Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dazzling Diamonds, Royal Rubies, and Boney Elbows? A Book Review of "Treasury of Bible Stories"

One can not open a "Treasury of Bible Stories" without expecting a few jewels, among them diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, right?  So just how, you may ask, did this 49-year-old-grey-haired-PD blogging-hott-mama-of-four manage to find within this treasure chest of Bible classics a load of boney elbows?  Hummm...just ask Levi, my 9 year old!

Treasury of Bible Stories  -     By: Kelly Pulley
I was happy to read and review this darling collection of classic Bible stories to share with you.  When it arrived from David C. Cook, I immediately snuggled up with my 9 year old at bedtime and cracked open the cover of this colorful treasure of all our Bible favorites.  From "A Wall of Water," the towering tale of Moses crossing the sea to "Food for a Fish," a 'whopping' story of Jonah, Levi and I were mesmerized by this unique clever collection of Bible tales.

Author, Kelly Pulley, is an expert at "rhythmical rhymes of Biblical times".  He manages to take familiar stories of our favorite tales from Daniel in the Lion's Den to the beautiful Resurrection Story and convey them in clever lyrical rhyming verse.  I was impressed as I read with ease his combination of words and how they effortlessly read aloud with my son, almost as if by magic.

Assisting our ears was a colorful depiction of a Bible journey.  The illustrations in Pulley's "Magnificent Tales" series will entertain parents and young readers alike.  Perhaps it was just my 9 year old in all his boyhood that immediately recognized an unusual theme that carried across every character drawn:  boney elbows!

Do you want to know something strange?  I never noticed it!  However, Levi barely heard the first page when he said "Mom!  Check out those boney elbows!"  And he was right.  The characters do have some circular appendage on each and every elbow (and knee!) joint.

Photo: Sugar plumAsside from this unusual comment from my child, we thoroughly enjoyed the delightful collection of rhyming cover to cover!  So much that I plan to share my copy with my newest family member.  Meet my great-niece, adorable Adalaide!

Isn't she a gem!?  Which got me thinking.  A book like "Treasury of Bible Stories" is so much more than the retelling of a story we moms have heard a million times.  It takes these old stories and uniquely rhymes them for a moment we will share with what is our true treasure:  our children.  Kinda sorta makes me wish my Levi was three months old again.

So gather up your little diamonds in the rough and shower them with the magic of "Treasury of Bible Stories" by Kelly Pulley.  For the gift of God's book for us is meant to share!

And I am sending a copy to Adalaide today!  Her big brother Nathaniel, a first grader learning to read this year, will enjoy this series of Magnificant Tales too!  (I wonder if he will notice the bone structure like his cousin...)  For yours, just click here or register to win a free copy from David C. Cook by commenting on this page.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I Saw Robin Williams at Church This Sunday

Maybe someone should have warned Pastor Stan.  He IS new after all!  Barely on assignment here in rural West Virginia for a month and Robin Williams shows up at his service.  As our contemporary band closes their set of songs for the beginning of church, the congregation closes their eyes and lowers their heads for the morning prayer.  As I join in prayer, I find myself lowering my head.  Please don't tell the new pastor, but my eyes were open and, well honestly, I wasn't listening to the prayer.  Not at all.

As I stared at the floor with a heavy heart from the week's happenings, still confused about the suicide of the world-loved comedian Robin Williams, rolling out from under the chair next to me came something unexpected.  Ours is a service that happens in a bit of an unconventional setting.  My family was sitting house center under a basketball net.  Scattered around is evidence of a vibrant youth community.  Well, it's a bit of a mess; but it feels like home.

So as I sat there, quietly (which is really hard for me), praying... I notice something small rolling across the floor and stops just shy of my left sneaker.  It is a little red ball.

As I bend down to pick it up and hold it in my hand, from this little red ball emerges a blanket of comfort.  And yes, even at church (and during prayer), I am blessed with a smile across my face.

It really is a good thing no one was looking.  Because just then I looked up to God with Robin's red ball in my hand as a small tear of relief rolled out.  "There you are."  I saw Robin Williams at church this morning.

Before you find me delusional for the blog title "I Saw Robin Williams at Church This Sunday!", please bear with me.  Dan (my hotthubby) may argue that I do manage to miss many major news events, the recent alarming press of the suicide of world beloved actor Robin Williams did, indeed and sadly, not miss my radar.

