December 31, 2016

End of an Era

The time has come.  It's been percolating in my heart for awhile.
Blogging has been a blessing and an enriching experience over the past seven years.
When I began, I had no idea where it all would lead and how it would end.
But, in recent days, I've been winding down.  Finishing up.

It's the end of an era.

This chapter of our lives has come to a close.
It's a bittersweet thing.  And, yet, it is good.
All of life is good.  When we belong to the Lord,
there is nothing that happens to us that isn't.

Ultimately, it's all about Him.

And, that is what I hope to leave you all with.
A sense of His greatness and my smallness.
He is the One Who ought to be magnified.
He alone is worthy of all our praise.


The Lord has been pressing on my heart the idea that this is
the end of the path for me in this blogging world.

 As each of us seek to live this life He has given 
in a manner that brings glory to His Name,
may we all be found following wherever He may lead.
Accomplishing all that our hands find to do.

By His grace and in His strength.
For His glory alone.

At the end of all, all that matters is that you belong to
our precious Saviour.  Look to Him and live.
The Lord Jesus said, "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

With Love,
Camille

P.S. If at any time you wish to communicate with me, I'd love to hear from you!
My email address is flowersinhisgarden@gmail.com  
May the Lord bless you abundantly in all the days that lie ahead. 
And, may you be found to be in Him at the end of the path He has you on.

**Image courtesy of Calvin ~ It's of Emma 
on our recent trip to Northern California.

December 30, 2016

To Our Grandchildren...With Love

You are not yet here.  In fact, our children (your parents) are still teenagers.  
I am thinking ahead to the day when you might read this.
Perhaps you never will.  But, if you do, these are some of the things
I would want to say to you if I could.

First and foremost, the Lord Jesus Christ is everything.
Eternity is what really matters.  Temporal things are temporary.
And, what you put your faith in here will affect your life forever.

Our prayer has always been that all those who are born into,
or marry into, or by any other means become a part of our family
until the day when the Lord returns would belong to Him.
It is our greatest desire.  Nothing else is more important.  Absolutely nothing.


L to R ~ Fraser, Howie, Camille, Emma, and Calvin (2016)

So, though I might tell you that manners count for something
(and they do), or that saving up and being wise with your money matters
(and it does), or to wait and be patient will pay off in the long run
(and it likely will), and to work hard and be faithful in the small things
is important (and it is), I am going to leave you with a few verses to ponder.

Because at the end of it all,  God's Word will remain.  
It is unchangeable and true.  It is infallible and inerrant.
It is lasting and eternal.  It is the foundation upon which we stand.

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is found throughout Scripture,
however, it is spelled out very clearly in the following verses.
Each one of us is sinful and separated from God by our sin.  
We cannot bridge the chasm between us and God.  We need a Saviour.  

The Lord Jesus came to earth, fully God and fully man,
to live perfectly so He could die to pay the penalty due for the sin of His people.
He absorbed all the wrath of God for that sin on the cross, 
rose victorious over death and sin and Satan, and is now seated at the right hand 
of the Throne of God making intercession for all those who belong to Him.

Those who come to Him in faith and repentance will live eternally
with Him, and those who don't will be cast away forever.
It is not popular to proclaim these things in this day and age,
however, it must be said.  Look to Him and live!



"...all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."  Romans 3:23

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one."  Romans 3:10

"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal
life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Romans 6:23

"But God commendeth His love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  Romans 5:8

"For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast."  Ephesians 2:8-9

"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 unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:28-30

"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

"But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become
the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."  John 1:12

"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is none else."  Isaiah 45:22

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 
or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?"  Matthew 16:26

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."
Philippians 1:21



On Austin's grave marker we have the words "...with Christ which is far better"
from Philippians 1:23 etched into the granite.  We believe that phrase
with all of our hearts.  One day, we hope the same words will be etched onto ours.
Until that day, however, we are called to live here.


Our Austin (2011)

So we carry on with an eye on the eternal.
We go forward step by step seeking to keep
our hearts fixed on those things that will last forever.


L to R ~ Fraser, Emma, and Calvin (2016)

We are about to launch into another year, and as we do, we say farewell to the current one.
I am sure it will be this way until the Lord returns.  Seasons change, years come and go, 
and time marches on.  It is a lovely thing to reflect on all that the Lord has done
and look forward to all that He will do.

