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Can you believe it? Cora is famous. Joel was reading through our comments and noticed a comment that said there was an article about Cora on Etsy. We headed over to Etsy and there it was. Our picture and everything. Crazy! Thank you Beki for writing such a kind article about our family. Thank you Julie for thinking of this great way to support Cora’s Playground through Etsy. Thank you to the MANY people who are giving of their time and talents towards this project. You guys are awesome! Words cannot express how humbled we are to see so many people rally around us in this way. Thank you!

We went back to church today. It was the first time we had been back since Cora had been in the hospital. I thought I would be ok. Saturday had been a pretty good day. I was wrong. Emotions overwhelmed me as we walked in. I think I cried through half of the service. That’s ok, I know. It is just hard to go back to “normal” things when you don’t feel normal at all. I was thankful for all the hugs and smiles. It was good to be surrounded by friends.

One more thing. My mom and I wanted to join in the Etsy fun. We have been crafting our brains out this weekend. It has been good therapy. Hopefully our shop will be up and running in a day or two. More on that tomorrow…

  • Our Complete Family - I just found your blog and feel I was lead to you to lift you up in prayer. Please know I am thinking of you both and sending many hugs and prayers.

  • The Sieberts - how exciting! we can’t wait to see your creations!!!! it was good to see you guys back in church today!ReplyCancel

  • Samantha - It is so nice to see a post from you. I think of you, your husband and your little angel often. I wear my cora’s playground pendant and think of her everytime I feel it move, see it and touch it… I am sending lots of love and blessings your way.

    Your little girl is such an inspiration. Both spiritually and artisticly. I was so happy to be able to purchase my beautiful necklace and help Coras playground at the same time. I can’t wait to see what you have made!ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - I am a stranger from across the seas (Brisbane, Australia) – and I have posted one comment a little earlier. Every time I see your lovely family photo, the one you posted when Cora went to be with Jesus – my eyes well up with tears. Whilst it is comforting to know she is indeed with Him, my heart aches for your loss here on earth. I am inspired by your faith and your bravery. I look forward to seeing your shop on ETSY (wonderful site by the way!) and hope that you find that project a little therapeutic.
    Bless you, Tracy (Australia)ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - You are both an inspiration. Cora is a beautiful angel.

    It’s funny, because a bunch of pastors at my church are from Kansas…I’ve never been to Kansas, but there sure are some awesome folks from “those parts”!ReplyCancel

  • The Schilling's from PICU - Hi guys,

    Just checking in to see how you are? Glad to hear you got to be together and relieve some stress in Colorado…. Tell Ruth the cinnamon rolls were gone in a few hours when Jason brought them home. ha They were yummy…. We think of you daily and pray often that you are feeling some kind of peace in your hearts. I was jealous that Jason got to come out there…. We may just pack the kids up and ride along next time…. I am so glad that you are surrounded by sooooo much love and support….. wish we lived closer….. I think the next thing on my list to do is start BLOGGING….. ha I go back to work March 2nd, and hope that Jaylee can stay away from all the little germs I bring home….

    Miss you both and tell your families hello!

    love ya,


  • Stewart Family - Exciting that your joining in on the etsy project. Be forewarned though that it is addicting. I have been crafting 10 hrs a day I think 🙂 I’m loving every minute of it though and have Cora on my mind the whole time!! Can’t wait to see what you and your mom made.

    I’m glad you got to get back into church today and feel the love that is surrounding you! You and Joel are always in my prayers!ReplyCancel

  • KittsKrafts - I had been following your story on your blog have been so saddened to hear about Cora. I am an Etsy seller and started to see Cora’s name pop up here and there and didn’t think it could be your Cora. I finally saw the Etsy article and realized it was indeed your Cora. So I have made a decision to keep a listing in my shop for Cora’s playground until her birthday.
    Hugs & Prayers

  • Amy - I am totally ready to see what you have made! I heart Etsy 🙂

    I purchased 3 of Beki’s flowers for each of my girls. They don’t have them yet, but my oldest already calls it her “Cora Flower”. I absolutely LOVE the playground idea. What a way to honor and cherish a precious little girl.ReplyCancel

  • The Moffats - Jess & Joel –

    Sending lots of hugs and prayers…I’m sure today was full of mixed emotions.

