October 1, 2014

Sixteen Months ~ A Giveaway!

Very often, we mark the ages of our babies in months.
I remember answering the question of the ages of mine in that way.
And, now...I mark the home-going of our Austin in months.
Some day, it may switch to years.  But, at the moment,
I cannot bring myself to think of it in those terms.  

It can be crushing.

Our Austin has been in the presence of his Saviour
for sixteen months now.  The first of each month
marks another mile-stone for us and for our son.

We are closer to eternity.  He is already in it.

Some days, we feel numb with all that has happened.
Other days, we are washed over with great sorrow.
But, we continually redirect our gaze on those eternal things.
It's the only way to continue to live.


We, as you might well imagine, have been reading up
on the subject of Heaven since our Austin was called Home.
There are so many accounts of people who have supposedly visited Heaven.
They frequently return with stories to tell.  They disclose how they felt and 
what they saw and what they did while they were there.

But, were they really there?

Not much in these accounts rings true with the Scriptures.
All we need to know is revealed to us within its pages.
Some information on Heaven is withheld.  And, rightly so.  
Much of it is too wonderful to put into words.

Paul the Apostle was even forbidden to 
reveal what he had been shown.



One book that has encouraged our hearts is "The Glory of Heaven" by John MacArthur.
As per his usual style, John MacArthur gleans truth from Scripture,
and teaches from that reference point.  It is refreshing and reaffirming. 
He refutes many of the errors that are swirling around on the subject of Heaven.
He brings the reader back to the bedrock ~ The Word of God.
The Bible is the ultimate authority on all these things.

It's faith-building and encouraging.

Would you like your own copy of this book?
No matter what stage of life you are in, I am sure you will be blessed.
There is never a bad time to fill our minds and hearts with truth.
It's always a good and wise thing to do.

One copy have been set aside for one of you.
All you have to do to be entered into the draw is to leave a comment.
Lord-willing, I will draw a name from the hat
on Monday, October 6th at Noon, Pacific Standard Time.

Many Blessings, Camille

September 29, 2014

The Quotidian (29. 9. 14)

Quotidian: daily, usual, or customary;
everyday; ordinary; commonplace.


Not very *ordinary*, but, it did happen.
In the front yard no less.  This photo was taken in secret.
(Oh, and in case you were wondering ~ it's a wig.)


Doing school is always more fun when your hair is pink.  Right?


Casualties of outdoor play ~ they got wet.


Home safe and sound ~ Calvin's first passenger since he got his *N*.


They went to drop-in hockey together.


Snail mail pen-pal letter writing.


The bug whisperer.

Happy Monday Y'all!
With Love, Camille

September 25, 2014

Too Real

We have some far-flung relatives who are dear to our hearts.
One of those is a sweet auntie who lives in Wales.
In a recent phone conversation, she said she wanted
me to send her a family photo of us without Austin in it.
Not because she wants to forget Austin.

But, because she cannot imagine us without him.


You see, the last time she was here, he was with us.  Now he's not.
It doesn't seem to be real to her that he's gone on ahead.
I don't want to send that photo.  I don't want to take that photo.
Because it makes it too real for me.  It verifies what I know.  

It hurts.  Every. Single. Time.


Though we are, and always will be, a family of six ~
Austin will never be in a family photo with us again.
It is not how I wish it was.  But, it is how it is.

That doesn't change the fact that I don't want to 
take new photos without him.


We have, however, taken photos of just the five of us.
And, we will, Lord-willing, take many more over the years.
And, we will always miss our Austin.  Always.

It won't feel right until we are all together again.
In Heaven.  With the Lord.  For all eternity.
Only then.  Not until then.


I am incredibly thankful that we do have the certain hope of Heaven.
It makes everything here more bearable.  More do-able.
The Lord goes before us and leads us so gently along.  Step by step.
We will continue to follow Him until the day He calls us Home.

By His grace and in His strength. 
For His glory.  Alone.

Many Blessings, Camille

**Photos in this post are from a family vacation in 2005.

September 24, 2014

Caution to the Wind?

So, here's the thing.  There are so many ideas and thoughts and words
swirling around in this big world.  Online.  In books.  Via audio and video.
Is everything we read or hear to be taken to heart?  To be embraced?
Are we to blindly accept all those ideas with no filter in place?
Do we just throw caution to the wind?

