The Macs » Blog

Joel and I have been involved in small groups ever since we were married.
And it seems like it is always the same with every group.
It takes about a year for everyone to feel really comfortable with each other.
It takes that long for people to be open and real and vulnerable.
It takes that long for those people to become more like family.
But it is amazing how this time it was so different.
In one weekend we gained a new family.
In one weekend we were vulnerable with each other, there was no avoiding it.
We shared our deepest hurts and struggles.
We shared our grief.

These are the eleven couples we spent the weekend with.

Eleven amazing couples. Each and every one of them.
Starting the first night together we shared our stories.
We sat in that big living room and told all about our sweet child.
We told about the tragedies and nightmares that we each had lived through.
Each story was different, but equally horrific.
We cried together.
And although listening to all those stories was really heavy,
there was something so neat about it.
We could relate.
We understood each other. And we felt instantly connected.
We loved being able to meet Bob and Lauren.
They too lost their first child, Robbie.
Shortly after Cora went to heaven, they sent us Nancy Guthrie’s books.
Lauren has encouraged me so much.
She is so willing to share her story and answer my questions.
She is the one who e-mailed me and told me about the Respite Retreat.
And the best part was they were going to be there too!
Joel and I spent lots of time talking to them.
Their love for the Lord and dependence on Him is so evident.
We are learning so much from them.
We are so thankful for David and Nancy
and their willingness to share their lives.
The Lord is using their story to reach so many, including us.
Joel and I feel blessed to have met and shared our lives
with these eleven couples.
If we were honest, we would do anything to not be a part of this “club”.
But this is our life now and these people really get us.
That was refreshing.
We are so thankful to have some new friends to travel this road with us.
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  • Anonymous - Thank you for continueing to share your journey with us..I continue to think of you, pray for you daily..

    KimReplyCancel

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  • Lauren Kelly - Awwww, so neat and loving that baby bump!!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • Marla Taviano - Life is hard, but God is good. Praying for you guys!ReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - What an amazing blessing to have others you can relate with.ReplyCancel

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  • Bri!!! - Wonderful. It’s so amazing to be understood. I went to get an ultra sound on Wednesday at 10 weeks. We were SO EXCITED to be pregnant because with our first it took us 3 years of treatment and this one came so easily. Well, there was no heartbeat and I was devastated. However, there is so much strength in being understood. I had no idea how many of my friends have gone through the horror of an ultrasound gone bad. Or miscarriages of a baby that was so wanted. I find peace in this understanding that I share with these other women. I’m grateful you too are finding that peace. May God bless you. I can’t wait to meet your next little one God is sending to you. GOD BLESS!ReplyCancel

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  • TRICIA @ The Zoo - Hi Jess and Joel.

    What a blessing to have people in your life who not only love and support you, but that can truly relate and understand. Amazing how God sends us the people that we need exactly when we need them.

    With love and prayers for your family,
    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

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  • Karina - I’m so glad you have found some solace in kindred spirits, although I wouldn’t wish so much grief on anyone.

    You look wonderful, btw, that baby bump is so beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Erica - what a blessing to have these new couples be a part of your life.

    and you look SO adorable!ReplyCancel

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  • The Sweigart Family - How amazing that must have felt to be in a room where EVERYONE new how you felt. I’m sure there was GREAT comfort in that.ReplyCancel

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  • Nancy - Sounds like an amazing retreat ~ a gift from God.
    God bless you! Your blog is becoming part of my daily blog ritual!ReplyCancel

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  • Claudia - It’s amazing how we can relate to other through the same experiences … no matter how hard I try to get my girls on our bible study group to share, to connect, I know it takes time and I know it takes big moments in life that are similar to relate to one another.

    I love how you phrase the fact that you would do anything not to be a part of this club but this is your life now. That’s call acceptance and is a wonderful step that only God can help you take.

    I admire your strength and your willingness to share your feelings as you go through this.ReplyCancel

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  • Trasie Bressler - God Bless you!ReplyCancel

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  • Dina - Amazing…I’m so glad that God allowed you all to find each other…what a blessing:-)ReplyCancel

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  • merlin - I love to see the smiles, that there can be joy in the sorrow. And I love to see your baby belly.ReplyCancel

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  • meg duerksen - i was crying by the first paragraph! i am SO HAPPY you went to this! what a perfect place…beatuiful…healing…safe. i feel so loved for you seeing that group of new friends.ReplyCancel

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  • dawn - It’s the club you didn’t want to join–the bereaved parent club. I’m in it too. However, it is such a blessing to connect with others in the club. There is an immediate understanding of each other’s hearts.

    This retreat sounds awesome, and an amazing gift. So glad you got to go prior to your new one coming…

    I too love that book. What a neat thing the Guthries are doing.ReplyCancel

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  • Jennifer Rutherford - Thank you Jesus for community!

    Praying for your family…and you do look super cute!

