The Macs » Blog

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.
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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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

    Our prayers continue!ReplyCancel

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Trasie Bressler - Simply lovely!ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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

    Much Love,
    SuziReplyCancel

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

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  • 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

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  • Shana - This is an unbelievable and amazing thing.ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Jenifer - Love the playground Cora is so proud yallReplyCancel

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • PamperingBeki - It was a beautiful day, Jess.

    You are beautiful.ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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

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  • nennermommy - AMAZING!!!!!ReplyCancel

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

    Hugs from Buffalo!
    =D melanieReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • Team Martins - It is so beautiful.

    So very, very beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Erin - The playground looks beautiful!

    Great job momma : )ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • jennifer - Blessings to you and your family!ReplyCancel

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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Lindsey - beautiful. so, so beautiful.ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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

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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.
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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Anonymous - always in my prayers.ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

    ((Hugs))

    CristyReplyCancel

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

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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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

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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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

    XOXOReplyCancel

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

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  • 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

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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Kelli - Prayers from SC!!ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Jenifer - Preying for you ..ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • writing4612 - I bet it was beautiful.ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

    Sue xReplyCancel

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  • 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….

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  • Juliann - I am praying for you.ReplyCancel

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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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“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.
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  • Kat - What a precious reminder!ReplyCancel

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  • KK - Indeed. Joy comes in the morning.ReplyCancel

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

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  • 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

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

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  • Angie - What a great reminder.

    Thanks for posting, still praying for you!

    Take Care,
    AngieReplyCancel

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

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

    KimReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • shepherdsgrace - beautiful…

    friends are so…so…GOOD!ReplyCancel

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

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  • Lauren Kelly - Beautiful!! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Christina - Thank you for passing along these reminders.ReplyCancel

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  • The Morris Family - Praying for you!!!!

    Cindy (Joel’s mommy, (NB)ReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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!

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Anonymous - Thinking of you.

    KimReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • Robin in Benton - Praying for you tonightReplyCancel

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  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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

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It was several weeks after Cora went to heaven that Joel told me about this song.

I had heard it many times, but didn’t realize how much meaning it would come to have for our family.
It was the song that was playing as we drove to the hospital with our sweet Cora. We didn’t talk the whole way there. We were in shock and just cried as we wondered if our perfect baby could really have cancer. I don’t even remember hearing the radio as my mind was desperately trying to make sense of what was happening to our family. But Joel remembers. God You Reign.
It was the song that played late that same night as Joel drove home from the hospital by himself. He was going to pack a bag for us as we found out we would be staying for awhile. We were anticipating Cora having surgery the next day. We were so scared. God You Reign.
And it has been the song that we have heard over and over as we try to continue forward as a family without Cora. It might be an overplayed song on the radio. But to us it is a constant reminder that no matter what we are feeling emotionally, the truth is still the same. God You Reign.
We both love that little voice at the very end of the song. Even though our little Cora was barely saying a few words when she left us, it is like she is whispering down a reminder to her mama and daddy.  A reminder that we are going to be okay. God You Reign.
I love how Lincoln Brewster explains the meaning behind this song.
I wrote this post at the beginning of last week. I was planning on finishing it and posting the next day. But then my week just seemed to fall apart. It was a hard week for both of us. I’m not sure what exactly it was. Maybe it is the seasons changing. Another reminder of “firsts” that we are missing out on with Cora. Maybe it is the playground dedication that is coming up, bringing with it so many emotions. Or maybe it is simply that we miss our baby girl and our hearts continue to hurt. It was just one of those weeks.
So today as I look ahead at a new week.  I think I need to be reminded again.
God You Reign.
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  • Mindee - Lincoln Brewster is playing here next week. When they get to this song, I’ll be thinking of you. I don’t post often because you get so many and I don’t want to make more work for you but . . . well I think of you a lot. I’m sorry this happened in your life but I’m grateful for your generosity in sharing the journey.

    And if you’d like to come up to Lincoln, NE – we have extra tickets!ReplyCancel

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  • shepherdsgrace - amen…He reigns…

    last week was a hard one for many people…

    thank you for sharing…ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - So very sorry for your heartache. Yet you continue to be an inspiration to us. You, Joel and Cora are in my thoughts everyday. I’m glad to see a post from you, it makes my day even as the tears roll down my face.

    KimReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - Jess, my heart hurts for you.

    I cry so often when I think of your family. But God does reign.

    Every time Cora’s picture with the pumpkin pops up on the top of your blog, I wonder how you’re dealing with the changing season.

    Thank you for your faithfulness.ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :O) - Beautiful song…thank you for sharing and I truly think of you and your family every.single.day. I pray for you so hard and I know I say this often, but I really do work extra hard to hug my children harder and pay more attention all in the name of Cora. Your tragedy has made such an impact on my life…it brings me to tears some days. Continue to send you prayers, love, hugs and strength for support.ReplyCancel

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  • Jenn@the loves of jenn - What a beautiful song and reminder. I’m sorry that you had a rough week and hope that this one is better. I am continuing to pray for you!ReplyCancel

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  • i love plum - lots of love….xoReplyCancel

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  • Falling Around - You’ve been on my heart more and more as we approach the holiday season and more firsts without sweet Cora. My heart aches for you. But God does reign and I pray you will continue to find comfort in that knowledge.ReplyCancel

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  • Enos Family - I hope your week is better. You have such an amazing outlook. Can’t imagine living through something like this, but your story has helped me realize that with the correct attitude and outlook, you can get through. I hope each day gets better, but I’m sure you will always have “those” days.
    I think of you often.
    SaraReplyCancel

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  • Jenifer - Thanks for sharing…Cora is looking down on her parents so proudlyReplyCancel

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  • Christine - I’ll think of you guys every time I hear this song, and will commit to praying for you right then. (They play it alot on KLOVE, so expect many a prayer coming from me!) You are a constant inspiration from me and God has spoken to me so clearly through you. Thank you for your honesty, your transparency, and your faith. We will continue to lift you up in prayer.ReplyCancel

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  • Karina - September is a bittersweet month. I agree, it is because the season is changing; it is spectacularly beautiful, yet so many things are dying all around us.

    Your post made me cry.

    I feel such anger too. I am angry that this kind of suffering has to happen, and go on and on the way it does, with no end in sight – how can anyone get over the loss of a child? I can’t fathom what kind of God does this.

    And no, yours is not the only suffering; many people grieve 9/11 now too, for example – there is no shortage of grief, it is all around us and festers for many reasons.

    I am frankly amazed that you continue to have faith. It makes it seem like you have insight and will transcend your pain, while I remain blind and fogged over and mad.

    Hugs to you in your continued battle; you are certainly inspiring.ReplyCancel

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  • Carrie Metz - Dear Jess,

    Soooo many times I have wanted to write. Today as I read your beautiful words I was moved to drop you a note. My heart aches for the pain you and Joel feel. . . through your pain, your words have been a continual breath of fresh air. I leave tomorrow to spend time with my sister and her family, including my neice, Kate Mcrae. You mentioned her one day and somehow I found your blog. Now I find myself thinking about your beautiful family and weekly (okay, more than weekly) :)come back to check on you guys and pray that the Lord’s tender mercies will be new each morning for you.

    Your sweet “voice” is being heard by many. Thank you for the incredible privilege to journey with you through this unthinkable time. You are incredible mom and woman.

    Much love,
    Carrie
    carrie.metz@gmail.comReplyCancel

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  • Sheryl From Colorado - Hi Jess,
    I wanted to let you know when I logged onto your website I was listening to KLOVE and the song “God You Reign” was on. He cares about even the little things in our lives! HE does Reign, and I will continue to pray for you and that newest addition to your family.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - This was a beautiful reminder…for some reason I had missed it, even though I love LB! Thnak you for sharing it…I pictured sweet Cora saying the words in that sweet baby voice sitting at the feet of her Savior and it brought tears to my eyes.
    Blessings-
    Laura from FLReplyCancel

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  • Beckypdj - Dear Jess;

    I hope you don’t mind if I talk to your commenter Karina in my comment.

    Karina, God does not “do this”. There is suffering because we live in a fallen world. This was not God’s plan for us, God gave Adam ultimate authority on earth but Adam chose to let sin in. Even though we are born sinners, God gave us Jesus, so we could come back to Him. And while I believe in living a blessed life here on earth, my ultimate goal is Heaven and eternity with my Heavenly Father.

