December 18, 2012

From Our Home to Yours

From our home to yours ~
Merry Christmas to each one of you,
our dear family and friends!

"For God so loved the world, that He gave

His only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in Him
should not perish, but have everlasting life."
~ John 3:16 ~

"And she shall bring forth a son,

and thou shalt call His name JESUS:
for He shall save His people from their sins."
Matthew 1:21

Seeking to remember the Real Reason for Christmas!

HE came to live perfectly and die and rise again
that His people might be made right with God!
HE truly is the Best Gift of all!!

May the LORD bless you each with
HIS peace and presence now and
throughout the coming year.
May you know HIS leading and guiding
hand upon you in your life.
May HIS will be done in and through you.
And, may HE be glorified in all you do.

I'm signing off until the New Year.
I'll look forward to catching up with you then!  :)

With Much Love,

December 17, 2012

Chunky Chocolate Morsels

Friends far and near ~ Listen up!
These are one of the BEST and YUMMIEST
of the many Christmas treats out there.

My Mum-in-Love faithfully made this recipe
year after year after year.  Now, they are on my must-do list.
They were always staple treat at Christmas time.
Long ago, she graciously shared the recipe with me!
Thank you, precious Mum!

Easy.  Simple.  No baking.  
I do believe you will thank me for this.

~ Chunky Chocolate Morsels ~

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan,

bring the following ingredients to a boil ~

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup milk (I use whole milk)

Once it's come to a boil,

reduce the heat to medium and cook until thickened.
This will take approximately 5 minutes.
Remove pan from heat and stir in 1 1/2 tsp vanilla.
Let cool a little.

Stir in the following ingredients and mix thoroughly ~

2 cups rolled (or quick cooking) oats

2 cups unsweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup coloured mini marshmallows, cut in half with kitchen shears
1 cup chopped pecans (I use soaked and dried)
1/2 cup drained maraschino cherries, chopped

Scrape mixture out of pan and into a medium bowl.

Cover and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
Once cool, roll between your palms to make 1 inch balls.
Roll in coconut and store in fridge or freezer.
Separate layers with parchment or waxed paper.


With Love, Camille

**If you know where this recipe originally came from,

please do share so I can properly give credit!  Thank you.  :)

December 14, 2012

Going in the Right Direction ~ An Update

We were at Children's today.

The review of Austin's heart was thorough.
Close attention was given to the leads ~
particularly the one which was most difficult to place.
The lead in question also happens to play a role of utmost importance
in the long term recovery of Austin's heart.

The prayer is that it will stimulate the heart

muscle to pump and, over time, help to reshape it.

X-Rays were taken,

Echo and ECG were done,
and then the pacemaker was tweaked to 
maximize its effectiveness.
It's amazing to witness the technology of this device first hand ~
as Austin likes to say, he truly is "cybernetically enhanced".  :)

I am pleased to report that all looks well.

The leads have not shifted and they are functioning as intended.
Things are definitely going in the right direction.
What an incredible blessing and mercy!

Please join me in giving praise 

to our Great God!!

We wish to thank you all for your loving concern 
and prayers for our family.
We stand in awe of God's Goodness
and His provision for us.

Once again, the road ahead is long.

But, we have every reason to hope for a good recovery.
Every reason to hope because of 
the ONE in Whom we place our trust.
His ways are best.

Although we are not anticipating to have to say

an earthly good-bye to our son any time soon,
we know that if that should become necessary,
the LORD would still be doing all things well.

What a comfort it is to know that He

is in complete control.
He is working all things together for our 
good and for His glory.

At the end of the day,

what really matters has been settled at the Cross.
The LORD Jesus Christ is the Saviour of Austin,
and his eternity is secure IN Him!
Resting in our Gracious Saviour this day!
And seeking, by His Grace, to live one day at a time.

Each day is precious.

With Love,

December 12, 2012

Getting Crafty

I like to have a few surprises tucked
away for the Christmas season.
This year has been no exception.