How could it?

Every reporter and columnist across the globe shared Robin's sad and shocking story of suicide. After reading everything from Matt Walsh to listening to facebook tributes, I struggled with the confusion and wonder too, just like the rest of you.  My Netflix que now has every Robin Williams movie I could find.  I just did not want to let him go.

Although it is hard to imagine, my heart was even heavier two days after Robin's death when it was released that he was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

Parkinson's Disease, or "PD", is a chronic and progressive movement disorder for which there is no cure.  Many of the visible symptoms include tremor, slowness, stiffness, and impaired balance issues. Additionally, the non-motor issues that arise from the brain's inability to produce a chemical called dopamine, can cause a patients loss of smell, sleep disorders, as well as mood disorders.  Finally, depression is an invisible element of this already debilitating disease on top of it all; yet, quite prevalent for dear Robin.

Depression.   I found myself rather irritated that people seemed to almost justify Robin's suicide with the news of his recent diagnosis of Parkinson's.  Or, maybe they were just holding on to an answer, I don't know.  But for me, I was pissed at the seemingly "now his suicide makes sense".  No...  suicide never makes sense, but you know what?  Neither does Parkinson's Disease!  Pardon my bluntness, but I've said it before, Parkinson's "sucks."  You see, although you can not see a visible tremor, PD hurts in other ways. I guess it was the invisible symptoms Robin suffered that took us all by surprise.  Even David Letterman said, "Beyond being a very talented man and a good friend and a gentleman, I am sorry I-like everybody else-had no idea that the man was in pain and that the man was suffering."

But, then I actually discovered my fear.  And this is really hard to share with you.  For you see, Susan Schneider (Robin's wife) and I share something in common as well as Diane Rehm, of NPR, who recently lost her husband after a long battle with PD.  In fact, her husband John didn't want to live another day. Our husbands all have Parkinson's.

Suddenly, I was scared.  Depression comes as a partner to Parkinson's just as I am married to it as well.  If these famous women suffered the loss of their loved husbands, what does that mean for me? Although, my husband is not depressed, he remains involved and participates with depression research through the Michael J. Fox Foundation at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Would he ever reach this point in his disease?  God, I hope not.

And if so, where would he spend eternity?  Are there people in heaven who took their own lives by suicide?  Not to sound crazy, but I was worried where Robin Williams was spending eternity.  How could a man, who played Patch Adams (the humorous and whimical physician) with such talent to make me laugh one second and cry the next spend eternity in any place other than the loving hands of his creator, God?

Is suicide an "unforgivable sin"?  No... at least I don't believe it to be.  After investigating this extensively, I stumbled across a site with none other than that red ball again (  What does the Bible say?  "The Bible tells us that at the moment of salvation, a believer's sins are forgiven (John 3:16; 10:28). When we become a child of God, all of our sins, even those committed after salvation, are no longer held against us."

It goes on to say that in Ephesians 2:8,
"God saved you by his grace when you believed.  
And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God."  
So, we are saved by God's grace, not by our own good deeds.  In the same way that our good works don't save us, our bad ones, or sins, cannot keep us from salvation" when we believe. Robin believed, and so does Dan.

Then I saw the red ball roll next to me and I knew exactly where Robin was.

Friday, August 15, 2014

How old should a girl be to get hair highlights?

Violet and I have only just returned from visiting "Hair by Hillary" at Total Image, the local beauty shop, and I have the burning question:  What is the right age for a girl to get highlights?


I have come to this undeniable conclusion!  ALL teenage girls are TOO young to have their hair highlighted...and fourteen is much.too.early!

That's it!  No debate.  No discussion.  Our daughters should not be allowed to have hair highlights until the following criteria is met:

1)  They have reached the minimum age of well...let's say 35!
2)  They never leave the house once this hair transformation has occurred!
3)  They are gainfully employed to finance this dramatic investment to hair care!... AND
4)  They promise not to get another day older.

You see...this summer has been full of so many changes I can't even begin to discuss them with you.  So many, in fact, my now 49-year-old-grey -haired-hott-mama-of-four brain just can't seem to process it all.  From weddings to robotics... first time high schoolers to first time athletic endeavors... my heart is so full of summer mommy moments and memories that, well... it is just too mind boggling that I really don't know where to begin blogging, where to start.  In a way, some moments are just too precious to share.  