Very often, I think we do.

But, what is our standard?  Do we embrace it as long as it feels good, 
or sounds good, or makes us think more deeply, or feel more happy?
Do we accept it based on our subjective perspective?
Is how we feel the barometer for what's true?
What is the measuring stick for all of this information?
Where do we find the bedrock?  What ought to be our foundation?

If we are the Lord's.  The answer is His Word.


If we do not profess Him as Lord, the standard still is the Bible.
God is the only One Who knows everything about everything.
We know so very little.  What we do know, we know because of Him.
He is the One we all depend on.  

Regardless of whether we follow Him or not, these are the facts.
The very next breath we take comes from Him. 
He sustains our life by the word of His power. 

It is God alone Who holds the keys to absolute and complete truth.
So, in order to discern and discover the error in something,
we need to measure it against knowledge outside of ourselves.
We must go to the most complete source ~ the Lord.

It takes mining to glean from God's Word.  It takes time.
We need Him to make sense of it all.
It is impossible to understand if we do not have Him to lead us.
We will only have Him to lead us if we belong to Him.

See how this comes full circle?

Our pastor preached on the following verses this past Sunday.
It was impressed upon us that we ought to beware the seemingly
small and insignificant *errors* that can so easily creep in unawares.
We must always be on guard and test everything against the Scriptures.

"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven 
of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees...
...Then understood they how that he bade them not beware
of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine 
of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."  Matthew 16:6 & 12

May the Lord help us all to listen, and discern, and be wise
with His wisdom, in this day when so many voices call out to us.
May He grant us the grace to be still and know that He is God.
May we be found listening to His voice above all others.

To listen and obey.  No matter what the cost.
To follow the Saviour wherever He leads.  To belong to Him.
This is absolutely the only way to truly be free.

"...If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
And ye shall know the truth; and the truth shall make you free."
~ John 8:31-32 ~

Many Blessings, Camille

September 22, 2014

The Quotidian (22. 9. 14)

Quotidian: daily, usual, or customary;
everyday; ordinary; commonplace.


Actually, not daily ~ normally, I drink coffee.


Doing what she often does.


School has begun in earnest.


My two businessmen.


The library/schoolroom ~ currently occupied by Fraser and Emma.


Going for a ride.


Getting them both in the panning shots was tricky.


Getting them both in focus was even trickier!



This was the best of the lot ~ all that can be seen
of Calvin is the edge of his front wheel.  
I guess panning is best done with one subject.  :)


A little something pretty at the front door.
Have I ever mentioned that I *love* Hydrangea flowers?
Well...I do.  A lot.  What's your favourite?

Happy Monday Y'all!
With Love, Camille

September 18, 2014

Venturing Beyond

As the saying goes ~ "There are many ways to skin a cat".
It's true for almost anything in life ~ post-secondary education included.
We've had questions posed to us about how we will navigate
the university years.  And now, they are upon us.

We are venturing beyond the shores of high school with Calvin.

Austin graduated to heaven in the same year he was to graduate from high school.
We had no idea that he would not need a post-secondary education.
We had no idea that his life here was ticking down in days rather than years.
But, the Lord knew.  It was not a surprise to Him.  Not in the least.
And, His ways are always best.  Though we may not always understand.

We rest and we trust.  We must. 
The Lord is faithful to bestow great and abundant grace.

Since we were expecting Austin to go on for further education,
plans had been made.  A course of action had been set.
He was hoping to become an architect.  In order to facilitate his aspirations,
an undergraduate degree was required first off.

We knew where he wanted to end up,
so, we worked it backwards and planned out a course of action.

A number of universities were researched by my Sweetie,
and, one emerged as the best option for our boy.
So, contact was made two years in advance, 
and communication between Howie and Austin 
and the admissions department began.


~ Calvin with his first year books ~

The university was approached with an inquiry into their
requirements for admission into the desired program of study.
Once we knew what those requirements were,
we were able to begin meeting them.

Moral of the story?  It's not as elusive as it may seem.
Determine where you want to end up, and find out how to get there.
It certainly simplifies things when this pro-active approach is taken.
It eliminates waste and takes the mystery out of things.