Wooden ornaments to paint were hidden
away for just the right day.
Even the *big* kids joined in ~ joy!
I had Christmas music playing in the background
while the creative fun took place.
I am not typically a *crafty* Mum.
Consequently, the *crafts with the children* department 
has been somewhat lacking over the years.
Sorry to say.

But, Christmas time...

well, that's another story.
Out come the crafts, and I turn a blind eye to the mess ~
At least I try to!!  :)

Gingerbread Men.  A Gingerbread House (usually from a kit).

Painting ornaments and making cookies ~
These are some of things I have tucked up my sleeve.
Some of these activities will get done, Lord-willing.  :)
One thing's for sure ~ the children always enjoy it.

Even my *near-men*!  

See the smoke?  ;-)

This kept them busy for at least two hours.

Time well-spent, in my opinion.

Are you a crafty Mum?

What surprises do you have hidden away

for the cold winter days that lie ahead?
Whatever you do, enjoy these special times 
with your children...
how quickly they fly by!

Merry Christmas!

December 11, 2012

Two Weeks Out

Two Weeks Out.

Christmas is coming, and we are two weeks away.
Preparations are being made everywhere.
They are in full swing in our home too ~ of course.  

A year or two ago, my friend ~
(a homeschool mother of ten) 
gave me an idea.
And, today, I am sharing that idea with you!
You'll thank me for it.  I know you will.

Do you cook a turkey for Christmas?
Or, Thanksgiving.  Or, both?
On the day?  
If so, you know that a big mess ensues
and you know, as well, how quickly the kitchen duties 
can become overwhelming.

In comes the brilliant idea!
Brilliant, I tell you...yes, truly.

Cook your turkey ahead of time ~
Upside down is best.
One more thing about the turkey ~
a fresh, free-run, non-medicated one gives the 
most wonderful meat.

Carve your turkey ahead of time.
Layer in a 9 x 13 pan.
Pour some drippings over all.
Wrap well.  And freeze!

Put your well wrapped pan in the deep freeze
 and forget about it until the day before it's required.
Remove to the fridge the night before you need it ~
Keep it wrapped.

Unwrap on the day and re-wrap with foil only.
Heat in the oven at 350 degrees until steamy hot.
(This will take approximately 30-45 minutes).
The house will smell like freshly cooked turkey ~
But, without the mess.  

No muss.  No fuss.

Do I hear shouts of joy?  I hope so!
Don't thank me...thank my brilliant friend.  
Thank you, brilliant friend ~
You know who you are.  :)

Merry Christmas!

With Love,

December 10, 2012

Six Days In ~ An Update

This is a preliminary report ~
Six days in.

Austin has avoided infection so far.
His pain levels decrease each day.
He has walked to and from the little local store
and was able to tackle the hill without a hitch.
There is a spring (albeit a small one) in his step!
There is (a little bit of) colour in his cheeks.
He is becoming more animated and talkative.
The *old* Austin is emerging.
And...he's hungry!!

Good things are happening ~

Please join us in giving praise to
our Great God!

This is a process.
We must be patient.  I must be patient!  
But, the initial response to the pacemaker is positive.
Austin's heart is being worked!
And, it is working.  :)

God is the Great Physician.
HE knit us together in the womb,
and He knits us together after surgery or illness.
Our times are in His hands.
Each day is a gift.

We give thanks.

The road ahead is unclear to us.
But, it is not unclear to our Great God.
We know that the LORD is working out His perfect plan.
And, we know that He does all things well.
Not being able to see around the bend in the road
is difficult for me, but, knowing that the LORD is already there
is such an incredible comfort to my heart.

HE is already there!

Thank you to each and every one of you who

have prayed for us ~
You have blessed our family beyond measure!
This will be an ongoing journey.
As I know more, I will update.
For the time being, *regular* posts will resume.

Life and living.

Day by day.  Moment by moment.
Gifts from HIS hand.
Praise HIM for all HIS goodness!

