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Archive for the 'Trips & Travels' Category

Congratulations, Kris & Sheri!

Posted by Kathryn

Jul

15

Just as all of our travels were commencing for the month of June, we were blessed to attend the graduation celebration for some dear friends and music students, Kris Jr. & Sheri. Praise the LORD for these two vibrant young people, who consistently demonstrate what it means to live wholeheartedly for the glory of our Creator, to seek first His Kingdom, to reject the lies our culture offers, and instead to embrace of the calling of Christ, despite the cost. Watching these two grow and mature throughout the past several years has been a delight, and we look forward to seeing the beautiful plans the LORD has in store for them in the days ahead.

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Congratulations, Kris & Sheri! May the LORD abundantly bless you!

May He “grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.” Eph. 3:16-21



2015 WV FEW Conference

Posted by The Neely Team

Jul

14

One of the joyous trips we were blessed to take in the month of June was to the beautiful state of West Virginia… and what a thrill it was to participate in the 2015 WV FEW Conference while we were there!

The LORD is so faithful, sending encouragement and strengthening for the race of life just when it is needed. The opportunity to jump in and serve, hear sound, biblical teaching, fellowship with dear, like-hearted families, and so much more, left us all tremendously uplifted.

We apologize for the long delay, but here are some photos at last! Smile

~ Reminders to fervently seek Jesus Christ above all else; to focus mind, affection, and delight upon Him and His Word; to rejoice in all things; to view each irritation as an invitation for communion with the Most High; to depend upon the power of the LORD to live each moment for His glory…

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~ The children’s hour was, once again, a hilarious opportunity to learn the importance of gratitude in the midst of every circumstance of life…

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In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thess. 5:18

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~ The blessing of many, many little ones… the future leaders of families, churches, and our nation…

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…suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Mark 10:14

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~ Discipleship game time…

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…inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matt. 25:40

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~ Fellowship… and a final “FEW” random shots…

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And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Colossians 3:17

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Jul

2

Today marks the 183rd day of this year – which, for those of you whose brains automatically calculate everything you see and hear, you will recognize as the halfway point in the average year. (And for those of you who, like me, don’t calculate so readily, put your minds at ease with the knowledge that it was only a handy calendar that told me this Winking smile). At the close of each and every month, I am always amazed at how the time has flown by, but especially so with the end of the month of June. Only 50% of the year is left! How quickly the days are passing.

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For the Neely Team, June held a schedule of almost non-stop traveling. Our final trip of the month (a sort of grand HUZZAH! to all of the consecutive road-time) was to attend the wedding of one of our dear “sisters” – but more about that later. Suffice it to say that, upon coming home from that trip this past Monday, and added to everything that had come before it, we were all rather emotionally chaotic – excited, sad, praising the LORD for His goodness, exhausted, teary, exuberant, delighted, and on and on. On top of that, several of us had been fighting some sort of virus. By the time we pulled into the driveway late in the evening, I was burning up with fever, had a bad headache, and overall, looked and felt just plain terrible.

After spending the next day in bed, I felt much better and early yesterday morning (Wednesday), we headed to Greenville for music lessons. Try hard to be early as we did, we still didn’t arrive home until close to midnight after a wonderful but tiring day of music instruction, fellowship, and some necessary shopping.

You can probably imagine… but coming out of such an intensely busy, exciting, fun, encouraging, and adventuresome month, coupled with the effects of sickness, lingering chaotic emotion, discouragement about the rapidity of passing time, pressure from continuous “to-do’s” that kept mentally piling up, and the weight of other concerns on my heart, I wasn’t feeling the most enthused or inspired last night.

Though almost no one would have guessed it, an inward battle was raging. Somehow the future looked quite bleak to my sleepy, faithless eyes.

LORD, where am I going find the energy, the hope, the courage, even the desire… to accomplish what You have for me to do tomorrow… this weekend… these next weeks and months?

The effects of sweet rest – truly one of the good gifts the LORD sends to His children – left me much refreshed, but still the question remained as I prepared for the day this morning.

I asked the LORD again to renew my joy in the work He has called me to do. To give me enthusiasm with which to attack the second half of this glorious year. To send me something during my time in the Word to which I could cling.

And He did.

He is so faithful, so merciful. And He brought verse after verse to my eyes and heart – each with fresh power and meaning – that answered the anxious cries that had resounded.

“…I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16

Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 40:5

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.” Psalm 139:17-18

“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… Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him…” Psalm 37:4-7

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10

Delight in doing His will for the “here and now”… peace in knowing that He is always, only good, and that His plans far surpass comprehension… rest in being reassured that I am not alone, but that His presence is with me every moment of life’s journey… unutterable joy in knowing that He chose me and that He loves me with an everlasting love… all of this began to thrill my heart once again.

To Him be praise.

And so may we step forward into the remainder of this year with abundant joy in the One Who walks beside us, trusting His promises without reservation and depending upon His grace to finish what He has called us to do, for His glory.



