April 28, 2015

Stillness

"Be still and know that I am God...the LORD of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our refuge."  Psalm 46:10a and 11


Seeking this day to give place to the stillness.
Just feeling the need to be silent here for the next little while.
I am unsure of how long this quiet will last.  A week or two?  A month?

Thank you, as always, for the grace extended to me in my absence
from this space.  Each one of you is a blessing to my heart.
Lord-willing, I will plan to publish comments and visit with you upon my return.

"The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."
Numbers 6:24-26

With Love, Camille

April 27, 2015

Crowd Pleasing Chili

As promised in my last post, here's my chili recipe.
But first, I'd like to share a little of its history.

My little brother wasn't a fan of kidney beans in our growing up years.
So, my Mom altered her recipe to accommodate his preferences.
My sister and I still make our chili in the adjusted way.
See what an influence little brothers can have?  :)

Years ago, when our church would have pot luck meals,
I brought this.  And, it all went.  Every. Single. Time.
Hence the name it's been awarded ~ Crowd Pleasing Chili.

And, just a word on adjustments ~ this recipe is very forgiving.
Substitute your favourites in place of my suggestions.
I have had to alter and tweak it in the past to make it work for dietary
restrictions and requirements.  For example, I have used my own *from scratch*
baked beans and ketchup and soaked and cooked my own kidney beans.
I've sweetened the whole lot with honey.

You will find my old standby recipe below ~
adjust to suit your own needs.


What you need:

3 pounds ground Beef

3 medium cooking Onions, diced

3 coloured sweet Bell Peppers, chopped
(I like to use red, yellow, and orange...not a fan of green)

3 - 28 oz tins diced Tomatoes in their own juice, undrained

3 - 14 oz tins Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
(this is the equivalent of 5 cups cooked beans)

3 - 14 oz tins Heinz Baked Beans in tomato sauce, undrained
(again, the equivalent of 5 cups cooked beans)

2 cups Ketchup (adds sweetness...if you wish to omit,
then use a tin of tomato sauce and add sweetener of choice to taste)

3 to 4 Tbsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
3 Bay leaves (remove at the end of simmering time)
1 Tbsp Sea Salt (add at the end of cooking time)

What you do:

Scramble fry the beef until nearly done and add in onions and peppers.
Saute until meat is fully cooked and the onions are translucent.

Add in all remaining ingredients, except salt, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer (partially covered) for 1.5 to 2 hours in order to blend flavours.
If it's still a bit runny at this point, remove the lid completely and simmer it down.
Stir in sea salt, remove bay leaves, and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve in bowls with grated cheddar sprinkled on top
and cornbread on the side.

This makes enough to feed about twelve hungry tummies.
I like to make lots to have some left over to freeze or to serve the next day.
This will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days or for a few months in the freezer.
Be sure to bring leftovers to a boil prior to serving.

Happy Monday Y'all!
With Love, Camille

April 24, 2015

Let's Talk Food

So much of my life seems to revolve around food.
My sister and I text back and forth frequently.
She asks what I am doing.  I ask what she's up to.
Very often we chat about food.

Our texts generally follow a simple pattern.
What you up to?  Grocery shopping.  Cooking.
Cleaning.  Schooling.  Costco run. Typical stuff.  Life.


I've shared my month long meal plan in this space twice ~ here and here.
What were the results?  I am not sure.  It's tricky.
Perhaps I am going about this all wrong.

One thing is certain.  I like having a month long plan
at my fingertips to call upon at a moment's notice.
I like having staples in the house to put all those meals together.
But, the budget.  Did having a plan make it stretch further?

The jury's still out on that one.



In recent days, I have been flying by the seat of my pants.
A few days at a time is all I can muster in the food planning department.
Sometimes, we have eggs and toast and steamed veggies for dinner.
I seem to be an all or nothing girl when it comes to meal planning.

So, what have we been eating around here?



Roast chicken dinner, and then homemade soup the next day.
Chickpea and Pasta soup ~ actually so yummy I made it twice in large batches.
Roast beef dinner with popovers. (SO much beef in the freezer!)
Tex Mex Chicken soup with store bought rotisserie chicken for the meat.
Chicken wraps.  Salmon loaf.  Salmon fillet baked with maple syrup sauce.
African Dish and good old Mac and Cheese ~ comfort food at its finest.



