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I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful summer is here! We are ready to spend some time outside soaking in the sunshine. Although it seems like so far all that we can soak in is a lot of rain. For now, cloudy days outside splashing in mud puddles followed by lots of baths will have to do. At least we are outside! As June rolls around everyone is talking about plans for summer projects, summer fun with the kids, and summer trips. All of those are true for us too…except the summer trip plans. There are no advanced plans for summer trips when you are a farmer. You just pray for that time when the weather and the amount of work that needs to be done all perfectly align and then you head out the door as quickly as you can before anything else changes. It is not about planning and all about flexibility. ;)

It seems like as each summer rolls around I find myself desperately needing another sort of plan. A plan for my time with God. If you are like me, Bible studies end, small groups break for the summer and my schedule at home changes too. I find that without the accountability and schedule in place it is easy for me to let my time with God slip. Before I know it, summer is over and I have spent plenty of time outside but barely any time connecting with my God. I need to be connected with God in the summer just as much as any other time of the year…probably sometimes even more because the summer days on the farm can be crazy and loooong. Just imagine me about ready to pull my hair out as three little boys run circles around me at the end of a 15-hour work day for Joel during harvest. So I need a plan. Just in case you are are finding yourself in the same place, I thought I would share my plan for this summer and a few other favorite Bible study tools that I love too.

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I just finished studying the life of Moses (Genesis through Deuteronomy) in BSF. A friend told me that Jen Wilkin had a free study on Joshua on her website. It is an 11-week study. You can download the workbook for the questions each week and then listen to Jen’s podcast over the week’s content. You can even download an app to listen to the podcast on your phone. So handy! I thought this would be a good study to follow my BSF study. I plan to start Monday and it should get me through most of the summer. Clink on the link to find the Joshua: Every Good Promise Fulfilled by Jen Wilkin. She has other free studies available on her site too!

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And since we are already talking about Jen Wilkin, do you have a hard time even knowing where to start with Bible study? How do you study the Bible on your own, anyway? If you have asked similar questions you need to read Jen’s book Women of the Word. And even if you have studied your Bible for years this is still a great read and reminder for our purpose in studying God’s Word. This was so challenging to me…

When women grow increasingly lax in the pursuit of Bible literacy, everyone in their circle of influence is affected. Rather than acting as salt and light, we become bland contributions to the environments we inhabit and shape, indistinguishable from those who have never been changed by the gospel. Home, church, community, and country need the influence of women who know why they believe what they believe, grounded in the Word of God. They desperately need the influence of women who love deeply and actively the God proclaimed in the Bible. -Jen Wilkin

Maybe I’ll write more about this book in another post, but trust me…go read it now!

Another favorite of mine is A Place of Quiet Rest by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have written about this one before. Such a good resource that approaches all of those excuses and frustrations that we have when it come to our devotional life. She gives practical suggestions for overcoming those frustrations and finding intimacy with God as we spend time in His Word.

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Ok, back to Bible studies. The past two summers I have co-led a Bible study using Nancy Guthrie’s books from her Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series. They are so good. She also has teaching videos that go along with this series. I love these studies because Nancy helps you see Jesus throughout the pages of the Old Testament and grasp the bigger story of the Bible as a whole.

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This week I finished up the Hymns study from She Reads Truth. I have done a few of these studies before but the new Hymn study even had music! Love that. Ellie Holcomb was one of the artists…she is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Like check out this song…

So good. Have you downloaded the She Reads Truth app yet? The app is free and there are so many good studies available right on your phone for so cheap! They are starting a new summer study Monday, June 1 called Women in the Word. I love that the goal of She Reads Truth is to have women in God’s Word everyday. Maybe this would be a good option for you?

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Sometimes I listen to sermons when I am doing mindless things around the house or if I happen to have a quiet moment. Which is happening less and less these days. Ha! Lately I’ve been listening to Matt Chandler’s sermons on The Village app.

If you are needing another good sermon series to listen to, my church just finished a series on the book of Job. It was so challenging. I needed a fresh perspective on this book and it is always so amazing to see how God can speak to you in a new way even studying a book you have read many times before. You can listen to the Job series by clicking on the link. We were asked to record a short interview about how we find peace in the storms of life when the “why?” questions are never answered. I thought I would share it on here too since many of you have been following since Cora died. Hopefully it can be an encouragement to some of you who are in the middle of your own storms right now. So many times those questions never get answered. But God is who He says He is…and He is always faithful.

Ok, now it is your turn. Tell me…

What are you studying this summer?

What are your favorite Bible study resources?

What sermons/podcasts are you listening to?

How do you stay in God’s Word during the summer?

I would love to know!

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  • Michelle from Australia - Summer? It’s the official start of Winter here tomorrow. Which is why it is 81 degrees F and we are wearing t-shirt, shorts and flip flops here today. Living in the sub-tropics has its benefits in Autumn/Winter. Just not in Summer! xxReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Haha. Well, I guess you need a winter plan instead!

