Tuesday, March 31, 2009

About Where I Am

I am still in Africa!  I will be returning home on Friday, but I thought you might enjoy reading this post about the work that is going on where I am at.

My friend Jen, who with her husband launched Ten Thousand Homes, was asked to guest blog on another cross-cultural worker's blog.  

Click HERE to see what she had to say about their life and work in South Africa.

Friday, March 27, 2009

WWF on the trampoline

Ball Upside the Head...
Right Back At Ya...
The Take-down...
Karate chop to the shoulder...
It Looks Sweet...It Isn't.  Pre-Takedown Move.
Wiped Out...
Bottom Lip Quivering...Either Hurt or Mad.  Or Both.
Back to Jumping...
See Me Fly...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Seth & Jake: Bathtime

And my favorite...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Leavin'...on a jet plane

We are off!  Our team is meeting at 1:45 to all go to the airport together, and we are leaving at 5pm.  We have a straight flight to Frankfurt, Germany and will have a 13 hour layover there. Hopefully we will find some fun things to do and see to wile away the hours.

We then board tomorrow evening a straight flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. When we arrive, we have a four hour van ride to where we will be staying and working.

I have a few blogs that I have post dated that will *magically* appear while I am gone, so check back!

See ya in two weeks!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Composition in Photography

For all you budding photographers out there, head on over to the Pioneer Woman's website.  She has a great post on "The Rule of Thirds" and why centering your subject in a photo is generally NOT the best way to frame a shot.

Click HERE and it will take you right to the post.  I found it really interesting because she takes the same photo and crops it many different ways to show the effect of composition on the overall feel of the photo. 


Monday, March 16, 2009

Sony Cybershot H10

Thanks to those who left a comment on my last post!  When I set out to buy something that has a lot of options to choose from, I tend to prefer to get something that someone I know has purchased, used, and enjoyed.  Although I didn't find anyone who just *loved* their point and shoot camera, I did get some different ideas of what people had and what they thought about it.

Isn't it funny how, once you start researching something, you start to care about things that you didn't even know
existed before? Sometimes I think the best thing to do is just decide you need something, go to the store, and pick one out off the shelf.

I can't tell you how many reviews of different cameras I have read over the last week. And just when I would think I had decided upon one, I would read some negative reviews that would make me question the choice and then change my mind. My poor husband. It is bad enough that I tend to be a tad on the indecisive side anyway. Once I start in on a decision like this, it is no good until I click "purchase". Then we can all breathe a big sigh of relief!

So I had decided on a certain Canon that I wanted, then I read a lot of reviews that said the camera took 9-10 seconds to recover after a flash before it was ready to take another picture. I timed this cycle on my current, 5 year old digital camera, and it only took 4-5 seconds. So I decided against the Canon because of this. Kids do too many great things! I can't wait 9-10 seconds for my flash to be ready.

I am a huge Costco fan. I have been known to go in there and not come out for hours if I am careful. I love to wander the aisles. They have great stuff! And they pretty much have the best warranty ever! 90 days on electronics, and they will take it back for ANY reason, even if you just don't like it. So I found a great deal on this Sony Cybershot on Costco's website (it was $90 cheaper than Best Buy's current price!) and did some research. It got stellar reviews from everyone. People's biggest complaint was that it actually has a lens cap that you have to take on and off. I think I can get over that if it takes great pictures!

8.1 MegaPixels
10x Optical Zoom
3" LCD screen

It looks big in the above picture, but it is a pocket size point-and-shoot.  It isn't tiny like a lot of the cameras out now, but it will still easily fit in my purse or a backpack if we are headed out to the park or over to a friend's house.  One thing I preferred in the styling of this over the smaller cameras is that it has a grip on the right side.  To me, that makes it easier to hold with one hand.

So it should get here by Thursday, and I will have a day and a half to play with it before I leave for Africa on Saturday! I will let you know what I think and post a few test shots.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Best Digital Point-and-Shoot Cameras

Question of the Day:  Do you have a digital camera (point and shoot, not DSLR) that you love? Does it take great pictures...crisp, clear, vivid shots in various lighting situations?  Does it also take movie clips?

