I didn’t think this day would ever come.

The day where I could say “I made it”.
My last day of work.
Today I re-read what I wrote in my journal back in April when I started this new job:
“Today I started a new job. It is only part time, I think it will be okay. But, I HATED driving to Newton knowing that I was going back to work. I cried the whole way. I felt like my heart was being crushed into a million pieces all over again. Why can’t I be a stay-at-home mom? Why can’t I raise Cora? Why did God take Cora from me? Now, I am driving to an office to be a receptionist–to force me to get out of bed and get dressed, to make the time pass. Just for a little while. I thought my purpose was to be a mom. What is my purpose now?

Well, it did go okay. I put my brave face on and made it through the morning without crying. The people there were so kind and helpful–many of them I know already. There is so much to learn and I feel so overwhelmed. Just overwhelmed with life in general. My mind still feels “foggy”. It is hard to concentrate. Lord, please give me the strength to make it through each day. Please, allow the time to pass quickly. Please, allow us to have more kids soon!”

When I started that job we were not expecting. I didn’t know how long I would need to work before the Lord would bless us with another child and I could go back to the job I love SO much–being a mom. I was struggling with so many things. I think I literally felt like I was drowning in my grief.
A friend shared this translation of Philippians 4:13 with me last week.
I am strong for all things in the One who constantly infuses strength in me.
I loved looking back at that journal entry today. I felt like finishing work today was a little step forward. A little glimpse of light in the darkness. And as I read my words from back in April I could see how the Lord has been, and continues to, constantly infuse strength in me.
I am so thankful that I don’t have to rely on my own strength.
I couldn’t make it through this on my own.
I couldn’t.
So today I am thankful for this little step forward.
I know there are still going to be many days of missing Cora.
Many days when I still can’t stop the tears.
Many days when I feel like I am taking steps backwards again.
He will help me get through those days too.
Today I am going to just celebrate that “I made it”. I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to the days of being a stay-at-home mom again. It is getting closer!
Back to Top|Tweet this Post|Share on Facebook|Pin This|Contact Me
  • September 29, 2009 - 11:54 pm

    Elle's Mom - Yes, you made it! Wow, you are so close to welcoming your new little blessing. So happy for you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 12:05 am

    Erica - wow. you are such an inspiration! your faith is amazing. may God continue to bless you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 12:11 am

    Sarah - God has so many blessings in store for you, I faith in that for you!
    Thanks for sharing this :) ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 12:12 am

    Heather - good for you, jess :) ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 1:21 am

    Anonymous - So thrilled for you that you are one step closer to bringing home your new sweet baby!! Cora is still close to my heart and your family is always in my prayers. Continued strength, faith,and love to your family! God Bless!!

    Summer in CaliforniaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 2:49 am

    Candice - Yay, that’s great. I will be praying for you and precious baby Mac.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 3:06 am

    Sue - Well done!! Enjoy the time off in preparation for your new baby. I’m so glad that you have this to look forward to in your life. As you know, I lost my husband when my baby was 6 weeks old and you have no idea how many difficult moments that child has carried me through. He’s 5 now and the light of my life. Your faith is so encouraging. Hold on to that and you’ll grow stronger with each passing day!!
    Sending much love, Susan xReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 3:10 am

    Sue - Well done!! Enjoy the time off in preparation for your new baby. I’m so glad that you have this to look forward to in your life. As you know, I lost my husband when my baby was 6 weeks old and you have no idea how many difficult moments that child has carried me through. He’s 5 now and the light of my life. Your faith is so encouraging. Hold on to that and you’ll grow stronger with each passing day!!
    Sending much love, Susan xReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 5:47 am

    kristin - God Bless you, Jess!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 6:32 am

    SouthernGalsBoutique - I’m so happy for you, that you will be able to be a SAHM… praying for you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 6:47 am

    Julie - I thought of you first thing yesterday morning, knowing that the end of one job was coming. Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart and journey. Know that I am praying for you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 6:53 am

    Lindsay - Still cheering you on and am continually inspired by your faith. Way to go!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 6:58 am

    Trasie Bressler - You are blessed beyond measure! God has so many wonderful things instore for you. I am a stay at home MOM too and I agree it is the most rewarding job I have ever had. Can’t wait to see pictures of you holding that bundle of joy!

    Many Many Blessings!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 6:59 am

    Mandi - It makes me so happy to hear that God is bringing you back to your heart’s desire – to be a full-time mommy. You made it with His strength and grace!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 7:01 am

    hoosier68 - One day at a time….that is how I got through a horrible time in my life. Nothing ever changes the past but the future holds promise so you just get there one day at a time! Thinking of you each day.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 7:09 am

    Leah - Bless your heart! Thank you for posting this entry. Comparing my sitution to yours is not even closer, but, if I may, I relate so much to this post. Going to work has been such a struggle for me. I feel like I am drowning in the mourning of infertility and wanting to be in my dream job of staying at home raising my kiddos. God has a plan and I am holding onto the hope of that.

    I am so happy that you will be returning to the job you love.

    Many, many blessings to you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 7:22 am

    Toni :O) - Each and every day is a little bit of progress…slow and steady, stay the course…glad you are able to stop working again and have a beautiful baby to rest in your arms again to look forward to. Take some special time for yourself and get pampered…you deserve it. Continuing to pray for you…hang in there. Hugs!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 7:30 am

    Anonymous - You are a warrior.. One step closer to holding baby Mac in your arms. Thinking of you everday.

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 7:36 am

    Beckypdj - Congratulations on this milestone!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 7:59 am

    leel - you are a total warrior! keep the faith. congratulations!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 8:14 am

    Kristi REDISKE - What a Godly example you have been and I know it is because you He has given you the strength. Congratulations on being able to quit the job and get back home to prepare for the new arrival. I know you will still have alot of good and bad days-I cannot imagine what you have been through but I will keep praying for you and your husband.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 8:28 am

    Robin in Benton - So happy for you! You get to be doing the “job” that you wanted again! Praying for you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 8:52 am

    Shannon - Congratulations! You are an amazing mom, and I’m glad that you get to spend time again at home in preparation for your newest blessing!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 9:13 am

    Audrey - I haven’t been commenting, but I am still here reading! How wonderful God is! The playground is complete and how cute is your little baby belly? :)

    I truly love that verse. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. It was the verse that got me through basic training…always popping up in places when I least expected it…and was most down in the dumps. I don’t see it much anymore but He knows our hearts and minds and every so often, I still see that verse pop up out of the blue like He is reminding me that He is still there and always will be.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 10:04 am

    Miss Em - Yeah!!! Praising Him along with you! I loved seeing your baby belly in your recent pictures.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 10:14 am

    Lisa - You don’t know me but I wanted you to know how much your strength and faith inspire me. Little Cora has touched thousands of lives in her short time here on earth. I can’t imagine the pain and heartache you must feel. Your faith in Jesus makes me work harded at my own relationship with him. Thanks for putting yourself out there and letting me personally see what God can do in your life.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 10:58 am

    Tara - that’s awesome! i pray that God continues to bless you!!! you’re such an inspiration to so many! =)ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 12:22 pm

    Tabitha@Afiveoh4uplifting.org - Many blessings to you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 1:09 pm

    dawn - Isn’t it great to look back and be able to see how far you’ve come?? Not that it isn’t still hard…but He has carried you through. Today our family marks 10 years since our little boy, Aidan went to be with Jesus. As you can imagine, we have lots to reflect on. God is faithful.

