Speaking of good news

Scott Adams got his voice back!

Walk on Water

I was listening to Audio Adrenaline’s “Walk on Water” yesterday in the car and had a thought. Actually, several, all related to the story of Jesus inviting Peter out onto the water. Here’s the version of the story in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 14:22-33):

Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Thought #1: Compare this passage to Hebrews 12:2… it seems to me that the author is referring back to Peter’s experience.

Thought #2: Okay, this is a bit more complex, but stay with me. What is the sea to an Israelite? And a boat on the sea? It would certainly call to mind the ark floating on the waters of judgment. And the rough seas would remind an Israelite of the gentile nations (see Psalm 68:22, Isaiah 23:11, Isaiah 60:5 among others). Here we have Peter getting out of the ark (the only safe place on an angry sea) and walking on the waters of judgment. Or, at the level of nations, leaving the safety of the promised land for the chaos of the gentile nations.

Jesus was instructing Peter on what was coming and on how to survive. Everything was about to become topsy-turvy. The church would be dispersed throughout the world, and in so doing would paradoxically be used to gather in the elect. The angry waves of the sea would be crashing all around. How would Peter and the early church (and us) survive? By fixing his eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Winning the war yet losing

It’s been several years since I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but for some reason I was thinking about it while mowing the yard last week. I was trying to ascertain the meaning of his ending (if there is one) in which the hobbits head home and have to free the place from oppression and restore its natural beauty.

It suddenly struck me that perhaps Tolkien was reflecting on his own experiences and thoughts about his homeland in light of World War I. Is the entire trilogy a warning that there’s no point in bleeding and dying to win a global war if you surrender your homeland to the same sorts of evils in the name of progress?

Our Baby Patient

We Hornes wouldn’t want things to get dull around here. It is not enough to buy a house, list another for sale, and keep it pristinely neat ALL THE TIME, run between both houses to meet workers of all types and sorts, spend countless hours on projects for the new place (which, have we mentioned, needs LOTS of love?!), prepare for our move at the end of the week, begin Nutcracker rehearsals, and keep up with all the “regular” things around here. No, this week we decided to add in surgery for Baby Josiah. It was this morning.

Josiah has suffered 9 ear infections since December, and after many attempts to curb these infections with every antibiotic known to pediatricians, as well as some alternative methods of treatment, we’ve had no success in putting an end to them. Finally we saw an ENT who prescribed tubes with no hesitation.

Though I’d hated the thought of tubes and the surgery (with general anesthesia) that goes with them, we became quite convinced this was the appropriate thing to do for our poor baby. His naps and nighttime sleep have been disrupted since March as he battles ear pain and increased pressure when he lays down. He’s as cheerful a baby as we’ve had by day, but at night he lets us know things are not going well.

He was so sweet all through the process this morning, and in between charming all the lovely nurses with his dimples and playing happily in his hospital crib, he modeled his little blue surgery gown for the camera. Isn’t he cute?!?!


He didn’t even cry when his anesthesiologist picked him up to carry him back for the procedure, though I must admit I certainly wanted to shed a few tears! After coming out of the anesthesia he was not happy at all, but some cuddling and feeding from Mommy seemed to comfort him.

We were home by 8:45am, and he was down for a good nap by 10am. I hope and pray his sleep will be more peaceful, and his ears healthier from here on out. How very thankful I am today for such good compassionate medical care for our baby boy.

Part Three

The following takes place on September 5th during the hours of 5:30am to 7:30am…

It was Tuesday morning after Labor Day weekend. I was up to take my shower before waking the baby to nurse him, before getting the older kids out of bed to ready themselves for school. We leave the house at 7:20 on mornings we drive carpool in order to get to school by 8:10.
Despite waiting the 7 or so minutes I always do before getting into the shower, the water was still tepid. But it sort of felt like it was gradually getting warmer so I got in, thinking that at any moment the hot water would kick in and the shower would become a more pleasant experience. Unfortunately, the water never got even warmish, and I raced through, shivering the whole time. After drying off, I got back into bed in an attempt to warm up a little. I woke Jay up to whine a little about the freezing cold shower I’d been forced to take, and relayed that it was such a miserable way to start the morning that it almost made me cry .

The prospect of fresh coffee sounded appealing to my still shivering self, so I headed out of our bedroom to start the pot when I realized something was very wrong. I could hear a steady “thunk, thunk, thunk” coming from the kitchen area, and as I got closer to the sound, the dim light of early morning revealed its source. Water was coming out of a vent in the ceiling, dripping onto the opened dishwasher door (we’d run the cycle the night before and left the door open to cool the dishes). Water had overflowed and was all over the kitchen floor.

With a sick feeling in my gut I roused my still-in-bed husband with, “I think you’d better get up – there’s water coming out of the kitchen ceiling!”

