Excuse me, can I tell you something?

“MOM!  I’m hungry!  MOM! I can’t find my purple t-shirt!  MOM! The dog stinks!  MOM! Where is my new F16 fighter jet?  MOM! What’s for dinner!  MOM! I don’t like tilapia…  again!  MOM! I need $7.14 for 5th Grade Recorder Class!  MOM! Will you wipe my butt?”

Oh gross, right?  But seriously, how many “MOMs!” can one handle?  Would it be too hard to just tell me one thing at a time?!  Not at the Hott House.  You see, ours is also equipped by my techno-happy husband who felt it was necessary to have each Hott child possess their very own laptop — at the age of two.  So, add another “MOM!  Can you log me on to lego.com!”  Wait, there’s more!  We also have a gazillion televisions in our house. So, yes…, “MOM!  My t.v. remote won’t work!  MOM!  The Wii needs batteries!”  Or, “MOM!  I can’t find the Disney Channel!”

Now, while listening to all of the commotion, I am normally preparing a snack for someone although dinner, which is half way complete on the stove, is just 30 minutes away!  Violet, 10, is doing cartwheels in the kitchen while Isaac, 6, is practicing Judo throws on his little brother, Levi.  Freckles, the dog, is barking his head off at a deer darting from the yard.  The phone rings and it is Grandma!  The cell-phone beeps and it is Caity! Four extra students will be spending the weekend!  Here comes the UPS truck with another electronic toy for Dan!

And then there’s Levi, the rock star!  He is well into his educational career as a kindergartner whose favorite phrase is:  “Mom, guess what!”  Amongst all the chatter, he needs to repeat himself no less than six times.  When I finally respond, Levi typically reports on what Reagan wore to class, what Trinity ate for lunch, or what color car Mrs. Childers drives!  So, it is really no wonder why I have the reputation in our community for being the local nut-case!  Right?

There’s more.

Isaac.  Isaac is our future engineer, jet pilot, soldier, pizza maker, piano player, Clone warrior.  Get the picture?  Let me just tell you that Isaac, well…. He popped out talking in complete sentences!   I’m serious!  Well, sort of; although, he did use seven word sentences at the ripe old age of 14 months.  All my kids are chatter boxes.  But it is in the midst of all the noise at a decibel to shatter crystal, I’ll hear Isaac say, “Excuse me, can I tell you something?”

It could be that he came along after a toddler and welcoming a baby brother when he was just 15 months.  Who knows?  I guess, it was his own way of getting attention.  But the thing is, he says this all the time!  And it is not just at home either.  He tends to initiate conversations with complete strangers with “Excuse me, can I tell you something”? And these are normally adults where he will proceed to discuss his theory on the oil spill in the Gulf.  (By the way, he has a complete presentation prepared with diagrams and flip charts…. And he is six years old!)

Beware if he has an audience!  Dan and I hold our breath every Sunday during church service when the Pastor has a special sermon geared only for children.  Here’s where he gets in to trouble.  It really looks like he is not listening to a word going on, usually because he is folding the bulletin in to another F16 fighter jet, launching it past the pastor into the pulpit (this really happened).  However, Isaac misses nothing.  In fact, Pastor Andrew has learned never to call on Isaac!  Believe me.  He is accustomed to hearing Isaac say, “Excuse me, can I tell you something?” Which, normally is followed by either a debate on the rotation of the earth OR what “actually” happened to Goliath when he met his fatal stone from David, like Isaac was a first hand witness to the encounter!  It’s gotten to the point where the congregation waits with baited breath eager to hear what Isaac will say this week.  I even get stopped in Food Lion by strangers guessing what Isaac will say next!

After years of this phrase becoming embedded in my brain, it was on Isaac’s fifth birthday celebration that I heard the ultimate “Excuse me, can I tell you something?” We were returning from a family outing to Cass, West Virginia, where we rented one of those old time railway houses for the weekend and took a freezing ride to the top of West Virginia’s Spruce Knob.  On the ride back up the panhandle, we leisurely stopped by another one of the state’s landmarks; Seneca Rocks.

Fall was in full bloom in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  It was a perfect 70 degree, blue sky day as we pulled in to the parking lot.  Behind the stone Visitor’s Center was a glorious mountain erupting in fall foliage and sprouting above the trees like the fourth of July fireworks was an exploding cluster of rocks!