What a precious thing it is to rest our hearts there.

When we are the Lord's, we have nothing to fear and everything to hope.
This life is not all there is.  Eternal things are what truly matter.
In light of that, we are seeking to follow our Saviour wherever He may lead 
and to trust Him with our future.  To trust Him with all who come after us.

He is the One Who holds everything in His hands.

We are His slaves.  We live and we die for Him.
There truly is nothing else.  From first to last, it's all about Him.
What a freeing and liberating thing to ponder.
However, it is a sobering thought as well.

It ought to make a difference in how we live.

So, as we embark on another new year, I reflect and I rejoice.
In all that has been and all that will be.  All because of Him.
And, because we know that our Saviour is in control of it all,
we can confidently face the future.  By His grace and for His glory.

With So Much Love,
Your Grandma (Camille) 
xoxo

**Ocean image courtesy of Emma ~
Thank you my love XO

December 29, 2016

Books I Love

Many people make it practice to record a reading list for the year.
Some make their lists prior to reading, while others make theirs after.
What follows is my reading list for life...so far.

I expect there will be more to come since I am still in my forties (for a little longer).
 The purpose of this post is to record my favourites all in one place.
It is not an exhaustive list, but, these are the books that I have returned
to, or expect to return to, for more than one read-through.

"Trusting God Even When Life Hurts" by Jerry Bridges 
is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.
It's full of Scripture and sound theology and offers
solid answers to life's toughest questions.

"Grieving Hope and Solace" by Albert Martin
was given to us when our Austin was called home to heaven.
It is a treasure that can be read and pondered and used to
encourage over and over again.  Full of truth and hope,
it was used by the Lord to heal our broken hearts.

"Holiness" by J. C. Ryle
sat on our bookshelf for many years before I picked it up.
I cannot believe I waited so long to soak in the wise words of
this godly man.  He had the ability to take deep truths
and make them understandable for all his readers.
It has become of my all-time favourite books.



"Little Pilgrim's Progress" by Helen Taylor
is a faithful rendering of the original work by Bunyan.
It is not watered down or minimized, yet, it is simplified
in its language so that even young children will understand the story.
It is a wonderful read-aloud which will spark conversations
with your children of those real and eternal things that truly matter.
It does have frightening parts, so perhaps it would be best to pre-read
to discover the appropriate time to introduce it to your children.

"Morning and Evening" by Charles Spurgeon
is my all-time favourite devotional book.
There are readings for each morning and evening of the year.
We like to think of Spurgeon as our own pastor from the past.
He had a beautiful way of conveying truths of Scripture with word
pictures and illustrations.  His writings are always so encouraging
and challenging.  Year after year, this work never gets old.

"The Glory of Heaven" by John MacArthur
was such an encouragement to our hearts after our Austin
was called to live in heaven instead of here.
Pastor MacArthur is faithful to the Scriptures and doesn't
introduce any fanciful ideas into his solid teaching.
He refutes anything that is extra-biblical in nature 
as it pertains to the subject of heaven.

"The Gospel According to Jesus" by John MacArthur
is a book we are currently reading through together with Howie's parents.
Once again, Pastor MacArthur doesn't leave any room for error
in the presentation of the Gospel.  He faithfully expounds Scripture
and teaches directly from its pages in order to expose false teachings.
It is so important for us to know what we believe and why.
This is a treasure that is worthy of sharing.

"The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment" by Jeremiah Burroughs
was a book I was introduced to in my Bible School years,
and then again by my Mum-in-Love when Howie and I were engaged.
Regrettably, I have let it languish on the shelf for far too long.
Jeremiah Burroughs was a Puritan who lived in England in the 1600's.
However, his subject is just as pertinent today as it would have
been four hundred years ago.  It's a timeless classic.

It should go without saying that the Bible is the greatest book of all.
Soaking our hearts and minds in its truth 
is a necessary practice.  A vital one, in fact.



"And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures which are able to
make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine,
for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, 
throughly furnished unto all good works."  2 Timothy 3:15-17   

If you are not a reader and opt for just one book in your library, the Bible would top my list.
The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments are all that are needed to know God.
It is the only book of its kind because it is God's infallible and inerrant Word.
It is living and powerful and has the wonderful ability to change lives.

