Posts Tagged ‘The Staddon Family’

Family Travels: WV and VA ~


What are we going to do for Labor Day this year? This question turned into a family discussion, which resulted in plans to spend six days visiting friends in WV and VA!

The Staddons welcomed us into their home late Wednesday evening, the week before Labor Day. They had asked for some advice on growing their businesses (art, honey, photography, baking, etc.) so we were able to spend most of Thursday and Friday working on that.

It’s apple season here in WV, and the Staddons were harvesting them off their trees by the 5-gallon bucket-fulls! We were thrilled to be involved with the new and exciting process of apple-drying, something we’ve never really done before as a family. We ate a lot of apples both fresh and dried throughout the week. We are excited about harvesting our own apples in the years to come :-).

The Staddons served us fresh green beans, tomatoes, canteloupe, and blackberries from their garden, and then gave us seeds to grow our own back home! Their home-grown produce tastes amazing!

Something else we love about the Staddons is their discipleship mindset! The older ones were quick to involve the younger ones in outdoor projects, board games, and even meal preparation.

During our visit some of us enjoyed a visit to the Farmer’s Market to sell some fresh baked bread, honey and produce (Sarah, Bethany, Jonathan and Josiah went along). We also helped pick vegetables and spread mulch in the orchard.

One of our highlights was watching a film we received as a gift from a family that attended our Raising Entrepreneurs Conference in July. Sarah had seen the film Back to Eden, but we had never watched it as a family, and our visit with the Staddons proved the perfect time to do so with friends! We were very encouraged, challenged, and blessed. We are now taking steps to implement these principles of God’s Word, by changing the method in which we grow our garden and orchards! :-).


On Sunday, we visited the Staddon’s church and had the opportunity to play music (David-piano) and also sing a group hymn (A Passion for Thee). We hit the road shortly after lunch, and made our way to VA where our dear friends the Wilkes live!

On the way we stopped at the VA Farm Market (Sarah, Jonathan, Josiah, and Timothy pictured above) where we purchased fresh Honeycrisp apples (our VERY FAVORITE apple variety!!!) and some jarred goods to try. Seeing all the pumpkins, apple butter, and pumpkin butter made us think of fall – the smell, the colors, the crisp autumn air.

We didn’t get very many pictures at the Wilkes’ probably because we were just having way too much fun. We arrived Sunday evening and left Tuesday morning, so Monday was spent relaxing and catching up between fellowship and delicious meals!

The Wilkes had a cookout for Labor Day dinner. We enjoyed being out on the farm, feeling the beautiful air, and visiting with Josh and Lisa Wilkes and their new baby Josiah Bradford.

The Wilkes Family has worked so hard to build this farm little by little. They are a testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness. Truly, the Lord prospers those who fear and trust Him wholeheartedly. We are grateful when we look back to the time when this farm was just a field, and now to behold the gardens, the animals, and the beautiful barn/house ministry center that the Lord has provided.

One thing we love about the Wilkes family is their love for hospitality, and their servant hearts. They were headed to New Hampshire two days after we left, to help host a conference and then travel on to MN for some family time/vacation. They graciously opened up their home to us, despite this busy schedule, making everything comfortable and wonderful!

Lots of discipleship took place between older and younger ones.

These pictures below, are from a trip we took earlier this year, passing through VA on our way to PA. We never posted them, so enjoy them now :-).

Thank you Staddon and Wilkes Families for letting the light of the Lord shine through you so beautifully. We were richly blessed by the sweet fellowship, exhortation, and memorable activities done over the week. What a joy it was to see you all face to face again. May God bless you for your hospitality and service! We are hoping you both will come visit us soon – before 2013!!! 🙂 🙂 :-).



VA FEW Conference ~


We were not able to attend the NC or WV Family Encouragement Weekend (FEW) Conferences this year, but we did make it to the VA FEW! It was a tremendous blessing and encouragement, and we were able to meet many new families. The joy of the Lord was evident, and we came away refreshed by numerous testimonies and sweet fellowship with other believers. 🙂 🙂 🙂

To see other reports, visit the Wilkes, Staddon, and Neely Family blogs.

If you are interested in attending a Family Encouragement Weekend Conference, the fourth and final one for 2012 is yet to be held in New Hampshire (September 7-8th)!

Family Fun


As a family, we often jump into the car and go driving off to the NC mountains for a day trip. It’s a great way to enjoy some beautiful scenery and spend time as a family. 🙂 Saturday was one such day…we planned out our outfits to match, and set off with cameras, warm sweat-shirts, and a great big cooler of food for our picnics!



In the past, we have often planned a fall day-trip to the Blowing Rock area, which is just about 2 1/2 hours away. However, this time we made plans to drive up to the Brevard area for a picnic lunch, do some photo-shooting, and then drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway toward Asheville and Black Mountain. We ended up driving a large portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, (about 3 1/2 hours worth!) and then returning home at9:30 PM. It was an exciting day of memory-making and spending time together as a family! We even made it up to the top of Mt. Mitchell where had our family picture taken at the observation tower. It was beautiful, VERY windy, and COLD!!!




























We love taking family day trips together. It is such a sweet, lasting reward! And what a glorious day it was, to behold the beauty of the Lord’s creation! Our God is the Master Artist. He is beauty and perfection. The splendor of His mountains; the vibrant colors of a thousand fall leaves falling from the trees; wind sweeping across the sky and over the mountains. We stood in awe and marvelled at the work of the Lord! Praise God for His incredible love and faithfulness toward us. 🙂

“Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty. Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain: who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind…who laid the foundations of the earth that it should not be removed forever…He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills…They give drink to every beast of the field…by them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches. He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works… O Lord, how manifold are thy works! In wisdom hast thou made them all : the earth is full of thy riches….the glory of the Lord shall endure forever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works… I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord.” (Psalm 104).

