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German Shepherd Puppies

The past several weeks have been a delight as we welcomed our new litter of pups into the world. The joys of raising this canine family have been myriad. I’ll let the pictures tell you the rest…

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Immanuel

When once I mourned a load of sin,
When conscience felt a wound within,
When all my works were thrown away,
When on my knees I knelt to pray,
Then, blissful hour, remembered well,
I learned Thy love, Immanuel!

When storms of sorrow toss my soul,
When waves of care around me roll,
When comforts sink, when joys shall flee,
When hopeless griefs shall gape for me,
One word the tempest’s rage shall quell,
That word, Thy name, Immanuel!

When for the truth I suffer shame,
When foes pour scandal on my name,
When cruel taunts and jeers abound,
When “Bulls of Bashan” gird me round,
Secure within Thy tower I’ll dwell,
That tower, Thy grace, Immanuel!

When hell, enraged, lifts up her roar,
When Satan stops my path before,
When fiends rejoice and wait my end,
When legion’d hosts their arrows send,
Fear not, my soul, but hurl at hell
Thy battle-cry, Immanuel!

When down the hill of life I go,
When o’er my feet death’s waters flow,
When in the deep’ning flood I sink,
When friends stand weeping on the brink,
I’ll mingle with my last farewell,
Thy lovely name, Immanuel!

When tears are banished from mine eye,
When fairer worlds than these are nigh,
When Heaven shall fill my ravish’d sight,
When I shall bathe in sweet delight,
One joy all joys shall far excel,
To see Thy face, Immanuel!

by Charles H. Spurgeon

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9 people….and 9 dogs

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

[There are still a few puppies available. Contact us for more info!}

A Day at the Biltmore House & Gardens

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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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2015 HEAV Convention

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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Old Glory Dessert

One of our faithful readers asked for this recipe… so here it is! This makes a wonderful treat to serve to guests; it looks beautiful but is incredibly simple to put together.

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Old Glory Dessert

2 cups sugar cookie dough [or 1 (18 ounce) tube refrigerated dough]
11 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
2 cups fresh strawberries, quartered

Press cookie dough into a greased 15”x10” baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden brown (do not over-bake). Cool on a wire rack.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, and lemon juice until smooth. Set aside 1/4 cup of mixture. Spread remaining cream cheese mixture over crust. Decorate with blueberries and strawberries to resemble a flag.

Cut a small hole in a corner of a pastry or plastic bag. Insert star tip (#16). Fill with reserved cream mixture. Beginning in one corner, pipe stars in the spaces between blueberries. Store in refrigerator until serving.

 

Notes from TNT:

*As you can see from the photo, piping stars between the berries isn’t always necessary… it does look more esthetically pleasing, though. Smile

*For those of you who are – like us – chocolate fanatics, chocolate-chip cookie dough makes a nice substitution for the sugar dough. Winking smile

*A few weeks ago, we had fun coming up with a gluten-free, dairy-free version of this recipe, simply by using gluten free, dairy-free cookie dough, and using a natural strawberry jam in place of the cream cheese frosting. It was a sweet treat for those with intense diet restrictions.

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Happy Independence Day from the Neely Team!

May each of our hearts turn anew to the One in Whom we have true freedom, that His glory may once again dwell in our land.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” Psalm 33:12

Tire Depot — Grayson, GA

This post could be named several things. “You know not what a day may bring forth.” “Trusting God… on the side of the road.” “Smoking tire on way to baby shower.” But, “Tire Depot – Grayson, GA” seems the best. Why? Because the Lord really blessed us through this business.

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There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being lost (well, thankfully we weren’t completely lost) with a smoking van tire, 123 miles from home. Yet the hand of the Lord was so beautifully seen in each mile of the journey. Knowing the presence of God in the midst of a perplexing situation is truly beautiful. We laughed. We almost wanted to cry. We stood in amazement. We made phone calls (lots of them).

The Lord’s plan is always perfect…

…even when you don’t know the extent of the car problems you’re having on your way to speak at a friends baby shower, traffic is terrible, it’s 104 degrees outside, and the shower is supposed to start in 30 minutes and you’re at least 20 minutes from your destination.

Ah, but it’s then that you know you’re helpless. And get ready — because it will be then that you’ll see the power and love of God in fresh, exciting ways.

