A Berry Fun Day

This morning the children and I headed north on our very first berry-picking expedition to the little town of Sadler. We visited Bailey’s Berry Patch, a wonderful place that grows blueberries, blackberries, and muscadine grapes (grapes aren’t in season yet!). I didn’t know exactly how this little adventure would play out, given that two of my children don’t even care for blueberries!!

But, I needn’t have worried. The thrill of picking berries seems to have overshadowed their particular tastes, and all three worked very hard for two hours in the HOT HOT Texas sun, filling their little buckets with blueberries. We had a really fun time picking alongside our buddies and then took a break for lunch and a bit of a rest. After lunch, we determined we would attempt to finish filling our bucket (which, we’d learned, held 5 quarts of the tiny berries when filled to the brim). Jonathan was tired of picking berries by this time, but both Abigail and Nicolas attacked the bushes with renewed interest.

I’ve decided my two year old has an incredible work ethic for someone of his age. He was quite tenacious about his berry-picking, and I think viewed his contributions to the large family bucket I was holding as most important – which of course, they were! Some of the comments from him throughout the day were especially cute (esp to his Mommy!):

“Mom, I pick some berries for you. You like these?”

“Here are some more berries…see? I put them in your bucket.”

“You forgot to say thank you.”

“I’m not done yet, I’ll be done on Tuesday.”

We did indeed manage to fill our bucket, much to our delight, but Nicolas was undeterred from his mission to keep filling his tiny tin pail, and as we tried to get him to quit he exclaimed in frustration, “I not finished yet! My bucket is not full!”

After we managed to tear him away from the berry bushes, we all got to watch as the people who own the patch processed our little crop of berries for taking home. We also purchased some locally-grown tomatoes and cucumbers to enjoy.

This was a lovely way to spend the day, and after naps on the trip home, a big bathtub full of water, and lots of soap, my children were feeling quite themselves again. Here is a picture of them showing off the fruits of their labors: almost all five quarts (we snacked on them a bit!).

10th Anniversary Road Trip

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we headed to San Antonio for 3 whole days and nights of relaxation and hanging about together. It was wonderful. We traded in some of Jay’s airline miles for a completely free hotel stay (if you don’t count the parking fees!) at the Marriott, which is probably one of the very best locations available on the RiverWalk. On top of the free lodging and breakfasts, they upgraded us to a riverview room so we had this great view from our balcony:


We could walk to pretty much everything we wanted to see within the downtown area, and so walk we did. We enjoyed the lovely paths along the riverwalk (can you find the bird in the picture?),


took in La Villita and some local art, the pretty homes in the King William Historic District, and the original Pioneer Flour Factory and Guenther House. We spent lots of time in old and new bookstores and came home with some lovely treasures for the kids, including 2 beautifully illustrated, like-new volumes of poetry I got for a song at a used bookstore (I’ve recently gotten into children’s poetry, more on that in another entry). Saw a movie, shopped together at our leisure, read a ton, ate whatever we wanted, slept late everyday, and just had a fantastic time.

One highlight of our trip that we have to share with you is our discovery of an amazing little Greek restaurant, Mina and Dimi’s. It has got to be one of the very coolest places we have ever eaten. To say it is unassuming from the outside is an understatement; indeed, we were hesitant to venture inside due to its location in a rather rundown-looking strip mall area.

But once inside, the atmosphere is just amazing and it gets 5 stars from us all around. We were immediately greeted by the sound of Mediterranean music, and the entertainment of a belly dancer. No joke. The waitstaff is among the most friendly we’ve encountered anywhere we’ve been, extremely attentive and helpful, and the food, while quite reasonably-priced, is absolutely divine. We enjoyed Flaming Saganaki, Dolmades, Kalamarakia, and shared the Rack of Lamb. We even sampled a new wine to us, Kouros Patras, which we enjoyed very much, and will try and find locally. If you ever find yourself in San Antonio, you MUST try this amazing little piece of Greece tucked into the northwest side of the city. Here we are enjoying ourselves there:


All in all, it was a great trip and we are so grateful we could enjoy a few days away. What a blessing to be able to celebrate 10 years of marriage together. Many, many thanks to our terrific, and very capable babysitters who cared lovingly for our sweet children while we were away.

