Posts Tagged ‘The Wilkes Team’

Honey Brook Farm


Following our long, exciting, and very productive week at the Kilpatricks, the Lord provided an opportunity for David and I be dropped off at Honey Brook Farm in VA! We were both very excited about spending a week on the farm, and learning practical and useful skills. And what better way to learn, than to live life right along-side some very dear like-minded friends?

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The Wilkes sell pasture-raised chicken, non-GMO eggs, non-chemical produce, raw honey, and fresh baked goods! Matthew and Amanda (Wilkes Team 3!) were given some cows as a wedding present, earlier this year, and hope to grow the cattle business in coming years.

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The first evening after our arrival, we drove over an hour to visit Wilkes Teams 2 (Josh, Lisa & Josiah) and 3 (Matthew & Amanda) at a campground where they were spending the weekend! Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes had gone to visit another family that evening, so the rest of us set off  in the big green van – loaded with camp chairs and ingredients for dinner and smore’s!

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Daniel and David built us two incredible fires, in a quiet little place down the road from the camp-sites. We had fun finding fire-wood in the surrounding woods… the air was crisp and cool, and the familiar smell of camp-fire smoke brought back wonderful memories of all the out-door excursions our family has gone on ;-).

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The evening was restful and relaxing. We Fixed hobos (a first for David and I!) for dinner, and I played a game of horseshoes with Josh and Sarah (another first for me!). We laughed and told stories, and sang hymns around the fire (Lisa and Amanda played their guitars), while trying to stay warm beneath fuzzy blankets ;-). We roasted smore’s in the black, and watched the stars above us twinkling in the night sky. And then because it was so late, we packed everything up and set off for home…I am grateful for Jennifer, who stayed awake to drive over an hour, while everyone else was sleeping in the back :-).

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Another day Sarah and I had way too much fun making soap and lotion. We re-learned the difference between liquid and dry weight measurements just in time ;-) and laughed because our lovely perfect lotion separated into two layers – oils and water (next time, we will FIND a thermometer to get all the temperatures just right!). It’s the thought that counts, right?


And this is the happy group (along with Mrs. Wilkes who took the picture!) that drove to Fredericksburg one day to visit the Hat Barn! The Lord graciously provided matching western hats for David and I, and we so enjoyed wearing them around the farm that week :-)!

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The guys played Axis and Allies late into several evenings ;-)… meanwhile us girls played Dutch Blitz, and some other new card games I had never learned. So much fun!

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Thursday was baking day – for Thursday and Saturday markets. We baked miniature quick-breads all morning, and delicious granola bars! David and I were able to make some of our special Something Gourmet recipes as well, and were very pleased with the success of sales!

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As you may or may not be able to tell, we made a VERY big mess…and that is one of the reasons I felt right at home … because I always make a mess when I bake ;-)!

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One of my highlights of the week was working in the vegetable gardens! Whether helping Hannah and Mrs. Wilkes harvest green beans, summer squash, peppers, and tomatoes, or helping Daniel bunch kale and wash the vegetables for market…Sarah and I had great fun harvesting pumpkins, weeding the lettuce bed, and carrying many many melons to the house – how many melons can one person carry…? :-) Meanwhile, we received news from home that OUR melons were growing bigger, and that 2 happy watermelons were almost ready to harvest (we have never had success with melons)!!!

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Many delicious treats were packaged and labeled for market, and there was always one more dish to wash ;-)

Friday was chicken butchering day, along with many other preparations for market! I helped Mrs. Wilkes prepare a big breakfast while the guys set things up outside. We spent most of the morning butchering about 50 chickens. David and I were excited to participate, as we’ve only done deer before :-). It was a whole new learning experience for us both…one that I really enjoyed!

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Later the chickens were packaged. Some were left whole, and others were divided into specific parts.

In the afternoon, some of us picked vegetables for market, or baked. It was one of those days where lunch was ready at 3:00PM, dinner around 7:00, and we finished cleaning up the kitchen sometime after 11:00 (although Hannah was still baking, and I never did finish the dishes) ;-).

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Saturday morning two teams left rather early for two different markets. I went with Mrs. Wilkes, Kenan, and Mark. David joined Josh, Jenny, and Adam at the other market. Poor Sarah was feeling down during the last couple of days, and was home resting. Dear Hannah volunteered to stay back and do some cleaning in preparation for a family trip the Wilkes were taking that evening.

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What a joy and blessing to participate in the farm markets! I loved watching the Wilkes Team work together on their farm – they love the Lord, and they are passionate about meeting people’s needs. Hearing Josh talk about the benefits of coconut oil, or listening to Kenan explain the importance of properly raising chickens…I was very encouraged!

