Nashville ATI Homeschool Conference


posted by Stelzl Family in Student Expeditions, Trips & Travels

Our family had the privilege of attending the Nashville ATI Homeschool Conference again this year! The theme of this year’s conference was “Looking Unto Jesus” and included powerful messages on prayer, trials, hearing the voice of God, reconciliation in relationships, making an impact on the people in this world, trusting God for financial provision, and much more!

Hannah led a group of COMMIT girls, and Sarah and Bethany led a team of Pre-Embassy girls together. The rest of the family attended main and student sessions.

The following pictures were taken by the Nashville Family Conference Photography Team (with the exception of the second one, taken by Bethany).


Sarah and Bethany’s Pre-Embassy team. Sarah also wrote a post on her blog, and posted some pictures.



The Alert Cadet program.


James Staddon with some of his students – the photography workshop attendees.

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Children’s Institute and Alert Cadets.

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David was the only Stelzl to participate in the choir this year. The Friday evening presentation is always a very special time, when each of the different programs shares what they’ve learned over the week.

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We listened to many wonderful speakers throughout the week, including Tom Harmon, David Barton, David Gibbs, The Duggars, The Bates, and Otto Koning – to name a few.

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The Pre-Embassy group during a large session. Here the girls are watching a fun skit, and learning/reviewing Bible verses and songs to share on Friday evening during the presentation.



Some of the Alert men did their opening night presentation at the beginning of the week.


This is opening night of the conference. Mr. Gibbs shared a powerful message on prayer, and then asked us to move toward the front for a time of prayer.


Hannah with one of her COMMIT girls.

IMG_4358One of the COMMIT teams.

052714-JAS_1389-2The Nashville ATI Homeschool Conference, 2014.

We can’t wait until next year! :-)

Sarah posted more pictures from the week here.

South Mountain State Park


posted by Stelzl Family in Family Fun, Trips & Travels

Saturday was a bright, clear, and beautiful morning, with low-60 degree weather and sunshine. It was breezy and lovely, and perfect for a family adventure to somewhere out-of-the-ordinary!

We had decided the evening before that we would all drive to Hickory NC (about 2 hours), and visit South Mountain State Park for the day!

So we packed a picnic lunch and set off to enjoy the glorious day!


The park is beautiful this time of year! We ate our lunch along the river on great big rocks… and watched a fisher-man who came along and spent the next half hour diligently attempting to lure something in. :-)

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After lunch, we set off on a 2.2 mile loop to see High Shoals Falls. About 4 years ago our family hiked this trail and saw 2 rattlesnakes!

Back at home, David spent the day promoting his baked goods at a shop in town (the Spring Festival brought lots of people into town … and many of them enjoyed his samples and bought his desserts!).



The trail started out quite smooth and easy. But as we progressed, we climbed and descended some 700+ stairs steps which were quite the workout. :-)

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The waterfall was beautiful. Here we are at the bottom, but another 200+ stair-steps took us up to the top, and a little wooden bridge that goes across the gentle waters (just before they become a waterfall). :-)


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After our hike, a few threw the football in a nearby grassy area, and others waded in the river.

It was a special day… a beautiful, lovely day filled with little moments spent together as family. Quite often in life, it is those little things that mean the most. :-)

You can view more pictures and videos here.

A Trip to the Aquarium


posted by Stelzl Family in Family Fun, Student Expeditions

Last week our Uncle came into town to visit us, and see Grandma.


It was supposed to pour rain for the majority of the day (the first storm in a LONG time), and we had planned to go visit the new aquarium in Concord NC!! The trip was a gift from someone special… :-)


We enjoyed watching the jellyfish, eels, an octopus, lobsters, and a baby shark… along with many other kinds of brightly colored fish. One highlight was feeling the shells of the hermit crabs and starfish.

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There was an underwater tunnel with mirrors at both ends.

One of the workers took us on a “behind the scenes” tour to learn about the water that is used, the medical and feeding stations, and even the place where they keep the new sea animals when they first come in (in order to quarantine them for 30 days and make sure they are healthy and ready to be put into the tanks).

IMG_8124Back at home we had a delicious dinner  in celebration of Hannah’s birthday (since Hannah and David share the same birthday, we did David’s earlier). It was special to have our Uncle in town for a few days, on his way to attend our cousin’s graduation. :-)

Stop and Look Around…


posted by Stelzl Family in Farm & Garden

How often in life we miss out on the precious small things… the tiny, intricate pieces of life that we might notice, if only we would take the time to stoop down and look at life from a different perspective…

Tiny yellow flowers, mixed in with wild strawberries growing beneath the deck…

IMG_8054Flowers and small berries on our blackberry bushes…

IMG_8060180 heads of lettuce that were started from seed, cared for, and then planted… and finally this week we brought in our first harvest!


IMG_8073A small chive plant, full of beautiful purple flowers…

IMG_7925A patch of clover left in the yard for the bees to enjoy…

IMG_7931“He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.” – Psalm 104:13

NC Family Encouragement Weekend


posted by Stelzl Family in Exhortation & Encouragement, Friends & Fellowship, Trips & Travels

Every year since 2008, our family has excitedly looked forward to the upcoming Family Encouragement Weekend (FEW) conferences, hosted by the Wilkes, Neely and Staddon families! What a blessing these conferences have been to us, challenging and convicting us in our walks with the Lord, refreshing and blessing us through fellowship and God’s Word… :-)

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There are usually  2-3 conferences held each year in different locations, but due to the arrival of 2 new babies to Wilkes team 2 and Wilkes team 3, and busy schedules for the host families (the Wilkes team runs a family farm in VA and the Neelys have a music ministry), there was not going to be a conference this year. But the Lord worked it out that one could be scheduled rather last minute, close by in NC (just about 5 hours from us).

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Throughout the weekend we enjoyed visiting with dear friends that we don’t get to see often, as well as meeting and making many new friends!

Darlene Neely shared a special session with the ladies on resting in the Lord, trusting Him for His perfect timing and ways, and trusting – even when times are difficult.

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We were blessed by special music – whether the orchestra between sessions, the beautiful harp music played by Victoria N and Hannah W, or the songs put together by the host families.

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On Saturday morning there was an hour set aside for the married couples to meet in a quiet place and pray as husbands and wives. The children were treated to a fun session filled with Scripture memory, singing, prayer, and an exciting skit – based on using the truths of God’s Word to combat the lies of the enemy.

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We enjoyed the many precious little ones at the conference – whether holding babies, assisting with younger ones during meals, or encouraging children of all ages during the group activity times outside – discipleship soccer, relay races, and other fun games!

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There were many powerful messages shared, encouraging us to draw nearer to God and to each other; to make time for personal devotions; to trust in the Lord and in His Word; to be a godly example to others in our actions…

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And did we mention the fellowship? The meals, breaks between sessions, and activity times made for a wonderful weekend of encouragement in the Lord – of sharing stories and testimonies, laughing, and making memories!

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We were truly encouraged! Refreshed, inspired, motivated, convicted, challenged, and simply blessed! :-)

We are already looking forward to next year’s conferences!