March 26, 2014

In Memory of Austin ~ A Giveaway!

**This giveaway is now CLOSED**

Our Austin loved Spurgeon.  We love Spurgeon.  Notice a trend?

We love Spurgeon because He points us to our Saviour.
He faithfully encourages us in the Truths found in God's Word.
in our home since we began our married life together.
It was a significant part of Howie's life long before that.

The Lord has used it to bless our hearts throughout the years.

We intend for each one of our children to take a copy with them
when they branch out and begin families of their own.

This devotional book would be a wonderful addition
to any Christian's personal library.  It is a gem.  A treasure.  
So full of encouragement and wisdom.  So full of Truth.
So applicable to life in all of its stages.  Timeless.

Spurgeon magnifies God's Word and our Saviour.

He continually directs the attention of the reader to eternal things.
Don't we all benefit from having our hearts and minds refreshed in these ways?

We look forward to meeting Spurgeon in Heaven.
I sometimes wonder if Austin has visited with him already.
And with Joseph and Daniel and Abraham.  I wonder.

We have a few copies of "Morning and Evening" around our home.
The one pictured above is the family copy.  It's dog-eared and well worn. 
We've written significant family happenings on its pages.
Its value is priceless.  A real treasure.

The day that Austin was taken Home to Heaven was June 1, 2013.
The reading for that day dealt with the providential appointment of
both sorrows and joys for God's people on this side of eternity.
So very applicable, don't you think?  The Lord is so very, very good.

"What our Heavenly Father ordains is wise and good.

What, then, my soul, is it best for thee to do?

Learn first to be content with this divine order,

and be willing, with Job, to receive evil from the hand of the Lord
as well as good...

...The dews of grace fall heavily in the night of sorrow."

~ Quoted from Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening" 

June 1st morning reading page 306 ~

I would love for you to have your own copy of this wonderful

devotional book.  It is in Spurgeon's original (brilliant) 1800's wording.
And, the copy I send you will be brand new.  :)

Just leave a comment saying you would like your name to be entered in our draw.

That's it.  Simple?  Yes.  So, what are you waiting for?
The Lord-willing, Emma will pull two names from the hat on 
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at Noon, Pacific Standard Time.
My plan is to announce the winners later on that day.

May the Lord bless you abundantly as you seek to follow Him

with all your heart.  He alone is worthy of all our praise.

Many Blessings,

**It has been brought to my attention that our tendency as people

often can be to elevate a man.  This is not my intention here.
Spurgeon was a man.  Just a man.  Not inspired.  Not perfect.

Only God's Word is infallible.  Only God is perfect.

No one ought to take His place in our hearts or affections.

The Bible deserves first place on our reading list.

It is the only book that is living.  It is full of wisdom and truth.
By God's great grace, it has the answers we seek.

"Morning and Evening" directs the reader's attention to God's Word.

It is full of encouragement and insights for the Christian on life's journey.
It is a wonderful supplement and ought to be regarded as such.
I trust this little note will clarify where I stand on these things.  :)

March 11, 2014

Battling it Out

We're in a battle.  Moment by moment.  Day after day.
Whether we realise it, or not, each one of us is battling it out.
It's a battle for Truth.  A battle for eternity.  A battle for all that matters.

But, Who is winning this battle?  Who will win?
Does the flesh win?  The Evil One?  The World?
In the end, the answer is the Lord.
Ultimately, He wins.  But, He also has already won.

Never before in my walk with Him
have I known the battle to be so strong.
So severe.  So all-encompassing.
Never, that is.  Until now.

And, through it all, the Lord is faithful.

He is good and perfect and does all things well.
Whatever He calls us to, as His children, He will see us through.
We are so greatly blessed to belong to Him.