    Thanks for posting that encouragement. You are a woman of faith!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 1:25 pm

    Whimsical Creations - YAY you made it.

    hugs.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 6:17 pm

    meg duerksen - i love you jess.

    one week closer to new baby.
    one stage closer to new baby.
    it is just going to be here before you know it!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 7:22 pm

    Rebecca - We are celebrating this time with you and praising God for the “little step forward”.
    Hugs and prayers to you and Joel.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 9:23 pm

    KK - You did it!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 10:44 pm

    Melissa - Yay!! So glad you are done with your job and are just counting down and preparing for your baby!! How exciting.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 11:41 pm

    Ashley - Praying tonight for God’s blessings to pour out on you. You have such a sweet spirit, and my heart breaks for the grief you continue to carry with you. I’m so sorry that Cora is not in your arms, but rejoice with you that she is safe with Jesus. Thank you for sharing your journey with all of us so that we might be encouraged by your faith.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • October 1, 2009 - 6:41 am

    Amy Bell - i am so encouraged by your blog…i am amazed at the strength and grace the Lord has given to you..thank you for sharing your journey. it is truly an inspiration to me.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • October 1, 2009 - 3:40 pm

    Lynn Jones - It is getting closer!! I was having a tough day and thinking of that really perked me up! Tender love will be a moment-by-moment experience before you know it.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • October 2, 2009 - 4:35 pm

Wow! Where do we start? It is impossible to thank everyone who was involved in the playground project. I so wish that we could. These are a few thanks that we shared the day of the dedication…

We can’t tell you how loved and supported it makes us feel to see all of you here today. God continues to pour out His love to us through the body of Christ.

There are so many people we could thank today. It is hard to know where to start. We wanted to take time to specifically thank a few:

Ben Hutton & Hutton Construction–general contractor

Joel, Jason, Eric & PG Playgrounds


Kompan–playground equipment

DuraPlay–flooring

House of Glass

ProFencing Co.

USA Shade

Sherwin Williams

Ian Johnson–designed Cora’s Playground sign

Joe & Kasa–sign

Exquisite Gifts & their helium company–balloons and helium

Evan LaRue–sound system for dedication

Julie & Heather along with MANY Etsy vendors


(Julie started the Etsy fundraiser with her messy flower pins. Many Etsy vendors joined her in raising money for Cora’s Playground. Heather stepped in to help organize the fundraising. It was so great to meet these two ladies in person! What a blessing to our family they have been.)

Sara–stickers for seed packets


Kris, Debbie, Janelle and the Grace Community Church Staff

Grace Community Church

Whether you donated your time and labor, gave to the project, or even prayed for our family, you all had a part in Cora’s Playground. Thank you.

Today is definitely bittersweet for us. Our hearts are heavy, as we would trade this playground to have Cora back with us in a second. While we don’t understand, it wasn’t part of God’s plan for Cora to be here today.

But the awesome part about today is being able to look back and see how God has worked so mightily in our lives and the lives around us through tragedy. We are so thankful to have this playground as a remembering stone for our family. Cora’s Playground will always serve as a reminder to us of our sweet Cora’s life and how purposeful her 341 days with us were. It will be a place that we can always bring our family and tell them of God’s love and faithfulness to us.

Thank you so much for being a part of that.

Most of all we just want to take time this afternoon to thank God for all He has done. Thank you for being here to join us in praising Him today.

Back to Top|Tweet this Post|Share on Facebook|Pin This|Contact Me
  • September 29, 2009 - 12:04 am

    k and c's mom - God is faithful. We are grateful. Thank you for this post.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 12:52 am

    forever folding laundry - Thank you for sharing this. Your beautiful girl’s 341 days will not be forgotten, nor will her impact on others be slight. Continuing to keep you in prayer!

    ~KeriReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 12:56 am

    The Perfect Trio - you are a very special family!!

    you are on my mind almost daily…i’m still praying for yoU!

    melissaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 1:01 am

    Carrie @ Cottage Cozy - How inspiring to witness people coming together in love in such a special way!

    CarrieReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 1:24 am

    Anonymous - Thanks for sharing your special day with us Cora will never be forgotten and your faith and strength continue to inspre me everyday! Will continue to keep you all in my prayers!
    Summer & family in CaliforniaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 2:30 am

    KK - Praising Him for all He does, even through our heartaches and tradgedies.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 5:09 am

    purejoy - and thank you for your willingness to share this confusing, painful, yet redemptive story with us. yours is a gift so treasured in my heart. always remembering cora. . .
    kimberlyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 7:05 am

    Paula - Jess, thanks for sharing the pictures of the dedication. I had to be in Oklahoma with my parents that week-end but thought of you all while I was gone.

    Love you so much!

    Paula UReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 7:26 am

    Beckypdj - I love it when you say “sweet Cora”. Thank you for the postReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 7:43 am

    Kristin Stegent - The dedication looks like it was so sweet. I love that you released 341 balloons. The playground is the cutest I’ve ever seen. I can only imagine the bittersweet you must feel though!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 7:57 am

    Marla Taviano - So, so, so awesome. God is amazing. Continuing to pray for you as you miss beautiful Cora!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 8:33 am

    Toni :O) - Love this post and thank you, as I’m sure it was incredibly difficult to share this. We will never forget sweet Cora…ever. May God continue to bless all three of you and I will always be praying for you. Hugs to you all.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 8:47 am

    Christine - the playground is beautiful,
    just like Cora.
    You are one special mommy.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 9:18 am

    beckley - still weeping with you.
    grace and peace be yours through the pain.

    beautiful playground.
    shalom.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 9:34 am

    Anonymous - Great job Mom and Dad.Cora’s Playground is beautiful..you took your heartbreaking tragedy and inspired so many of us, to be better, to look at our faith..

    Thank you for continueing to share.

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 9:44 am

    Anonymous - Oh how you touch my soul with your love and faith in our devine Heavenly Father’s plan. I hurt for you each and everyday. I hurt for Cora not able to be here with you. I know she is safe, but I too often question why she didn’t get to stay here alive with you to be safe? I hope one day all will be answered to those of us who were faithful in contining our journey through the heartache and pain. May God continue to bless you as your serve him without any doubts. May your Sweet Cora always watch over you and be near you. I know Angels are on this earth. I have felt them in my life. May your sweet Angel be allowed to hold your hand during your life, that you may be guided back into her presence. That day will be Glorious!!!
    All my love,
    Jill(Kansas)ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 9:53 am
  • September 29, 2009 - 9:56 am

    PamperingBeki - Praying for you today. :) ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 2:05 pm

    Baylee and Blair's page - God is so giving! Even though you might never understand why he took her so early on. You have a beautiful angel looking down on you and your family from heaven.