Whatever you read in 2017, may you find it to be a blessing
to your heart, lead you closer to the Saviour,
and encourage you in your walk with Him.

With Love, Camille

December 28, 2016

Christmas Quotidian (28. 12. 16)

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


Calvin and Emma enjoying a fire.


Mantel decorations.


Emma, Calvin, and Fraser with Grandpa on his birthday.
(I didn't have the proper candles (again), so, 2 less than 9 plus 8 = 78)


Dad with two of his three kids.


Howie's parents.


Poppa and Grandma with their baby.


Surrounded by love.


Adjusted Christmas Eve on the 26th.


Christmas Eve dinner-by-the-fire-feast.


It's a tradition ~ we like to watch an old classic film by the fire.
(This year's pick was "It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart.)


She was surprised.  A trilogy to read.


Christmas Dinner (on the 27th) with Grandma
(my Mom) and Uncle Nathan.

With Love,
Camille

December 24, 2016

The Reason

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Reason we celebrate.
He is God incarnate.  Fully God and fully man.
We reflect on His first advent while anticipating His second coming.
 
"Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign;
Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,
and shall call His name Immanuel."  Isaiah 7:14
 
"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

Our Saviour came to live perfectly to fulfill the law of God
in the place of all those who would trust in Him.
He went willingly to the cross to lay down His life for His people.

"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;
that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
2 Corinthians 5:21


The Lord Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of all those
that the Father would give Him, and consumed the wrath of God for those sins.
He rose victorious over death and sin and Satan and is now seated
at the right hand of God in heaven, interceding for His own.

At Christmas, we ought to look beyond
the manger and consider the cross.

One day, Jesus Christ will return to gather His people to Himself.
All those who have not put their trust in Him will be cast away forever.
It is a sobering thing to ponder.  Where do you stand?
This Christmas, are you trusting in the Christ of Christmas?

The Lord Jesus said, "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

If you wish to read more, click here for a wonderful
article explaining the Gospel and the Reason we have hope.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!
With Love, Camille

December 23, 2016

Austin's Clothes

Austin's clothes remained in his drawers and closet for nearly two years. 
We didn't have the heart to deal with his room, so it remained vacant
with his things nearly as he'd left them.
It was too difficult for us to sort through, so we waited.

Items that would be useful to his brothers were pulled out,
but, the rest stayed put.  The occasional piece made its
 way back into the mix of wearing and laundry and life.

But, some of the more sentimental pieces remained untouched.
A little over a year ago, we moved Calvin into his room.

Austin's things were stored away to be sifted through at a later date.  
His clothes were packaged up into a bag and set on a shelf. 
His collections, books, keepsakes and violin occupied another shelf.
I don't know when we will sort through everything.  One step at a time.

Almost three years to the day after his home-going to heaven,
I pulled the bag of clothes off the shelf and opened it up.

I am not sure where the idea came from, but,
it seems to me that it was another grieving mother who shared
what she had done with her child's clothing.
A raggy quilt had been made with the items.  What a wonderful idea!


So, that's what I am planning to do with some of Austin's clothes.  
I love it that it will be functional and in the mix of everyday life
  
Ready to be put to use or simply to view at any moment.  In any season.
After all, isn't that what keepsakes are for?
To be looked at and used and enjoyed?  Otherwise, they just gather dust.
I don't want Austin's things to languish on a shelf or sit tucked away in a box.

We are thankful to have these reminders of our Austin.
Each item of clothing that will be incorporated into this quilt is special.

It's a comfort to be reminded of our young man.
We speak of him often and smile as we remember.
Sometimes there are tears ~ at other times, there is laughter.
It's all part of the process of living here without him. 

I'm so thankful for that long-ago inspiration to make something
from the clothes he left behind.  It will be a treasure.

With Love,
Camille

December 22, 2016

Doggy Day Care ~ On Location

A couple of weeks ago, we returned home from a trip we were able to take as a family.
My sister and brother-in-law needed someone to stay with their dog while they
vacationed in Hawaii with their children.  They agreed to have all five of us fill that role.
It was a sacrifice of love, but, we did it!  (Joking, of course).

