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!)

November 29, 2012

Unbroken Circle ~ An Update

Our family circle is once again unbroken ~
Austin is home!
After six days in the hospital, he is home. 
And, we are thankful.

Each day is a gift.

Once off the antibiotics and settled into a new
heart medicine regime,
Austin progressively began recovering.
Thank you so much for praying!  
He is much better now than he was prior to his hospital stay.

He, however, is lighter...

not really what we wanted, but it is what it is! 
Time, and the Lord's healing Hand upon him
should take care of that.  
Perhaps a little home cooking will help too?  :)

Surgery is still slated for the 4th.

We wait.  And, we pray.
The pacemaker is not where our hope lies.
Our hope lies in our Great God.
And, we know that He does all things well.
Even when those things are not our first pick.
Or, even our second or third pick!

Whatever the Lord gives, 
He gives out of a heart of love.
Perfect love.

We rest in the knowledge 

that our times are in His hands.
And, He orders our steps.
And, His ways are much higher than ours.

How blessed we are!

Trials of life draw us closer to Him.

They reveal more of His Wonderful Nature to us.
We are sustained by the will of His Power.
That actually is the case always.
It just seems to become all the more
precious at times like these.

Thank you for praying!

We are thankful for each one of you.

May the LORD bless you all!

In HIS Love,

November 27, 2012

Roller Coaster ~ An Update

It feels a little like we've been riding a Roller Coaster.
Up and down, and whipped back up again,
only to come crashing back down!

It's certainly been an interesting journey,
and we do not have all the answers.  The specialists don't either.
It's a little confusing and difficult to untangle.

Austin was admitted for heart failure 
management and to prep his body for surgery.
While in ICU Austin's temp was up a little.
(It was HOT in there).

Due to Austin's physical condition, 
it was decided to give a potent IV antibiotic.
An infection could be fatal to Austin at this time.
It was a reasonable thing to do.

However, the culture that they took
at the time the antibiotics were started came back negative.
The IV antibiotics were stopped as soon as that news was received.
But, they had already rendered their nasty side effects.

Crohn's is now in a full-on flare.
He seemed to be well managed on that front on admission.
Austin is now more sick than he was last week.

Two sets of specialists are continually assessing Austin ~
Cardiologists and Gastroenterologists.
Please pray that they both would have insight and wisdom
to know what to do for Austin.
Please pray that we would have wisdom to
pursue the right course of treatment for our precious son.
Please pray that God would continue to have HIS
way in this whirlwind.  HE is Good.  Always.

Thank you so much!
We appreciate each and every one of you!

With Love, Camille

November 22, 2012

God Orders Our Steps ~ An Update

We make our plans,
but, God orders our steps.

The other day we were at the adult cardiologist's office
for a pre-op visit and check up.
We were meeting with this specialist for the first time.
The plan is for Austin to be attended by three specialists.
How blessed we are!

This morning I received a call from
the cardiologist at Children's.
Apparently, he was contacted by the cardiologist
we met with at the beginning of the week.
He felt it best to have Austin assessed and admitted
to adjust medications.

He's at Children's Hospital right now.

My plans did not include this.
But, I am thankful that God's plans do.
It seems to be the wisest course of action.

The hope is to stabilize him with
the introduction of an IV heart failure drug
and then swap it out for an oral one.
Then he can come home.

Perhaps this will just take a few days.
Or, maybe it will not be that simple.
My plans were to continue with *normal* posts
until the surgery date, 
at which time I planned to update once more.

Those plans have changed.

For the time being, my focus must be on Austin
and the rest of the children, (and Howie too!) as I 
divide my time between here and there.
Thank you for your prayers and for understanding
my lack of blog variety.  :)

May the LORD continue to have HIS way.
Where He leads we will follow.

Many Blessings!

November 21, 2012

Moving Forward ~ An Update

We cannot look back too much.
Hindsight is often 20/20.
But sometimes, it isn't.  

For me, it's not been too productive

to think about past events
and the what-if's and maybe's of
the would've, could've, should've things
surrounding Austin's illness.

We're moving forward.

Living this day.

