December 1, 2016

Missing Austin ~ 3.5 Years

We miss our Austin.  No one and nothing will alter that fact.
We will miss him until we are reunited in Heaven.
It hardly seems possible that we have been physically separated that long.

Sometimes it seems longer and at other times, shorter.
It's a difficult thing to process and to explain.

We continue to talk to ourselves and fill up our hearts with truth.
The truth of where he is and what he is experiencing.
The Bible tells us that we cannot even imagine how amazing it is!
We are so happy for our son.  We are thankful for the reality that is his.

But, we miss having him here with us.  
His smile, his presence, his voice.

Our other three are growing up and catching up.
Both Calvin and Fraser have passed Austin in height.
It's a bittersweet thing to witness the two boys together
without their big brother in the mix.  It hurts.

Emma is becoming a woman.  She was a still a girl
when her big brother was called home to Heaven.

The rawness of the grief is gone.  The sting of it has dulled.
In its place is an undercurrent of reflective sadness mingled with expectant hope.
We are altered because of the experience.  We trust it has been for the good.
It has made us slow down more and take stock more and be still more.

Things and stuff and experiences matter less.  People matter more.
Eternal things matter most.  So, we seek to share the good news of
our Saviour to all who will listen as the opportunities arise.

The days and moments we are given are gifts.
What we do with our time here matters.
Before long, our life here will be complete.
And in the end, the eternal things will be all that remain.

So, we reflect and we remember.  And, we press on.
We put one foot in front of the other ~ step by step, we move forward.
We carry precious memories with us.  And, we make new ones.
God is faithful to carry us and to give all that we stand in need of.

We serve the same great God our Austin serves.
We seek to praise Him as our Austin is continually doing.
One day, our journey here will be done,
and the Lord will call us home to Heaven, too.

Until then, we are seeking to follow wherever He leads.
And, to serve our Saviour as long as He has us here.
By His grace and for His glory.  Alone.

With Love,

**All images in this post are from Austin's little years.

November 28, 2016

Sorrows and Troubles

"Let us learn, first of all, that following Christ
will not prevent our having earthly sorrows and troubles.

Here are the chosen disciples of the Lord Jesus in great anxiety.
The faithful little flock, which believed when priests and scribes
and Pharisees were all alike unbelieving, is allowed 
by the Shepherd to be much disquieted.

The fear of death breaks in upon them like an armed man.
The deep waters seem likely to go over their souls.
Peter, James and John, the pillars of the church about 
to be planted in the world, are much distressed.
Perhaps they had not reckoned on all this.

Perhaps they expected that Christ's service would at any rate
lift them above the reach of earthly trials.  Perhaps they thought that He,
who could raise the dead and heal the sick and feed multitudes with a
few loaves and cast out devils with a word, He would never allow
His servants to be sufferers upon earth.

Perhaps they had supposed He would always grant them smooth journeys,
fine weather, an easy course and freedom from trouble and care.

If the disciples thought so, they were much mistaken.
The Lord Jesus taught them that a man may be one of His chosen servants,
and yet have to go through many an anxiety, and endure many a pain.

It is good to understand this clearly.  It is good to understand that Christ's
service never did secure a man from all the ills that flesh is heir to, and never will.

If you are a believer, you must reckon on having your share of sickness and pain,
of sorrow and tears, of losses and crosses, of deaths and bereavements,
of partings and separations, of vexations and disappointments,
so long as you are in the body.  Christ never undertakes
that you shall get to heaven without these."

Quoted from "Holiness" by J. C. Ryle pages 192-93

With Love,

**Image in this post courtesy of Calvin ~
Thank you my love. XO

November 25, 2016

Flashback Friday ~ Our Little Men

Our three little men...pre-Emma days.
The year was 2001 and life was full.

I captured the photo below of my Sweetie reading to
our boys at about the same time as the photo above was taken.

How quickly the days and months and years fly by.
Before we realise what is happening, our little ones grow up.

Happy Friday!
With Love, Camille

November 21, 2016

The Quotidian (21. 11. 16)

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

Connecting to the new water main.

Rose bud in November.

Austin's rose tree seems to have recovered

Man in trench, pile of dirt, and excavator all blocking the driveway.
Emma and I had to leave for music lessons within the hour.
It all worked out.  :)

Prepping for winter storage.

Waving at his Mama.

End of an era ~ Papers have been part of
our family's life for over eleven years.
And now, the torch is being passed.

Loaded and lugging.

The boys have been taking turns helping Emma.

The days of paper delivery are now behind us ~
It's bittersweet.