    Big Hugs and prayers – TiffanyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 3:24 pm

    The Mershawn's - Wonderful words for a wonderfully sweet baby. I’m so glad God’s hand has moved so mightily for you guys & Cora. He is great. Praying many blessed & joyful days to come full of sweet memories. And that you’ll feel the gentle guiding of God’s hand as you continue on this terribly hard journey. Hang in there…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 4:12 pm

    Kelly - Thank you for sharing Cora’s playground dedication with us, Jess. May many children be blessed and come to know Jesus through the sweet seed of Cora’s legacy your love for your daughter….ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 4:12 pm

    Andolicious - I love the Cora’s Playground sign. What a cute sign for such a beautiful angel. I hope God continues to comfort you and your husband.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 4:48 pm

    Monica Serrano - Joel & Jessica-
    I have never met you, and to spare me seeming like some crazy person randomly sending you a message I tried to see if you site would let me send a private msg. And as it wont I am going to chance looking crazy! :-) I heard about your daughter through Shannon Kirtley’s Facebook page when Cora first became ill, and have read your blogs every couple of months since she passed. And I just want you to know that your princess has touched my heart in more ways than you can imagine( as well as many others I am certain) My Mother passed away last August from cancer, leaving behind a loving husband 8 of us children and 3 grandchildren. Her name was Paige! We also experienced a very quick time period from diagnosis to sending her to heaven. She told my dad once while staying in Houston for treatment that she will never once feel sorry for herself or let anyone hurt for what was happening to her. Because everyday that they were in Houston they had to walk through the childrens ward and see all of the innocent young people who were receiving the same treatments as she was. She said that she would never feel sad for her own illness because she knew that she had lived and saw things that those babies would never be able to experience. I think of your Cora every time I become angry and sad about losing my mother, because she hurt more for those little children that were sick than she hurt for herself. And when I do Im not so sad anymore, because she didnt want us to be, because she had lived. Obviously this is more difficult some days than others, but Cora and your family always comes to my mind when I miss my mother. You and your husbands strength is the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed, you may not feel like it somedays but it truely is! Some days I struggle with the fact that God choses the most beautiful creatures to call home too quickly. Knowing my mother Paige as well as I do, I know that she is enjoying your Cora Paige in heaven! I hope I dont seem to “crazy stalker” like because in fact we have never met, but my heart was dying to tell you how special your little girl is to me!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 6:39 pm

    Angie - Such a wonderful post. Cora will never be forgotten. The playground is just beautiful.

    Thinking and praying for you always!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 6:56 pm

    The Schilling's from Cimarron - Jess,
    I read your post with tears rolling down my face….. What a tribute to Cora and to you both. It seems just like yesterday we met in the hospital…. I still think of you daily and find myself checking your blog often, just to feel close to you and your family again…. I know that had to be a very hard day for you all, and bittersweet does about sum it up…. 341 days filled with love, laughter, and hugs from sweet baby Cora will NEVER be forgotten for any of us.

    love to you all!

    AMIEReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 7:47 pm

    F.Y - I accidentally stumbled upon your blog and spent hours going through it. Your story is an inspiration to anyone who suffers great loss.
    I am a muslim,and in our religion we believe children who die go straight to heaven and they are looked upon by a prophet and angels. We also believe a mother who loses a child has a home built for her in heaven straight away for all the pain she has endured.
    What you have done to overcome your loss is admirable, and I wish you happiness in your coming days with your upcoming birth! :) Best of luck and wishes.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 9:11 pm

    Anne in California - First read your blog several months ago when I began clicking links on a friend’s blog. One lead to another and then to yours. My heart resonates with your story and grieves silently for you and your husband. Thirty-eight years ago we walked in your shoes. Our seemingly healthy and precious first child–Matthew–developed undiagnoseable symptoms. A one-week hospitalization (pre- CATscans, MRI, etc.) uncovered nothing but anemia. Eight weeks later we buried him. An autopsy listed neuroblastoma as cause of death. Our world turned upside-down and inside-out in such a short time. The years have passed and the Lord blessed us with four more sons, and already five grandchildren. Christ is the Healer of broken hearts. Continue to cling to Him. The pain will not always feel so intense, though you will never forget. Recently in a conversation with a pastor I shed tears thinking of all those who don’t know Christ and will not spend eternity with Him, will not be reunited with loved ones who have gone to heaven before us. I said, “There but for the grace of God, go I. I don’t understand why I’m so blessed.” He repeated some of my words back to me: “the grace of God,” and told me that we must stop there because we can’t understand God’s grace.

    I Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    Praying that God will continue to comfort you through His Word and the messengers of His peace who surround you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 10:36 pm

    Jerri - Thank you for sharing your “sweet” Cora with all of us! You are truly a blessing and it is amazing how the playground turned out! May God give you sweet peace!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 11:17 pm

    Christina - May the Lord be praised for his faithfulness, and for yours!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 30, 2009 - 6:15 am

    The Morris Family - His Word is so rich to our hurting hearts……I read this scripture and would like to share how God spoke to my own heart and hope it encourages yours too!!

    Praying for you daily!!

    who is left among you that saw this house
    in her first glory? and how do ye
    see it now? is it not in your
    own eyes in comparison
    of it as nothing?

    Haggai 2:3

    You see, sometimes I think back to the “former” and “think” to myself that what we had was so right, so good, we were all together in our house, on our little farm, it was all “perfect.” I think back to the former and remember our house in all of her first glory, like the verse says. What I do is compare the former to the now. If I “think,” so to speak lower, I am thinking in my mind that I will not find now with equal delight and pleasure of what I thought we had. It seems like I am thinking, “God messed up, this is nothing compared to what I use to have.” But what I need to do is think “higher,” thoughts. I need to see the now as, even better and if for no other reason, it is because God himself has worked this plan for our family, for our house. There is no answer to the question above in the verses, I guess those people could not “think higher” either about the temple that once was and now needed finishing and they were weary, they were comparing the glory that use to be and so longed for that same glory. It is as if the Lord knows we will question and compare the former and the now. He is Omniscient, He discerns our thoughts. So in verse, 4- 5, He tells us to be strong, to work, He is with us, His Spirit remains among us. I need to “think” that the Lord is fully able to grant and give a “glory” even now. That He can give me delight and joys and pleasures even though Joel is not here with us. In verse 9, it says, the glory for this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts. I can not answer if our house, the former, was not giving God all the glory it could have, but I am confident that in the now, God will get the glory, not because of anything of us or about us, but its because His plans are being carried out in and through a death. That is what He desires, for His glory to be manifested and our good comes from all His workings and plans. So, I want to “think higher” for the now and rest peacefully that it is better than the former. It will be an exercise of my spirit, heart and mind for sure!! Do you see how through scriptures, He is our Counselor?ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • October 1, 2009 - 4:00 pm

    Christy - I just found this blog through Stellan’s blog. God bless you all as you welcome your new little one! Are the dresses available yet? I would like to purchase one but did not see them on the etsy site link. Don’t want to miss out! :) ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

On Sunday we gathered in the church parking lot to dedicate Cora’s Playground.

I can’t tell you how loved we felt to be surrounded by so many friends and family. Even seven months later there are so many who are still walking this hard road right beside us.

We are blessed.
We had the opportunity to thank the many people
who were a part of this project.
Our pastors shared a few thoughts.
We sang together.
It was such a special time.
Thanking and praising God for what He has done.






We watched with tears as those 341 balloons floated away.
A reminder of our sweet Cora’s life.
And then we celebrated…
With cupcakes of course!



Even a few Etsy ladies were here…in Kansas.
Heather, Megan, Julie, and Sarah were all at the dedication.
Megan was wonderful and hosted the three girls all weekend.
I LOVED meeting these ladies who have invested so much time and love into our lives.
I am so glad they are not strangers anymore.