    Blessings,
    JennReplyCancel

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  • Judy - Thank you so much for sharing about your weekend and the book that touched your lives so much. I know it’s such a personal story to share, but I know several people who desperately need to know that they are not alone in this journey of grief. They need to know about these resources. They need a copy of that book. They need other people in their lives who have walked this road…I’m passing this info on to Alex’s mommy and Olivia’s mommy! I’ll bet Alex and Olivia are playing with Cora right now ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • onlymehere - Thank heavens for groups like these. I’m so glad you’ve found friends who understand. Those of us who have never lost a child can never fully understand how deep your pain is. God bless you on your journey as you continue to touch my heart and others. CindyReplyCancel

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  • All Doll(ed) Up - Jes-
    What an amazing time to be with people who can say, “I know how you feel…” I am so glad you guys were able to do this. Praying for you- hope you are doing good! We will need to set up another lunch date soon!ReplyCancel

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  • mommaof4wife2r - love that the lord continues to use what has hurt us to mend others and still us…wow. you guys rock. we love small group…so glad you guys have a fab one!ReplyCancel

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  • laney - …how is it that i can sit at a computer far away from you…and still feel such a strong connection…i have never lost a child…i have never known pain like yours…i have never seen you…and i probably never will…at least not on this earth…and there is the thread…the thread of someday…someday i wll hug you and i will tell you face to face… i prayed for you…and you will know me for you will have known my prayers…that is what Jesus can do…and oh…i am so glad…ReplyCancel

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  • Heather at All A Flutter - That is an amazing event! Meeting others that have lost a child is so important in this journey. It took almost 2 years after my son passed away before I met another mother that had lost her baby, and finally making that connection made a huge difference in my life. I’m so happy you were able to attend, and able to make friends that understand.ReplyCancel

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  • Sue - Well done to you both for facing up to all of this so bravely! Keep your faith close by, it’s the only thing that gets you through something like this.

    By the way, you are looking so stunning. That bump is so neat and tiny.

    Sue xReplyCancel

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  • respite retreat reunion » The Macs - […] You might remember that a few years ago we had the opportunity to attend David and Nancy Guthrie’s Respite Retreat. It was such an emotional weekend but played a huge role in the healing process for us. You can read a little more about that weekend here and here. […]ReplyCancel

This past weekend Joel and I headed to Nashville, Tennessee for a Respite Retreat. This retreat is hosted by David and Nancy Guthrie for couples who have faced the death of a child. Nancy is the author of The One Year Book of Hope that I told you has been so helpful to us.

We joked on our way there about what we were going to say to people who asked us what we were doing in Tennessee. You know, the well meaning flight attendant who wants to know if you are on vacation or visiting family. What would be their reaction when we told them we weren’t actually in Nashville to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame?? Instead, we were coming for a weekend retreat for grieving parents. It would be just another of the many awkward moments we face these days. Thankfully, no one asked.

We picked up another couple from the airport and drove an hour outside of Nashville to this big, beautiful house. It is called The Hiding Place. Such a fitting name.
You (God) are my hiding place.
Psalm 32:7
There were eleven other couples, including Nancy and her husband, who joined us for this weekend. We each had our own little room in the house.

The majority of the weekend we spent in this living room. Sharing our stories, grieving together, learning how to move forward with the Lord’s strength, and just getting to know each other.

It was a hard weekend. A weekend filled with many tears. There is so much that I am still processing. But, we are SO glad we went. We needed this time to grieve together. We needed this time to lean on and learn from so many others who are walking in our shoes. We needed this time to be reminded that Jesus himself speaks into our sorrows. There are no easy answers, but we can rest in the fact that we are grieving with HOPE.
We came back emotionally exhausted. Not quite ready to face the busy week ahead. Yet, at the same time feeling like we had some new tools to help us keep moving forward. I have so much more that I will share with you soon.
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  • PamperingBeki - Oh Jess, what a blessing to get to go to that retreat!

    To me, it was ironic about what you said about the flight attendant. Back in my own flight attendant days, I was based out of Memphis and flew sooooo many families to and from St. Jude children’s hospital.

    I saw many of them regularly and got to know them a bit. It was always heartbreaking to see the families go home a final time without their kid if the child didn’t make it. But there were the cases too where the child would fly home with the biggest smile because they were cancer free.

    *You* are such a blessing to more people than you’ll ever know.
    In God, there is hope!ReplyCancel

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  • runafteryou - What a beautiful idea for a retreat. As a grieving mother, I always feel kindered in some way to others who’ve shared this great burden. I hope the benefits of this retreat stay near your heart.ReplyCancel

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  • The Mershawn's - I think that’s awesome.
    So glad there are people out there willing to help others along the terrible long road of grief. And so glad that HOPE is still there.
    What a tremendous ministry. I’m so glad you guys were linked with them. Thanks for sharing. Still praying for your sweet family.ReplyCancel

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  • Brittany - Wow, what a weekend! I am so glad that you are looking at God’s grace in your healing process. I am so inspired by your faith and your willingness to work through your pain, while remembering Cora everyday.

