The Macs » Blog

compassion-bloggers-ecuador-2016-spotlightHave you been following the Compassion Bloggers in Ecuador? I have admired the women on this trip for a long, long time but their words and photos have totally captivated me this week.

Compassion+Bloggers+Ecuador+2016-DayTwo-51Shannan’s Blog

I met Shannan at Hope Spoken a few years ago. I remember inhaling delicious In-N-Out burgers (I was pregnant and starving!) as I listened to Shannan share her story our first first night in Dallas. Her heart for the Lord and for people oozed out of her every word. If you read her blog, you know what I mean. She truly loves her neighbors well.

2.1.16CSP-02(pp_w744_h496)Ashley’s Blog

When I think of Ashley the word intentional comes to mind. Ashley is so intentional in everything she does…raising her kids, using her voice on her blog, advocating for adoption and foster care and so much more. She has the biggest heart and is just as sweet and intentional in real life as she is on her blog. I love what Ashley wrote today…

Sometimes in an effort to protect kids from pain, opportunities to see them soar are also taken away. I want my children to learn from an early age that the world is far bigger than the 5 mile radius we spend most of our days. I want to be the one to expose them to world – its joys, pains, cultures, people – in age appropriate ways.

Yes!

A+Step+Towards+Hope+{Compassion+Blogger+Trip+Ecuador+2016,+Day+2}Ruth’s Blog

I haven’t had the privilege of meeting Ruth in real life, but I have been following her blog and Instagram for awhile now. I mean, she is a mama to six boys…I feel like I have a LOT to learn from her! More than being a boy mom, Ruth’s dependency on God’s Word as she raises her boys has been such an encouragement and challenge to me as I raise my own boys. She is a wise woman.

I have known about Compassion for a long time. One of my dearest friends recently moved to Colorado so that her husband could take a job with Compassion. Joel and I have even casually talked about sponsoring a child several times, but just never have. I don’t know why we have waited!

We are quickly approaching Cora’s Heaven Day and Birthday. Each year we try to think of a way we can celebrate Cora’s life by investing in others. This week as I’ve read the beautiful yet heartbreaking stories of the people of Ecuador and seen the impact that Compassion has had on the lives of these precious sponsored children, my heart was stirred to sponsor a child this year for Cora’s birthday. Like Ashley said, I long for my boys to know that our world is far bigger than our farm in Kansas. Sponsoring a child through Compassion seems like the perfect way to celebrate my daughter’s life and begin to give my boys eyes that see outside our little white farmhouse. I am praying that God would use this small, small gift in big ways to impact two sweet boys across the globe. But more than that I am asking that He would change our hearts and give us a bigger vision of who He is and what He is doing around the world.

I can’t wait to get our packets and dive into this new adventure!

Go check out what Shannan, Ashley and Ruth are doing in Ecuador and consider sponsoring one of these precious children!

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  • Mary K - Wow! Compassion is such a wonderful organization – awesome people! So glad that you’ve become a sponsor – you’ll have a major impact on the lives of two boys in Ecuador! I sponsor a little girl in the Dominican Republic. I hope that everyone who follows your amazing blog becomes a sponsor!ReplyCancel

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It is hard to know how to explain life lately around here. I feel like it has been awhile since we talked. Just like your days, my days have been a mixture of joy and sorrow, exhaustion and excitement. Days that are really hard and can’t come to an end quick enough and days I wish I could linger in a little longer. Like Friday, for instance. Seven years ago Friday, Joel and I were nervously waiting with Cora in a little room when our pediatrician walked in to give us the news that turned our world upside down. We had no idea….no idea….how our lives would forever be changed. Friday, I sat in that same office with Jake for his eighteen month well-child checkup. I was overwhelmed by the comparison of the gravity of that day in 2009 to the giggles that were coming from the healthy little boy I was carrying as we walked out of the office to continue on with our very normal day. As I was visiting with our pediatrician I mentioned to him that seven years ago we were in his office with Cora and how thankful I was to be sitting there at a well-child checkup instead. He looked up at me with tears in his eyes and gave me and Jake the biggest hugs. First of all, we have the best pediatrician ever. He is so good at his job and has the kindest heart. It was such a gift to me, as we once again enter this season of hard anniversaries, to see in his eyes how much he cared about Cora and our family. God used him to extend comfort to us that very hard day seven years ago as he sent us off to the hospital with sweet Cora and he used him again on Friday to give me a big hug when I really needed one. Even seven years later, I sensed God’s nearness in the most unexpected ways.