    Can’t wait to see the etsy creations. I know they will all be adorable and EXTRA special 🙂

    Missing you all. Pass around a big hug to everyone from us.ReplyCancel

  • playfulmeowz - I am a Singaporean based in Malaysia. Just want to tell you that I am praying for both of you. I read your older posts and want to thank you for your courage and for sharing your story and faith.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - You are in my heart and prayers. I do not know you or your family, but am sending prayers from California.ReplyCancel

  • beckley - still praying for you.
    grace and peace to you this moment-ReplyCancel

  • Kate's Mommy - been praying for you. my heart aches for you and your family, but my heart is also overjoyed at your faith in Jesus and how you are leaving a legacy through Cora. She’s such a beautiful sweet little girl. I have a sweet 9 month old and Cora reminds me to love her more and more and hold her closer each day, and to thank God for each day. Thank you for sharing Cora with all of us.ReplyCancel

  • The Snyders - Wow, You have heard this before but your family is so inspiring! I have been following your story since just after Cora’s diagnosis. I have been praying from that day on-I still am. I can’t believe how incredibally stong you are! I have a 7 month old and I can’t imagine the pain you two (and the rest of your family) have felt! Even though you don’t know me, I am in KS (a couple hours from you) if you need anything contact me through my blog!
    Thanks for reviving my faith!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - I am co-organizer of the sale and so glad to help such a wonderful family. Please let me know if you have any questions about it! You and Cora have been in my thoughts and prayers pretty much 24/7 the past few weeks. It is amazing what this movement has become!ReplyCancel

  • Peyton's Pages - You two, and Cora are heros. Your faith, love and hope is so inspiring. Praying for you and your family daily.ReplyCancel

  • Chris - Jess and Joel,
    I found your blog the day Cora went to Jesus and read back from the start. Since that day I find myself waking up at night and crying thinking about your beautiful little girl. I think about her and you several times a day . I dont know you or Cora but feel like I do. Cora thought me to take more time with my baby and other children. Stoped what I am doing and just spend time with them because you never know .I also bought a flower for Ava and cant wait to get it . She will wear it with pride for Cora. You are such a great couple and Cora was a lucky little girl to have you as parents. She will be protecting you and is now a beautiful angel .
    Thank You for sharing with us and make us better person. You are in my thoughts and prayers every day .
    Hugs to you .
    Sorry about my english I am french .ReplyCancel

  • Connie W - I can’t remember how I found your blog but I read about it a few weeks ago on someone’s blog and linked over. I haven’t commented because I couldn’t express my deepest sympathy in words adequately. I decided to leave this comment to say how sorry I am for your tragic loss. You have touched many more lives than you ever will know. God bless and keep you.ReplyCancel

  • Heather - I still think of you and your sweet Cora MANY times throughout my day and I lift you up in prayer EVERY time I do. I miss Cora and I never even knew her, but I have learned so much about her through your blog and can see how much she is loved by you and so many people around the world. Cora did indeed leave her mark on this world.
    Hugs and prayers,
    Heather~ On the HomefrontReplyCancel

  • Shelby - I have been praying for your family ever since I heard about you. I have a 10 month old baby girl and every time I think of your loss my heart aches. I cannot imagine your pain. I just wanted you to know that you are in our prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Courtney Kay - praying for the playground efforts!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - Can’t wait to visit your Etsy store…this is a great idea for you and your Mom to do!ReplyCancel

  • Alivia's Momma - Dear Macs….
    Etsy is what lead me to your page. I too lost my girl baby to cancer (almost 2 whole years ago). I have no huge words to say or advice to give. I will pray for peace and comfort. Each “normal” thing you do from now on will be hard because your normal will never be the same.
    Etsy is my therapy after lossing my daughter and I hope it gives you a little relief from grief. Take care..*EReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Just a follower but sooooo glad when you update. We know that your Cora is a peace but we still worry for you two. You are very courageous! Can’t wait to see your Etsy store. Still thinking and praying for you two a dozen times a day.