Too boggled to blog...that's me!

But it's coming.  Just as daily in the midst of all this chaos here on Hott Mountain, I continue to feel God nudging me as he whispers... "Excuse Me, can I tell you something?"... This time, who knows?  Maybe that book is about to write itself!  LOL!  

Until then... check out today.  History repeats itself ten years later as Violet gets her first highlights.  Is 14 the right age?  Oh, I don't really know.  But we had fun.  And, thank you Hillary for being a part of this mom's memory of her baby girl's frosted baby tips to her first hightlights.



Violet's new highlights with Hillary

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Birthday West Virginia, Our "Home Among the Hills"

It is always nice returning to my "Home Among the Hills"...Happy Birthday West Virginia!  After looking around the country, there is still no place like home.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Posting a Post for Father's Day

Funny the things that pop in my head while in the shower.  Today,... another Father's Day,... it was this picture.

Taken in the Berkeley Springs State Park during his sister's high school band concert, Isaac Hott (~18 months) was under the watchful eye of his Pap-pap, Bobbie McBee.

Tending to the needs of his 3 month old brother, Levi, this new mom of four was confident that her dad wouldn't let Isaac drown, while keeping him safe and well, happy, as I juggled my attention to the clarinet performance of his teenage sister, entertained her younger sister Violet with snacks, and managed the needs of a newborn.

Little did I know that all the while, his granddad was swinging Isaac over the springs to the delightful glee of toddler Isaac.  While soaring like a plane in his arms, Isaac notices with interest all that is contained within the springs of the Berkeley Springs State Park.  

Getting a much "closer" look, Isaac decides to land belly down to the ground as he proceeds to reach for all that grows and lives beneath the surface of the spring water.  Crawling with creatures and live yucky things, my curious toddler unable to reach the craw-fish on the bottom decides to explore the slimy green muck growing along the walls of the stream.  

With handfuls of the mossy wet green wonder and curly bangs dangling dangerously at the water's edge, Isaac reaches for another handful of the mysterious green sludge just when photographer, John Douglas (former editor of The Morgan Messenger) snaps this picture.  Little did Isaac realize his granddad was really close behind.

Engaged in nonstop conversation about the wonders beneath the town's springs, Pap-pap returns Isaac wet, dirty, slimy, muddy boots, with a suspiciously green smile... and... totally and completely happy!

Oh well...a little slime never hurt anyone, right?  

Seeing this picture reminds me how grateful I was to have a father that allowed me to explore my universe too, yet always within reach of his gentle, watchful eye; not at all unlike the comforting watchful eye of our Heavenly Father, who is also not far behind.  Allowing us to explore, to learn, and to discover all that is new and exciting about His amazing world, so did Pap-pap completely engage Isaac in an afternoon of discovery, all within his watchful eye.

I don't know about you; but it sure makes me feel good to know that my Father is with me and will watch over me wherever I go.  You too?

"I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. 
I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."  Genesis 28:15

Monday, April 28, 2014

WESTEST and Tummy Aches

Seasons come and seasons go, right?  Just as the Christmas holidays roll into winter which eventually brings us Easter with the budding Spring, not long after for those of us subjected to the West Virginia public school system, comes...the WESTEST.  (da, da, dahm -- go the ominous kettle drums!)

The WESTEST 2 is a criterion referenced summative assessment.  It measures how well a student demonstrates competency on the West Virginia 21st Century Content Standards and Objectives.  The test measures students in Math, Science, Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies.

Here in Morgan County, West Virginia, (and elsewhere), standardized testing has become a device that measures much more than our children's competency.  A local, heated debate over funding education, the WESTEST has evolved into a representation of both teacher performance and administration's management of our school system.  Scores have been quoted, numbers manipulated, and stories told that piture our county to be "dumber than rocks." For weeks, my three Morgan County Students have rolled out the door to school bemoaning the oncoming and unavoidable exercise - the WESTEST.

This school year, our youngest hottling, Levi, will undergo his first experience to take the West Virginia Educational Standards Test.  And he is NOT happy.  Does this happen at your house too?  "WESTEST and Tummy Aches!" occur daily!  Stress, sleeplessness, and loss of appetite?  Why, why, WHY?!  As much as we reassure him that he will be just fine regardless of his WESTEST outcome, he continues to fret this week's assessments.

