January 28, 2014

Give Way

One by one.  Moment by moment.  Day by day.
The Lord's mercies are new every morning. 
It's a promise.  It's true.  If only we would have eyes to see.

On this day, I am choosing to see.

Seeking to observe and list these precious, fleeting moments of life.
Before they are gone and give way to others.
They do, you know.  Give way.  No two moments are alike.
They are precious and they are worth taking notice of.

When the moment is gone.  It's gone.

It only lives on in the memories we keep.
I am treasuring up these moments and holding them in my heart.
Today, I give way ~ As one moment flows into the next.
I'm seeking to capture them all ~ One by one.

~ Math being done decently and in order...

all while wearing her Mama's High School graduation dress and a hoodie  :)

~ Tulips in Winter...a gift from my Dad...so pretty!  :)

~ Entering the world of texting...sporadically

~ Our two middle children battling it out on the ice 

(in the friendliest of ways)

~ Skating each week...a real treat!

~ Figure skates in the mix (so much hockey around here)

~ Sunshine day after day after many that were grey

~ Blue skies!

~ The way I found them...

 ~ Boys and their Dad and their bikes...on one of those sunny days

~ Mud.  Fraser's hoodie and Howie's shorts after the fun.

 ~ Help from the children in the home...so much gets accomplished

when we all pitch in together (I am one grateful Mama)

~ Listening to Fraser compose

(sometimes it brings me to tears but, I do love it)

~ THM treats that satisfy without guilt or payment

~ A first professional (for pay) photography job for Calvin...so exciting!

~ Balloons gifted to the children which they set free to fly

~ Watching from the window, observing the joy they brought

~ Emma teaching me to play chess (she won)

~ Last minute trip down to the city with the children (just them and me)
to conquer the seawall with roller blades, camera, and running shoes

~ Making cookies with my girl...not THM unfortunately

~ Tomorrow's a new day...isn't it a wonderful thing?

May the Lord bless you as you notice the tracings of His Hand

in your life each day.  He truly is Good and Gracious and Kind.
He is worthy of all our praise and thanksgiving.

Many Blessings,

January 27, 2014

Don't Miss This!

Don't miss this!  
There is to be a creation/evolution debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye.
It's being touted by some as the debate of the decade.

Click here to learn more.

You can sign up for the live streaming broadcast,
or pre-order the DVD by following the link above.

If you have trouble opening the first link I provided,

click here to get to the Answers in Genesis home page.
The debate is advertised on the right with an image like the one shown below.

Please help spread the word!

Let's also remember to pray.
This is a spiritual battle.  It is not a battle of wits.

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world,
against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, 
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand....
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit,
and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
~ Ephesians 6:12, 13, and 18 ~

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; 
so that they are without excuse; Because that, when they knew God,
they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful;
but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."
~ Romans 1:20-22 ~

May God be glorified and eternally exalted.
He alone is worthy.

Many Blessings,

**Images in this post courtesy of Answers in Genesis

January 23, 2014

Easy (and Yummy) Quinoa Salad ~ THM Compliant

This Quinoa Salad is simple.  Easy.  Yummy.
And, it fits into the Trim Healthy Mama eating plan.
Better and better.

I make a batch of this and we eat it for lunch.
Everyone approves.  Even my teen boys.  Win win.

We've also had this as a side dish at dinner along with a protein.

Whatever way you choose to serve it, it will be a hit.  Promise.

~ Quinoa Salad ~
Adapted from Trim Healthy Mama

2 cups Quinoa cooked in 4 cups water
1 long English cucumber, diced ~ skin on
2/3 lb (300 grams) grape tomatoes ~ halved
6 to 8 green onions ~ chopped
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (I like Meyer lemons)**
**If using regular lemons, you might like to begin with 1/3 cup ~
Add in more if it's not tangy enough...this is a taste as you make it salad :)
1/4 to 1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Freshly ground black pepper and 
Himalayan pink rock salt (or sea salt) to taste  

Cook the Quinoa in the water ~ Bring to boil over high heat.
Reduce heat and simmer with lid slightly ajar for 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes with lid on.
Remove to a large bowl and refrigerate until cold.
(I often do this step the night before I want to make this salad).

Once the Quinoa is cold, put it into large mixing bowl.
Toss in the veggies, the lemon juice, and the oil.
Mix well.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Chill and serve.  Or, just serve!
It does benefit from sitting the fridge awhile to allow
the flavours to mingle.  It's especially good the next day
if you can make it last that long.  In our home, that's rare.  
However, it is a HUGE salad ~ so, it may still be around.  Enjoy!