And now this dream of having a playground is complete.
Thanks to so many people.
We would have never imagined that this beautiful playground would be the end result.
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
Psalm 126:3
Thank you Megan for capturing this day in pictures for us.
Back to Top|Tweet this Post|Share on Facebook|Pin This|Contact Me
  • September 26, 2009 - 9:18 pm

    Anonymous - I am always so encouraged by your blog. Praise God that He holds us through the difficult times in this life, and there seem to be so many! I wish that I could give you a big ol’ hug…many prayers and love to you from Georgia!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 9:18 pm

    Anonymous - The playground is beyond gorgeous – just like Cora. Look how many smiles she is bringing to all of the happy children on the playground.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 9:31 pm

    Miss G - I love, love, love the “Cora’s Playground” sign. Wow! What a legacy your sweet little girl is carrying on. KellyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 9:39 pm

    Amy - A sweet playground in honor of a sweet, precious girl. What a blessing you, Joel, and especially Cora Paige have been to myself and so many others.

    Our family still remembers you in prayer, and we cannot wait to meet the newest member of your family.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 9:43 pm

    JD - What a beautiful celebration, Cora must be so proud of you both…

    Our prayers continue!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 9:56 pm

    Kat - I am so glad you were surrounded by love and uplifted by prayer on such a bittersweet day. Still praying for you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:01 pm

    TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo - Hi Jess and Joel.

    My spirit has been lifted by your beautiful post. The playground is enchanting, and I am sure that children will use and abuse it with absolute joy, for years to come. God is doing great things through your family.

    Thank you for sharing these moments, heartbreaking and joyful, with all of us. God’s love is far -reaching. He’s reaching the world through your family.

    With love and prayers,
    XO*Tricia

    P.S. Jess, you are positively gorgeous!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:02 pm

    Trish - Megan did such a great job capturing the moments of the day! Watching those balloons float away, brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for staying strong in your faith through your journey!!! Your lives speak loudly for Christ! Sending you hugs xoxoReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:04 pm

    Toni :O) - Looked like a beautiful day and I’m proud that I helped in some small way by purchasing something that helped build that amazing playground. So much goodness will come of sweet Cora’s life. You are both so amazing to me and I think of you both so very, very often and pray for you both and sweet baby Mac. I wish I could have been there to share in the special day but you were not far from my thoughts on that day. May God continue to bless you and give you the strength and support you need. I love that you have such wonderful friends to lean on…you are all quite a group. Thanks for lifting them up like you do! Hugs to you all!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:19 pm

    Melissa - Thats so wonderful the playground is finnished – it looks great. Looks like the kids already love it. The balloons were beautiful, I love the colors. You look great as well…love your belly bump.
    I think of your Cora and say a prayer for you and your husband everytime I see the burpcloths I bought from you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:26 pm

    Trasie Bressler - Simply lovely!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:42 pm

    Stacey - What an amazing way to celebrate Cora’s life! Your post brought tears to my eyes. May Cora’s playground bring great happiness, while creating new memories. Thank you for sharing this special day. Hugs!

    Stacey from CAReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:45 pm

    3LittleByrds - What a beautiful dedication that I’m sure sweet Cora was looking down on. Everytime I look at your blog I smile at Cora’s sweet face. Such a beautiful angel she is.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:46 pm

    k and c's mom - What a long road you have/are traveling. So thankful for this bright stop on your path. Bless you all.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 10:53 pm

    Anonymous - I too am always encouraged and inspired by your post. Tears stream down my face at what the 341
    balloons represent..what a truely bittersweet time. Love the “Cora’s Playground” sign..I am so very sorry for your pain. Thank you for continueing to share with us, your journey.

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 11:01 pm

    Lexie Loo & Dylan Too - The pictures are so beautiful and touching! What a special day. That is an amazing tribute to Cora.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 11:07 pm

    Erica - what a beautiful, encouraging post. you guys are so uplifting even through your hurt. what a beautiful playground. you are so blessed with family, friends, and a wonderful church family. and you look so fabulous pregnant!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 11:11 pm

    Yankee Mama - The playground is beautiful. I think of y’all all the time. Still praying here in Texas.

    Much Love,
    SuziReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 11:27 pm

    All Doll(ed) Up - amazing! it is absolutely amazing!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 11:27 pm

    purejoy - what a sweet day and i know it will give you continued joy every time you see children enjoying themselves on cora’s playground. what a lasting tribute, and it looked like a wonderful day!! (and you look precious!)ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 11:32 pm

    Shana - This is an unbelievable and amazing thing.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 11:37 pm

    Sarah - Thank you for sharing this day with me. You have been in my thoughts and prayer. I bet Cora and Jesus are smiling down at you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 12:51 am

    Heather - it was an amazing day! so great to honor cora with your family last weekend. the trip was truly a blessing, and i’m so glad we’re no longer strangers, too!

    xx heather :) ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 1:13 am

    Jenifer - Love the playground Cora is so proud yallReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 1:15 am

    Sarah - I was blessed by the weekend in Kansas for the playground dedication. Cora’s life and your faith and strength continue to be an inspiration.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 1:48 am

    starnes family - I’m so happy to see the final product. Lots of hard work….lots of love.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 6:19 am

    Mum2twopreciousgifts - Dear Jess

    The playground is WONDERFUL. BUT, I loved the photos of Joel’s arm protectively on your shoulder and to see Baby Mac making his/her presence known in your tummy bulge. You look so healthy.

    Your beautiful girl may have only been here on earth for 341 days but she changed the world.

    God Bless and prayers for your happiness, peace and comfort.

    Good night from Australia.

    Michelle xReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 7:16 am

    Beckypdj - What a a special time of celebration. Congratulations on everything. You looked radiant and I liked seeing your baby bump. I know you miss Cora so much. You will have joyous times again especially playing on Cora’s playground with her new sibling.

    Hugs to you and your familyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 9:07 am

    PamperingBeki - It was a beautiful day, Jess.

    You are beautiful.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 9:44 am

    Misty Rice - So many tears flowing right now down my face this Sunday morning…..

    as tears flow and I see the pictures…. I am again reminded how sweet life is. How important to LOVE is.

    The playground is beautiful…. I LOVED seeing all the children with bright eyes and smiles playing on it…. they do not know what brought on that playground, but we do and it is just beautiful.

    Today I will be attending a Edna Mae’s Foundation even. I will be photographing it again also. She is the 19 month old of a friend of mine that just passed last month from a pool exercise.

    Today is such a bittersweet day.

    Please pray for Edna Mae’s family as I continue to pray for your family.

    And I love the BELLY!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 9:48 am

    Sara - That sign is so cool! The playground is perfect!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 10:06 am

    nennermommy - AMAZING!!!!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 10:30 am

    Whimsical Creations - What a beautiful dedication! You look beautiful with your baby bump.

    Hugs from Buffalo!
    =D melanieReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 11:17 am

    A - What a beautiful testament to Cora’s life! You look so beautiful, too. I love the pictures of Joel standing behind you with his hands on your shoulders!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 11:52 am

    Anonymous - Congrats on the completion of the playground. What a sad, but joyous occasion for you all. It looks wonderful and you will have it to share with others for years. Cora’s siblings will share it too when they grow with families of their own.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 11:52 am

    Wendy - Thank you for sharing! Still think of you and Cora everyday! And I’m lovin the baby bump!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 1:25 pm

    Team Martins - It is so beautiful.

    So very, very beautiful!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 1:59 pm

    Erin - The playground looks beautiful!