Apparently, Cloe (doggy's name) has been known to go into mourning
and on a hunger strike for at least three days when left at a kennel.
We couldn't let that happen, so, we make the trek down to take care of her.
She was sad that her people left.  But, before too long, we were her people.

This was our fist visit to their new location in Northern California.  
It was fun to explore new things with our kids.
And, in the process, we made new memories together.
The Lord truly is so very good and gracious, isn't He?



There is a mountain not too far from my sister's house,
and we conquered it...in our car.  :)



It is a State park and a very beautiful spot.
Fraser wasn't quite sure how to get down, but, he made it
without tearing his pants or skinning his knees.


Our original plan included a walk around the trail at the top,
but, the winds were howling at 40 miles an hour, and it was cold!
The summit (nearly 4000 ft) provided a stunning 360 degree view.



Since we were dog-sitting, we couldn't all go away overnight.
However, Howie happily volunteered to stay behind while the kids and I
caught a flight to Anaheim to take in Disneyland for one day.
We flew out in the wee hours of the morning, and returned the following evening.



One of our outings found us driving for about two hours to reach
Carmel-By-The-Sea.  It was well worth the effort.



Bare feet in December....crazy!





We took a little longer route home to take advantage of the view points
along what is known as the 17-Mile Drive.
This is a common sight....Calvin with his camera.



They are a little difficult to see, but, Howie is
with Fraser and Emma in the photo above.



Once my sister and her family were back home,
we took a day trip together into the city.



No San Francisco visit is complete without
stopping in to see the shops at Ghirardelli Square.





Emma captured a shot of my sister's family
on their phone.  Calvin captured Emma in the process.



Buses kept on separating us from the rest of the group while
they waited for a walk signal.  So, I got the girls to do silly faces with me.
There's just something about being with teenage girls that brings out the best in me.  :)



Fraser is always on the lookout for a spectacular souvenir.
Click here to see what he found for his collection while we were in London.



Calvin worked his magic and got the BEST family
photo of all time of my sister and her precious family.



Three of our treasures on our last night in the city.
I won't elaborate on the fact that this was Howie's, Emma's
and my second time at this very location at twighlight.  Don't even ask.  :)



My sweetie and me.

Thank you, J and K, for allowing us the opportunity
to take care of your dog and stay in your lovely home.
We know that all these things are gifts from our Lord's loving hand to us.
Thank you for being willing to have us take over your home in your absence.

With Love,
Camille

**Images in this post courtesy of my two photographers,
Emma and Calvin ~ Thank you my loves xoxo

December 19, 2016

A Canadian Tradition

It's a Canadian tradition.
However, it's a rare treat in this part of Canada.
It has to be cold enough (which it often isn't),
and the conditions have to be perfect (which they often aren't).



Fraser, Howie, and Calvin ~ on a local pond.

The boys took advantage of the great conditions and
played a total of about nine hours over three days last week.
Howie, on the other hand, had to work and was feeling his age.
He spent about an hour on the ice.

Today, it is raining and the ice is melting.
By all accounts, they had fun, and great memories were made.
Which is a good thing, because it may be a few years 
before it happens again.

Happy Monday!
With Love, Camille

December 16, 2016

The One Thing Necessary

"Before, the soul sought after this and that, but now it says,
I see that it is not necessary for me to be rich,
but it is necessary for me to make my peace with God;

it is not necessary that I should live a pleasurable life in this world,
but it is absolutely necessary that I should have pardon of my sin;
it is not necessary that I should have honour and preferment,

but it is necessary that I should have God as my portion,
and have my part in Jesus Christ, it is necessary that my soul should
be saved in the day of Jesus Christ...



...when the heart of a man has nothing to do,
but to be busy about creature-comforts, every little thing troubles him;

but when the heart is taken up with the weighty things of eternity,
with the great things of eternal life, the things of here below that
disquieted it before are things now of no consequence to him
in comparison to him in comparison with the other --

how things fall out here is not much regarded by him,
if the one thing that is necessary is provided for."

Quoted from "The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment"
by Jeremiah Burroughs pages 92-93.

With Love, 
Camille

**Photo courtesy of Calvin ~
Thank you my love xoxo