    We live near Nashville, I am proud that there is a ministry to reach out to grieving parents. What a blessing.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Prayers,
    BrittanyReplyCancel

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  • Lori Danelle - Wish I had known you were coming to town! We could have met up and I could have shown you around. Glad to hear your enjoyed yourself despite the heaviness of it all.ReplyCancel

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  • Trasie Bressler - God Bless you!ReplyCancel

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  • Heather - what a BEAUTIFUL house. it must have been an amazing experience. you and joel were no doubt a huge inspiration for those other couples.

    xxReplyCancel

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  • Marla Taviano - What an incredible ministry. I love hearing stories of how God’s people are using their heartache to reach out to others.

    Praying for you this week!ReplyCancel

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  • Marie - That is a beautiful thing.ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel - I am thrilled that you were able to have this time with others who are also in the same shoes. Granted, I know that you, Joel and the other parents would much have rathered that instead you gather with their children. However, I am grateful to Our Lord for the ministry that was done this past weekend and for friendships formed and bonds made, and therapeutic times. Continuing in prayer.ReplyCancel

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  • Al's World - I am so glad that you were able to get away and experience this together…praying for healing in your heart and soul!ReplyCancel

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  • Maria - I am so glad you were able to go. I pray for you oftenReplyCancel

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  • Whimsical Creations - What a beautiful place for a retreat.

    hugs!ReplyCancel

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  • Kate Starr - What a good God indeed, giving us respite and strength!! Indeed a blessing to retreat, despite the tears.ReplyCancel

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  • Robin Cotton - God is Good!! Praying !ReplyCancel

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  • Jane In The Jungle - So glad y’all were able to get to the retreat! Beautiful house and so appropriately named.

    Hope you were treated to our Southern hospitality. I’m in Chattanooga, Tn.ReplyCancel

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  • The Perfect Trio - We were in Nashville this weekend too! I wonder if we passed each other….probably not. I surely would have noticed you!

    I pray for you all the time!

    MelissaReplyCancel

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  • Harper Loyer - Thats great that you got to go and experience this with other families who actually know what you are going through on a more personal level. God Bless your family!!!! You are in my thoughts and prayers on a daily basis!!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Stephanie - What a wonderful retreat. I am glad that you were able to connect with other couples who have been through the same thing. Praying for your family!ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah - It looks like a beautiful peaceful place to share your loss, pain and tears with others who have been and are going through what you are.
    Always praying for you.ReplyCancel

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  • Christy Vogt - There is definitely nothing like having people to share and cry with who are walking through the same trials. So glad that God gave you this opportunity.ReplyCancel

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  • Barclay Kathryn - How awesome that there is something like this offered for families that are grieving.ReplyCancel

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  • Melissa Moss - What a great blessing for you and your husband. I understand how hard it must have been to face you grief but how healing it must have been too. Even almost 5 years after the loss of my little girl Emma Noelle I still have not given myself a chance to truly grieve. I would have loved the opportunity to talk to others who have gone what I have gone through. So few understand what it is like to lose a child. Thank you for sharing your story because it does help those of us out here that feel so alone.

    Melissa Moss
    melissamoss79@live.comReplyCancel

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  • Nicole Robinson - I’ve posted a few comments over the last few months. I still feel like a stranger watching someone else’s life, but I am drawn to your story and your witness over and over. God is doing great things through your personal tragedy. God is touching so many through your walk. Thank you for continuing to share. Our God is mighty and perfect. His healing and His timing are so amazing.ReplyCancel

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  • Lauren Kelly - Sounds like it was a very much needed weekend and retreat away!!!!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Jen - sounds wonderful..and what a beautiful place.. perhaps we will look into something like this.. thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - How awesome for you! I read Holding on to Hope by Nancie Gunthrie a few years ago and thought it was awesome! Keep looking upward to God! God Bless!ReplyCancel

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  • Claudia - What a blessing to have this time with other couples … I know the grief is not a blessing in itself (I can only imagine) but all these instances where you can share and learn in God’s love is a blessing after all.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Thank you for continuing to share your life with us out in blog world! I have followed your story all this year and pray for you all. I am very interested in what you gleaned from this retreat on grieving as I am going through a very hard time with a huge loss in my life. So if and when you share on this blog, I know it will be a huge blessing for many.
    Praying for you and your new baby!ReplyCancel

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  • BEK - You are an amazing couple and I am so glad you are willing to share your story!ReplyCancel

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  • merlin - Because of your willingness to share, you are changing lives, helping leave God-impressions on other people. I see grace in your life, God’s grace. I ordered the Hope book after your post and then when I saw this one about the retreat I became impatient for my book to arrive. It makes my spirit soar to see how God’s love is woven from one to another and also to complete strangers in distant parts of the country. I sit back and think how Hope’s, Gabriel’s and Cora Paige’s lives together reached me….it is overwhelming. I can not begin to understand the ways and plans of God.ReplyCancel

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  • JenReece - Glad you enjoyed the retreat. I hope Nashville treated you well (that’s where I live!) God will take care of you!ReplyCancel

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  • Sincerely, Stephnie - I hoped the retreat will give you the “tools” you need to get through this. As always, you are inspiring.

    StephnieReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - So glad you were able to have a weekend retreat! Isn’t The Hiding Place beautiful? I live in Clarksville just a few miles down the road from where you guys where this weekend. I also wanted to let you know that I received the two black letter burp cloths that I bought from you the other day. They are beautiful! Thanks! Praying for you guys!
    Jennifer W.ReplyCancel

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  • Susan - Oh what a blessing to read you made this retreat.

