Going Home… to the Wilds

The Wilds has always held a special place in our hearts. It was there that Dad made sure of his salvation while attending camp in high school… one of our aunts trusted Christ there as well… and it has been the location sparking many precious memories for our family through the years.

A few weekends ago, we were blessed with the opportunity to attend Family Camp with the entire family, Matthew included! It is hard to describe the joy of being there once again… everything was so familiar, yet, as it had been several years, there were many new changes to explore. It was truly like going home. The Lord used the weekend away from the race of normal life, surrounded by glorious creation, God-honoring music, and sound preaching, to refresh our hearts and renew our energy for the events and duties before us.

A pictorial commentary on the weekend:

An evening in the CoolBeans coffee shop, enjoying our favorite ~ Raspberry White Chocolate Mocha Freezes!



Since living in a duplex once again was so wonderful,  one of our “littles” made a hilarious contribution to the experience. Smile 

Always a reason to smile :-D

Other photos:

Headed to the dining hall for a delicious repast...... and waiting on the porch for the invitation...

...to "Come on in!"IMG_0460

Time to fellowship with our friends on staff was a tremendous highlight!

Ken Collier -- a big twin brother!

On Saturday afternoon, every forecast was predicting rain in high percentages, but the Giver of all good things saw fit to astound us with His goodness once again by clearing the skies and giving beautiful sunshine so we could enjoy time in the fresh air together.

(Notice Mr. Smiley in the background :)) About to experience the ride of their lives......on the Giant Swing! (A thrilling 65-ft free-fall)

May we all be pressing onward, climbing higher!IMG_0471


IMG_0470Getting ready for the Land Trolley

Coming in for a landingOn their way up the mountain for a ride IMG_0501

Blessed is the man that hath his quiver full!

Time for two of the dearest couples on earth to talk heart-to-heart!



We are so grateful for the opportunity to have “gone home” for a season of refreshment, which reminds me of the beautiful passage in Isaiah 41:

“When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” (vs. 17-18)

Listen for the Music

IMG_1959 - Copy

Give your day to the Lord. From eternity past He has lovingly, sovereignly planned out each second of which it is comprised, so trust Him. Realize that when circumstances or individuals in your life seem to be hindering the way you think things ought to come together, it is not really them obstructing your path – they are merely instruments under the direction of the great Conductor Who is working all things into a symphony of praise and glory. Rest in Him, and listen for the music.

NC FEW 2013 ~ “Loving His Appearing”

At the end of time, will we receive the crown of righteousness at the hand of our righteous Lord as a reward for loving His appearing? In our day and age, where is the comfort found in I Thessalonians 4: 17-18? “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet them in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” In contrast to this, have we simply made ourselves comfortable in our daily lives, enjoying what prosperity brings us and reveling in what the world gives, rather than in what our relationship with Christ gives?

A couple of weekends ago we were blessed to have the opportunity to host the 2013 NC FEW Conference. It was a blessing and encouragement to be challenged in your relationship with Christ, your family, and others as we were taught from the Word of God and fellowshipped with each other. The goal of the Family Encouragement Weekend was once again played out as many like-minded families joined together in the name of Jesus to encourage each other, learn from one another, and pray together. Praise the Lord!

~ Preparation and Set-up ~

IMG_4698Simply awe-struck at what God has done!Best Bro's!

IMG_4733Working. Or snacking??IMG_4757

A look......around......the room!

A beautiful example of a godly marriage. Praise the Lord!"Pretend that you like each other!" "Okay, it's for real." :-)

~ Wonderful and Blessed Fellowship ~

Sweet SistersIMG_4785Encouraging and building up one another.

More Sweet SistersJoy in the Lord

Still More Sweet Sisters


IMG_4849Building Friendships on the Foundation of the Family

~ The Ladies’ Tea ~


On the technical side... :-)IMG_4816

Our dear mother sharing years of tested advice from many a homemaker's experience. IMG_4802Delight at learning from others.

~ Discipleship ~


Praying for our parents... a blest time. IMG_4865

~ Encouraging and Challenging Sessions ~

Do you love His appearing?Oh, the joys of living in harmony with each other!

Father and Son......sharing with fathers and sons.