Culinary Treat

I commented earlier on all the wonderful help we have received since our car accident and especially as we recover from injuries sustained. Last evening we enjoyed a unique and sweet expression of care from one of Jay’s co-workers whose wife evidently is a phenomenal Vietnamese cook.

Jay’s friend at work told him yesterday morning that in light of what had happened with the wreck, they wanted to do something for us and that if Jay was willing to drop by their house on the way home, his wife would have freshly made egg rolls waiting for him to take home to all of us for supper. Wow! As promised, Jay arrived here a little after 6pm with a huge pan of crispy, just-cooked egg rolls which we proceeded to dig into heartily. They were SO DELICIOUS! What a fantastic treat. Even the kids (well, two of them) enjoyed this meal, and we had fun using all different sorts of dipping sauces to eat our egg rolls. We had our fill, and there were even some left-overs to enjoy at a later time.

We continue to be truly touched by all the different outpourings of care and help we receive from so many different people.

A Word from the Lady of the House

It would appear Jay has largely been keeping our family blog going (as he has been largely keeping alot of other things going around our household since the wreck and my injuries). But since I can type, I figure I should pitch in and and offer something to our faithful readers too!

It is not enough to write it here, but I would like to also publicly thank the multitude of people who have given of their time, energies and hearts to aid us in this rather challenging episode of our lives. I cannot believe we are still receiving meals regularly, having people care for our kids, grocery shop for us, drive our kids to school, and even stop in to do dishes and laundry and such. It is truly humbling to see the outpourings of love and deeds just continue. And, believe me: it is so encouraging to us, as we are not yet able to do on our own all that we would “normally” do to care for ourselves and our children.

I echo Jay in the thought that this past week and a half has been stunningly hard, and each day seems to bring another hardship, on top of the obvious “recovering from a car wreck” physical and emotional and logistical challenges. Jay continued to get sicker over the weekend and Monday morning saw him at the doc’s, where he was diagnosed with a whopper of a sinus infection on top of tummy issues. I seem to have succumbed to the Nicolas tummy bug on Sunday, so for the past two days I have dealt with that, and tried to cope with hardly any food intake, while being pregnant (not a good combination!).

This evening when Jay called home to tell me he was coming down with a bad migraine, it felt like the last straw. He has bravely worked through illness, and utter exhaustion, and done remarkably – I am so thankful and proud of him for the way he has cared for all of us – but there is no working through a migraine. And with all that has fallen upon his shoulders of late, I felt so distressed that he must bear yet one more burden. On top of this, he is still the main care-giver in the evenings due to some of my physical limitations, so having him out of commission for the night raised a whole host of issues: how would the children get bathed? the dishwasher emptied? everyone to bed? Stuff that normally I would just do on my own is not an option right now, and so it brought yet another hurdle to overcome, and it just felt like too much.

I fell apart emotionally, wondering why all of this has to happen just now. Well, within half an hour I had two sweet angels of mercy whom I will just call Jamie and Steph, on my doorstep to help. They fed my children dinner, emptied my washer, cleaned my kitchen, bathed my kids, helped me put them to bed, including songs and stories, and then proceeded to wash and fold more laundry. And aside from all their physical help, their presence was such a comfort to me, and to Jay. I heartily thank them for giving us their evening, for ministering to us so willingly. And I am so grateful for friends who love us enough to be here at a moment’s notice to care for our physical needs. Thank you!!

All this week while Jay’s Mom is out of town (she has continued to help us tirelessly every day through all the sickness, esp taking care of little Nicolas – thank you to her and to Dad, John for all the time she’s spent on our behalf!!) we have different friends who are hosting Nicolas for the day, to help care for him since I cannot yet lift him, drive, or bend, etc. He has had a great week thus far with all these fun and loving folks, and we are glad for their help too. There are also many friends helping with Abigail and Jonathan, taking them to parks, ponds, lunch, having them to their homes to play, and just generally helping them to enjoy being kids even if Mommy is not yet up to playing and keeping up with them as much as she’d like.

It is very late and I must get to bed, but I do so this evening with a heart full of thankfulness for all the blessings we have received and continue to witness as a result of the Body of Christ loving us and caring for us. God has continued, even with everything that has gone on, to provide for our every need, not always in the way we might have hoped or planned, but often in an even better way. Thank you to everyone who is a part of that provision – we love you and are grateful for you!

