How Many Kings…

Early this Christmas season, on a quiet Sunday afternoon I sat down in our little front room to rest and listen to some music. I flipped through the genre called “Christmas” on our Ipod (have I mentioned I married a wonderfully organized man who is also super-savvy about all things technical?).  Jay of course had each and every one of our Christmas albums neatly listed – and of course, each album had its own cover picture which correlated to the jacket on the original CD.  Except for one.

Under the heading “Various Artists” was a random assortment of songs from, appropriately enough various artists…but no jacket cover, album title or names of songs were noted.  Intrigued, I hit play on the album to see what was up with that, and was immediately taken with the first song. Really really taken. As it played I called to Jay who was in the next room, “Where did this song come from? Which album is this? I LOVE this song…have you ever heard it before? Wow, this is an amazing song!!”  Turns out he hadn’t ever heard it either…nor did he have any clue how the music appeared on our Ipod.  How it got there remains a mystery, but I’d like to think of it as a delightful surprise Christmas present, no matter where it came from.

The song is “How Many Kings” by Down Here. I think this was actually released a couple of years ago, but I have never heard it before.  The words were striking, and I loved the music and artistry. The content closely mirrored some of what our pastor had talked about in church just a couple of hours before. How beautiful and startling: this concept of the God of the universe humbling himself to the point where he becomes one of the weakest and frailest who dwell on this earth…completely dependent on ordinary, sinful humans for his very subsistence.  Though I know of no other songs by this Canadian band, I love this release enough to look into some of their other offerings.

I am no artist myself so my words do little justice to this beautiful song…which I why I am going to stop blathering and let you listen to it for yourself!  While I cannot find the exact recording that somehow magically appeared on my Ipod, I did find this video of a live performance. It’s live, so it’s not musically/technically perfect, but if you have a sec…take a listen!

Follow the star to a place unexpected
Would you believe after all we’ve projected
A child in a manger

Lowly and small, the weakest of all
Unlikeliness hero, wrapped in his mothers shawl
Just a child
Is this who we’ve waited for?

Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?

Bringing our gifts for the newborn savior
All that we have whether costly or meek
Because we believe
Gold for his honor and frankincense for his pleasure
And myrrh for the cross he’ll suffer
Do you believe, is this who we’ve waited for?
It’s who we’ve waited for

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

All for me
All for you
All for me
All for you

How Many Kings Lyrics- DOWNHERE Song words

Single Song Words by Artist / Band : DOWNHERE
Lyrics Title : How Many Kings
Taken from Album : –
Single Released : 2007

All He Wants…


for Christmas are his


Gee, if he could only have his


Then he could wish you MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Now…as to what his Momma wants for Christmas: after seeing the difference in the pictures from my camera (top shot) and Auntie Jamison‘s camera (other two pics, both of which I cropped from a MUCH bigger shot of 6 children, so it’s pixillated to the max!! <Classic Peg>….or however you say it in fancy camera speak), my wish is clear: I want Santa to bring me Auntie Jamison’s camera!

Let There be Lights!

It has felt like a heavy week: Abigail lost her surviving gerbil, Mittens exactly two weeks after Muffin died. This was a very hard blow to her.

A good friend of our family’s spent much of the past week in the hospital with serious health concerns that appeared out of the blue; I am reminded that God is not surprised by these incidents, yet we in our humanity do feel shaken by such things.

And there are other rather serious concerns that weigh on my heart and mind…which makes this entry feel a bit frivolous truth be told.  But in the midst of various concerns, we continue to celebrate Advent, the Coming of Christ, and it has been wonderful to share this season again with our children, all of whom now cherish our Christmas traditions, and are excited about new ones.

One new tradition this year is the addition of lights outside to “festivize” our home! Little Josiah was adamant that he would like “Colorful Christmas Lights along the Roof of our House!” But Jay has not had much spare time to make that happen.  Aside from the fact that ladder-climbing is usually a precarious proposition for him given his physical constraints.

So we set our minds to decorations NOT involving Jay or the roof…and my little red-headed helper braved the freezing cold with me yesterday to finish out the lights lining the walk to our front door. Why we chose to string lights on the coldest day of 2009 I do not know…


Maybe it was because of the gorgeous sunset we got to enjoy while we worked:


And here is the finished product: I give you House of Horne Christmas 2009!


Snow Day!

On Wednesday morning, we woke up to see SNOW pouring down from the sky onto our Texas backyard! What a wonderful surprise! The children bundled up in coats, hats and mittens…some of them didn’t even bother to take off their stripedy jammie pants, they were in such a hurry to play in the white stuff!



The Christmas Gift

A few days ago, we got our Christmas tree put up, and the other boxes of Christmas decor out. As we have put touches here and there around the house, Josiah has been more interested than in previous years about this thing called “Christmas”. I field the question, “But Mom, when is it going to be Christmas?” about 7 times a day. Each time he is disappointed to learn that no, today is not yet the day.

But on Sunday night, his grandparents brought over a little present for us all to open…inside were ornaments for each member of the family, including one for Jay and I. Taking his cue from Grammy, Josiah must have decided that even though it was not yet Christmas day, at least it was high time to start the giving and receiving of gifts. The next morning I found him hard at work trying to tie a piece of string around the same box Grammy’s ornaments had been packaged in.

“What are you trying to do?” I asked him.

“I need to tie the string on this box. It’s a present for you, Mommy!” he replied.

Of course I helped tie the string, which pleased him greatly. Beaming from ear to ear, he held out “his” present to me…


“Here you go, Mommy…it’s your Christmas present from me!” he said.


