conversations and made some more hilarious memories together. As for the great outdoors… we enjoyed that too.

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Camping is always fun. Sometimes we do wonder why we would want to pack up all sorts of essentials and conveniences (hot chocolate, marshmallows, etc.) to go live outside for a couple days, but, even though it’s a lot of work, we all agree that it is enjoyable and we always look forward to this annual tradition.

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This year, however, there was added adventure: rain. Torrential downpours through the night, seeping into the tent from all sides. There’s nothing quite like waking up to realize that a puddle had become your bed. (Rafts may have been suitable, instead of sleeping bags.) Then to figure out just how we were going to absorb the puddles that had formed throughout our home-away-from-home with not-too-many towels to use……It was indeed a time for laughter, creativity, and….work. 🙂 We were rejoicing that it only rained one night, after which the Lord gave us a beautiful day. Waking in such a soggy state was humorous…..it’s not every morning that we get to wake up with bedding dripping with excess water and your pillow absorbing the local puddle that you find yourself laying in. Ahh, ‘twas a weekend for memories.

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Sweet time together in the Word

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In addition to the other joys of the weekend, we had the opportunity to travel with our beloved “mama dog” and the six puppies we still had at that point. Life is exciting, especially when travelling with seven dogs.

[Puppy update: praise the Lord all but two have sold!! If you’re looking for a beautiful shepherd, there are two lovable females available.]

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This camping tradition was started some thirty years ago, and while the group would change from year to year based on each family’s schedule, the tradition has stayed in tact. This is one example of how friendship built on the foundation of Jesus Christ can stand the test of time. The faithfulness of each couple is a beautiful testimony, too, especially in a culture that is rejecting God’s plan for the family.

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Thank you, friends, for your faithfulness to the Lord through the years, and for your continued encouragement to press onward in the race for God’s glory. Looking forward to next camping trip!!

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A Day at the Biltmore House & Gardens

Posted by The Neely Team

Aug

27

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During the HEAV Convention in June, we were blessed to vend right beside a dear lady named Kat representing the Biltmore House in Ashville, NC. Before leaving the convention, she surprised us all and gave us free one-day passes to tour the house and gardens!

As a special birthday celebration later in July, we had an open Saturday and decided to go – and because of Kat’s generosity, we were even able to include Mom’s sister and her family in the fun! What a delightful day! The Lord gave us beautiful weather, sweet fellowship, and precious memories as we learned more about the history of this intriguing mansion and marveled at the beauty of our Creator’s handiwork.

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2015 HEAV Convention

Posted by The Neely Team

Aug

13

Yet another journey in June was to Richmond for the HEAV (Home Educator’s Association of Virginia) Convention. With the days packed to bursting with busyness, fellowship, opportunities to serve and minister to many precious people, and much more, we all came away truly blessed and uplifted.

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One of the numerous blessings of the weekend was seeing the standard of righteousness that the HEAV has set. Throughout the convention, frequent and unashamed acknowledgement of the LORD and His Word was clearly evident, and for that we were immensely grateful.

Convention activities… Smile

** Jessica was privileged to join our friend James (with Lenspiration) in leading a team of photographers for the convention.

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** At any convention, the Neely Team always loves the vendor hall… so being able to operate a booth ourselves and walk the floor many times visiting others was certainly a highlight. Smile

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** Participating in music, both in the HEAV High School Graduation ceremony and in the lobby background music, was such a joy! Matthew & Amanda joined us at the convention on the day of the graduation, so having Amanda in the ranks again to sing/play brought many smiles.

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