If the answer to this question is a resounding YES!, then please leave a comment and let me know the model name of your camera and why you love it.

If the answer to this question is a definitive NO!, then please leave a comment and let me know the model name of your camera and why you want to throw it off a cliff and listen for it to hit bottom.

Both types of comments will be very helpful. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Recommended Reading

Since I will be spending extensive amounts of time traveling on airplanes and hanging out in airports on layovers during my trip to Africa in about a week and a half (crazy!), I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations for a good, absorbing read.  I would like something fiction that reaches out and grabs you and helps wile away the hours on the plane.

Here are my only guidelines:

#1) It can't be scary
#2) I don't want it to be anything from the Twilight series

Any suggestions??

Monday, March 9, 2009

Get Paid Big $$ for your Hoopty!

Did you like that title?  I thought it might get your attention in a bad, shady-car-dealership-commercial kind of way.

My friend Julia brought up a great point in a comment on my last post.  She asked if she was having a senile moment because she didn't know we got a new car.  For a lot of people, getting a car wouldn't necessarily be blog-post worthy.  But for the Horvath's, who drive their cars into the ground until they die a slow death, this should have been blogging material!

It sort of got lost in the post-Pakistan trip time because I actually picked Steve up from the airport and we drove straight to the car dealership to sign the papers on the car.  Because I bought a car while he was in Pakistan.


Let me re-phrase that.  I bought HIM a car while he was in Pakistan.


I know.  It doesn't really seem like it would have been on my to-do list to go car shopping while my husband was in a foreign (dangerous) country. 

Last November, we heard about this program called Air Check Texas.  They are trying to improve the air quality in the Dallas area, so their mission is to get older cars without all the new emissions improvements off the road.  If you have a car that is 10 years old or older, you can apply to the program to get a voucher to use towards the purchase of a newer car.  Here are some of the details in case anyone is interested:

1) You have to meet the income requirements and they depend on the number of people in your household.

2) You need to be using the car as your main source of transportation and it needs to be up to date on its registration.

3) You can only use the voucher at an approved dealership (you can't buy a car from a private party).

4) You cannot buy a car that is more than 3 years old.

We applied to the program because Steve's little 1992 Honda Civic was on it's last leg.  The heater and air conditioner BARELY worked, the windshield wipers SOMETIMES worked, it didn't have power steering, and it needed some work that was going to cost us more than the car was worth.

(This is what his car looked like, only not in good shape like that!)

Just to give you some perspective on how good this deal was, Steve bought his little Civic (I keep calling it little because it was.  It was a 2-door hatchback...) over 8 years ago for $1800.  

Let that sink in a bit...

OK.  The state gave us a voucher check for $3000.  

Yah.  It doesn't really add up, but it was a great deal for us!  There was only one little catch that we didn't know about when we applied...

You only have 30 days to use the voucher from the time your application is approved or you lose it and can never apply again.  Ouch!  We received the voucher in the mail the week before Steve left for Pakistan, and then he was gone for 17 days.  So practically speaking, I needed to start looking around for a car while he was gone or his jet-lagged self would have had to go and find a car within about 5 or 6 days of getting back to the States.

This is turning into a way longer story than I thought.  Whew.

So Steve told me the kind of car he wanted and I began searching.  We didn't want to spend more than about $4000 (I know, we're cheap) but with the added $3000 that gave us $7000. 

Did anyone know that is hard to find a 2006 model car or newer for $7000?  Well, it is.

But I found one!  And the dealership (and the salesman) were only slightly shady and I basically bought the car and put down a deposit while Steve was gone because I was afraid I wouldn't find another one that was in our price range with only a few weeks to look.  (I DID get his approval via a phone call before I officially made the deal)

And we love it!  It is a Kia Spectra5.  It gets great gas mileage, it has 4 doors which makes it easy to get the kids in and out, it is fun and sporty to drive, and the air conditioner, heater and windshield wipers all work!  Here it is, in all its glory...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


If your "Check Engine Light" ever comes on in your car, you might want to make sure your gas cap is screwed on properly.

