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Another Alumna!

Posted by Kathryn



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. Smile 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:

Meeting her first great-grandchild for the first time!The diploma!




The recital:

The long-awaited sister duet of a stunning piano arrangment by Shelly Hamilton"Blessed Assurance"

"Alleluia" - string quintet"Fairest Lord Jesus"

Sweet fellowship:

IMG_4552Our handsome cousin --





Enjoying that precious bundle of blessing and joy (oh, how we miss her!):


Four generations! To God be praise.


IMG_4666Daddy and his sweet little girl


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… Winking smile


Spring Update #4

Posted by The Neely Team



Painting Party

We are immensely grateful to the Lord for putting us in the incredible neighborhood in which we live! The sweet people that surround us have become increasingly special to us through the years. What a joy it is to be able to serve each other, to bless each other with spontaneous gifts, to be there for each other in times of need.

One of our neighbors is retired from serving in the police force, where he developed expertise in training dogs used in service there, and so he has been able to offer us much helpful advice in the training of our German beauty. These tips have included a few of the “more fun” techniques, including learning to jump over hurdles and through windows on command. Recently, we joined him for an evening to work together on painting a new 8-foot dog jump! Though it was a simple project, seeing the team work and the enthusiasm offered by each person was a true blessing.



How much fun can you have while rinsing out paint brushes?! Winking smile




So, may you be encouraged today to reach out to those around you, investing into their lives. It may be something simple – like a loaf of fresh banana bread, a plate of warm cookies, a sympathy card – that the Lord will use to touch their hearts and draw them nearer to Himself.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40

Spring Update #3

Posted by The Neely Team



Picnic with the Elledges!

Don’t you think it is marvelous to watch the Lord orchestrate the paths of His children, allowing our earthly paths to cross with other believers for the purpose of encouragement and edification? Such is the case with our dear friends, the Elledges. Though we haven’t know them even a year yet, the bond of Christ has knit our hearts together. Many special hours have been spent with them, and each visit is marked by smiles, wholesome conversation, and good-natured humor.


We recently had a picnic-style meal with them at their peaceful abode. Oh what a blessing it was! Just getting away from our busyness for a while, sitting by a babbling brook, and enjoying fellowship with precious friends… the Lord is good.





Thank you, Elledges! We look forward to many more such times together!

Spring Update #2

Posted by The Neely Team



Baby Shower!

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

Spring Update #1

Posted by The Neely Team



Hello everyone! After such a long lapse of silence, you may be wondering where we have been. Life in the recent past has been abundantly full (surprise, surprise!), for which we are immensely grateful to the Lord. So many things have happened, many of which have held clear demonstrations of His unfailing mercy and goodness in our behalf.  Isn’t it a glorious thing to be in the service of the King of Kings, knowing that He Who has called us will give us the strength, wisdom, resources, and direction necessary for each situation?!

We hope to give a series of updates, with which to record a few of the Lord’s workings in our lives from this spring. So, here it goes…!

Update #1: “Grizzly”

After several months of praying and searching for a new van, the Lord brought the right one along in His perfect timing. Though it is actually a year older than our previous van, it has 220,000 fewer miles on it! “Grizzly” is now beloved of the Team and has already been the place of many happy hours spent traveling together. Praise the Lord for His provision. 


A Sister Weekend

Posted by Kathryn



A few weekends ago, one of our favorite home education conferences was taking place in SC. Our plan, as always, for the whole family to attend together, suddenly changed when we were asked to do the music for a local wedding that same weekend.

So, as a rare occurrence, the Team “divided and conquered.” Dad and Mom headed south with the littles, leaving we older ones to “hold down the fort” for a few days and then minister on Saturday with string quintet and harp.

As much as we would have delighted in being with them at the conference, the Lord gave us a precious time together as sisters. Thursday evening was especially memorable – with the addition of a dear friend – whom we affectionately call “Mamadeaux” – to the party, we enjoyed a formal dinner and then an evening of laughter, stories, and games.


IMG_4114The menu: peach tea, fried venison steak, rice, buttery sauteed brussel sprouts, fresh bell pepper slices, and berry jello!

As we spent the weekend together — running errands, carting around instruments and all sorts of other music-related paraphernalia, enjoying ice cream, shopping, and much more — we were each reminded of the beauty and joy of being sisters. We are here together in this phase of life, which will not last forever.

May we each be faithful to treasure the moments that the Lord has given us, taking nothing for granted and rejoicing in His mercy!