    I too have lost my child and it hurts and I don’t understand why Peyton is in Heaven before me. But I know that God loves me and I cannot wait to be reunited.

    I hope this reads with the love that was intended while I typed. Thank you Jess and hugs to you and your family. I am now in my 20th month of the grieving process. The firsts are very hard. I posted on my blog once that “the memories seem to be gentler somehow, they don’t take my breath away like they used to.” (or something like that.) You will reach this place too.

    Thanks for all the space I took up.ReplyCancel

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  • Baylee and Blair's page - My heart is so heavy for you and your family. I remember back when your blog was passed my way to begin praying over. I couldn’t believe that such a sweet little girl could have cancer! My heart is breaking for you as I could only imagine what it would be like losing one of my girls.

    Big Hugs to you and Joel!

    TiffanyReplyCancel

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  • TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo - What a beautiful song, and a beautiful reminder of God’s grace. My heart hurts for your sweet family now. You continue to be in my prayers, and also in my praises for shining such a light of God’s love on MY life.
    Thank you for your willingness to share this difficult journey with us.
    May God continue to bless both you and Joel and baby Mac.

    With love and prayers,
    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Hurting with you and praying for you.
    JoAnneReplyCancel

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  • mommyof2sons - Beautiful song. I had never heard it before. Prayers for you both!!ReplyCancel

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  • Jessica - I have seen him live, he is amazing. The song is MORE amazing (I think Ill add it to my myspace if I can find it).

    Just wanted you to know that I am spreading the word this month about childhood cancer…and you guys are in my thoughts and prayers.ReplyCancel

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  • Andrea - i also am so sorry for your loss and couldn’t even begin to imagine what you might be going threw. however, you inspire me in so many ways, as a women trying to be more like Jesus, and a mother. thank you for sharing all your feelings and thoughts. God Bless you dear and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • mommaof4wife2r - awesome…and god soooo reigns. thank you for the great reminder!ReplyCancel

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  • Lexie Loo & Dylan Too - I’m sorry you had a rough week. My thoughts and prayers are always with you and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • jandkland - God You Reign. We all need reminding. In this month that is set aside for childhood cancer awareness, I honor Cora’s memory by daring to speak of the unspeakable: cancer touching the life of a dear child. Sometimes people don’t want to talk about it, but we must. We have to remember that families like yours live and breathe childhood cancer each day. We must fight as bravely and strongly as we can. May God guide the researchers as they seek a cure. May God direct the doctors as they choose the best treatments. May God strengthen the children as they endure the effects of disease. May God comfort the parents who bear the burden of their suffering children. May God wrap his arms tightly around the parents who can no longer hug their children. And praise God, that he truly does reign over it all. Somehow. Some way.

    –Kelley in GA (queenkelley.com)ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel - I don’t know you, but have followed your blog for a while now…and have prayed for you often as you have had to walk through this dark, dark valley. I cannot pretend to know anything of the pain you know…so all I can do is pray that God will bring His comfort to You in the way that only He can. I am so, so sorry for the loss of your sweet little girl.ReplyCancel

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  • ashley - hi! I’ve been reading your blog regularly for a very long time. I’ve never commented, not sure even what to say except that I pray for you and your family often – my heart hurts for your pain every time I read your words.
    You and your family, including that new baby are all on my prayer list regularly. 🙂
    AshleyReplyCancel

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  • Al's World - Thank you for shining your light to others around you. Joyce Meyer said today that the biggest testiment we have to unbelievers is our strength during the hard times.

    I feel close to you in some ways, my daughter and Cora are only two months apart in age, my great grandmother’s name was Cora and I have always loved it, I lost my mother to cancer after only 6 weeks of diagnosis this past November, I am expecting as well, a surprise, due in Februrary and like you I am welcoming this little one with mixed emotions. I am praying for you and Joel during this time, I will be praying for you on the 20th for that bittersweet beautiful day and will continue to praise God for He does reign!ReplyCancel

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  • katy - Thank you for sharing this song, I hadn’t heard it before. Your faith in such a dark period of your life inspires me to draw closer to Jesus. I am so sorry about your sweet Cora.ReplyCancel

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  • Lori - You will remain in our prayers in these difficult times. May God bless you with peace and healing.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - My husband passed away 2-1/2 years ago. I don’t know why either, but the past 4-5 days were hard for me too. Lots of tears, lots of memories, lots of asking why and what’s next. I think it is all a part of the process (and one that never really ends). I also think it keeps us pulled close into Jesus’ loving arms.

