December 17, 2014

Missing Austin and Merry Christmas!

Christmas is upon us and we find ourselves
missing our Austin in the midst of it all.
We always will.  That will never change.
Never, that is, until we are called into eternity.

There will be no missing there.

In the meantime, we remember and we look back.
It hurts.  But, we are so very conscious of our Austin's gain.
He is no longer bound by the temporal.  By sin.  By suffering.
We can't help but rejoice when we think of where
he is and what he is doing.  All the time.

He will never die again.

It truly is an amazing thought.  A comforting thought.  A steadying thought.
It takes the sting away when we fill our hearts and minds with the reality of it all.
And, we rejoice because this is why our Saviour came to earth the first time.
To save His people from their sins, and to give them eternal life.  

To prepare a way for His people to be with Him.  Forever.

Austin made this tree ornament for me when he was ten.  
He hand-printed these sweet words on the back of it ~
"To My Dearest Mom Merry Christmas!  Love, Austin xxxooo"
It has a prominent spot on our tree.  I'm a mixture of emotions over it.
And, through it all, the Lord is good.  So very, very good!

This is just one of the many ways I am missing him.
All that he has done is all he will ever do ~ here.
I miss what will never be this side of eternity.  I miss him.

We are planning to be home this Christmas season.
There are many things on the calendar ~ too many?
Our front door threatens to be worn out with all the
comings and goings ~ but, it is good.  And, we are thankful.

There are many voices out there vying for your attention.
I like to take mine out of the mix especially at this time of year.
Quiet reflection is hard to come by at the best of times.
But, at Christmas?  It's nearly impossible.

So, I leave you with these precious verses from the Word of God
to ponder in your hearts at this wonderful time of year.
It really is all about Him!

"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

"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government
shall be upon his shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life;
no man cometh to the Father, but by me."  John 14:6

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; 
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."  John 6:37

May the Lord bless you each with His peace and presence now and always.
May He continually be your all in all.  Your everything.
May you follow wherever he leads.  For all your days.
Until He calls you from this world into the next.

He is faithful.  And, He is good.  Rest in Him.

My plan is to take the next couple of weeks off from blogging.
I hope to catch up with you all early in the New Year, Lord-willing.
If you should choose to leave a comment here it will not appear until then.
Thank you for always being so understanding of these breaks I take.
Y'all bless my heart and make me smile.  Truly.

 Merry Christmas from our Home to Yours!
Much Love, Camille

December 16, 2014

London and Wales ~ Final Installment

We went on a few walks with our Auntie Mary during our time with her.
Some were journeys down memory lane ~ for her and for me.  It was good.

One of those walks took us down a local path for a visit with Honkey the Donkey.
(I am not sure how he got his name, but, it seems everyone calls him by it.)
He was abandoned at the property of the people who care for
him about 25 years ago.  The current owners were given one payment for his board
and then the original owners never returned.  He was left with lovely people.

Isn't he cute?

Or...maybe not?

Do you remember when I mentioned the previous trip to Wales I took in 2008?   
It was on that visit that I had the opportunity to meet Honkey.  Here's proof. 
This is me meeting Honkey, and you meeting the much younger me.  :)

 Isn't the property just lovely?  You can see the gate in the centre of the photo below ~
Honkey lives in the pasture beyond it.

On our last morning with Auntie Mary, we went for one more walk.
It's referred to as *Top Farm Walk* since there is a farm on it by that name.
We were about to leave this cute little house for the last time.

Just prior to our walk, we stopped in to visit with Auntie Mary's
neighbour for a quick good-bye.

The sun was bright,  so it was difficult to get a good picture ~
but, here we are with our friend, regardless!

Top Farm has horses.

Much to the delight of our girl ~ remember this?

Calvin caught some photos of us coming....

...and going.

As well as a few views along the way ~ of course.

We said our good-byes and gave hugs all around.  And then we were gone.  
We drove back down toward London in preparation for our flight home the following day.
Along the way we stopped for photos.  (Surprised?  Didn't think so.)
This is our little rental car (it accommodated seven...barely).
We are all in this shot ~ if you include Calvin's shadow.

Calvin took this photo....

...while Emma was taking this one.  :)

It was a great blessing that we were able to take Auntie Mary with us on our journeys.
This car was an upgrade from what we originally ordered ~ there were two *jump seats* in
the very back where the clothes are in this shot.  Emma mostly sat there ~ sideways.

This is the field Calvin wanted to take photos of ~ the reason we stopped.
May as well make it fun, right?

Fraser really enjoys Coca Cola.  We don't have this type in Canada, so it was a novelty.
(He actually prefers the classic recipe, but, it was fun to try something different.)