Big brother guidance ~ a sweet blessing.

Happy Monday!
With Love, Camille

November 18, 2016

Flashback Friday ~ Our Little Lady

Our little lady when she was about two.

Sleeping beauty.

Tea for two.

Posing pretty.

Happy Friday!
With Love, Camille

November 11, 2016

The True Christian

"A true Christian is not a mere baptized man or woman.
He is something more.  He is not a person who only goes,
as a matter of form, to a church or chapel on Sundays,
and lives all the rest of the week as if there was no God.

Formality is not Christianity.
Ignorant lip worship is not true religion.

The Scripture speaketh expressly: 'They are not all Israel
which are of Israel' (Romans 9:6).  The practical lesson of those
words is clear and plain.  All are not true Christians
who are members of the visible church of Christ.

The true Christian is one whose religion is in his heart and life.
It is felt by himself in his heart.  It is seen by others in his conduct and life.
He feels his sinfulness, guilt and badness, and repents.
He sees Jesus Christ to be that divine Saviour whom his soul needs,
and commits himself to Him.

He puts off the old man with his corrupt and carnal habits,
and puts on the new man.  He lives a new and holy life,
fighting habitually against the world, the flesh and the devil.
Christ Himself is the corner-stone of his Christianity.

Ask him what he trusts for the forgiveness of his many sins,
and he will tell you, in the death of Christ.
Ask him in what righteousness he hopes to stand innocent at the
judgement day, and he will tell you it is the righteousness of Christ.

Ask him by what pattern he tries to frame his life, and he will tell you
that it is the example of Christ.

But, beside all this, there is one thing in a true Christian which is
eminently peculiar to him.  That thing is love to Christ.
Knowledge, faith, hope, reverence, obedience are all marked features
in a true Christian's character.  But his picture would be very
imperfect if you omitted his 'love' to his divine Master.

He not only knows, trusts and obeys.
He goes further than this -- he loves...

...Great as the danger is of him 'that believeth not',
the danger of him 'that loveth not' is equally great.
Not believing and not loving are both steps to everlasting ruin... 

...A man may lack clear head knowledge, and yet be saved.
He may fail in courage, and be overcome by the fear of man, like Peter.
He may fall tremendously, like David, and yet rise again.
But, if a man does not love Christ, he is not in the way of life.
The curse is yet upon him.  He is on the broad road that leadeth to destruction...

...If a man truly loves Christ, all is right;
if not, all is wrong...

...A true Christian loves Christ for all He has done for him.  
He has suffered in his stead, and died for him on the cross.
He has redeemed him from the guilt, the power and the consequences
of sin by His blood.  He has called him by His Spirit to self-knowledge,
repentance, faith, hope and holiness.

He has forgiven his many sins and blotted them out.

He has freed him from the captivity of the world, the flesh and the devil.
He has taken him from the brink of hell, placed him in the narrow way,
and set his face towards heaven.  He has given him light instead of darkness,
peace of conscience instead of uneasiness, hope instead of uncertainty,
life instead of death.  

Can you wonder that the true Christian loves Christ?

And he loves Him besides, for all that He is still doing.
He feels that He is daily washing away his many shortcomings and infirmities,
and pleading his soul's cause before God.  He is daily supplying all the needs
of his soul, and providing him with an hourly provision of mercy and grace.

He is daily leading him by His Spirit to a city of habitation,
bearing with him when he is weak and ignorant, raising him up 
when he stumbles and falls, protecting him against his many enemies,
preparing an eternal home for him in heaven.

Can you wonder that the true Christian loves Christ?...

...where there is real justifying faith in Christ,
there will always be heart love to Christ.  He that is really forgiven
is the man who will really love (Luke 7:47).
If a man has no love to Christ, you may be sure he has no faith."

**Quoted from "Holiness" by J. C. Ryle pages 234-237

With Love,

**Images in this post courtesy of Calvin ~ thank you my love. xoxo
(Image #1 ~ Anglesey, Wales; #2 ~ Mojave Desert, CA; #3 ~ Fairmont, BC)

November 9, 2016

Caramel Coconut Cake ~ Gluten Free

This cake is amazingly yummy and super easy to whip up for 
last minute company, or for those you love who cannot eat gluten.
Caramel coconut goodness at its best ~ no need to tell anyone
that it's gluten free.  The gluten will not be missed at all.  I promise.