    Great job momma : )ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 3:09 pm

    Roberta Rollins (Kerri Price) - It is hard to say goodbye to a butterfly,
    especially a small one.
    We want to hold and keep butterflies for our own.
    But sometimes a butterfly cannot stay
    in the garden we have made for it,
    to live among our roses,
    no matter how hard we have tried.
    Butterfly wings are made of light.
    When we say goodbye to a butterfly,
    it is only for a moment.
    We place our butterfly in the palm of a gardener
    who knew in Gethsemane,
    that eternity would also break our hearts.
    A butterfly teaches us the meaning of life
    and the power of love.
    Saying goodbye to a butterfly is hard
    …but when a butterfly closes its eyes,
    it has always only gone to sleep.
    Sweet dreams, my little butterfly.
    I will rock you in my heart.
    —Heather Jorgensen

    This says it better than I could.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 3:21 pm

    jennifer - Blessings to you and your family!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 4:38 pm

    Marla Taviano - Beautiful post. Beautiful playground. Missing Cora. Praising Jesus!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 7:52 pm

    Tsquared417 - Perfect dedication just like your perfect little girl.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 8:16 pm

    Kristi REDISKE - I am so glad you posted about the dedication-I knew it would be very hard but it sure looks like God had all the Glory. I wanted to be there so bad-I was in Newton on Friday and Saturday but had to be back in Arkansas at my own church Sunday morning. I did drive by Coras Playground-it is so neat. I am still praying for you all.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 27, 2009 - 11:40 pm

    Jerri - The playground is awesome! I can’t imagine how much you miss sweet Cora but God grant you peace and strength! You are an amazing couple!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 3:21 am

    Sue - You guys are amazing, the day must’ve been such a tough one. I’m sure you’re very proud of how Cora’s playground has turned out and I’m sure it’s going to be loved by so many young children.

    Sue x

    PS. Your bump is looking great, you’re looking fabulous!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 6:09 am

    SouthernGalsBoutique - I LOVE the playground, all of the bright vibrant colors!!! What a great dedication.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 6:43 am

    Lauren Thomas - Hi there! I have been following your blog for a while now, and I just don’t even know any words that could possibly comfort you. But, today in my devotion, the power verse made me think of you. Have a great week!

    1 Peter 4:12-13, “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (NIV).ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 7:13 am

    Emma and Company - What a beautiful dedication. I am so glad you were able to do something so wonderful for you sweet Cora and so many people were there to support you and celebrate beautiful Cora’s life. God Bless you both, you are continually in our prayers!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 7:27 am

    Tina - Amazing. I don’t have the words to express what is in my heart.

    Thanks for posting this.

    God Bless you, Joel, and the new baby and my God take special care of Cora.

    Love,

    TinaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 8:13 am

    Robin in Benton - Awesome post Jess. It was a beautiful dedication in memory of a beautiful baby girl.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 8:53 am

    Colleen - I have followed Cora’s story and although not the ending we hoped for, we know so much good has come out of this. God did not give Cora cancer, but He was there to get you through. We are on a cancer journey with our daughter Ellie and as hard as it can be on some days, I am so grateful for all the good.

    God Bless and all the best with the new baby

    Colleen
    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ellie1ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 9:46 am

    Karina - I, too, am proud to have contributed even a teensy bit to this project by buying Cora products on Etsy. It feels good to be able to do something, however small, in face of a sad and unpreventable loss like yours. Many hugs to you, Joel, and the new baby-to-be.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 12:41 pm

    Mandi @ It's come to this - Your family has been such an encouragement & now this is just a permanent testimony of that! I absolutely LOVE the “Cora’s Playground” sign & that you sent balloons off & ate cupcakes. What were the envelopes/packets in the buckets? Your family continues to be in my thoughts & prayers. Can’t wait to see pictures of Cora’s big brother/sister playing on her playground one day soon!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 1:05 pm

    michele - what a beautiful celebration of your little girl’s life. it warms my heart to see the body of Christ embrace one another like this.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 1:23 pm

    Mandy - Jess,
    You don’t know me. I, of course came across your blog shortly after Cora was diagnosed with cancer. I check your blog all the time and think about you and your family often. I don’t think there is anything more heartbreaking than the loss of a child, especially someone as young as little Cora. I know you hear this all the time, but you are in my prayers. God bless you, your husband, and that sweet, precious baby on the way.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 2:16 pm

    sassy studio - what a beautiful day, i can see and feel the love all the way here in Canada!
    You look wonderful and glowing.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 2:23 pm

    run26.2mom - I am a new commenter on your blog but have followed your story for a few months. Although I have not commented, I do pray for you and your family. I find your strength and faith to be amazing! You have made me look inward a little harder and make some changes. The pictures you have shared of beautiful Cora always shout out “joy” to me. To an outsider looking in Cora lived her life here with a big smile and joy in her heart. What amazing parents you are and will continue to be!
    The playground is a perfect place to let Cora’s joy and love be passed on to other little ones. May joy and peace continue to return in your life.
    Peace, SusanReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 10:06 pm

    Happiness Is... - What a beautiful celebration for a beautiful life. I know it was bittersweet, but I cannot conceptualize a prettier or more perfect playground and day to honor sweet Cora’s life.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 28, 2009 - 11:21 pm

    Lindsey - beautiful. so, so beautiful.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 1:24 am

    Princess Martha - Wow! The day looked like a huge sucess, you & your helpers have done so well with the playground. What a gorgeous honour for your precious Cora. Ps You look great!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 29, 2009 - 4:04 pm

    Jessatsea - it is a beautiful playground for a beautiful family!
    I”m so glad you had such a great dedication. God BlessReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • October 2, 2009 - 10:49 am

    Laura - As a contributor to Cora’s playground, I wanted to thank you for sharing the pictures and description of the dedication. I don’t comprehend the whys of children being taken from their families and the devastation that is left in that wake. I deeply admire you for the memories you have cherished and the productive way you have given back to your community in Cora’s honor and memory. May you always feel her presence in your hearts and may her spirit lighten your feet as you walk this road till you are once again reunited with your beautiful daughter.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • December 28, 2011 - 12:38 am

    Alyssa Hollis - I am so inspired to read your blog. Its just amazing. your family is beautiful.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

On Sunday we watched as 341 balloons floated up to heaven.
That is how many days Cora was here with us.
What a blessing those days were.
341 days that were so full of purpose.

Cora’s Playground dedication was horribly heartbreaking
and wonderful all at the same time.
Bittersweet.
I couldn’t stop the tears as I desperately wanted Cora to be there with us.
But I was amazed once again by God’s love and faithfulness.
We were surrounded by so many people.
Dear friends and family.
And some amazing new friends.
So supported and loved.
I am still trying to process it all.
I will share more soon.
Back to Top|Tweet this Post|Share on Facebook|Pin This|Contact Me
  • September 23, 2009 - 9:45 pm

    Jerri - I am so sorry for you pain but continue to be amazed at your strength!! I am presenting you with one of my Honest Scrap Awards…please link to my Blog and partipate if you can! Love & prayers!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 9:52 pm

    Trasie Bressler - I am so so sorry for your pain but stand in awe of your strength and faith.

