All Posts By

Camille Brace

Relationships

Community Through Books

Recently I just started a book club. It includes myself and three other young moms. I had been searching for a long time for more community and connection.

At this stage in my life church is a challenging place to receive that because my kids are still pretty young and they demand a lot of my attention. My husband, who is a pastor, is of course always up front, so that leaves just me to wrangle my six, five, and two-year -old in the pews. I also end up leaving early so I can put my two-year-old down for her nap, so I therefore don’t get to connect with people after the service.

I was a little nervous about starting this new adventure of creating a book club, but after much encouragement from my husband, who also started one about eight months ago, with several men in the community, I went for it. It has been such a blessing to connect with other moms in the community on a spiritual level .

We are reading the book Fearless by Max Lucado. It has been a fantastic jumping off point for our group. Lucado provides such vivid imagery and thought-provoking questions. His illustrations are effective and his content is relevant. The information that he brings out in many of his books does not go super deep, which allows for the reader, or readers, in our case, to discuss our own interpretations or how that information pertains to our own lives. The book also contains a discussion guide at the end which we have used a little bit.

So whether this little blog entry inspires you to reach out to others in your community to start your own book club, or it nudges you in the direction of buying Max Lucado’s book, Fearless, best of wishes to you!

Devotions

Oh to be Grateful

We have lived in Maine now for just a little over 5 years. It was a quick move, one that we had not anticipated.  We ended up moving the end of January, which is pretty much the worst time of year to move when you live in New England. I remember rushing to arrive at our new location in Maine to beat a snow storm that was coming through the area of New Hampshire that we lived in. Not only was the weather a challenge, but so was the fact that I was due to deliver our second child three weeks from our move.

In the month leading up to our move we looked for housing, but found nothing but “hole in the wall” places. If you know me at all you would know that I am a little bit of a neat freak. I want everything to be in its place and not gross looking. Shawn and I looked together and found nothing, and then Shawn came back up on his own to try and find something and found nothing. We prayed a lot about it. We had no doubt that God would provide.

I can’t remember what the time frame was, but a few weeks before we moved a friend, who was living in the area, contacted us and said that there was a house for rent on the street she was living on. The house had three bedrooms, which is exactly what we were looking for, an area for Shawn’s office, a garage, a back yard, close to downtown, and a basement to store things in. The whole inside of the house had just been repainted and new flooring had been put in throughout house, so everything was looking fresh and clean! Just what we wanted! It was an answer to prayer!

Fast forward 5 years to 2016. In the last six months Shawn and I have grown dissatisfied with where we live. We feel like it’s too small, that our laundry situation in the basement is not ideal, that our yard is not private enough, and the list could go on and on.

So in the last six months we have been looking for alternative housing and let me tell you that has been eye opening. The houses that we have seen that are comparative to ours or slightly better are $400 to $500 dollars a month more expensive than what we are paying now. Most other ones just seem to be complete dumps.

There are a lot of positives to living in the house we are in, one of the biggest blessings has been our landlord. He has never raised our rent in the last five years. And if something needs to be fixed he sends a guy out to do it right away. Since we have been renting from him he has replaced our oil tank, replaced our roof, replaced our back deck, bought us a lawn mower, replaced the door on the garage, had major trees cut down that were too close to the house, and other little things that we have called him about. He has been truly great to work with.

So all in all I have realized that I lost focus of the blessing God gave us when we first moved here. He found this house knowing that it would fit our needs and it continues to do so. We lost sight for a moment of the big picture and his timing and his plan. So we are choosing to be grateful in what he blessed us with so many years ago.

Recipes

No Bake Energy Bites

No Bake Energy Bites are so delicious and super easy to make. If you are looking for an alternative to processed granola bars and looking for something a little bit more fresh you’ll want to try these out.

The ingredients you will need are :

  • ½ cup Chocolate chips (or carob chips, if you wish to make vegan)
  • 2/3 cup Toasted coconut
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup Old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup Peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup Honey
  • ½ cup Freshly ground flax seed
  • 1 Tbsp Chia seeds (optional)

Mix all the ingredients together and then chill in the refrigerator for a half an hour. Once chilled, then roll into balls. Will make about 20 to 25 balls. Keep them stored in the fridge.  These are so delicious I have to be careful how many I pop into my mouth in one sitting! Enjoy the taste and the extra energy!