    I too find a lot of solace in music. Lincoln Brewster’s CD is one of my favorites.ReplyCancel

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  • Christina - May the Sovereign Lord of the universe continue to carry and heal your broken hearts, watch over you all, and show you how to walk the path that is laid out before you. May you know his faithfulness fully as it is possible, and may your faithfulness shine as a light to all who see it.ReplyCancel

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  • Jill - Hey Jess,
    I would love to send you a note via email so that there would be some privacy. If you dont mind, can you email me at mom2boogie@gmail.com? I have something I would like to share with you – a change in my family that I contribute to Cora.
    Take care….you are always in my prayers,
    JillReplyCancel

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  • Mace and Brei - Praying for your sweet family. Your faithful, grateful spirit and the way you cling to The Lord are such an encouragement. Glorifying God in the darkest of times…what beauty. God, You reign.ReplyCancel

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  • Karina - Beckypdj, I appreciate your loving comments – a big part of me wishes I could embrace this idea you call God!

    I am continually drawn to this blog, for the human emotions so well expressed, as a mother overwhelmed by empathy for what Jess and Joel have suffered, and (even though I don’t share their faith), admiration for the way in which they have chosen to cope and see the world. I still find them remarkable as people and parents, even though I myself do not believe in a creator, the fall of Man, etc.

    I just remarked to my husband last night that I had heard a beautiful song on Jess’s latest post, but too bad it was about God. He said we could ignore the lyrics, or just take from it the same sense of wonder that we are here, regardless of whether we worship a heavenly father or are simply in awe of existence. I like that idea; it is a lot like how I view all these comments, which inspire me even though I do not share their conviction.ReplyCancel

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  • Lauren Kelly - Beautiful!

    And I absolutely love that song!!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Lindsay - Bless your sweet family and your unswerving faith. Thank you for so selflessly serving as a reminder to all of us that He reigns. I think of You, Joel, Cora and Baby Mac often and you are in our prayers.ReplyCancel

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  • Erica - this song will remind me to pray for you, and all parents who are wanting to trust in God to reign in their lives through the loss of a child. thank you for your beautiful heart.ReplyCancel

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  • mommathieszen - Not sure if you have heard the new single from Steven Curtis Chapman yet, but I listened to it today for the first time and it sent tears streaming down my face. Thinking of you guys the whole time. Have kleenexes in hand if you haven’t heard it, but I think you would find it extremely touching. Here’s the link: http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=84138e76e13c5c50e12c

    Blessings of continued healing on your journey,
    Angie ThieszenReplyCancel

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  • Chelsa - thank you for sharing the song!ReplyCancel

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  • Tracie - Thank you for sharing that song.

    I could listen to it all day.

    I pray for your family daily!ReplyCancel

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  • Country Roads - I’m so sorry you’re having a hard time right now. Prayers for you are on the way.

    The song is beautiful! Adding it to my playlist and will always think of Cora and your family when I hear it. Thanks for sharing with us. God Bless!ReplyCancel

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  • Angie - We lost a baby, Jack, when I was 6 months pregnant and something that helped me cope was music. A friend at our church went through the same thing and sent me a CD of a song that helped her see through her pain. It helped me see that life really wasn’t up to us to decide what happens, it’s all up to HIM. The song was “Walk by Faith” by Jeremy Camp. We now have a second son after our loss. Have faith with the new baby!
    The emotions are very up and down with another child and very hard to be happy while missing the baby you’ve lost at the same time. May God Bless your family.ReplyCancel

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  • JJC - still think about you often even though we don’t know each other. still pray for you and your family. still think about your little cora when i look at my little emory who was born just 3 days before cora. still think about how similar our lives are as emory is our 1st born. still praying for you.ReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - Thinking of you and praying for you tonight.ReplyCancel