L-R: Musical Moriah, Meditative Micah, Map-happy Molly, Marvelous MaryLou, Merry Mikaela, Max the Middleman and his "edges."What a wonderful testimony of what God can do with two lives committed to His ways and living in complete surrender!

"Be an energy giver!""Share the gospel with those who have never heard."


Press On!

God Knows My Size

At the beginning of this year, I read a fascinating book about Silvia Tarniceriu called God Knows My Size. For school, I wrote a book report on it, and I thought I would share it with you.Smile

Silvia Tarniceriu was born and raised in Iasi (pronounced Yahsh), Romania, and was the eighth child out of twelve children. Her father’s name was Pricop, and her mother’s name Elena. Because they were such a large family in communist Romania, it was hard for her parents to provide for them; therefore, many of her older siblings had to quit school and get jobs to help provide for the younger ones.

When Silvia was twelve years old, her tata (papa) took a trip and decided to take her with him. On the way,they stopped to see his sister, Estera, and while they were there, she and her husband convinced Tata to leave Silvia with them because they could better provide for her. She stayed with her aunt and uncle for one year and then went back home to Iasi.

One night when the Tarniceriu family was in church, the pastor said that God can do anything. This was very hard for thirteen-year-old Silvia to believe,and she decided to find out for herself if this was really true.That night when she was in bed, she asked God for a winter coat, a sweater, and a pair of shoes. (All three of them were basically impossible to purchase in such a large family at that time.) Then one day her family received a package in the mail that had all three items in it, and they each fit Silvia perfectly! From that time on, she never doubted God again and trusted him as her personal Lord and Savior!

When Silvia was older, she helped smuggle Bibles, but eventually was put in prison and persecuted for her faith. The only thing that kept her true to her Savior was the promise that “God knew her size” and that he could/would provide for her. After her release in 1983, she gave up her Romanian citizenship and moved to America. She was finally in a free country! There she got a job with “Christian Aid Ministries” which is a ministry for Christians in Romania. Silvia could help the Christians in her country at last!


God Knows My Size! Silvia Tarniceriu

Silvia Tarniceriu is still living, and shares her testimony at various events across the United States.

Penguin-Loving Poet

For nearly fourteen years, someone was dwelling in our home and family, of whose true personality and perspective on life we knew but little.

Then, something happened, and out she came!

Penguin-loving, laugh-inspiring, and thought-provoking, Victoria brings such joy to all of us with her unusual and often unbelievable sense of humor! Recently, however, yet another new side of her has emerged. We have discovered that she is quite the poet (and always seems to have the perfect proverb or line of rhyme to share at any given situation). Typically written late at night, while she is comfortably ensconced on the floor in my room, her poetry has greatly blessed and impressed me. The other night she shared this one with Jessi and I, when, as usual, she was journaling on the floor between our beds. I loved it! I’m sure I’ll have to post additional compositions in the future, but for now… enjoy! Smile


Proper English

I once was told I spoke in verse;

At once I realized that was no curse.


My Mother Tongue feels no abuse

When words own color and careful use.


When artful speaking doth occur

These facts must show, of that be sure:


Vocabulary, first, must be enlarged,

While useless words are all discharged.


(No “like’s,” no “um’s,” no “ain’ts” or “got’s,”

No “fan’s,” “that long’s,” or “second shot’s.”


No double negatives, few words used o’er,

Instead of “beach” use “the sea shore.”)


Context, then, is all-important

Without it, sentences will sound discordant.


Structure, now must be considered

Here we’re in danger of sounding withered.


Arrange your words with cautious choice

They’re an accent to your voice.


Feeling, now, with depth, is key –

Ships don’t sail on shallow seas.


Mold inflection to dress the matter

Don’t just robe in useless clatter.


And finally, this last charge I give:

Speak to honor He Who lives –


He Who formed our mouth and ears

That we may speak and words may hear.


We’ve been granted simple tools

To edify God’s chosen jewels.


Use them carefully, we must

For they are a sacred trust.


Hold the tongue which tries to bite,

Speak the words which spread the Light.


There’s much to bridle as we go

Un-necessaries always seem to show


Form each sentence with thought and care;

Our “good name” this form will share.


Use your words to point above –

Speak with feeling, depth, and love.


I love you! You are a great blessing to me!