**This is THM compliant ~ S Helper Category 

January 21, 2014

Into His Light

"For thou art my lamp, O LORD:
and the LORD will lighten my darkness."
~ 2 Samuel 22:29 ~

Often, we need to remind ourselves of what is true.
Of what is sure and solid and immovable.
God's Word is truth.  It is a foundation on which to build.
A solid rock on which to stand.  A sure footing in the storm.
The only way forward in a world of darkness.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
~ Psalm 119:105 ~

"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness,

hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge 
of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."
~ 2 Corinthians 4:6 ~

Isn't it amazing?  The God Who created all things uses that same power to 

illumine hearts in order that His people might come to Him in repentance and faith.
He truly is gracious and loving and good.  Always.  In all things.

May you know the loving hand of God upon you

guiding you into His truth.  Into His light.  Into His hope.
It is impossible to discover a greater peace or joy than this.
Lasting, eternal peace can only be found in the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is the way to peace with God.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
~ John 14:6 ~

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,

and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;
for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
~ Matthew 11:28-30 ~

There truly is nothing better. 

Absolutely nothing.

Many Blessings,

**Photo courtesy of Calvin ~ Thank you my love.  XO

January 20, 2014

To Wallow or Not to Wallow

To wallow or not to wallow ~  
That is the question.

It's so easy to wallow in our sorrows.  Isn't it?
To indulge in self pity and cry and cry and cry.
To think hard thoughts of our great and mighty God.
To curl up under the covers and just stay there for days and days.

So easy.  But, not good.  Not good at all.

"As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried:

He is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
God is my strength and power: and He maketh my way perfect."
~ 2 Samuel 22:31-33 ~

If we believe that our God is good and that He does all things well.
If we believe that He is righteous in all His dealings with His people.
If we believe He is just in all His ways and perfect in all His works.
Then, we must trust.  We must rest.  We must rejoice.

Not in the circumstances.  
But, in the One Who holds them.

Perfectly.  Justly.  Lovingly.  In His hands.
He orchestrates all for our good and for His glory.
And, if we cannot make sense of it right now, it's okay.
We know that one day we will see clearly.
One day, our faith will be made sight.

One day, we will understand.

In the meantime, we must live.  We must go on.  We must obey.

One foot in front of the other.  One task after the next.
One by one.  Day by day.  Over and over again.
Because we are called to this.  Just this.

We are allowed to have tears.  We are allowed to be sad.

The Lord understands our humanness.  He enters into our grief.
There is a fine line between self indulgence and godliness in sorrow.
It is possible to traverse this road in a way that pleases and honours Him.

However, it is a constant battle.

Faithfulness in this life is not something that comes easily.

In fact, it is impossible without the grace of our Great God.
The Lord promises to walk the path with His people.
He promises never to leave or forsake us.
To uphold and carry us until we reach the end.
To give strength and endurance for the journey.

And, He is Faithful.  He will do just as He has promised.

It's only because of Him that we can carry on.

And, by His grace, we will not wallow.
We will praise.  And, we will follow.
Wherever He leads.  Until He calls us Home.

By His Grace.  Alone.

Many Blessings,

**Photo courtesy of Calvin ~ Thank you my love.  XO

January 15, 2014


Each of our children is irreplaceable.
In fact, every person the Lord has ever made is irreplaceable.
No one can take the place of another.  It's impossible.

This truth becomes powerfully evident when
a parent must bury a child.

We know it is true, even if all our children remain here with us.
However, it is painfully obvious when one is gone.
Just as any of our children would if they were missing.

It's a beautiful thing.  Really.  
After all, the diversity in God's creation is beautiful.
This is especially true when we are speaking of people.

~ Our Precious Four in 2006 ~

So, when well-meaning people tell us that

we ought to rejoice in the fact that we still have children remaining
here with us, we understand what they are trying to convey.
We understand they are seeking to comfort our grieving hearts.
We know they don't want to hurt us.  They don't mean to.

However, our Austin is irreplaceable.

Calvin, Fraser, and Emma are irreplaceable as well.
Each fills a special place.  Each brings a special dynamic to our family.
One cannot replace the other.  It's a painful reality.  It's a beautiful reality.

~ Austin in 2006 ~

We miss our Austin so very much.

Just as we would miss any of the other three.

It won't always be like this.

One day, the Lord will call us all Home to Himself.
One day, we will be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven.
There will be no more sorrow or death, suffering or tears.
No more sin.  No more separation.  No more sadness.

We will have all eternity to worship our Wonderful Saviour.

Together.  Forever.  It's a precious thought.
It's what we cling to.  Tightly.
By His grace.  For His glory.  In His strength.