Seneca Rocks, with it’s’ “razorback ridges and fins” is a popular attraction for adventurists in W. Va.   It is “a prominent and visually striking formation rising nearly 900 feet above”!  Of course, visiting the rocks immediately placed the idea in our minds that we should hike up to the top!

Pulling away to continue our journey home, we were eager to return for another adventure when we could hike Seneca Rocks as a family.  This is when my husband, in his ever eerie quite way adds, “You know, we really should hike the Seneca Rocks trail.  It will be fun. Let’s do this soon.”


Excuse me, can I tell you something? Soon?  Well, yes… soon!  You see, the trip brought this Hott Mama not only to Cass, W. Va., and Seneca Rocks.  It also found me at a crossroads where I was about to make a decision that would bring some huge changes for everyone —  to return to work or continue as a Stay at Home Mom.  I was considering a potential job offer after being home for 8 years.

Soon…  Dan, a handsome 50 year old strapping father of four, 6 foot, healthy, and strong as an ox, had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  After waiting years for children, his youngest son was still just three.  And now he will be living with rough and rowdy boys! as he faces the constantly changing, physically challenging, demands of Parkinson’s Disease.

So, yes.  Soon.  I understood in an instant as he whispered “soon” to me.  He really did not know if he would be physically capable of hiking Seneca Rocks the next day, next month, or next year.

Excuse me, can I tell you something?

I prayed hard the rest of the 3 hour drive home to Berkeley Springs.  Did I really, really, need to go to work?  Guess what was in our mailbox after our long weekend?…  Dan’s first disability check!

The next thing I did was withdraw my applications.  All along, Dan said to me that God would provide.  And He did.  Sure, we would have more monthly income if I went back to work.  But as Dan said with faith the size of those rocks, God will provide what we need.  The notion of beginning a second career was not appealing when I would only return to my husband with slowly debilitating symptoms from Parkinson’s.  What fun would life be to work for the next twenty-five years away from home to return and find Dan in a wheel chair or — frozen in the middle of a room.

Excuse me, can I tell you something? God got my attention away from dollar signs that day at Seneca Rocks. And you know what?  I think God really creates these beautiful things in our world, be they jutting rocks or noisy children, to get our attention and realize something; that we are as healthy as we are exactly right now, today.  Don’t waste time worrying about money or what tomorrow will bring.  Just as a child says “Excuse me, can I tell you something?” so too does our Heavenly Father.  He is reminding us in the beauty of his creations around us, sometimes big like the rocks or even small like children, to enjoy your loved ones right now!  Waiting for a job to be over or retirement could cause us to miss God’s treasures — like Seneca Rocks and precious moments with our family!

“He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming soon.” Revelations 22:20

Soon?  You better believe it!  When life gives us crazy things like Parkinson’s Disease, God gives you His beautiful creations to say “Excuse me, can I tell you something?” so that we listen, and consider what is truly important:  faith, hope, and love.  Don’t let life’s demands keep us from listening, because, as it says in the Bible, our Lord Jesus will be here soon.  So, stop wasting time worrying, spend less time at work, and start enjoying God’s world now.

“Excuse me, can I tell you something?”… tomorrow could be too late.

We’re ready to hike Seneca Rocks!… Are you?

Copyright © Angie Hott, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved


  1. Sandy Kesecker on October 20, 2010 at 9:53 am

    You have always been a multi-talented person and this blog just adds to your accomplishments. I loved this story and it is quite an encouragement. Keep up the great work!

  2. Marian Park on October 24, 2010 at 11:33 am

    As Aunt Marian to this wonderfull and talented family, it is a blessing to share
    their happy and sad times together. We pray, laugh, cry and suport each other.
    Your talent needs to be shared. Keep writing and sharing. Love to you and the family

  3. Angie Hott on October 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    Thank you all for reading my story and also for your kind comments! Each mean the world to me; I truely appreciate sharing this story with you and your remarks bless me beyond belief. Today, October 26th, marks exactly two years since The Hott Family stopped at Seneca Rocks. I found a picture of this day (Levi was still dragging his blanket around then!)
    It is posted on my blog.

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