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Archive for 2013

Merry Christmas From the Neely Team!

Posted by The Neely Team



Wishing you and your family a joy-filled day as we celebrate our Savior’s birth!

We trust you are all doing well, and rejoicing in the bountiful blessings of our Lord. We truly have much to praise Him for. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and head into a new year, may His peace fill your heart, His joy be your strength, and His Word be your guide.

Merry Christmas!

With rejoicing and praise to the Lord,

The Neely Team


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

This old, favorite Christmas carol is often one of the most misunderstood songs of the season. Its true meaning helps to explain one of the most misused phrases describing Christmas. What Americans hear when they hear “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is not anything like what the English peasants heard when they sang the song over 500 years ago.

The lyrics reveal that the unknown writer knew the Christmas story well. He included the high points of the Gospel throughout the verses of the song. The writer also understood the power of Christ and what His coming meant to all who embraced it.

The song is still sung much like it was way back then, but with the change in meaning of the words, few people understand what the writer was trying to communicate.

When people today say, “Merry Christmas,” they mean have a happy Christmas. However, when the song was written, the word “merry” had a very different meaning. Robin Hood’s “merry” men may have been happy, but the word “merry” that the described them means mighty. Thus, a strong army was a “merry” army. A great king was a “merry” king. A “merry” ruler was a mighty ruler.

Even with the knowledge that the Victorian carolers intended “merry” to mean “mighty,” the song still doesn’t make sense. This is due to the other word whose meaning has changed significantly over the centuries. The word “rest” meant “to keep” or “to make.” And to completely uncover the meaning, we need to insert a comma after the word “merry.” The the meaning is, “God make you mighty, gentlemen.” And what is it that makes us mighty? We do not have to be dismayed because Christ our Savior was born to save us from Satan’s power and we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us!

So, when we say “Merry Christmas” we are mighty because of the strength we have in Jesus Christ. Because of our mighty Christmas, we have power over sin, death, hell, and the grave. So, may God make you mighty this Christmas!


Adapted from Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins

New Release! Thera-pit-ics

Posted by The Neely Team



Life… what a joyous blessing it is to have days that are packed full to the brim with productive work. Entrepreneurial endeavors have been consuming much of our days recently – we are in the process of updating our online store, so, while we wait, we thought we should share one the latest projects with you.

Cherry Pit Hot/Cold Packs
by the Neely Team

FIMG_1817 - Copy

So, if you are like the many sweet individuals with whom we have been blessed to connect at the local farmer’s market, you may be asking: “What is a cherry pit pack?”

Concisely put, it is a hot/cold pack filled with dried cherry pits for therapeutic or comfort uses. Store it in the freezer, or throw it into the microwave for 2 minutes. Ideal for headaches, back/neck issues, sore muscles, or simply for comfort. Now that winter is fully upon us, at night there is a long line for access to the microwave, as cold feet like the pit packs deep down under the covers. This summer however, with the garden growing by leaps and bounds, and five acres of grass to be cared for, there was many a time when someone could be found with an ice-cold one draped around their neck.

While many hot/cold packs are filled with rice, barley, beans, and other small fillers, we chose cherry pits for their effectiveness and durability. A removable cover adds to the practicality, as it allows for easy washing.


  • Dimensions: 18” x 7”
  • Filling: 100% Cherry Pits
  • Cover: 100% Cotton
  • Cover colors/patterns vary – contact us for additional pictures.

$24.00 (Free Shipping)

Payment options include PayPal ([email protected]), check (see address below), or credit card (send us an email with your phone number and we will give you a call).

P.O. Box 1486
Andrews, NC 28901

New Release! The Blooming Harpist

Posted by The Neely Team



“Of all the many instruments that are played in our home, there is none so soothing to the spirit as the harp. This instrument of antiquity possesses an unmatched potential for calming a restless soul. Even a non-prodigious novice can produce relaxing music that soothes the spirit.”

