The Macs » Blog

I really thought that Baby Mac might decide to come in December.
Cora was early, so I had my hopes set high.
But I think he/she is content just waiting.
Still nothing happening.
I have another appointment this morning,
so we will see what the doctor says.
It is hard to believe we have made it through nine months. This year has been so hard, and honestly sometimes I miss Cora so much I haven’t even been able to think about this pregnancy or the new baby.  But now, at any time, we are going to be meeting our second child.  It is a weird feeling because I finally feel like Joel and I have figured out how to function in a somewhat graceful way (at least some days) with our new normal.  And now everything will be changing again–but this time a welcome change!
I think we feel so excited, yet so scared at the same time.  We are scared of moving forward without Cora.  Scared that people will think we are “better” now that we have another child.  Scared of loving so deeply again.  Scared of ever having to watch a child suffer again.
But we know it will be SO worth it.  This little baby is such a blessing to us already during an incredibly dark time in our lives.  And God does not call us to live in fear.  Will you pray for us as we take this next step forward?  It is probably silly for me to even ask because I know you have been so faithful to pray for us already.  We are praying that we will embrace the fullness of who Jesus is–the ultimate answer to our deepest needs.  Whether we are in the hospital saying goodbye to our sweet Cora or in the hospital welcoming a second little miracle, He is faithful and by our side.  Our circumstances can change in an instant, but He never does!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13
As we get ready to welcome Baby Mac into our family and approach a new year, may our lives OVERFLOW with hope!
sharepinTweet
  • Robin in Benton - Praying for you all through the happy and the sad. Your faith throughout this journey has been an inspiration to myself as well as others. Looking forward to meeting Baby Mac – whenever he/she decides to make an appearance!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Livesays - Beautifully written, Jess. Your words are so honest and tue! Can’t wait to hear the news of Baby Mac’s arrival! We pray you have a safe, easy delivery! Baby Mac is coming into the most wonderful family. He/she will be truly blessed to call you and Joel mommy and daddy! Take care!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Bev from VA - I have been reading your blog , since about a month before Cora became really sick but have never commented before. You & your husband are amazing people ! And your blog has touched my heart , over & over again, in so many ways.
    I am praying that everything goes smoothly for you both & this new little one. I know Cora will forever be in all our hearts & she is always watching over you. I admire you & your husband so much. This old world needs more human beings , like you.
    Prayers always……
    A faithful blog reader from VAReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Chance Family - I admire your strength and will be praying for you and your friends the Johnsons! You both are such amazing examples of having strong faith through trials! Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • kaylin rose and mara anne - You are just amazing! And I love how honest you are…I am praying for you guys, during this happy and sad time.

    Looking forward to finding out what Baby Mac is.

    Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Shana - I am definitely praying for you guys. I know this new precious will make it easier in some ways but will also make it harder in others. But like you said God does not want us to live in fear. He loves us and wants us to be happy. God Bless You and Your family and this new precious baby.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Lauren Kelly - Just beautiful!!!!!! And praying that in 2010 with the arrival of this new miracle, that you will once again be restored with hope, peace, and joy as you go into the new year!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Thank you for your honesty and for continueing to share your journey with us. Will be praying for you as you welcome Baby Mac!

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • onlymehere - Hugs and prayers coming your way. I sincerely pray that all goes smooth and well for you, Joel, and baby Mac. 🙂ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Nancy - So glad I found your blog & I will definitly be praying for you both & this new baby.. Praying for peace & hope for you this New Year!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Best wishes to you! Love the photo grid – you should print that as one print and frame it for the baby’s room – so perfect!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Marla Taviano - 1. Those 9 pictures are incredible. What a treasure!!

    2. Dear friends of ours lost their baby girl just after Cora died and are expecting again. They made a short video of their story for our Christmas program, Hope. I think (know!) it will bless you.

    http://bit.ly/6cD18SReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Just Beachy - I hope that the new baby comes very soon and very easily , no one will forget Cora and how much she is missed .
    January 2nd will mark a year since my niece was still born , for those of us there she was a perfect little baby who didn’t have a chance, to others she wasn’t meant to be , but to us she was so very real and meant to be ,to those of us who held her and ached when we looked into her beautiful face and missed her cries and smiles and potential, the pain is so deep , for you mothers who have lost their little angels I ache for you .
    my sil is pregnant again too , it is a guarded hope and tempered excitement.
    I wish you a healthy and happy year ahead full of healing and blessings , I can not wait to hear the good news soon.
    Cheers
    ChrisReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Just Beachy - One more thing , you are the most adorable pregnant girl , it sure looks good on you , loved that photo of you rockin the drums , so cute.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Brian, Angie, Matt, Tim, and Meredith - Checking daily for updates on baby Mac(!)…can’t wait for his/her arrival!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Robin - Your faith is amazing and you inspire me so much. I will pray for you as Baby Mac enters your lives. Happy New Year to you all!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Angie - I will be fervently praying!

    We will never forget Cora and we will always be praying for your hearts.

    New years baby??!! Thinking and praying always!!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melissa Joy - You speak so honestly and truthfully, poignantly and beautifully.
    You are prayed for earnestly and frequently!
    May the Lord be with you during all of these changes, and may He uphold you during the weakest moments and give you delight at the most joyous ones.
    Thank you for ministering to us even through your pain. (((hugs)))ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kristen - Look at that beautiful baby belly! Praying for the all the Macs, and anxious for news of his/her arrival! God bless!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Launa - Praying so deeply for you and your whole family. Praying that the day this new little one arrives goes as smoothly as possible. Know that Gods grace is being shown in your lives and that His plan is perfect.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Aja - Amen. I am praying for you guys right now! May this child come quickly and easily and in God’s perfect timing and be a blessing to you both.

    Can’t wait to hear about the arrival! Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Angry Julie Monday - A New Year, full of life and change. I hope that the doctor has good news. And your new gift will be here soon!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Karina - I absolutely love the belly pics.

    You have many people praying for you, rest assured. I do not pray, but you and Cora enter my thoughts daily. I admire your strength and look forward to news of the new baby’s arrival!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - totally ramdom, but do you think that baby mac is a boy or girl?ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • A - I have been praying for you as you miss Cora and anticipate the arrival of Baby Mac! I love your picture collage- I hope to do that when I become pregnant. Thank you for reminding us of that Romans verse- it is so appropriate as we begin a new year!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Jennifer Dawn - Best wishes for the new year! I love the pregnancy photo collage. I wish I had done something like this. Maybe next time. 🙂ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kristi - Oh, I have already been praying for you and will continue to do so. I have shared your story with my husband. Everyday, I check to see if your little one has made his or her appearance yet :). Thank you for sharing your story with those of us who do not you in person.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • k and c's mom - May the joy of the Lord be your strength.
    In His presence is fullness of joy.
    I have such a sense that His presence will be more real to you during this time than anything you have experienced in the past.
    Bless you, yours and this little one who is going to bring so much joy into your world.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Moffats - Can’t wait for Baby Mac to make his/her entrance into this world and into the best mommy & daddy’s arms! Wishing Cora was here to welcome her. She’ll be throwing the greatest welcoming party in heaven – clapping and singing with the angels. Praying for your strength in these next few days and weeks and for all the emotions that will come with this next chapter. Love and hugs.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Amy - So excited to hear your news! Hopefully soon! You are simply gorgeous when you are pregnant (and when you’re not, too!) This little baby is already so, so blessed to be a part of your family. A baby couldn’t ask for more! Hugs to you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melissa - You look beautiful!