    I have not lost a child, but because my son is a cancer survivor my life is filled with friends who have lost children.

    I am also the sibling of a child my mom lost.

    I feel in love with Nancy. I’ve read several of her books, and have personally contacted her.

    God has truly used her testimony to help so many people.

    I had a friend who did that weekend a month or so ago. She loved it.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Praying for you now~

    (so nice to meet you, I’ll be back!)ReplyCancel

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  • Diana - What a blessing to have this retreat available to you and that the two of you could go! Such a lovely house, wow!

    I have never lost a child, but my mama died of cancer back in 1971 when I was 14. And now my beautiful stepmom just learned a week ago she has cancer.

    Many prayers for you that God’s love and grace continues to surround you and hold you both close!ReplyCancel

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  • Sue - Well done to you both for facing up to this so bravely. Totally different, I know, but after losing my husband, I found solace in spending time with other widows. They just get you. They know that they don’t need to say anything (that they can’t say anything) to make you ‘feel better’. They’re in the same boat, just trying to get by from day to day.

    I’m really glad you and Joel had this time together and I’m sure that, while it must’ve been really tough, you’ve gained so much from it too.

    Big hugs, Sue xReplyCancel

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  • respite retreat reunion » The Macs - […] but played a huge role in the healing process for us. You can read a little more about that weekend here and […]ReplyCancel

When Cora went to heaven we were given SO many books.
Lots of books on grief and grieving.
Many of them have been helpful to us now,
but at the time we were so overwhelmed we didn’t even know where to start.
We knew we needed something.
But, reading book after book about grieving just didn’t sound that great.

But when we received this book in the mail, something jumped out at us.
I think it was the word HOPE.
That is what we were so desperately needing.
HOPE in the midst of our despair.
A friend’s sister sent this book to us.
She and her husband had been in our shoes.
They knew exactly what it was like to face such great tragedy.
They too had lost their first child and were left to face an empty house.
And Nancy Guthrie, the author of this book, has been in our shoes too.
God is using her story to reach so many people.
Isn’t it amazing how God can use something so horrible for such glory?
I love that about the God we serve!

This book has been a lifeline for both of us.
It has guided us as we seek to understand true HOPE.
It has directed us to some amazing truths in the Word–
truths that we really needed to be reminded of.
And it has helped us remember that there is real HOPE,
even when our hearts are hurting so deeply.

I love this definition of HOPE that Nancy shares in her book:

HOPE

the expectation of a favorable future under God’s direction.

And Joel and I are actually going to have the opportunity to meet Nancy and her husband. We are so excited to learn more from them. I will tell you more about that soon…

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  • Jane In The Jungle - What a blessing for y’all to be able to meet them. And for them to be able to share with y’all.

    Praises!ReplyCancel

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  • Givinya De Elba - Wow. Sounds like a great book. And, not like you need baby name suggestions, but I’m suddenly thinking what a lovely name/middle name “Hope” would be … unless Baby Mac is of the blue variety of course!

    No, no, no way did I just blow in, a stranger from another continent, and give you a baby name suggestion! Never! That would have been rude!ReplyCancel

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  • Melissa - I love reading your blog for the unflinching testimony you offer. I’m not sure exactly how I found your blog, but I’m sure it is somehow related to the fact that my daughter is also named Cora. My heart grieves with you when I think about what it is like for you to come home to a house without Cora. Though I haven’t personally walked in your shoes, I have close friends and family members that have, and I so appreciate you telling your story! Blessings to you and this new little one soon to come!ReplyCancel

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  • That's Just Us - I read “Holding Onto Hope” while going through a very difficult time in my life as a momma. It helped me in so many ways. I read and re-read the book. I offer the title to many that are going through tough times. I really enjoy your blog and your faith.ReplyCancel

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  • Lexi - Hi, I love your stuff! The dresses are sooo cute! I am wondering where you got your cute “coras” labels done? I am looking for somewhere to do some for my shop! Thanks!
    http://www.sugarandspice4baby.blogspot.comReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - Hope is so powerful!ReplyCancel

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  • Julie @ Joy's Hope - Hope is what I clung to when there was nothing else. We even toyed with the idea that if we had another daughter naming her Hope. Our friends beat us to that, and then we decided to name Halley after Hallelujah.
    I am so glad that you have found comfort in Nancy’s books and will be so blessed to meet her.ReplyCancel

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  • Christina - It is so wonderful to be able to lean on others…
    and you too are being used by Him!
    We have had some Sunday School lessons on hope recently, and it seems to me that although it isn’t talked about as much as faith and love, the three hinge on one another, and without one or the other none makes as much sense. I pray that you continue to hope in that favorable future. It is a promise!ReplyCancel

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  • misty - i wanted to share this video w/you but it will not let me post it~ if you go to youtube and search ‘sky angel cowboy’ it will bring up the video.ReplyCancel

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  • dawn - i am reading that book now…love it. I lost my son 10 years ago and wish it was around then. My sister lost her daughter this past spring, and a stranger gave this book to her and it has been a lifeline. She encouraged me to get a copy too.

    so glad you have this book…and will look forward to hearing about your meeting with the guthries.ReplyCancel

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  • Julie - Love you Jess and am praying for you and Joel this weekend!ReplyCancel

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  • House of Collinsworth - My husband and I really need a good book like this to read together since losing Noah. I will have to pick this one up! Thank you for sharing about it.

