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!



posted by Stelzl Family in Friends & Fellowship

Back in February, Hannah’s friend Tiffany called to tell us that she and her husband were going to be coming down in April for a wedding. They wanted to surprise Hannah with an unexpected visit… and it was going to be the same day that we were coming back into town from a Family Encouragement Weekend Conference (held in Marble, NC)!!


Keeping everything a secret wasn’t too hard for the oldest few in the family… but preparing the guest room and do an extra thorough cleaning on the house before we left for the conference was a little more difficult. Did she suspect that we were up to something??? :-)

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Driving home from the conference on Sunday afternoon, a few of us were quite aware that in just a couple of hours we would be arriving home… and then opening our doors to special guests!

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Not only was the surprise a huge success, but when Hannah came downstairs and walked into the room where Ben and Tiffany were quietly waiting, it took her a few seconds to realize they were standing there :-) … and then everyone screamed, Hannah jumped, and we all started laughing! She was sooooo surprised!

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The following day, we took Ben and Tiffany to Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens – an early birthday celebration with Ben and Tiffany, for Hannah (turning 22 on May 1st!).

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What a sweet and special couple Ben and Tiffany are. They love the Lord and each other, and have been a special blessing to Hannah, and to our entire family :-).

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We so enjoyed the beautiful sunny day at the gardens, and then a restful afternoon with fellowship and time spent together… they left this morning heading back home to OK! Thank you so much Ben and Tiffany for filling our home with joy and excitement… for blessing and encouraging our family… for coming out of your way to make Hannah’s birthday special and to surprise her with your presence for a fun-filled day! We hope you will come visit us again soon!

There are more pictures (and videos!) here.

Jehovah Rapha – the Lord Our Healer


posted by Stelzl Family in Family News, Testimonies

“Today why don’t you love a little deeper, laugh a little louder, hold the ones you love a little tighter. Because tomorrow is never promised.” – Unknown


We don’t know what tomorrow holds… but we know Who holds tomorrow! And God is good, and sovereign over all things! His goodness endures continually. He is faithful and compassionate, gracious and merciful.

We are grateful for so many things this week, but especially for Jonathan, and for God’s goodness to him – and to our family. Monday was a difficult day… a reminder to us of our weakness and God’s incredible strength. We were challenged to drew us closer together to God and each other. We waited, hoped, and trusted. We prayed and cried… and the Lord was there with us, ministering to our hearts and filling our minds with peace. And He was and is Jehovah Rapha – the Lord our Healer! :-)

Click here to read a post and watch a video report on Sarah’s herbal blog.

“Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

(Isaiah 41:10)