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Archive for July, 2010

We Played the “Old Days”!!

Posted by Bethany



Last week Daddy and Mommy went on a date, and so us little kids played outside with Kitty. We played like we were from the old days. We had a covered wagon and a horse to pull it (and that was Victoria 🙂 ). Kitty was the mom and all of us had funny names and were her children. My pretend name was Eliza Jane. We got water from the spring and drank it out of an old ice cream bucket with a dipper. Then we used other buckets and filled them with freezing cold water. Then we washed our faces and hands with real soap! Then we dried them with a towel. Later Kitty said that we could stand in the buckets and pretend to take baths. We got our clothes a little wet, except Titus, who got soaked! Later we got to eat cobbler in the grass with whipped cream! Yummy! 🙂 We had lots of fun!

We did our hair and washed up!  The water was yummy I (Eliza Jane) dried my face "Mary" and "Nelly" We played with the grass too... ... and we ran around. Eating cobbler "Nelly" liked the water We took good care of our horse, "Bess." "Royal" enjoyed his food "The mom" and a very dirty "Royal" "Almanzo" enjoying a ride behind "Bess"

Cookin’ at the Plant

Posted by The Neely Team



Back a couple years ago, we would go every Friday and cook lunch for the guys working at the plant. There was an abundance of work, and they were having to work overtime. It was definitely a season of bounty. We loved preparing the food for them. Quite often, we would make a family trip to do the grocery shopping on Thursday night, then come home and do as much of the prep work as we could. Then on Friday, we would load up the van and head to Andrews Truss, Inc. It was a fun family activity, and a unique ministry opportunity.

Well, since the turn of the economy, we haven’t been able to do it. We’ve certainly been blessed with some work, but its rare to have people working overtime.

That’s why it was so exciting to hear the news when Daddy came home one night a few weeks ago and told us we were going to cook! There were squeals of delight! A really neat factor, is that when we were in NY, we older ones had spent some time praying with our cousin, and one request mentioned was the need for more work. And what do you know, the very next week we were cooking because there was a need for the guys to work overtime. What a testimony of how God answers prayers! And what an encouragement to keep praying!

A finished jobA fantanstic cook! :-)A great chef teamEveryone gathered, enjoying the mealFriendsWorkers diligently building Mmmmm.... look what's cookin' :-)IMG_0794Going through the lineIMG_0813IMG_0797New forklift drivers

Preparing a Way

Posted by Jessica



Recently, while in NY, we had the adventuresome opportunity to trim Christmas trees. There were hundreds to do, and several different areas of work, too. Some people trimmed trees with machetes, some used shears, and one got to use gas trimmers. There were also old stumps that had to be cut out and hauled to the big brush pile at the end of the field. After a few minutes of talking, everyone was assigned their jobs and excitedly went to work. My job was to mow between the rows of trees, so that the people trimming could see better where they were walking. And that is what got me thinking…

One of the tree fields

I enjoy mowing the grass. I love driving tractors. But there was something different about it this time. Oh yes, I still was having the time of my life, bouncing around on the tractor seat, being careful not to mow over a tree. However, this time, I wasn’t just cutting the grass because it was too long. Yes, it definitely was way too long. But it was my job to prepare the way that everyone else would walk.

I couldn’t help but think about how this applies to life. I’m blessed to be (at least) a fourth generation Christian. I’ve heard of how my grandparents and great-grandparents prayed for their children and have seen how their testimonies impacted everyone around them. These men and women carefully laid out the path for their descendants to follow.

Through the years stories have been told of God’s faithfulness. I can remember hearing of the ways God miraculously provided during difficult times. These stories have been told “… that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments…”(Psalm 78:6-7). My grandparents have laid a foundation for their future children. That includes my parents, me, and my children. It is as if they were running a relay race, and passed down the baton from one generation to the next.

Now comes the big question… What will I do with the baton? Everyday the choices that I make will affect not only me, but also everyone around me, and many will affect those who are yet to be born. Not only that, but decisions often build on previous decisions. In other words, how I make my decisions today, will also affect how I make my decisions tomorrow.

With this sobering thought in mind, what am I doing on a daily basis to prepare the way for the next generation? What choices am I making and how will the future be affected?

Many times in the path of life, we’ll hit “stumps” that will cause us to stumble, as it happened to me while I was mowing the Christmas tree field. There was one time I got stuck between two stumps, and I couldn’t go forward or backward. The path to which we have been called will not always be smooth, but one thing is for sure – God will always give us grace to continue on. At other times, we may feel that we can’t possibly go any farther. This happened to me when I found myself stuck in a huge mud hole (I later found out that there is a spring in the middle of the field). The tires were sunk halfway into the  mud, and there was no way I could possibly get out on my own. That is when “reinforcements” came and pushed me out of the mess and set me on the right track again, being careful to show me exactly where not to go.