Namaste Gluten Free Flour is my favourite GF flour mix.  It can be used in place
of all purpose flour in most recipes without the need to add anything else.
This recipe has been adapted from the original which came from

What you need:

CAKE ~ 2 Large Eggs
1 cup White Sugar (I use evaporated cane juice)
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Milk (or Almond Milk)
1 Tbsp Butter
1 cup Gluten Free Flour (all purpose flour may be used)
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Sea Salt

TOPPING ~ 3 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup Golden Brown Sugar, packed
2 Tbsp Milk (or Almond Milk)
1/2 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

What you do:

Grease a 9" x 11" glass baking dish with butter and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In mixer, whip the eggs until frothy.
Add white sugar a few spoonfuls at a time while beating the eggs.
Continue adding the sugar until it's incorporated and the mixture is thickened.
Mix in the vanilla extract and beat well.

In a small saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup milk and 1 Tbsp butter until melted.
Remove from heat and set aside.

In small bowl, sift together the gluten free flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
Add to the egg mixture and mix together thoroughly.
Slowly add in the melted butter and milk mixture.
Stir together well and spread batter evenly into the glass baking dish.

Bake in the 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes.

While the cake is baking, bring the 3 Tbsp butter,
golden brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp milk to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.
Stir occasionally.  Once a rolling boil has been reached, remove from
the heat and stir in the 1/2 cup coconut.  Set aside.

Remove the cake from the oven after the 20 minute baking time
and spread the coconut topping evenly on top.  Be sure it reaches to the edges.
Return your cake to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
Watch closely in the last few minutes to be sure the topping does not burn.

Remove to a cooling rack and let sit for about 5 minutes prior to serving.
Serve warm.  It won't last long.  Enjoy!

With Love,

**If you don't like coconut, this makes a yummy
caramel-topped basic cake....just omit the coconut.  :)

November 4, 2016

As They Come

The days run together in one long line-up of ordinary things
and before we can catch up with it all, it changes.  We change.
It was like this when the children were small and there were
four precious little ones around our table.

It is still like this, even though the three who remain here
with us are no longer little.  And, Austin's chair sits empty.

We somehow think that things will go on as they always do.
And when they don't, we are caught by surprise.
But, it's all good.  Life is good.  As long as we remember
that this is not all there is.  Something better is coming.

We need to prepare our hearts for change
while living out the moments as they come.

Our Austin has been in heaven for over three years.
Fraser just caught up to Calvin's six-foot-two height.
Emma is becoming a woman right before our eyes.
These days do not look like those of ten, or even five, years ago.

I like to fill my heart with the idea that each season is precious.
That all seasons of life are gifts to be embraced and enjoyed.

So, we seek to live in this moment, this day, and in this season
with all that we have and all that we are.  By God's abundant grace.
 And, we seek to remember that in the midst of it all,
we are to bring glory to our Saviour's great Name.

After all, He is the Reason we live.
He is the Reason we have hope.

What season do you find yourself in?
Are you finding that there is grace and strength to
accomplish all that is set before you?  Are you weary?
If so, don't despair, the Lord is faithful to see His people through.

"And He (Jesus Christ) said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee;
for my strength is made perfect in weakness..."  II Corinthians 12:9

We must keep our hearts fixed on those lasting and eternal things,
and refocus our attentions to the tasks of the day in which we find ourselves.
How good and gracious the Lord is to give all we stand in need of.
Moment by moment.  Step by step.  Until the day He calls us Home.

"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work
in you all perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."  Philippians 1:6

With Love,

**Image in this post courtesy of Calvin ~
Thank you so much my love. xoxo

October 28, 2016

October 24, 2016

Bigger than Fear

It was shortly before Austin's 17th birthday when
we found ourselves at Children's Hospital in the ICU.
He had been admitted for one malady which very quickly took
a backseat to a much more serious one.

During that hospital stay, 
our Austin was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy 
which had not previously been on anyone's radar.

DCM, as it is commonly referred to,
is a life-threatening condition.  Austin was given a little booklet
to read in an attempt to inform him of his new diagnosis.
He was too weak to read.  So, he left it.

When I had a moment, I picked it up and read it through.
Austin asked me to give him the run down.  I didn't want to.  Not then.
I told him that I wanted to wait until he was out of ICU.
But, he insisted on knowing what he was up against.

I resisted.  But, he pushed me for a brief synopsis.
He really wanted to know.

It was grim and I didn't want to upset him unnecessarily.
The statistics for DCM were grave.  One third of children
diagnosed with the condition die, one third live with
impaired heart function, and one third fully recover.

I told him the potential was that he could die.  
He replied after only a moment..."That was blunt!"
And then, after a pause and thoughtful consideration,
"But, I'm not afraid to die, because I know where I am going".