I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy… Psalm 31:7

“… have dominion…”

Posted by The Neely Team



And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Genesis 1:28

Dominion. As servants of the King of Kings, we are called to take dominion of the earth for His glory. We are to be fruitful and productive, to multiply, to subdue. We have been chosen as His representatives, His ambassadors. No matter how big or how small the area is in which He has placed us, we are called to be faithful, to serve Him with our upmost abilities and manage well the resources which He has given. 

The past two weekends have been opportunities for our family to put these thoughts into practice in the outdoor department of our little realm. Clearing brush off of the land behind our house was first on the agenda! With a team of enthusiastic workers, including our friend Wes who was spending part of spring break with us, the action began. For almost three days, we could have been found pulling, tugging, weed-wacking, chain saw-ing, and burning mountains upon mountains of brush, vines, and trees (as well as spending additional time repairing the equipment that we managed to mangle in such intense labor). There was great joy in working together… laughter was often heard throughout the process and especially at the end of the days when we were utterly exhausted (sleepy sillies, as we call it Smile).

Not many photos were taken because of the busyness, but here are a few that were captured:


Pausing for a quick pose... :)IMG_3963

At the end of the day, dinner around the remains of the giant brushfire was quite the treat!Efficiency at it's finest!



This weekend, we set about to accomplish a few more spring-time, dominion tasks. Pressure washing the house, bleaching the front porch, planting raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes, and cherry trees, and more filled the hours. Over the past two weekends, especially, we praise the Lord for safety, for a high level of productivity, and for so much joy in it all!

Pressure-washing buddies!Scrubbing the porch

At our house, there is typically at least one person "holding down the fort" inside while the rest of the Team works outside -- what yummy snacks she provided!Helping with the porch project

The dynamic trio that cleaned a quantity of leaves and junk out of one of our ditches!Believe it or not, this lovely picture was following a highly intense dog training session. (Somehow, watching her master plant blueberry bushes made Poochie extra naughty... :/) Thank you to our persevering, ever patient trainer!

So, be encouraged as you face the tasks the Lord has put before you this week! It doesn’t matter where you are or what your sphere of influence – whether it be your family’s kitchen, a difficult music piece, a brief computer project, or a thousand acres of farmland – you, as a servant of the Most High, play an important part in the Kingdom work. Seek to manage well, taking dominion of what He has entrusted to you for His glory.

Celebration of New Life

Posted by The Neely Team



The Lord has added to our family! We are rejoicing in God’s merciful kindness toward us in the arrival of this precious grandbaby.

IMG_3244 - Sepia - Pink

“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

IMG_3225 - CopyIMG_3263 - Copy (2)

“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

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“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

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“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


There is an old hymn by William Cowper which states the following:

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants His footsteps in the sea,

And rides upon the storm.


Deep in unfathomable mines

Of never-failing skill,

He treasures up His bright designs,

And works His sovereign will.


Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,

But trust Him for His grace;

Behind a frowning providence

He hides a smiling face.


His purposes will ripen fast,

Unfolding ev’ry hour:

The bud may have a bitter taste,

But sweet will be the flow’r


Blind unbelief is sure to err,

And scan His work in vain:

God is His own interpreter,

And He will make it plain.

Over the past several weeks, I have been pondering the sovereignty of God in our everyday lives. His ways, His will, His kindness, His mercy…… these things have left me breathless at times, overwhelmed by the goodness of our LORD.

A Legacy: Our family has been blessed with a godly heritage. Our dear Grandpapa, Reuben Neely, was a faithful man. He was known for his intense love for the Lord and a desire to be conformed to the image of Christ. His life was saturated with the Word of God. A friend once said: “When he spoke to me, it was as if it wasn’t him at all, because the words that he spoke were straight from Scripture… the Word of God was so natural to him…”

In 2001, Grandpapa was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was told by the doctors that, at best, he would have eighteen months left to live. He lived them to the fullest, encouraged everyone he met, and met his Savior at the end of the course of his life.


A Trial: One of Dad and Mom’s goals for each of us as their children is that we learn to play the piano and an instrument we can carry for ministry purposes. In 2005, we began violin lessons with a dear lady, who has been one of the most influential role models for us, from our church. After two short years of blessing from her, this opportunity came to an end when our church underwent severe trials and change and our beloved teacher and friend moved across the country with her family. For a few years we struggled with our music, continuing on, but without clear direction for day-to-day advancement in skill and technique. Each time the Lord graciously allowed us to come into contact with our former teacher’s family, I wondered: Why? Why did this have to happen? Even after we were able to begin lessons with other teachers. Why? What was the reason the Lord had allowed this to happen? What were His purposes? What did He have in mind? I continually had to surrender myself to His will and continue on the path He had laid. And yet, I still wondered.