But, we must live here until He calls us there.

We must follow wherever He leads.
We must submit ourselves to His perfect plan.
We must keep our eyes fixed on our Saviour.

It truly is the only way forward.

Many Blessings,

January 14, 2014


Snippets ~ Just a little peek into 
life around here these days.

A warm hug on a cold day...

A little chess...

Mojave Desert Sand ~ From our recent trip.

Thank you notes from the children.

Our boy's creation ~ I cannot bring myself to throw it out.

Many Blessings,

January 13, 2014

Simply Yummy

Sometimes a girl just needs a Rice Krispies Square.  Or two.
Sometimes a boy needs one, too.
Joking, of course.  But, you get the idea.

The other day, the girls and boys at my house were happy.

All of us were happy.  These have that effect.

I used to laugh about the fact that when I would send these to school
with my children (when my children went to a physical school),
the adults would comment on how they were the best.

What was different about this recipe from the rest?
Perhaps it's the number of marshmallows used?
The ratio of sticky stuff to crunchy stuff is just right?
No skimping on ingredients?  Brand name only?

I'm not exactly sure.
But, they are simply yummy.

~ Simply Yummy Rice Krispies Squares ~

1/3 cup Butter
60 Regular Sized Marshmallows (Jet Puffed)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
8 cups Rice Krispies (Kellogg's Brand)

In large heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter
with the marshmallows over low heat**.

**Don't be tempted to turn up the heat to hurry them along.

It doesn't work.  It ends in disaster.  Trust me, I know these things.
Be patient.  It takes time.  Stir until completely melted.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Add in the Rice Krispies cereal and stir until well mixed.
Pour into parchment lined 9 x 13 pan.
Butter hands well and press down until evenly distributed in pan.
Cool in fridge until they hold their shape when cut.

These freeze really well.


January 9, 2014

Expanded and Unabridged

Expanded and Unabridged ~ A recap of our time away.
But, before we launch into all that, please know that we view this vacation as a gift
from the Lord's gracious and loving hand to our family.  We didn't deserve it.  
It really was a wonderful provision for this first Christmas without our Austin.
Not a need.  Not at all.  However, it truly was a great blessing.

I gave a brief synopsis in my last post.  Very brief.
This, however, is the expanded and unabridged version.
It isn't brief and it isn't for the faint of heart ~ wink.  
Remember I said we came home exhausted?  Yes, we did.

 But, it was good.  Very, very good.

Our adventures began at 5:00am on December 10th.

We left for the airport shortly after rising to catch an 8:00 am flight.
We landed just before 11:00am in Los Angeles, California.
Fraser, our love-of-anything-cultural man, discovered that there
was an outdoor Mexican market in the heart of old L.A.
So, as you may have guessed, it was one of the first things we did.

The next morning, we met up with my sister and her two children for the day.
Unfortunately, her husband had to work, so, he was unable to join in.  We were sad.
We ate at In-N-Out for lunch together ~ What a treat!  :)
We don't have In-N-Out here in Canada, so this was our first ever experience.
Do you have In-N-Out where you are?  You must go!

We were able to spend the day together at Disneyland ~ What fun!

We headed over to my sister's on the weekend.
Early the following week, the boys took a day out at March Air Force Base.
Emma and I stayed behind ~ We were not sorry to *miss out*.  :)

As you can see, Calvin was in his element.
Planes and cameras are his two favourite things.
Just to give oomph to that statement, I will let you in on a little something ~
Calvin and Howie spent an entire day at LA International Airport,
on day three of our trip, where he took over 1000 images of planes!
Yessirree...he has it bad.

But, I digress.  And, no, I wasn't there.  
I was with Fraser and Emma for another day at Disney.  :)

After five nights with my sister, we ventured out on a road trip.
We took an excursion that had us journeying through the Mojave Desert.
What an experience that was!  Miles and miles of sand and straight (but rolling) road.

Fraser wasn't running for help ~ he was curious.

Amazing and massive expanse of majestic wilderness ~

Truly, one feels extremely small in the middle of it all.

Historic Route 66 ~ A fun find!

We drove six hours Northeast from my sister's home to Williams, AZ.
We arrived still wearing shorts as snow was just beginning to fall.
Amazing what happens when you climb a few thousand feet and drive North.
You get Winter!  :)

The next morning, we drove from Williams to the Grand Canyon National Park.

The South Rim views were completely clouded in.
The very first family shot of the day is all grey.  No view.

Nada.  Zip.  Nothing.

This was to be our only day at the Canyon ~ and it wasn't guaranteed to clear.