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Something else I so appreciate about the Wilkes Team is the way they shine for Christ, whether working together to weed the garden, or selling produce at a market. I heard a quote recently that I think is very fitting: “Preach the gospel always; when necessary use words.” And how true! The way they greet their customers, or interact with each other from day to day, is such a testimony and refreshing example!

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Saturday evening Wilkes Teams 1 (with the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes) and 2 (Josh, Lisa, and little Josiah), left for a family vacation. Our parents arrived and went out to dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Wilkes. David and I enjoyed a quiet evening at the farm house, playing the piano and writing many little notes of encouragement/gratitude to place around the house… but not before taking a few last memorable pictures together!

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There are no words to accurately describe all the sweet and precious memories that were made with Wilkes Teams 1, 2, and 3. What a BLESSING and JOY to be a part of this dear family’s life for a week. I so enjoyed all the new experiences, and the many lessons learned.

God taught me many things from our time there. I know that both David and I came away challenged, and strengthened in many ways – both spiritually and physically :-).


Thank you so much dear Wilkes Team for graciously opening up your home to us for an unforgettable week! We are excited about all that the Lord has taught us through our time away, and are already beginning to apply these lessons at home! The Lord richly bless you all for your service and love, to Him and others – we love you so much!

You can see more pictures from our trip here.

The Goodness of God


“…the goodness of God endureth continually.” Psalm 52:1b

I thought about it two weeks ago as we traveled up to NY over a busy labor day weekend… and when the Kilpatrick family graciously opened up their home to our family for an entire week! It came to mind one evening when we received a phone call from Daddy and Jonathan who were deep in the heart of the Adirondacks, letting us know that all was well with them…

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The goodness of God endureth continually.

I thought about it while harvesting an abundance of vegetables – vegetables that not everyone is blessed to receive in their gardens ;-), because seeds don’t just sprout and grow a happy harvest because they want to…

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The goodness of God endureth continually.

I thought about it during many delicious meals enjoyed around the table with family and friends…and again as we traveled up to NH and back. It came to mind when I was holding in my arms, a precious little baby boy that temporarily stopped breathing a few weeks ago, while on a trip with his family…

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The goodness of God endureth continually.

I thought about it many times last week, as I learned how to butcher chickens ;-) … and while I stirred hot lye in a pot full of soap I was making…as I picked a bushel of green beans…and when we baked dozens and dozens of desserts to take to market…

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The goodness of God endureth continually.

Yes, there were those times when I felt weary and exhausted… times when I felt so tired I wanted to cry…but there were dishes to be done ;-), carrots to be weeded, lunch to be made, things to be organized… and still, it was true, and it came to my mind.

The goodness of God endureth continually.

Because it is true. No matter how wonderful, or how difficult life may seem at times, Who God is never changes. He is and always will be the God of mercy, grace, love, holiness, justice, forgiveness, truth…

It’s how we respond to what we are going through… Will we allow Him to perfect us in the midst of whatever trial we may be facing? Will we choose to believe that He can work all things out for good – though we may not see it at the time? Will we choose to give thanks – when it is the last thing we want to do? And when life seems like a beautiful dream – even then will we remember to praise Him and thank Him for His goodness – knowing that we do not deserve it?

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The goodness of God endureth continually.

I’m hoping to post more pictures soon from two weeks away on the farm (NY, NH, and VA)! But for now, here’s a few :-).

“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23

A Visit with the Wilkes Ladies~


At the close of 2012, we were blessed by a very special and memorable visit to Honey Brook Farm in Culpeper, VA. During our time around the table one evening, we talked about putting a date on the calendar for a mother/daughter visit. It’s difficult for the Wilkes family to leave their growing farm, with so many animals to care for, gardens to tend, and places to be (Farm market, etc.). In February we began to work out the details, and it was decided that the Wilkes ladies would come down in mid March, just after our return home from the bridal shower.

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We planned lots of exciting things to do during their visit here. One day we drove to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, to see the orchid spectacular display. There were many flowers in bloom, and it was a lovely time of talking, taking pictures, and walking through the gardens.

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Other highlights from our visit include ~

Yummy meals around the table – Grilled chicken salads, Crock-Pot Beef Stew, and of course dessert – Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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Dutch Blitz till midnight

Shopping at Mary Jo’s HUGE fabric store in Gastonia, and purchasing our favorite fabric (as well as some matching fabrics) ;-)

Shopping at CATO and Target, finding great deals, and buying matching T-shirts from the girl’s department (The Wilkes ladies re-introduced us to the idea of shopping “little sizes”, because sometimes that’s where the cutest things are found ;-) ).

