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Graduation…

Posted by Kathryn

May

17

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

Graduation… a time to reflect on the abundant goodness of the Lord in the past. A time to evaluate your direction in life in the light of Scripture. A time to set goals and make decisions. A time to commit everything anew to the Lord, knowing that in His perfect sovereignty, He will work it all together for His own glory, and your best good.

By God’s grace, I walked through this door this past Saturday as we celebrated my high school graduation. Many dear friends and family members came to join the festivities, and the Lord gave us a joyful, tremendously encouraging afternoon and evening together.

An oh-so-extra-special blessing was having both grandmothers there, as well as a dear cousin who came all the way from NY at the age of 94 to see her namesake graduate! 

Confetti... a Neely graduation tradition. :-D This time, though, the tradition was added to. Typically the graduate gets it thrown all over her bedroom floor, but I received both that, a shower of it when I was getting ready for the day, and a violin case full! :-DCherry limeade - deliciously refreshingIMG_9113

Mom and I had a delightful time working on this togetherIMG_9115Who would have thought that they would come out with pink and brown Oreos special for the occasion?? :-D

Family shots Smile

Cousin KatieNanaGrandmama and "Uncle Fudge"

My darling little and big-little sisters!The best brothers in the worldCousin and soon-to-be cousin-in-law! PTL!

Dear sweet Motherkin:-D

Alumni Association :-DMy precious parents

Music presentation

'Tis So SweetIMG_9226

"Orange Blossom Special" -- just for Dad!!String sextet

Fellowship…  glorious fellowship!

 Band of merry gentlemenMom time

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The famous grass sledFor of such is the Kingdom of Heaven

Willing helpers

My dear mother, sisters, aunts, and a few cousins did all of the serving to free me to socialize :-D - this one kept us well supplied with delicious cherry limeadeRefilling trays :-D

An emerging tradition – that of doing some shooting after the graduation — turned into a painful, educational, and actually quite hilarious experience. (That 50-caliber beast – an elephant gun for safari hunting that was loaned to us for the occasion – had the audacity to “scope” us!) Needless to say, for the rest of the evening, we sported beautiful cuts and goose eggs.

L to R: Knuckle Head, Smash Face, Knot Head;-D

Fellowshipping while cleaning upSweetThe Grant family drove nearly three hours each way to come for the day -- such a blessing!

IMG_9327IMG_9337A simply lovely name plaque from the Owen family (btw, note forehead)

To God be the glory!



T–I–M–E

Posted by Victoria

May

8

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This past weekend, we were again honored and blessed to be able to sing with our dear friends the Kendall family at a few Memorial Services. Along the way, we were encouraged by family devotions, humor and joy around the piano, dinner table, and corn-toss boards, as well as the wonderful and uplifting conversation in the van to and from Columbia. Of course, there was much more to our time there, but for some things, pictures communicate so much better than the alphabet.

 SmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmile

Serving together in the kitchen. :-)Discipleship TechnologyBest FriendsOur Beautiful Mothers!

Preparing the one-bite brownie trifle...Let's try it...Almost...Q: "How many brownies did YOU eat??" A: "Only one bite. Honest!"

"Jesus Paid It All""Which bowtie do YOU like??"

"God of Our Fathers""Call to Church"IMG_8869

IMG_8846IMG_8849

picnic on the lawnIMG_8874

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The most photogenic one of all of us. :-)OOOOOOOOOOH......

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Running up the steps for the picture......clowning while we wait...

A game of OccupationsDelightful ConversationsDiscipleship Cupcakes

Old GloryPrelude MusicThree Happy Helpers passing out bulletins for the event.

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This weekend will definitely be among the many “highlighted” weekends in our imaginary “record books”…

Highlighted for the

Terrific,

Inspiring, and

Motivating

Encouragement

That was given and received.

Praise be to God!

 

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… and learned just how much we REALLY appreciate our siblings! Smile

 

You know, there are times in life when you imagine something beautiful… something perfect… something romantic…… to commemorate, bless, or honor someone or something or some occasion… you just want to make things extra special. You imagine a peaceful atmosphere, complete with candles, a well-thought-out note of love, maybe even roses or daisies…

And (sorry to tell you this), there are times in life when your dreams of fun, fluff, and fantasy just don’t happen!