The next hour and a half were awful. Jay immediately sprung into action to attend to the problem, which was of course the hot water heater, which of course had decided to burst just two days away from our house going on the market. The drainage system which should function as backup if your hot water heater malfunctions, had clogged, causing all that water to overflow the pan surrounding the heater, and pour into the nearby floor, carpet, wall, and into the upper playloft area. From there it was dripping down two separate walls into the lower story, some of it escaping through that ceiling vent and making a flood on our kitchen floor, and the rest soaking into the material between the two floors, and forming a huge water stain on the kitchen ceiling, from the east wall of house all the way to the family room. We couldn’t see this, but some additional water had gotten into that east wall and had caused damage to the GFCI outlets and circuitry on that side of the kitchen.

All I could think of right off was that we had just bought a second house, we still owned this house, and thousands of dollars in water damage were happening right this instant to our beautiful home that had been market-worthy the night before. What type of money would be required to fix this mess, and where was that going to come from, and what were we going to do? Jay was also losing his cool (something he doesn’t do often) and his attempts to stop the rapid flow of water were met with failure, which further aggravated the situation. When he went to turn off the water, the shutoff valve to the heater failed. At that point, water began shooting out of the heater into the upper story attic he was standing in, pouring down out of the kitchen vent at a much faster rate, and then I heard something come out of his mouth that I don’t think I’ve heard from him before. Thankfully he is a resourceful man in the midst of disaster, and so he quickly jumped out of the water heater closet, lept down the stairs, and and ran as fast as he could to the front yard to turn off the entire supply of water to the house, thereby ending the flood from the upper story.

In the midst of all this, our children were trying to get ready for school, and were understandably quite interested in the goings-on in the playloft and kitchen. Their many questions were met with my “Please don’t ask Daddy questions right now – the hot water heater has broken and there is water everywhere” which really only served to inspire yet more questions from the curious little bunch. Somehow we managed to get them dressed and fed and out the door only a few minutes later than we should have.

A frantic call to a friend during this water fiasco did at least remind Jay and I that we have a blessed thing called “Homeowner’s Insurance”. I’d completely forgotten it existed in my utter panic. In the next few days we learned that though Homeowner’s Insurance is helpful in a disaster such as this, it doesn’t just eliminate the issues. Nor does it pay for hot water heaters or the labor to install them, since they are considered “appliances”. Add in your deductible and around $2K just flew out the window that morning…bye, bye.

As you can imagine there was a good bit of clean-up to be done after all this. Despite how bad the damage appeared to us, it really wasn’t anywhere near what it could have been (or so the repairmen have assured us). Thankfully, most of the work which needed to be done happened in a fairly timely fashion, but needless to say, our house did not go on the market that Thursday, as we’d planned. It was, however, listed by the following Friday, a little over a week late. Despite the delay, we are trying to comfort ourselves with the thought that surely someone will be even more compelled to buy our house, now that it includes a shiny new Whirlpool water heater from Lowes!

The Next Installment in the Story…

Ok, so we (or maybe I should say “I”) never stopped watching that house we lost. It had seemed perfect, in a “needing lots of love, but having great bones” perfect sort of way. Perfect for our family and situation. Besides being in our favorite neighborhood, there were school friends 3 doors down, a couple of little boys the same age as my boys 3 doors up, and lots of other folk we knew within a few streets. The house had an incredibly large (for here) shaded backyard with a huge deck, a split bedroom arrangement with 4th bedroom and 3rd full bath off to one side of the house, that was perfect for our one girl to have a spot of her own and to double as a guest “suite” should we have visitors, two other secondary bedrooms with full bath between them just made for the three boys to share, a mostly redone master bath complete with jetted tub and oversized shower, a large (for this aged home) kitchen and breakfast area with TONS of cabinets and storage space, huge laundry room with double utility sink, oversized garage, large rooms, french doors to the deck, crown moldings, you get the picture – we really liked this house.

The setting and neighborhood were also really appealling to us. The area was built in the early sixties, so the trees were large, beautiful, and plenteous. Down the street was a duck pond, walking/biking trail, and creek/park/playground area. The elementary school was just 10 houses away, providing another playground for afternoons/weekends/summer playing, as well as a huge parking lot – a great area to take kids to learn to ride their bikes. The neighborhood had its own pool for swimming in the summer. Library with great kids’ programs was within walking distance. The neighborhood had an active group of folks who organized playgroups, ladies nights out, parades, Bible Studies, Christmas Caroling, etc.

Well, anyway, I truly did accept that the house was not going to be ours. But, as I kept my head in the market over the next few weeks, I also kept tabs on the lost house, just to see what would happen with it. I pulled the mls listing each day to see if it had gone under contract. I kept in touch with my school friend down the street who watched it anxiously for showings. And yes, I prayed that maybe, just maybe, something might happen to cause the situation to work out after all.