With a noticeable need for simple hymn arrangements for beginning harpists (lever harp), Victoria has diligently worked to arrange and compile such a book. With 21 favorite hymns, this collection is sure to inspire any young harpist to “praise the Lord with the harp.”


$17.00 each, plus shipping. Contact us for ordering information.

Thoughts on Vision Forum

Posted by Kathryn



As many of our readers are probably aware, the recent closure of Vision Forum Ministries and the retirement of Mr. Doug Phillips from public leadership has been an event of dynamic impact in conservative circles.

Though I feel intimidated at even mentioning this issue, with my parents blessing, I want to share a few brief thoughts, with the prayer that they will cause you to seek the Lord as to what your response should be.


First, I am renewed in my desire to put my hope and trust in the Lord – not in my relationships, my circumstances, my possessions, or my mentors. He alone is the Author and Finisher of my faith – the One Who has promised to bring it to completion – and it is in Him alone that I must trust. He is the only factor of life that will never change; what better rock of assurance, what safer haven of rest?

Second, I am reminded of the vital importance of intercessory prayer on the behalf of those who are leading in the gates. My first thought upon hearing this news was one of regret that I had not been more faithful in lifting up the Phillips family before the Lord in prayer. Think of those who are influencing your life right now, who are doing battle – especially public battle – with the ideas and issues of our culture. They are on the front-lines, often on the behalf of those of us who are leading quieter lives, and do we not do them a disservice (or rather an act completely unworthy of the name of Christ – 1 Samuel 12:23) to neglect fighting with and for them in prayer?

Third, I am convinced that my response should be one of gratitude, instead of criticism. Mr. Phillips has probably been one of the most influential speakers/presenters of truth in my life, and for that I will ever be immensely grateful. The truths of Scripture do not change with the shortcomings of man.

Fourth, I am humbled, with mingled feelings of awe and fear.  If a man so godly, so esteemed, could fall, how much more could I? There is not one individual on this earth, no matter how spiritually minded or intellectually gifted, that is above a fall with such consequences. How earnestly, how frequently, then, must I be seeking the Lord, entreating Him for mercy and remaining surrendered to His Word.

Finally, I am filled with hope. Our actions do have results, but we have been chosen by a God of second-chances, a Father of mercies, and a Redeemer from our wretched condition. He delights in impossibilities. Though an aspect of my life that was highly influential and important to me has now changed, I believe that the Lord is not finished yet. I rest in the hope that He does all things well and will perform that which works in the extension of His Kingdom and for His glory.


In closing, Paul’s words from Philippians 3 seem quite applicable:

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Family Fun Night 2013

Posted by Jessica



Smells of the season :)

Family Fun Night: an annual event that has turned into a tradition for not only our family, but also for about 80 other people in our community.

The purpose? To create wholesome, fun, family time, specifically as an alternative to Halloween.

This year was no exception – despite freezing cold weather, dozens of people gathered in our driveway to once again celebrate the onset of fall and beauty of the family. Such a blessing it is to see families come together, and enjoy being together, playing together, and working together!

Games were specifically chosen for the purpose of encouraging father-leadership in the home and teamwork/cooperation. With this purpose in mind, there was hilarious fun to watch entire families, with ankles tied together, or with cardboard in hand, as they tried to get from point A to point B, working diligently toward the common goal of winning. Smile

Hay rides (in the dark)Can you guess how many were in the jar?

The announcer/game management teamWho can get the candy corn into the cup, without hands? The team with the most candy in the cup wins!IMG_1987

Teamwork -- everyone must be alert, listening for the leader's command. IMG_1995

Food and fellowshipHanging doughnuts for the traditional game of eating doughnuts on a string, without using your hands! Such sticky deliciousness.


May the Lord bless each family, strengthen the inner relationships, and allow many more joy-filled, memory-making times to be created as we embrace the blessings God has given us!

We’re looking forward to next year!!!




