Monday, September 20, 2010

Hott Traditions

Among the West Virginia hills, our family has a tropical tradition originating along the shores of Key West! Sound like an unlikely combination? Add toddlers, teenagers, smores, and guitars and you're instantly in the Hott Family's nightly tradition: SUNSET CELEBRATION!

Secluded among the trees on our mountain ridge, we were first unaware of our sunsets! A devastating Parkinson's diagnosis for my young husband found us in need to renovate. In an instant, our days are as shaky as a "fiddler on the roof"!

Dinner at the Hott House is an event for anyone! In fact, we recently served just leftover spaghetti and sweet peas to an unexpected guest. The next day, he enjoyed sunset from his own personal seat... in Heaven! What an honor to share our tradition with him on his last day on earth.

Finally, I offer a picture from our home, where nightly one hears Hott kids yelling "Time for sunset!" I think God created the Hott's Sunset Celebration to add balance to our "shaky" lives and get us to recognize simple beauty in the little things. Because each evening when He lights up my house, I hear Him whisper: "Excuse me, can I tell you something?"

What's He telling you?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Makin' Miracles!

Lately, the Hott House has had a little trouble in piano paradise that has just been making this Hott Mama a little crazy (zier than normal)!

Let me tell you this, if I may, that a very important doctor near DC told Dan there would be a >2% chance that he would ever be able to make a baby. Something scientific to do with the acrozome reaction of sperm reaching eggs. Dan was around some environmental hazards when working around radiation in the Arctic. I'll tell you this, it wasn't for lack of practice; but new babies we were not producing... for nearly five years.

Well, little did this doctor know that God had another plan for the Hott House! Only after we spent $20,000 on the American Express Card! We underwent a treatment called ICSI, or intra cytoplasmic sperm injection! Nine months later, our dear little Violet was born! Around three years later, we made a trip to the Florida Keys and guess what we brought home for a souvenir?! Isaac Daniel Hott!

When Isaac was six months old, we made another trip to the sunshine state. Guess what?... yes, our adorable freckled Levi Nathaniel Hott was born! Alright, by this time, I am 40 years old and Dan is the ripe ole age of 48. What's going on here????? We were living proof of Sarah and Abraham!
Presenting... the Hott Family:
And no, it's not what you're thinking! But remember what Jesus told us in Matthew 17:19-20 when he said "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, `Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
Salvation can do miracles, and I'm a witness to this. Caity and I met my hunk-honey Dan in 1995. I was a single Christian mom with a five year old brown eyed, curly haired mop-top! Not like there wasn't a line at my door; because there was. Among them were plenty of believers. But there was my Dan; an environmental engineer, raised in a large farm-family, a successful business man, and a non believer in God.

What was I thinking? For someone reason, and I still don't know why, but Caity liked him. And you know what? She got him to come to church with us! I think he really just came along for the ride or to go out to dinner after. But he came nonetheless! And in the Fall of 2002, Dan became saved!

Now, he NEVER told me of this! Within three months of God's celebration for Dan, I was pregnant. And in 15 months, again! I had no idea what was going on (well, you know what I mean.....) until Levi was about 8 months old and Dan revealed to us his salvation story! That year, we skipped going to Florida!

Makin' Miracles? Oh yes we are! And each day is a mystery beyond what I can wrap my head around. Sure, we're dealing with life just like the next person with PD and genetic heart issues; but each day brings us a celebration, literally, of heaven on earth! Caity has depth of wisdom beyond her 20 years; Violet can soar "like an eagle"; Isaac is too smart for his own good; and Levi is the first kindergarten "Star" of the week!

I see a glimpse of holiness in the little things; and here's one to share with you. How does a new six year old play piano like this?! I have been involved with music and can not comprehend the process of hearing a song and just playing it on the piano. At 3, Isaac would listen to Ode to Joy and just play it. He could hear a note and just say it. He could play a song, and just transpose it! Sound crazy? Well, it is! Check out this pretty typical Hott House fun:

Now, even crazier; Isaac will do everything he can to avoid playing the piano! And it is making me crazy! But when he finally does, we see Miracles in the Making!
"Now thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!"