The problem with the house had centered around the fact that it required some work which would be costly to us. The inspection had uncovered several issues, none of which were terrible, but which needed to be addressed for the soundness of the home. This represented money and labor over and above some of the cosmetics which it also needed. Though we’d tried to negotiate the sellers down in order to account for the needful repairs, they’d remained fairly firm on the price they wanted. And so, despite loving the house, we had to, in good conscience, let it go. It would have been foolish financially to take it on.

Well, almost a month went by, and a few folks came to see the house, but it remained on the market. We joked about putting another offer in on it, but weren’t that serious. Eventually though, our agent did some poking around on his own, and learned the house was indeed still available. But the listing realtor told him that the owners were still being fairly firm on their asking price.

So, Jay and I talked. We agreed to place another offer on the home. Much lower than our previous offer, but with a sooner close date, thinking perhaps that the owners would find that attractive given they’d already moved and likely needed to sell the house pretty soon. We never dreamed they’d be happy with our new offer given how much less money we were offering, so we didn’t really think too much about it after we sent our offer to them. Imagine our immense surprise when we learned that the sellers accepted our offer almost immediately! There was no counteroffer, no hedging, just a quick acceptance exactly as we’d written the offer. And this despite their unwillingness to negotiate to a significantly higher price than this one month prior! We were astounded, and really really thankful.

But with such a near closing date, we had a ton of things to do, so we sort of held off our excitement and we set to work gathering all the necessary papers, loans, information, etc needed to purchase a house. Unlike the previous go-round, this time the purchase went off without a hitch. As of Sept 1st, we were homeowners! Well, homeowners now of 2 homes!

You dear readers will now be asking, “What are you going to do with 2 homes?”. The answer is, nothing. We are not the sort of people who can afford to own two homes. We’d been preparing our “old” house for listing all during the months we searched for a new place, so as we closed on the new one, we finished up some small things to ready the old one completely for the market. Closets were cleaned out, windows washed, clutter and toys culled through and streamlined, paint touched up. Things were going well, and it was looking really beautiful – more beautiful than it had looked during our more than 5 years of owning it!! And then, just as Labor Day weekend was ending, and a mere two days away from listing we woke up one morning to this…

(to be continued – again!)

Some Updates

We have been remiss in keeping our readers apprised of all that is going on in our lives…..because of all that is going on! It is hard to find time to stop and catch our breath, let alone post!

For those of you who don’t know, we’ve been actively househunting for almost a year. We live 17 miles away from the kids’ school (that’s 34 miles roundtrip), and the commute has been something we wanted to change ultimately. So after a couple years of watching the market and planning, we began looking seriously for a new home. We have been targeting a fairly particular geographic area, and waiting for a “deal” to pop up within that. Given how few homes generally list for sale within there that meet our search criteria pricewise, we assumed it would be better to find the new home before we started selling the old. So we looked and looked and looked some more. Though we submitted a couple offers over the past months, nothing had ended up working out.

Then in June we came across a FSBO home in our favorite neighborhood – it was in our price range and we loved the floor plan, yard, room sizes, etc. It needed some “love” but we figured we had it in us to offer it that. So, excitedly, we made an offer, had an inspection, negotiated the sellers down a bit more to allow for some of the repairs, began packing up our current home and doing all the final prep work to list it, only to have the deal fall through a couple weeks before close. This was a big letdown, but the situation just obviously wasn’t supposed to work out. (Btw, I am sparing you gentle readers by giving you a VERY high level view here – this was one of the craziest months of our lives and all that went on during the transaction would likely take a book to give a proper account!)

Well anyway, we went back to looking, but given summer was mostly over, I assumed we’d probably be staying where we were for quite some time to come. We accepted the idea that we’d likely be continuing the commute through this school year as well, and even found a nearby school family with whom to share driving responsibilities. Though still keeping my eye on the market, I turned more of my attention to enjoying the home we already had, and even spent some time working on beautifying and “loving” it. Over the last year, I’d sort of neglected doing much of that given I figured our time here was limited. But I found that enjoying the place we had was actually a very valuable and good thing. Wanting to find a different house had caused me to appreciate less the wonderful blessing that our current house was to our family.

There’s a certain irony associated with the fact that just as I was getting comfortable with the notion of hanging out here for awhile to come, things began working out on the househunt front. But that is a story for another night….

(stay tuned)

What’s playing in Jay’s iPod?

Okay, you know the drill. No Google, just your innate knowledge of obscure lyrics. First person to name the band wins, um, nothing?

Please tell me now what life is
Please tell me now what love is
Well tell me now what war is
Again tell me what life is

For the greater good of God

He gave his life for us he fell upon the cross
To die for all of those who never mourn his loss
It wasn’t meant for us to feel the pain again
Tell me why, tell me why

So how was YOUR day??

Does the mental image of Jay standing on the kitchen floor in his skivvies, at 6:30am this morning, watching in disbelief as water pours out of the ceiling above him bring a teensy bit of humor into your day?

That is how our day started…..it’s always something around here.