Wednesday, December 31, 2008

more to come...

It has been far too long since I have updated. Lots has happened...traveling, christmas, family time, ladybugs, deployment scheduling...and I want to update you. But, right now, Bryan and I are spending some important quality time together as we ring in the new year as a family of five. Tomorrow you will get the post of a lifetime. It will be long. Rest those eyes tonight, for tomorrow will be lots of reading and looking at adorable pictures of my family.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! May your night and your new year be filled with lots of love and peace as He shows us daily how He is perfecting you and me together.

...until later

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My candle is lit...

Our candle, in memory of our sweet Natalie, is burning bright. I hope you have joined us, whether to light one for our Natalie or a child of your own.

til later....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

forgiveness and grief

I am attempting to write this as I play Wii bowling with my family. Bryan, Emily and I are playing and Alie is on the floor watching. Bryan is a competitive soul…he is hard to play with. Anyhow, today Emily played her first real game of bowling and LOVED it! It was so fun to watch her and her little friends see just how many pins they could knock down. And if they got them all? Pure bliss. So now we are bowling at home, and I am having a great time with this.

We are having a fun-filled day. First, a birthday party at the bowling ally. Then, off to Shannon and Brian’s home for a Christmas party for the kids. Finally, we headed home for some more quality time together. Bryan will be deploying soon. We are doing our best to enjoy the time we have. Emily’s favorite part of today was bowling with Alex and Santa at Shannon’s (according to her she gets 2 favorites).

I know I have not updated since Tuesday. I am sorry for that. This week has been hard, similar to the weeks of anniversarys and birthdays. We decorated the Christmas tree. It is so hard to put all the ornaments on for Natalie. I would never leave them off, but I cried with the placement of each one. Last Saturday, I worked at a craft fair. One of the booths was an ornament booth. And they had a ladybug ornament. I got one. How could I not? I had Natalie’s name written on it. I think that we will look for a special ornament each year for her for our tree.
Tuesday in court went well. I spoke in court, requesting that she not serve any jail time. I told the judge of how we have forgiven Sue for what happened. The judge heard our request, acknowledged that we hold no animocity and therefore the court won’t either, and suspended a 12-month sentence. We are pleased. We are glad this part of the healing process is done. But as we left court, I grieved for the child that I spoke for. I missed her a bit more during that moment.

A reporter from the local NBC station, WAVY 10, was in court covering the story. He approached me after court with a request for an interview. I immediately responded stating that I would only do it if it was about water safety. Andy looked at me, told me no and explained that he wanted to do a story on forgiveness. He promised that it would be a good piece, true to our story and that others needed to hear it. Sue and I talked, agreed to do it and met him about 2 hours after court let out to do the interview. There were 2 segments shown that night, both showed mercy, forgiveness, and love. Andy gave us what he promised. If you would like to see the first one, go to and search my name, Hillary West. You will find the story. Click on the video tab above Natalie’s picture and press play.

I have grieved so much this week. I have spent a lot of moments crying. I have spent so many moments wishing things were different. It is the same story that I have lived for the last 13 months and 14 days. It is the same story that I will live for a long time to come. This week, I contacted the woman who plans the Compassionate Friends meetings in our area. I think I am ready to work through this more. I have heard that they help, these meetings. I am going to see where this leads.

I have another request, dear friends. Tomorrow (Sunday, December 14th) is Worldwide Candle Lighting to remember children who have died at any age from any cause. It is at 7pm your local time. Simply light a candle in honor of the sweet children that are gathered at Jesus’ feet. There will then be a wave of light that circles the globe in honor of our babies. We will be lighting many candles here, remembering our sweet Natalie. I hope you will join us. Please light a candle in honor of Natalie. If you take a picture of your candle, I would love to see it.

Blessed are those that mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Matthew 5:4
Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.
Lamentations 3:32

Good night all.
Hillary, Bryan, Emily, especially our angel baby Natalie, and Allison

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Friends, I ask for your prayers. Not for me, but for my dear friend Sue. You all know Sue. She is a big part of my life, both when my children were in her care and now as my friend. Today, we return to court for sentencing. I know Sue is scared and anxious. I am too. Please, keep her (and us as well) in your prayers today. Pray for understanding from the judge, leniency, and peace for her. I do not know what today will hold for us, but I do know that He holds us and will be by our sides. We will accept the decision of the judge, whether it be the decision we wanted or one that he choses.

I am anxious right now. I am scared for my friend. I am hopeful for her children, that they will see their mother this afternoon when they return home from school. And I am praying so diligently for each of them. Will you join me please?

til later...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Seeing Stripes

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am doing better, dealing with this season. Bryan is wonderful, supportive, caring. My friends are close by my side, helping me every step of the way. I am so grateful to have an amazing support system here, with so many all over praying for us consistently. Thank you.