So, Jake is eighteen months old. He still feels like the baby but then I see all these friends bringing home new little ones and I realize that he is pretty much a little boy now. I don’t know how that happened. He is the sweetest little cuddly thing and yet keeps me on my toes like never before.

IMG_1285Can you sense the orneriness?

IMG_1319We are working on raising our third little farmer. Jake loves playing cows. He always wants to sit in the middle of the pens and he just started making the most adorable “nom-nom” sound when he feeds them.

IMG_1073We are becoming very familiar with this adorable pouty face. He loves his brothers. So much. He thinks he can do anything they are doing. He is so determined to keep up which means lots of climbing on all the things…and lots of falling off all the things. Anytime I intervene, well, you can imagine his response!

Did I mention that we got a dog?! If you follow me on Instagram you probably saw that we got the boys a dog for Christmas. I guess we didn’t think chasing an eighteen month around was enough of a workout so we decided to throw a puppy into the mix too. Ha!

gusMeet Gus.

He is a chocolate lab and we waver back and forth between deep love and “why did we get a puppy?!” with this little guy. He really is a good puppy most of the time. Unless he is going potty in the mudroom, accidentally knocking Tiny over in excitement, or using those sharp puppy teeth to bite a hole in Levi’s winter coat (yes, he did)…but we won’t talk about that.

IMG_0946I mean, it doesn’t get much cuter than this! An ornery baby and an ornery puppy. You will probably be seeing a lot more of Gus alongside the Mac boys in the days to come.

IMG_1117The rest of our days have been pretty normal…

Baking with lots of helping hands.

IMG_0947Too much time in front of the TV. We are so ready for summer!

IMG_1072Adventures with the Wild Kratt brothers.

IMG_1237Occassional moments of quiet and rest.

IMG_1022Helping dad whenever they can.

IMG_1158Celebrating birthdays.

IMG_1269Shopping with the boys when I am feeling brave.

IMG_1217And glorious days like this one. Days when we are all outside together and I have a moment to breathe in, look around and thank God for these most undeserved gifts…which right now mostly come in the shape of sweet, muddy little boys.

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  • Meggie - Love this update! And I can relate to lots of it because my 3 boys are similar ages to your 3 boys. =) Always an adventure!ReplyCancel

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  • Tracy R - I have followed you and your beautiful family fore these past 7 years and have never commented, which I do regret. But please know not a day goes by where I don’t think of you or hope for goodness for you all. As a mom to 3 girls, I understand the daily business of life and It truly feels good to hear from you!ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - Loved this update! Crazy to think I’ve been following for over seven years. Gone in a blink of an eye. Gus is ADORABLE! Congrats on your new furbaby.ReplyCancel

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  • amber - I have been checking in & reading the stories about your sweet family since Cora was in the hospital. I just can’t believe how long it’s been, yet my mama’s aches for you knowing how very long it must feel for you on some days.
    But what a beautiful thing that has happened in your hearts & in your family. So grateful for this peek inside your heart, Jess, all these years. You are always a peaceful, gentle reminder that my hope lies in Jesus & all other things pale in comparison. Your family is beautiful & so fun!!ReplyCancel

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  • Emily - Wow, it is hard to believe it’s been 7 years since I began following your blog and praying for your family.

    The little puppy is adorable and that last picture is just perfect.ReplyCancel

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  • Gin - Sweet sweet family.ReplyCancel

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  • andrea - So sweet! It’s always a joy to read your blog and see what you’re up too. Grateful to for the thumbs up well check, especially around a challenging date. Question about your bunk beds. :) Where did you get them and how do you think they’ll stand up over time as the boys grow? Have been looking at some, but was never sure if they’d be as sturdy as wood (since we have boys too).ReplyCancel

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  • Ranee - Love this post…so much of the “normal”…the good and bad and hard and this is just such a nice reminder that my normal days are full of the same kids of things…and that God is in the midst of it all!ReplyCancel

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  • Leah - Love the photo with a missing shoe.ReplyCancel

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  • Stefanie (@LexieLooDylan2) - I love the pictures! Especially the last one. Your new dog is adorable!ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - I love your photos. Yes, we miss you when you don’t blog but I completely understand how busy you must be. Your doggy is cute. I love labs. What is the doggy’s name? I love the pic with you and your boys – of course Tiny has a shoe missing!! Baby Tiny is getting very big. Your boys are just so sweet. Those anniversaries are tough. I pray you will see God’s love and His kindness in many ways shapes and forms as you think of and honor your precious daughter, your beautiful Cora. Thinking of you today.ReplyCancel

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IMG_7739new

IMG_7729new space party8I forgot to post photos of the Levi’s party favors. I bought a bunch of these little cotton muslin drawstring bags for another project and they have worked great for party favors. I just used a Sharpie to draw stars on them. I was going to tie the “to the moon” circles on for tags, but we ran out of time. Just try to imagine because it would have been cute.:)We filled them with Milky Ways, a foam space shuttle and play foam (we thought the packages looked like planets). They were a hit!

