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Archive for October, 2011


Posted by Kathryn




Dear Jordan,

Psalm 127:3, “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward.” You were a special gift from God, given to our home, to our family, for eight weeks this summer. Though we never got to meet you, you played a vital role in each of our lives. We are so grateful for you! But, as your name proclaims, our gracious Father called you over Jordan before us. You have gone on to glory, there to await us until His perfect timing when we will all be united forever. But during your life, the Lord used you to teach and remind us of many important truths.


Through you, we experienced yet again the indescribable joy of new life! We were delighted to find out that you were on the way. A new sibling, a new member of the Team, baby #11…

Through you, we realized just how uncomplaining and patient our darling mother is as she went through the early stages of pregnancy.

Because of you, we watched the Lord illuminate Mommy’s face with the glowing light that only a woman with child can wear.

We saw the beauty of letting God control the womb.

We were taught again to trust unconditionally in the loving, Sovereign hand of God in all circumstances.

We felt the pain of death and loss, but also felt the growth, grace, inexpressible joy, and deepened sense of God’s presence that always follows.

We understood just how blessed we are that we had never experienced miscarriage before.

We were further prepared for our futures as, Lord willing, fathers and mothers.

We tasted the sweetness of the friendship and love of other believers during a trial.

We were drawn closer together as a family, as a Team.

Our realm of ministry was broadened. “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we are comforted of God.” II Cor. 1:3-4

We were given yet another reason to look forward to Heaven with great anticipation!


Our hearts, our lives, our characters, our experiences, our trust in God… all were stretched and strengthened by your life. Though the pain is still felt, the results are of eternal significance, and for this, we, your siblings, are eternally grateful. We praise the Lord for your little life. Isaiah 43: 7, “For I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.” Baby Jordan, you were created for the glory of God, and your life purpose has been fulfilled. Soli Deo Gloria!

We love you, Jordan!



Last Friday we had a major project day! Mom, Victoria, and Susanna worked on some of our fall sewing, Amanda and Titus tackled our ever-growing pile in the magazine basket, Jessi, Lauren, Bethany, Hannah, and I processed 5 1/2 bushels of apples, and Herman bounced between us and some jobs outside Dad had given him to do. God’s blessing on it all was evident… we had the best time of laughter, fun, and incredible production!


Well, before I tell you what it is, let me say that we have a steadily growing tradition in our house.

It is a ton of fun.

We all really like it.

It might sound a little unusual…

Here goes: After we make applesauce, we sleep outside!  Normally it is on the front porch, in freezing — or below — weather (I’m not kidding!), but we did our applesauce early so our sleep outside was delightfully cool, not frigid. Smile After a day in the steamy kitchen working with hot apples in boiling water over blue-hot flame… I think you get the picture. We all feel ever-so-slightly warm!!!! So, a night in the wonderful fall outdoors is just perfect to cool us down and, of course, make great memories! This year, though, instead of using the front porch, we tried out our 12-man tent that we’ve had for three years and never used. Smile What a blast!

Washing the applesIMG_6324IMG_6331

Enjoying lunch on the front porch

Seamstresses extraordiare!Cooked and ready for pureeing with our Victorio Strainer

Putting the applesauce in jarsYum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Buddies :)

Making applesauce can be tiring... she was getting a much-deserved little breakFriends :)Doing the processing in the garage helped keep the temperature in the kitchen down :)

Sewing!Apples make for a very sticky floor, thus necessitating dirtamascrubbiewithwaterandsoaping!!!!!!The girls did a couple different projects together, one of which was this smiley face travel pillow :)

We were able to get 88 qts!Delicious!

Happy helpers!IMG_6429

Directing the setup of the tent ;)What's a camp without a clown?Too much fun ;)

Looking forward to a memorable night!Dad and Mom used an air mattress, but before they did, I had a little war with it.........I won!

Not ready yetJust right!Ahhh...      Uhhmmm... can I sleep here??

So, the moral of the story is this:

Enjoy the projects you do together! Make them fun and memorable!

Laugh over little mistakes and bumps in the production – – everything will be fine.

Keep a positive outlook even when you’re tired. Help each other finish strong!


And… after you make applesauce, sleep outside!

Cox / Erickson Wedding!

Posted by The Neely Team



We arrived home from Maryland in time for three days at home, and then we were off to Virginia for our cousin’s wedding. Marshall was the first “Conn Cousin” to be married – and out of 26 cousins, 24 were present for the special occasion! What a joy to be all together again!!

Rehearsal dinner:

Marshall attended college at the Virginia Military InstituteMarshall and Sarah - a pic of a picIMG_5632

IMG_5633A spectacular rainbow - a reminder of God's promise. Very fitting for the eve of the day when another promise would be made...


Marshall and Sarah!!Nana

Mom and Aunt BonnieA couch full of cousins

Marshall and Titus - oldest cousin, youngest cousin - 21 years apart!!Precious


IMG_5745Eagerly awaiting the beginning of the wedding

IMG_5757IMG_5753Budding photographer

Uncle Michael and Aunt Laurie - left / Mr. and Mrs. Erickson - rightHe awaits...

Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favor of the LordAnd they two shall be one flesh

A prayer of blessingA marriage founded on prayer, the Word of God, and a relationship with Jesus Christ will last amid the storms of life

Nana was escorted by our cousin, JonathanIMG_5810

IMG_5871Aunt Laurie and Aunt Lisa


Welcome to the family, Sarah!


Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Cox!! May the Lord's richest blessings be on you as you go forward for His Kingdom together.

May your years of service to our God together be long!

After the wedding, the family met at Fuddruckers for dinner and more time together. Smile

All five Conn siblings and their spouses Playing with the little ones

InfluenceDiscipleship "Signals"

Nicholas -- too much fun :)Sweet

Jonathan/KathrynFellowship over yummy burgers :)

Wilkes/Butler Wedding!

Posted by The Neely Team



Just 2 1/2 weeks ago…

We were on our way to Maryland to witness the glorious union of our dear friends Joshua and Lisa!


Here are a few pictures to give you the story……

They’ll do a better job than words….


Sarah and Daniel played beautiful prelude music!  Rodriguez Family String Quartet  

IMG_5093  IMG_5101

A spotless bride   IMG_5122

IMG_5124  IMG_5128 

IMG_5130  IMG_5138  Men of God from the congregation prayed blessings on Joshua and Lisa

A marriage founded on the Word of God and a relationship with Jesus Christ will not crumble in the heaviest storm. 

The Wilkes/Butler quartet sang "Prayer of Consecration" Prayer is essential in the Christian home. 

And I will give them one heart... that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people and I will be their God. 

 "Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them."  Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.

Parents  Siblings   

J +L = W :-) A beautiful poem written and presented by Sarah for J+L during the testimony time. "And they two shall be one flesh."

 The finished product.... a beautiful MESS! :):):) Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Wilkes!!