Devotions

Come to Me and Rest

This past Sabbath I was feeling under the weather so I stayed home from church while my husband, Shawn, took the kids to Sabbath school. I have to say it was the most restful Sabbath morning I think I have had in about 6 ½ years. I put on some of my favorite music, sat on the couch having devotions, and sipped on my mint hot chocolate. The silence was “golden” and truly it was because it is very rare that I am home by myself. Sure, I get out of the house without my kids to run errands, or go shopping, or have a girls night out, but to be in my house with silence was really refreshing.

God really used that time to speak to me and remind me of how precious devotional time with Him is. I know that he is calling me daily to commune with Him even when I am tired from a stressful, on the go, kids fighting, tantrum throwing, kind of day.

He is calling each of you as well. I love how The Message rewrites this well known verse:  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I”ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me-watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11: 28-30

Relationships

“To Tell You My Story Is To Tell Of Him”

I don’t have some big dramatic life changing testimony of how God came in and turned my life around from drugs or alcohol. I haven’t had to overcome all obstacles to be where I am today.  Instead, my story has been a steady, quiet walk with God. It hasn’t been filled with drama, although some days I may be way more dramatic than needed. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t needed forgiveness and that I haven’t messed up along the way, for surely I have. It means that I hope my life is a testament to Him and His leading.

I could write pages and pages of how God has worked in my life, how He lead me to two different Christian colleges, how He lead me to work as a missionary and raise just $2 more than I needed to get there, how my husband and I met and started dating, and the list could go on and on. He has been more than faithful – and the song, “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave, sums it up perfectly.  “To tell you my story is to tell of Him.”

 

Well Being

Worry

A short reminder this morning for myself and maybe you will find it helpful as well.

I tell you not to worry about everyday life-whether you have enough. – Matthew 6:25 NLT

Max Lucado shares in his book, Fearless, this quote: “Worry has more questions than answers, more work than energy, and thinks often about giving up.”

Trying my best to leave any worry and anxiety with God because he ultimately has everything under control.

Recipes

Vegetarian Lo Mein

Meals that are quick and easy and healthy are always little gems to find. I found this recipe on Pinerest a while back and have made it several times and changed it just a bit each time to perfection for our tastes. It only takes about 20 minutes to put together and can be made with any left-over veggies you have on hand. A great way to clean out your fridge! You might have to plan ahead on the noodles though. I use egg noodles as called for in the recipe, although you could use rice noodles (vegan option) or even spaghetti if you had too.

So here is the recipe for vegetarian Lo Mein.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 ounces lo mein egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 1/2 cup snow peas
  • 3 cups baby spinach

FOR THE SAUCE

  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce, or more, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil (or vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste

 

Directions:

I make the sauce and set it aside. I choose to use vegetable oil instead of sesame oil because my family and I don’t like the strong taste that the sesame oil brings to the dish. I also leave out the sriracha because it is too spicy for my kids, but add it to my own plate once everything is made, because as I have mentioned before, I love spicy food!

Next I saute my veggies starting with my garlic, mushrooms, and carrots. Add in your other veggies depending on the amount of time they need to cook. The very last time I made this I used broccoli instead of peppers and loved it even more! While your veggies are cooking, bring water to a boil in another pot and cook your lo mein egg noodles. Once everything is cooked throw your sauce, your noodles, and your veggies together and enjoy!

On a side note, I double this recipe for my family of 5 for the noodles and veggies. I usually more than double the sauce recipe just to make sure there is enough goodness to surround those yummy noodles and veggies!

Home Life

How To Create An 18″ Boy Doll

A lot of the time, parenting means being creative – whether that means making a cowboy hat for your six-year-old or coming up with innovative ways of trying to have your toddler keep her bib on during meal times. Shortly before Christmas, I had to do just that: think of a creative way to make a faux American boy doll for Camden.

You see, you can’t buy an American Girl doll that is a boy. (The AG company does make a twin boy baby) They don’t make 18″ boy dolls and neither do any of the other faux brands sold at Walmart or Target. I looked on Amazon and various other websites to see what I could find and nothing turned up. It wasn’t until I read an article online that got me thinking. It was a mother who had the same problem I had: her son wanted an 18″ boy doll, but she couldn’t find one, so she decided to make one.

Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of that? So I quickly got to work and started looking on YouTube for inspiration.

It was only a four-step process for creating a boy doll and it was very easy. I first bought a girl doll at Target for about $20. I took her outfit off and wrapped it up to give to my daughter for Christmas for her 18″ girl doll that she already had. I then cut off all of the doll’s hair and took her lipstick off using rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip. I bought a boy wig off Amazon.com and also ordered a jogging outfit for the new boy doll I was creating. Once everything came in the mail I just put it all together and glued the wig on to ensure it wouldn’t come off.