    I agree with a previous comment…”Hope” would be a beautiful name if you have another girl.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - I heard the song “glory baby” by watermark and the lyrics are incredicible. It brought great healing to us.

    RuthieReplyCancel

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  • Darby - Jess, Nancy and David were at our church in the spring. They are amazing and I’m so delighted that you and Joel will have an opportunity to meet them… I will pray that the Lord will bless you through them!ReplyCancel

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  • shepherdsgrace - in 2007, I had a miscarriage and my dearly loved grandmother died…she was about to move in with us…

    I was at Wallyworld looking at ornaments and their was a brass word…hope…it is hanging on my office desk to this day…that day it smiled at me and the Lord kept reminding me to hope…hope…hope…

    He won’t disappoint us…

    thank you for sharing…
    blessings in your meeting, may He be present in many sweet and wonderful ways,
    SarahReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - Can’t wait to “hear” more details…Thank you so much for continueing to share your journey with us..Hope you and baby Mac are feeling well ๐Ÿ˜‰ReplyCancel

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  • Trisha Larson - We also received book after book when Nate died. I wish that I would have been given this one. I may have to order it.

    When your child dies you lose hope and joy. It takes a while to find it again. It takes FAITH to believe that you will. I’m currently on that path. Holding tight to my faith and trusting it to bring me hope and joy. Praying that you find it too!

    Hugs,
    TrishaReplyCancel

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  • TRICIA @ The Zoo - What a beautiful blessing to receive such a gift. God places the people in our lives that we need at the times we need them. You seem to be especially blessed in this area of your lives, and my heart sings for you.

    With love and continued prayer,
    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

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  • kelli - that’s awesome jess. nancy came to speak at JBU when i was in school there. her story has always stuck with me. so neat to see God’s sovereignty in bringing the 2 of you together.ReplyCancel

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  • meg duerksen - WOW. that is so cool.
    and now you shared your book with so many others…who can share it with someone who needs it too. makes my heart just want to jump out! it’s so happy.

    annie has been LOVING her dress this week.
    ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - I will have to look into that book. I live in Florida about 20 minutes from the mother whose daughter (Somer) was kidnapped and killed last week on her way home from school. I believe this book may be a very good gift for her. Thank you for sharing.

    Valerie Pfeifer
    bpfeifer32@hotmail.comReplyCancel

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  • Jenifer - It is amazing how he works …I prey for yall every nightReplyCancel

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  • betseykerr - ‘Hope’ is my favorite word…I have always felt… that without hope, we have nothing…hope gets us out of bed the next day, hope gives us faith in tomorrow…
    what a lovely title for this book.ReplyCancel

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  • Hightowerz - I think I may send this book to some friends that just lost their baby girl after only 3 days of life. Carried her to term and lost her unexpectedly. Good to know that this book was encouraging. Thanks for the insight!ReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - Praying for you today.ReplyCancel

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  • Jessatsea - I couldn’t agree more with Givinya. Hope would be a beautiful name for your daughter. ๐Ÿ™‚
    you have a beautiful soul that shines through every post.ReplyCancel

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  • Nancy - I just started reading your beautiful blog & it is amazing. God bless you!!ReplyCancel

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  • The Schilling's from Cimarron - Hi Guys,

    Jason was down your way last week and Fred said you were in Tennessee. I am assuming that is where you are meeting Nancy… Thank you for this post! A close Friend of mine passed away this summer and her parents are really having a hard time, so I am going to suggest they read this book! Can’t wait to hear all about it! Miss you always, and just know we love you and think of you all the time! wishing you happiness!
    love to you both!

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  • Bill and Mary - Because your blog has always been so inspirational to me, I’ve given you an award over on mine!

    http://browniebitez.blogspot.com

    ~Mary ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • Robin in Benton - Praying for you today and always. Grateful to the Lord for anything that gives you solace in anyway.ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel - I just have to say, this sounds awesome. In fact, I immediately ordered a copy online. I am always looking for books like this. Still haven’t found one I LOVE. We have lost two children, one 14 hours old, and one at 20 weeks gestation. I feel like I will always be in a state of grief—no matter how much time passes. The retreat you went on sounds wonderful.ReplyCancel

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  • Lori - I’m so glad to know about this book, and how you were blessed by it. Every one of your posts encourages and inspires me! Bless you!ReplyCancel

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  • Colleen - I have this book as well and when Ellie was going through all of her cancer treatments it helped me focus. I still keep it nearby and refer to it but during those dark hours when my mind got away from me and doubt crept in, this book helped get me back on track.

    Thank you for sharing it with everyone so they now know what a fabulous read it is.

