Monday, September 30, 2013

A Love "Mission" in Morgan County

I am a mom of four living in Morgan County, WV.  Last week, while having dinner with some other mom friends from the middle school cross country team after a meet, I heard a very special story.  "Wouldn't it be nice to hear some 'good' news for a change?" we talked.  Well... listen to this.

Although only 100 miles west of Washington, DC, Morgan County is situated in a remote part of the world, sometimes as seemingly far away as a distant planet.  Our "WV Hills" in Morgan County feature large mountain ridges, winding streams, and acres of wild forest.  With a total population of only 17,535, it's communities are a diverse spectrum of families, similar to any small town, USA.  People here are proud and passionate.

Recently, Morgan County has been the center of some very negative news concerning the fall of the county school levy, a 50+ year local property tax which generates $5 million annually.  A terrible division has developed within the community.  Social networks like Facebook have exploded with heated debate over the children's future.
Not only divided by the huge 2,618 foot Cacapon Mountain range, the towns of Berkeley Springs and Paw Paw are equally as different as the residents opinions on the school levy.  Local folks are angry, upset, and worried about the future of public education in our small county.

But human needs remain the same.
"Let us not love with words or speech
but with actions and truth" 1John3:18

And in order for children and families to succeed, many require that their basic needs are met, not just adequate nourishment, but also safe homes and equally as important...knowing that someone cares.

It was at this hectic dinner that I was blessed to hear about the efforts of Mrs. Brenda Bailey, Mission Team Leader from First UM Church in Berkeley Springs, who organized the first ever "Paw Paw Mission Trip" for Saturday, September 28th. This busy mom coordinated an effort to unify this rural area through something so simple....random acts of kindness.  

Ava Slavinsky, only 5 years old, working hard!
Through word of mouth, Mrs. Bailey located 12 families in Paw Paw, WV, with needs.  From home improvements, handicap accessible ramps, to light construction, 125 volunteers traveled to Paw Paw early Saturday to build, paint, and assist their neighbors across the mountain.  The mission ended in a community children's Vacation Bible School and picnic.

Free Family Goodie Baskets
Sound like a heart warming story?  Then talk to Brenda.  For an event she first thought that only a few would participate, she had 12 complete crews consisting of families ranging in age from 5 to 75 that traveled some 35 miles over Cacapon Mountain to Paw Paw.   Brenda also shared about the mountain of goods gathered.  "The room was so filled with items I never brought tears to my eyes," said Brenda.  In addition to pictured here, the crews took building supplies, paint buckets, equipment, lumber, furniture, and more!

Listening to the outcome of the "Mission in Morgan County" at First UM Church and to see another busy mom manage to coordinate such tremendous efforts really restores my belief in this special community.  It shows us that people, regardless of their own hardships and differences, really can "love their neighbor" (see Matthew 22:40).

In closing, please take a sec and listen to this song.  For me, it summed up what happened in Paw Paw this weekend in the "Mission" in Morgan County.  You'll be blessed To Believe... and maybe share God's love.

To Believe "...that we'll see in one another the loving image of You."

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

National Parkinson Foundation Links My PD App Review!

A Review of the Parkinson's Central Smartphone App

Parkinson's Today is a monthly e-newsletter from the National Parkinson's Foundation.  In the September 2013 edition,  the National Parkinson Foundation links a review I posted earlier this summer about their new smartphone app called PARKINSONS CENTRAL.

Needless to say, I'm a little tickled to see this 48-year-old-grey-haried-PD bloggin-hott-mama-of four's post linked on a national publication... especially NPF!  I first learned of this foundation 5 years ago.  We were at Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, where Dan (my hotthubby who has PD) participates in a research program.

Since then, I blog stories about living with PD in the Hott House and raising a dynamic family of four (and sometimes more!).  Recently, a reader commented that "Your blog touched me Angie!  Faith, a Positive Attitude, Exercise, and a Strong Family is the 'secret' to beating Parkinson's Disease!  You guys have it all!!!"  

Secret?  Dan always tells me I can't keep a secret.