    Praying for you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Tonya - Such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing so much of your lives with us. Many prayers for you as you embark on this new journey. (By the way, we’re friends of the Bohrers. Heidi sent your blog to me when Cora was hospitalized. Been following and praying for you ever since.)ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Brooke - Praying for you always. Your story has touched my heart in a way that I can’t even begin to write down. You are faithful followers of our GOD! Love, BrookeReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Alicia in Arkansas - Your words are so inspired and anointed by God. Thanks so much for sharing your story and opening your soul to us. You will never know the depths of how your story has impacted the life of my family. We don’t take ourselves and the kids so seriously, we take time to enjoy the mundane…we laugh more. I got an email with a like to your blog early this year to pray for Cora and have been reading ever since but never commented. I had to today after reading your scripture. That exact verse is the reason I am a functioning mother of 4 today. After loosing a baby at 14 weeks, our next pregnancy (last one and unexpected) was filled with anxiety when my quad marker screen came back abnormal…until this verse was read as the sermon at our church the same week! I meditated on it 24/7, printed it several times and hung it all over our house. We had a healthy baby girl, middle name is Hope b/c of this verse.
    Will continue to pray for your family as you move forward and will pray for this baby from the top of his/her head to the soles of his/her feet, that every inch and every cell that makes up his/her body is covered by His blood! Will pray for your delivery too.
    Love your pictures, pregnancy definitely agrees with you. God Bless!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Sarah - Always thinking about and praying for you!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Heather at All A Flutter - I understand the worrying about people thinking your “better” now because of new baby mac. We felt the same way when our daughter was born after our son died. Some people may never understand, but take heart in knowing that the few that do understand what your new normal is, are the one’s that really matter! And take each moment one at a time- that’s what is still helping us everyday. I’m praying for you!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Molly - Faithfully praying for your family during this exciting, yet emotional time in your lives. God is with you and has remained with you over this past year, he will always be by your side. I’m super excited to hear all about baby Mac’s arrival and gender, and can’t wait to see pictures of his/her sweet face! Much Love! Happy New Year!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Toni :O) - Such a sweet post and those pictures…wow, can’t believe it’s so close already! We’re still praying for you, every day. Wishing you a blessed 2010 and may Baby Mac provide you with nothing but joy and happiness as Sweet Cora watches over all of you. I hope your delivery is smooth and easy and we can’t wait to see pictures of your sweet addition. Take care and sending you love and hugs from Michigan! :O)ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • laney - … amen…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Jamie - Your words are beautiful… Please know that we are praying for you in Alabama. Take Care!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • BEK - Shalom and Amen!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Alli Unruh - I love the pictures you’ve taken thoughout your pregnancy. It’s fun to see them in order from beginning to almost there:) I am praying for you, Joel, and your new little one. I think of you so often.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Cyndi - When is your due date? My first was 3 1/2 weeks early so I too thought (as did my doctor!) that my second would be early. No such luck…she came 1 day late! I’m sure you’re getting uncomfortable…that last month is hard!

    Do not feel that others will think you are better b/c you have a new baby. We know that is not the case at all! I still check back on you every few days since I started reading (a few days before Cora died I think). My heart aches for you. (((hugs))) CyndiReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - I am excited to meet your new little one. Praying for you is part of my daily routine! Lately I have in fact been praying that you would be able to enjoy your new baby without fear. Hoping for a quick, painfree delivery for you!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Joanna - We are praying for you!!!
    Thank you for sharing
    JoannaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • This is the day! - We are praying for your sweet family. May you have a great delivery and healthy precious baby to welcome into your lives. We can’t wait to hear about your new little one.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Cristin - Dear Jesus,

    Please bless Joel and Jess as they welcome baby Mac into this world. Thank you for giving them strength when you called Cora home. Please continue to to fill their lives with your spirit!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • in a world surrounded by men - I haven’t commented very much, but I’ve been reading, praying, and feeling for you during this past year.

    I’m so excited to hear your news and see a little light shine in this dark time.

    Happy New Year.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kristin - May the New Year bring blessings of hope, love, joy, and comfort during this bittersweet time. God Bless!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Julia - Don’t know that I have commented before but I like have to check your blog every day. The waiting game is so hard and your writing today was so sweet. I know you will be a wonderful mom and dad to the new little mac just like you were with Cora. I admire your clinging to God and not becoming bitter with the nightmare of losing Cora. Your strength is amazing.
    Praying all goes well for you with your new little bundle.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Judy - Definitely praying for you right now and in the days to come!!! I can hardly stand myself I’m so excited to see this precious new baby of yours. Hurry up Baby Mac!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • waiting - Praying for you as you wait for this sweet Baby Mac. I pray that God will surround you with his love. In March, I had my miracle baby after 6 years of secondary infertility and 2 back to back miscarriages. The pure JOY these last 9 months have brought are indescribable. I pray for you and your husband to have that joy tenfold. Praying for you in these last days of your pregnancy. Praying that God will give you the peace and joy to move forward in HIM with this new life in 2010.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Vera - I pray for you and Joel SO SO much during this time. I can’t wait to “meet” your little one!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Mum2twopreciousgifts - Jess and Joel

    With prayers for you and your families. May Baby Mac come soon. We are checking in every morning in the hope for news.

    Thank you for reminding me, constantly, that God is in control and I just have to HOPE in him.

    God Bless you all from our little family in Australia.

    M xReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Tricia - Wishing your sweet family a happy, blessed,and abundant New Year.
    You all will indeed continue to be in my prayers.

    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • ame - Praying for a safe delivery of Baby Mac, and rejoicing that He is still carrying you through. 🙂ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Brittny - what a cute way to show the progress of your pregnancy!! i love that! and i will be praying for your family as you go through the next few days, weeks, months. i can only imagine the emotional roller coaster you must on right now. i lost my brother in jr. high and was so thankful to know my God was with me through it all. it doesn’t make things instantly better, but gives you a peace i’d never know otherwise. i look forward to seeing photos of your newest family member, hopefully soon!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Jody - Jess & Joel –

    I am so glad that I stumbled across your blog in 2009. It was just a few months after Cora had gone on to heaven. It has been a blessing for me to pray for y’all as you travel this journey of grief and happiness. I’ve kept checking the blog feed a couple times a day to see if Baby Mac has arrived yet.

    God Bless!