While I was in the process of looking up stuff online, I noticed that you can buy an 18″ boy doll fully dressed on Etsy – but for $200! They used the American Girl brand and did the same thing I had done. I wasn’t about to pay $200 for a doll, though!

So, all in all, I’m so glad my son can experience playing house and “parenting” his boy doll. One day it will be neat to see it all comes together as I see him develop into the man that I know God wants him to be – whether that is him being a stay-at-home dad taking care of his children or driving a dump truck.

Recipes

Quick, Easy, and Healthy Indian Dish

It’s hard to beat a simple, quick, healthy, and inexpensive dish. This dish is all those things and its also Indian cuisine! Indian food is probably my favorite option for international fare. It also has a variety of dishes that are vegetarian and vegan. So here is my recipe, passed down to me from my mother-in-law, for Red Dahl.

Throw into a pot

  • 1 cup of red lentils
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 12 0z can of crushed tomatoes

Throw into a food processor

  • 1 onion
  • 2 gloves of garlic
  • 1/2 c. of oil
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • salt to taste (only add after the lentils are done cooking. Salt can make the lentils take longer to cook)
  • red pepper flakes (optional) I add only to my bowl because I love the heat!

Mince until somewhat smooth and then throw all that into your pot of lentils. Simmer for 45-60 min. Stir occasionally. I usually simmer mine with the lid half on to allow some moisture to escape. This recipe is so easy and takes only 10 minutes to prepare. This is a favorite in our house and is a meal that my whole family loves, now that doesn’t happen very often! Enjoy!

Devotions

“Enjoy Every Minute of It”

We’ve all heard it before: the classic phrase that someone says as you are in the check-out line trying to manage your kids and pay for groceries. Or as you are trying to get them into church looking tidy and neat before they fall in a mud-puddle or have a major blowout.

The phrase “enjoy every minute of it” is one that I have heard numerous times in the last six plus years that I have been a mom.

This phrase “enjoy every minute of it” is one that I have never liked. Although it has sometimes been stated to me while my kids are being perfect angels, most times it is said when my kids are out of control, whining, crying, and creating pure chaos.

Sure. I understand why the person has made that statement. They long for the times when their children were young and miss that time in their lives. They are thinking back with fond memories of simpler times and easy solutions. They have kept all the happy memories—which of course is a good thing, and I’m sure I will do the same—but have forgotten the challenges of day-to-day demands that little children can make.

The constant, and I do mean constant, picking up of toys, getting called to wipe bums just as you sit down to eat a meal, major poop blowouts in the car seat, tantrums that start in the back of the store that inevitably leave you having to walk past tons of shoppers to get to your car, and the list could go on and on.

I am choosing to enjoy moments in my day—not every minute of it—but moments. I find it quite impossible to enjoy moments when I discover my toddler has written on our couch with black permanent marker. (True story. It took place about four years ago. Miraculously, it came out!) A friend of mine once told me that while she nursed her newborn baby, her three-year-old, whom she was potty training, started wiping poop all over the walls. I’m guessing that was not a “enjoy every minute of it” kind of day!

God has blessed my husband and I with three amazing children and we love them to bits. We love spending time with them and watching them grow and learn new things every day. I am confident enough to say that I do not enjoy every minute with them, however; but I do capture many, many, moments of our time together, throughout the day, that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Just last night my little one, Winn (turning two in March), was bouncing off her crib mattress as I laid her down for the night. She did not seem sleepy at all. She wrapped her chubby arms around me, snuggled me tight and giggled. I wanted to bottle up that moment and keep it forever.

Not every day is a “enjoy every minute of it” kind of day, but I’m choosing to look for those moments that are.

Devotions

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Devotions

Fall in Love With New England

When I think of the holidays, I always think of New England. I moved to Maine when I was five and have spent the majority of my life in this state. I, of course, went away for college, and lived in New Hampshire for three years, but have been back in Maine for the last five. Although the winter does tend to test my love for Maine, I do somehow get through the cold months and fall in love with it all over again when summer rolls around.

My husband, Shawn, is absolutely even more in-love with New England than I am. He craves everything about it and loves to use his photography skills to capture this beautiful, quintessential part of the United States. Today, I hope to make you fall-in-love with New England through the lens of my husband, Shawn Brace.

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Mt. Washington and Mt. Washington Hotel, New Hampshire

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Pomfret, Vermont

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Orford, New Hampshire

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Swift River, New Hampshire

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Newagen, Maine

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Sugar Hill, New Hampshire

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Cape Cod National Seashore, Massachusetts

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Acadia National Park, Maine

Acorn Street – Beacon Hill, Boston