One thing that I found very interesting in England was the well thought out placement of
these rest areas ~ Welcome Break is a brilliant idea! It's a one-stop-shop experience.
Each one is equipped with a choice of restaurants, coffee shops, convenience stores,
as well as a hotel and service station.  Usually, they were the same ones at each stop.

We watched for them and discovered that they
were strategically placed every hour or so along the major route.

Unfortunately, I don't have a *normal* photo to share as the camera was on paint mode ~
but, these images give an idea of how it (almost) looked.  It is definitely
one of those things we want to remember about our trip.

After a good night's sleep and a wonderful breakfast in our hotel (free with points!)
we headed on over to Heathrow to return the car and to catch our flight home.

Once again, we had plenty of time once we were through security.  (The way I like it.)
On this occasion, our extra time was used up with last minute souvenir shopping and eating.

And, then...we were off!
Calvin took this photo above the far north ~ amazing, isn't it?

We arrived home at about 4:30 in the afternoon our time ~
it's much easier to travel west (which is what we were doing on this
leg of the journey).  My brother picked us up and we went out for a bite to eat.
It took us a few days to get turned around, but, we did it with relative ease.

And that, my friends, concludes this chronicle of our recent trip to the UK.

We are so thankful to the Lord for the gift of this vacation ~
we know that all things come from His loving hand.  Always.
We do not in any way imagine that we deserved this ~ not at all.
Rather, we see it as a gracious gift to our family.  It really was!

Thank you for persevering through all these posts, and for joining in with me
in the remembering of it all ~ you bless my heart.

With Love, Camille

*Posts in this series ~ IntroductionPart OnePart TwoPart Three
Part FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenFinal Installment

**Photos in this post courtesy of my two photographers ~ Calvin and Emma.
Thank you SO much my bless my Mama heart.  xoxo

December 15, 2014

London and Wales ~ Part Seven

We had a total of two Sundays with our Auntie Mary
which meant that we were able to enjoy lovely visits with her church family.
It's amazing how that is ~ those you worship with
do become like family.  It's a wonderful thing!

Monday was our final full day together.

We opted to have an *easier* day and just do three things.  ;-)
We went to see the Acqueduct near Llangollen (pronounced fthlan-goff-thlen) ~
in which canal boats and canoes may be seen travelling along its waterways.
We went into the town itself and then, we circled around past 
a ruined Abbey on our homeward journey.

First stop, the Llangollen canal ~ see the canal boats parked?

Auntie Mary with me ~ have I mentioned we love her?

Calvin and Fraser with canal boats visible beneath them.

Yes, we walked across.  There are no railings on the other side of the waterway.
It is very high up ~ 127 feet above the river below.

Do I look a little uneasy?  Just a little.

The next two photos were taken on my previous trip to Wales in 2008.
We didn't get images like these on our family trip, so, I've included them here.

I remember thinking at the time that I was glad the children weren't with me.
It was (is) a little scary.  In the photo below you can see the buildings at the other end
of the walkway ~ that was the direction from which we had come!

In order to get this shot, I went down a little path just below
Auntie Mary in the photo above and looked up.  It's a magnificent structure.

This is the view from the centre of the aqueduct ~ the River Dee is below.

And, this is the view from a bridge within the village of Llangollen.

After we parked the car, we walked along the street and went in and out of shops.

Just ahead of us on the left you will notice a beige and green awning.

This is what was beneath that awning.

This photo is for Poppa ~ he spoke of these pork pies longingly.
I wish I could have brought one home for him.

So, we left Llangollen in time to view the Abbey before darkness set in.
We were there late enough in the day to warrant free admission.

It is amazing to think that this structure once had a roof and no grass underfoot.

Calvin was in his element.

Emma once again took photos of Calvin taking photos.

The shot above is Calvin's and the one below is Emma's.
They took these pictures at approximately the same time.

See me with Calvin and Auntie Mary in the distance?

Our three men inside the building which still has a roof on it ~ from two photos above.

The image below is one that Calvin captured from the same vantage point.
The next two shots were done using HDR imaging techniques.

Amazingly beautiful, wouldn't you agree?

Calvin had us stop so he could get a view shot on our way home.
We pulled over and he took a photo of us in our little car as well as the view.

See?  Howie is in the driver's seat, and I am seated directly behind him.

This is the view Calvin captured.

Almost done ~ only one more post to go.
With Love, Camille

*Posts in this series ~ IntroductionPart OnePart TwoPart Three
Part FourPart FivePart SixPart SevenFinal Installment

**Photos supplied by my two photographers ~
Calvin and Emma.  Thank you my loves.  xoxo