  • mommaof4wife2r - you all are so famous!!! i preached on your story at church in middle school and those kids pray for you! and i have to tell you, you are doing so many awesome things not even knowing! isn’t that great?

    ok, and the etsy store is more than fab. the only problem i’m having with it is that everything is so fab i keep getting more and more things. i’m buying bday gifts and all kinds of stuff. anyway, it’s so awesome!!!ReplyCancel

  • The Gardners - Still praying for you everyday Jess!!!ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and commenting here. (I’m usually just a lurker/prayer) My heart breaks for you guys and I can’t begin to imagine the road you have traveled. I do know what it is to loose a child though and I “get it” when you say, it’s hard doing normal things when you don’t feel normal. It has been almost 7 years since our first baby, Lauren passed away. She had Trisomy 18 and live 2 1/2 months. I understand the emptiness and the physical pain of missing someone so much. I wish I could tell you that it gets easier but in truth it just gets different. Your emotions won’t always live right at the surface but you will be forever changed so it’s hard to say life will ever be “normal” again. I will continue to pray for you and your families as you continue learning what it means to live without your precious Cora.
    God bless you,
    Jamie Moyer (Indiana)ReplyCancel

  • Misty Rice-Baniewicz - Oh sweet friend….. I am so proud of you. I really am. And I can’t wait to see the creations you will come up wit for esty. I actually took that article off that site and posted it on my blog last week…. I had no idea you didn’t even know about it yet.

    I truly love reading your post and updates… because I think about you every day. I am being honest when I say every day. You are constantly in my prayers and we as brother and sisters in Christ are going to walk through this with you… and be your circle of love on good days like Saturday and hard days like Sundays.

    Today I hope Monday, will bring some peace for you and that your little creative juices are flowing to keep your mind busy. Mondays, can often feel lonely for anyone, after busy weekends, no matter who they are or going through.

    Thinking of you right now and praying.

    God Bless.ReplyCancel

  • Dancing Queen - can’t wait to see what you’re creating! you are such an example to all of us about how to honor a child’s memory while moving forward & making a difference all at the same time!

    looking forward to seeing the craftiness:)ReplyCancel

  • The Morris Family - Praying for you both, may the windows of heaven open and grace fall upon your hearts. The words of scripture has been my source of help as we miss our little Joel, I pray you will delve into His words that speak life and give us the hope of being with our little ones again!!

  • trying to remember it all - Just wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you even though I didn’t really know what to say…ReplyCancel

  • Kate - I can’t wait to see your etsy & what you guys come up with!! how fun:)ReplyCancel

  • PamperingBeki - Jess, I tried to call you a few times but didn’t get through.

    I most definitely did not want to exploit this horrible situation you’ve been given! I tried to be as delicate as possible. But I see that your faith through this has been so inspiring to Christians and non-christians alike. So when Etsy told me they were interested, I jumped at it.
    I only had about 10 minutes to pull it together so I swiped pictures from Megan’s blog.

    I thought about you and your first trip back to church yesterday. (I assumed it would be your first trip back.) I’m sure you know that there’s no right or wrong way to handle things. Waves of emotion are going to hit you when you least expect it.

    About the etsy shop, how fun!! If you need any help getting things going, let me know.
    God bless you! We’re still praying for you every single day.ReplyCancel

  • Stacy - Baby steps, that’s all you can do is take baby steps one day at a time. You two are showing such courage and I admire you for that.

    Sweet Cora is indeed leaving a wonderful legacy and footprints on all of our hearts!

    Speaking of hearts, mine smiled this morning to read a post from you. I truly can’t even begin to explain the compassion and love I feel toward you, Joel and Cora as I have never met you except through your blog, but there is a strong desire to know you are going to be okay. How does one have such compassion for strangers, several states away, with no actual connection at all, except through the work of our Mighty God. His hand is in all of this and I have said it before and will say it again, I’m in awe of your Faith and Trust in God. You are such an inspiration to all of us and your Faith makes me strive for a deeper, stronger relationship with our God. You are helping me open my eyes and heart to what matters most in life and helping to make me a better person and mother and for that I’m grateful.