    Oh, and my niece looked adorable in her Cora Christmas dress and I shared your story with her mommy 🙂ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anna - Can hardly wait to watch you take this next step of welcoming your second baby into this world!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • RB - You continue to inspire me with your grace and strength. We’re definitely praying for you up here in British Columbia, Canada, as you welcome Baby Mac into your wonderful family. Happy New Year to you all!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • kate - your blog is an incredible encouragement to me. I’ve followed for a while and am inspired by each post. Your hope in the Lord is steadfast and His strength shines through you brightly. In our pain of loss I have learned that our God is a GOOD God and I’m going to obey and see goodness in the choices He has for me. His goodness is bright in your life and He is walking faithfully beside you.

    Many blessings to your growing family. May your birth be beautiful, perfect, and joyful. May this baby be an incredible blessing to you and the Lord give you balance in your emotions in the days and weeks following your birth.

    I look forward to hearing of the great joy the Lord has for you.
    eloise-lily.blogspot.comReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Micah - Happy New Year, Jess!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Krystal - I am praying right now for you and your family. Looking forward to seeing Baby Mac! Best wishes!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Nan - Amen Jess.

    Praying for a swift and safe delivery and for your emotions as you welcome your new one.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Heather - I am praying Jess..you guys are brought to my mind often!

    Love love
    heatherReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - thinking you Jess, and hoping for good news very soon.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carla - thinking you Jess, and hoping for good news very soon.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carla - thinking you Jess, and hoping for good news very soon.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • forever folding laundry - What fun pics! Love those belly shots.

    Praying for you still. 2010 is sure to be a very blessed year for your family.

    ~KeriReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Stef - I love the way you express your emotions. I’ve never been through what you have, but you have this way of writing, that makes it easy to come alongside and sympathize and even pray with more of an understanding spirit.

    I cannot wait to see pictures of you guys holding another precious baby in your arms. I imagine every single time you hold or kiss your new little one, memories of Cora will come flooding back… forever. I doubt it will change. Its one of the ways her memory will live on with you.

    Praying for a safe delivery and healthy baby!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Andolicious - I love how you documented the past 9 months in those pictures. It will be something new baby Mac will love when he/she gets older! I pray for you and your husband. I know God will help you two thru this and you will love this baby so much! This baby is a blessing and I hope the delivery is quick, easy, and goes smoothly! God Bless yoU!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Potters - Praying for you guys and can’t wait to see pictures of the new baby! Hope you will post promptly!! 🙂 Good luck in delivery.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kahla - Sending lots of prayers for peace, continued strength, hope, and so much more. Cora will be looking over her brother/sister from above and she will never be forgotten. I have no doubt you’ll continue to keep her in your lives each and every day. You are both so strong.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - This is ridiculous, but not even knowing you, I am so excited to hear of the news of baby’s arrival (and I am getting impatient,even more ridiculous, so can only imagine your anticipation level). I was certain you’d made a DIY Christmas gift….I suppose baby could be an Epiphany gift, that would still count as Christmas, right? All that I am certain of is that God’s plan is not ours to understand and His is perfect timing.
    Babbling along, trying to say, I am sitting in the pacific northwest saying my prayers for you along with everyone else.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - To put it simply you are an inspiration. Reading your blog helps me to appreciate EVERYTHING that I am blessed to have, so… THANK YOU!!! Best wishes for baby Mac and Good Luck!!!!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Christina - Like so many others, I have been praying for you, about the very thing you mention in this post. I pray that the God of peace and hope is so present and real in your lives right now, and that you are able to be joyful as you anticipate the arrival of your new little Mac. Your words are so amazing and wonderful…and a true testimony to God’s grace. May he continue to heal and answer.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Ceri - Jess,
    I have been reading your blog for a while. I think of you often and keep you in my prayers. You are an inspiration to me in ways you will never know. I love your love for Christ and your steadfast faith. Your beautiful pictures and crafts inspire me as well. Thank you for sharing your story. You are a beautiful woman, inside and out. I love your belly shots your so creative! I cant wait to hear about the birth of baby mac I keep checking back every day. Hold your new little one close knowing that there are hundreds probably thousands out there praying for you and Joel and baby mac.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Roo and Wren's Mama - I’ve been checking your blog every day lately, waiting for new of Baby Mac’s arrival… hoping for a smooth and easy delivery for you!
    I’ve been reading your blog since just after Cora went to Heaven… your testimony and honesty is truly God-honoring. May 2010 be a year of joy and hope and continued healing for your hearts.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Joyce - I want to say what an encouragement you are to me…I stop in here and read and always leave feeling such a sense of peace. I am praying for you… thru your tears and thru your joy in welcoming a new little one into your hearts and home. May God do exceedingly more than you can ask or imagine in this new year. I look forward to hearing your baby news…God bless you and your husband and Baby Mac too.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Wrights - Congratulations! I just heard the news of your new little one! My prayers are with you in this new journey.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Congratulations. We just heard the good news about your new son. We are happy for this new blessing for your family.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Sending prayers your way and wishing you a quick labor can’t wait to see the new baby mac but Cora is never far from my mind. Your strength and faith has really showed me so much about myself and guided me back to teh Lord. May God continue to watch over you and bless your family.
    Summer in CaliforniaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Deedra - I read your blog often, I rarely comment, but wanted to say that I pray for you and your husband often. I have a little girl who is one month younger than your precious Cora (born April 2, 2008) and I have just given birth to a little boy (nov 09)

    Anyway, just wanted you to know I’m praying for you both and for your new delivery! 🙂

    DeedraReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Hi- Looks like someone spilled the beans before you could 🙂 Congragulations on your new little one..anxiously waited for pictures and post from you but can’t patiently wait until you are ready to share with us…
    In my thoughts and prayers EVERYDAY

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - should have read through my comment BEFORE I posted…ok I was excited..meant anxiously waiting and CAN wait until you are ready..:)

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carla - Excitedly awaiting the official announcement!!!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Townsend Crew - Macs— that 9-shot picture is absolutely amazing! What a beautiful (yes, YOU!) image of this amazing transformation over these last 9 months! Never seen anything like it before!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kathy - Oh my goodness, what a precious blessing! I have been following your blog from time to time for a long time and I’ve prayed for you through many of your difficult days. My deear, I am praying a prayer of thanksgiving today, as you celebrate the brand new year with a brand new beginning! Nothing can replace sweet Cora, but Levi will provide you all with many tears of JOY! God bless your sweet family.
    xo…KathyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - I really think it should have been up to Jessica to post any announcements. It is her/their news to announce, afterall.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - I follow your blog almost every day. I just wanted to send more thoughts and prayers your way as you welcome a new part of you into this world. I know you will always feel with Cora not here that a part of you is gone, but I’m so glad you are being blessed with Baby Mac to help bring joy to your lives. I can’t wait to hear the big announcement that Baby Mac is here. Cora will surely be his/her angel 24/7.
    Just relax and enjoy each and every precious moment up until the birth and after! Congratulations!