Family Game Night – Settlers of Catan!


Stelzl-Staddon Catan Game

A few years ago, our dear friends the Staddons introduced a very fun game to us – Settlers of Catan! We first played it with their family, and LOVED it! Exciting…action packed…and of course a little friendly competition thrown it. 🙂 It makes for a great evening of laughter and fun with family and friends. Over time, we discovered other expansions/extensions/versions of the Catan game that can be played separately or together – Cities & Knights, Seafarers, Traders & Barbarians, and also a card version of the Settlers of Catan! We collected these over time for a discounted price at an Amish store in Lancaster county, PA. Recently, we got the newest Catan game Settlers of America, and have discovered that it is loads of fun! Each game is thrilling in and of itself, but when extensions and expansions are added, they make for an absolutely unforgettable evening! Trading…building…attacking and defending…strategizing as teams to obtain the most points as quickly as possible – when the options for getting there are unlimited! the Catan games are a Stelzl family favorite!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂


Team Green (Mommy and Josiah)  and Team Brown (Sarah, David, Bethany, and Timothy) were racing to earn the “longest road” card (a value of 2 points) which made for an unpredictable, adventurous time of strategic thinking and team planning! Team Orange (Daddy and Jonathan) had taken over the most profitable region of brick and wood, preventing some of the other teams from building much needed roads for expansion! Team Green built a settlement on the coast, thus obtaining a special trade deal which actually brought about their final victory of winning the game in the end! Congratulations Team Green!





Juice Popsicles and Chocolate Chip Cookies – a special family game night treat!


The scores were so close! The victory title went back and forth from one team to the next…suspense…strategy…Settlers of Catan!

Do you have a favorite family game? Why not add Settlers of Catan to your collection?


Sunshine, Snow and Smiles


So much has happened since last time I posted!

Our wonderful friends the Staddons came to visit over Christmas, bringing their enthusiastic smiles with them! God blessed us with snow on Christmas evening, and we all excitedly watched from the window as the long-awaited snow came down at last! During their visit, we held a gingerbread-house building contest with two teams and a judge!  The gingerbread houses were a Christmas gift from the Staddons. 🙂 We also played a game of football on Christmas day, did some photo-shooting with our families, played numerous games, and celebrated a Staddon and Stelzl birthday on Christmas Eve. On the last day, several of us from both families piled into the big van and drove to a store nearby called Black Lion. We had the privilege of meeting the store owner and his daughter, and of hearing about the business  – how it first began, how it is owned and operated, and what policies are used to create the best and most efficient business. The store is made up of hundreds of tiny rooms (separated by dividing walls) where multiple businesses sell their wares. The owner of the store runs the business and makes a percentage of every sale, while giving others the opportunity to make money without opening their own store. It is really neat! The Staddons were interested in discovering more about the business, and we have never had the opportunity to learn so much about the store. It was a wonderful opportunity and time of learning for all of us! 🙂

On December 30th, members from our church gathered at the little house where we worship (we are preparing to build on the land there in the future.) for a bonfire and time of singing, sharing, praying, etc. We roasted hot dogs and had smores and played games. It was a really fun evening!

New Year’s Eve we went to visit some church friends, along with about 115 others. They were going to have a huge Christmas tree bonfire, with all the trees they had collected throughout their neighborhood, but it ended up raining so the fire was canceled. We passed the evening playing games, talking and laughing, and fellow-shipping over food.

This week we got snow again! Last year we were all astonished at the 4 inches that fell…this year we think there may have been 6 or more inches. We have started this new tradition of driving down the road (if we can make it) to a gigantic hill just outside the neighborhood in an empty field. People from all the neighborhoods and houses around come and line their cars up on the road to sled there. We went on day two when everything had turned to ice. I discovered after the first time down that you cannot actually get back to the top without crawling up. 🙂 Of course crawling up a steep hill of solid hard packed ice…in a skirt…is… :-). We ended up walking down a ways to where the hill was much less steep, and the snow had not been packed down by sleds yet. That turned out to be much  better for all of us, and we spent about an hour there before heading home.

To wrap up this post, I want to share with you one of our newest projects that we are working on. As a family, we have discussed that one our goals for this year is to cut back on the cost of our food budget. With food price inflation, numbers are skyrocketing…and with a family of 9 that is not a good thing. 🙂 Daddy, Mommy and I had a meeting in which we discussed how to change our menu in order to incorporate some new rules into it. Things like, healthy, less expensive, easy to make on a school day (as each of us kids has a cooking day), etc. We decided to make a list of all the things we use on a regular basis at the store, and do some price comparison. On Monday, Mommy and I visited our local store that is closest – Harris Teeter. On Tuesday we went to Walmart. Thursday we visited Costco. Friday we went to Food Lion, Trader Joe’s, and Earthfare. It sounded rather simple at first, but looking back, it was anything but that. 🙂 We spent 4 hours in the first two stores, and about 2-3 hours each in the other 4 stores. BUT it has been worth every minute!!! We are discovering so many hidden ways that stores deceive you into paying more! I hope to share some of those in the near future. For now, we are busily comparing all our lists, and making notes for which things to buy at which stores! I am so excited, because this project has been extremely fun, insightful, educational, and useful! I know that we are really going to benefit from this study throughout 2011 and in the years to come. 🙂