    I continue to pray for you and Joel and I can assure you my prayers won’t cease.

    I can’t wait to see your Etsy creation.

    Take good care and thank you for continuing to share your journey with all of us.

    God Bless you both and sweet baby Cora, always.

    With prayers,
    Stacy (Houston, Texas)ReplyCancel

  • lauren - still praying for you every single dayReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - I bought a flower necklace (the pink one with the jewel center) off of Etsy last week. I just feel so moved by Cora’s legacy. I’m going to put the necklace away and save it for when my daughter is older and then tell her about Cora and the reason why I bought the necklace.

    Still praying for you.


  • Nicoolmama - I sat up in bed last night about 2 and Cora and your family were on my brain. I think about your family often and wish there was a way to take away the pain. Please know how loved your little girl is- even in Blog Land.ReplyCancel

  • annie - I’ve been reading your blog for a while. My daughter was in a near drowning accident at 21 mo. She died but was brought back to us. We spent about three months in the hospital not knowing if we would be bringing her home and being given terrible prognosis. I remember trips to the local target and watching all the people in the store looking so normal and thinking how un normal it all was. Once in line a family in front of me had a little girl about her age and they called her name… Isabelle which was my daughter’s name. I broke down right there in the line at Target. I know they thought I was insane. After returning home the first several times back to church were very emotional. The songs all meant something different and brought me to tears. It was so hard. Now… we are almost five years past that time and things are still not really normal, but we are trusting God. I have been praying for you.ReplyCancel

  • Whitney - Yay! Cannot wait to see what you come out with for Etsy!
    Still praying for you!ReplyCancel

  • Cristy - Hi Jess….

    Praying for you….

    I am so excited that you are finding some comfort in crafting. I can’t wait to see what you and Kathy have been up to! Please let me know if you need any help listing or taking pictures of your items. I would love to help. We only live a few miles away from each other! I’m working on something new for my Cora Etsy sale today.

    Praying for you today and always…


  • purejoy - such a sweet post and how cool to have something to occupy you while you continue to grieve. at the risk of ever saying something that is taken as lame or heartless or stupid, just know i am so sorry for your loss of cora and would hate to ever say something that would hurt your feelings. it’s so hard to know to be cheery or encouraging or what. this grieving process is awkward, but know that this girl from tennessee is thinking about you often and hopes to be a blessing to your healing process.
    welcome back to blogland. we’ve missed you!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer - Oh sweet family…I know too well what you are feeling right now. A stranger has found both our blogs and suggested that I reach out to you. My husband and I lost our baby girl a year ago next week. Through the amazing support of people and the love of the Lord, we have survived. I hope our story will shed some light on your long journey ahead. The “new normal” does get easier. You will laugh again and sing again even though those things seem so far away right now. Please know that I will be praying for you. Love, Jennifer

  • Polka Dot Moon - Being creative has always been a kind of “therapy” for me. I’ve enjoyed adding goodies to my shop for Cora’s Playground project and doing some shopping too!

    Can’t wait to see what you and your mom come up with 🙂

    Thinking of you often down here in Arizona.

  • Lori Anderson Designs - I just learned about this and I’m so incredibly sorry. My heart goes out to you. She’s touched many lives.ReplyCancel

  • Audrey M. - I just found your blog and want you to know how sorry I am for your loss! I cannot imagine the pain you have endured. I have a 7 month old and could not ever imagine something like that happeining to us. You both are so strong and your faith in God is so inspiring. Although I do not know you or did not know your precious angel, I want you to know that your story has touched me in a way you will never know. I look forward to reading more blogs from your family. Thank you for sharing your life with all of us. I will be praying for you. God bless you both, and your little angel Cora.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - you’ll probably never know just how many lives your sweet baby girl touched. I know I mentioned her on my blog a few times, and I had seen her mentioned on a few other blogs.

    I’m sorry that church was so hard yesterday. I’m sure it will take a bit to get into a new “normal”. I’ll be praying for you as your hearts heal.