    Many Many Blessings to all of you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 9:59 pm

    Anonymous - always in my prayers.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 10:04 pm

    Anonymous - We keep you in our prayers everyday, but we were praying for you and Joel even more on Sunday. May God grant you peace.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 10:07 pm

    Ashley Ann - I just can’t seem to get your precious family out of my mind this past week…praying for you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 10:28 pm

    Launa - Cora’s pictures remind me so much of my little one… please know that your family is in our prayers and that your faith is shown through your words.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 10:47 pm

    molly - can’t say for sure how i found your blog….but we check in and pray for your family often. never knowing the right words i have hesitated to comment. we can’t imagine your loss, but are amazed at your strength. an l&d nurse myself, i’ve been with families in such situations and your strength continues to amaze me. a true gift from god the 2 of you have been given. and what a lucky little girl to have called you mom and dad. and more so, a lucky little brother or sister for your sweet girl in heaven. may you always know that in all things he surrounds you with his love.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 10:56 pm

    Cristy - It was beautiful, Jess. Thanks for letting us be a part of that day. Praing for you….

    ((Hugs))

    CristyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 11:08 pm

    KK - Praying for you, what a sweet remembrance.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 11:47 pm

    Sarah - Always amazed by your strength and your faith.
    Always praying.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 12:00 am

    Christina - What a lovely picture…you are always on my mind and in my heart. I hope that’s not so strange.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 12:12 am

    Anonymous - I was thinking about you, Joel, and Cora all day Sunday. Your pain is still so raw but your strength and faith is amazing. Your family will continue to be in my prayers!
    Summer in CaliforniaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 12:43 am

    Carrie @ Cottage Cozy - What a beautiful sight…all those balloons floating heavenward. I am sending my own balloon and a prayer your way. Blessings to you all. How you must miss sweet little Cora.

    Fondly, CarrieReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 12:59 am

    Anonymous - I am so sorry for your loss I couldn’t imagine losing my children. You will see your angel again someday. She will not be forgotten. You have more faith than anyone i know. I drove by the church that day with all the people there and didn’t even realize it until i saw the playground. I said a prayer for your family. I think about your family often. your story really touched me.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 1:15 am

    Erica - thought of you… i know it had to be so hard. my prayers and tears are still with you. can’t wait to hear more about it. continue to find strength from the love of the Lord & the love of your family/friends (and us strangers out here in blog world).ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 1:48 am

    Heather - it was so special to be there. i love that picture.
    xxReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 6:14 am

    Heather's Home (aka Chez Hez) - Those balloons are gorgeous, Jess! Can you imagine the look on Cora’s face? There’s not a day that goes by that you and Joel aren’t still in our thoughts and prayers. I don’t know how many people I’ve told about Cora or the Playground or you two….you are thought of and loved by so many.

    *hearts*ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 6:55 am

    Hailey - You are always in my thoughts and prayers.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 7:26 am

    Tina - Jess,

    How amazing. I am so sorry that the day was so very difficult, but I am glad you were surrounded by God’s love and the support of so many people that care for you.

    I really REALLY wish I could have been there myself. I look forward to hearing more about it and seeing great photos.

    Take good care -

    TinaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 7:31 am

    A - You were in my prayers on Sunday- I can’t imagine how much it hurts.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 7:39 am

    Marla Taviano - Missing Cora with you. She is such a beautiful little girl.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 7:52 am

    PamperingBeki - You are so loved.

    I was so grateful to be a part of your day. Grateful for the new knowledge of just how short 341 days are. Grateful that I know now how fast they can go by. And how to treat each day better. Soak each one in.

    The dedication was perfect. There is so much hope in God!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 7:53 am

    Emily - How beautiful! Love the balloon colors. Praying for you all daily.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 8:35 am

    Anonymous - Thanks for posting. I was sure that would an extremely hard day. I think of you daily, you continue to inspire me. I am so sorry for your heartache. Always in my thoughts and prayers.

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 8:38 am

    Karina - That had to be a very hard day. I’m glad you are surrounded by so much love. You and Cora are daily in my thoughts. I am hugging my children closer, thanks to you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 8:51 am

    Claudia - Can’t imagine all the emotions flowing as you are pregnant right now … as a pregnant one myself I know my emotions are so up and down …

    I am sure the inauguration of the playground was beautiful and yet so sad.

    My prayers are with you and yours!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 8:57 am

    Anonymous - It is so easy for me to say how blessed you are to have gotten 341 days with one of the most perfect babies I have EVER laid eyes on, especially when I do not understand the pain, when I know how much you wanted those days to be years and decades. What I do know to be TRUTH is that your day will come when you will get infanite days with your precious angel. This time it will be on Golden streets and in the presence of Jesus! While that may take the edge off of your pain, it is still there. That is why I pray for you daily still.
    I can only imagine what Cora saw as all of those balloons were released. I can see though, through all of this, that Cora’s 341 days were SIGNIFICANT. she will always be REMEMBERED. And above all else, isn’t it amazing that she KNOWS Jesus, even better than us!
    Cora’s life, ALL 341 days, was SIGNIFICANT, to more people than you will ever know. Thank you for choosing to Glorify God through all of this. Just remember that He does know your pain. Confide in Him, for His works are ALL good.
    Bless you as you continue through your days, I pray that each day you feel our Lord carrying you through.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 9:01 am

    TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo - What a beautiful celebration of your sweet angel, Cora. The faith and strength that you and Joel have shown, and continue to show is amazing!

    May God continue to bless your growing family.

    With love and prayers,
    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 9:20 am

    Miss Em - It seems that your pain is more intense then ever right now. I am sending extra love to you and more prayers for peace and healing. Our daughters are so close in age and I often hug her extra tight with you, Joel and Cora in my heart as I do. Cora and her memory is really such a work of God she has blessed so many people with God’s love and continues to do so and you and Joel as so wonderful at helping Cora share her mission, she couldn’t do it without you and your love for her and God. Many blessing to you and sending my prayers for baby Mac as well.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 9:40 am

    mommaof4wife2r - oh my goodness…341. praying for you all.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 9:40 am

    Falling Around - No doubt Cora is thankful for 341 days of being wrapped in her parents love.

    XOXOReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 9:59 am

    The Sieberts - it was a beautiful dedication. thanks for letting us share it with you:)ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 10:46 am

    Angie - What a great picture, 341 balloons that meant more than anyone could say, Im sure.

    I can only imagine the heartbreak and joy you were faced with on Sunday – cant wait to hear more about it.

    Thinking and praying for you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 10:58 am

    hoosier68 - Again, tears and prayers for you and yours.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 11:05 am

    Lexie Loo & Dylan Too - You are in my prayers. That picture is just beautiful.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 11:20 am

    purejoy - what a sweet picture. and while your arms are empty, your heart is filled with her. she i am certain, was smiling from heaven.
    what a picture of strength, faith and perserverence you are!!
    blessings to you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 11:44 am

    shepherdsgrace - those balloons are such a wonderful picture of each lovely day you had with her…

    I only wish you had more…

    I am so sorry for your precious loss…

    blessings,
    SarahReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 12:19 pm

    CourtneyC - I am so sorry for the pain you continue to feel each day but am always amazed at you and your husband’s strength.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 1:30 pm

    Mindy M. Harris - Thank you for letting us be there.
    Praying you continue to be blanketed in the Lord’s comfort.
    I’m so glad I got to meet you, too!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 2:07 pm

    Kelli - Prayers from SC!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 2:20 pm

    Taking Heart - praising God you can honor her with a playground…
    praying to God for you and yours while you tread through this hard time.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 2:39 pm
  • September 24, 2009 - 2:46 pm

    Toni :O) - I love the sight of those balloons…how perfect to remember such a beautiful baby girl. Continuing to pray for you and sending you hugs for strength. Never a day goes by that I don’t think of you….ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 4:30 pm

