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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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… in the night, His song…

Posted by Kathryn

Oct

13

There is a sweet elderly friend of our family who is known for perpetually having a song in his heart. You know – one of those delightful people that just exude cheerful music no matter what time of day or night it is or what is being encountered. Well, this man (we call him “Grandpa”) has a reputation far and wide for humming, singing, playing the harmonica in duo with his dear little wife, making up new words to match old tunes, or simply listening to music – constantly. “Grandpa” has been a part of lives ever since I can remember, and he is one of those that we can all say has had a tremendous influence on our walks with the LORD. One evening years ago, we sat together around our table enjoying a meal, and as always, throughout the course of the repast many topics came and went in the discussion. Even though eating together was a very common occurrence, this particular dinner stands out in my mind because of a specific challenge Grandpa gave to us young people. In essence, he exhorted us to be intentional about storing up a treasury of the rich, quality, Scripturally-sound songs and hymns that godly men and women have written, while we were young. Having entered the stage where memory is not always as clear as in earlier years, he shared the testimony that, while many things have faded from his mind, it is the songs of the faith that have remained with him, continuing to bring fresh stores of comfort and strength on his journey heavenward.

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Throughout this year, the LORD has brought specific songs to my attention with beautifully perfect timing. Earlier this spring, one of my dear sisters spontaneously designed something which included the hymn, Jesus, Lover of My Soul. Without her even realizing it, it was just what I needed at that time. Shortly after that, another dear sister pulled an old recording from our closet and put it in, directing my attention to a lovely song titled, Fear Not, I am With You. This song spoke volumes to me, as it is an almost word-for-word musical rendition of one of my favorite verses – Isaiah 41:10. Another time God used a violin student’s assignment to remind me of All the Way My Savior Leads Me; a later one was Abide with Me.

It was not until recently, though, that the LORD opened my eyes and revealed what He has been doing. As the experiences of life have deepened, and trials, joys, tests, decisions, victories, and struggles have come and gone, it has seemed that with each new dimension, He has had a new song for me.

Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8

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Through the writings of many saints throughout history, the Psalms, and other passages of Scripture, God has given us a musical wealth of encouragement and blessing. He has been demonstrating to me, that, as we are faithful to learn them, He mercifully brings them back to our remembrance right when we need them most. His songs come to us “in the night” – times of darkness, doubt, decision, disappointment, and discouragement – and illuminate the shadows. How graciously kind He is!

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A few weeks ago, I was blessedly reminded of yet another song by yet another dear sister. We’ve known this song for years, but in a passing conversation, she mentioned it; and oh! how much it has meant during this season of my life.

 

Bow the Knee
M. Harland & C. Machen

There are moments on our journey, following the Lord,
When God illumines every step we take.
There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us,
As we try to understand each move He makes.
[But] when the path grows dim and our questions have no answers – turn to Him.

Bow the knee; trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee; lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One Who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of your King, bow the knee.

There are days when clouds surround us, and the rain begins to fall;
The cold and lonely winds won’t cease to blow.
And there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel;
We are tempted to believe God does not know.
When the storms arise, don’t forget we live by faith and not by sight.

Bow the knee; trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.
Bow the knee; lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One Who holds eternity.
And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan,
In the presence of your King, bow the knee.

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So this week, this month, this year… through whatever night you may be passing, may His song be with you.



9 people….and 9 dogs

Posted by Jessica

Oct

5

As a photographer whose heart is in family photography, I love taking pictures of people. Yes, large groups of people present it’s challenges (and make me all the more thankful for editing programs), but I still enjoy it. But when you have a large group of people, and a large group of dogs, it makes for an even more exciting picture time! Thankfully, we didn’t have to use the self timer or remote, because Mom took the pictures for us. With gnats abounding, puppies squirming, sunshine streaming, and laughter sounding, we’re thankful for fast shutter speeds to optimize the prospects of getting a picture with everyone’s eyes open and all the puppies in the proper position! Fun times, indeed.

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It’s been quite the family project to raise these little animals (that aren’t staying so little very long). The Creator has beautifully made each of His creations to glorify Him. The instincts and natural processes of a mother dog with her litter is no exception, and they are marvelous to behold.