What's next?  Shepherd's Pie, Refried beans with rice and veggies,
and a big pot of Chili ~ recipe to follow (some day...soon, hopefully).
Update ~ Chili recipe may be found here.  :)
Oh, and black beans with rice topped with avocado, tomatoes, etc...
And, there you have it.  A plan of sorts.

What about you?  Any food news to share?
What's your favourite go-to meal?  I'm all ears.

Happy Weekend!
With Love, Camille

April 21, 2015

Hands Wide Open

Oh, how easy it is to cling to those things we love most in this life.
We hold on tightly, fiercely, in order never to let them (it?) go!
So much trouble comes to our hearts when we grasp with a strangle hold
those things that are of utmost importance to us.

It may be a person, an object, a method, an experience.
Whatever it may be, it must be kept in its proper place.


 Anything that we set up in our hearts in the highest place
can actually become an idol.  It's true.  And, it's got to be de-throned.
Sometimes, that can be a painful process.  But, a necessary and a good one.
We are allowed to love and to cherish.  Actually, we are encouraged to do so.

Just not above the One Who deserves to be loved best.

Since we have already buried one child, the fear of needing
to bury another could threaten to overtake us.
God wouldn't call us to that, would He?  Surely not!
But, why couldn't He?  After all, He is the giver and sustainer of life.

Our children belong to Him before they belong to us.

Life here is uncertain.  Fragile.  Life in heaven is eternal.  Secure.
Perspective is set right when the heart views things rightly.
The only way to accomplish this is through filling our hearts with truth.
That truth is foundational to all that follows.  To all that matters.


Seeking these days to live life with hands wide open.
To hold people, things, methods, and experiences lightly.
Actually, to not really hold them at all.  But, to let them all go.
Into the Hands most capable.  Into the Hands of the One only able.

Because HE already holds it all.  And HE holds us.
What a precious, steadying, comforting, magnificent thought!

With Love, Camille

**Images in this post courtesy of our Calvin ~ from his earliest collection
of photos taken with his good camera.  :)

April 20, 2015

The Quotidian (20. 4. 15)

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


A springtime read.


Planting trees.


Trying to figure out how to fix it.


My View.


Sister Love.


Sibling Love.


Parent Love.



Birthday Outing.


Pilot and Co-Pilot.


The City at Dusk.
(This is a bird's eye view of our recent cycling route.
Stanley Park can be seen in the distance ~
it's the dark patch of land at the top centre of the shot.)

Happy Monday Y'all!
With Love, Camille

*Flying photos courtesy of Calvin ~ Thank you my love.  xo
**A special thank you, J and C for the use of your plane ~
What a blessing it has been!  :)

April 16, 2015

Perfect Popovers ~ Every Time

Are you familiar with popovers or 
Yorkshire pudding (as they are known in England)?
These little beauties are a *must have* 
when you serve roast beef dinner with gravy.

Oh. Dear. Me.  They are wonderful!

But, they have a reputation of being difficult to make.
After all, they are not to be flat, but, light and hollow.
It can be a little tricky to achieve the elusive perfect popover.
I speak from experience.  Flat, dense popovers are in my culinary history.
Has that ever happened to you??

Well, no more.


I am here to tell you that it really isn't difficult.  Really.
Popovers are easy when you know the tricks of the trade.
Wanna know the secrets?
Here's my recipe for perfect popovers ~ every time!

Original recipe may be found here.  This cookbook is where my recipe comes from.
Tricks of the trade from my sweet Mum-in-Love years ago.


What you need:

Neutral tasting oil for pans (I like grapeseed)
4 large eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp cooking oil (grapeseed or olive)
2 cups all purpose unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp sea salt


What you do:

Drizzle 1 to 2 tsp oil into the bottom of each muffin cup in a metal muffin pan.
Place your pan into preheated 400 degree F oven for about ten minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large glass mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and milk.
Whisk in the flour and sea salt until smooth.  Small lumps are fine.

Remove your preheated pan from the oven and immediately pour in the batter.
It should sizzle...that's how you know your pan is hot enough.
Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups.
Return to 400 degree oven and set timer for 40 minutes.