It was a profound moment we shared.
He and I were alone and it was precious to witness his response.
Austin had looked death squarely in the face and was able,
as evidenced by his bold declaration, to prove his faith was bigger than fear.

From that moment on, he had a boldness in his witness 
for the Lord and all that He has done for His people which warmed my heart.
He was able to testify that we serve a good and gracious Saviour
Who does all things well and without mistake.

It was incredibly encouraging to us as his parents.
It was clear where he stood and in Whom he had put his trust.

Austin was well aware of the situation he was in.
However, he sought to live life to its fullest in spite of it.
By God's great grace, he knew what was most important and lived accordingly.
         It is how we all ought to live.  It is something we all ought to consider. 

Eternal focus has a way of clearing out clutter.
All that really matters is all that is left.
We have many happy memories of our precious son.
This particular memory is one that I hold dear to my heart.
We really didn't believe that Austin would fall into the one third
category of children who eventually die from DCM.

The Lord graciously gave us just over 14 months more with our son
after his diagnosis.  For that, and many other mercies, we are thankful.
One day, the Lord will cause us to know all that we need to about these things.
Until then, we trust in His perfect and sovereign plan for us all.

It is a blessing to rest our hearts in His good purposes.
It is truly a wonderful thing to belong to Him.

Are you the Lord's?  Do you have the confidence in your future that our Austin had?
It is only possible through the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work.
The assurance of salvation is available to all who come ~ see John 6:37.

There is nothing more precious than trusting in the Saviour
and knowing that you belong to Him.  There is a wonderful peace
that comes with knowing where you will be for all eternity.
 Look to Him and live!

With Love,

**The first photo in this post is from the hospital stay when we first learned
of Austin's DCM diagnosis.  He was out of ICU and upstairs.

**The second photo is from Austin's last birthday card ~
the verses written there were such a comfort to his heart, and to ours.

October 20, 2016

With Christ

"For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart,
and to be with Christ, which is far better."  Philippians 1:23

"Believers after death are 'with Christ'.
That answers many a difficult question, which otherwise might
puzzle man's busy, restless mind.  The abode of dead saints,
their joys, their feelings, their happiness, all seem to be met
by this simple expression -- they are 'with Christ'.

I cannot enter into full explanations about the separate 
state of departed believers.  It is a high and deep subject,
such as man's mind can neither grasp nor fathom.

I know their happiness falls short of what it will be when
their bodies are raised again, in the resurrection at the last day,
and Jesus returns to earth.  Yet I know also they enjoy a blessed rest,
a rest from labour, a rest from sorrow, a rest from pain -- and a rest from sin.

But it does not follow because I cannot explain these things,
that I am not persuaded they are far happier than they ever were on earth.
I see their happiness in this very passage:
they are 'with Christ', and when I see that I see enough.

If the sheep are with the Shepherd, if the members are with the Head,
if the children of Christ's family are with Him who loved them
and carried them all the days of their pilgrimage on earth,
all must be well, all must be right.

I cannot describe what kind of place paradise is,
because I cannot understand the condition of a soul separate from the body.
But I ask no brighter view of paradise than this -- that Christ is there.

All other things in the picture which imagination draws of the
state between death and resurrection, are nothing in comparison of this.
How He is there, and in what way He is there, I know not.
Let me only see Christ in paradise when my eyes close in death, and that sufficeth me.

Well does the Psalmist say, 
'In Thy presence is fullness of joy' (Ps. 16:11)...

...It may be you do not think much about your soul.
It may be you know little of Christ as your Saviour, and have never
tasted by experience that He is precious.  And yet perhaps you hope to 
go to paradise when you die.

Surely this passage is one that should make you think,
Paradise is a place where Christ is.
Then can it be a place that you would enjoy?

It may be you are a believer, and yet tremble at the thought of the grave.
It seems cold and dreary.  You feel as if all before you 
was dark and gloomy and comfortless.  Fear not, but be encouraged
by this text.  You are going to paradise, and Christ will be there."

Quoted from "Holiness" by J. C. Ryle pages 186-87

With Love, Camille

**Photos in this post were taken just days after
our Austin's body was laid to rest in his resurrection bed,
and later in the summer after a marker had been installed.

October 18, 2016

Two Raggy Quilts

In recent days, I put together two raggy quilts
for two precious little people. It was so much fun!
  One side is made up with squares of flannel...

...and the other side is made up of cotton prints.

I used 7 inch squares of fabric for these two quilts.
And, they are both 8 squares by 8 squares in size.