*amazon affiliate links used

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  • McKenzie - I don’t have any kids but I always pin your parties for future! You’re so inventive. p.s. did we ever get a tour of Tiny’s room?ReplyCancel

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  • Nee - Amazing as always!!
    I LOVE to see your parties and gatherings.
    So much talent and you make a big splash without spending a lot.
    Pinned your party too!
    Happy Birthday LEVI!ReplyCancel

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  • Cindy - Could you please share your sister in lawa sugar cookie recipe? I love frosted sugar cookies. I love reading your blog & watching your boys grow.
    Thanks,
    CindyReplyCancel

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IMG_7833newLevi turned six this year. Celebrating birthdays has always been such a gift to me. Especially my kids birthdays. This year was no different…although six seems SO BIG!! Now that the boys are getting a little older, I love hearing their party ideas. They have some pretty creative and crazy ideas! Levi wanted to have a space party this year. I wasn’t so sure about the whole space theme, but it turns out that cute posters (thank you, Caravan Shoppe!), hand drawn stars and moons, an inflatable astronaut and a few balloons make a pretty cute space party. The space party was so fun!

IMG_7723newA January birthday means the party table and cute little chairs stay inside. We even brought the lemonade stand inside too. Levi is always trying to think of things he can sell at our parties now. Haha.

space party7I taped one poster to a big IKEA frame that I already had and taped the other one to the wall. I stuck flags we had from our Fourth of July parties in buckets with sand.

IMG_7728newThese cute little astronaut cupcake toppers were so fun!

IMG_7729new space party4My sister in law made the moon cookies. I wish you could taste her sugar cookies. They are so good. At the end of the party I was whining to Joel about not getting a cookie. It truly is a tragedy if you don’t get to eat one of these cookies, they are that good! Joel got a little smile on his face and told me he had hidden six cookies in the cupboard. I love him.

IMG_7731newMy mom made the moon cake. Levi thought it was so cool!

IMG_7739new IMG_7780new IMG_7792newI don’t know what we are going to do when Levi starts wanting to invite friends to his party too. Good thing his cousins are some of his best friends because they already fill up the table…and they weren’t even all able to come!

IMG_7794new IMG_7799new space party3Six!

IMG_7807newLevi was so excited about every detail of his party. The presents were pretty exciting too.

space party2I am so thankful for the six years God has given us with this sweet boy. He overflows with joy. God has used him in so many ways to restore our joy and fill our home with laughter since the day he was born. I love seeing him make so many others smile and laugh now too. He is a social one. He loves people, family, school, and is always ready for a party. He is smart. He is quick to learn, remembers everything, somehow already has a sense of direction (he puts me to shame), and loves to create. He is always up for helping me with a craft or project and I love having his company. He is all boy. He loves getting dirty, building legos, farming with dad, wrestling, and sports. He loves watching football and has become quite the avid Denver Bronco and Kansas State fan this year. His brothers are his best friends and his cousins come in a close second. We are so proud of our tenderhearted boy and can’t wait to see what the next year holds for him. I think six will be pretty great!

IMG_7829newSources:

posters – Caravan Shoppe

astronaut cupcake toppers – Amazon

inflatable astronaut – Amazon

foam space shuttle gliders – Amazon

stars, moon confetti – hand drawn by me

***Amazon affiliate links used

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  • Brady Wilhelm - Ha! And here I thought my husband was the only Denver Broncos fan in Kansas :) Happy birthday, Levi! Looks like a cute party!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Brady – Oh no…there is a group of us in Newton! The Bronco blood runs deep in my family. My boys have already been brainwashed! :)

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    • Jess - Brady – Oh no…there is a group of us in Newton! The Bronco blood runs deep in my family. My boys have already been brainwashed! :)ReplyCancel

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  • Meggie - This is the cutest space party ever! Happy Birthday Levi!!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Meggie – Thank you!