    Anonymous - Wow, what a beautiful sight. A very dear friend of mine passed away, and we continue to let balloons go on any special date, it is emotional yet good for the heart. It is just a beautiful hearbreaking thing. Praying for you! Your faith and strength continues to amaze me!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 5:34 pm

    Jenifer - Preying for you ..ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 5:48 pm

    Courtney - Jess the dedication was wonderful. It was so nice to meet you and Joel you both are wonderful and amazing people. I hope some day we can catch up again and share our stories more.
    Love Courtney MayfieldReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 5:53 pm

    writing4612 - I bet it was beautiful.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 8:58 pm

    Lynn Gibbs - My sweet little mother – daughter of Cora Lucile, granddaughter of Cora Belle – went home to glory at 9:09 the day you dedicated Cora Paige’s playground. Mother’s celebration service was yesterday. I lovingly wear my Cora earrings that I bought from Cynthia Garrett on etsy as support. Blessings on you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 24, 2009 - 10:30 pm

    Kara and the Oosterhous Boys - Praying for God’s peace, mercy, love and strength to rain down on you and to encourage you as you inspire others. Praying for you and your families. Just remember that “he who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it…” Hugs!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 4:05 am

    Sue - Glad that it all went well, it was bound to be a bittersweet day. You are both so strong…

    Sue xReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 11:20 am

    The Schilling's from Cimarron - Love you lots! Miss you and wished we could have been there to hug you all! I wish you brighter days ahead….

    AMIEReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 3:16 pm

    Juliann - I am praying for you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 3:39 pm

    Tyler and Kristin - I just stumbled across your blog and wow, what a beautiful post.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 4:53 pm

    Lori - Prayers for you from WA! You’re an inspiration to so many. God bless your family.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 9:38 pm

    Al's World - Just admire you so…I am so glad for the playground, Cora’s name will forever be remembered by all the little children who come an enjoy playing in her playground. Thank you again for sharing and will be praying as you digest all of these emotions..ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 9:49 pm

    Micah - Thanks for the little update. I am *trying* to wait patiently to hear and see how things went :). At the same time, though, I want you to take your time and share when you’re ready.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 11:16 pm

    Brandi - I live in New Orleans, LA and came across your blog while searching for something to deal with sewing. I was immediately touched by your story and your strength. I’ve never left a comment on a blog, but wanted to let you know that people you don’t know are praying for you and I was so happy to see you’re expecting a baby. God Bless you and all your family.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 12:35 am

    Katie - What a beautiful picture. Cora is beautiful!

    Please know my heart is breaking with yours. My husband and I lost our sweet Reese six weeks ago. She was two days old.

    May GOD wrap you in His loving arms tonight.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 2:56 pm

    PamperingBeki - Thinking of you and praying for you today.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 26, 2009 - 8:31 pm

    Andy and Cari - I have been to your blog before…we have a lot in common. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl 2 months before Cora was born. Caden died suddenly 2 days before she turned 8 months old. I was 3 days pregnat with her brother, who is now 3 months old. I have traveled through the grief and pain. I have mingled the joy of new life with the ache of loss. God writes amazing stories, even through the searing pain of loss He is to be praised…as you are doing. I pray your new little one brings you much joy. That baby soft skin, the tiny hands and the sweet breath of new life help to fan the flame of your hope. And oh, a hope we have. Heaven holds our babies safe until the day we can be together for eternity.
    1 Thes. 4:16-18
    To God be the glory
    CariReplyCancel

    [Reply]

“Sorrow is one of the things lent, not given.
Joy is given; sorrow is lent.
Sorrow is lent to us for just a little while 
that we may use it for eternal purposes.
Then it will be taken away and everlasting joy
will be our Father’s gift to us, and the Lord God
will wipe away all tears…”
-Amy Carmichael

A sweet reminder from a sweet friend.
Back to Top|Tweet this Post|Share on Facebook|Pin This|Contact Me
  • September 17, 2009 - 10:49 pm

    Kat - What a precious reminder!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 17, 2009 - 10:52 pm

    KK - Indeed. Joy comes in the morning.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 17, 2009 - 11:12 pm

    Jane In The Jungle - I love her story and what an inspiring quote!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 12:27 am

    Trisha Larson - Thank you Jess for sharing that. I had a pretty rough day. Feeling a lot of sorrow and missing Nate. I was just telling my friend this morning that I’m “ready for happy again”. I want it so badly. This gives me hope.

    Hugs,
    TrishaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 1:20 am

    Falling Around - Amen to that. A beautiful thought indeed.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 7:43 am

    Angie - What a great reminder.

    Thanks for posting, still praying for you!

    Take Care,
    AngieReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 8:25 am

    Joyce - This is lovely…thinking of you today and continuing to pray.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 8:37 am

    Anonymous - Perfect!
    Thinking of you well I think of you EVERYDAY.

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 9:47 am

    David and Vera Hall - Thanks for being an inspiration to us! We love you and continue to pray for you. We are looking forward to the playground dedication and anticipate the arrival of Baby McClenahan. Joel, thanks for being a part of Addison’s life.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 9:58 am

    shepherdsgrace - beautiful…

    friends are so…so…GOOD!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 11:35 am

    Anonymous - thanks…feel free to post more comments like that.
    Amy Carmichael—what a godly and intelligent writer!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 1:10 pm

    Lauren Kelly - Beautiful!! :) ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 2:21 pm

    Kelly - What a lovely quote….keeping you and your husband in prayers this weekend for Cora’s Playground dedication…may He shower you with love & kindness through those who love you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 9:15 pm

    anne - Jesse and Joel,

    I’ve been following your story since April and I know it came across my path for a reason. We, too, lost our first baby, 4 years ago, although under different circumstances. I always check your blog to see how you’re doing and to see your awesome pictures! Cora is a beautiful baby and I know you cherish all her photos. I always found the hardest part of grief was its unpredictability and endlessness, even as your daily life continues on. I think the changing season definitely makes things worse, because you know life is moving ahead, as difficult as it is. I just wanted to let you know I think about you and Cora a lot! Her pictures are lovely and I know you miss her immensely. Best wishes for the new baby, too. I can’t wait to hear the name; I love Cora’s name and often wondered the origin.

    Best wishes,
    Anne in OhioReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 9:54 pm

    Natalie - I stumbled upon your blog today and literally sat here all day and read the whole thing from first post to last.
    You are truly an inspiring person, your blog brought many tears to my eyes and I just want to thank you for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 10:00 pm

    Christina - Thank you for passing along these reminders.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 18, 2009 - 10:13 pm

    The Morris Family - Praying for you!!!!