I opened the box to find these treasures:


A beautiful pointsettia ornament (strangely similar to the one my in-laws had given me just the night before).

A drawing of a turtle, done by Josiah himself.

And a magnetized chip clip.

“The clip is so you can hang my turtle picture on the ‘frigerator” Josiah explained to me. Well of course it is…how clever!

I love my present from my littlest guy! I love even more that at his tender age, he is learning that part of Christmas is about giving gifts to others, just as our Heavenly Father gave the greatest gift to us more than 2000 years ago.

Kitchen Fire!!

What do you suppose happens when on a totally innocent whim, the lady of the house puts an ordinary bag of tortilla chips:


into the microwave to warm them up before serving them to her family??

What happens at House of Horne is that you get Chips (and Bag!) Flambee (shout out to our good buddy Dave!)

Here is what it looks like after you stamp out the impressive-looking flames and douse the still-glowing embers:


Unfortunately, I cannot properly share with you the incredible smell that is created from such an occurrence happening in your very own microwave. You will just have to take my word for it: it is hideous!

Next time I’d like warm chips with our fajita supper, I will carefully place all chips into a microwave safe bowl before heating.

‘Nuff said.

I Still Want (to) Hula Hoop!!

Due to a very late bedtime for Abigail given her CCGD concert last night, we are enjoying a light return to schooling on this Monday after the Turkey Day holiday…but I am insisting on the children completing some school work before we turn to other things.  Shortly after assigning Abigail some literature to study, I walked into the living room to this sight…


And I can’t even bring myself to scold the child because I am so impressed with her creativity….I mean….on my best day, I am hopeless at making the hula hoop stay up around my hips. Heaven forbid I try to hula whilst reading the dictionary….how do kids do it?

CCGD Concert!

Tonight we attended a beautiful Christmas concert! It was Abigail’s first time to sing at the Meyerson Symphony Center with the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas.  The children gave an excellent performance, and we were impressed with the broad range of wonderful music from all six different choirs that sang tonight.  Grammy and Grandy joined us, making the evening even more enjoyable.

It was difficult to take photos inside the symphony hall, but here are a few shots from the evening:

Shot of the pipe organ while we waited for the concert to begin:


Can you find Abigail in this photo?


The combined choirs with the directors in front:


And some close-ups just after:



I love this shot of our little songbird!


Cranberries, Popcorn, and Christmas Stories…

Tonight after supper our family gathered ’round the kitchen table to begin our annual reading of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. If you haven’t read it, you must…it’s a wonderful tale that will warm your heart as you contemplate Christmas. We are going to see the play this coming week at the DCT, so we have only a few days in which to finish it.

This year I thought it would be fun to string popcorn and cranberries for the tree while we read our book, and while I figured I’d do the bulk of the stringing, I hoped the kids would be old enough to at least enjoy helping a bit. But I wasn’t sure they could handle the corn and berries without crushing them in an effort to string them into garland.  I shouldn’t have worried….


In the time it took Jay to read two chapters, I think I strung maybe a foot’s total length of popcorn and cranberries. The rest of the time I was kept busy cutting and finishing the ends of the children’s strings, and threading new needles for them to start new garland. Even little Josiah, who asked very matter-of-factly where his needle and thread were so he could string too, carefully threaded popcorn and berries along with his big siblings, and produced a very pretty little garland of his own.



I hope we can spend another evening or two stringing garland while we finish the story…but we made a great start tonight and managed 18 3/4 feet of popcorn and berries!


Thanksgiving 2009

We enjoyed a quiet holiday yesterday. Earlier plans called for us to travel to St. Louis to be with Jay’s brother’s family this year, but several factors led to our staying here instead.  As my sister-in-law recently landed a wonderful new full time job that will begin in just a few days, we’d like to think we made the Thanksgiving weekend simpler and more relaxing for her by not descending upon her household with our large and noisy brood! But it would have been great to see all of them….

Jay’s folks (the Grammy and the Grandy as they are affectionately referred to over here) joined us for a fun and lowkey day. I would like to toot my own horn(e?) just a teensey bit and say that I worked very purposefully to not spend the entire day in the kitchen as I am often wont to do on a holiday, by sheer nature of the beast, er…..feast!!.  Abigail and I made three pies on Wednesday, and I baked our pumpkin bread for next morning’s breakfast that evening.  Jay also mixed up my Grandma Brunone’s celebrated shrimp dip the day before, so even our appetizer/lunch was all set. I still might have gone to bed later than I should have, given I stayed up past 1am feverishly working to hang over 60 little sparkly crystals on our new chandelier that Jay had just installed for me, so it’d be all spiffy for the Thanksgiving meal. But I digress…..

We chose prime rib for our main course instead of the more traditional bird, to simplify the sides for our dinner…if you ever make prime rib, you should try this recipe, it’s fabulous. It’s even more fabulous if you actually follow the directions and take the roast out of the oven at 120 degrees as directed, instead of making the incorrect judgement that it couldn’t possibly be finished cooking to medium rare already, and leaving it in to cook too long as I did! (The flavor was still excellent, even if the inside was a bit darker than we preferred, but next time I’ll follow the recipe more religiously!)

Our day was relaxing and fun; there was playing with and on grandparents:





Time spent outside in gorgeous, sunny weather:


Shrimp dip!


An impressive and competitive game of scrabble:


An impromptu nap by the littlest guy who was “just so tired of waiting to eat pumpkin pie with whipp-ed cream”….


The feast!


After dinner cuddles and snuggles:


Happy Thanksgiving to All!