    Can’t wait to see what you and your mom have been doing in the crafty business! I recently started crocheting hats for babies, and am hoping to get my etsy shop up and running soon as well.ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Life won’t be normal again for a really, really long time. Then it will just be different. A scary different. I am praying for you two and am so blessed to even be used to help honor your sweet Cora’s memory.ReplyCancel

  • Gill - I recently came across your blog and have been lifting your family up in prayer. I came across this poem on the blog of another family who lost their sweet daughter and thought I’d share it with you. God bless.

    To Honor You

    To honor you, I get up everyday and take a breath.
    And start another day without you in it.

    To honor you, I laugh and love with those who knew your smile
    And the way your eyes twinkled with mischief and secret knowledge.

    To honor you, I take the time to appreciate everyone I love,
    I know now there is no guarantee of days or hours spent in their presence.

    To honor you, I listen to music you would have liked,
    And sing at the top of my lungs, with the windows rolled down.

    To honor you, I take chances, say what I feel, hold nothing back,
    Risk making a fool of myself, dance every dance.

    You were my light, my heart, my gift of love, from the very highest source.
    So everyday, I vow to make a difference, share a smile, live, laugh and love.
    Now I live for us both, so all I do, I do to honor you.

    by Connie F. Kiefer ByrdReplyCancel

  • Courtney - Good to here from you again. I can’t wait to see all of your creations.

  • Mrs. MK - I really understand how hard church is! I have really struggled with that….but some Sundays are alright….

    My prayers are with you everyday!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I’m unsure of how I came acrossed your blog, but I felt compelled to send my sympathies. Your baby was beautiful, and clearly meant to teach the world about love and compassion. My eyes are filled with tears for you, your husband, your daughter and all those who love you. God Bless you.ReplyCancel

  • ml - Still thinking of you and praying for you in Alabama!ReplyCancel

  • aimee - Hello!

    I just returned from a weekend trip and thought about you both often. Prayed that you would be back when I got back. It must be so hard to post and not put up pictures about Cora; I know from having read your blog that she was the center of your lives. I am so glad you’re back, and want you to know that I’m still praying for you during this difficult season.

    I too am considering opening an Etsy store to benefit Cora’s playground,and have a lot to plan and craft in the coming days.


  • Madissen - I wanted to ask if I could spread the news on myspace about Coras Playground. There a LOTS of shops there that make amazing things and I know they would love to help out.

    I can make some graphics that lead back to your page and everything.

    Please let me know if I can do this!

    Thank you,
    is my email…ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Let yourself mourn….cry and should not expect yourself to feel “normal”…You have gone through the biggest loss a person can is ok to take as long as you want, you have a new normal and that is a huge hole, give yourself time…
    No one expects you to be normal..or the way you were before this all happened..Prayers are being lifted up all over the worldReplyCancel

  • Christine - I wondered about you guys yesterday, and if you’d make it to church. Part of me thinks that I’d be one to hide in bed – away from everyone and everything. God is upholding you in ways that are so beyond my comprehension. I can see His hand on you in such an incredible way and it brings tears to my eyes even now that we serve such a mighty and loving God. However could you manage through such times as these without Him?

    It has been my prayer, among many that I’ve offered up for you guys, that you and Joel would grow closer together than you’ve ever been before. That through this, your marriage would be strenghtened and grown – that there would be nothing the two of you could not conquer together with God. He has amazing plans for you.

    This must be somewhat surreal for you guys – being “famous” – seeing how Cora’s life and your family’s faith has touched people and strengthened the faith of many. (I hope this doesn’t sound silly, but..) Jess, it’s my prayer that you would never feel that you need to grieve or mourn in any certain way. That you guys would continue to be transparent and just be as you are. God is working through you in so many ways – trust in Him and He will take care of everything.ReplyCancel

  • Mommy (You can call me OM) - Thank you for sharing your beautiful daughter with us. I’m keeping you in thoughts and prayers. Peace.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Hi Mac Family! I’m another Kansas mom, and I’ve been following your story and praying for you since Bring the Rain’s Angie Smith twittered for prayers. I’m wondering if you’ve seen this yet.