"My heart and my flesh faileth: but God is the 

strength of my heart, and my portion forever."  Psalm 73:26

~ Our precious four in 2006 ~

Our Austin was taken Home to Heaven to be with his Lord
and Saviour, Jesus Christ, just a little over nine months ago.
What a beautiful thought.  What a precious thing.  Truly.
But, here.  Here, without him in our home, day after day ~
it is a battle.  A battle to keep our focus where it ought to be.

And, where ought it to be?

Rooted deeply and unshakeably in the Word of God.

In the Truth we find within its pages.
In eternity and all that means.  In the Lord Jesus Christ.
In following Him wherever He leads.

And, it's a battle.  Yes, each and every day.  

And, it will continue to be ~ until He calls us Home.

~ Austin in 2006 ~

We need wisdom and grace and strength to persevere.  
To finish our race well.  To follow and serve and bring glory to our Great God.
We need Him moment by moment, day after day.  We need Him always.
However, it is so easy to get distracted by the things of now.

The things of this life can crowd out the Truth. 

We can so easily find ourselves wallowing in self pity.

We are seeking, by God's great grace, not to allow that to happen.
May we be found daily battling it out for the Truth.  For eternity.
Soaking our hearts and minds in it.  Living it ~ day by day.

In His strength.  For His glory.  Alone.

~ Our precious four in 2007 ~

"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.

It is of the LORD's mercies that we are not consumed, 
because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him.
The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, 
to the soul that seeketh him."  Lamentations 3:21-25

When we fill our minds with Truth and keep our hearts fixed

on our Saviour and all He has done, we are well.  All is well.  In Him.

Many Blessings,

**Just a little note ~ I am taking a little time of quiet away from this space.  

Your comments, should you choose to leave any, 
will appear upon my return ~ Lord-willing.

At this moment, I am unsure of how long this quietness will last ~

a week or two?  Perhaps three or more?  It's just necessary ~ 
thank you for always understanding.

May the Lord bless you each with His peace and presence and comfort.

He alone is worthy of all our praise.  Forever.
All glory belongs to Him.  Alone.

March 10, 2014

Ordinary Things of Now

Most often, the things I want to remember
are the everyday, ordinary things.  Too often, though, I forget.
Recently, I set out to capture snapshots of life as just as it is ~ right now.
Life has a way of changing, and before we know it, it's different.
Just a few of the everyday, ordinary things of now...

Emma's room as it looked when I happened past.

All prepped and ready for our portfolio visit.

Working away at his new location in the school room.

Making mud pies ~ a tradition.

The supplies.

Birthday cards on the mantel.

Birthday balloons on the floor ~ another tradition.

Just prior to the first lesson on our newer van (it's seven) ~

Looking a little too pleased with the idea, methinks.  :)

Sunlight on the floor ~ the giddiness begins.

May the Lord help us all to enter into the moments He gives ~
they truly are gifts from His hand.

Many Blessings,

March 7, 2014

Bye-Bye Betsy

She's become like one of the family ~
Complete with her own name.

Betsy, as she is affectionately known by many (yes, it's true),
has been faithfully transporting us around for over twelve years now.
We bought her with 47,000 km on the odometer ~ she was seven.

We owned a Jetta prior to acquiring Betsy ~ however, 

since it only had five seats, it couldn't accommodate our growing family.
Notice the length of time we've had the van?  
It's not a coincidence that Emma is exactly the same age.

Up until that time, however, Betsy was the only 
means by which we got from A to B.

Well, if you don't include legs, 
bicycles, roller blades, or scooters.  She was it.

Howie, in particular, is attached. 
He is sentimental about all she represents.
And, when it comes right down to it ~ so am I.

We've gone through the mountains with her.
We've gone on many, many, family outings with her.
We've logged nearly 200,000 km in the twelve years she's been ours.

The boys all were loaded up with hockey gear and

transported to and from games many times over the years.
Emma came home from the hospital as an infant in her ~
Betsy was all she ever knew until she was nearly ten.