That’s when you get a prime opportunity to trust in our Sovereign, loving God and blossom right where He places you!

We let you all know about Sibling Appreciation Day, all the while mentally preparing for our own celebration (a lovely picnic by the river). Then……………

There was mulch to spread!

(A HUGE, double-load.)

We faced a choice. Not exactly whether or not to spread the mulch, but whether or not to spread it with joyful hearts, accomplishing the duty set before us with smiles and laughter.

By God’s grace, the Team collectively chose to do right.

Though the evening’s events were completely different than we had anticipated, we were all reminded again just how much we really appreciate our siblings (just you imagine trying to spread that trailer heaped with mulch all by your lonesome! Smile) and we really did enjoy the project. It was work… hard work… hot work… exhausting work… but it was rewarding work and quite fun as we did it together.

The tire went flat on the trailer, so instead of being able to drive the truck around to all the different locations, we had to dump it and then cart it by the bucket-full. :-) BTW, notice the size of this trailer next to 6ft. 3in. Dad -- and it was heaping! :-DTracter driver -- we put some of the buckets in the wagon to deliver to faraway places :)

IMG_8598Go Team!

Happy HelperThe duo - Simultaneous Shoveling

Photo of the evening!

Just darling!Labor-dor superviser :-D

Atop Mulch Mtn.Way to go!Taking a much-deserved break (but even that was work... she was keeping the tractor from rolling away :-D)

Team workBuild those muscles!Preparing to fill...

... one shovel-full at a time...IMG_8623What we neglected to tell you was that each shovel-full was done one HANDFUL at a time! Diligence!

Hauling away to dumpSpreading the mulch around the trees by hand for a smoother finish

"I'm helping Daddy...""...change the flat tire!"IMG_8643

Returning for another loadIMG_8648Seest thou a man diligent in his business?

Smiling the job to completionOne of the rewards of diligent work :-D

So, be encouraged next time your plans for something wonderful are altered… or maybe even blown away completely. There are treasures in the darkness… hidden riches in secret places… a delicious-grilled-salmon-rice-sauteed-asparagas-sweet-peaches-dinner-made-by-Jessi-at-9:30 pm (with chocolate-mint brownies for dessert!) awaiting you when your work is finished –  if you will simply trust the hand of God as He takes you through the process of life.

SmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmileSmile (aka 12 happy Neelys)



Sibling Appreciation Day!

Posted by The Neely Team

May

1

Tomorrow, May 2nd, is Sibling Appreciation Day!

Let some of the most important people in your life know just how special they are.

The ones coming behind will build on the foundation you are laying now. 

Quit ye like men; be strongOh let the joy of Jesus put a smile upon your face!

PreciousHave a cupcake, anyone??

Find joy in the simple thingsYounger four

Older four

“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35



A Few Days of “Conn-ection”

Posted by The Neely Team

Apr

27

A few weeks ago we were blessed by a brief-but-oh-so-wonderful visit from Nana, Aunt Lisa, and three of our cousins!! They squeezed us in on their route to SC to see one of our other cousins at college, and it was truly a joy to be with them for a few days.

First moments – – spent in catching up Smile

100_8091Sweet

The fellowship continued!

100_8093Enjoying the lovely weather

Dad had to work, but we were able to meet him for a picnic lunch at a nearby rest area. Smile

Clown!"Look what I found!""Follow me..."

"This spot looks like a nice hideout":-D

A couple rounds of “Bible Runners” – – and we must give congratulations, reluctant though they be, to the “secret police”! (who almost never win, but through an unusual amount of sneaky perseverance made this game one-of-a-kind!)

Good job you three!

One of the biggest highlights of the time together was a late-night cousin prayer meeting in the woods. An excellent suggestion on the part of a certain individual led to a sweet hour of sharing requests with each other around the campfire and then presenting those needs to the Lord. What a privilege to not only have a close bond as family, but also as fellow believers! Praise the Lord! 

Friends forever

Investing in the little ones100_8184

Build strong family relationships -- they last forever.

Quite the couch full!

Thank you, Nana and Conns, for including us in your trip! May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek Him first, bringing Him glory in every endeavor. We love you!

"God be with you till we meet again..."