A few weeks ago we were able to make a spur-of-the-moment trip to South Carolina to surprise Grandmama with a birthday party! The Lord has blessed her with 75 years on this earth, and what a joy it was to come together as family to rejoice in this gift. Special thanks to the Fleishers for their generous hospitality — specifically to Aunt Miriam (“Auntie Fun-Fun”) for all of the scheming and planning and preparing that went into it. The Lord gave us a truly joyous, delight-filled evening together. 

The first expression when we walked in the door! The plan was successful -- she was utterly shocked!Fellowship

SweetReally sweet :)

Investing into the little onesIMG_1946

IMG_1954Even Rugby joined in the excitement

Joy...There is no comparison... :)

The older I get, the more my heart is filled with gratitude for Grandmama. When I think of her, several things come to mind: the legacy she and Grandpapa have left and continue to leave; the way in which she supports us in the way our dear parents have led; the heart-to-heart talks — when she shares memories from her past, stories about Grandpapa, and encouragements to us to keep running the race of life with Christ as our focus; the contagious joy that characterizes her entire self more and more with each passing year; her love for Uncle Fudge and delight in his antics and humor; and last, but not least, her love for the Lord and faithfulness to His Word.



Grandmama, we love you dearly. We treasure your friendship and influence in our lives and look forward to many, many more years with you!

Happy 75th birthday!

Van Update–A New Use for 15 Passengers

Posted by The Neely Team



Well, after 260,000 miles, we found a new way to use our van.



Whatever works and is most efficient, right? Smile We were headed out of town in the same direction that this truss delivery needed to go….so why not tow trusses with a 15-passenger?

Praise the Lord for safety through all those miles!

Camping by Lake Jocassee

Posted by The Neely Team




What could be better in the middle of a lovely fall season than a camping trip?

A few weekends ago, that is just what we did, along with several friends of ours. This tradition started nearly 26 years ago, with the dear couples pictured above plus one more, and since then the group has grown by leaps and bounds… life has changed… but we still try to get together for this annual trip.

The choice for this year’s event was Lake Jocassee in South Carolina. What a perfect place to enjoy the wonders of our Creator!



Though she certainly doesn't win awards for photogenticity (YET, I might add -- we're working on it :)), our lovely German Princess was a delight to have along for the trip.IMG_1851

IMG_1855Our wonderful head chef! :)

Kindness -- ministering to the needs of othersIMG_1862



Our handsome leader...What ever would we do without his humor and light-heartedness?!



Whether hiking, running, fishing, or fellowshipping around the campfire until midnight, the Lord gave us a safe and tremendously enjoyable weekend. Looking forward to next year!

From the orginal five couples, there are twenty-six children, sixteen of which are pictured here (plus an extra) in age order.

Watermelon Update

Posted by Kathryn



For all of you who read and laughed over our failed attempt at watermelon growing, with gratitude I can tell you that the Lord saw fit to bless our endeavors at last. 


As they were so late in the season, we did not know whether these two would be edible before the cold settled in, but last week, just before our first freeze, we decided that their time was up and harvested them. How exciting to find that they were indeed ripe!


So, do not give up when a situation appears to be hopeless, when your days seem full of impossibilities. We serve a God of second-chances, the Finisher of the good work which He has begun in each one of us. Look to Him. Rest in His mercy, grace, forgiveness, and strength… and try again!

New Release! Tasty Traditions

Posted by The Neely Team



With much excitement, we are grateful to announce the soon release of Tasty Traditions!



Step into the kitchen of a family of twelve, and enjoy some of the same taste sensations that have been their favorites for over 25 years. With over 400 recipes, this collection will bring fresh vibrancy to your every-day meal times. Gather round the table with your family and friends, and enjoy delightful and delicious feasts together!

  • over 400 recipes
  • easy-to-read layout
  • plastic cover on front and back for convenience and durability in the kitchen
  • spiral binding

To preorder your copy today for $24.99 (free shipping), pay via PayPal ([email protected]) or send a check to:

The Neely Team
PO Box 1486
Andrews, NC 28901