Due to the ground work already laid for Austin,
the process was relatively stream-lined and straightforward for Calvin.
The school already was aware of our family and our course of action
had been fully disclosed.  They were very accommodating and helpful.

Communication, it seems, is key.

So, navigating the high school years and beyond doesn't
have to be a daunting task.  Just simply set your goals
and discover the ways in which you may achieve them.
It's as simple as that.  Really, it is.  Mostly.  :)

I'm right here cheering you on!
Many Blessings, Camille

September 16, 2014

Those Humble Beans

Those humble beans ~ they really are a great thing.

I've been working on my food budget, and meal planning with a vengeance.
That's where beans come in in a big way.  I like to include meatless meals
and beans fit the bill perfectly.  They fill up the hungry tummies nicely. 
They are inexpensive, and, if properly prepared, healthy for you.

A win-win in my books.


I've discovered that the bulk foods manager
at my local grocery store will order in whatever I ask for
in the 25 lb bag size and sell it to me for less than
half what I would have paid for it in the bulk section.
Another win-win ~ Yippee...yahoo!  :)

Now, how to prepare all those lovely beans?

25 lbs of dried beans translates into approximately 150 cups
of cooked beans.  Isn't that a crazy thought?  That works out to
approximately 25 cents per cup of cooked organic black beans.

From the dried form, you need to sort through and pick out any rocks 
and shrivelled beans and discard. Then, rinse the beans by putting them into
a large stock pot.  Fill it with water and swish and pour the water off. 
 Do this a few times until the water is no longer dirty.


Next, put fresh water in your pot to cover the beans by several inches. 
 Pour about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar into the pot and set it on high heat. 
 Bring the water to a bare simmer and shut the heat off. 
 Cover the pot and let sit for about 12 hours.

Drain, rinse and repeat the above step.

After 12 more hours of soaking time (for a total of 24 hours),
drain and rinse the beans. Cover with fresh water.  Do not use vinegar. 
 Bring to a boil and skim off foam.  Reduce heat and simmer, 
partially covered, for about 1.5 to 2 hours. 
 Test your beans for doneness (taste test) 
every so often to be sure they are cooked. 
 Salt added to the cooking water will not allow your beans to soften. 

Do not add salt until thoroughly cooked.


Drain, rinse, and freeze your beans in recipe-sized portions.
I find many of my recipes call for six cups of cooked beans.
So, most of my bags of beans in the freezer are for that amount.
If you need less, freeze less.  It's always helpful to label the bags
so you know what's in them ~ the item and amount of it.

What about you?  Have you ventured into the world of dried beans and lentils?  
It just requires a little advance preparation to put them to use.
They really aren't as scary as they might seem.

Happy Homemaking!
With Love, Camille

September 15, 2014

Happy Lunching!

It's Monday ~ but, y'all know that already.  Okay ~ let's talk lunch.
Is it just me, or does lunch time sneak up on you, too?
Without fail, it seems to catch me off guard more often than not.

I have been making dinner plans for a month at a time.
Breakfast is easy ~ frequently, it will be a variation on oatmeal, or eggs with toast.
But, lunch ~ it can be a little trickier.  I like having a few ideas up my sleeve.
We home educate, so there are hungry people to feed all day long.
There are no bag lunches to prepare, but, lunch is required nonetheless.

Enter leftovers ~ love 'em.  And, simple meals ~ love 'em, too.
This is one of those simple ideas.  Oh yum!


It's flexible and easy as anything.
A big hit all around.  Woohoo!

What are your favourites for lunch?
Please share ~ fresh ideas are always a good thing.
Yes, a very good thing.  Especially on a Monday.  :)

Happy Lunching!
With Love, Camille

September 11, 2014

Hearts on Sleeves

We all like to think we aren't the only ones.
That we are not in this race alone or that someone understands.
In the attempt at being real we sometimes wear hearts on sleeves.
It's easy to do in this online world.  Too easy at times.

Keeping it real is a good thing.  
Revealing everything isn't

It's a fine line we walk with our words.  Pixelled or otherwise.
Keeping in mind that all that is on our minds or in our hearts
ought not to be fair game for the world of onlookers.
I have read some things that I could relate to ~ absolutely.
But, I would hesitate to write them, or even speak them out loud.

Maybe just in prayer.  Alone.  