This time he is right!  ;-)

(To see the e-newsletter, click Parkinson's Today.)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Team Fox Superstar Emerges

"It's not about how fast you run but how you run fast!"

Have you heard this?  Well, actually... maybe not.  You see, in Disney's movie "Planes" they tell Dusty that "it's not how fast you FLY but how you fly FAST!"  LOL!

Check out our new Team Fox Superstar!  Levi Hott, age 8, finished third in his age group at the Morgan County Partnership's  "Run for Recovery 5K" on Sept. 14, 2013.   Who knew he could run fast?  And who knows?...maybe he'll become a marathon runner for Team Fox someday and raise lots of money for Parkinson's Disease research.

Wouldn't that be a cool way to contribute to the cause to find a cure for PD in our lifetime?  It was quite by accident, by the way, that Levi chose to wear his "Team Fox" racing shirt.  But it was no accident that all six Hott's participated in another 5K.

This week, Dan had his five year appointment at Johns Hopkins Hospital where he has been a part of a research program for Parkinson's Disease.  His neurologist, Dr. Zoltan Mari, was wearing a button with the Michael J. Fox Foundation's logo and a phrase "ask me about PD research".

So... I asked!  Wow....  Dr. Mari's enthusiasm was encouraging and hopeful that all their work will lead to progress in finding ways to help those living with this stinking illness.  Most of all, we talked a great deal about the importance of exercise.  With four active kids and busy schedules, it is hard not to keep Dan active.

Dr. Mari told us that "they believe that exercise may slow down or improve the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease" (well... he said something like that!).

Oh yeah!  So... exercise is the secret to beating Parkinson's Disease?  Well, let's get busy, off our butts, and exercise!  Come on!

Actually, Dan stretches and walks quite a bit.  In fact, we often find that when people see Dan they always say "Wow Dan!  You look great!"  I guess what they mean is "...for a 56 year old with Parkinson's Disease."  Well, fact is, he does look great!  (Pretty "hott" actually!)  And with well timed meds like levodopa it is hard to tell he has a chronic neurological problem at all.

An exercise program to help with Parkinson's Symptoms?  Sign us up!  Or, at least sign us up for a local 5K for a fun, family night out!  Makes this 48-year-old-grey-haired-PD bloggin-hott-mama-of-four remember our family's first attempt at running a 5K.  It was 2011 when I signed up my reluctant crew to run at the Morgan County Fair, one of the many days my hotthubby Dan shone as our PD "Superstar".

But move over, Dan!  There are new stars in the house!  LOL!  And, these stars never have to finish first to show how much heart and soul they bring to our crazy race.

I'm proud of our stars every day.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

This Is My Biome, a Minecraft Parody by Isaac (age 9)

The New Earth Granary hosted a parade of local performers to a packed house last night at the Fairfax Coffee House.  Spilling out into the street, musicians, instrumentalist, pianists, vocalists, ventriloquist, story tellers, and a cool mix of guitarist gathered to unite not just in song but also in a unique spirit of community.  As part of the audience, one quickly found that this night was more than just a "talent show"... it was music with a mission!

This 48-year-old-grey-haired-PD bloggin-hott-mama-of-four just loves this special kind of experience!  Not everywhere can you find quality performers with God given talent like you could last night.  I.mean.really!  Where have you EVer been to see a show when an electric guitarist was needed and the emcee yells out the front door to a boy on the sidewalk?  

Well, enters teenager Sam Silver with his instrument who sits in and performs improv with Johnny, drummer Stephan Burns, Aiden McDaniels, and Jim Fredo.  We originally planned to make an exit right after our Isaac performed until we were witness to the musical magic that happened last night.

We stayed!

The New Earth Granary seeks to provide Berkeley Springs with a discovery, a renewal,... yes, an awakening of the seed/gift within each of us, and to "provide an atmosphere where these seeds/gifts can sprout and produce in a relational based economic environment."  Through the power of music, people begin to unite and foster a much needed sense of unity in our unique little town.  