To make a long story short…

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We had a brake problem. The smell was typical of brakes: strong and distinct. We formulated “plan B” so we could arrive at the baby shower (almost) in time. Several mechanically minded friends checked out the situation, and so the next morning, we got back on the road, knowing that, based on the diagnosis given by our friends, the problem may arise again, but hoping that it wouldn’t. A few miles later, that distinct smell was back. We called Dad (who stayed home on this trip to work) and he said, “Find the nearest garage that will work on brakes.” It happened that we were at the intersection with Tire Depot. We pulled in, and the service we received was top notch. The kindness shown to us by the owners and employees of this family-owned tire business put us at ease. They gave us a shady parking spot, prompt, courteous service, told us to go to the air-conditioned office (it was 100 degrees outside…. at least it was cooler than the day before) while we waited for the part to arrive (which only took 20 minutes), and within the hour we were back on the road, driving a van that was running beautifully… better than it has in a long time.

So, to all of you blog followers in the Atlanta area, we highly recommend Tire Depot.

And to those of you who seem to be “broken down” on the journey of life, take comfort! The Lord is nigh them that are of a broken heart, and His strength is most clearly seen when we feel utterly helpless. Cling to His precious promises, and behold the works of the Lord! He doeth all things well.

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Here are a few pictures from the shower. What a delightful evening! Such a  joy it is to celebrate the anticipated arrival of new life: a precious soul to nurture and to teach the boundless love of God.

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Delicious Use for Old Cookies: “Peanut Butter Mountains”

Who likes to eat stale cookies?

At our house, fresh-baked cookies (and even the un-baked ones, for that matter Smile) have a tendency to disappear quite rapidly. But alas! For the poor neglected old ones… those that have been sitting on the counter for days… those that dried out because someone accidently forgot to seal the container after an afternoon snitch… those that weren’t really the favorite recipe (or didn’t contain enough chocolate Winking smile)…

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Recently we had a bag of stale peanut butter cookies on our counter. Not wanting to waste them, and also desiring to concoct a special dessert to have together on Dad and Mom’s date night, Victoria and I had a little fun making up “Peanut Butter Mountains.”

These can be done with any kind of cookie.

We spread them with a layer of peanut butter (and, next time we’ll be more generous with it) and put a scoop of ice cream on top (chocolate/vanilla in this case, but almost any flavor would be great).

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Then we put them in the freezer for about 45 minutes. This kept the ice cream hard while we continued working on dinner, and allowed the cookie/peanut butter to get cold.

Before serving, we topped it all off with chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Smile

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You should try them! They were a definite hit with all of the kiddos, everyone unanimously agreeing that the layer of peanut butter was the touch of amazingness. Smile

Other ideas:

  • For those that are peanut intolerant, try a layer of almond butter. Or better yet, use Nutella (chocolate hazelnut) spread.
  • Sprinkle a few mini chocolate chips, finely chopped nuts, or colored candy sprinkles after the whipped cream.
  • Add some banana slices between the peanut butter/ice cream layers.

Ribbons & Hair Bows Galore | Visit Us on Udemy.com!

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Ribbons & Hair Bows Galore – a step-by-step video course designed for anyone who would love to create stylish personal accessories and who wants step-by-step guidance in starting out!

Join us on Udemy.com, as we explore several different ideas to get you started on your own hair bows and hair accessories, ranging from casual “play day” bows to ones suitable to adorn a darling little flower girl at your next family wedding. (Also included is the practical hair bow organizer — sure to be Mom’s favorite!) Each lecture provides step by step instruction, and clear video footage, so that even the most hesitant beginner can learn with ease. My goal is to equip you — no matter what your past experience or skill may be — with the knowledge you need to create accessories for your own families, for gifts, or for an on-the-side entrepreneurial venture.

Hair bows and accessories can be quickly and easily made at home for a fraction of the retail cost, and the projects themselves are so much fun that it may just serve to satisfy and “arts and crafts” craving that overwhelms you at times. So, grab your ribbon, scissors, and creativity, and prepare to have a blast! Let’s get started!

 

Course description:

  • Over 10 lectures and 1.5 hours of content
  • By the end of the course, you will be equipped to confidently create feminine, fashionable hair accessories to use for your own families, for gifts, or for an on-the-side entrepreneurial venture.
  • Make 4 different hairbows, ranging from ones appropriate for a “run around at the park” kind of day, to ones fancily formal and the perfect, stunning addition to a mass of curls at the next wedding or music recital!
  • Make a wild hair tie to hold those flyaway ponytails!
  • Make a hair band/bow set, perfect for busy mornings when Mom doesn’t have time to style the hair. Just comb it out, slip it in, and run!
  • Make the classic hair bow organizer — Mom’s favorite! No more mess in the bathroom or on the dresser — simply hang the organizer on the back of the door and clip the bows to it! Viola!! — you have a far more tidy room and it will be a simple job to select the bow you want for the day.