    Cindy (Joel’s mommy, (NB)ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 19, 2009 - 8:35 pm

    Marylou in Abilene, Texas - My prayers are with you on Sunday as the new Cora Playground is dedicated. She is such a beautiful baby in all the photos on your blog. Now heaven is a sweeter place because she is there. Many of us have walked your same pathway, and I know from my experience of loosing a baby after having him for only 17 hours, that time does help the pain to become softer, but it really never goes away. Bless you as you await this new baby who arrives in January. Our granddaughter lives in KC and is expecting her first, a little girl, in January also. Your blog is special to me, and as I read it I always lift the two of you to God in prayer. Blessings!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 19, 2009 - 10:52 pm

    Anonymous - Dear Macs,
    I have been following your story from day 5. What a journey this has been for you. I have prayed, hoped, cried, and rejoiced with you along the way. While my story is different than yours, I too have felt the tremendous weight of loss. Your faithfulness to Christ has been remarkable. It has been amazing to see Him working through you every step of the way. Tomorrow will be such a joyous, yet sorrowful day and my prayers are with you. God you Reign…Hallelujah.
    God Bless you both (& the new little one)
    CS, McPherson, KSReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 20, 2009 - 10:12 am

    Anonymous - Joel and Jess,

    I will be thinking of you today, as in everyday, as the Cora’s Playground is dedicated. You both are truly inspiring people, Your Cora is certainly proud of her Daddy and Mommy. Always in my thoughts and prayers.

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 20, 2009 - 2:27 pm

    Kimberley - Warm thoughts and prayers coming your way today…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 20, 2009 - 6:53 pm

    David and Vera Hall - What a beautiful celebration today for Cora’s playground! Joel, Jess, and Baby, we love you and are so glad we could spend today with you. The emotions were mixed and the tears fell but…God reigns!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 20, 2009 - 8:23 pm

    The Schilling's from Cimarron - Jess and Joel,

    How was today? We are so sorry to have missed the dedication for Cora’s Playground. It has been a crazzzyyy week and Blake wasn’t feeling good yesterday so we decided to just have him rest today…… We sooooo missed seeing you and the family. I am sure it was a very hard day for you, with also tears of joy to know that Cora was looking down to you and smiling about the awesome playground! love to you always!

    praying for peace in your hearts!

    AMIEReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 20, 2009 - 8:39 pm
  • September 20, 2009 - 9:26 pm

    Micah - I’ve been praying for you today, and thought I’d stop by and tell you so. I’m sure it was a sad, sad day, but I hope there was some joy in there somewhere too :).ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 21, 2009 - 7:18 am

    Suzi - I have seen your story for so long and have never commented on your blog before… I’m sure you hear that a lot :) Anyway, I just want you to know that you are definitely in my prayers during this time. I cannot possibly imagine what you are going through right now, but I do know that God is good! And I am so glad that you do too. Sending many, many prayers your way!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 21, 2009 - 12:31 pm

    PamperingBeki - You are beautiful and loved.
    Just wanted you to know that.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 21, 2009 - 1:46 pm

    Anonymous - Hello Macs,
    I found your blog about a week ago through a friend’s blog and since then, we have kept you in our prayers. This morning while my 3-year-old daughter and I were having our devotion/prayer time, we prayed for you & Joel. My daughter said, “mommy, we don’t have to pray for Cora because she’s in heaven with Jesus for her daddy”. Thank you for sharing your story-you’re an inspiration. We will continue to send prayers up for your family. God bless, JenReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 22, 2009 - 1:37 pm

    merlin - We are still here,holding you and Joel in prayer. Remember your sorrow is lent, joy will come and it will be everlasting. I can not imagine the depth of the aching emptiness, nor the bursting pride for Cora and the amazing works her life have accomplished on this earth. Many are called and few are chosen: Cora truly is chosen.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 22, 2009 - 2:34 pm

    Anonymous - Thinking of you.

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 22, 2009 - 3:05 pm

    Robin in Benton - Thinking of you and praying for you today and always. As we live so close I was able to come to the playground dedication Sunday afternoon and was truly blessed to be there. You guys are an amazing example of true faith and what it can do.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 22, 2009 - 3:56 pm

    Stephanie - Good, sweet thought…thank you. I am still praying for you and especially this weekend with Cora’s Playground dedication and in this week to follow. Thanks for continuing to post. The songs and daily thoughts are often encouraging to me. Your family is precious in the hearts of many and most of all, in the heart of the Lord, He who always hears us. StephanieReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 22, 2009 - 7:11 pm

    dg darling - Just thinking about you and hoping you’re ok…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 22, 2009 - 7:50 pm

    Jean A. - I just discovered your blog and will need a week to read everything and process it all. God bless you and your precious family. You are a testimony to God’s grace and love.
    blessings,
    jeanReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 2:50 pm

    Bergtholds - I have been following your blog for quite some time now and have felt propelled to write to you many times, but so often I just don’t know what to say. I don’t even know you, and yet since I’ve been reading about your sweet baby girl and your family, I feel like I know you very well. I too have a little girl, Hannah, who is about the same age that Cora would be right now. Back when I began reading your blog, your little Cora reminded me so much of my precious Hannah… they wore the same clothes, used the same pacifier, and both had the most contagious little smiles. When Cora was sick it was so hard to get through each post because I wondered why you were having to go through so much pain, and I realized it could so easily have been me. I’ve prayed for you often, and every day when I am holding my little girl in my arms, you are always on my mind. Through your sorrow, God has taught me so many things about loving my children and always being thankful for every moment I have with them.

    Also, I wanted you to know that we prayed for you today in our Women’s Bible Study. There is another lady in our group who’s little niece has the same thing Cora had, and even another who is a part of Cole’s Foundation, and has “adopted” a child undergoing chemo again, after two years of fighting this cancer. You are heavy on our hearts, and I know your family will be in our prayers every time we meet. I pray that God will truly fill you with “everlasting joy” and that your new little one comes perfectly healthy and ready to fill your home with smiles and laughter once again.

    Please keep writing. God is using you and Cora in more ways than you’ll ever know.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 6:07 pm

    Denise C. - What a beautiful blog. I am so sorry for your loss. My eldest son passed away 11 years ago at the tender age of 7 months. Completely unexpected. A month before his passing, I had him baptized not even knowing what was going to happen. I am married with 2 more children (a 3 yr. old boy, and a 16 mo. girl) I still think of my sweet angel EVERY SINGLE DAY. I still mourn and grieve for him EVERY SINGLE DAY. I was in such a bad place after he passed, and have finally come to a point where I want God in my life. (I was beyond upset that he would not take my life instead of his.) God Bless you, Bless your sweet little Cora up in heaven, and Bless your unborn baby. My heart goes out to you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 8:30 pm

    Lauren - Just wanted to let you know that we are praying for you tonight. I pray your mind and heart are full of Jesus and His promises of a wonderfully beautiful eternity with Him and Cora!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 9:11 pm

    Robin in Benton - Praying for you tonightReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 9:23 pm

    Two Normal Moms - I linked to your blog from Joy’s Hope, and just shed quite a few tears working my way through your journey. I can’t imagine going through what you have, but God’s light & strength shines through you so strongly…
    Best to you. Your family will be added to my prayers…
    ***AllyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 23, 2009 - 10:42 pm

    in a world surrounded by men - It is coming up on a year since a tragedy happened at our church when my friend’s 15 month old son choked on an object and wound up losing his life.

    I have been watching my friend grieve quietly since that day. She is a very private person, so I have just tried to acknowledge her grief and love her through it.

    It has been so helpful to hear your thoughts and emotions after losing sweet Cora.

    I sent her Amy Carmichael’s quote and it knocked her socks off. So, thank you for sharing. The Lord is using your journey to impact others.

    Cora’s memory will live on.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • September 25, 2009 - 4:08 pm

    Lindsey - We’ve never met but my husband went to school with you guys. I’ve spent many moments praying for you and your family. On Tuesday we lost our little baby and I have returned to read this quote over and over again this week. Thank you for sharing it and for sharing your continued journey in this new type of pain.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]