Trying not to take on the worries of tomorrow.
And, in light of that,
my posts will resume *normal* topics
while we wait for Austin's surgery date.

He is scheduled for December 4th.

If you think of us in this regard,
we would be so grateful of your prayers.
There are things that could go wrong.
But, there are also many things that could go right.

Austin is in a very weakened state physically.

We need wisdom to discern when, and if,
we should take him to hospital ahead of his surgery date.
Please pray that he would not deteriorate any further,
and that he even might regain some of his strength.

As for the procedure itself ~

The leads are tricky to insert.

Please pray that all would go smoothly and 
that the leads would be attached in the most effective locations.
Please also pray that the defibrillator placed
would not malfunction and shock Austin at the wrong time!
And, please pray that Austin would be in
the category (two thirds) of people
who are helped by implantation of this heart device.

God's ways are best.

I must continually remind myself

that nothing happens by chance.
And that, indeed, the LORD does all things well!
All things work together for good for His people.
I really do believe this.

At the very core of my being.

God is Good.  All the time.
May HE be glorified in and through us.

With Love,

November 17, 2012

It's Time ~ An Update

It's time.

Austin is booked for the placement of an ICD Pacemaker.
The date we've been given is December 4th.
We know that God is Good.  Always.
His ways are perfect.  Always.  We rest in HIS plan.

Perhaps this pacemaker will help Austin's heart to heal.
The LORD often uses means to accomplish His purposes.
Perhaps this pacemaker will be the best thing that has happened
to Austin's entire system in a long time.  Perhaps.

Whatever the outcome is, the ICD Pacemaker is not our Saviour.
No.  The LORD is!  We rest in HIM!

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee:
because he trusteth in Thee.  Trust ye in the LORD for ever:
for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength."  Isaiah 26:3-4 

Thank you so much for lifting our family, and especially Austin,
up to our Great God in prayer!  He hears and answers.
He truly does all things well.

Many Blessings, Camille

November 14, 2012

Living Life

We are all here.  This day we have life and breath.
This day we have the strength and grace we need.
We are living life.

Blessings upon blessings!

None of us knows what a day will bring forth.
None of us knows what will happen next.
We make our plans.  But, God orders our steps.

It's easy to assume that the details of life
will go on as they do now.

But, we do not know if we will be given our next breath.
We are not in control of our destiny.
We do not have ultimate control of anything, actually.

So, we live life.  And, enjoy the moments.
They truly are gifts.
Gifts directly from the Hand of God.

This post is a mix of all the run-of-the-mill 
blessings of the every day.
They are random and run together one after
the next ~ just like the moments of our lives.

I captured Emma one morning reading in bed ~
It's her new favourite.  :)

"Please Mummy, may I make waffles for lunch?"  Of course!

Doin' school in the living room...

...and in the school room...

...and in the office/school...
all while furniture is being constructed ~ Yippee for Ikea!

The Learner got his *N*!

Me...with paintbrush in hand, 
and painting clothes on ~ getting more things done!

Yippee for tape that worksnearly perfectly!

Emma's books at the front door ~ just in from music lessons.

Fraser and Emma reading History together ~ Emma was taking notes.  :)

A family games night ~ complete with Twizzlers.  

My fire builder...

...and one of his fires.  :)

My leaf raker...

...and the leaves before they were all gone.

What a blessing it is to know that our times
are in the LORD's Hands.  His ways are perfect.

We have nothing to fear.  
Everything to hope.
Every reason to rejoice!
May HE give you His peace and presence
each step of the journey!

With Love, Camille

November 12, 2012

Ten Days ~ An Update

First things first ~ I would like to express our
grateful thanks to each one of you who have
sent emails, phoned, prayed, and just generally cared for and loved us.
It has been (and is) a great blessing!

 Ten days ago Austin met with his cardiologist at Children's.
Just a few days after that meeting, he seemed to hit rock bottom.
He was nearly where he was at when released
from the hospital over seven months ago.  Almost.  

Then, on Tuesday of last week he seemed to turn a corner.
Each day he reported feeling a little better.  Just a little.
But, *just a little* added up makes a difference.
The LORD has been so gracious to us!