    -Colleen
    lifeappreciated.blogspot.comReplyCancel

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  • Starsnrose - I am so glad to hear you have discovered the book that meant so much to me as well. A wonderful christian friend sent it to me at my lowest point in my grief. The Lord used this book to reach the furthest recesses of my heart where the hurt was hiding. I would recommend it to anyone who has suffered loss of any kind.ReplyCancel

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…LOVES me!

This is what I hauled into the post office today.

All the Etsy orders are mailed. PHEW!
You girls are awesome!
Thanks for keeping Cora’s in business.
Now we have a bunch of empty hangers, so it is back to sewing.
And thanks to you, business is booming at our local post office!
My sweet sister came over last night and helped me package everything.
I couldn’t have done it without her.
Thanks Anne!



Five hours later, my floor was covered in Cora’s packages.
If you placed a Cora’s order it should be arriving soon.
If you missed what you were hoping to get, keep checking back.
We are working on more dresses already!
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  • Anonymous - Yippee, I can’t wait! I already have the leggings to match the Cora dress I purchased for my daughter! I hope those boxes weren’t too heavy for you to lift…praying for Baby Mac and your family!ReplyCancel

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  • the breedens - I love that bench in your first picture.ReplyCancel

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  • Gail - Wow–Jess, you are one busy lady! Can’t believe how much you get done. Your dresses are adorable! Love you!ReplyCancel

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  • Trasie Bressler - Well I missed out on this bunch of dresses but hopefully one is in the next bunch that you make…..I know it will be perfect and it will be perfect timing when I actually get one. They are all adorable and they are all made with so much love! Many Many Blessings!ReplyCancel

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  • Diana - New prayer: Dear Lord, PLEASE let me be able to buy a couple Cora dresses… please, please, please…

    Amen

    ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • Christina - I am so excited. I ordered a shirt for my daughter Emily that would be in the bunch!

    YAY! I will come by and let you know when I put up a post with Emily in her new Cora top.ReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - I LOVE that this is going so well for you!ReplyCancel

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  • Whimsical Creations - YAY for Cora’s dresses. Your dresses are so cute!ReplyCancel

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  • Melissa - Yay! I keep missing them, but hopefully next time I will be quick enough! Thanks for all your updates and encouraging posts. Praying for your family!ReplyCancel

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  • Judy - Even the labels are adorable!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Kelsey - I always miss them! I can’t wait to get my hands on a couple dresses next time!ReplyCancel

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  • Kristen - I’ll be checking my mailbox daily until it gets here! Can’t wait to see my Abby in her dress from Cora’s! ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • gwswenson - Crossing my fingers for a 2T Cora dress next time around. Cannot wait to receive the shirt I ordered. Is it as fun as it looks -all the sewing, packaging, designing labels, etc? I dream of an etsy shop, just don’t have the talent like you do!! Excellent work, and I hope you DO enjoy it!!ReplyCancel

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  • Christina - I’m still hoping to get one! ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s amazing that you all are doing this. Every time I go to the site, there is either nothing or two items left.
    Take care, and blessings on you all.ReplyCancel

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  • Lexie Loo & Dylan Too - That is wonderful! Every time I look at your site, the dresses are gone, lol!ReplyCancel

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  • Carla - Ohhhh, Im so looking forward to the restock, am really hoping to be lucky next time. Im due No2 in February and Im actually tempted to find out whether its a boy or a girl, just so I can order a dress from Cora’s :-). Im sure Cora is looking down at you all thinking “how amazing is my mommy”! Congratulations on all your hard work, its so lovely to think of all the people who are going to be made so happy this week when their dresses arrive. It all looks so pretty!! ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • SouthernGalsBoutique - your dresses are gorgeous!!! I’ll be watching for more to come up for sale in your Etsy!ReplyCancel

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  • Lauren Kelly - That is just awesome, so glad business is booming!!!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :O) - Yay! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! It made my smile and I’m thrilled business is booming for you and keeping Sweet Sweet Cora’s memory alive!! I hope one day to be able to get two dresses for my coworker that is pregnant with twins…you sell out SO fast though…whew! Hugs and blessings to you all, so much to be proud of!ReplyCancel

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  • CourtneyC - Those labels are too cute!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Robin in Benton - One of these days you’ll be mailing one of those to me – please Lord! Have a blessed day!ReplyCancel

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  • Lindsay - Jess. I know this is random, but I love the bench that you have in the “mud room” or whatever you call it. I would love to know where you found such a lovely antique-y bench. ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • Lindsay - Jess, I love the bench that you have in your mud room. Where ever did you find such a great antique-y blue bench? Do tell.ReplyCancel

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  • MomMom - Just wanted to let you know that your blog encourages me every time I read it. Please go to my blog to check out an award I left for you. Also, I keep going to Cora’s web site to try to buy something and always miss out. I’ll keep trying. Excited about Baby Mac. We’re expecting a new granddaugther Jan. 25th.ReplyCancel

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  • meg duerksen - that is awesome! what a happy site.ReplyCancel

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  • Cyndi - Can you make these in larger sizes? My 7 year old would look cute in one of these with a pair of jeans! Can you make them in like a 6x or 7?ReplyCancel

