November 19, 2014

Only Then

For nearly eighteen months now, a piece of my heart has been missing.
It will not be put right until the day I enter eternity.
Not until then.  Only then.  Then!
In the meantime ~ I live.  I breathe.  I go forward.

And, I carry with me this broken heart.

Every time I hear Fraser play the piano ~
especially when it is something he has composed.
Every time our photo is taken ~ just the five of us.
Every time I set the table for dinner.  And lunch.  And breakfast.
Every time I wash the sheets and iron the clothes ~
and Austin's aren't in the mix.  Or, they are ~ 
because the boys are using them.

Every. Single. Time.

~ Family Photo with Poppa and Grandma 2007 ~

It exposes the broken piece.  The part that is missing.
Our boy doesn't make new memories with us.
He doesn't join us here.  But, we will join him there.
And, that is what I cling to.  The certain truth of it.

We are headed to where he is.  For all eternity.
What a precious thing it is to rest our hearts there.
We fortify ourselves with Scripture each time we feel ourselves falling.
It is the only way forward.  The only way to continue to live.

Our Austin gave his testimony during a school chapel time
about six months before the Lord called him Home to Heaven.
One of the young ladies commented that he was living out the following verse ~
"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."  Philippians 1:21
What a powerful legacy.  May it be true of all of us.

May the Lord help us to live as though eternity is all that matters.
Because, after all, it is!  By His grace and for His glory.
From now until forever.

Many Blessings,
Camille

November 17, 2014

Six Week Bran Muffins

This is an oldie but a goodie ~ it's definitely not new.
But, it merits another go-around.
Breakfast all ready to go in the morning is always a great idea.
So, whip up a batch and enjoy!

This batter will keep for up to six weeks in the fridge ~
however, around here it's gone in about two days!
Original recipe found in Company's Coming Biscuits, Muffins and Loaves
several adjustments made by moi.


4 cups Bran Flakes cereal
2 cups All Bran cereal
2 cups boiling water
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar (already reduced)
1 cup brown sugar (already reduced)
4 large eggs
4 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup fancy molasses
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups craisins or raisins
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 each ground cloves, allspice, and nutmeg

**I substituted whole wheat flour for some of the white...
if you want a lighter muffin, you can use all white flour.


In large mixing bowl, place the two cereals and pour boiling water over.
Mix and let stand to partially dissolve.
In mixer, place softened butter and the two sugars.
Cream together until well mixed.
Add in eggs one at a time and mix after each addition.
Stir in the buttermilk.  Mix together with the cereals in large bowl.

All your wet ingredients should now be together in the large mixing bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together all the remaining ingredients with a whisk.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just incorporated.
Transfer to a storage container (glass or plastic...not metal) and seal.
May be kept in the fridge for up to six weeks.
However, I have never had mine as long as that.  
I would aim for no longer than one month,
but, that is just me.  :)

To bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line your muffin tins with parchment or paper muffin liners.
Fill lined muffin tins 3/4 full ~ I fill mine to just below tops of paper liners.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until toothpick inserted in muffins comes out clean.
Let cool 5 minutes in pan prior to removing to wire cooling racks.

**Important ~ If you should bake these right after mixing the batter up,
don't bake as long!  Begin checking them after about 17 minutes.
The chilled batter takes longer to bake than when it's at room temperature.
It should be obvious, but, apparently not.  I over-baked my first batch.

Happy Baking and...Happy Monday!  :)
Many Blessings, Camille

November 15, 2014

The Quotidian (15. 11. 14)

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


A precious note from a precious Auntie.


Another precious note with names jumbled up and Austin's 
included by accident ~ I was so pleased that it was.


A recent gift ~ how I often look.


Evidence ~ she sometimes leaves a trail.


What happens when a friendly game of tug-of-war
takes place with the hand towel while it's on the rack ~ 
obviously, it didn't end well.


One sunny afternoon. 


And Emma, too.


Table pretties.


One package all ready to go!


It bloomed!  (Always surprising.)