Tire Depot — Grayson, GA

Posted by Jessica

Jun

18

This post could be named several things. “You know not what a day may bring forth.” “Trusting God… on the side of the road.” “Smoking tire on way to baby shower.” But, “Tire Depot – Grayson, GA” seems the best. Why? Because the Lord really blessed us through this business.

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There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being lost (well, thankfully we weren’t completely lost) with a smoking van tire, 123 miles from home. Yet the hand of the Lord was so beautifully seen in each mile of the journey. Knowing the presence of God in the midst of a perplexing situation is truly beautiful. We laughed. We almost wanted to cry. We stood in amazement. We made phone calls (lots of them).

The Lord’s plan is always perfect…

…even when you don’t know the extent of the car problems you’re having on your way to speak at a friends baby shower, traffic is terrible, it’s 104 degrees outside, and the shower is supposed to start in 30 minutes and you’re at least 20 minutes from your destination.

Ah, but it’s then that you know you’re helpless. And get ready — because it will be then that you’ll see the power and love of God in fresh, exciting ways.

To make a long story short…

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We had a brake problem. The smell was typical of brakes: strong and distinct. We formulated “plan B” so we could arrive at the baby shower (almost) in time. Several mechanically minded friends checked out the situation, and so the next morning, we got back on the road, knowing that, based on the diagnosis given by our friends, the problem may arise again, but hoping that it wouldn’t. A few miles later, that distinct smell was back. We called Dad (who stayed home on this trip to work) and he said, “Find the nearest garage that will work on brakes.” It happened that we were at the intersection with Tire Depot. We pulled in, and the service we received was top notch. The kindness shown to us by the owners and employees of this family-owned tire business put us at ease. They gave us a shady parking spot, prompt, courteous service, told us to go to the air-conditioned office (it was 100 degrees outside…. at least it was cooler than the day before) while we waited for the part to arrive (which only took 20 minutes), and within the hour we were back on the road, driving a van that was running beautifully… better than it has in a long time.

So, to all of you blog followers in the Atlanta area, we highly recommend Tire Depot.

And to those of you who seem to be “broken down” on the journey of life, take comfort! The Lord is nigh them that are of a broken heart, and His strength is most clearly seen when we feel utterly helpless. Cling to His precious promises, and behold the works of the Lord! He doeth all things well.

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Here are a few pictures from the shower. What a delightful evening! Such a  joy it is to celebrate the anticipated arrival of new life: a precious soul to nurture and to teach the boundless love of God.

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June has begun, and with it an intense season of busyness for the Team! (One of our dear littles gave us a good giggle when, on the evening of May 31st, she calmly told us all to “get ready, because in a few hours we [were] entering the month of no sleep.”) The month of May, though, was also quite packed… hence the prolonged blog silence. Smile But over the next several weeks, we will do our best to stay up to date with you all.

A few weeks ago we were thrilled and delighted to take a trip to VA to host a bridal shower for our dear “sister” Jennifer. The LORD blessed the day immensely – such a sweet, precious gathering of ladies to fellowship and share the joy of what He has done in bringing Derrick & Jenny together.

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A few games brought quite a riot of laughter and smiles…

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Dear, sweet sisters-in-law shared from their hearts to the lovely bride-to-be…

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Precious fellowship… lots of hugs… tears… smiles…

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While the bridal shower was taking place, the men gathered outside for a time of target shooting, fellowship, exhortation, and encouragement. The poor gentlemen… things suddenly changed for their afternoon activities when the dark, gathering clouds burst open and the rain poured down! Everyone kept a cheerful outlook on the unexpected situation, though, and simply moved to the porch (declaring as they did so that they, the men, had had the REAL shower… literally). Smile

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Additional shots…

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We are so, SO happy for you both, Derrick & Jenny, and praise the LORD for the beautiful, wondrous work He has wrought in bringing you together. In the years ahead, may He use you – as one in Him – to point many others to Himself, for His own glory.

We love you dearly.

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Gen2 Conference

Posted by The Neely Team

Feb

21

What a blessing it was to journey northward a few weeks ago to take part in the Gen2 Conference! Hosted by Generations with Vision (taking place at the Creation Museum), this conference focused on the millennial generation and why a large percentage of it is walking away from the faith.

Sweet fellowship with many dear friends —

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The sessions, presented by Kevin Swanson, Daniel Craig, Ken Ham, Rick Boyer, Norm Wakefield, Brian Ray, Woody Robertson, Israel Wayne, and many others, left us challenged and encouraged. May we each, in the coming days, not only reject the apostasy that is sweeping our culture, but continue pressing onward in the strength of the LORD, seeking His grace, and pursuing lives of godliness for His glory and the expansion of His Kingdom.

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An added joy was that Matthew & Amanda were able to join us for the weekend! We treasured the opportunity to minister in song a couple of times throughout the conference, and having them there to participate with us again blessed us immensely.

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Other snapshots —

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Special thanks to Sarah Bryant for the use of her photos!



A Perfect Start to 2015

Posted by Bethany

Jan

16

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On New Year’s Day we were able to go back to Colonial Williamsburg with all three of our dear Wilkes Teams. We had such a great time there learning history together.

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:-DI just woke up from a nap with my Auntie!