Monday, September 13, 2010

Super Silly Sunday Smiles... all week long!

Isn't this just about the greatest smile you ever did see? One would think this little guy is heading to meet Santa; running towards a Christmas tree piled full of toys; or maybe being chased by a totally fantastic tickle monster! Can you just hear the giggles??? Just wait... you'll be surprised to hear that this adorable creature is in church! Can you believe it?! Who would have thought one could have this much fun in church?!

Think this is funny? Well, you should have seen the adults laughing and wrapping themselves in cellophane! It was "Kick-off Sunday" at FUMC and smiles were everywhere! I know that many readers are gearing up for the football season, but during our Sunday School program yesterday, the kids were gearing up too; all decked out in favorite team shirts and colors. Here, little Levi participated in a skit called "The Great Race", one might say he was running from this:

Scary, huh? And here's an even scarier thought... that's me! I'm Levi's "not-so-Hott-Mama!" getting ready for the race, doing all the wrong things in heels, eating chocolate and soda, over-dressed, and under-the-spell of lots of laughing kids and parents.

Immediately, just, before our skit, an elderly lady of the church stopped me on my way to the bathroom to get on my costume. She wanted to ask me a question. Then, while changing, yes!another member of the church wanted to talk too! Granted, I was trying to change my clothes, for goodness sakes, and was dangerously late for my entrance, but each wanted to generally ask the same:
"How do I stay positive and keep smiling?"

Here, I guess need to explain that we have had a banner year. This will clarify their questions. Earlier this year, my adorable husband DannyBoy was diagnosed with a weird heart problem called Brugada Syndrome. This is a condition that is fatal if not treated... and it is genetic. We have four children. Our "story" was covered by our local media.

Before Dan's ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator) surgery, we were also just getting used to the idea of living with the progressive and incurable problems associated with Parkinson's Disease. Yes, my hunk honey-man also has early onset PD, diagnosed at age 50. And it stinks! How hard it is, especially after closing his environmental engineering business to be home with a couple of rowdy, rough and romping boys (and me!) with the physical challenges of PD.

Here, I am putting my size (almost) 5's in Dan's sneakers for the skit, telling the kids they will help me be a better runner. Dan may have PD but he can still run faster than I can! (I used his sneakers anyway!) But after looking at this picture, I dare someone else to imagine taking a walk in our shoes here at the Hott House.... and continue to smile!

It CAN be done! A long time ago, Michael J Fox said that he never asks God to take away his "troubles"; he only prays for bigger shoulders to carry them. So how do I answer these questions about smiling and keeping positive that seem to continue to creep up on me even on top of more devastating news this week? I keep smiling. And the only answer I can come up with is this:
Faith. Hope. Love.
Well, that's 3 answers actually; but they all keep me going. And the knowledge that I can come back to church every Sunday to a God who allows and encourages me to laugh like a crazy woman and share a smile.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1
Keep on smiling... all week long! You know I will! And please tell me, what makes YOU smile? I mean, what really, really, puts a face-cracking, head-popping smile on you? Send me your smile stories; it could help us all to get through just one more day!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hott Dogs, Hott Pilots, the Thunderbirds, and God?

Do you see the connection? Hott dogs, hotter pilots, the USAF Thunderbirds, and God? Well, that just goes to show you how crazy our Saturday was as the Hott family and 35,000 others ventured out to the WV Air National Guard's "Thunder Over the Blue Ridge" Air Show!

"That was BREATHTAKING!" says our 6 year old Isaac as solo pilot, Major Rick Goodman soared over our heads at nearly 600 mph! And seriously ladies, grab a hanky and prepare to drool as you feast on your eyes on this:
Everyone together now! Can you say "BREATHTAKING!" At the ripe ole age of 45 and completely gray, I can't help but get giggly like a school girl at the sight of a man in uniform! You too? But seriously, as crazy as it may sound, when I complimented him on the precision performance of the fabulous Thunderbirds, to hear him say, "Why thank you Mam!" was just more than I could bear. And when he chattered away with Violet and my boys, well... let's just say that Dan had to sweep me off the runway!
Now, check this out:

How utterly and completely crazy is that? We witnessed this and more! I told Violet that watching the air show was every bit as exciting as jumping out of a perfectly good airplane! (I also asked Dan if I could have an F16 for Christmas!... he said "no"!) But there was something else I noticed. And it was this: Every, yes EVERY single head was facing up! All 35,000 people in the audience. So, it made me wonder? What do you think God was thinking as He watched us all, faces to the sky, looking upward in amazement and wonder at the spectacular technique and precision in the air?