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  • Melanie - Can’t wait for the next batch to be ready! I miss it every time. They are so cute and I’m so excited for the arrival of Baby Mac! Thank you for the wonderful words that you write…I’m in awe of your strength! God is good!!!ReplyCancel

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  • misty - I DID miss what I wanted to get =( our computer was at the apple store getting repaired when you filled up! I am so happy that you’re making more because I need 5. I can’t wait! =) happy sewing!ReplyCancel

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  • Erica - That is so exciting that it is going so well for you! So great!ReplyCancel

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  • Stephanie - I’m waiting to catch one so I can buy one soon hopefully! Everytime I check they’re already gone…they sell like hotcakes!ReplyCancel

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  • Jennifer Dawn - I’m crossing my fingers that I can be quick enough next time to snatch one of these cute dresses up.ReplyCancel

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  • jeannebean - I’ve been following your blog for many months and I have wanted something from Cora’s store, but every time I looked, it was sold out. When I saw MckMama’s post, I went straight there and got an adorable dress for my daughter. Can’t wait for the package to arrive- fun to get a sneak peak behind the scenes. I will think of you and Cora and Baby Mac each time Natalie wears her dress. Thanks, and best wishes!!ReplyCancel

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  • Megan (mommyesquire) - Can’t wait until my little girl’s dress arrives!ReplyCancel

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  • SadMommy3434 - I’ve been having a hard time viewing your items. I don’t know if it’s my computer but I am interest in getting a Cora Dress for my daughter. Feel free to email me at any time.ReplyCancel

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  • Micah - Oh, girl, I know what a relief it is to get those OUT of your house! Wish I was getting some fun Cora mail =(. Maybe next time…ReplyCancel

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  • Mandi @ It's come to this - It absolutely amazes me to stop & think about what you set out to do & then went on to accomplish in such a short period of time!! How incredibly wonderful that Cora’s Playground was thought of, built, paid for & now played on in less than a year! Can’t wait to see pics of Baby Mac playing on big sister’s playground soon. God bless your family!!ReplyCancel

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  • Ethansmom08 - I was SO excited when I got my Cora package in the mail yesterday! Thank you SO much!

    Love and Prayers,
    SaraReplyCancel

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  • beforeoureyes - and she did a wonderful job! I so enjoyed recieving mine. It’s great! Thanks!ReplyCancel

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I love this.

I wonder about heaven so much more than I ever have before.
It is hard to even imagine what it will be like.
I know it is something I will never be able to grasp with my finite mind.
Heaven can only be grasped by faith.
But I do know that Cora is going to be waiting there for me.
To me, heaven is now the face of my little girl.
And it is going to be SO much more.
I love these words:
“But in my mind’s eye I can see a place,
Where Your glory fills every empty space”
How awesome that will be!
However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9

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  • Falling Around - It will be a blessed reunion for sure. So many loved ones waiting.

    Praying for you and baby Mac.ReplyCancel

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  • Sandys2girls - I read your blog and your story has taken my heart. I think of you reuniting with your sweet baby girl one day in heaven and my heart smiles.. What a day that will be!!
    There is a song that was sung at my 13 year old cousins funeral and it really spoke to me, its called “If you could see me now” by Don Moen. You should google it, I think it will speak to you.
    Prayin for you and new baby girl Mac!!ReplyCancel

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  • Zingo Tots - Beautiful. I absolutely love one of the pictures of Cora that is in your header. It is a black and white and she is looking up with the sunlight on her face. It is almost as if she is looking up to Heaven. Saying prayers for your family daily. Rest up! Your next ten weeks will fly by!ReplyCancel

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  • Diana - What a glorious reunion the Lord surely has in store for us with our loved ones who already there!

    {Myself, I will be looking forward to that Heaven time when I will be reunited with my mom who died of cancer when I was 14.}

    Blessings to you!ReplyCancel

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  • Stephanie - You are so amazing and OH SO STRONG! I pray for you with each day…you are truly an inspiration and I only hope to be a sliver of your strength…Bless you and thank you for sharing your journey!!ReplyCancel

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  • Kristi REDISKE - What an amazing song-so glad you posted it. I have put it on my facebook page now for others. Still keeping you all in my prayers.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - i dont comment often but i check in every day. that was just beautiful. thankyou. Still praying for you all. Love Amanda in Australia. xReplyCancel

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  • Misty Rice - Only tears and goosebumps.ReplyCancel

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  • Misty Rice - And as hard as it is for us…this is the kind of love God dying and so badly desires for us to have for HIM as we do our kids.

    He wants us to have such BIG and DEEP love and faith in HIM and Heaven with HIM, as we do our kids.

    He loves us that much.ReplyCancel

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  • onebadrunner - I think of that day often. What an amazing day it will be.ReplyCancel

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  • Robin in Benton - Your faith never ceases to be an inspiration.ReplyCancel

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  • Beckypdj - It will be a glorious day when we see all of the people that have gone to Heaven before us. My son’s birthday is on Thursday, he is celebrating in Heaven.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - What a glorious and beautiful heaven we have waiting for us. It feels like that song was written just for you. What a great way to think of heaven, as a child lay on your chest breathing… all those simple things you long for waiting for you.ReplyCancel

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  • TRICIA @ The Zoo - It’s hard to imagine a heaven more perfect than that sweet baby’s face.