When it rains, it pours

The rain has turned into a deluge, in two senses. First, our situation has seemingly gotten worse, not better, as we’ve dealt with significant illness this past week. Jonathan developed some sort of horrific cough and a fever this past weekend, which lingered for several days. Then on Monday, Nicolas spiked a fever, threw up, and started having horrible diarrhea. Though he only threw up a couple more times (Tuesday night), he continued with the overall problems for a few days. Now I seem to have gotten quite sick… not good.

In this downpour of discouragement, we have seen grace abound, raining down on us in equal measure. We continue to receive wonderful meals from folks at both our church and Abigail’s school, our children are being driven to and from school each class day by others, and we continue to receive much kind concern from all those with whom we interact.

Idolater = corpse?

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group at church on Psalm 115. As an interesting aside, the invitation came about three days prior to the car crash, and I was specifically asked to focus on verses 9 to 11 and the idea of God as our shield. My preparation was greatly disrupted in one sense, yet in a way I was far better prepared than I could have achieved through mere study.

Anyway, while doing the actual talk I noticed a feature of the text that I had previously missed. Here’s a brief outline of sorts I had drawn up.

A Psalm 115:1-3 — God’s glory challenged/answered
B Psalm 115:4-8 — idolaters like idols (inert, unfruitful)
C Psalm 115:9-11 — Trust in the Lord (he is your shield)
B’ Psalm 115:12-16 — God blesses, all is fruitful
A’ Psalm 115:17-18 — those who praise the Lord, those who don’t

So who are the dead that don’t praise the Lord (Psalm 115:17)? I’d originally thought this referred to those who had actually died, fitting in with some of the general statements earlier in the Old Testament prior to a more specific doctrine of life after death and resurrection becoming normative.

But that seems to miss the point of the psalm. Who challenges God’s glory at the start of the psalm? Idolaters. And how does the psalm describe idolaters? As dead people. If you read Psalm 115:5-7 as a riddle to someone, they would probably think you were talking about a corpse, and Psalm 115:8 declares that idolaters become like their corpse-idols.

Such a reading firms up the chiastic structure and helps us read verses 12-16 in their proper context: as an answer to the lifelessness/fruitlessness of idol worshippers. What a great summary of creation and redemption! All creation is created for life, for fruitfulness, for people. Think of Genesis 1 and the creation mandate. And this purpose is found in redemption, through the trust of God and the scorning of idols. God is life, and in him we have our life.

This approach to Psalm 115 also seems to lend some nice detail to Jesus’ call to those who have ears to hear, tieing in with Isaiah 6.

Crash, update 1

Thanks for all the thoughts, prayers, and help. Tricia and I have been amazed by the outpouring of concern and care this past week. We’ve got rides lined up for the boys to get to preschool, rides for Abigail to get to kindergarten, the laundry is done, meals continue to arrive… it’s incredible.

We’ve both felt that this whole ordeal would be much more manageable if it was just the two of us, rather than the five of us. But I suppose that’s the point. I’m teaching a class on communion right now in Sunday School in which we look at stories about food from the Old Testament (borrowing heavily from Peter Leithart’s Blessed Are the Hungry). When discussing Genesis 1 and the fact that God created man hungry and ended the creation week by presenting a menu of sorts, a gentleman commented (warning: not an exact quote), “perhaps, contrary to our notions of independence equaling a more prefect state of being, dependence is actually godly”.

Tricia has had some good days and some bad days, but overall is doing well. Her mother joined us today and will be staying for several days, allowing me to return to work (thanks to Hannah and Paula for helping today so I could get into the office). It looks like it will be a long time before Tricia can manage the children on her own, but her level of comfort is improving nicely and we are learning to cope quite well.

One bit of great news: it looks as though the other party in the wreck is doing well. The police released our vehicle on Monday, so I went down to the pound to retrieve our stuff. We’re also making gradual progress on the insurance.


Tricia and the kids were involved in a major car crash this past Wednesday (April 27). They were traveling in the minivan when a car pulled out in front of them, effectively blocking the street. The police drawing below more or less shows what happened. Tricia was traveling west-bound when the car pulled out, presumably to turn left. Apparently the driver didn’t see Tricia, because she pulled out directly in front of the minivan (the minivan is white, car is black).