    Karen Andwan
    Cincinnati, OhioReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • the girl that rambles♥ - You guys are angels and Cora is an angel too.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Irismar Oliveira - Olá, conheci teu blog e amei! Que o Senhor Deus continue te conduzindo ao crescimento na graça a no seu amor.

    Uma boa tardeReplyCancel

    [Reply]

After Thanksgiving my brother-in-law brought
ROCKBAND over to my parents house.
He had bought it for super cheap at a Black Friday sale.
We all loved it.
We were hooked.
Especially my mom.
My brother-in-law was kind enough
to leave it at my parents’ house for us all to enjoy.
Little did we know,
my mom played even when we weren’t there.
She was even caught practicing the drums
into the wee hours of the night.
So, when Christmas rolled around,
my dad decided she might need her own ROCKBAND…
She was SO excited when she opened it.
Who ever thought that a grammy would want ROCKBAND for Christmas??
We even found a ROCKBAND t-shirt for her.
My niece got a ROCKBAND t-shirt too.

We spent a lot of Christmas day rockin’ down the house.
It was fun.
Lots of good memories and good laughs.
There is nothing like a rockin’ Grammy!

Oh, and someone was wondering about these bats.
They are called Mashoonga! Sabers.
My mom got them at Sam’s Club.
They are supposed to be for safe, competitive, contact play.
I am not sure if there is anything safe about this picture.
Maybe they are not meant for grown men!!
At least we know how to have fun, right?

sharepinTweet
  • meg duerksen - THAT is unreal.
    it makes me totally want to get rockband.
    i LOVE that!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Sara - these pictures are so great…everyone is so serious 🙂

    i have been following your blog for a long time…don’t know if i have posted before today.

    i am still stalking your etsy store, too…

    can’t wait to see your baby!
    blessings from CA!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Karina - What a great picture of you – nine months pregnant, barefoot, and playing the drums with a VERY serious expression on your face! Love it. (And so impressed with that rockin’ grammy!)

    I’ll be sure NOT to tell any of the men in my household about those bats – they would LOVE them, but I’d probably have a heart attack if they did that in my living room!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Love, love, love your Mom.
    This post cracks me up.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • purejoy - so good to see laughter. and a sweet little baby bump!!
    rockstarbaby!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melissa - Those pictures are so fun!

    We LOVE rock band at our house! Sometimes I concentrate so hard on the screen that my contacts pop out!! Guess that’s what distinguishes me from a real musician.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • k and c's mom - You made me laugh out loud with this post! I think I am about the same age as your Mom, so maybe I should take up drumming or something for my new hobby.
    You look beautiful and I hope you are feeling well. Glad for some happy times for you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • MICHELE - That is too funny! She makes that look good! 🙂
    Can’t wait to see pics of that baby! Rest up.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Sara - Nothing like a really pregnant drummer! I love that pic!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Lauren Kelly - HAHA!!! Love it 🙂 Rock on Grammy.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • K - So cute! My parents got totally the Wii when it came out a few years ago.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Abby Johns - I just wanted to let you know that I think you make one stinkin’ cute pregnant lady!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Sherri - oh Jess, this is fantastic! Now these are memories that will last forever! What fun Christmas must have been for you and the fam.

    You and JOel look so wonderful in the pics! I can’t wait to see pics of babymac on the outside!

    PS: those bats will be at our next Christmas! Thanks for he action shots….LOVED it!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Alicia - So much fun!!! That is what Christmas is all about…fun and family!

    I have read your blog for a bit(don’t know if I have ever posted)…I send lots of prayers with baby on the way.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Utecht Family - Now Adam knows who to call if he wants a Sunday off. You’ve got a whole worship team right there!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carrie Darney - I want to come play! What a FUN family! The bats…could have used those in the office today. Rock band, never played but I need too…sounds and looks like so much fun!!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Browns - All the guys in my family are the same way. They love to get silly stuff. One year they all got that farting foam (or whatever it is) & they had so much fun with it. I also got them all a silver or gold “grill” to wear in their mouths from Wal-Mart & that was a great picture 😉 Praying for you & your pregnancy.

    BonReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Heather | Cookie Mondays - again… best family ever 🙂ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Vera - How fun! You look ADORABLE!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • E @ Oh! Apostrophe - Hi! Not sure I’ve commented before, but love your blog!

    Had to chime in and say- LOOK OUT!- my friend went into labor right after a crazy night of rock band drumming! 😉ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Miranda - That is awesome! LoL!! Whoever said Grammy’s can’t be cool? Glad to see everyone have family fun together. 🙂ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Erica - your family is SO much fun! wow!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Brian, Angie, Matt, Tim, and Meredith - The family that rocks together, stays together(???). 😀 My bil brought Guitar Hero to the C’mas gathering last year, and it’s become a standard activity w/n our own family during our gathering too!

    I had a good laugh, Jess, at your intent look on the drums! My face is identical on the guitar during our ‘showdowns’. 🙂

    Your mom looks *great* in her shirt; and it’s so nice to read of a family having fun together like this!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Liliana - Wow…looks like you all had a great time!! We just got Band Hero & like your mom…I get really into the game. It’s so much fun & a great thing for family fun night!!

    My brother alway jokes that we look constipated b/c we concentrate so hard not to miss a note!!! lol!!

    Can’t wait to “meet” your new baby!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • CourtneyC - Oh my goodness that is hilarious that your mom loves Rockband so much.

    Looks like everyone had a blast!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Shari - Rockband is very fun! Our kids got it for Christmas. Highly recommended if you have 3 or more kids because they can all play together YAY! The lyrics on the songs tho…not so much for kids. Something very disconcerting about a 9 year old singing about being drunk! We ended up buying the Lego song pack and the Country track pack for the more appropriate lyrics!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Amber - That is hilarious!!! 🙂 Glad you all made some great “rockin'” memories!!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Nan - Okay, we totally need the Mashoonga Sabers here!! I have four boys that are always playing swords. My Dad got them some foam swords from Pottery Barn kids but they lasted only a day before they broke! Clearly they are not made for real live children! LOL

    What a fun Christmas this looks like! I think I love your family! :^DReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • linda_happy60 - What a fun family. Makes me want to rock out and I’m a granny to 7.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Gail - Your mom must be a lot of fun!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Sarah - Hilarious pic with those “sabers”…I’m sure your mom knew exactly what was going to happen after all.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

We spent Christmas Eve at my parents house…
Celebrating my nephews first birthday,
eating sausage subs (yummy),
and spending lots of time together.
Christmas morning we were back at my parents…

eating breakfast together,
stockings,
opening presents,
building a gingerbread house,
eating more food,
celebrating Jesus’ birthday,
and spending more time together.

These bats were one of the major highlights Christmas morning.
Every time one of the boys would get up it would turn into this.
Thankfully pregnant ladies were off limits!