Happy Weekend Y'all!
With Love, Camille

November 14, 2014

Homemade Curry Powder

Curry powder is a combination of a variety of spices.
A few years ago, I came across a recipe for homemade,
and, oh, is it ever good!  I never purchase the premixed powder these days.
If I run out, I just whip up a batch.  It's as easy as one-two-three.

Every recipe that calls for curry powder is enhanced by this stuff.  
Give it a try and see if it isn't so!
Original recipe found in Lucy's Cookbook.


4 tsp ground cumin
4 tsp ground coriander
4 tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 rounded tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 rounded tsp ground cloves
1/2 rounded tsp ground cardamom

Stir together and store in a glass jar tightly closed.
Use in any recipe that calls for curry powder.  Enjoy!

Many Blessings, 
Camille

November 12, 2014

Even in the Midst

Last Christmas we were not home.  We left.
My sister graciously hosted us.  We even were blessed to stay
with friends we met through blogging.
We had a little time for exploring as well.

This year, we plan to stay home.
We plan to do many of the things we love to do.
And, we plan to make some changes to the usual.
Parts of this are going to be hard.  They always will be.

Until the day the Lord calls us Home.


~ Our precious four in 2008 ~

"...earthly gatherings, after all, have something about them
that is sad and sorrowful.  The happiest parties sometimes
contain uncongenial members: the merriest meetings are
only for a very short time.  

Moreover, as years roll on,
the hand of death makes painful gaps in the family circle:
even in the midst of Christmas merriment we cannot help
remembering those who have passed away.  

The longer we live, the more we feel to stand alone.
The old faces will rise before the eyes of our minds,
and the old voices will sound in our ears,
even in the midst of holiday mirth and laughter.

People do not talk much of such things; but there are
few that do not feel them.  
We feel we need not intrude our inmost thoughts on others,
and especially when all around us are bright and happy.

But is there no better gathering yet to come?
Is there no bright prospect in our horizon of an assembly
which shall far outshine our most joyous assemblies?
An assembly in which there shall be joy without sorrow and
mirth without tears?  

I thank God that I can give a plain answer to those questions...
The gathering I speak of shall take place at the end of
the world, in the day when Christ returns to earth the second time.

...And the very first thing that Christ will do will be 
to gather His people."

Taken from "Heaven ~ Valuable Counsel of our Eternal Home" 
by J.C. Ryle ~ snippets from pages 68-71


~ Christmas Eve 2009 ~

So, though our celebrating will be shaded with sorrow,
we know the future is bright.  One day, our sorrow will fade away.
All because of our Saviour and His promises to His people.
We know that our journey here in this life is relatively brief.
Eternity is forever.  What a joyous Hope we have!

Rejoicing in these truths in these days.
Rejoicing that our Great God is so good.
So very, very good! 

Many Blessings, Camille

November 10, 2014

The Quotidian (10. 11. 14)

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


Spelling lesson wig-less.


Gear at the front door ~ ready to go.


Abundant supply from the neighbour's tree ~ free for the taking.


He only required an apple crumble as payment.
So, I made two ~ one for our neighbour and one for us.  :)

Many Blessings,
Camille


November 6, 2014

In the Saddle

So...it's Thursday, and I'm back in the saddle.
Sort of.  It may take a little time to find my groove.
These breaks I take?  They are good and necessary.
Thank you for being patient with my regular disappearances.
I am thankful for y'all.  Truly thankful.


~ Our precious four in 2006 ~

This photo was taken by Howie just after he dropped me off 
for a few days of quiet in a lovely location.  See?  It's a trend.
Hopefully, in the next week or so, I will have a chance to get caught up
with each of you at your places.  I've missed you.

Hugs, Camille

October 16, 2014

Unplugged

I'm going to be unplugged for the next little while.
Each of you has been so very gracious to me whenever
I take these times of quiet.  You bless my heart.
Sometimes I have found it to be necessary.
Thank you for understanding.

I plan to be unplugged in every area of this online world.
Lord-willing, I will catch up with y'all in a few weeks.
Until then, I'd like to leave you with some Scripture.


"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed,
because His compassions fail not.

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul;
therefore will I hope in Him.