Treasure Your Family

Posted by Jessica

Apr

11

Recently we were on our way home from a day trip away, and stopped along the road for a picnic as a family. It was a beautiful day, so we decided to take some family pictures before hitting the road again. 🙂

Lining up and positioning everyone :)

Who's that hidden in the jungle? :)IMG_0401

Take the time to enjoy the family that God has given you. Embrace the season of life you are in — once this season is gone, it won’t be back. Treasure the moments you have with your family. Don’t get caught up in thinking about the “ideal family.” Your family is the most ideal family, because it’s the one God placed you in. Cherish the times spent together with your parents and your siblings – one, some, or all — whether the activity is unloading a dishwasher or roasting marshmallows around a campfire. Sing a song together, read a book aloud, or find some other way to spend quality time together. We never know how long we’ll have to enjoy this treasure we have!! So make the most of it!

The girlsPrecious

Godly parents are a precious gift from the Lord

The Neely Team



NC Family Encouragement Weekend

Posted by The Neely Team

Mar

26

Much anticipation had been built. It was time for the conference to begin. Then all of a sudden, it was over. It all happened so fast! But we came away having seen the work of the Lord and encouraged to press on. We were challenged by the Word, motivated by testimonies of young people striving to serve Christ, and encouraged and uplifted by the fellowship and prayer times with other families.

The North Carolina FEW was the first of four planned conferences this year. We look forward with great excitement to the next FEW and the continued work of the Lord! May Jesus Christ be praised!

Game time!!

PreciousDiscipleshipStory time

Getting ready for supper!Serving the food

Chicken nachos.... MmmmmCookies --- the signature FEW snackRegistration team

He has made everything beautiful in His time

OrchestraIMG_9839The children's sessionGetting feedback :)

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Precious -- siblings are such a blessing from the LordGame time :)

The young ladies shared how their fathers are preparing them for the future.Sharing practical tips on hospitalityChalk talk

IMG_0085Humor :) ( It was indeed really good! :))JoyFriends

Oh the joys of little ones! These are the voices of tomorrow.A girls' table filled with smilesThe ultimate challenge to see how many people we could get around one table -- the norm was 8 -- the max was about 16. :)

IMG_0095IMG_0100IMG_0098

Rejoicing in the goodness of God

The sleep of a laboring man (or lady :) is sweetIMG_0151IMG_0146IMG_0132

IMG_0143IMG_0153IMG_0165IMG_0169

IMG_0175Getting ready for the group shot....Everyone lining up....

"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory!"

If you are interested in receiving information on upcoming FEW Conferences, leave us a comment and we’ll add you to the contact list.



“Auntie Fun-Fun”

Posted by The Neely Team

Mar

23

When we were in Greenville, SC, for music lessons a couple weeks ago, Aunt Miriam (aka Auntie Fun-Fun Smile) made our day extra special by bringing us lunch to enjoy together. It was a good reminder to us of the joy and blessing that simple acts of kindness can bring to those around, even when the action seems small or menial. “Be ye kind one to another…”

IMG_9449Mmmm... lunch!

Miss Smiley Pink-Sweater :)Juice on the floor ;)

SweetOur FAVORITE bakery cookies!

Aunt Miriam is definitely a giver!, so when we were in Greenville again this last weekend for a homeschool convention, she surprised us with St. Patrick’s Day goodies to enjoy at our hotel. Too much fun!

Cookies...Cupcakes!Have a cookie, anyone?

Notice the message on the ring...... they re-lived an experience from almost 25 years ago for us! :)

:)MORE of our favorite cookies!

:) :) :)

So, look around you, and see who needs an extra touch of kindness today. Sow an act of kindness, and reap a harvest of joy!

Thank you, Aunt Miriam!!



Mar

19

The doctrine of the sovereignty of God…

“Can a doctrine be ‘horrible’ and ‘dangerous’ that gives God His true place, that maintains His rights, that magnifies His grace, that ascribes all glory to Him and removes every ground of boasting from the creature? Can a doctrine be ‘horrible’ and ‘dangerous’ which affords the saints a sense of security in danger, that supplies them comfort in sorrow, that begets patience within them in adversity, that evokes from them praise at all times? Can a doctrine be ‘horrible’ and ‘dangerous’ which ascribes us of the certain triumph of good over evil, and which provides a sure resting-place for our hearts… that place [being the] the perfections of the Sovereign Himself? No; a thousand times, no. Instead of being ‘horrible’ and ‘dangerous’ this doctrine of the Sovereignty of God is glorious and edifying, and a due apprehension of it will but serve to make us exclaim with Moses, ‘Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?’ (Ex. 15:11).” 