Saturday we celebrated Christmas with Joel’s family…

eating breakfast together,
stockings,
new bikes for the kiddos,
eating LOTS of good food,
reading the Christmas story,
opening presents,
and spending lots of time together.

This Christmas was hard.  It still makes me so sad to look at all of these pictures and know that Cora should have been a part of these memories.  I wondered so many times what it would have been like to wake up with her on Christmas morning or watch her playing with her cousins.  We would have had so much fun.  But we were blessed in so many ways this Christmas.  Our families are so wonderful and our time together was great.  And, like so many other times this year, we felt the indescribable joy and peace that only comes from our Lord.

And…
We are still waiting to meet Baby Mac.
He/she apparently did no want to come for Christmas.
Nothing is happening yet.
Just waiting.
We will keep you posted!

sharepinTweet
  • Sarah Furlough - Still praying for peace and comfort for you and Joel. Can’t wait to read about the arrival of Baby Mac!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Marla Taviano - Thanks for sharing, Jess! Praying for you and Joel!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Maureen - Thinking and praying for you guys! Can’t wait to see pictures of baby!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - I need to know more about those bats! Where did you get them?ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Micah - It sure looks like you and Joel have been so blessed with two wonderful families to love.

    Anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new little one – along with 1,000 others ;).ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Lauren Kelly - There is so much sweetness flowing out of those pictures…. And look at the belly, looks like Baby Mac should be coming like today, haha!!! A stubborn little thing though, huh?? 🙂ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Ashley Ann - Wow those pictures of all the guys and the bats make me feel like I am seeing my life in about 10 years….looks fun!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Love the pictures and the glimps into your world 🙂 I so wish your Cora was here with you..and she is in spirit..
    Can’t wait to meet Baby Mac..

    Thoughts and PrayersReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • gwswenson - Praying for an easy labor and delivery, and can’t wait till your bundle of joy arrives!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • purejoy - sounds like you guys were really surrounded by lots of family and love this christmas. and cora in your hearts…
    can’t wait to meet your little baby mac and am praying for peace and joy to meet you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Heather | Cookie Mondays - you have the BEST family!
    i keep hoping your next post will be an announcement!! 😉ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Krystal - I know we don’t know each other but I’ve been praying for you and your family! Even though we don’t know each other I”ve been secretly hoping you’d have Baby Mac today, Dec.29th…it’s my birthday! So you’d better get busy ;)!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Karina - Thank you so much for sharing some photos from your Christmas; your families look wonderful. I am among the many checking back daily awaiting news of Baby Mac!

    I am so sad for you that Cora couldn’t be there in person. I come back sometimes just to see her face – she still has the power to move me to tears just from looking at her, but there is something strangely fortifying about the sadness she inspires. What a powerful young lady she is.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Thinking of you and praying for you! You have an amazing family and are an amazing woman. I am certain Cora was right there beside you, watching over all your Christmas happenings, as she is in all things you do. Can’t wait to hear the news of your new arrival!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Stewart Family - Love the pictures. You are truly blessed with an amazing family!!

    Praying for you and Baby Mac…I am so anxious to see that post!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Alison A. - I have no idea how I found your blog, but just wanted to wish you well and let you know there are many internet strangers who are thinking of you. Your blog is a work of art, as well as a great memorial for Cora.

    Wishing you and your husband the best with your labor, delivery, and enjoyment of Baby Mac.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Proud Grandma - Thinking and praying for you both and I can’t wait to see pictures of Baby Mac – maybe you will have a New Years Day Baby!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Loraine - please share the sausage sub recipe….

    please.

    yum!!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Carroll's - Thank you for continuing to share you journey with us. Praying for you often. Cant wait to “meet” Baby Mac!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • k and c's mom - Thanks for sharing. I thought of you and prayed for you often during the holidays. Can’t wait to see and hear all about the baby’s premiere. Blessings on you. God is faithful.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Stef - Happy New Year! I’m anxious to “meet” your new little one. I’m so glad you had real joy and peace on Christmas Day, even in the midst of aching for Cora.

    Much love,ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melissa Joy - I am praying for you every day. Walking the line between grief and hope is precarious and hard! May God continue to be your strength and joy. (((hugs)))ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carly Winborne - so glad to see this post. i was thinking that you may have been tied up, not posting, because of your new baby. i am seriously thinking of you constantly, and thought about you a lot today. i was just convinced your baby had been born. (i know that sounds so stalkerish, but i don’t mean it that way. i just wish you were my friend in real life. what fun we could have!!!) excited to see your little one’s precious face very soon.

    praying for you and your husband, even now.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carly Winborne - PS: i was having lunch with my mom today and was telling her about you, that you just seem amazing, so focused on Jesus even in your grief. she said i needed to leave a comment, even if you get dozens on every single post you leave. just know that you are so admired, even from a distance.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Tricia - It looks like a wonderful time was had by all. Glad to see that pregnant ladies were spared from the sword fighting. 😉
    Excited to hear of the arrival of baby Mac.

    With love and prayers,
    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • capperson - Thinking and praying about y’all. I can’ wait to see pics of the baby!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Jane In The Jungle - I know it was so hard wondering. But so glad you have the peace that passes all understanding.

    Can’t wait for news of Baby Mac!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melinda - You have such a lovely family – I’m glad to see that you were surrounded by so many loved ones throughout the holiday. Cora is always with you in spirit – I’m sure she enjoyed the bat game 🙂 You and Joel are in my prayers. I pray that you have an easy labor and birth – can’t wait to read about the arrival of Baby Mac!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carla - I was that lady in waiting Christmas two years ago, my bundle of joy didn’t arrive til the 2nd Jan! Hope you’re getting lots of sleep and TLC, which no doubt you are, given your lovely hubbie and family. Your pics of Christmas look lovely. Its hard even as a stranger to see you there without Cora but your strength as always Jess, is a an inspiration to so many. Wishing you peace and calm in the next few days to enjoy the end of your pregnancy and not toooo many texts/emails asking you whether you’ve gone into labour yet :-). I’ll be thinking of you (when I should be fast asleep, gotta love pregnancy insomnia, hope you’re not suffering from it!)
    Hugs, CarlaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Christina - Those are such wonderful pictures…it does look like you had some great moments, and were surrounded by loving people through the hard ones. Your family looks like such a treasure!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Praying for you out here on the west coast! May you feel the reality that the Lord is with you as you wait on Him for the birth of this precious new child and for the delivery of him/her into your loving arms!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Diana - What a fantastically happy and blessed Christmas for you all — such fun you had! Your smile is a ray of sunshine in each of your photos 😀

    Keeping you covered in prayer as everyone waits……..

    ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • jen christians - First I must say you have an amazing eye with your camera! Second, your families are so ADORABLE, they are appear to truely love eachother…(well the bats, ha!)Third, you are in our prayers as the appearance of baby Mac draws near. I will pray for a gentle, easy labor, and God’s arms wrapping around you as you meet the beautiful child created just for you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • onlymehere - I know that Cora was with you in your heart. Somehow, someway I believe she is there at special moments when you need her most. I love the header and feel like it gives us all a glimpse into her personality. I’ve followed you for a long time but don’t comment too often. I just wanted you to know how your courage inspires people. I keep you and Joel and new baby Mac in my prayers daily. I’m exciting to see him/her and pray the delivery will go well for all of you. 🙂 CindyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

We are missing Cora like crazy today…
…but we are rejoicing with our little angel that He has come.
We are rejoicing in the good news of great joy–Jesus.
The angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 
Luke 2:10-11
Merry Christmas!
sharepinTweet
  • Heidi - What a sweet picture of Cora. I know how hard today was for you and your family. I was thinking of you and have kept you in my prayers.

    Merry Christmas…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Roma - I’ve been reading your blog for the past couple of months and you are an inspiration. Cora is a beautiful girl. Please know that so many prayers come your way and that Cora is playing in heaven with Jesus and other little ones who were called to Him too soon.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Robin in Benton - What a wonderful picture and sweet memory. Thinking of you and praying for you. Merry ChristmasReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • rebecca - Beautiful little Cora…. She is missed. Merry Christmas to your family and Sweet baby Mac.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Our Lives - What an angel she was. I’ve been following your blog since February. I’ve been thinking about you and your husband today. I found myself thinking about Cora a lot, too. Press on Macs! Merry Christmas.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • jen christians - What a beautiful picture… a treasure… Thanks for sharing it tonight. Merry Christmas to you as well. May you feel the love of Christ in you home and heart this Christmas night.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • starnes family - Merry Christmas! I love that picture of Cora.

    I’ve been meaning to tell you…..that I was in Dallas over the summer and was wearing a Cora pin. Someone stopped me to ask if it was truly a “Cora” original and I said it was. A random stranger….and we both talked about your sweet family. You’ve touched so many lives.

    Merry Christmas.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • amy - merry christmas, macs! i used that verse on my blog today, too.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Tricia - Jess and Joel,
    You are in my prayers today, along with baby Mac. May God continue to fill you with peace and joy.

    With love and prayers,
    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carpenter's - What a cutie pie! Those pics make me smile every time you put them on. Thank you. Merry Christmas and may you be blessed in 2010!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • meg duerksen - love you jess.
    i have been thinking about you ALL DAY! i hope it went alright. cora was a sweet precious angel.
    merry christmas.

    so thankful for the joy we have in Christ.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kahla - What an angel, I have been thinking of you this holiday season and praying that you find joy and peace. I can’t even imagine what you are feeling but I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Julie @ Joy's Hope - Merry Christmas to your sweet, beautiful, wonderful family. Praying for you all. May God’s love and comfort blanket your hearts.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - When I first began to read Cora’s story I read back to last Christmas and it brought joy to my heart to see that Cora was the angel for the family story of the birth of Jesus. This Christmas she is with Jesus!
    I know it is so hard that she is not here with you but because of her and the story you tell as you live your life with an eternal perspective there will be many more people that will someday enter the kingdom and sit at the feet of Jesus.

    I have prayed many times for you over the past few days and especially today and I will continue.

    Praying for JOY and continued healing.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Farmers - When I first began to read Cora’s story I read back to last Christmas and it brought joy to my heart to see that Cora was the angel for the family story of the birth of Jesus. This Christmas she is with Jesus!
    I know it is so hard that she is not here with you but because of her and the story you tell as you live your life with an eternal perspective there will be many more people that will someday enter the kingdom and sit at the feet of Jesus.

    I have prayed many times for you over the past few days and especially today and I will continue.

    Praying for JOY and continued healing.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • PamperingBeki - Prayed for you so much today.

    Can’t wait for the day you get to hug sweet Cora again.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Stef - Merry Christmas! prayed for you much today.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Stephanie - Merry Christmas to “The Mac’s”. Thinking of you during this holidays season.
    Good luck with your upcoming arrival, my heart is with you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Christina - I’m crying and smiling at the same time…what precious, priceless memories you have stored up. They are treasures.
    I pray that the joy you recently spoke of is a well that is deep within you, and that never runs dry. Merry Christmas.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - I remember seeing this picture before and it put a smile on my face to see it again today. What a beautiful little angel she truly is. I can just imagine her in heaven and playing the same role of a beautiful angel.

    You all have been on my mind for the last several days, especially today. Hope it went as smoothly as possible. Aren’t you glad we have joy and hope in Jesus?!?!

    Thinking about you and praying for baby Mac too. I keep checking back everyday waiting on the “news” 🙂 Can’t wait to find out and see some pictures. Love to you all.

    A sister in Christ!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Diana - Beautiful Cora, beautiful memory!

    Christmas love and blessings to you guys! You are always in our prayers!

    ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Lori - You and Joel have been on my mind so much the past few days and you were the first thing I thought about this morning when I woke up on Christmas Day. Praying for peace that surpasses all understanding! Cora is such a beautiful angel!!!!!!! Hugs to you and JoelReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Mum2twopreciousgifts - Dear Jess and Joel

    With prayers for peace and acceptance for you and your families more so today than usual. God Bless you both and THANK YOU so much for reminding us all , through your incredible blog, that no matter what happens, GOD IS WITH US.

    Good night from Australia from our little family to yours.

    Michelle xReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carla - I thought of you all day yesterday (25th). I was hoping you were bearing up ok, its just so hard to even comprehend what you and Joel are going through. I’m glad Jesus was a comfort to you and you felt your adorable little Angel close by. Hugs, CarlaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Al's World - What a precious picture of your angel who is singing with the angels in heaven!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Karina - Thinking of you and Joel this holiday season. That is a BEAUTIFUL picture of sweet Cora. Hugs to you and Baby Mac.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Courtney - She is beautiful! Merry Christmas!
    Courtney MayfieldReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Amy - Thought of you guys so much yesterday. How is it possible that this was just a year ago?? The joy that the two of you are able to talk about, despite all you have been through, is truly amazing. You are an awesome couple and I am so blessed to know you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melissa Joy - I was thinking of you yesterday, praying for you, weeping with you, praising with you. (((hugs)))ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Trasie Bressler - She is so beautiful and that memory is precious!

    Your arms will be full again soon and oh what a day that will be for you. May God Bless you all and what an incredible Angel that baby girl of yours is going to be for that baby Mac of yours.

    Merry Christmas season to you and yours!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Amanda - beautiful beautiful Cora, OH, how we miss you.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • texasinafrica - What a sweetheart! Praying that you will have peace in the days and weeks to come.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend - What an adorable picture…she will always be special…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Sue - I have been thinking of you so much over the festive season and hope that you have managed it OK. It’s over now till next year. You made it. I can’t wait to hear about the arrival of your new baby too and trust that he/she will have a safe arrival.