"Excuse me, can I tell you something?"..... He got our attention!

Following our adventure from the air show, the Hott Family arrived home pumped and all ready to enlist in the United State Air Force. Isaac is ready to go now and be a Thunderbird pilot. Fortunately, the USAF will have to wait a few years. Who knows? Maybe someday my little men will be signing autographs out on a runway somewhere. But later that night, I encountered something equally as thrilling.

While cruising around facebook as the kids were watching the tube, I got an instant pop up message from a sweet young lady whom I hadn't seen or heard from since she was maybe 10 years old, full of freckles (like me!), and following her mamma around! It had been a very long time, like 15 years maybe. So, I was really surprised to see her pop up on an instant message.

And she wanted to "talk"! To me!!! And I mean about real issues too. You see, she read our story about all the stuff going on with the Hott Family and our struggle with Dan's heart condition, Brugada Syndrome, and our quest to find AEDs for our local schools.

Her question for me was how can she get connected with God. And she came right out with it! Bam!

Hugh? I really have to tell you, at first I was floored at the prospect that she considered me, the "not-so-Hott Mama" having a connection with God from reading our story. I was honored beyond words; and nervous that my response would be accepted.

After all the stuff with Dan and all, she asked how is it I stay positive. So, after a long fb conversation, I mostly told her how I find God in the little things, like looking at the sunset or finding new freckles on Levi's nose. Yet, I sensed that she was on a journey; literally at a crossroads. So, I told her that one way to connect with God was just to be in constant conversation with him about absolutely everything, little and big.

I had to seek Caity's expert advice immediately to locate specific scripture that explains such. A brain for remembering things I don't have much pass whose turn is it for a bath. Did you know that you can really google scripture??? How amazing is this World Wide Web!???

So, get ready for this! On Sunday morning at First Church in Berkeley Springs, Pastor Andrew's message was exactly that verse! I kid you not! And he blew it up gigantic size on the screen! 1Thessalonians 5:16-18. "Excuse me, can I tell YOU something?!"

So, there you go my dear friend! Hott dogs, hott pilots, the Thunderbirds, and God. It really is as easy as that to get connected! And for our blog readers, just to prove that I am not making this up, go to "messages" on!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,

for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

Now that's what I call BREATHTAKING!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Answered Prayers Look Like This!

It's 10:30 this morning, all Hott Kidz are in school, and the phone rings. A WHAG TV reporter says, "Hi! I'm Charya Lon, a reporter for Channel 25. We heard about Morgan County Schools getting defibrillators and we would like to do a story on your family."

Goodness, I was really excited! We were planning a photo with our local paper, The Morgan Messenger, Dave Banks, Superintendent of Schools, the principal, school nurse, and representatives of the foundation that generously purchased the equipment. The prospect of others hearing about the importance of AED's in the news was a blessing beyond belief.

Next, Charya said, "Can you meet me at the school in an hour? I'm on my way from Hagerstown!" "You bet! See you then!" I responded, still in my pajamas, unbrushed (ewe) teeth, and scary night time hair! And we still had to go to Widmeyer and pick up the boys to boot... with crazy Berkeley Springs construction traffic!

Needless to say, we made it. Violet was interviewed and adorable in front of the camera. Dan was pretty cute himself. He even volunteered to disrobe and bare his bossom in front of the camera to exhibit his ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator). Gotta tell you... I was glad he didn't ask the reporter if she wanted to feel it! :-) ...But I know he was thinking about it!...:-) And Isaac and Levi were as rambunctious as ever. We only missed our Caity!

Hope you enjoy the end result of the first Hott family interview. Share it with your friends; it could save a life! Maybe yours, maybe your kids', maybe your neighbor.

Check with your local school system. Do they have access to an AED? I sure hope so.