The popovers will puff up beautifully and turn a golden brown.
As soon as you remove them from the oven, poke with a fork to let steam escape
and twist in the pan to allow air to circulate underneath (as shown above).


Here are the rules for perfect popovers every single time.

Rule number one ~ Your oven must be HOT before you put these lovelies in to bake.

Rule number two ~ Your pan must be well-oiled (about 2 tsp per muffin cup) 
and preheated in that HOT oven before the batter goes into them. 
Preheat for at least 10 minutes until the oil is smoking.

Rule number three ~ While the preheating is going on, mix up your batter.

A wire whisk will do...just mix by hand until smooth.

Rule number four ~ Pour the batter into the muffin tins quickly.

The batter should sizzle since the pan is so hot.

Rule number five ~ Return pan to oven immediately and bake.
And, that's it!  Easy peasy.  


So, next time you make a roast beef dinner, whip up a batch
of popovers to serve along with the meat and potatoes.  Be sure to have gravy.
Your family (and guests) will appreciate your efforts.  I am sure of it.

Any questions?  Do you have any other tricks to add to this list?
Please let me know if you give them a try.
It would be lovely to hear how they turn out for you.

Many Blessings,
Camille

April 14, 2015

Eighteen!

Our Calvin is eighteen!
He has been so quickly morphing from the little boy
he once was into the young man he now is.
Time marches on.  And, we are thankful.


Thankful for the years we have been given
with our second son.  Thankful for his sweet and tender heart.
Thankful that his desire is to do what is right and follow
the Lord wherever He may lead.  Thankful that he belongs to Him.

At the end of the day, that is all that really matters.


We love you, Calvin.  With all our hearts.
You are precious and a gift from the Lord.
He blessed us beyond measure when He gave us you.

Happiest of birthdays!

All our Love,
Dad and Mum XOXO

**Photo credit  for Calvin's grown-up shot goes to Josiah ~
Thank you for sharing!  :)

April 13, 2015

The Quotidian (13. 4. 15)

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


She went to her piano lesson like this ~ it was an April Fool's joke.  :)


In full bloom.  A close up.


As seen from our bedroom window.


Off to a shoot.
(He's claimed the jacket for his own.)


In Austin's second Bible ~ a doodle by Grandpa...recently discovered.
(Emma hadn't been loaned to us yet.)


The musician's hands.


Always composing.


A lovely surprise ~ Emma said, "It can't be for us...it's flowers!"


Thank you, my sweet friend ~ they are gorgeous!!
It was such a thoughtful gift that warmed my heart
and brightened my day ~ you are a blessing.

Happy Monday Y'all.  :)
With Love, Camille

April 10, 2015

What We Did

This past Wednesday was Austin's birthday.
He is not here to celebrate with us.  And, that's not something to celebrate.
However, we do like to mark the day.  Make it special in order to remember.

It feels strange to let the day pass by without some acknowledgement.
And, so we don't.  We can't.  There is comfort in the remembering.

Austin's first birthday after being called home to Heaven was last year.
We took the children to his grave and shopped for something special
for each of them in honour of his memory.
We went to Austin's favourite restaurant for dinner.

It was hard, but, it was good.


This year, (the second without our Austin physically here), 
we decided to do something a little different.
And, this is what we did to mark the day.


At first, we planned to just walk around the Stanley Park Seawall ~
one of our favourite things to do.  But, then I remembered a friend's suggestion
to bike it ~ all the way from Granville Island (see map above), around Stanley Park,
and back.  It was a great idea!  And, the perfect day to attempt it.


So, we (the boys) loaded all the bikes on the
back of the van, and we were off.


This was where Howie and I had our fancy date
just a couple of weeks ago.


Before the ride began ~ still feeling fresh and energetic and optimistic.
(Next year, I think I will do a little training before attempting to tackle it.)


See the row of blossoming trees in the background?
That was where we were headed for the start of our journey.


It was a beautiful day!  Emma took this shot ~ isn't it pretty?


It took two hours to complete the loop (with a few breaks here and there).


Howie and I lost the children (on purpose) for a few minutes ~
it was a little bit like a date.  :)


See the Granville Island Public Market sign (above left)?
The yellow building on the far right (on the other side of the water)
is Bridges Restaurant ~ the location of our recent fancy date.
It's near where our van was parked for this excursion ~ we were almost finished.