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  • Kim York - I can remember waiting to hear “read” that this baby was born :-) Hard to believe he is 6. Love Love Love reading your posts and your parties! My family continues to be blessed by you and your sweet family.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Kim – I know, I can hardly believe he is six! Thanks for reading and for your kind words!

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    • Jess - Kim – I know, I can hardly believe he is six! Thanks for reading and for your kind words!ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - Awww Happy Birthday Levi!! Gosh, I’ve been reading you a loooonnggg time! Haha. Looks like he had a wonderful birthday and the theme was super cute.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Toni – Thank you! He did have a wonderful birthday!

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  • Kelly - That inflatable astronaut is adorable! Great idea to turn the capri suns backwards! I also like that you guys wore clothes in colors that coordinated. :) I do that too. :) Yay for family who makes cakes and cookies!! The six candle – David’s bday isn’t until April but he specifically asked the other day if he could have a six shaped candle on his cake. I do love them thinking of their own party ideas. :) Makes the planning even more fun to me. KellyReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Kelly – I love when they come up with their own party ideas too. So fun! And the matching outfits were just a coincidence. Ha! I hadn’t even noticed. :)

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    • Jess - Kelly – I love when they come up with their own party ideas too. So fun! And the matching outfits were just a coincidence. Ha! I hadn’t even noticed. :)ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - Happy Birthday Levi!! Six is a big deal. I love all the party decorations, food and the cake. WOW…such fun. You never cease to amaze me with your birthday events. I love all the smiles and this will be a wonderful memory for a long time to come.ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah - Haha, Joel! Peter would hide cookies, too!ReplyCancel

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  • Amanda - So cute!! I always love your parties!! I need a sugar cookie now. Points for Joel on that one! Levi is such a cutie and always makes me smile.ReplyCancel

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Better late than never…

jess front

jess back

Hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I’m looking forward to dusting off this little old blog and sharing more with you (Lord willing!) in 2016!

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  • Tiffany - Beautiful!! Love this so much and my oh my are your boys looking so grown! Many blessings to you all in the New Year!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thank you, Tiffany! Yes, the boys are growing too fast!! Blessings to you in the New Year as well!

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    • Jess - Thank you, Tiffany! Yes, the boys are growing too fast!! Blessings to you in the New Year as well!ReplyCancel

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  • Micah - Oh my! I cannot believe how those boys have grown! What a beautiful family! Hope you had the merriest of Christmases and that the new year is filled with many blessings for your family <3ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thank you, Micah! I hope your New Year is filled with many blessings as well. Thanks for reading!

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    • Jess - Thank you, Micah! I hope your New Year is filled with many blessings as well. Thanks for reading!ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - Beautiful family! Many blessings to you in 2016!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Blessings to you, Toni!!

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  • Stefanie (@LexieLooDylan2) - Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Happy New Year, Stefanie!

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  • Eryn - Beautiful boys. I do find it interesting that you don’t include Cora’s name in your Christmas cards.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Eryn – Thank you! Christmas cards are so hard! We hate that Cora can’t be a part of our family photos each year and we definitely feel the hole that she has left. Our family photos always feel a little incomplete to me. We have felt like our Christmas card photos are a reflection on the past year and what God is doing in our family at the present time. Right now that means that we are a family with three little boys…that is our everyday. We wait in hope for the day when we will all be with Jesus together, but for now we press forward without Cora and hopefully that is what is reflected in our Christmas card each year. Now, I know we could add a photo of her or do something to symbolize her part in our family, but this is just what seems right for us. Everyone is different and I totally respect that! Hope that makes sense!

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    • Jess - Eryn – Thank you! Christmas cards are so hard! We hate that Cora can’t be a part of our family photos each year and we definitely feel the hole that she has left. Our family photos always feel a little incomplete to me. We have felt like our Christmas card photos are a reflection on the past year and what God is doing in our family at the present time. Right now that means that we are a family with three little boys…that is our everyday. We wait in hope for the day when we will all be with Jesus together, but for now we press forward without Cora and hopefully that is what is reflected in our Christmas card each year. Now, I know we could add a photo of her or do something to symbolize her part in our family, but this is just what seems right for us. Everyone is different and I totally respect that! Hope that makes sense!ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - Great photo. I hope you have an amazing 2016. Your boys are as darling as ever. I love your blog and the many wise words and encouragement you always manage to provide. Happy New Year!!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Mary Ann – Thank you for your sweet words! Blessings to you in the New Year!

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    • Jess - Mary Ann – Thank you for your sweet words! Blessings to you in the New Year!ReplyCancel

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