I feel like a kid in a candy shop when I am choosing fabric.
Piecing that fabric together, however, can be a bit more of a challenge.
My sister helped with that process via texting.
Technology can be an amazing tool, can't it?  Thanks again, Janine.  XO

For step-by-step instructions on how to put
a raggy quilt together, click here.  So easy and so forgiving.

The main difference between these quilts and my first one is this ~
the edges of the jean quilt haven't been snipped.  But, I am planning to change that soon.
The quilts in this post have been washed up and are all ready to be given away.

What projects do you have on the go?  Tell me everything!  :)
Have you ever made a raggy quilt?  If not, why not?  Ready...Set...Go!

Happy sewing/crafting!
With Love, Camille

October 17, 2016

The Hills are Alive....

"The hills are alive, with the sound of music..."

It's what plays in my mind each time I look at this photo.
Calvin took it with his phone on a hike he was on last Monday.
Fraser and Emma, along with extended family, made up the hiking party.

Howie and I opted to stay home for the day.
After seeing this shot, I am not so sure we made the wisest choice.
God's creation truly is glorious, wouldn't you agree?

Happy Monday!

With Love, Camille

October 14, 2016

Flashback Friday ~ Pink!

Three boys.  In light of that fact, I was convinced
that our fourth child would follow suit.
We had chosen names for our soon-to-be-born little man.
We were prepared.  Or, so we thought.

On the way to the hospital, while in labour, it dawned on me
that we might actually have a daughter this time around.  
We hadn't settled on a name if that were to be the case.

But, it wouldn't be required.  We just knew.
It should be obvious how that turned out.

Howie had a favourite name for a girl, and I had mine.
As soon as she was delivered, however, I had the final say.

We were beyond thrilled with our newest little family member.
The boys were excited to take on the role of being 
 big brothers to a little sister.  Life as we knew it would never be the same.
And, we all happily embraced our new world of pink!  :)

Happy Friday to you!
With Love, Camille

**Photos in this post were taken in 2003 ~
Austin (8), Calvin (6), Fraser (4), and Emma (1)

October 12, 2016

One Thing Needful

"Oh, it is a great thing in these days of unbelief to believe the whole Bible!
If you would ever be a healthy and scriptural Christian,
I entreat you to beware of any ministry which does not plainly
teach the reality and eternity of hell.

 Such a ministry may be soothing and pleasant,
but it is far more likely to lull you to sleep than to lead you to Christ,
or build you up in the faith.
It is impossible to leave out any portion of God's truth
without spoiling the whole.  That preaching is sadly defective
which dwells exclusively on the mercies of God and the joys of heaven,
and never sets forth the terrors of the Lord and the miseries of hell.

It may be popular, but it is not scriptural;
it may amuse and gratify, but it will not save.

Give me the preaching which keeps back nothing that God has revealed.
You may call it stern and harsh; you may tell us that to frighten people
is not the way to do them good.  But you are forgetting that the grand
object of the gospel is to persuade men to 'flee from the wrath to come',
and that it is vain to expect men to flee unless they are afraid.
Well would it be for many professing Christians
if they were more afraid about their souls than they now are!    
If you desire to be a healthy Christian, consider often what your own end will be.
Will it be happiness, or will it be misery?
Will it be the death of the righteous, or will it be death without hope...
 ...I beseech you, by the mercies of God, to look this question fairly in the face.
I entreat you not to stifle conscience by vague hopes of God's mercy,
while your heart cleaves to the world.
I implore you not to drown convictions by childish fancies about God's love,
while your daily ways and habits show plainly that 'the love of the Father is not in you'.

There is mercy in God, like a river,
but it is for the penitent believer in Christ Jesus.
There is a love in God towards sinners which is unspeakable and unsearchable, 
but it is for those who hear Christ's voice and follow Him.
Seek to have an interest in that love.
Break off every known sin; come out boldly from the world;
cry mightily to God in prayer; cast yourself wholly and unreservedly
on the Lord Jesus for time and eternity; lay aside every weight.
Cling to nothing, however dear, which interferes with your soul's salvation;
give up everything, however precious, which comes between you and heaven. 
This old shipwrecked world is fast sinking beneath your feet;
Give diligence to make your calling and election sure.
Whatever happens to your house and property, see that you make sure of heaven.
Oh, better a million times be laughed at and thought extreme in this world,
than go down to hell from the midst of the congregation,
and end like Lot's wife!"
Quoted from "Holiness" by J. C. Ryle pages 172-174

With Love, Camille