Howie and I think this may be the start of a new tradition
in honour of our Austin's birthday each year.

It was such a lovely day together and a wonderful gift from the Lord.
We are so thankful for the prayers of our precious family and friends.
Thank you to each one of you who have lifted us up before the Throne of Grace.

All the love and kindness shown to us has been such a great blessing.
We sensed the Lord's strength and grace with us throughout the day.
How good and gracious He is!  We so appreciate His loving care
manifested to us in tangible ways through the love of His people.

May He bless each of you abundantly!

With Love, Camille

**Photos in this post are a combination of mine and Emma's ~
thank you for sharing with me my little love.  xoxo

April 8, 2015

What We Do Have

Trying over here not to focus on what we don't have.
But, on what we do!  It's a constant battle, but, so worth the fight.
It is incredibly easy to spiral down into the have not abyss,
rather than to ascend on the wings of the blessings.

Today would have been Austin's 20th birthday.


We don't have our Austin here with us physically.  
But, we do have him!  What a wonderful thought.
He is not gone.  Just gone ahead.

Gone from our home.  But, not from our hearts.
He is still part of the fabric of our being.  Of our family.
That will never change.  Never.


Though our family photos will not include him.
Though our children will grow up and, Lord-willing,
have children of their own.

Though those children will not know their uncle.
He still will be their uncle.  And, if they know and love
the same Saviour, they will meet.  One day.

On the other side.


So, today I focus on what we do have.

Our sure foundation.  Our eternal hope.  Our heavenly home.
What a precious place to be!  What a wonderful place to rest.
Only by the grace of our Great God is it even possible.
But, because of Him it is sure.

Praising Him.  By His grace.  In His strength.
Eternity is forever.  Life here is temporary.
May we be found living for His glory until the day He calls us home.
May we willingly follow wherever He leads.

With Love, Camille

**Photos in this post were taken in 
April 2005 ~ Austin was ten.

April 2, 2015

Cross-Purposes

C.H. Spurgeon has long been a cherished pastor to our hearts.
He comes to us via sermons recorded in books as well as in his 
devotional writings, mainly, Morning and Evening.

Recently, the following excerpt from this devotional book brought me to tears.
It is has been a precious thing to ponder and wrap my heart and head around.
Perhaps it will be a source of encouragement to any who may be 
wrestling through these things as well?  How good it is to fill our minds with truth.


** "...death smites the goodliest of our friends; the most generous, the most prayerful,
the most holy, the most devoted must die.  And why? 
It is through Jesus' prevailing prayer -- 'Father, I will that they also, 
whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.'
It is that which bears them on eagle's wings to heaven.

Every time a believer mounts from this earth to paradise,
it is an answer to Christ's prayer."


"A good old divine remarks, " 'Many times Jesus and His people
pull against one another in prayer.  You bend your knee in prayer and say, 
'Father, I will that Thy saints be with me where I am;'
Christ says, 'Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, 
be with Me where I am.' " 

Thus the disciple is at cross-purposes
with his Lord.  The soul cannot be in both places:
the beloved one cannot be with Christ and with you too."


"Now, which pleader shall win the day?
If you had your choice; if the King should step from His throne,
and say, 'Here are two supplicants praying in opposition to one another,
which shall be answered?'  Oh!  I am sure, though it were agony,
you would start from your feet, and say, 'Jesus, not my will, but Thine be done.'

You would give up your prayer for your loved one's life,
if you could realise the thought that Christ is praying in the opposite direction --
'Father, I will that they also, whom Thou has given Me, be with Me where I am.'

Lord, Thou shalt have them.
By faith we let them go." **


May the Lord truly give the grace to submit to His perfect and loving
plan for His people as He gently leads each one Home.
May He help those of us still on this earthly journey to remain
faithful and follow Him wherever He leads with joyful hearts.

At the end of it all, eternity is all that really matters.
May we be found living out the reality of this truth day by day.
By His grace and in His strength.  For His glory alone.

With Love, Camille


**Quoted from Spurgeon's Morning and Evening
March 22  ~ Evening reading.