Even so, he cried a few days ago when they were scheduled for WESTEST Practice.  Really?!  And, don't get me started about last month's writing assessments.

This 48-year-old-grey-haired-PD bloggin-hott-mama-of-four has three students taking the test this school year.  Coming from a house of West Virginia roots, we have college graduates, a sister already with an MBA and honors, a soon-to-be-brother-in-law with a Masters in Economics from American University, and a couple of nerdy parents with University of MD BS and UMass BA degrees. I continue to push my Morgan County students out the door this morning much happier than Practice and Writing Assessment Days.

I wish everyone would quit harping on this WESTEST and just get it over with.  The build-up is unbearable.  We are NOT "dumber than rocks" W. Va. rednecks here!  In fact, I'm sending two "Distinguished Scholars" back to take this crazy test this year along with a first time third grader.  (Check out these pretty cute "rocks" from Frozen!")

Morgan County is full of some pretty smart rocks out there!  I wish this levy conflict would see how terrible it has made the school year for our children and the conflict would crawl back under the rock it came from.  The levy election and WESTEST can't be over soon enough.

Vote "yes" on May 13th!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Technology, Toddlers, and PD

"Technology, technology everywhere.  Everywhere you look!"

As April rolls around once again to another month of Parkinson's Awareness, I love to celebrate!  Plain and simple, give me the tiniest accomplishment from first freckles, lost teeth, to MBA's and grad degrees, I'm popping champaign!  Bring on the big stuff, and don't hold me back because you'll find two bottles of bubbly.  Celebrate Parkinson's?  Why not!  Sure beats being bummed out about it.  Instead, I chose to recognize the blessings in PD's little gifts like another family sunset or late weekend mornings watching tv.  This year, this 48-year-old-grey-haired-PD blogging-hott-mama-of-four is even celebrating technology and Parkinson's.  Well, yes.  You see, some how I have managed to find myself living in 2014 in this crazy house full of techno gurus!  Where did they all come from? 

Just look at our boys!  (But don't you dare tell them I showed you this picture!)  Fresh out of the tub, the Hott brothers just 2 and 3 years old, are cruising the internet on their own laptop provided by my hotthubby, Dan.  (Of course, look past those bare bootys to what is on the table...a computer.)

At an early age, Dan realized the importance of emersing our family in the latest in technology.  We have more laptops, gadgets, and game counsels in our house than technology in southern California!  Before long, I expect to see both boys and Dan wearing Google Glass around the house.  (At least they will be wearing something!)

Honestly though, this picture of Isaac and Levi online is one of my favorites.  Good thing we don't have neighbors out here in the hills.  Someone tell these kids to please put some clothes on. 

Now...about eight years later, check out Isaac (now 10) and his daddy, Dan.  Pictured here are my true techno boys building their own computer.  Yes, from laptops to a custom built gaming computer, Isaac researched and selected the parts to create a custom machine all his own.  Oooooh, just a small project for another snowy day at the Hott house.

Yeah, right.  But the funny thing is, as the mom in the house, all this technology stuff is like a foreign language to me.  So, when the National Parkinson's Foundation called me a few months ago to talk about Parkinson's Disease and technology, I kinda had to giggle.  Me?  Technology?! 

Does technology help my family deal with living with Parkinson's?  Well, once I get past the mystery of how this keypad transfers my thoughts to your screen and beyond, I had to answer, "yes," it does!  I may never get excited about giga-thingys and mega-pixels like Isaac and Dan; but, I honestly do rely on technology to connect me to others and keep me apprised of what's happening with this stinking disease.

So much so, that for Parkinson's Awareness Month, I think it was kinda cool that this interview on page four of the Parkinson Report features my thoughts on technology and Parkinson's Disease.  I may not be able to load my own PD app on my smart phone, but I do connect with others and express what it is like to be a PD partner through the use of technology.

Even "cooler" is the great people I have met all over the world along this PD journey through technology.  I will never have the millions needed for research to fix it, but "Excuse me, can I tell you something?"... with continued prayers and support from our friends, technology really does make it tolerable by keeping us connected and informed.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

AHA by Kyle Idleman - A Book Review of The God Moment that Changes Everything

AHA by Kyle Idleman arrived in my mailbox from David C. Cook a few weeks ago for me to review.  As I pulled it out of the package, I was instantly intrigued by it's dark cover with a lightbulb illuminating the title "AHA: Awakening. Honesty. Action."