Of course, we were hoping to see something.  
Howie wanted to stand in one spot and wait.  He really did.
We walked instead.  And, over time, the cloud lifted.
What a great blessing!!  Because, who knows if we will ever be back.

The Lord is in the details.  Isn't He just so gracious?

It was actually a treat to see the Canyon in varying light
and cloud cover throughout the day.  It was stunningly beautiful.  
I am SO glad we made the effort to go!

Emma captured Calvin capturing an image.

Yes, he was nearing the edge.
No, I didn't tell him not to get too close.
(At least, not at that moment.  Nope.  I was quiet as could be.)

Emma's camera does panoramic shots like the one below ~ 

Isn't it just amazing?  The sheer expanse of the Canyon is mind boggling.
It really is true ~ it cannot be fully appreciated from photos.
In all honesty, it's difficult to comprehend what you are actually looking
at even when standing right at the edge.  Incomprehensible.  Truly.

We made it over to an Eastern Viewpoint where there was a tower to climb.
The views from inside the tower were glorious.
The majesty of the Canyon brings glory to our Great God.
It makes me smile to think of His Creativity!

Emma and Daddy (above) and Mummy (below) inside the tower.

Fraser and Howie late in the day.

It was sunny, but cold.

The South Rim's elevation is about 7,000 feet.

This is such a common view of our Calvin ~

Camera in hand capturing whatever is before him.

Just like this!  :)

A tripod is a great tool in the hand of a skilled photographer.
Thank you, Calvin, for bringing it along ~ it was a blessing to 
have you in some family photos alongside us.

We spent the night in Flagstaff and then travelled South the next day.  

Before the day was out, we were into warmer weather once again.
One of the highlights of our trip was that we were able
to meet up with Jared and Lisa and their family.

What a blessing to our hearts!

The boys were thick as thieves and could be found hunting scorpions

or playing checkers or soccer together.  It was a flurry of activity.
Did you notice I said scorpions?  They actually found one.
It was outside the room Howie and I were staying in.  
I stayed in bed and let the men handle it.  And, they did.

Emma and this young miss became fast friends.
She was eager to learn how to knit ~ I'm not sure how much she learned.
But, they do look happy...don't they?

Lisa posted a less civilised photo on her blog of the kiddos ~

Wanna see?  Click here.

Lisa and me...together.  :)

We make quite a crowd ~

Thank you, Jared and Lisa, for sharing your home with us...
You blessed us so very, very much!

On the way back to CA to my sister's home,
we stopped at a rest area to get a photo with one of these Saguaro Cacti.
The children had never been *up close and personal* with one before.
Howie got a little too close ~ He was stuck by one of the needles!  Nasty.  :(

By the time we got to our final stop, we had logged nearly 1800 miles

on the rental vehicle.  Thankfully, we were renting with unlimited mileage.
It was quite the journey, but, well worth the effort.

Back at my sister's home...

Christmas Day arrived, and there were gifts under the tree 
for each of the children.  There were gifts for us as well.  So sweet.
It was warm and some of us were in shorts and some ate
breakfast outside.  It was out of the ordinary in many ways.

So, we had a different Christmas.

And, it was a blessing.  We enjoyed the sunshine and warmth

that we do not have in our part of the globe at this time of year.
We enjoyed the company of loved ones who graciously opened their
home and hearts to us not knowing exactly what to expect.
And, we were blessed by the Lord in unexpected ways.

He is always Good and Gracious and Kind.  Always.

Thank you once again, our precious family, 
for including us in your traditions this year ~
We love you and thank the Lord for you!

My Mama heart will not allow me to complete this post without mentioning 

our precious Austin ~ We miss him terribly.  Horribly.
We don't like to make new memories without him.  It hurts.
But, we are making new memories.  Without trying.
By God's great grace, many of our new memories are happy ones.

But, it's bittersweet.

We had many times of reflection and teary moments while we were away.

We also had many joy-filled times of laughter and fun.  
Tears and joy.  Emptiness and fullness.  Caught between.  

It's a new way of life and living.

It was sad to come home to an empty house where our Austin no longer lives.

We know that he is not missing out on anything.  He is rejoicing in his eternal Home.
We know that he is living.  Just not here.  He lives with the Lord in Heaven.
It really won't be long before our Saviour takes us to live there as well.

Oh, to continually have an eternal perspective!  

It is the best comfort for our aching hearts.  

May the Lord help us all to live each day as if it were our last.

And, live each day for eternity. 
Because, that's what really matters.  It really is.

Much Love,

**Photo credits ~ Calvin, Emma, Howie and Camille

using two different cameras and one phone.
It was too tricky to keep track of who used what and when for this post.  :)