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  • Christina - The simplicity of that statement hurts. God You reign. He reigns even when we don’t recognize it. He reigns until we recognize it.ReplyCancel

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  • Lauren - Still praying for you all. I know the dedication service will be beautiful and I pray you can feel Jesus’ arms around you as you see how He has prompted all of these people to love on you in different ways.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - praying for you….ReplyCancel

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  • megan - We are praying for you guys. We trust that the Lord, who is taking care of your sweet little girl, is taking care of you, too. Our hearts ached when we heard your story….we are grateful for the hope Jesus gives.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - your posts are always so touching and eloquent- God bless you!ReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - This doesn’t pertain to this post but we went to the fair the other day and I thought of you guys because I remember your post from last year’s fair. I remember Cora in her stroller and you with turkey grease stains on your pants.

    I know how much Joel likes “interesting” food, so I wanted to share this link. 😉

    Fried Butter!! For real.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2009/09/fair_explores_new_frontier_in.html

    I think you need to take a trip to Dallas so he can try it.ReplyCancel

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  • Kimberley - You’ve been on my mind a lot recently…just wanted to stop by and say I think of you guys and pray for comfort frequently. Hope you’re having a good week…and I’ll be thinking of you on Sunday….I’m sure it will be a very bittersweet day. Love and prayers from Maryland…ReplyCancel

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  • Elizabeth - Joel and Jess,
    Praying for you as you plan for the dedication this weekend…ReplyCancel

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  • The Schilling's from Cimarron - Hey,
    I had a minute today during my planning time at school and was thinking about you all! I read the blog and listened to the song……. Cried…… My kids asked what was wrong and then of course I got to share the story of baby Cora and you with them….. they all came up and hugged me…. I could feel Cora right in the middle of it all. ONce again you have put things in perspective for me. I love you and miss you all so much! Hoping for better days for you ahead…. please know we are still praying for you daily!

    Love to you always!

    AmieReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Jess – You have been on my mind more than usual! I know the year of firsts and the dedication on Sunday will bring many emotions. The Lord goes before you and carries you through. His mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness.
    Your pain will not remain as pain. It is indeed already a ministry to others as we witness your faithfulness to our God, WHO REIGNS!
    love you and your family,
    Kristen B.ReplyCancel

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  • Tegan and Tage - I am fortunate enough to attend church with Lincoln Brewster here in Sacramento and that song just hits me every time he peforms it live– truely the meaning of worship. Thank you for sharing your lives and your (Cora’s) story. I am a good friend of Heather (Cookie Mondays) and my prayers are will all of you this weekend at the dedication.ReplyCancel

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  • Heather - I was really wanting to get to that dedication today..it didn’t happen. I am praying for you guys! I hope today was a blessing to your heart.

    heatherReplyCancel

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  • Misty Rice - Beautiful post, and so looking forward to how yesterdays playground opening went.

    God Bless.ReplyCancel

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  • Jennifer Dawn - Yes, he does! My heart just breaks for you and your husband, but I admire your devotion and strength. I am a mommy to a seven month old little girl named Lydia Grace. She has had many health issues, and only recently had some positive test results. Still I can only begin to understand what you have gone through. After reading about Cora, I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.ReplyCancel

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  • Abby - You don’t know me at all, and honestly, I cant even remember how I found your blog, but I check it regularly now. Cora is a just a bit older than my youngest daughter, and I can’t imagine what you are going through. I’m so very sorry for your pain.

    However, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you. I have often wondered how I would react in the face of loss like yours or utter heartbreak…I hope I would choose to glorify God the way that you do. I know it must be hard, but I want you to know that your story and the way you choose to glorify God regardless of the situation has taught me so much. When it comes to my kids, you have taught me to treasure every moment- enjoy the little things. In my relationship with God, you have reminded me that I dont have to know what is going on- I just have to trust Him. Your story has changed my life, so- Thank You.ReplyCancel

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Thank you Sara for making this sweet invitation for us!
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  • Anonymous - Such a beautiful invitation just like your little Cora! I haven’t posted a comment before but have been following your journey for a while now and have kept your family in my prayers. The playground looks fabulous just from the pictures and I know that it will bring joy to many children as they play on it in remembrance of sweet Cora. 🙂