    You can read their story at the blog.

    You and your family are in my prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Devon - almost one year later and its still hard for me to go to church…be gentle with yourself.

    praying for you as you embark upon this journey…i am so sorry for the loss of your sweet cora.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Let me say that going to church is sometimes one of the hardest things for me after loosing my mom this last November. I am not sure why just that I know my mom loved it there and so many of the songs that are sung remind me of her. Sometimes I can not sit through the whole time without crying all the time. Sometimes it is hard to go there because I hurt there but yet I feel God with me. SO be easy on yourselves it has be almost four months and this is how I still am. I am not sure it will get easier either it has not for me yet. We have never met but I do know Darla Stucky and she is a wonderful person and friend. We go to church together. I know that you get many comments but remember we are praying for you all the time. You all are so strong and are such a great example to me.
    I am excited to see what crafty things you come up with.
    In Christ,
    Chris and Mandi RidenourReplyCancel

  • ShellyStout - Can’t wait to see your Etsy shop!!ReplyCancel

  • Kylie, Jesse and Asher - I’m so thankful you have a church full of friends and a place to just cry! Your faith is amazing! I continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to comfort you both. Keep pushing through. There will be ups and downs as you know and also as you know Jesus is faithful to comfort! God Bless you.ReplyCancel

  • Whimsical Creations - I am one of the vendors selling to raise money for cora’s playground. I am honored to help your family in some way.


  • Elizabeth - your strength amazes me and is such a testimony to God’s faithfulness. you are in my prayers. i cannot think about you or come to your blog w/o getting tears in my eyes…God is doing a wonderful work in touching so many people with your story and Cora will always be remembered by so many of us.ReplyCancel

  • James' Full House - Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought and prayed for you and your family. I found your blog after Cora was diagnosed. I have ached and my heart has physically hurt for you. If I a complete stranger to you feel this way I can not imagine what you have been going through this past month. Cora is leaving a beautiful mark. She has touched so many people through her illness. I am in awe of how you decided to share her life and how couragious and brave you are. Your faith and trust in God is a testimony. My tears still flow when I think of her. You are loved by many complete strangers.
    I can not wait to head over to Etsy and check things out. The playground is a beautiful idea. I hope that the funds are available for that very soon. What a wonderful way to remember her.ReplyCancel

  • Melinda - I just found your blog today in a prayer request on Kayleigh’s blog. I am very sad for your loss. I was happy to be able to show some support, though in a tiny way, and purchased some hair bows through the Etsy fundraiser for Cora’s Playground. I wish you the best of luck with the beautiful legacy your daughter and your family are creating. Big hugs from a stranger but friend in Wisconsin!ReplyCancel

  • Momma_Hug - You precious Cora has touched more people than you will ever know. It’s great to hear the you and your mom are joining in on the fun!ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for sharing Cora for all of us who only knew her through blogs. My prayers have been and will continue to be with you and your family.
    I cannot imagine what you are going through but I do feel the sting of death since I lost my Daddy in June. He was the ultimate Daddy and Grandaddy so I know he is having fun watching Cora !!!
    May God continue to wrap you in HIS LOVE and PERFECT PEACE.
    Ellen (GA)ReplyCancel

  • Melissa at perry jayne clothesline and accessories - Crafting is great therapy. Looking forward to seeing your etsy shop. Praying that God will continue to grant you peace and comfort. Can’t wait to see the awesome Cora Playground that will be built in Cora’s honor.ReplyCancel

  • i love plum - amazing…crafting is SO good for the spirit and soul…can’t wait to see what you make! xoReplyCancel

  • Nan - God is so good.

    You are so good to me
    You heal my broken heart
    You are my Father in heaven

    You ride upon the clouds
    You lead me to the truth
    You are the Spirit inside me

    You poured out all your blood
    You died upon the cross
    You are my Jesus who loves me

    You are beautiful my sweet, sweet, song
    I will sing again

    You are my strong melody
    You are my dancing rhythm
    You are my perfect rhyme
    And I want to sing foreverReplyCancel