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We, too, have been created for a specific purpose: to glorify the Lord, and to enjoy Him for ever. How will you choose to embrace the day He’s given to you, with the responsibilities and challenges He ordains? May we be faithful, even in the little, seemingly mundane tasks of each day, for the purpose of glorifying our Creator.

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“Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” – Psalm 150:6



Oct

2

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Thought all of our readers would enjoy a German Shepherd puppy update, since the little four-legged critters are growing in size and personality every day. Their playful antics make us laugh as they chase each other around, playing games of hide-n-seek, and discover new toys.

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Some excited owners have made their selection, but there are still a few German Shepherd puppies left who are eagerly awaiting their time to be chosen. For more information on these beautiful dogs, click here or contact us.

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Sep

28

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German Shepherds are a very versatile breed, with potential for many different tasks and pleasures. Originally bred as a livestock dog, Shepherds are known for their protective instincts with a natural bent toward herding, although today they are not exclusively viewed as livestock animals. Because of their strength, loyalty, intelligence, and positive responses to training, the German Shepherd has become well known for many other spheres, including, though not limited to, law enforcement canine work, and the loved roles as private companion and family pet.

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Our puppies are the offspring of pure-bred German lines: protective, wonderful with children, and very loyal. With an energy for anything, these dogs love to play fetch and jump obstacles, and will protect the ones they love with an inspiring steadfastness.

We have five puppies currently available, although this is subject to change as more people commit to purchasing. We are allowing new owners to choose their puppy in the order that they confirm “yes.”

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These puppies will have long hair and straight backs, and will probably range between 75-110 lbs. in weight when fully grown. The puppies will be sold for $850 each. This includes de-worming, a 5-way puppy shot, and a professional veterinary check-up before being re-homed.

Contact us for more information and to reserve your puppy today!

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YES

Posted by Kathryn

Sep

17

Oh what a wealth of strength and encouragement there is to be had in learning from and sharing with other dear believers within the body of Christ! In talking with a sweet friend recently, who is potentially facing some major changes in her life, I came away tremendously blessed with her testimony of what it means to discern, and follow, the will of God. In essence, she summed it all up in one word: YES. Since our heavenly Father has promised to lead, guide, and direct His children, she shared that her decision lay more in saying YES to what she knew He would reveal – difficult and uncomfortable as that may sometimes be – than it did in attempting to figure out exactly what the future would look like and choosing between different options.

It was such a simple thought, yet one that really resonated with me.

All throughout our lives, we are called to discern God’s will. Some decisions are simple, some are complicated. Some are joyous, some are painful. Some seem to have very little ongoing effect, and others are pivotal in deciding the destiny of not only ourselves but those around us.

There is certainly much need for fervent prayer, for diligently seeking the LORD for His way, for crying out for wisdom and direction. This is crucial. Scripture is packed full of commands to seek, and promises for those who will do so while trusting and waiting with patience. But when faced with such a decision, I am beginning to see that half the battle is won when we reach the point that we have no will of our own, and can – trustingly, submissively – say YES.

No matter what that entails.

There is true rest when our hearts are in such a state.

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May God give each of us grace to say YES.



With Gratitude to the LORD…

Posted by The Neely Team

Sep

11

… for a dear brother!

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“Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth for ever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous. A good man sheweth favour, and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved for ever: the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever; his horn shall be exalted with honour…” Psalm 112

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We are unspeakably grateful to the LORD for you, Matthew! May His richest blessings continue to rest upon you.



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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IMG_6116-JLStudios-150725Sisters <3

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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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Blessed…

Posted by Kathryn

Aug

8

…are those who TRUST.

Blessed are those who WAIT.

Blessed are those who SEEK.

O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. Psalm 34:8-10

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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. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee. Psalm 84:11-12

The LORD is my portion, saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3:24-26

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Trust in the LORD and do good: so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 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. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him… Psalm 37:3-7

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Their strength is to sit still… In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength… And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him… He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry ; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. Isaiah 30



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