The next couple of weeks we wait and continue on with the meds prescribed.
We trust that the LORD will sustain our son.
And, we pray that HIS will for Austin would be accomplished.

The pacemaker and defibrillator, as we understand it, will be required.
Unless God heals him ~ which is possible.
Whatever is best in God's plan is what we desire.

By God's grace.

Thank you so much for praying 
and for your continued friendship!!

With Love, Camille

November 2, 2012

In the Time of Trouble ~ An Update

Howie and Austin are on their way home from Children's Hospital.
They met with two specialists this morning ~
Our cardiologist and another cardiologist who is also an electrophysiologist.
She has further training beyond cardiology.

She carefully reviewed Austin's case, 
and spent about an hour
with Austin and Howie explaining everything thoroughly to them.

What a blessing!

As I understand it, the way forward is as follows.
Austin is to continue to take the heart medication recently re-introduced.
He is to carefully listen to his heart and to go to the ER if anything 
*out of the ordinary* should happen.

Another Holter Monitor has been ordered for one month from now.
Austin's Tachycardia was detected on his most recent Holter ~ 
which was just read this week. Hence, the urgent appointments today at Children's.

Unless the LORD heals our son, a pacemaker will be required.
Timing is yet to be determined.
They like to put it off until absolutely necessary ~ It's a last resort.

The goal now is to get him stabilised.
We, of course, continue to pray for healing.
But, we know the LORD's ways often are not ours.

They are better.

The following are precious verses that the LORD used

to encourage my heart this morning as
we processed the news of Austin's need for a pacemaker.
How Great and Wonderful our Heavenly Father is!!

"The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?"

"For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion:
in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me;
He shall set me up upon a rock."

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and He shall strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, on the LORD."
~ Psalm 27 verses 1, 5 and 14 ~

May the LORD encourage you this day!

With Love, Camille

November 1, 2012

Bend in the Road ~ An Update

Another bend in the road.  Austin's heart needs help.
Apparently, he's been having episodes of Tachycardia
a very serious situation for someone with a heart like his.
Howie will take Austin to Children's in the
morning for further testing and assessment.

There's no question.  He needs a pacemaker.
It's felt that he needs it now.  We just got the news tonight.
Thank you to all of you who have lifted our family up in prayer 
these last number of months ~ it is so greatly appreciated.

The LORD is Faithful.  He goes before us.
We are in His hands.  He truly does all things well.
As I know more, I will post updates.

"...the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm,
and the clouds are the dust of His feet."  Nahum 1:3b

Much Love, Camille

October 29, 2012

Janine's Autumn Chowder

Our niece *loves* this chowder!
Even on a hot day she has been known to request it!
And, once I tried it, I understood.
Really, I did! :)

I still prefer it in the Fall/Winter.
Something about it says that to me.
Maybe it's in its name? ;-)

It's what I served for supper one night last week.
(Actually two nights, since I made double).
One recipe serves 4 to 5 generously.
Another great thing about this chowder
is that it can be whipped up at nearly a moment's notice.
Thought to pot to table in under an hour.

How's that for a home-cooked meal?
Biscuits on the side would be nice,
but, this chowder delivers nicely
in the fill-you-up department.


Since I gleaned this recipe from my sister,
I've named it after her.
I don't know where it originally came from ~
If you do, please do tell so I can give
credit where credit is due.

And, it is due, believe me!  

~ Janine's Autumn Chowder ~

1 cup onion, diced
Olive oil for frying
3 cups new potatoes with skins on, diced
1 1/2 cup carrots, sliced
3 cups frozen corn
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp sea salt (omit if using stock from a cube)
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups milk
1/4 cup flour

8 slices of bacon, fried crisply for a topping.

Fry onion in oil in soup pot.
Add stock, potatoes and carrots.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer
about 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Stir in milk, corn, pepper and salt.
Heat to simmer.  Do not boil.
Mix cheese and flour together in a bowl until cheese is coated.
Add to pot, stirring constantly.  
Stir until cheese is melted and soup is thickened.

Serve with crumbled bacon.  Y.U.M!


With Love,