In an effort to gain ratings and readers,
it can be all too easy to throw caution to the wind.
But, is it for the best?  Is it wise?  Is it godly?

"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin:
but he that refraineth his lips is wise."  Proverbs 10:19

"He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour:
but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a
faithful spirit concealeth the matter."  Proverbs 11:12-13

"Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that 
shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."  Proverbs 17:28

Wisdom is often accompanied by silence.

There are things that might be an encouragement to others,
but, they may hurt the ones nearest and dearest to my heart.
Do I "share" in order to be "real", or do I keep silent in order to be honourable?
Good food for thought.  Yes?

May the Lord give wisdom and insight to know
how much to say and when to say it.  How much I need Him!
May He give the wisdom to know when silence is best.
Ultimately, He is the One we aim to please.
At the end of it all, we only answer to Him.

Please know that these are some of the things I mull over in my brain
because I am one of many words.  I often need to stop and consider.
Posts like this are the result of the self-talk I'm prone to.
A good thing?  I really do think so.  :)

With Love, Camille

September 9, 2014

So. Much. Better.

We have a closet which hides many faults.
It is one of those additions to our home that I love.
However, it can become a catch-all for those things
that cannot be attended to immediately.

You know how it goes ~ if there's space, it will be filled.
That's how it goes around here.  Maybe it's not like that for you?

This closet is for curriculum storage and keepsakes.
Camp chairs and sleeping bags and backpacks ~ they are there, too.
Archives of this and that, and even the outdoor furniture cushions find 
a home behind its closed doors.  It can quickly get out of hand.

Enter the need for a big clear out once in awhile.
Where does all this stuff come from?


So...clear out I did!  You know how it goes.
You've got to make a mess before order is restored.
See the mess?  Oh!  The Mess!!


But, before long, I had four boxes at the door ready to go to charity.
(And, a young man eager to drive alone who took them all away ~ Yippee!)


Curriculum to sell was stacked on the stairs.


More curriculum was filed into a bin ~ ready for a new home.


Orderliness restored to the closet ~ Woohoo!


Ahhh ~ It feels So. Much. Better.

How about you?  Do you clear out closets in the same way?
Do you make a big mess in the process?  Tell me I'm not the only one.
Or, do you keep everything perfectly maintained all the time?
(If so, please don't tell me about it.  That would just not be kind.  Not at all.)

Happy Fall!  
With Love, Camille

September 8, 2014

What If...

What if we all did this?  I mean really did it.

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory,
but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on his own things, but every
man also on the things of others."  Philippians 2:3-4

What would life be like?  What would we be like?


It's impossible without the Lord.  It's only lasting with Him.
Pondering these things these days.  Letting it really sink in.
Just a little food for thought this Monday morning.

Hugs to you all!
Camille

September 5, 2014

More Special than Ever

The Hundred Acre Wood is within walking distance of our home.
It's not really Winnie the Pooh's wood ~ we just named it that.
I suppose it all came about due to our children being little and well
versed in all things Winnie-the-Pooh ~ back in the day.

Our children have walked and cycled with us on its paths over the years.
Very often, we would take a little extra time to meander 
through the neighbouring cemetery along its borders.
We would read the grave markers and quietly ponder
those who were spoken of ~ the lives they represented.

We liked that little cemetery.  The children liked it, too.
We had no idea that one of our own would end
up being buried there.  No idea at all.
But, he is.  And now, it is more special than ever.

These photos are from today's walk ~ just the two of us.






Have a beautiful weekend!
With Love, Camille

September 4, 2014

What's for Dinner? ~ September Edition

What's for Dinner? ~ September Edition.
 Just to clarify ~ I have a month of dinners figured out.
I don't necessarily assign specific meals to specific days.
What works best for me is to group the meals into weeks
and then to go from there.

I also include some ideas for breakfast and lunch on my plan (not shown) ~
however, I don't have the whole month planned out for those meals.
As a money-saving strategy, I am incorporating beans/meatless meals weekly.
One of my goals is to have fish on a weekly basis as well.

At the beginning of the month, I make a master list for the staple items 
I will need for the entire month and shop for them all at once ~ or, try to.
At the beginning of each new week, I make my grocery list for the 
fresh items I will need and shop for them accordingly.

