Thursday, February 12, 2009

Busy Girls

Oh my…what a busy couple of weeks. February has already kept us running. I have been looking for the moment to sit down and write. But it never seems to be there, the extra moment. So, I am taking the moments after I finished dishes and before I fold laundry (while Alie is napping of course) to fill you in what is going on with us. First, we are all good. Other than the cold that seems to be plaguing everyone we know, we are healthy. Emily is busy with school, ballet, swim lessons, and Yoga class. Alie is busy learning all kinds of things like sticking her tongue out, crawling on all fours, mastering the art of eating off a spoon, avoiding nap time, melting my heart, and cuddling so warmly at night. I am learning how to survive without Bryan to help me. So far…so good.

Last weekend, I had my semi-annual CM weekend away. We were at the beach for the entire weekend, babysitter in tow. I can tell you, without a doubt, I would not have survived without Renee, the sitter. The girls were so happy and good. I did not worry a bit. She had it all under control, even better than I usually do! And the girls that were at the weekend away had a great time. We all got a lot done in our albums. We were all exhausted when we got home and have spent the last several days recovering from it.

This week has been a bit less hectic and we have enjoyed our lighter schedule. We have had some nice weather as well and were able to go outside and play a bit. Of course, when you are 4, all you want to do is go outside or to a park. So we did that…
And it is so much more fun with friends!!

Aren’t the girls getting so big? Tonight, I was looking at some video of Emily and Natalie. We don’t have much, but what we do have makes me smile. But Emily was about 3 in the video and just so cute! She even said, “did I really sound like that?” I responded, “Yes…and you still do!” It really made me realize just how much Emily is growing up. This week, I booked her 5th birthday party. That made me feel like it has gone by so quickly. She also had her class Valentine’s party and was sad that “boy Alex” was not there…he is at Disney this week. But I assured her that he would be back next week and she seemed ok with that.

Overall, we are good. We are counting the weeks since Bryan left, knowing that with each one we are closer to our family being reunited. No countdown to return yet…as we don’t have a date.

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

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I need your help...

My computer is having problems. I don't really know much about computers. And Bryan normally fixes it for me. I think I have either gotten a virus or my hard drive is about to go... But I don't know how to tell which it is.

Can you help me or do you know someone who could? Shoot me an email at or leave a comment here if you can! Thanks!!

A carrot, an egg and a cup of coffee

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...
A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up, She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ' Tell me what you see.''Carrots, eggs, and coffee,' she replied.Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, 'What does it mean, mother?'Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

'Which are you?' she asked her daughter. 'When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes a long their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can't go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

YUM...Oatmeal with Bananas, my favorite!

Really Mom, I can do it myself!

Need I say more?
til later...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Caught in the Middle

Somewhere in the middle, you’ll find me. Most days that is where I sit. In the middle, not sure of right and wrong. Deciding what I know is right and feeling pulled towards the opposite. I know who puts the thoughts into my head. I know Satan is out to get me, hoping that my walk of faith will falter ever so slightly so he can work his way in. I know that my faith can carry me, yet I question so much.

This morning, for the first time in months, really years, I went to Sunday School. I will admit I have not been during my married life. We go to church, but never ventured into the intamicies of a small group or class. Emily went for the first time ever last week. And she loved it. She came home with stories of God and singing Jesus’ praises. It excited me, re-lit my love to learn. So I made sure that we got there this morning (even if we were a bit late!) because I wanted that joy too.

We talked about 2 John. We talked about Truth and love. A question came up. Which is easier to believe, God’s Truth or the love of Jesus through God’s Truth? Most answered that love was easier and Truth was questioned so much more. Then I decided to share, even on my first day there. You see, I find that Truth remains constant while love is what I question. I know God’s Truth, his grace, and my reward with him. I also know Jesus’ love, his sacrifice for me and you, and the promise of eternal life. But what I realized during this class was that before Natalie’s death, it was easier to question God’s Truth more and rest easily on his love. Now, after such a tragic inexplicable loss, it is easier to hold God’s Truth, His promise, close and question His love for me. Isn’t it interesting how that changes in the blink of an eye?

So where do my questions lie? Somewhere in the middle of it all. I live with contented peace, yet I always want more of what we lost. I live with our new normal but long for the old. I love Alie with all that I am. But I also know that Alie would not be here if Natalie had not died. I love talking about Natalie, but fear others won’t bring her up because the mention of her name brings tears to my eyes. This is my middle. Somewhere between what is and what was. I know there is Truth at one end and the pull from it at the other. I know I am in between, figuring out how to surrender it all to Him. I know that one end is the God that I know, the one that we read about in scriptures. And I know the other end what I want God to be. How do I shift my longing for Him to the truth and not the other? How do I give up my dreams for His dreams? How do I tip the scales towards Him? How do I get out of the middle that I live in?

These are the questions that I contemplate everyday. I am sure you have the same questions, just varied slightly to your own struggles. But the fundamental question remains the same. How do I focus on the alter, lay it all out for him, and not lose sight of His glory and grace as I journey out into the real world?

There is a song…there is always a song with me. I am loving Casting Crowns (and really so many others) right now. The song is “Somewhere in the Middle”. It is so perfect for me right now. It has all of this in it. On my bad days, I listen to it as loud as the baby can handle, belting each lyric as a prayer to my Lord. On my good day, I do the same, using it as a praise, keeping my focus on that alter.

You can see some videos of it on if you choose. I am a fan of closing my eyes and singing loudly. You may want to as well. My favorite verse is the 4th verse. It is where I am right now, although all of it really speaks to me. Here are the lyrics so you can sing along.

Somewhere in the Middle by Casting Crowns

Somewhere between the hot and the cold
Somewhere between the new and the old
Somewhere between who I am and who I used to be
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Somewhere between the wrong and the right
Somewhere between the darkness and the light
Somewhere between who I was and who You're making me
Somewhere in the middle, You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Fearless warriors in a picket fence, reckless abandon wrapped in common sense
Deep water faith in the shallow end and we are caught in the middle
With eyes wide open to the differences, the God we want and the God who is
But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle
Are we caught in the middle

Somewhere between my heart and my hands
Somewhere between my faith and my plans
Somewhere between the safety of the boat and the crashing waves

Somewhere between a whisper and a roar
Somewhere between the altar and the door
Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more
Somewhere in the middle You'll find me

Just how close can I get, Lord, to my surrender without losing all control

Lord, I feel You in this place and I know You're by my side
Loving me even on these nights when I'm caught in the middle

Good night all.
I am off to cuddle with the Nuggle-bug. The plan is to give you pictures tomorrow. Look for them then.
Hillary, Bryan, Emily, Allison, and especially our angel baby Natalie