Brothers, both biological and within the body of Christ, are a blessed gift from the Lord.

Two events recently caused us to thank the Lord again for both categories:

A visit from two of the Barnes guys.

Though the whole family was unable to come up, Tim and Wes came for a brief but great visit last weekend. Outside work, music sessions, games, fellowship, shooting, laughter, and memorizing a portion of Psalm 20 filled the time and made for many fantastic memories.

Clearing the back bankPruning...... the fruit trees.

Watching it all...Happy helpers -- getting the cut branches over the creek to the wood pile

A favorite pasttime

DSCF7628-dsHmmm... brothers also have a knack for snacks... well, actually, he was helping clean up the kitchen. :-D

Deep in thoughtSmile!

Singing around the piano

The birthday celebration of our manly brother Samuel!

How we praise the Lord for the work He is doing in the life of such a dear brother! Happy Birthday, Herman! You bring such joy to our lives… we love you!


Excitement over a new small pocket BibleExamining the gift from Papa and Nana Conn

Herman, may the Lord someday give you a virtuous daughter of Zion with whom you can share the numerous joys of life!

Welcome, Valiance!!

Today marks the two-month birthday of the newest member of the Neely Team —  Valiance (German Shepherd)! She came to us through a series of unexpected and pleasurable events, including a renewed contact, a family discussion, and a shocking(!) conclusion. Arriving as a small bundle of squirming fir, Valiance brightened our day and lives with her many bright  and winsome ways. We love having a puppy around again, with all of the entertainment, opportunities, challenges, and joys that she brings.


IMG_4362IMG_4385IMG_4382 - Copy


Displaying a certain lack of photogencity :-)

Wonderful bedmates Smile


“Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in his sight.”

~ I Chronicles 19:13

Barn Blessings

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise… I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Psalm 57:7,9-10

A few weekends ago we were blessed to take a trip down to south GA with Matthew to see Grandmama and Uncle Fudge, as well as our adopted grandparents, “Uncle” Bill and “Aunt” Peggy. Besides getting to spend quality time with these precious, godly older couples, our missions for the journey were to re-roof Grandmama’s barn, a rather daunting task when you consider that you only have two days to accomplish it, and to take some time to go hunting.

The blessing of the Lord was upon the entire weekend. Early Friday morning, Matthew had the joy of helping his beloved Amanda take two deer from the woods! Following that excitement, work on the barn began in real earnest, and the Team set in motion.


Story time with Aunt Peggy"Before"

IMG_4191Working in the kitchen with Aunt Peggy -- how sweet! They, along with Grandmama and a few others, kept the barn roofers supplied with nourishing meals and snacks.

Project underwaySupervising :-D


Fun on the 4-Wheeler :-D

:-DBreak time!

Teaching Grandmama and Aunt Peggy how to play Phase 10 - quite the hoot!IMG_4224

We love you two!

Getting the new sheet metal off the truck and ready to pass to those on the roofWatching the other side's progress

ObservingRemoving a myriad of rusty old nails, meanwhile trying hard to not fall through the rotten beams onto the farm implements below

It’s amazing what a man can accomplish… when he has a hardy helpmeet by his side!

Dad...... and his excellent helper!

Matthew... and his helper-to-be!

Working together, the project was successfully completed in time to drop everything, clean up, and race off to a singing commitment we had Saturday night. (Whew! Smile) Praise the Lord!


Before heading home, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to take a couple group shots. How grateful we are for the time to fellowship with and glean wisdom from these dear people!

The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. Proverbs 16:31

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise… Proverbs 13:20



As we left Bainbridge, we took Matthew by the cemetery where Grandpapa is buried.

IMG_4279For those of you who have heard our Patriotic CD, this is the tombstone that was placed in honor of the two Neely brothers, Gordon and Willard, who were lost in WWII.


Grandpapa’s life verses were found in Psalm 34, and following the Lord’s abundant blessings on our weekend, they seem very appropriate. What a heritage we’ve been handed!

I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:1-3

The Existence of God

Renaissance chemist Robert Boyle is attributed to have said the following:

“The vastness, beauty, orderliness of heavenly bodies; the excellent structure of animals and plants; and other phenomena of nature justly induce an intelligent, unprejudiced observer to conclude a supreme, powerful, just and good Author.”


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