Okay, so a lightbulb!  This 48-year-old-grey-haired-PD bloggin-hott-mama-of-four LOVES those "lightbulb" moments, don't you?  Nerdy reader that I am, I couldn't wait to experience a book full of "AHA" experiences.  Have you ever had one?  My hotthbby, Dan, and I have.

This may sound crazy (I can see Dan's eyeballs rolling now), but in March of 2003, we experienced an "AHA" moment in the literal sense; and by that I mean lights-a-flashing!  During a Sunday Service at First United Methodist, I was surprised by a voice from God telling me that He had a baby for us.  This was especially funny to me since those fancy city doctors told us that we would never, EVer make a baby all by ourselves, no matter how much we practiced. ;-)

But what does a doctor know, right?  After running to Food Lion early that Monday morning for a pregnancy kit, I called Dan at work saying that he needed to come home RIGHT AWAY!

Well, several hours later (I'm serious.  It was supper time!), Dan shows up and I take him privately to our bathroom to show him the "positive" line.  We are pregnant.  And my ever-loving, University of Maryland School of Engineering Graduate, business-owner, smarty-pants says to me, "What does that mean?"

Duh, right!

Ever the crazy schedule Dan had with his contract with Chevron, he packed the next morning for a business trip to Atlanta while I headed to the doctor's office for a blood test.  After a nervous wait from giving blood, I drove to meet Dan for lunch before he flew south,... again.  On the way, traveling 75 mph east on I70, my doctor's office called to confirm.  We were pregnant!

As we sit over chicken and a pickle sandwiches in Chick-fil-a, we are amazed at this news!  Dan then proceeds to give me my hardest ever assignment.  Don't.tell.anyone (till I get back)!

Seriously?  Okay.  He flies off to Atlanta and I drive back to Berkeley Springs.  The next day, I am babysitting my two nieces and grandma is over.  With a housefull of family, I quietly hide some pretty amazing news.  Late in the evening as we get all ready for pajamas, guess what?  Our electricity goes out.

Darkness.  Complete and utter blackness in our house.  With four little ones running around, we manage to test every light possible.  Nope, nothing, nada.  With nothing but flashlights, I get the girls off to bed.  We are all sitting in a dark house when I get a call that Dan will be home early.  Woohoo.  A little while later, Dan pulls up the drive and enters a dark house full of family.  Parents snuggle sleeping nieces home as Grandma also leaves late at night.

We are alone in a dark house, with, I remind you, some pretty amazing new news.  As things settle, I rise from my favorite chair to welcome him home with a kiss.  The instant, and I mean to the milisecond, our lips meet....  every light in the house (dramatic pause) comes on!  AHA!

It's 11:45 p.m.  The house is lit up like 4th of July fireworks, the television blares, the dishwasher starts!  Dan looks at me.  "Did you tell them?"  "No. I waited for you."

"Are there places in your life where you would like to experiene an aha! moment?  A moment of truth that renews your heart and mind bringing transformation?  Read AHA by Kyle Idleman and share your lightbulb, "the God moment that changes everything".  As I began reading, I first thought it would be yet another instructional manual for revealing and recognizing God's transformation.  Initially, I was even bummed a bit by his choice of the story of the Prodigal Son.  You see, the Prodigal Son story is probably my least favorite of all Bible stories for many reasons.  I continue to wait for the next chapter.  Maybe I even expected the author to reveal what the Bible does not; like what happens AFTER the celebration?

Rather, Mr. Idleman's narrative reveals God's relentless love for us as He waits for each to return from the "distant country" of sin.  Even when we are close to God, Kyle forces the question "where exactly is your heart?"   Reading this book provided me with an "AHA" epiphony, questioning the distance my heart truely is from God, maybe yours too.  Even when the closest to Him, my heart can be lost in the "distant country" of my crazy, busy mom-life.  I relish my literal AHA moment with God.  As the father in the story celebrated his son's return, God shares with me a celebration (a baby) for waiting for His blessings.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Ken Reed for Congress?

With spring finally here, I am reminded of an evening phone call that happened to me from an unlikely person way back in 1999.  Today, as I scroll through the pictures on social media, this individual comes to my attention in a photograph.