I enjoyed touring the magazine. It was amazing to hear how they fired the different kinds of cannons.

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I also enjoyed touring the Art Museum. The hand-sewn quilts were amazing.

The Governor's Palace

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Listening closely to the tour guide in the Governor's Palace, and enjoying snuggle time with MotherkinIMG_8163

Earlier in the day, we also heard actors, pretending to be George and Martha Washington, speak! I thought it was interesting how they (the actors) could pretend to be back in the 1700’s; it sounded so real.

IMG_8186Beautiful old books!

After our delightful day together, we all ate dinner at Cracker Barrel. The fellowship was very sweet and we look forward to the next time we get to visit Williamsburg again with them!

What a perfect way to start 2015!



Jan

13

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The Governor’s Palace

Several weeks ago, after attending the Family Economics & Mentorship Conference, we were blessed with the opportunity to take a brief evening walk through Colonial Williamsburg with Matthew and Amanda. Though most of the shops and tourist attractions were already closed for the evening, we were just in time for a lovely sunset and thoroughly enjoyed our leisurely stroll together. Special thanks to Matthew for suggesting the idea!

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The fall foilage was truly stunning – a testimony to the creativity and handiwork of our Creator

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Taking a ride in the shuttle

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Life – in this season, at this time – is truly beautiful, because it is our Heavenly Father’s gift of love to us. May we all continue to make the most of the precious moments He has bestowed.

“I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” Psalm 145:1-9

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Nov

19

What a great joy it was to attend the 2014 Family Economics & Mentorship Conference in Hampton, VA, this past weekend! How can one summarize, in a short post, several days packed to bursting with encouragement, solid, Scriptural teaching, and precious fellowship?! Perhaps the best way to attempt this feat would be to merely touch on the highlights of the event.

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Eric Weir -- "Biblical Fatherhood, and the Crying Need of our Day"Kevin Swanson

Togetherness: Winking smile

Special thanks to Matthew for loaning his darling wife and baby to us for the week while he returned home for work… having Amanda back as an active part of the Neely Team was such a joy! Matthew joined us for the last day of the conference, and what a blessing it was to be all together again.

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Sessions:

Each session, presented by Christ-centered, dynamic speakers such as Kevin Swanson, Eric Weir, Steve Riddell, Daniel Craig, Gregg Harris, Anne Miller, and Rick & Marilyn Boyer – was spiritually refreshing and highly practical. Topics included entrepreneurship, sales, godly character, marketing, mentorship, family life, and communication. We all left inspired, convicted, challenged… and ready to continue pressing onward in our various ministries, businesses, and family lives for the glory of our Savior and the advancement of His kingdom.

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Music:

What an honor it was to be able to minister through music during the conference! Special thanks to David Craig for all of his work in organizing this. His forethought and consideration allowed everything to run smoothly, and left us feeling welcomed and cared for. The music of the Craig and Roche gentlemen was also an incredible blessing to us.

"A New Name in Glory" -- a stunning men's sextet"Be Thou My Vision"

Vending/fellowship:

Participating in the vendor hall a perfect opportunity to get to know many precious families. The sweetness of the fellowship was a reminder of the eternity that awaits those who have trusted Christ – to live for endless ages sharing the common bond of His love will be unspeakably glorious! This weekend was truly a foretaste of that bliss. Friday evening, the conference team graciously hosted a pizza party for all of the attendees, allowing for even more fellowship to take place (imagine seeing a total of about 110 Domino’s pizzas piled on serving tables — quite a delicious sight! Smile).

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Panel discussion on the role of wives/daughters in the family economy -- very encouraging!IMG_7641_thumb1

Hotel staff:

And, last but certainly not least, the staff at the Holiday Inn Express (where many of the conference attendees resided) also largely contributed to the joys of the weekend. Professional, accommodating, kind, and incredibly friendly, they were used of the LORD to bless many of us.

A final summary… We praise the Lord for His merciful kindness so clearly manifested this weekend on our behalf, and look forward to returning home to apply what we have heard and learned. May He remain preeminent in all of our endeavors.



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A few weekends ago, the Lord gave Jessica and me the incredible (and delightful) opportunity to participate with viola and violin in the accompanying orchestra for the Calvary Quartet 20th Anniversary concerts. Under the skilled direction of Dr. Tim Fisher, our humble and hilarious conductor, and surrounded by the hospitable kindness of the Academy of Arts staff (the concerts were held in the Logos Theatre at the Academy’s campus), we thoroughly enjoyed and greatly benefitted from these events. We pray they brought much glory to our Savior and were an encouragement to the hundreds of people that attended over the course of the two evenings.

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How grateful we are to have had this experience, as well as for our dear family’s support through the process.

Also, special thanks is due to the Kendall family, who graciously hosted our entire Team for two weekends – plus an extra day for us older ones – so that we could attend the rehearsals and then have a “home base” for the concert days.

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A special ladies afternoon on the front porch in the lovely fall weather (complete with cappuccino, zinnias, sweet fellowship, and tons of laughter):

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“O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.” Psalm 117