Our Isaac exemplifies how The New Earth Granary works.  As his mom, I knew he was a little piano player from the time he was two.  At the Granary, he continues to "sprout" as a musician right before our eyes.  Kinda cool that Isaac's song says "...this is my biome. It's what I call home."  Hoping to see "The Granary" become a home to musicians of all ages.

Who knew he could (or would) sing?

God did. 

Watch more music "grow" in Berkeley Springs!  The New Earth Granary, located on Mercer Street near MiRanchito's will celebrate its' grand opening on October 19 with more magic on their new stage.  From new pianists like Isaac to seasoned performers (like Pete Gordon), I know you will be blessed by it all.

"Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!  Serve the Lord with gladness!  
Come into his presence with singing."  Psalm 100:1-2

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oh My, My, My...Miley

Excuse me....  Miley?

Can I tell you something?

This is my little girl, Violet.  For her 8th birthday party in 2008, you came to our house along with 10 other little girls, younger siblings, friends, parents.  Ahhhhhh... just look how sweet!  Notice that Violet is wearing a Hannah Montana shirt too!

For just a moment in time, we were all movie stars.  Each party participant had a paparazzi photo opp complete with glitter, glam, and shades... and you!  Miley Cyrus!

Oh... my, my, my... Miley.

I am sorry to tell you this, Miley, but I am afraid this 48-year-old-grey-haired-PD bloggin-hott-mama-of-four has to ask you to leave.  I'm afraid you are no longer welcome in our house and I will even be sending your Hannah Montana life size cut out to the trash.

You see, although you once were a child Disney star, now you have become a symbol of all things, well,... sinful: a threat to the hearts and minds of my children.  With younger brothers around, your pop star twerking image now at 20 is not something, shall we say... "appropriate" for not just our 13 year old Violet, but also her much younger brothers.

So, I am afraid I have to insist that you leave.

As a parent, I feel rather betrayed. Don't you?

You see... this family spent our hard earned money to further your career.  We bought exorbitant priced concert tickets, purchased a plethora of your "tweeny" clothing line, watched repeated episodes of your show "Hannah Montana", and cluttered our little girl's bedroom with your merchandise.

Our three year old son even rocked around the house singing your songs!

But enough is enough.

No more.  From now on, I really think you owe us all an apology.  Or, maybe Disney does.  When we parents buy into all things "magical" about Disney, one somewhat expects it to remain rated "G", right?  I mean, I surely hope we never see Minnie Mouse disrobing and dancing around on my television.  If Cinderella or Snow White grow up and ever lick a sponge finger on my screen, this house will never EVer spend another cent on anything Disney.

Of course, I understand all about freedom of expression.  Actually, I hate to give this any more attention than it already has received.  But last weeks parade of the VMA awards over and over again on the media was nothing but a blatant raping of all things innocent and youthful.  From Miley's comments on MSNBC, she said "How many times have we seen this play out in pop music?  Madonna's done it, Britney's done it. Every VMA performance."

Sorry, but those artists weren't invited to Violet's birthday party.  You were.

And sadly, the song taunted as "the biggest hit of summer 2013" was a complete surprise to me and the first I  ever heard of "We Can't Stop."  So, after I looked up the definition of "twerking", my curiosity lead me to youtube to check out what the fuss was all about.

"We Can't Stop" was a shocking slap in the face from nothing more than a troubled pop star.  The song belittles and objectifies women, degrades black females, and threatens to desensitize our younger generation to accept this as normal.  I'm sorry to rain on your party, Miley, but this mom will be blocking all things Miley Cyrus from now on.  For now, this mother CAN stop.

So.  This is MY house and we operate under not just MY rules, but God's rules too.  And in all honesty, while I feel the need to protect my children from your current choices, Miley, I also fondly remember the moments a younger artist was welcome in our house.  God not only judges, honey, but He loves you too. I can't imagine how Billy Rae responded to your display; but, I'm sure your heavenly Father's heart broke a little more at what happened last week as He whispered, "Oh my Miley."

For what once was a positive influence in our culture, Miley Cyrus, you are still a child of God.  Even though your current get-up appears otherwise.
Excuse me, can I tell you something?  Looks a little she has horns, doesn't it? 

"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.” ...  Revelations 17:1-18