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NRA Show – Charlotte, NC

Posted by Jessica

May

30

We’d been looking forward to going to the NRA show for a long time. We were there on Friday, May 14, and enjoyed every minute of it!! We all wore hunter-orange logo shirts, advertising for Accurate Innovations. It was a wonderful day, and we would all highly recommend attending one of these shows!

Here are some pictures from the day. 

Waiting in line... 100_4165 Be warned.... two girls on the loose with pistols!!! Intent observers Titus enjoying his new Winchester hatLook out, Herman!! There's a bear behind you!!Mr. Michael McCurry looking over his new Accurate Innovations gun stock Accurate Innovations gun stock for a 500 MDM made of Maple wood -- Beautiful!!Dad and Mr. Wes Chapman representing Accurate Innovations, with Mr. Michael McCurry and his wife and daughter



May

24

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity…” (Psalm 133:1)

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

Two weekend’s ago, we had the delightful opportunity to experience the love and fellowship of the Stelzl family when we stayed in their home while attending the 2010 NRA Show in Charlotte, NC. The Stelzl’s are a admirable example of a family that works together as a team to bless many through quality time spent in their home. Though we have only known them for a few years, they have become good friends and we are always thrilled with a chance to see them! They made us feel right at home by their gracious hospitality and attention to even the tiniest details (like having a pitcher of water and little cups in our room for middle-of-the-night thirstiness 🙂 ) and made our stay as special as it possibly could have been! One of the highlights for me of our time together was the fellowship and the edifying conversation we shared. On our last morning together, Sarah and I were able to spend an hour and a half on the porch swing reading the Word, discussing what the Lord has been teaching us, and praying. I came away inspired!!

Thank you, Stelzls, for taking the time out of your busy schedule to let us come and be encouraged by your love for the Lord and His Church. It was definitely “good and pleasant” to spend time with you!! May you continue to shine your lights so that “men may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”

Fixing a yummy breakfast!Two of the wonderful clowns :)David was very attentive to Titus - what a blessing!

The Stelzl Fruit Salads were superb!Mmmmm!Sarah and Victoria made the scrambled eggs for everyone

Sarah and KathrynDavid, Titus, and BethanyWhat a joy to be together!!

 Victoria and BethanyJosiah

For more great pictures of our wonderful stay, visit the Stelzl’s blog!



May

19

Ahhh, the satisfaction of completing fourteen years of schooling!!! This past Saturday was a day I’ve been waiting for and dreaming about for many years. And when it had finally come after all that waiting, I couldn’t believe it was here!! Such a hard feeling to describe…

Saturday morning was very busy. We cleaned, prepared, practiced, organized… and enjoyed all of it!! Before people started arriving, Dad and Mom presented me with my diploma… WOW! I know that it is just a credential and doesn’t mean that I’m done learning, but it is a huge milestone and testimony of the Lord’s grace and faithfulness!!

Anyway, friends and family started arriving at 1:45, and the party began! It was a wonderful day of fellowship and visiting with many people we hadn’t seen in a very long time. One of the biggest highlights was having both grandmothers there, which was a big surprise! What a  joy!!

I praise the Lord for all He has done for me… for parents who have willingly taught me all these years, for the wonderful “support group” I have in my family, and for the blessing of completing high school. God is so good! Great is His faithfulness! 

Kathryn decorated the cake100_3937 the diploma Practicing for the program A great punch server! The food was delicious!Cousins and friends ~ the Merck family Visiting with friends~Bethany, Hannah, and Nathan Another gathering of young people100_4066 100_4027 Grandmama Neely and Nana Conn Uncle Fudge and Grandmama came up from South GA ~ it was great to see them! Nana Conn came down all the way from NY for my graduation! How special!! What a huge highlight!!!I think we wore him out!! :-)Cousins ~ Graduates of 2010~ Austin and Jessica



“Sugar Cookie” Granola

Posted by Kathryn

May

17

I thought I would share this healthy granola recipe… it has become one of our family favorites, and surprisingly, the “sugar cookie” twist to it resulted from another flop! I made it once and forgot two of the ingredients, and after I pulled Mixing... mixing... mixing. :) it from the oven I was feeling slightly down because I don’t like it when my cooking experiences don’t go well. 🙂 I moved on to something else while it cooled, and expected nobody to really care for this semi-tolerable granola I had just concocted. But suddenly I realized that there were these glowing comments coming from the kitchen about how wonderful it was (amid MUCH crunching, munching, and numerous Mmmmm’s, of course!). Inwardly I was thinking “It’s not really that good; they’re just being nice. I forgot two important things!” Finally, Amanda came right out and said “It tastes like sugar cookies! Kathryn, this stuff is wonderful!” I was thrilled that they liked it, and now it’s MY FAVORITE too!! The special flavorings give it that unique sugar cookie taste. I100_3766 especially love this recipe because it’s super easy to whip up (making it ideal for baking with little siblings – Susanna helped me last time :)) and there’s NOTHING bad for you in it. 🙂 It is extremely filling, and makes a fantastic breakfast, snack, supper, ice cream topping… anytime you need a healthy treat! We often serve it with fresh fruit and yogurt. Enjoy!