Oh, and one more thing.  I fill in the gaps when I make my weekly list.  
That is, the main dish is decided for the month overview,
but, the sides get plugged in at the beginning of each week.
That's why the first week looks more fleshed out ~ because we are in it!
Any questions?  Feel free to ask.  Now...here's the list.

September 1-7:

~ Shrimp Creole
~ Homemade Fish and Chips with Coleslaw
~ Trader Joe's Chicken with Nugget potatoes, carrots and Greek Salad
~ Trisha's Crock Pot Chicken with rice and steamed broccoli


September 8-14:

~ Farmer's Breakfast
~ Baked Salmon
~ Shepherd's Pie
 September 15-21:

~ Leek and Potato Soup
~ Chicken Stir Fry
~ Salmon Loaf
~ Beef Stew


September 22-28:

~ Sweet and Sour Lentils

~ Meat Loaf and Scalloped Potatoes
~ Tuna Fish Cakes with Foil Veggies
~ Autumn Chowder
~ Chili with Cornbread
~ Tex Mex Chicken Soup
~ Leftovers (Finally!)



September 29-October 5:

~ Green Pea Soup
~ Auntie Fran's Quiche
~ Tandoori Chicken
~ Slow Cooker Spaghetti


Now, we need to implement this and see how it all pans out ~
I find that planning it out helps to keep me on track. 

The big question still remains ~ Will it actually save money? 
I know it will eliminate the last-minute dash to the store as well as the
temptation to order in pizza.  That's got to make a difference...right?  We'll see.

What about you?  What's on your menu this month?
How about this week?  Please share.  
It makes things more fun when you do.

Happy September Y'all!
With Love, Camille

September 1, 2014

Adjusting

We are adjusting.  Accepting the new normal.
We are not moving on.  We are not forgetting.  We are moving forward.
We carry the memories with us.  We are keeping the memories alive.
This is the most difficult road we have ever had to travel.

We are navigating the unknown.  Step by step.

I am slowly getting used to dishing out five plates of food and counting up
five in the van and at church.  Getting used to not being able to talk 
to our son, or hear his voice in the hall or on the stairs.
Getting used to his room sitting silent and his things remaining untouched.  

Getting used to his absence.

We miss him.  All that he brought to our family.  All that he is.
We smile and even laugh when we think of his antics 
and the many ways in which he brought us joy.

We also cry.  Often.


~ Roses from Austin's Rose Tree at his grave ~

The void he leaves in our lives will never be filled by another.
No one can take his place.  No one will ever be able to.
We will miss him until the day we die.  That will not change.
We will carry his absence with us for as long as we live.

It's actually a comfort to realise the truth of it.
We are each special and unique.  It's how God intends for it to be.

So, we navigate this path of grief with our Great God
guiding us each step of the way.  He is faithful and He is good.
We look to Him for comfort and for strength.
We fill our minds and hearts with the Truth found
within His Word and we feast upon it.  We are fortified in it.

It is absolutely the only way forward.
Absolutely the only way to continue to live.
Each day, we are one day closer to eternity.
Each day, we leave more of this life behind.

May we be faithful.

Faithful in all that our Saviour calls us to.
Faithful to live our lives fully for Him.
Faithful until the day He calls us Home.
By His grace and in His strength.  For His glory.

Nothing else matters.  Absolutely nothing.

Many Blessings,
Camille

August 29, 2014

The Quotidian (29. 8. 14)

Quotidian: daily, usual, or customary;
everyday; ordinary; commonplace.


A treat for Fraser's birthday.
Yes, that's Howie in the pilot's seat.  :)
(Photo courtesy of Calvin ~ he got to go for a flight as well.)


Baking beauty ~ making these.


Waiting to be cleaned ~ necessary after this.
(It's been cleaned since I took this photo...yippee!)


Just as I found it ~ made me smile.



Pollyanna ~ A rare treasure from my childhood shared with my girl.


I believe it was my grandmother's before it was my mother's 
before it was mine ~ 1913!



Monopoly Marathon ~ Two different games...
two different brothers...over the course of a few days.




Proceeds of a lawn care job ~ they were picked legitimately.


Reading to the sick girl.


Figuring it all out ~ sort of.


The New Driver ~ Look Out!  ;-)


It began innocently enough ~ now it's a treasure.

Have a wonderful weekend!
With Love, Camille