During times like these, we must remember that God has a specific purpose for each of us, and He is bringing that to pass one day at a time. It is so exciting to see how He works out even what we consider “tiny” details into His plan. But, we have a responsibility to keep our focus on Him, maintain a clear conscience, and be ever ready to follow His leading.

So as you go about your day, remember that God is using you to unfold His plan. Remember that you are making decisions that will affect many others and the future. But also take into consideration the path that you are leaving for those who will follow you. Where will it take them?

The five of us got up really early one morning to get as much done as possible before 9:30am, which was when we had to stop. It was lots of fun, and we were able to finish trimming the first field. What a wonderful time we had!

Weekend with the Wilkes Team!!

Posted by Kathryn



On our way home from the fantastic NY trip, we were blessed to be able to stay with our dear friends, the Wilkes Team, during their final few days in Fairfax, VA! Several years ago, the Lord provided a 90-acre piece of property in Culpepper, VA, and gave them the vision of a huge ministry center barn out there. They have faithfully and very patiently waited for the Lord’s perfect timing, and now it is coming to pass! “The Barn”  is well under way, but not complete, so when their house in Fairfax sold, they realized they would have to find another dwelling for a few months! The Lord provided a beautiful “transition” house only five minutes from the building site. When we arrived, the Fairfax house was almost completely empty… but definitely not desolate!! (How could it be when filled with 23 joyful, energetic people??!) After being expertly divided up into six teams (thanks to the organizational skills of Jenny and Mr. Wilkes!), we spent a morning helping them with some deep cleaning, and then we all went out to Culpepper to see the barn and other house (the “Farm House” :)). What a special time to see their vision being followed through!! We praise the Lord for all He has done!

Being with the Wilkes Team again was an indescribable blessing! A few highlights were: the edifying dinner-time topics of conversation, cleaning house, 🙂 hearing the “8-hands-on-two-pianos” music (Joshua, Daniel, Amanda, and Jessica), eating dinner by the pool, and the morning times around the Word!

Thank you, Wilkes Team, for another wonderful visit… we love you all and are greatly looking forward to witnessing the Lord use you mightily as continually press on with the calling He has given!!

Happy Helpers Washing the mini-blinds  A Happy Hannah Helper Mark Most of the windows folded in so that we could clean them... Mrs. Wilkes and Mrs. Neely Including the little ones in the work! Two hilarious team members! :) Jenny Let's scrub! This one wouldn't fold in, so we cleaned it from the outside! Making lunch Admiring the pool at the new Farm House Important discussions Fun! Part of the cheerful bunch... ... and the rest of it! What sweet time together! This is what happens to those that are bad....

.... They get dunked in the pool!! (No, this really is right side up :-) Well, I think he enjoyed it!! The beautiful view from the Farm House Playing ball We celebrated all of the June birthdays with a delicious ice cream cake :) All the "June people" - Kathryn, Jessica, Grandma Wilkes, Joshua, Kenan, and Sarah Titus finally warmed up!! It started out like this... ...but was much more powerful LIKE THIS!!!!

Trip to NY

Posted by Jessica



We made another journey north to visit family and to do some projects around Nana’s farm. It was a fabulous trip – lots of work was accomplished and numerous memories were made. The teamwork was incredible to watch, and the enthusiasm brought forth was inspiring! It was wonderful to observe as the whole family came together to work, determined to make the projects fun. We took over three hundred pictures – just enough to post on the blog!

Well… we won’t put all of them up…

just a few. 😉

Everyone gathering and holding hands, preparing to eat a delicious meal! 

Lauren, Rachel, and Susanna Brian and Sadie -- "a good lap-dog" :-) Oh no! The Tumbling Tower fell over! All loaded up ready to head to the farm! Yea! Uncle Dan cleaning out under the bushes  On to the next job... Aunt Bonnie and Victoria getting drinks ready for everyone Dad trimming the shrubsCleaning up the trimmings  A wagon load of eager helpers I had the honor of riding right behind David while we hauled brush piles -- it was a bumpy ride, but so much fun!  Marshall -- cleaning out the gutters  That's a full bench!! Madeline and Copper playing with Sadie Kid lineup -- I think they were playing "drill sergeant" or something Aunt Lisa prepared fabulous meals for the whole crew  Brian and Kathryn straightening a rock wall  Pull! (taking apart door panels)  Havin' fun workin' I guess you could call this "discipleship work"Cousins -- all born the same year! :-)  100_5373