Sugar Cookie Granola

2 cups whole wheat flour

6 cups rolled oats

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

1 cup flax seed

1/2 cup water

1 cup oil

1 cup honey

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. coconut extract

1 tsp. almond extract

1 Tbsp. salt

Dried fruit (raisins, dried cranberries, apples, etc.) (optional)

Combine flour, oats, coconut, and chopped pecans in large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Put flax seed in blender and grind into a course powder. Add water, oil, honey, flavors, and salt. Blend for 30 seconds or until well-mixed. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and mix well. Spread on 3 baking sheets and bake @ 200 for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes. Cool completely. Sprinkle with dried fruit if desired and store in air-tight container.

Notes:

Like I said, it's usually big hands that get into it! :) This is another one of those “spatula” recipes. You have to keep one close by to swat any little (but usually big) fingers that just happen to find their way to the bowl for a little snitch. 🙂



Austin’s Graduation

Posted by The Neely Team

May

9

On Thursday we had the privilege of attending the graduation of our cousin Austin from the Bob Jones Academy. Afterwards, we enjoyed a lot of great family time at his reception. Enjoy the pictures!!

Austin and Jessi - Class of 2010!!!

Congratulations, Austin!! We're glad we could share in your special day!

A special note of encouragement that Austin wrote to his classmates Pleasing both to the eye and to the stomach!!The best invention for serving punch we have ever seen!! Just stick your cup under the fountain!

Austin and Daddy - Buds... BEST BUDS!!A fellow photographer :) (Our cousin Neali - Austin's sister)

We got to see Christina Fisher again - she went to school with Austin.Herman, Berty, and Sunny - great buddies!!

Austin TimothyWe ALL enjoyed the chocolate fondue fountain - Mmmmmm!More yummy food!



Gray and Sommer Wedding!!

Posted by The Neely Team

May

3

Musicians :)

Last week we had the privilege of attending the wedding of Heather Gray and RehearsalEugene Sommers. We met the Gray family two years ago at a conference in Nice shot, Herman!! You got the wording on the runner with the bride and groom in the background perfectly!! You're a little photographer in training. :)VA, and have greatly enjoyed getting to know their family better since then. When Heather and Eugene got engaged, they asked us to do the music forHeather and Eugene their wedding. What an honor and a blessing!! We had fun preparing for it, and the wedding itself went wonderfully. It was indeed a lovely portrayal of unity, purity, and love designed by the Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1). As we watched these two share their first kiss at the altar, we were reminded that God’s way of purity is richly rewarding! He promises to bless 100_3732those who put Him first and are willing to wait for His perfect  timing. We witnessed two become joined as one – a picture of Christ and His bride, the Church. Will we, His bride, be presented  “without spot The Neely Team with the Sommersor wrinkle” at His imminent and glorious appearing? 

We look forward to Isn't birdseed wonderful in the hair?? :)seeing how the Lord will use this couple to bring Him glory as they honor Him with their lives.  Brother and sister of the bride: watching big sister drive away... :(



What He Is To Me

Posted by Kathryn

Apr

27

As I behold the wonders of the flow’ring, blooming tree,

I pause, in awe, to ponder what the Creator is to me.

He’s Joy and Hope at each new morn; He’s Mercy when I fall;

The Giver of sweet rest at night; the Hearer of my call.

 

The Craftsmen of the flow’rs that bud; the Divider of the sea;

He calls the stars by name above, yet holds me tenderly.

Giver of grace in my deep need; and much more than can be told!

But, more than these, He is to me – the Keeper of my soul.

 

What is He to YOU?

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The Big Gun

Posted by Patrick

Apr

21

Here is a short video that we recently put together as an advertisement for Accurate Innovations. It’s our first attempt at anything like this, but we enjoyed it, and hope to be able to post more videos in the future. For more information about custom rifle stocks, visit AccurateInnovations.com.