A Harp: Sometime several years ago, a few of us had the desire to learn harp. We had just been given a small harp for Christmas, and I wanted to begin “harping.” 🙂 For four and a half years, I played off and on. I wanted to, and yet I didn’t have music, didn’t have a teacher, was discouraged and discontent with the number of strings our harp had, and was missing the perseverance I so badly needed. In 2011, my family encouraged me to pick it up again. I did so, and for a year watched the Lord open doors for me. He provided music from my harpist cousin…. He encouraged me through friends who allowed me to use their harp when I wanted to experiment with more strings…… He gave me the grace to continue even when I had no direction. In the spring of 2012, my long-time dream came true: our violin teacher in Greenville hired a harp teacher! I was finally able to begin where I had so longed to.

Most reading this are probably wondering the connection. A month or two ago, I would have told that there really wasn’t one. But then, the Lord graciously revealed His purpose, at least in part.

After an all too-short visit with our first violin teacher and her husband, I was struggling again. Why did we have to be separated? What harm was there in our studying with her? But then I followed the train of events from the past couple of years. If we had continued on as we had been, we would not have sought instruction in Greenville. If we had not been studying at the studio there, we would have missed out on the opportunities He had in store for us there. If I had not been studying harp when I was………. There would still be a missing link in the story I am now telling you.


A couple of weeks ago, we received an email from my harp teacher in response to us having given her our CD, Lest We Forget. It reads as follows:

“Okay, now for the story. 🙂 I’ve been trying to catch up on a series my pastor has been preaching from Isaiah, so I’m afraid I haven’t listened to your beautiful CD until tonight.


When I was in 7th grade, my mom had back surgery. At the neurosurgeon’s office she and my dad met a dear elderly gentleman, and they spoke of him often. Mostly of what a blessing he and his wife were, and how his speech was so full of the LORD’s Word. He’d had brain surgery; after one of the surgeries the doctors had told him his memory might be gone. So when he woke up, the first thing he did to test his memory was to recite one of the letters to the Corinthians. 🙂 At another time he told my mom that his brain cancer was terminal – but because our times are in God’s hands, he was no more “terminal” than my mom. And from Psalm 23, when walking through the valley of the shadow of death, there could be no shadow without a Light. This dear man’s name was Reuben Neely.


When I opened up the CD, as you can imagine, I read and heard about Reuben Neely. Can he be the same one? I think he must be, from what my parents said and from what I have seen in your family. And if he is, please know that the LORD used him as such a blessing!”(emphasis mine)

If Grandpapa had not had brain cancer….. if our violin teacher, mentor, and friend had not moved away…… if our parents had not had the commitment to making sure that we were under the instruction of music teachers….. if….. if……… if………. If.

But no! Our Lord orchestrated His plan, and then executed it. We don’t have to worry about “ifs.” When we don’t know the answer, we don’t have to be concerned with “whys.” All we have to do is rest in the plan of our all-knowing Sovereign Creator God. “What God ordains is always good…. Someday I shall see clearly, that He has loved me dearly.”

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation.

Oh, my soul, praise Him for He is thy health and Salvation.

All ye who hear, now to His temple draw near.

Join me in glad adoration.


Praise to the Lord, Who o’er all things so wondrously reigneth.

Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth.

Hast thou not seen how thy desires e’er have been

Granted in what He ordaineth.


Praise to the Lord, Who doth prosper thy work and defend thee.

Surely His goodness and mercy shall daily attend thee.

Ponder anew what the Almighty can do

If with His love He befriend thee.


Praise to the Lord, oh let all that is in me adore Him.

All that hath life and breath come now with praises before Him.

Let the amen sound from His people again.

Gladly for aye we adore Him.


“The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it.” ~ Proverbs 10:22

Praise the Lord for siblings! Each one is a special blessing from Him. It is a double blessing when He opens our eyes to see the beauty and joy in each moment spent together as siblings.

This week, we three older sisters had an evening to spend time together.  It was an unusual evening, in that we don’t normally have an entire evening to spend without the rest of the family, but it was a joyous one. Everyone else had gone on a spur-of-the-moment day trip, but we stayed back this time to help fill in for Dad at work. (What a privilege to do that for him!) After work, we went home, but there was an errand to run for Mom, so we jumped in the van — making sure to take the camera — and went out for the evening. Laughter, smiles, ice cream….it was a delightful time.


The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it. – Proverbs 10:22

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