I have not posted about thanksgiving. I should have done one of those posts on everything that I am so thankful for. But I feared that you and I both would cry way too much over that one. As I was uploading pictures today, I saw the photos of Thanksgiving. They are so hard to look at. I see where Natalie should be. I think of all the foods she would eat, as opposed to the ones her sister won't eat. It makes my heart so heavy. But ultimately we had a good day. There was lots of good food and lots of good friends. And we do have so much to be thankful for. I do have a beautiful family!

Yesterday, my friend Maria and I went to the outlet malls to get away for a few minutes. While we were there, we checked out the sales at the Gap. Usually they have pretty good ones. Not yesterday. But...I did get the cutest outfit EVER for our sweet baby girl! There was a matching dress for Emily as well, but it was not 40% off so I will have to wait until it goes on sale to get it. Today, I put Alie in it while Em was at school and tried to get some cute shots. But she keep performing instead...

Everytime I would put her on her belly, she would roll right over. She has been doing this since about 6 weeks old. But she would never do it consistently, only when she really wanted to. Today, it seems that she only wanted to roll over. That is, until Daddy got home. Then she stopped again! Isn't this outfit absolutely adorable? It has a cute hood as well. When I picked up Emily, she was asleep in it and everyone was saying how cute it is. I felt like I had the cutest baby on earth! Oh wait, I think I do!

But, alas, after all that playing and rolling, we came home, got some lunch, played a bit more, then it was time to nap. Alie rarely sleeps in her crib, but when she does...well, she can't sleep in a normal position. She likes to be sideways! I am loving the stripes. We will use and abuse this outfit! It is too cute to put in a drawer!

Good night all!
Hillary, Bryan, Emily, especially our angel baby Natalie, and Allison

Monday, December 1, 2008

a powerful truth

I have learned something…the truth hurts. This is something that I already knew. But it has become more prevalent for me in the past few days. I have become very good at hiding lots. I can fake a mood, looking as though things are just fabulous. I can adjust my answers to portray what I think someone may want to hear, allthewhile ignoring the truth that is in my heart. I have learned how to convince myself of a truth even when I know that it is not true and I am still hiding from myself.

Today, that changed. I have been hiding so much from myself, hoping that my lie would then become the truth. I have been saying, living and doing what I wanted to be real even when I knew that I was lying to myself and in turn lying to everyone around me. But today, I decided that I would face some things head on and hopefully be able to live the truth. But that truth hurts. The first thing I had to do was to give something a voice. Although I would love to spell it all out right here, I must keep a bit of this private simply because I do not know all my readers. So, although I must remain a bit vague, know that the vagueness is totally truthful!

Today, I gave the one feeling that has not changed in months a voice. And now I feel like I can really address it and face this truth fully. I have to admit. It was hard. I was scared to voice it. I was scared to begin this process. I am still scared to admit to others. But, I told Bryan finally about how I was feeling. That was big for me. Even though I know he would never be anything but supportive, I still worry just a bit. True to the husband that I love and adore, he is supportive and understanding. Although I don’t feel like I can divulge all to you now, please keep me in your prayers as I deal with this, learning how to live though it.

My truths have been more than just this though. The truth of seeing just how much I have changed in the last 10 years, since Bryan and I were engaged and having our first picture taken together for our church’s directory to the photo that I received in the mail today, was heartwrenching. The fact that Bryan looks the same, just older is wonderful. The fact that I look older and bigger was hard to see, hard to say, and hard to swallow. I have a bit of work to do.

Yesterday, it was hard to know that Natalie had been gone 13 months. There I go again, counting things. But what was worse was realizing that in about 6 weeks, Natalie will have been gone as long as she was with us. And in 12 months, Alie will have been with us longer than Nat was. These have been so hard to swallow. I have not gotten over these yet. I don’t really know that I will. I wonder how I will make it through those milestones. I wonder how I will make it through the next holiday. Last year, we were still in shock. This year, it has totally hit us hard that someone is clearly absent. Thanksgiving was hard. Keeping up that front was so hard. Thankfully, now, I can let down my wall. Christmas will be….I don’t even want to think about it yet.

I have been thying to figure out how this fits into God’s word. I wanted to see what He had to say about how I have been feeling. I found my answer in 2 Corinthians 12. I came across this verse yesterday. Somehow it fits me right now. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” I am weak right now. But His grace is sufficent. His grace is what brings me here, to confess to you and to confess to myself. His grace gave me the courage today to face what I had been hiding from. I can rest in this. I will rest in this. He is sufficient for my weakness. I can face the truth and all the hurt that comes with it because His power is perfect.

Good night all.
Hillary, Bryan, Emily, especially our angel baby Natalie and Allison