From Disastrous to Delectable

Posted by Jessica

Apr

17

It was a birthday that will be hard to forget – at least the cake part. At the time, I was probably about 12, and Mom had given me permission to make my own birthday cake… and it was fun… and funny to some. I chose to make what is called a Banana Pudding Cake. It was supposed to be made in a 13×9 pan, with the pudding put on top, and served with whipped topping… a nice, cool, and creamy kind-of cake. But, instead of having a cake in a 13×9, I wanted to have it be a layer cake – with three layers. So that’s what we did.

Well, the cake was in the oven, and everything seemed to be going very well. The aroma of a cake baking in the oven is something that I find hard to compare to anything else. Its just so, ummm, inviting… and it smells so good…nay, scrumptious. Anyway, I continued following the recipe. Now was the time to mix up the pudding. Put the pudding in the pot, pour in the milk, add the butter, stir in the vanilla… the project was going very well. But, then I realized that the pudding wasn’t thickening, and I wanted to use it as a frosting, not a glaze. Some observers came in about then, and willingly offered to taste-test it for me, just in case I had forgotten anything. (We even thought about adding cornstarch to it, but I guess if we had, it wouldn’t have produced quite the same memory, so I’m glad we didn’t.) But the good news was that the general vote was that it was really good.

So, the cake came out of the oven, and after it cooled, I layered it with the pudding mixture. Cake, pudding, cake, pudding, cake, pudding… it was all on… temporarily… that’s when the sliding began. There’s nothing quite like seeing a freshly baked cake sliding all over a plate while you’re trying to assemble it. We did our best to get it to “stand” still long enough to put it in the fridge.

Upon delivering it to the table after a delicious supper, it looked rather interesting, to say the least. I think Daddy was expecting it to be a normal birthday cake… but no, it definitely was not. If I recall correctly, it was still slipping and sliding around on the plate, pudding and bananas oozing out the sides, requiring extra caution, especially during transport.

It was dished up, and there was quite the discussion going on over this new invention, and it was an invention, because I’m sure no one had ever done this recipe that way before. It was a humorous desert to behold, that’s for sure. Daddy affectionately called it “Banana Flop Cake” – that gives an idea of what it looked like. Thankfully,it tasted really good, and ever since that night, there has been a frequent request to make it again. It turned out to be one of the most wonderful tasting messes ever imaginable!

Finally, we made it again today; this time we did it according to the recipe and made it in a 13×9 pan. Everything was going really well. And once again the wonderful aroma was filling the kitchen. Ahhhh, it smelled so good! Then, Beep, Beep, Beep… the timer was ringing, so I opened the oven, and to my surprise, the cake had risen over the edge of the pan! How was I supposed to put the pudding mixture on top of that, especially with it runny enough to get all over the counter?!?! I ended up dumping it, upside down, into a 15×11 pan, and then drizzling the pudding over it. It was delicious, and thoroughly enjoyed. And, even though this time it looked nice, it still will always have the name of “Banana Flop Cake.”  Ahhhh, memories!

Sometimes God gives us something to do and we just make a total mess of it. However, “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” He can take our mess and turn it into something desirable – a ministry opportunity, a life lesson, an example or encouragement to others – which shows His sovereignty and grace, making something beautiful out of our disaster and bringing glory to Himself!!

Lessons to be learned:

  • Be careful when altering recipes – you never know what may happen!
  • Don’t give up, even when you make a mess twice!
  • Make sure you laugh when life sends cake in unusual ways! 🙂

 

Oh… I guess you were probably waiting for the recipe. So, here it is… and think about us if you make it… and enjoy!

 

Banana Pudding Cake (aka “Banana Flop Cake”)

Cake:

  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease 15×11 baking dish; set aside.

Place all ingredients in large mixing bowl. Blend with electric mixer on low for 1 minute. Stop mixer, scrape sides of bowl, then continue mixing on medium speed for 2 minutes. Batter should be thick and well-blended. Pour batter into prepared pan, smoothing it out with rubber spatula. Bake for 30-33 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Remove pan from oven and place it on wire rack to cool.

  • 1 large package  vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut up
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sliced bananas (about 3 large)

While cake is baking, prepare the pudding. Place pudding mix and milk in a medium saucepan. Fold in butter and vanilla. Cook over low heat, stirring, until butter melts (about 3-4 minutes).Remove pan from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Fold in banana slices.