Many Blessings to you!


December 7, 2012


Sometimes, God prepares us for what is coming.
In the past few months it felt as though
the LORD was doing that for me.

Christmas was coming,
albeit, a couple of months down the road,
but, it was coming.
I had a photo of the children that 
I thought would be perfect for the Christmas Cards.
I got them printed.

In October!

That motivated me to get a Christmas letter written.
Which motivated me to write out and address
all the Christmas cards.

In October!
~ Christmas photo: taken in May 2012 ~

Little did I know that, just prior to Christmas,
Austin would be hospitalised for six days,
and then, less than a week later,
he would have a pacemaker inserted.

Little did I know.
But, God knew.

Our times are in His hand.
He orders our steps.
And, sometimes, He prepares us.
Always, He sustains us.
Always, He provides.

There have been times when I have felt unprepared,

even then, He gives the grace and strength needed.
Regardless of our circumstances, 
He is in complete and Sovereign control.

He is SO Good!

Having my Christmas cards done ahead of time
was just one of the ways
in which the LORD prepared me for this busy time.
I had meals frozen and put away, 
and my Christmas shopping was done early.
These things have been such a blessing.
They were not *necessary* things, 
but, they were blessings nonetheless.

Although I did have some meals frozen,

they eventually ran out ~
then, some lovely ladies brought us food.
Thank you P, L, and P!!  
Isn't it wonderful to have dinner cooked for you??

Thank you, E for taking my children to your home

for dinner on the day of Austin's surgery ~
What a blessing that was!

I stand in awe of the LORD's provisions
in these tangible ways.
And, I am thankful.

May the LORD bless you all!

Much Love,

December 5, 2012

Pacemaker ~ An Update

The pacemaker was placed yesterday.
Austin ended up being the last patient of the day.
However, he was excited and ready to get on with it.
Truly, evidence of the Grace of God in his life.

He was taken into the OR at 3:45pm PST

and brought back out again at about 5:45pm.
We took him home at 8:00pm!
Amazing, don't you think?

Apparently, Austin was awake for the whole thing.

He chatted with the electrophysiologists and nurses throughout ~
he found it to be very interesting.
They even showed him the x-ray while the leads were being placed.
It went like clockwork ~ perfectly!

To God be the glory!!

Below ~ Austin with our Children's Hospital
Electrophysiologist, Dr. Sherwin.  
She is one of those who has championed Austin's cause, 
for which we are very thankful!

Things got quite uncomfortable when 
the device was inserted.
It had to be placed under the muscle.
My poor guy ~ he was a real trooper!
Apparently, he was told it was like having a baby, only in reverse.  :)

New respect for Mum?  
I think so!

Austin was blessed with a good sleep last night ~ 

with the help of some powerful meds to keep him comfortable.
Now, he rests and recovers ~ it really was a bit of an ordeal.
We must watch for infection, while praying that it does not appear.

And, Austin must adjust.

But, his heart ~ it's working properly
for the first time in a long time.
I just spoke with him and he reports feeling the left side of his heart beating!
It makes me smile.

May the LORD use this means to bring healing to the

left ventricle which has been greatly reduced in its function.

This device will *listen* to what the atria want to do,
and seek to mimic that pacing in the lower two chambers.
It will send the message that has long been interrupted, and help his heart to beat in sync.
The prayer is that, over time, it will help to tone the heart muscle up once again.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your prayers,

and for all your love and concern ~ We are so thankful for each one of you!

"Like as a father pitieth his children, 
so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.
For he knoweth our frame: He remembereth that we are dust." Psalm 103:13-14

With our Love,

Howie, Camille, and Austin (and siblings too!)

**The device in these photos is not exactly as the one 
placed in Austin ~ but, it is similar.
Austin asked if it was the one they would be using,
and they said they would certainly rinse it off before putting it in!
(FYI ~ That is Austin's humour...exactly!)