    Many blessings and hugs,
    Christine S.ReplyCancel

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  • Marla Taviano - Congratulations!! Wish Ohio wasn’t so far away!ReplyCancel

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  • THE ZELLERS - We’ll be thinking of you! The playground is just beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Staci - Beautiful invitation. I know the dedication will be great!ReplyCancel

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  • Shannon - Wish I could be there. Hope it is a blessedly beautiful day for all of you.ReplyCancel

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  • purejoy - awww, i wish i could go. i’m going to get a pink balloon for just the occasion. i’ll send it up to cora so she’ll have something to play with too!ReplyCancel

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  • Elizabeth - Jess, thanks for sharing your heart. I am praying for you…for your mommy heart…for healing…for continued faith and strength. We will be at the Dedication…I have already started crying…thank you for letting everyone share with you…that is so generous of you. I hope you have a fabulous day.ReplyCancel

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  • Miss G - That is BEAUTIFUL! What a special, special day that will be! KellyReplyCancel

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  • dealightfulsavings - I wish I could come….I pray that it’s a day that you’ll feel loved, feel the close presence of the Lord and that this will bring some healing to your hearts!ReplyCancel

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  • Karina - What a beautiful invitation, it makes me want to be there (but I’m way up in Canada, and maybe you don’t want to invite the whole world…I hope the church is a big one!). Please post lots of pictures, there are many of us who will be thinking of you when it is taking place.ReplyCancel

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  • Stacy - that is beautiful!!! i wished i lived close so i could come support u all!!!!!ReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - It looks perfect, just as it should be.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Wish we could come but we are in California I will be thinking of sweet Cora that day the playground turned out so wonderful.
    Summer & FamilyReplyCancel

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  • mommyof2sons - What a beautiful invitation! I will be thinking of your family. Wish I was closer.ReplyCancel

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  • Hannah - Jess,
    I’ve wanted to post so many times and never been able to find the words. You and I went to school together in Colorado, and I found out about Cora through Laura M. shortly after she entered the hospital. I just want you to know that my small group prays for you and Joel and now your new baby on a regular basis. Your faith has been such an example to me, and I just want you to be reminded that Cora’s life touched so many people and that God will continue to use her story to draw people to him. I will be thinking of and praying for you and Joel during the dedication.

    Hannah Frank (Jarrell)ReplyCancel

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  • Trasie Bressler - God Bless you all!
    TrasieReplyCancel

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  • The Schilling's from Cimarron - What a sweet invite…. We will try to make it….. we may just have to come down for church and then say hi… that way the kiddos don’t get home so late that night. We miss you and still think of sweet baby Cora everyday! I read your last post, and of course teared up and wondered all the same things you did? Your faith and love in the Lord is still such a powerful statement for me….. I cherish your words and feelings more than you know! I will be in touch if we can’t make it, but I know we will try to if at all possible!

    Love to you all!

    AMIEReplyCancel

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  • Beckypdj - Congratulations!ReplyCancel

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  • Mum2twopreciousgifts - If Australia wasn’t on the other side of the planet, our little family would love to join you to celebrate Cora.

    Thank you for keeping the blog updated. God Bless you all.ReplyCancel

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  • shepherdsgrace - beautiful…ReplyCancel

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  • Cristy - That is just precious!ReplyCancel

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  • Falling Around - I desperately wish my family and I could join you all in this day. You will be in my thoughts and prayers as I’m sure it will be an emotional day for you and Joel.

    Love & Prayers,
    Christy KleinReplyCancel

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  • Candice - It’s beautiful. We’ll be thinking of you on that day.ReplyCancel

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  • Sue - I wish, I wish, I wish I could be there! Will be with you all in thought.

    Good luck!

    Sue xReplyCancel

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  • Tina - Jess,

    I wish I lived a little closer so I could be there. I am sure you will take lots of great pictures and that you will write all about it. I hope and pray for great weather for you and I hope the dedication brings you peace and comfort.