There are many benefits to having a vehicle like this up the drive.
But, we don't need two vehicles.  Up until two years ago,
we were a one vehicle family.  It was a good thing.
When it came time to sell her, we discovered that (on Craigslist)
she would only fetch about $500 ~ she was worth more to us than that!

And, at the time, she had almost six months of 

pre-paid insurance coverage.
It didn't make sense to sell.  So, we didn't.

It was a blessing, as that was just about the time when we

would benefit from having two vehicles the most.
Austin ended up being admitted to Children's Hospital in heart failure.
Howie and I were able to take shifts between our 
oldest son in the hospital, and our three younger children at home.

We often would pass each other going opposite directions on the highway.

He drove Betsy, and I drove the new-to-us vehicle.  Was't that sweet?  :)

Once that crisis was over, we kept Betsy on the road.

Austin got his N, and had the freedom to drive on occasion.
He took his sister and brothers to the library or the book store.
He ran errands and had a little freedom because of Betsy.

If he hadn't been so sick, he would have walked.

Just prior to the acquisition of our new-to-us second van,

we added up all that Betsy had cost us over the years, and we decided...
no more!  It was frightening how much we'd poured into her.
We did, however, put new brakes on after that decision.  Brakes are necessary.

Recently, as we anticipated paying for another year of insurance,

we number crunched and decided that having two vehicles 
in our family at this time is an extravagance.  Not a need at all.
So, we put her up for sale on Craigslist.  And, she sold!

It is a bittersweet parting ~ Betsy's been good to us.

But, she no longer is required.  It no longer makes sense to keep her.
We are sad to see her go.  She's been a blessing.

What about you?  Do you have a "Betsy" story to share?

Do you name your vehicles, or, are we the only ones? 
I know we aren't.  C'mon now...'fess up!  ;-)

Please tell us all about your own "Betsy" in the comments section

of this post, or on your own blog.  Do let us know if you post about it,
so we can be sure to come by and visit.

Many Blessings,

March 5, 2014

Perfection ~ Adaptable Blondies

These blondies really are perfection.
I made them three times in two days.  Dear me!
Twice on one of those days ~ truth be told.  Craziness.  :)

I have stopped making them, just so you know.

Not because they are not good, but, because I ran out of ingredients.
I plan to wait awhile before replacing them.  Wise, don't you think?

I've never actually made blondies before ~
at least, I don't think I have.  If I have, I don't remember.
Regardless, these are the best.  No need to look further.

It's a scary thing when you find a recipe that is this quick
and easy and just as yummy as these happen to be.  Before you know it,
they are mixed up (one bowl), spread into a pan, and baked.

Just. Like. That.

It's actually not a good thing.  Not good at all.
Because, if the ingredients are handy,
there is nothing to prevent you from mixing 'em up,
eating 'em up, and repeating the entire process.

All within an hour.  Twice!

Perhaps you should just make double to begin with.
It will save you some trouble in the long run.  
Trust me, I know what I'm talking about.

 Adaptable Blondies ~ Adjusted by me.
Originally found by me here and originally found by JJ here.

1/2 cup Butter, melted (use regular, not unsalted)

1 cup lightly packed Golden Brown Sugar
1 large Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1/8 tsp Sea Salt (or, Himalayan Rock Salt)
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut**
1/4 cup chopped Pecans**
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips**

**All extras should total no more than 1 cup

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Put egg, sugar, vanilla and sea salt

into a medium bowl.  Mix with a whisk, and add in the butter.  Mix again.
Stir in the flour, nuts, chocolate chips, or, whatever extras you are using.

Spread into a greased 8 x 8 inch glass baking dish.

The batter will resemble soft cookie dough.  Don't let that alarm you.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes.

Be sure that you don't over bake these.  They firm up as they cool.
These photos show my first batch which were over baked, in my opinion.
It didn't stop us from eating them, however.

