Merry Christmas!

We didn’t send any Christmas cards or Christmas letters this year, so consider this our virtual substitute.

We have been very blessed this Christmas.  Despite having a difficult year in many ways, we see God’s faithfulness every day.  Our Christmas Eve service at church last night was a great reminder to us of the greatest gift we have received in Jesus.  So many of God’s people have come alongside us through many years of trials, and this past year even more so.  We are grateful for God’s faithfulness and His love to us, and we know that the coming year will be full of even more evidence of God’s faithfulness and grace.

We have also received generous gifts from many this year that made our Christmas very enjoyable–especially for our children.  Here are a few photos of our morning and our Christmas meal.

This photo of all the kids with Mark reminds me of how truly rich I am.


This one of Charis just makes me laugh!


Calvin’s face is priceless here!


Happy boys!

 Sweet girls!


Merry Christmas from the Hornes!

Anything’s Possible


Evangeline is at that wonderful age where anything is possible.

One thing she loves to do is draw.  Will she be any good at it as an adult?  Who knows?  But for now, she practices at it all the time.  The horse above is one of her latest creations.  I like it,  but I’m her mom.  I love the colors and that she was really wanting to try drawing a horse as if she were facing it.



The Quest for Affordable Health Insurance

People with health insurance provided via their employer need to realize what a blessing they have.

We have paid for our own health insurance in one way or another for most of our married life.  For the last 4 years, we have had basically what amounts to a “safety net” policy.  For $350 a month, we get an entrance card to the doctor’s office (also known as an insurance card), a negotiated physician’s discount, and, well, that’s about it.  We have a $5000 per person yearly deductible and a maximum family out of pocket expense of $10,000.00.  Practically, this amounts to us paying for our own medical expenses and not going to the doctor unless we are desperate. 

To be honest, $350 a month is more than we can afford.  So, yes, we tried applying for Medicaid—at least for the kids.  We were denied because we make too much.  Also, to qualify we are supposed to let the kids go without coverage for 6 months first.

I was just putting up with the expense of insurance for what seems like nothing in return until Charis broke her arm.  It wasn’t a severe injury, but we now have over $2500 in medical expenses because of it.  This motivated me to investigate our insurance options again.I have a new option because of my new job.  I can get group coverage through my employer.  However, it is way beyond what we can afford.  For just me, it would be $639 per month.  To add Mark and the kids, it would be over $1300 per month.  So I called Anthem BC/BS to see if we could get coverage for just the kids, and Mark and I could keep the crummy coverage we have.  Well, because one of them has a pre-existing condition, they could only cover 3 of them.  To cover three of the children, the best policy is $311 per month.  The worst coverage is $188 per month.  Then we would still have to continue covering one of the kids under our crummy policy.  At this point, we must keep what we have and pray that God continues to keep us from any tragic illness or accident.

I am not in favor of government health care, but I certainly understand why many are.  I think, with the economy failing, many more people will have to pay for their own health coverage.   More people are getting laid off.  So there will be more people losing health insurance altogether.  If they do find new jobs, they will quickly see that companies who are scaling back on expenses don’t offer the same quality benefits that they used to.  As this happens, more people will find themselves faced with the situation we have dealt with for years.

Something has to change in the insurance industry and with medical providers if people are going to be able to manage just living from day to day. 

Are you really reading those books?

I was just checking out my list of books that I am supposedly reading on the ole sidebar.  And, I see I need to change these out.  To be honest, I have been reading the same books for months without getting very far.  It seems every time I sit down long enough to read anything, I start to fall asleep.  Hmmm . . .  I am hoping to remedy this over the Christmas holiday.

But what happened to those books I have on the sidebar?

1.  Keeping the World Away This is a book by Margaret Forster that I picked up from the library.  I thought I would enjoy it because I had really liked Forster’s novel, Lady’s Maid, a fictional biograpy of the maid of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  I guess the possible story of painter Gwen John did not have a strong enough appeal to me since I had never heard of her until I picked up this book.  So when the 2-week loan period at the library ended, this book went back to the library shelf.

2. Parenting Today’s Adolescent  I am still trying to read this one, but I guess I’ve been too busy trying to parent my own adolescent to spend much time reading about it.

3. The Solace of Leaving Early This is another book I picked up at the library because I read and enjoyed another work by the same author.  Haven Kimmel wrote A Girl Named Zippy, which is a quirky, funny memoir about the author’s upbringing in rural Indiana.  It is one of my favorite books.  Solace is well-written, and it has elements of Kimmel’s voice, but it is much darker.  So once again, when thw 2 week loan period was over, I returned Solace to the library.  But I like Haven Kimmel enough to give it another try . . . maybe very soon.

In the next couple days I’ll change out my reading list with what I am really reading.  Until then, maybe some of my cast offs will appeal to you, and you can convince me to read them.

Of Luffas and Dandruff Shampoo

Readers of my blog have been scant for some time, but I guess the “Tears” post was a little too much for anyone to comment on.  Oh well.

The big news is: Charis has her cast off.  Eight weeks in a cast, and I didn’t post one picture of her.  That is because the only ones I took were on my stupid phone which will not allow me to upload photos to my computer.  Since we are too cheap (or broke) to pay for the upgrade in service to be able to send the photos from my phone, I really shouldn’t take pictures with it!

After the cast was removed, her skin underneath was GROSS!!!!  It was so dry and flaky, I didn’t want her on me.  Even after using a luffa on her arm, it was flaky.  Then at her glorious bath last night (glorious because she could actually be in the tub long enough to get really clean), I had a revelation.  I thought, “If dandruff shampoo works on dead dry skin on the skalp, perhaps it will help remove the dead dry skin from her arm.”  So I used dandruff shampoo and the luffa on her arm, and it made a huge difference.  The flakes all came off.  Now her skin is rough, but we are putting lotion on it whenever we can.  It will be back to normal soon.  Long sleeves were in order for today so the dry skin won’t distract her to much at school.