To prepare cake, spoon pudding over cooled cake, making sure all edges are covered. Optional: Serve with whipped topping and/or crushed vanilla wafer cookies sprinkled over the top. Refrigerate cake, loosely covered for up to 3 days.

Jessi’s version:

  • Use two small boxes pudding mix instead of 1 large – makes it a little bit thicker, and I used 1 vanilla and 1 banana cream.
  • We think its best served cold, but the recipe says to serve at room temperature. Follow your taste buds.
  • You could try it in a 13×9, or in 3  9-inch round cake pans; I personally think it would do best in the 15×11. *grin*
  • We didn’t have any whipped topping, so we just served it with a can of whipped cream, which is Dad’s personal favorite. 100_3288


Ah-choo!! Sniffle, sniffle. Ah-CHOO!! AH-CHOOO!!!! I blow my nose. I can’t talk to anyone more than a sentence without stopping to sneeze. My eyes are red and watering, and sometimes unbearably itchy. Ugh!! I love Spring-time… but the pollen is terrible!! Can’t anybody tell me of a way to stop this reaction, OTHER than with regular allergy medication???

That was my story several years ago. Actually, that was me last year. Well, I have to admit, that was me just last week.

Don’t get me wrong; I love Spring – I really do! I love the smell of the cool, refreshing breezes that blow on otherwise warm days, watching the grass grow greener daily, seeing the flowers that are popping up everywhere, observing the birds that are “house shopping”, preparing their nests, hearing the pitter patter of the rejuvenating rains on the porch roof as I watch the storms blow across the mountains, anticipating just when the little knobs on the tree branches will burst into bloom……… I love the excitement, the thrill, the newness of it all! But along with all of the beauty comes… yep: pollen.

Some people are blessed to not be allergic to pollen. We have some of those people in our family. But we also have several who, like me, have strong reactions to it. And it can take away from a lot of the enjoyment of spring. For a LONG time, I have been wondering, What can I do about this? I don’t like to take all the expensive, chemical-laden, commercially produced, temporarily-symptom-fixing products that we can buy at the store. Granted, I think those things have their place, and I’m all for using them at the right time. There has been many a time, even this week, when they come in extremely handy for “emergencies” – those times when I would really rather not be blowing my nose and crying and sneezing all the time… like when I’m singing special music in church or teaching piano lessons. But to live on them all through the pollen season??? Well, that’s not my first preference.

So that’s why I’m writing this: to let you know about something that I’ve found just within the past several days. It’s an amazing substance. It’s sweet (although slightly sticky, as most sweets are), delicious, good for you, and 100% natural!!! How much better can it get?? Would you like to know the name of this wonderful stuff? Actually, you probably use it all the time; you certainly know what it is; it’s usually a “pantry item” in most homes. At our house, we jokingly call it “partially digested bee food.” But the more common (and certainly more appetizing!) name is: honey. That’s right! Just plain old, regular honey. I love it. So when I looked up a remedy for allergies in a home remedies book, I was delighted to find this listed first. Actually, the book says to take a 1-inch cube of honeycomb, swallow the honey, and chew on the waxy part for about ten minutes. (This HAS to be local honey – the stuff produced by the bees in YOUR area – so that the allergens  it contains can build your immune system against the pollen that you deal with in your area.) Do this every day for a month or two before the pollen season, so that when it starts, you already have built an immunity to at least some of the problem.

Well, I didn’t discover this until a few days ago. And I was reading the page between sneezes and through watery eyes. But I decided that it was worth it to give it a try. We don’t currently have any honey in the comb, so I used the next best thing – a spoon. No, I didn’t chew the spoon. 😉 But I stuck it in the jar, pulled it out, spun it around several times until it quit dripping, and then enjoyed the wonderful sensation of eating something that I really enjoy, and hoping that it would help my problem! I did this four or five times the first day, three or four the next, once the next, and once or twice every day since. And guess what? My symptoms have pretty much all disappeared!!! It’s been several days now; I’ve been able to take walks, work in the yard, and flop on the grass, with everything blooming and a strong breeze blowing right in my face, and I usually only have a tiny bit of trouble (if any) when I come back inside later! It’s such a relief, and I’m just praising the Lord for every clear breath I take!!

Now I’m not going to dogmatically say that the honey is what did it. And even if it was, I’m not going to declare that it will do it for you, too. But I just wanted to let you know, because if you are at the point where I was (and usually am every spring), you’ll probably want to at least give it a try!!!

Proverbs 24:13 – “My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste…”

 

(P.S. And if it works, let me know. I’d be really interested in hearing if this helps anyone else!!) 🙂



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