Wednesday, July 30, 2008


This was the title that stuck out to me as I browsed the real estate section on the local Craigslist here in Dallas.  It was a provocative statement, so I clicked and what I found astonished me.

Single Family Home for sale
6 bedrooms, 5 full and one half bath
Price: $499,900

Wow. Is it just me, or does it seem like a mortgage of half a million dollars, 6 bedrooms and 5 and a half bathrooms to keep clean, and an electric bill that is sky high during a Texas summer would just be the beginning of a whole new WOLRD of worries?

However, if you currently live in a house with a mortgage in the 800K range and have 9 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms to clean, maybe this WOULD help some of your worries to disappear! Since I don't know anyone that fits that description, I won't be encouraging anyone I know to make their worries disappear in this manner...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Book In Progress...

This is the book that I am halfway into.  I hear that there is a lot of heated discussion among people who would label themselves as Christians as to whether this book is "Biblically Sound" or presents a false depiction of God.  So far, I would say that it is a creative, colorful and elaborate depiction of William P. Young's view of God, and I honestly don't see anything wrong with that coming from a novel housed in the fiction section of your local bookstore.  I realize that this author has something to say about God; who He is, how He loves, what He is weaving into our lives (when we let Him).  I feel like I am at the point in the story where we have just begun to unravel the mystery, and I find myself coming back to this book frequently when I have a pocket of 10 minutes here and there during my day.

Like I said, I am only halfway through, so I may have to stand corrected if I get to the end and he has gone off the deep end into all sorts of false statements about God.  But so far, I can say that I have been refreshed and inspired, and I am trying to open my eyes to see how I may have falsely put God...or Jesus...or the Holy Spirit into a box that was fashioned by the "church" and not by what is in God's word.  If I say too much more, I might give something away....

Here is an excerpt from Chapter 6, page 97..."Mackenzie, I am what some would say 'holy, and wholly other than you.'  The problem is that many folks try to grasp some sense of who I am by taking the best version of themselves, projecting that to the nth degree, factoring in all the goodness they can perceive, which often isn't much, and then call THAT God.  And while it may seem like a noble effort, the truth is it still falls pitifully short of who I really am.  I'm not merely the best version of you that you can think of.  I am far more than that, above and beyond all that you can ask or think."

One more, page 100..."A bird's not defined by being grounded but by his ability to fly.  Remember this, humans are not defined by their limitations, but by the intentions that I have for them; not by what they seem to be, but by everything it means to be created in My image."

I would love to hear other thoughts on this book, from those who have read it, plan to read it, or are steering clear of it!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hot Springs: Part Deux

Caleb Says "What? Don't go outside without an adult? I'm sorry, I am having a hard time hearing you..."

So the evening we arrived, we noticed that the front door of the lake house and the door to the garage had swing handles instead of round door knobs.

Why is this a noteworthy discovery, you ask? Caleb can open a door with a swing handle in about .7 seconds. So we decided that we would have to keep the dead bolts locked on both of these doors AND keep the garage doors down just in case he got out that door. We passed the word around as people arrived to keep these doors locked, but we probably should have held an official "team meeting" with an issue of this magnitude.
Fast forward to the next morning. We were all settled in, and the kids had started to run back and forth across the house and into each other's rooms. So when we were in the kitchen/living area, we could not see the kids when they went into the hallways. I had just finished feeding Caleb his breakfast and had put him down, and he padded off down the hallway. I had a false sense of security because I was assuming that the doors were dead bolted and the garage door was down. A few minutes passed, and I went down the hallway to check on Caleb. And then I saw it....

The door out to the garage was standing wide open. I knew that this was a bad sign because no adult would have left the door standing open. So I assumed Caleb was exploring the garage. As I rounded the corner, my heart sank and I had a very sick feeling in my stomach. Someone had left the garage door open.

At this point, things are sort of a blur. I remember yelling to everyone that I thought Caleb had gotten outside. Everyone mobilized. People were searching the inside of the house, Josh stayed with the kids up at the house while everyone else began searching outside. If you remember from the previous post, this was in our backyard...

I would like to say I remained faithful during the entire search that we were going to find him and he was going to be fine. That I felt tremendous peace and an inner security that God was protecting him from harm.  However, this was not the case. I was pretty much running through every horrible scenario in my head. I was panicked. I immediately ran towards the lake, and on my way down the hill, I saw Caleb's blanket and pacifier lying in a little pile on the ground. It was then solidified that he was outside somewhere. But where?

So normally, 8 minutes is not that long. But when that is how long your child is lost at a lake house, it seems like an eternity. Our friend Dave had been down at the lake fishing, so he felt like he would have heard Caleb if he had fallen in the water. But the lake water was so dark and murky, you literally could only see a few inches. I kept asking myself, "Do I even remember how to give CPR?"

Everyone was running around, yelling his name. I felt like I was, in a weird way, removed from the situation and watching everything in slow motion. I had a hundred thoughts during those 8 minutes. What it would be like to never know Caleb as a 4 year old, a 12 year old, a high school graduate.....what it would be like to tell our families that Caleb had drowned in a lake...what it would be like to have 2 children and then all of a sudden only have one. Really awful thoughts.

I ran to the house next door. No one was home. I circled around it, ran down to their lake front. Someone else went to the other neighbors house. I felt like I just kept running in circles and yelling his name. Praying, praying, praying.