    Thinking of you…

    TinaReplyCancel

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  • Lauren Kelly - So beautiful!!! 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • dillysplace - LOVE THE INVITATION. aLL OF THE HARD WORK THAT EVERYONE PUT INTO THE PARK IS SUCH A BLESSING. sO MANY CHILDREN WILL BENEFIT. GOD BLESS FROM DILLYSPLACE. WHERE EVERY KID CAN BE A kid.ReplyCancel

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  • CourtneyC - aww, that is such a beautiful invitation.ReplyCancel

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  • Rebecca - Like so many others, I wish we could be there. No doubt you will be lifted up in prayer on Sunday by so many who love you.ReplyCancel

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  • Melissa and Shawn - I too have followed your story through my friend Emily, and have asked many of the same questions of God that you probably do everyday. I have a little one just a bit older than Cora would be and I can’t fathom the strength you have (of course I know where it comes from). I want to wish you blessings on your playground dedication, it is beautiful just like Cora. Thank you for sharing your journey and congratulations on the new blessing that will arrive soon. I hope to have a girl someday so I can buy a Cora dress for her 🙂

    -Melissa W.
    Seattle, WAReplyCancel

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  • Ruth - will be wearing my cora flower pin and thinking of you guys… the invitation is beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Susy M. - When God calls little children
    To dwell with Him above,
    We mortals sometimes question
    The wisdom of His love.
    For no heartache compares with
    The death of one small child
    Who does so much to make our world
    So wonderful and mild.
    Perhaps God tires of calling
    The aged to his fold,
    So He picks a rosebud
    Before it can grow old.
    God knows how much we need them,
    And so He takes but few
    To make the land of Heaven
    More beautiful to view.
    Believing this is difficult
    Still somehow we must try
    The saddest word mankind knows
    Will always be “Goodbye.”
    So when a little child departs,
    We who are left behind
    Must realize God loves children,
    Angels are hard to find.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - OH MY WHAT SUSY M. SAID IS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL THING AND I THINK SHE IS RIGHT. I LOST MY MOM WHEN SHE WAS JUST 49 AND I ALWAYS SAID GOD TOOK HER EARLY BECAUSE HE NEEDED A SPECIAL ANGEL AND THAT IS WHY CVGOD NEEDED CORA!!!!! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR SWEET HUSBAND!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Angie - Love the invitation – hope it goes well!

    Wish MN was a little closer 🙂ReplyCancel

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  • UK Cowles - Dear Joel and Jess,
    I don’t have your email, so will leave this here. I just saw the video of the song ‘Heaven is the Face’ by Steven Curtis Chapman about his little girl. Immediately thought of Cora, and the dedication. Here is the link:
    http://www.tangle.com/view_video?viewkey=84138e76e13c5c50e12c
    We love you, Debbie CowlesReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Such a sweet invitation. Cora Paige left to soon, what an awesome wonderful legacy sweet Cora leaves for,Baby Mac,her family and friends.
    Your faith is a Beautiful testament of our loving Christ.
    God Bless you & your family.
    Laura from SCReplyCancel

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  • Mandi @ It's come to this - It’s a beautiful invitation. The playground is such a great gift to honor your beautiful daughter!!

    And I love the new blog look w/ all of Cora’s pictures!! I’ve been reading through my google reader so I don’t see the background … glad I clicked over today:)ReplyCancel

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  • Robin in Benton - Thinking about you and praying for you. While I’m sure next Sunday will be a happy time it’s also going to be a sad time. Focus on the sweet memories of your baby girl, all the happy times you had with her and look forward to the future with Baby Mac and the fun times you will have with him or her.ReplyCancel

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  • teachNOLA - Such a precious invitation for such a special occasion. I know it will be hard and beautiful, all at the same time.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Just wanted you to know you had prayers from Texas this morning. I was thinking of your family as my daughter was playing on the playground after church this morning! Our first daughter passed away four years ago, it’s a long journey learning to “live again”. I hope you have beautiful weather this afternoon for the dedication!ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Thinking of you todayReplyCancel

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  • loriaj61 - I just found your website and I don’t know how long ago you lost your beautiful daughter, but I send my love to you and your family. There is never an easy way to deal with the pain of losing a loved one, especially one so young. There is a plan for families to be together forever, even after you pass from this life. If you go to lds.org and go to the questions section they can teach you about the plan of salvation. How you can be with your beautiful little Cora for ever. Much love, LoriReplyCancel

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