The minivan and the car collided as Tricia swerved hard to the left (to avoid T-boning the car). From the damage to the vehicles (and confirmed by the police report), it appears the minivan and car swung around, with the rear of the car slamming into the middle of the minivan, right next to Abigail, who was sitting in the middle row on the passenger side. The window next to Abigail exploded into a million tiny pieces, just as the safety glass is supposed to perform. At that point, Tricia no longer had firm control of the minivan, and it barreled over the raised median before crossing the other lane and slamming into a living wall made of small trees/huge shrubs.

The story on the other driver is sketchy but bad. Apparently, she ran off the road, went down an incline, and ended up in a ditch. Rescue personnel had to cut her out of her car, at which point she was taken by helicopter to the hospital. As far as we know, she remains in the hospital but is alive, and our family is praying for her well-being.

When the care-flight arrived, the police immediately began treating the entire scene as a potential criminal investigation, and proceeded to shut down the road entirely and video/photograph everything. Our car was impounded as evidence, and remains held by the police at the pound today (thus the picture below was taken from about 100 yards out behind the fence). We really don’t know yet how all this will resolve, though the copy of the police report I’ve seen clearly states the other driver failed to yield the right of way.

There’s so much to say at this point, it is hard to know where to begin. Tricia called me immediately after the crash as the children screamed in the background. When I got to the scene, Tricia had extricated all three children from the minivan, though she was in incredible pain and the van was mostly buried in tree/shrub branches. All three children were alive and whole, though in much pain and in a whimpering sort of shock. Abigail’s nose was bleeding and her chest hurt quite badly (and has continued to hurt since), Nicolas had a laceration on his neck that was oozing blood, and Jonathan had about a third of his face swelling (now it has resolved nicely into a black eye). Basically, the children all looked and acted like they had fallen down a flight of stairs.

Tricia, however, hurt tremendously and ended up being taken to the hospital in an ambulance while I and my mother (who showed up shortly after I did) took the kids to the same emergency room by car. As it turns out, Tricia had a broken sternum, a sprained ankle, and several enormous, deep bruises, along with a bloody nose, bloody mouth, and more minor bruising on her face and body.

Additionally, all this time we were horrified by the prospect that the baby in Tricia’s womb was dead, but they detected a strong heart beat at the hospital. For this and for the protection of our other children we are enormously thankful to God, a strong shield in times of trouble. Everyone got checked out at the hospital and then we went home to begin sorting out what would come next. As it turns out, a broken sternum is one of those incredibly painful, debilitating injuries for which there is no real treatment other than the passage of time. That first day we began to realize that magnitude of the injuries to Tricia, as she was unable to anything on her own and remained in massive pain even when laying still… but I’ll let her post the details of her experience.

The next hurdle came late on Thursday, when Tricia stopped sensing any movement from the baby (17 weeks along). Friday afternoon found us at the OBGYN fearing the worst only to discover that the baby is doing great and that this next Horne is a boy! Talk about going from a low to a high.

In all this, we have seen God’s provision. Though he providentially allowed the accident to take place, his provision since has been abundantly seen, particularly through the generosity of numerous people. Ruth (my mother) has spent each night and day with us since the wreck, a support that has been invaluable. Tonight she is spending a well-earned rest at her own home. Stephanie Clemmons has been a tremendous help in ways too numerous to mention (shopping, child-care, laundry, etc.). Our sister-in-law, Jamison Brunone, spent her day off on Friday helping us as well. Not to mention the many meals being provided by Abigail’s school and our church, the countless offers to help with the children (thank, Aguilars! Abigail had a great time this afternoon), and other mercies.

There is still much to come, as Tricia slowly heals, we find out the next steps the police are planning, we find out if our minivan will be totaled, we sort out all the insurance issues, and we try to return to normal life after experiencing how fleeting life can be. But praise God we are all alive and more or less whole to work through these issues together!

Update on our Patient

A few moments ago, I asked Jay if he thought I should post an update on his progress since surgery, since folks might be checking to see if we have any news for them. He answered by briefly opening his eyes to look at me quizzically; mumbled, “I think we’re ok, Honey”; and dropped back off into drug-induced rest. Such is the current state of our patient.

For those who do not already know, Jay underwent surgery on Friday to repair a complication from one of his previous six foot surgeries (but hey, who’s counting?). He has in the past had all his metatarsals on both feet broken and re-fused together, pins put everywhere, etc, etc, and in the midst of all this, one sad little toe healed in a curled-under fashion. For almost 4 years it has grown increasingly painful as it bends under, and the nail grows around the tip of his toe and presses into the ground every time he stands up. Graphic description aside, you get the picture, it equals pain! On Friday they rebroke the wayward toe, put it at a proper angle, and set a little pin through the end to hold the bones together as they heal again.