Visiting Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, running through the fountains, laughing, and doing a fun photo shoot (Sarah and Sarah – Thanks to Hannah, our amazing photographer!) :-)

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Running to the store (Hannah, Sarah, and Sarah) for groceries and subs (a picnic in the car for our big day out!), all wearing the same style skirts from Dressbarn!

A fun frozen yogurt treat at Yoforia – and some of the best chocolate yogurt, sweetened with stevia!

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Heart-to-heart talks, testimonies, catching-up conversations, fun stories, much laughter, and many many cups of Hazelnut Coffee  … ;-)

Thank you Mrs. Wilkes, Jennifer, and Sarah, for coming to visiting us. You brightened our week with your laughter, testimonies of God’s goodness, and the sweet gift of your friendship. We are sorry Hannah was not able to come, but we praise God for her servant’s heart, and know that the Wilkes men were very blessed by her labor of love back at the farm.

We love you Wilkes Team! Praying that our families will enjoy many more times of fellowship together in the days ahead :-)!

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)!

He Hath Made Everything Beautiful in His Time


We recently had the wonderful opportunity to attend a very joyous occasion in Rocky Ridge MD. Our dear friends Joshua Wilkes and Lisa Butler announced last year that they would be getting married, and the wedding took place this weekend! Ecclesiastes 3:11 became their theme, as they comitted to wait upon the Lord, setting aside their desires and choosing rather to walk in the path God set before them. We were so blessed to attend as a family, and were greatly encouraged by the beautiful way that their wedding displayed the union between Christ and the church. Although the rain caused a temporary setback for their beautiful outdoor ceremony, God was gracious! Our family cried out twice on the way to the wedding, and a little while later we saw God part the clouds. The day was beautiful, the sky was blue, and the air was crisp and cool. Yet again, Josh and Lisa saw God’s beautiful work in His own perfect timing. As a family, we were thrilled to be able to fellowship with wonderful like-minded believers, and to re-unite with dear friends – brothers and sisters in Christ who exhorted us, blessed us, and encouraged us in every way imaginable!

We are so grateful to our friends the Normoyles, who graciously opened their home to us throughout the weekend, and hospitably served us in many ways. We had met them briefly at previous F.E.W. Conferences, as well as the Indianapolis ATI Conference, but this was an exciting time of really getting to know them better! We enjoyed every moment spent with them – whether gathering around the table for meals, talking late at night, playing games, or learning about goats and chickens as the they allowed us to participate in the exciting task of farm chores! As we observed various family members at work doing their assigned jobs, we had the opportunity to observe and participate in gathering eggs, milking goats, feeding chickens, and walking the goats around the yard. They also took us to Sugarloaf Mountain which is directly up behind their house. We drove the short distance up the mountain to a look-out where we could see the entire countryside… fields, farms, and beautiful open country! We stood on top of a Civil War rock fort, overlooking the other side of the mountain, just a little while later. During family devotions one morning, we divided into small groups of 2 and chose a verse (or several) from Romans 8 to memorize and illustrate with pictures. The Normoyle family is working together to memorize Romans 8 as a family, and has found pictographs to be extremelly helpful! We were thrilled to help them complete the first 16 verses, as each person and their partner thought up ideas of how to effectively portray God’s Word through visual pictures. On the last evening we fellowshipped with the Normoyles and some of their friends around a bonfire! We roasted smore’s and sang with the guitar well into the evening. It was a delightful time, and made for a very memorable family trip with dear friends.  

   The Normoyle's Home  

   Tali Joy caring for the chickens


   The beautiful overlook from Sugarloaf Mountain

It just isn't the same as being there!  


The Civil War Fort  

Beautiful countryside...   More beautiful countryside =)

Our time in MD and VA was short but incredibly sweet and worthwhile. We are so grateful to God for bringing together two (Josh and Lisa) into a covenant of life-long unity, making them one. What a blessing it is to see God’s children, walking in His perfect will, choosing to wait upon Him for His best, rather than have their own way. Josh and Lisa’s lives portray a beautiful story of Christ and the work that He has brought about in His ideal timing. What a tremendous encouragement it was to witness this working in such a glorious way this weekend! (Sorry there are no wedding pictures! The Wilkes Team posted some beautiful pictures on their family blog though.)

Truly, “He hath made everything beautiful in His time…” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a)