Then I heard someone yell, "We found him." And after I had confirmed that he was in fact alive and unharmed, I lost it and broke down in hysterical tears for a few minutes.

So where was he? Well, he had gone out the garage, down the driveway, into the street, down a big hill, up another one, to a stop sign, turned right, and was running down the yellow stripe in the middle of the street.  (Honestly, this speaks VOLUMES about his personality.) Aunt Amy had the divine thought to sprint down the street and see if Caleb had gone out for a jog. It seriously had not even crossed my mind to do that. Aunt Amy saved the day! She said as she rounded the corner, she saw a little blonde head bobbing up and down in the middle of the street. She called his name and she could hear him giggling as he continued to run as fast as he could away from her. No, he didn't run into her arms, relieved that he had been found. In fact, it turns out he didn't even know he was lost, confirmed by the fact that he was none too happy to be taken back inside the house.

Josh made a great point later that day. He said that the events of that morning with Caleb, the realization that he was lost, the desperate search...this gave us a tangible taste of God's desperate longing for those of His children that are lost. I once was lost but now I am found...

And to close out, just a few more of my favorite pictures from the week.

"Caleb Loves His Aunties" I mean, look at that face. You can't fake love like that.

"Seth Loves Buddy Bear" (This one is for you Grammi!)

"Couch Time with the Crowder's"

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hot Springs Village Modeling Shots

I heard a rumor that Hot Springs Village is looking for models for their new advertising campaign for 2009. I think these girls should be considered for sure.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Vacation is All Gone" -Seth Horvath

This was Seth's statement the day after we got back from Hot Springs. Yes Seth, vacation is all gone. And we are all a bit sad.

We had a glorious time with three of my best friends from college and their families. We have all been friends for 10 years or more. A week of staying in a beautiful lake house, zero responsibilities besides our kids and occasionally cleaning the kitchen, relaxing, laughing and enjoying community style living for a week with such sweet friends. I get the feeling that this is a little glimpse of what we will live like in heaven. I hope I get to share my mansion with dear friends!

Dave, Jackson and Sarah Parsons; Josh, Amy and Silas Bottomly; Tim and Cindy Crowder; Seth, Courtney, Steve and Caleb Horvath

Two of my girlfriends, Amy and Sarah, have both done a great job of recapping the week on their blogs.

Unfortunately, we forgot to take a picture of the outside of the house while we were there. This is a picture that the owner had sent to me, but it was taken in the dead of winter. A bit different than what we was so green and lush, as you will see in the pictures of the backyard taken by my husband a little later in this post.

The house was pretty amazing. We got a great deal on worked out to be about $40 per family for each night. And it was beautiful! Steve and I arrived first, and when we walked in I felt like running to all the bedrooms and jumping on the beds. I then promptly called all the girls to tell them how amazing it was and find out how long it would be until they arrived. The cell reception was sketchy up there, and there was "gasp" no internet service. I am pretty sure we all expected there to be, because all of us brought our lap tops. After the initial shock wore off that we would not be able to check our email, news, sports or favorite blog sites for a week, I think we all enjoyed the break from being overly-connected to our world for 7 days.

The Kitchen and gathering place for many rounds of chips and salsa, chips and dip, chips and guacamole....and on and on.

The Living Room, A.K.A. Relaxation Central:

Seriously, if you have a group of 8 adults + kiddos, this is an amazing house. There was seating on leather couches and chairs for at least 10 adults in this room.

The beautiful view from the back deck:

Our room opened out onto the deck, and this is what we got to wake up to in the mornings:

And if you walked down the steps to the lake, you could see this:

Don't let all those noodles laying there fool you...there was not a lot of swimming in the lake. The first morning, the guys were down by the lake fishing and there was a multiple snake sighting. One actually slithered part of the way up those stone steps, and that pretty much sealed the deal that people weren't going to be lounging in the water. Cindy, however, did make a lounge chair out of noodles and braved the water one afternoon for about 30 minutes. She hath no fear.

So instead of swimming in the lake, we found other pools to cool off in. I love this picture, because all the kids are just doing their own thing.

Aunt Cindy (not Sandy, Cindy...) and Uncle Tim brought the kids a cool shark pool to frolic in. Fun times were had by all, including Slias T:

We also frequented the Hot Springs Village community pool. It had a kiddie pool that was fenced in off to the side. Brothers, playing side by side without incident...for about 3 minutes:

This was obviously Seth's first experience with a toy water gun.

The strong, silent man doing his thing:

Uncle Tim giving Seth a ride around the pool:

Dave's idea of catching some rays:

During the week, some of the guys played golf, some hiked, some fished off the dock. We watched movies and ate yummy dinners together around a big table.

But mostly, we just spent time together enjoying each other's company and playing with the kids.
Seth, 4 years and discovering the beauty of Daddy's IPod

Caleb, 23 months and gazing longingly out the window at the big, wide world. More about his love for the outdoors later....

Silas T, 18 months, and getting his cheese on for the camera while he snuggles with his Mommy

Jackson, 8 months and one of the smiliest kids we have ever met!

I have more, but I must pause and post. To be continued....for those of you who haven't heard, stay tuned for details of "Caleb's Great Escape." Yes, it is as bad as it sounds.