I'm not saying this happened to us.  I'm just saying you might want to check it.

Because you might go to the dealership, thinking you will be free and clear because the bumper to bumper warranty on your car doesn't expire until 60K miles, and you are at 55,900.  So getting the car checked out shouldn't cost you a dime.

And bumper to bumper means everything right?

It means everything except not screwing the gas cap on.  Because that just happens to not be covered under "bumper to bumper" warranty, and not screwing the gas cap on causes a sensor to go off alerting the engine that there is an evaporative leak.

Again, I'm not saying this happened to us.  I just don't want it to happen to you.

So if your check engine light turns on, just make sure your gas cap is on tight before you take it in.

Because they just MIGHT charge you $98.

To tell you that your gas cap wasn't on tight.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I am going to....


Hello Friends!

I am writing to tell you about an amazing journey I am going to embark on 3 weeks from yesterday. I am going to South Africa!

My church, New Hope, sends a team every year to South Africa to work with a group called Ten Thousand Homes. This organization was created by some great friends of ours, Jen and Jeremy Price. Their mission is this:

Ten Thousand Homes creates “HOME” for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in
Southern Africa by building multi-care centers, building homes, and providing
a sense of belonging for orphans and vulnerable children.”

While there, we will have the privilege of coming alongside Jen and Jeremy’s team of full-time workers to assist in various projects, including helping with the roofing of one of their newly built homes, putting on a Vacation Bible School for the kids, serving in the multi-care centers, and visiting and praying for those who are sick with HIV/AIDS.

While I in no way feel equipped to do any of those things, I know that Jesus is more than able and willing to give me the strength where I feel inadequate. God’s heart is for the poor…for the defenseless, the orphan, the widow.

“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well with him.
Is that not what it means to know me?” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 22:16

(Photo by Jen Price)

I was recently in a Bible study, and our assigned reading for the week was the book of Ephesians. I somehow got off track and found myself journaling about the first three chapters of 1 John. At first I was frustrated that I had been “wasting” my time in the wrong book (ha ha), but God never wastes an opportunity to speak to us through His word. I found myself reading and re-reading the same verse.

“If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no
pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love
with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth.” I John 3:17-18

I asked God what He wanted me to do in response to this verse. I think God has many answers to that question, and going on this trip is just the first. I know that I will miss Steve, Seth and Caleb so very much, but at the same time, I am excited to be able to go on this trip without the responsibilities of “wife” or “mother”. (It took a few wise women speaking into my life to make me feel ok about even saying that last statement!) I know that God has things he wants to do in my heart; to shape me and mold me to be more like Him, to have more of His heart for His people who are in need. I am looking forward to being all His for 14 days!

I am blessed to already have the funds I need to be able to go on this trip. However, I am going with 9 other people who are raising funds to be able to go and serve, and any financial assistance you feel led to give to our team would be so appreciated. But most of all, we need your prayers! Prayers for health, team unity, open ears, hearts to serve, and for us to be a purposeful blessing to those we encounter in South Africa.

I would also like to ask for prayer for my husband and two young sons I am leaving behind for 14 days. The longest I have been away from the boys is 4 days, so this will definitely be a new and stretching experience for all of us. I look forward to hearing about all the male bonding that will be going on at the Horvath house!

I would just ask you to pray specifically for health for Steve, Seth and Caleb, for an abundance of grace and patience for all of them, and for God’s peace and comfort to rest mightily on my home in my absence. My Mom and Dad have graciously agreed to help with the boys while I am gone, but I know that Steve could also use some extra help from our extended “family” of friends! While Steve was away for 17 days in Pakistan earlier this year, so many of you called to check on me, offered to watch the boys for an afternoon or evening, or invited us over to share a meal with you. Please extend those same loving arms to Steve and the boys while I am away in Africa!

Thank you in advance for your support and prayers. It makes it so much easier to go knowing that our family and friends will step in to help and pray while I am gone. May God richly bless you for the love you show!

Following His call,