    Sue xReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kristi - I have been and will continue praying for your sweet family. Thank you for sharing that picture of Cora :).ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Always in my prayers
    I feel better knowing angels like Cora are in watching over us all!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Thought about you on Christmas. Hope you were able to be comforted and protected by the holiday.
    SaraReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Heather - I read your blog often Jess, but never comment. I thought about you on Christmas and prayed for you and for the Lord to comfort you in a way only He can. God knew long ago that when He set into motion for you to be Cora’s mom that you would be an inspiration to so many and sharing the good news with ones that might need to hear it. God is using you in great ways to further His kingdom and no doubt when He sees you He smiles. Praying for you and your family, may the Lord be close to you and bring you great joy.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Beki - TheRustedChain - Still praying for you daily.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Chris - What a sweet picture of Cora .
    Thinking of you . It must be so hard for you this year without your little angel.
    Soon you will have another little one to love . He or she will never replace Cora but will sure bring joy and love in your heart again. Can’t wait to see a post that he/she is birn 🙂ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

I smiled to myself when I opened my HOPE book last week and realized the topic was joy.  It was just what I needed to read because I definitely am not feeling very “joyful” this Christmas–at least not in the way the world would define joy.


“The truth is, it is possible to be filled with joy and still not be described as “happy.” Sometimes we’re just plain sad, not only down in our hearts, but down to our toes…


…The Bible says, “A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22, NASB).  As we savor the joy we have in Christ, we feel the healing power of that medicine.  In fact, our joy should be as consistent as God is.  It doesn’t have to be tied to the turbulent conditions of our feelings and moods.  Our joy is grounded in God.  It flows from him and back to him.  Joy is not something we can generate with positive thinking or a bit of humor.  It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit’s work in our inner lives.  Joy shines forth from the life of the true believer, no matter how dark the circumstances.  Joy in God deserves our constant, courageous pursuit.” -Nancy Guthrie

How reassuring is it to know that our joy isn’t tied to the sometimes turbulent conditions around us?

It isn’t tied to how sad I am feeling as we prepare to celebrate this first Christmas without Cora. It isn’t tied to how my heart hurts when I see all these happy Christmas cards and realize again that there will be no family pictures with Cora this year. It isn’t tied to how sad I am that Cora won’t be here to welcome her new brother or sister with us. It isn’t even tied to how much love we will feel when we meet Baby Mac any day now. True joy does not necessarily equal happiness.

My joy is grounded in Christ.
And I can experience deep joy, even in the midst of sorrow,
because my hope is in Christ.
That doesn’t mean we won’t have any tears or sadness.
But, I pray that this true joy is what others see shining from my life and family,
even during this first Christmas without Cora.

Always be full of joy in the Lord.  I say it again–rejoice!  Philippians 4:4
sharepinTweet
  • jen christians - I do see you and see joy amidst the utter sadness and ache, I see joy in your relationship with Christ. Thanks for sharing this today, it is what I needed to hear too. It makes the silly holiday “stress” I feel seem so absolutely ridiculous…instead I must focus on the true JOY of this season. God bless you as you prepare to meet your blessing, anyday now…can’t wait to hear your news…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • oh, the places you'll go... - hi Jess. i’m thinking about you guys so so much and will pray extra for you and joel and little baby mac. love you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Aja - Wow. Thank you for sharing that.. it’s so true. We can be joyful, even in the midst of pain and sadness.. How lucky are we?

    I am praying for you and Baby Mac! Merry Christmas!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • mommaof4wife2r - ahhhhh….so true! just finished my beth moore study last week on joy and i couldn’t agree more. many prayers for you all remain.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Jill - i continue to pray for you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Trisha Larson - Jess-

    Phil 4:4 is the verse that God has given me OVER and OVER again since Nate died. I’ve worked so hard on it. Finding JOY is hard admist the heartache of burying a child. But I believe that the JOY from the Lord is the ONLY way that any of us can move forward through our pain.

    Hugs,
    TrishaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Krystal - I’ve followed your blog for awhile now and prayed for you and your family often.

    Thank you for these words…they are perfect! And great to hear!

    Merry Christmas!

    From TexasReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - I think that is one of the things about you that keep drawing me back day after day 🙂
    I continue to think of you daily. Looking so forward to baby Mac coming into this world..What wonderful parents he/she will have!

    KimReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Heather at All A Flutter - It’s so true, and so many don’t understand, that we can experience true joy while in the midst of painful sorrow. Know you are in the company of many and we understand!!

    Wishing you a Merry, merry Christmas!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Erica - well jess, i think your prayer is already answered because you show so much joy and are such an encouragement, even in the darkest of times. have a very merry & blessed Christmas.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Lauren Kelly - Just beautfiful, and pray during the midst of this Christmas and in the midst of grief that you can celebrate in the hope of Jesus and the blessings that surround you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Sarah - I just recently discovered your blog and have enjoyed reading your story. Such a great post. I’ve been thinking a lot about this too with this being our first of many Christmases without our Andrew. I’ve also been going through Nancy Guthrie’s book and it’s been such an encouragement. Merry Christmas to you and your family! Praise the Lord that true joy can be found in the midst of difficult circumstances!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Andy and Cari - it’s true. last year was the first christmas we celebrated with an aching heart…caden, our daughter, died 3 months earlier…we never has a christmas with her…it would have been her first. but it was a great christmas. because God is bigger then my hurt..he comforted us and gave us peace…and joy.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • PamperingBeki - This is exactly what you show – Joy and Hope through the pain.

    You’re incredible.
    God bless you!!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melissa Joy - I just wanted to say how thankful I am for you. You don’t know me. But I know and pray for your family. And you have truly blessed me. We have lost four small babies, and your blog has helped me through some of my darkest days. And I recently began the Hope book, on your suggestion. Thank you for sharing that blessing with me!
    In this season, I have struggled with the joy versus happiness idea. People make me feel guilty for not being happy. But I keep reminding them that I *am* joyful, and that is what matters. I am going to skip ahead in the Hope book to find that portion and share it around.
    Thank you for being a conduit of grace, for sharing your home and family, and for encouraging other aching mommies even in your own pain.
    I look forward to rejoicing with you over Baby Mac, and pray for you this week as you celebrate the Savior and endure your void.
    With love in Christ!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Thank you for this beautiful post.

    Krissy Hunecke
    Batavia, ILReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Bohrer's - Jess – reading this post made me think about something. About a year ago, I think, I learned that the Biblical definition for joy is “calmly well off”. When we are calmly well off in Christ, the result is joy. This kind of joy is impossible in our own power, but with God’s amazing power, it IS possible. The cool thing is that when others see this kind of joy in you, they see GOD! Praise God that others see HIM in you!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Christina - You are so encouraging…it is amazing what you are able to do, but maybe it shouldn’t be…since it is through and by Him that you are able to do it. Thank you for sharing all that you do. Merry Christmas.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Abby - Wow…You are such a beacon of hope and inspiration. In Thessalonians Paul said that he was delighted to share not only the gospel of Christ with the people there but his life also, and it was his life that really defined what kind of a minister he was. Every time I read your blog I am overwhelmed with your courage to be real despite pain and to be open regardless of how much it may hurt; you are the epitome of what I think of when I try to define “disciple”.