    Blessings to your family. Abundant blessings.

    With love and prayers,
    XO*TriciaReplyCancel

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  • Lauren Kelly - I absolutely love this song and it’s soooo fitting for your Cora ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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  • Shana - Four words:
    Wow!
    Beautiful!
    Thank you!ReplyCancel

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  • Marla Taviano - Oh, wow. I can’t wait to meet Maria and Cora!!ReplyCancel

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  • Sophia - Thank you Lord for your blessings!
    S.C.C. speaks your promises to us with music and it is such an encouragement to us.
    Looking forward to the day we will meet you in glory, and all these angel babies…keep lookin down on your momma and poppa, Cora!!ReplyCancel

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  • Tabitha And Family - I know it will be just where we all need to be..Home with our Father.ReplyCancel

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  • Bri!!! - Oh my gosh, it was as if this song was written specifically for Cora. BEAUTIFUL. I’m in tears. Much love to you, your family, and the little one growing inside of you!ReplyCancel

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  • Christina - That is really an amazing & beautious way of looking at things.

    I love it!ReplyCancel

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  • HD - There is a book titled “90 Minutes In Heaven” written by a pastor named Don Piper. Wow! What a book. His description of Heaven is absolutely amazing. Definitely an uplifting book.
    Your story continues to touch my heart. You and your family are in my prayers daily.ReplyCancel

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  • L ~ S - I don’t know if you know Adventures in Odyssey…today I was listening to one called Mortal Coil and it talked about heaven and what a beautiful place of reuniting it will be. I think that is something very special to look forward to!ReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - These are words that you and SCC understand all too well, that most people will never grasp the true meaning of.

    Praying for you daily. And Baby Mac too.ReplyCancel

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  • The Mershawn's - That should come with a warning to have a tissue box in hand. Thanks for sharing that. My heart aches for & them. But the comfort of knowing they’re there with Him…wishing you could be there too. Wow. We’re still praying.ReplyCancel

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  • merlin - Yes, and heaven will also be the face of baby mac when you meet face to face very shortly.ReplyCancel

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  • Andrea - I love that song too. I heard him sing it at Women of Faith and thought of you. Praying for your family.ReplyCancel

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  • Taking Heart - What a sweet, sweet day it will be.ReplyCancel

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  • Carla - I have read your blog for some time now….just when Cora became sick…and I have followed your posting’s and am sooo amazed and strengthened by your faith…I have prayed for you, shed tears over your grief. Thank you for sharing! Thank you for your faith! God bless you and your new baby!!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Julie - This update brought back the tears, which in turn reminded me of the days when I sat, staring at my computer screen reading of the fight Cora braved and how ultimately Jesus took her home, not on our time line, but His. I feel sad. I know your message was filled with hope… reuniting with Cora in Heaven is exciting! But I’m still sad and I think Jesus is okay with that.ReplyCancel

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  • Christina - Amen and amen…what a thing to long for!ReplyCancel

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  • This is me.. - Since my dad passed, I too think of heaven in a more profound way. This must be something that is common in the grief process. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I pray that your heart heals a little bit more with every passing day.

    Sincerely,
    StephnieReplyCancel

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  • Marsha - What a beautiful song … what a blessed day that will be when Cora meets you and leads you to Jesus. Praying for you and the new miracle too!

    Love and prayers,

    Marsha in VAReplyCancel

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  • Mandi @ It's come to this - My husband’s brother went to heaven at the age of 18. At his service one of the preachers told our family that “our treasure in heaven is now much greater than it was before” .. it’s true. Heaven in & of itself is perfect, but now for my husband to also know he’ll be greeted by his brother again … it’s even better!ReplyCancel

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  • PamperingBeki - Praying for you today.ReplyCancel

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  • Anonymous - You know, I’ve been reading a friends blog about their little girl who died on Monday from cancer. Their story makes me think of yours. I thought you might be interested in looking at their journal on Caring Bridge. They put a lot of feelings into words beautifully.

    http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/donnaquirkehornikReplyCancel

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  • Melissa Moss - Thank you so much for sharing this song. I have never heard it before and it was just what I needed. It has almost been 5 years since my sweet Emma went to Heaven and I miss her more and more each day. This song causes my heart to ache but also reminds me of the day I will once again hold her in my arms.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Melissa Moss
    melissamoss79@live.comReplyCancel

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  • dawn - I saw SCC at women of faith and he performed this song. It was beautiful. I often call my son Aidan who died at age 4 months my treasure in heaven, because part of my heart is in heaven now. When I think of heaven, I think of Aidan in the same instant.ReplyCancel

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  • TammyIsBlessed - One thing we know for sure – heaven will be a place of so many special reunions. I know that my dad is enjoying being a grandfather to my two babies there right now and I can’t wait till the day I can meet them for the first time.

    One book I think you would love is Heaven by Randy Alcorn. It’s pretty long though, so you could also go with Heaven for Kids. It’s good too, and much easier reading. I highly recommend both of them!ReplyCancel

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