These blondies are adaptable ~ you can add in almost any extras you think you'll like
and they will turn out.  Throw in any of your favourites and see what happens.
Apparently, various dried fruits (cherries? craisins?) would make wonderful additions.
The trick is to keep the add-ins to no more than 1 cup.

Now, go, gather up your ingredients and begin!
You'll be enjoying your own batch (or two) in about 30 minutes.  
They are yummy to eat while still warm ~  Enjoy!

Happy Wednesday Y'all! 
Many Blessings, Camille

March 4, 2014

One Day

When I say that snow is a novelty, I really mean it.

In most parts of our country, and even (perhaps?) this entire continent,
snow is something to endure and wish away.  More often than not, it seems.
But, not for us.  Not here.  We rarely get the white stuff,
and when we do, we take full advantage of it.

We also try to stay safe and warm at home.

In light of all this, the children were outside playing ~
sliding down hills and building forts.
Of course, hot chocolate is always required at some point ~
that's what mamas (who are keeping warm inside) are for, right?  :)

One glove on and one glove off.  
It's the best way to drink hot chocolate ~ 
in case you were wondering.

Enjoying a cup each after an afternoon of play.

My favourite part of the snow is the way it makes everything appear fresh and clean.
It's a wonderful opportunity to view God's creation through new lenses.

When the snows stopped falling, the skies were blue and the sun was shining.
Isn't this just the most glorious sight?  It was stunningly beautiful.
This was the view from our front deck the morning after we were snowed in.
Don't you just love the way the trees are all laden down with snow?

Truly, the world does reflect the glory of our Great God!

As we observed this scene outside our living room window,

 Emma and I discussed the fact that though this world
is tainted with sin and corruption, it still retains much of its beauty.

Then, we tried to imagine what Heaven is like without

sin or death or sorrow ~ we couldn't.  It's impossible.
What an incredible thing it is to consider that
absolutely nothing evil is even allowed to be there.

Too incredible to fully comprehend this side of eternity.

One day, we will know, just as Austin knows even now.

One day, we will see.  One day, we will be there.  One day. 
How wonderful and precious these truths are!  Truly.

Many Blessings,

March 1, 2014

A Piece of Our Boy

Our children were given Bibles while they were still babes.
They each received one for their first birthday or their first Christmas.
Those first Bibles were small pocket sized leather editions ~
they included both the Old and the New Testaments.
We had each child's name engraved on the front cover 
of his or her own copy of God's Word.

All but Fraser's are tucked away ~ they are precious.

(Unfortunately, his little Bible was left behind at a church we visited long ago).

The second Bible that each child was given was a little larger,
and was meant to see them through their upper childhood years.
Our plan has always been to give each of our children another
Bible as they graduate from High School.

But, as we know, sometimes plans get changed.

 Austin became gravely ill in 2012 ~ just prior to turning seventeen.
He was about a year away from his high school graduation.

And, suddenly, it was decided that the graduation Bible 
ought to be given for his birthday ~ the one he almost didn't have.
I felt an urgency in that moment and at that time ~ 
we wanted him to have his *grown up* Bible early.  

So, the Bible was given. 
I am so incredibly thankful that it was.

We fully expected Austin to grow up completely.

To live beyond us to a ripe old age.  To marry and to have children.  
We really didn't believe that his time on this earth was short.
But, it was.  And, the Lord knew.  And, His ways are always best.

In the nearly fourteen months that this Bible was in his possession,
our Austin made notes and marked and underlined.
And, it is precious ~ a sweet gift from the Lord to us.
It's a treasure.  A window into his soul.  A piece of our boy.

Truly, in all of life, nothing matters more than that
our children follow and serve our Saviour and live for His glory alone.
That they will go to be with Him for all eternity when they die.
Nothing else matters at all.

In eternity, we will understand all that we need to.
All that the Lord wants us to.  All that is necessary.
Until then, we will seek to trust and rest and follow and praise.
To bring glory to His Great Name.  Alone.

Many Blessings,