The surgery as a whole really went like clockwork. We arrived in the very early hours of the morning at the surgicare center, where amazingly enough you can park 15 feet from the front doors, and voila! inside the doors are the lobby and patient admitting area. So simple compared to previous experiences: all his earlier surgeries were deep within the recesses of large hospitals, so parking, walking, and finding appropriate places for patient admitting, recovery, etc, all took a lot of work. We were treated well, and the only hitch came when we were waiting to see the surgeon before we were discharged. Though we waited and waited, said surgeon did not show. As we’d dealt with this particular gentleman throughout all the previous surgeries and knew his routine for the most part, Jay felt comfortable opting to talk with him next week at his post-op appointment. So home we went.

Little Aside: I must mention one of the coolest parts of this particular surgery (for me) was that my brother Andrew, who deals with many different surgeons in several of the Dallas hospitals, was scheduled to be at our surgicare center that morning and not only did we get to visit with him prior to and after the surgery, but he took me to get breakfast and kept me company during the procedure, which was the best way I’ve ever spent the wait time during one of Jay’s surgeries. Thanks, Andrew!

Since arriving back home, there have been ups and downs. There is just always a fair amount of pain associated with post-surgical recovery, and Jay has certainly had some hard times in the past 48 hours. Last night he started running a fever which did not contribute to him feeling very well, and it was a rough night, full of feverish bad dreams, and little sleep. The drugs are interesting in that they deal somewhat with the pain, but do not necessarily allow for deep, refreshing sleep. So our patient is admittedly, fairly worn out, and drifts in and out of consciousness.

Earlier today he shaved and then braved the shower, caught some of the Masters’ Tournament on TV, greeted and visited with some family who came by, and even watched a little bit of Lassie Come Home with the rest of us on the couch. Such a full slate of activities wears him out at this stage, and back in bed he is now, resting.

Trying to be a good nurse to my patient, I have, for his pain and troubles, showered him with perks: lots of extra TLC; room service including Taco Bell, iced tea, iced cream; and a small collection of “guy” movies to watch in the comfort of his bed. The children are very sweet about asking how he is doing, and going back to “visit” him. But I sometimes wonder in this rather um, exuberant household, how much quiet he is really getting in order to rest up and heal. He is unquestionably a cheerful and good patient, all things considered.

For my part, I have certainly played nurse many times before, but not with three young children in the house to care for in addition to my patient, and another wee one on the way. Yes, well, this is an inauspicious way to break that little bit of news to our blog readers, but indeed, we are expecting another little Horne in very early October, and admittedly, I am still dealing with that first trimester exhaustion, which this time around has been stunningly debilitating. Despite my mentioning this, we are beyond ecstatic about the pregnancy, and truly grateful for this tiny life.

Many thanks to Grammy and Grandy and Aunt Sandra who between them hosted all three kids the night before the surgery, caring for them, and shuttling them to and from schools when we could not, to Grammy and Grandy and Andrew and Jamison for bringing food, and for the many calls and prayers and words of encouragement from so many others. Please do keep praying for Jay’s foot to heal exceedingly well. I would so love for him to not have this particular thorn to deal with anymore on top of other physical challenges he continues to face. We are very thankful he was able to have the procedure, and hopeful about the outcome. We’ll try to update you again in the near future on the patient’s progress. You might even get to hear from Jay himself, sometime, when we wean him off the narcotics!

He Thought He Was a Little Bird!

Monday night as I was finishing up preparations for our spaghetti supper, Abigail ran in from the backyard saying, “Nicolas is hurt!” I quickly rushed outside where I found little Nicolas lying on the ground near our little playfort (Dallas Morning News Classified Section special find!), wailing. Nicolas is pretty brave for two, so when he cries hard, I know he’s really hurt.

I scooped him up in my arms and held him. He kept cradling his arm and sobbing, “Mommy, I hurt!” Poor fellow. As he began to calm down, I asked him, “What happened?”. Pointing to the 2nd level of the playfort he explained, “I was twying to fwy!” Abigail confirmed that he had indeed jumped from the 2nd level. She hadn’t understood why until he explained it for us in his own way. I don’t think he’ll try flying again anytime soon!