Way back then, my husband, Dan, was traveling a great deal from our new house in Berkeley Springs, WV, to Washington, Baltimore, and Atlanta while running his business. I was a commuter to my job with the City of Frederick, MD.  I found myself daily visiting the Genetics and IVF Institute in Fairfax, VA, going through a fertility cycle.  In the midst of “egg harvesting,” we came upon a critical element of timing.  You see, the exact moment (and pardon me for being scientific here) of ovulation requires an injection of hormones to achieve maximum harvest.

Imagine my turmoil when I got the call from the GIVF doctors telling me that today is the day!  It was time for my injection.  Back in Berkeley Springs, I was miles away from an open pharmacy!
Having all the necessary meds required, I only lacked a device to administer the shot:  a hypodermic needle.  No problem.  Just call the pharmacy!

Wrong!  Living in a remote area like Berkeley Springs, I found ALL the pharmacies closed.  However, I had visited that local guy and I knew he lived somewhere in my county. 

So, like the crazy woman pumped up on hormones and ripe eggs, I proceeded to call the pharmacist at home.  Yes, a complete stranger.  Getting the answering machine, I panicked.  Rambling on to a message machine (it was 1999), I explained my situation (probably in a little too much detail) and prayed he would receive my message.  If not, a complete cycle would be lost in timing what is essentially ovulation day!

Very late in the evening, my phone rang and this complete stranger said “What exactly do you need?”  It was Ken Reed.

The next morning, we met bright and early at Reed’s Pharmacy and I was able to receive my injection at the appropriate time.  Less than nine months later, Violet Eve Hott, was born.

Since then, Ken has opened a number of pharmacies in our region – all providing local, caring help to families like mine, a local business you don’t find in the big city chains. He also provides employment for many from pharmacist, clerks, to technicians.  From a family not unlike yours and mine (the son of a steel worker in Brooke County), Ken not only built a business from hard work, he continues to contribute to our community as a positive role model involved in church and school activities.  It is not uncommon to see Ken Reed at the end of a track shooting photos of the students out there giving their all.

Now, as Ken Reed is a candidate for US Congress, this mother of four from the eastern panhandle feels like someone who cares will be in Washington – enough to even personally call me again late at night if I was in need!  Many may see the name “Reed” on his businesses and wonder why he would want to be a congressman.  When I see "Ken Reed for Congress", I see a husband, father, and friend willing  to help and speak for West Virginia and our community. 

I’m voting for Ken Reed.  I hope you will too.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Excuse me, God?  Are You there?  

Where are You?...  God?  I can't find You?  I know it is early in the morning, May 5, 2010, but I need You, God.  I need You, right now!  It is so cold here.  This building is just too unfamiliar and bright.  The stark lights reflecting off the surface of the spotless floors feel all empty and vacant.  All these strangers in white coats are rushing about, preparing to perform some critical procedure.  This place is full of activity,... yet it feels empty.  

I'm alone.

God?  Can You come soon?  It's still freezing in this giant empty structure while we wait.  Hold on...who is this?  Oh, oh, wait....  Oh, so this is the specialist who is about to insert two wires in my hotthubby's tender-loving heart and place a small computer under his handsome colarbone.  What?!  No, no, NO!... He did NOT just say that!  Wait, what?...!  What did you just say to me?  This new thing that is life-threatening, this Brugada, is heriditary!?  You say we need to have our children checked for this?!  

Oh, God.  I'm scared.  

Excuse me, God?  Anytime now, I need You!  They just wheeled him down this long, stark hallway and he disappeared into that room.  It's so cold here, where are You?  What will I do while I wait.

And, wait...alone.

Knowing the surgery would be hours, I figure that perhaps food would be important.  Over the last week, I keep forgetting to eat.  After calling to check on the children and updating family, I find myself roaming into the hospital cafeteria.  

I'm afraid.

Still virtually empty from the early morning hours, I walk through the line in a daze and pull out the only thing for breakfast that sounds remotely appetizing. Sitting down at a booth, I stare into my bowl of cereal.  Oh God, what else?  I began to sob into my breakfast.  For the longest time, our quiet table in the cafeteria is just me, You, a bowl of soggy Cocoa Puffs...

...and Pastor Andrew.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, 
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9