    Thank you for letting your light shine, for being real and for being relateable, because in doing so you have encouraged me, and I’m sure countless others, in my relationship with the Lord!

    Merry Christmas and I am praying for a speedy and comfortable delivery for you as well as peace that passes all understanding!

    AbbyReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • katherine - I don’t fully understand how joy and happiness can exist separately, but I have also found comfort that they can. This is the second year in a row my family is facing news of cancer in one we love, but our joy at Christmas doesn’t come from circumstances. Praise God.

    Praying for peace for you. I enjoy checking your blog although we’ve never met b/c I do see that joy and peace in you through your posts.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Mandi @ It's come to this - It’s so true!! Merry Christmas to you & Joel … may you continued to be blessed with true JOY!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Townsend Crew - What an amazing post! It is simply amazing to SEE your faith… actually SEE and FEEL what true faith is like… to SEE the work you continue to do on this journey of grief and hope and healing. Your faith continues to amaze and inspire me. YOU are a piece of JOY to me… the way you demonstrate your love for God… not only in the JOYOUS times, but in these deep, hard, days of work and recovery. Thank you for your many gifts you share with me.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Melinda - Thank you for such a beautiful post. You and Joel are in my thoughts and prayers often.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - such solid words…i needed to hear them!!!Holidays are hard after parting with our loved ones..i never knew how hard before.. I just wanted u to know i LOVE your blog and am inspired by you. Also love the Cora items i purchased. Merry Christmas and God bless u and your family. Can’t wait to hear about and see baby Mac! May God grant strength for each moment! LenaReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Lisa - Wow Jess! It seems so many of us needed to hear this same message. My heart aches for you today, and I have thought of you many times during this holiday season. My youngest daughter has fought a tough battle against brain tumors and the seizures they have caused, autism, and developmental delays for the past four years. Sometimes it is hard to remain “joyful” when the sadness is just below the surface. It was so good to be reminded that true joy is in knowing that we have an ever loving God who knows our every need and meets us exactly where we are at. Thank you.

    Wishing you a peace in your heart this Christmas!

    God bless you! Merry Christmas!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - Jess…I wasn’t even going to get on the computer today. But I felt a promting to do so. I immediately went to your blog, and read this post. It was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you so much. God directed me here today, and your words were a balm to me. Even in sorrow God uses us, and he is using you in a mighty way.

    Thank you so much for all of the sharing you do. You are an inspiration.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Carpenter's - I purchased this book as soon as I saw it on your blog and it is very inspiring. Thank you for encouraging me to keep my head up in the scariest of times and have JOY!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • The Schilling's from Cimarron - Jess,

    As I read your blog today, I cried….. I am praying so hard for you both right now I know this is a very hard time for you with Christmas coming without Cora. It still seems like we just met you yesterday and were all together! We miss you and love you so much! Please know we are thinking of you everyday! We pray for you conitued healing and happiness during the holiday!

    Love you!

    AMIEReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Cassie - What a beautiful, inspiring post. Thanks for sharing this. You and your family are an inspiration– have a beautiful Christmas.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Momma H - You were so on my mind yesterday, I thought maybe Baby Mac had decided to be born. Anyway, you were prayed for especially constantly the other day, for whatever was happening.
    God bless and keep you and Joel!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Nancy Guthrie - I’ve been thinking about joy today too—especially about my favorite line in “Joy to the World” because it reveals the real reason we can have joy living in the broken world:

    “He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

    It is the curse that causes cancer in a sweet, beautiful baby. it is the curse that brings death. And the best reason to celebrate at Christmas is that Jesus has come to break the curse.

    Of course, that won’t happen at his birth. That will require his death. But indeed it will be done.

    Merry Christmas, sweet JessReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Nancy Guthrie - I’ve been thinking about joy today too—especially about my favorite line in “Joy to the World” because it reveals the real reason we can have joy living in the broken world:

    “He comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

    It is the curse that causes cancer in a sweet, beautiful baby. it is the curse that brings death. And the best reason to celebrate at Christmas is that Jesus has come to break the curse.

    Of course, that won’t happen at his birth. That will require his death. But indeed it will be done.

    Merry Christmas, sweet JessReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - MERRY CHRISTMAS Joel, Jess, Cora and Baby Mac! I have thought and prayed for all of you every single day this year. You have been a true inspiration to me.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Stef - Jess, I found your website through one of my friend’s websites 🙂
    I’ve been sitting here reading about your lives, since your very first post. I’ve grabbed the box of tissue and I’m having some laughs and many cries as I walk through your “blog” journey. My goodness. I don’t know where to begin. Nothing I say is going to be something you’ve not heard already, so I just want to say thank you. I want to thank you for sharing your joy in Jesus. For showing us what it is to be a true follower of Christ; to bear the heavy burdens and to undertake these amazingly difficult trials and deep valleys of sorrow, with ALL joy, knowing God is in control and has real, everlasting purpose for ALL He does. Your blog has reminding me that in ALL things, God truly is good. He is righteous and holy and can turn what might think is only bad, into something wonderful and good – using it for the furtherance of His Kingdom. I’m excited to see how He’s used Cora’s life! I’m sitting here amazed at how many lives your story has reached and touched. God has used Cora in more ways than He’s used me and I’m going on 30 years old! 🙂
    Your relationship with Christ, your love for your husband and your memory and love for your sweet Cora and excitement over Baby Mac is pure sweetness. It is infectious.

    I will pray for you tomorrow (Christmas Day). I will pray that God will bless you with joy that is unspeakable. That when you have memories of last Christmas, you will remember that Cora is celebrating in Eternity, with Christ. Someday you’ll join her and she can tell you all about what you missed 🙂

    Much love in Jesus, Stefanie Arnold (WA)ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Kimberley - Thinking of you today and praying for peace and JOY for you both.ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Anonymous - I just wanted you to know that even a stranger is thinking of you today, and praying for you and all of your family. May Cora’s love for you give you strength to get through these holidays and may you always feel her around you and within you, especially when your newest family member arrives!ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • http://joymariesboutique.blogspot.com/ - I just love your closing verse. I have been following your story for some time, and my prayers are with you and your family. Thanks for sharing your JOY. I just posted my own “JOY” message on my blog and am adding this verse…ReplyCancel

    [Reply]

  • Rachel - Hi Jessica,
    I have been reading your blog for years now, and I was just going through it from the beginning since I had missed the first year of it. Your faith and joy in the midst of such a difficult year are evident and beautiful.
    I am thinking of your Cora today and praying that you feel our Lord wrap His loving arms around you as you remember her too through this year, 6 years later. She is not forgotten even in Ottawa, Canada!
    Sending love from the North!
    Rachel SReplyCancel

    [Reply]