The LORD is good unto them that wait for Him,
to the soul that seeketh Him."
~ Lamentations 3:21-25 ~

How wonderful it is to soak our hearts and minds in truth.
It is absolutely the only way forward.  The best way to live.
May the Lord be your portion day after day.  He is faithful.

With Much Love, Camille

October 14, 2014

No Cook Chocolate Ice Cream

This stuff is a little dangerous.
Why?  Because you can go from idea to 
bowl in less than 30 minutes.  Scary, right?
Oh well.  Throw caution to the wind.  Exercise tomorrow.

My sister shared this recipe with me.
I tweaked it just a little.

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed golden brown sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tsp pure vanilla extract


Whisk together all the ingredients in a bowl until dissolved.
Churn in your ice cream maker for approximately 20 minutes.
Serve immediately to four or five very happy people.

Happy Tuesday Y'all!
With love, Camille 

October 9, 2014

In the Cemetery

We often go and tend to Austin's grave.
We water the flowers and clean off his stone marker.
It is lovely in the cemetery.  It's a peaceful place surrounded
by God's beautiful creation.  We are thankful.

A few weeks ago, I was at Austin's grave alone.
I had made a detour on my bike, and stopped by for a few minutes.

A lady walked past me with her dog and we exchanged a few words.
Her husband was buried not far from our son.  She is eighty.
As I worked at Austin's grave, I noticed an elderly
gentleman grooming some graves a little way off.
When I was leaving, I acknowledged his work.


He engaged me because I had engaged him.
He is ninety.  His wife has been gone six years.
His hobby is tending her grave and those around it.

We exchanged stories and quickly began talking about eternal things.
His face lit up when he realised I was a Christian.  We made a connection.
He wanted to see Austin's grave.  Then, he weed whacked it for me.
He said he would add our son's plot to his roster.  He's been back since.

Isn't it incredible to think of these *chance* encounters 
that are anything but *chance*?  Furthest thing from the truth.
We marvel at the many ways in which the path we are traversing
intersects with another's.  Sometimes only once.
We are keenly aware that our Lord orchestrates every meeting.
He so gently leads us along.  He is with us each step of the way.

The Lord is so very good to us, isn't He?
May we be found following Him wherever He leads.
Until He calls us Home.

Many Blessings, Camille

October 7, 2014

Sour Cream Streusel Muffins

I've served these up for brunch.  
Yessirree...I have!  They do not qualify as *healthy*.  
But, dear me...are they ever good!
I'll bet you'll love them as much as we do.  
You won't regret it if you bake up a batch.  Promise.


Original recipe was found in "Mad About Muffins" by Dot Vartan ~
Altered slightly by moi.  :)

~ Ingredients ~
2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup full fat sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

~ Streusel Topping Ingredients ~
1/3 cup granulated sugar (evaporated cane juice)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter, cold
1/2 cup chopped pecans


~ Method ~

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Measure first three ingredients into large bowl and mix together with a whisk.
In another bowl, beat the egg and whisk into it the sour cream, melted butter and vanilla.
Add the sour cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir by hand until just moistened.
Fill twelve parchment (or paper) lined muffin cups with batter.


Make the streusel topping by mixing the sugar and cinnamon together in
a medium bowl.  Cut the butter into these two ingredients.
Stir in the chopped pecans.  Spoon  about one tablespoon of this topping
onto each of the muffins prior to baking.  Press down a little.
Divide the topping evenly between the twelve muffins and bake.



Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 18 to 20 minutes.
Done when a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.  Don't cool too much ~ these are best when warm.
It's a good idea to have a few loved ones nearby to share with.
Don't say I didn't warn you.  ;-)

Happy Baking!
With Love, Camille

October 6, 2014

We Have a Winner....

We have a winner!  :)
We put all the names from our giveaway post
into a hat, and Emma pulled one out.


Here's the name she drew....


Congratulations goes to Esther!
I will get your copy of "The Glory of Heaven" off to you soon...

Much Love,
Camille

October 1, 2014

Sixteen Months ~ A Giveaway!

Very often, we mark the ages of our babies in months.
I remember answering inquiries into the ages of ours 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

**This Giveaway is CLOSED**

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