“The doctrine of God’s sovereignty then is no mere metaphysical dogma which is devoid of practical value, but is one that is calculated to produce a powerful effect upon Christian character and the daily walk. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty lies at the foundation of Christian theology, and in importance is perhaps second only to the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures. It is the center of gravity in the system of Christian truth; the sun around which all the lesser orbs are grouped; the cord upon which all other doctrines are strung like so many pearls, holding them in place and giving them unity. It is the plumb line by which every creed needs to be tested; the balance in which every human dogma must be weighed. It is designed as the sheet-anchor for our souls amid the storms of life. The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is a divine cordial to refresh our spirits. It is designed and adapted to mold the affections of the heart, and to give a right direction to conduct. It produces gratitude in prosperity and patience in adversity. It affords comfort for the present and a sense of security regarding the unknown future. It is, and it does, all and much more than we have just said, because it ascribes to God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – the glory which is His due, and places the creature in his proper place before Him – in the dust.”

The Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink

pg. 151-152, 139

At Dad’s request, I recently finished reading The Sovereignty of God, the book from which the above passages were cited. For anyone who desires to know the biblical truth about this highly-controversial issue, or who is seeking to become better equipped to defend it, we recommend this book. Every belief must be weighed against the infallible truths of Scripture, and Pink has done a remarkable job in this small text.

P1020365

 

 

** As with all books, this volume should be read with “open eyes.” Just because we recommend the book does not mean that we necessarily endorse every “jot and tittle” contained therein.



Simply Sorensen

Posted by Kathryn

Feb

29

We have known the Sorensen family for a few years now, and what an encouragement they have been to us! Enthusiasm, energy, joy, creativity, educated refinement… these traits combined with a wholehearted love for Jesus Christ make this family a shining example for the Lord. They are just… well, simply Sorensen. Smile

With great anticipation we looked forward to a visit with them for several months, and finally, it happened! The hospitality of the Sorensen Lodge was incredible. We came away immensely blessed and refreshed.

Fellowship around yummy snacks:-)

Girl time!As you can see, he was mildly concerned with the energetic action taking place in the playroom

Buddies!!Getting in position for a game of Occupation

Playing Airsoft and walking the perimeter of their property:

IMG_9246Simply Sorensen :-)

Adorable!Leading the way

Obstacles that hinder OUR pursuits in life often direct us toward GOD'S will and perfect planSweet

Fun with the swing:

Big brother helps little sister -- preciousIMG_9272

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The Sorensen’s treated us like royalty. On Saturday, we took a trip to a local bowling alley for an afternoon loaded with strikes and spares… well, not exactly. Smile A sparing few were so blessed, but the rest of us just realized how strikingly rusty our bowling techniques are. Smile At any rate…

IMG_9306

StylishDiscipleship bowlingWay to go!

Action!Take careful aim...... plan and prepare. Know where your ball is going...... and let 'er fly!

Then… they took us to a Japanese Steakhouse for a special birthday celebration. Most of us had never visited one before, and what an interesting, delightful meal awaited us!

Ready for the excitement to beginIMG_9351IMG_9353

IMG_9357Savory Japanese soup

Poof! (notice facial expressions in the background :-))These guys were only half chef... the stunts they pulled were amazing!

The chicken-throwing contest... see if you can catch it!Not quite...Get ready... open wide...

:-)Flinging chow (Notice the chicken pieces flying through the air :-))She caught it!!! Huzzah!

Hibachi veggiesOnion volcano

DessertHappy Birthday!

On Sunday, we attended church with them and were privileged to be there on a week when Mr. Sorensen was preaching. He spoke from the life of Peter; we saw the perfect timing of the Lord played out again as the message seemed tailored to the current events of our lives. Praise the Lord! Thank you, Mr. Sorensen, for letting the Word dwell in you richly, and for standing boldly to make an impact for the Kingdom of God.

Simply Sorensen :-) :-)

Thank you, Sorensens!



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