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  • Cristin Thurman - Jess,

    Your post touched me in a way that you’ll never understand. I’m facing a huge storm in my life. I recently lost my job, and this past week I had to put my dog down. This does not compare to losing a child, but grief has over taken me. My anxiety and depression have consumed me. My fear of dying has overtaken me. I have faith in God, I’m saved by his grace, but the fear of having to die one day won’t go away. Your story and your faith gave me some peace tonight and I thank you for sharing.

    If you have any recommendations on devotionals that may help me, please email them to me! Thank you so much for always sharing the Word and encouraging me to turn to Jesus!

    Much Love,
    CristinReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Hi Cristin. Life is so difficult and overwhelming sometimes. I am so, so sorry about your job and your dog. That is a lot of hard things to deal with. Thanks for sharing with me. I am praying for you right now. I will email some devotional suggestions too!

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    • Jess - Hi Cristin. Life is so difficult and overwhelming sometimes. I am so, so sorry about your job and your dog. That is a lot of hard things to deal with. Thanks for sharing with me. I am praying for you right now. I will email some devotional suggestions too!ReplyCancel

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  • Kelly - This sentence especially stuck out at me: “Before I know it, summer is over and I have spent plenty of time outside but barely any time connecting with my God.” I have been attempting a new habit each month for me or for my family/kids to work on. For June I have been contemplating us getting into the habit of getting outside first thing in the morning even if just for ten minutes or so. I think being out in the cool of the morning and soaking up all of the natural things God has created and breathing in the fresh air will be really good for us. Tending the garden, doing yard work, the kids playing . . . whatever. Just this morning I was trying to think about what it might look like to have my quiet time outside. I even did some googling to try to get some inspiration and nothing! :) Anyway, I think it would be good to connect with God AND be outside all at the same time! We’ll see how it goes. :)

    Also, as far as the what . . . I am reading Sally Clarkson’s Own Your Life right now and it is really good but I also need more to get me in the actual Word. I don’t have a firm plan for that yet. I also really find a lot of value/encouragement in receiving the daily scripture prayer emails from Moms in Prayer and would recommend them to any moms (or even if you’re not a mom because I often pray them for myself or my husband or whoever!) https://www.momsinprayer.org/News/Scripture-Prayer-Email-Sign-Up

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    Jess Reply:

    Hi Kelly! Being outside in the morning and having your quiet time sounds perfect. You’ll have to let me know how it goes. Thanks for sharing about Moms in Prayer…such a good idea. Also, I heard you have seen Julie!! So glad she has connected with you!

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    • Jess - Hi Kelly! Being outside in the morning and having your quiet time sounds perfect. You’ll have to let me know how it goes. Thanks for sharing about Moms in Prayer…such a good idea. Also, I heard you have seen Julie!! So glad she has connected with you!ReplyCancel

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  • dianne - Thank you for sharing your video regarding Cora. We too lost our little girl. It is so hard to know how to move on when the thing that you love most here on Earth is gone. God is the great comforter and He is faithful. God gives us the faith to know that not only does He have a plan, but He is with us every step of the way. He grieves with us. Thank you for continuing to share about Cora, even as your family grows and changes.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Dianne, I am so sorry about the loss of your precious girl. I totally relate to everything you said. It is so, so hard…but God is so, so faithful. I would love to hear more about your daughter sometime! Thanks so much for sharing.

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    • Jess - Dianne, I am so sorry about the loss of your precious girl. I totally relate to everything you said. It is so, so hard…but God is so, so faithful. I would love to hear more about your daughter sometime! Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

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  • Elizabeth - youversion! There are tons of reading plans in tons of formats- I usually do a shorter topical or devotional one along with a more long term plan. You choose what translation (or you can flip it to utilize more than one at a time) and it’s all free.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    I love youversion too!

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  • andrea - I need a plan to keep me on track with my time with God – I feel a little “anchorless” since BSF wrapped up. ;) This summer, I’m doing a study of some of the New Testament letters that we don’t often read and use a combination of the She Reads Truth SOAP method and homiletic. I like the idea of studying Hymns – will be keeping this in mind for next year!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    I feel anchorless without BSF too sometimes! Sounds like such a good plan. I haven’t heard of the SOAP method…and I need to learn how to do homiletics!

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    • Jess - I feel anchorless without BSF too sometimes! Sounds like such a good plan. I haven’t heard of the SOAP method…and I need to learn how to do homiletics!ReplyCancel

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  • Kristina - I have been following you for awhile….not sure when I started….before Griffin was born. I just watched your video. And then went back in your blog to when Cora was sick and the day she passed away. I started crying. And then looking at the days following. That must have been so so hard. To have just had her with you a month before and unaware of her cancer.
    Thank you for sharing your story and for turning to Jesus through your difficulties. I appreciate your blogs and you sharing your heart. Faith can be so challenging. What a precious gift Cora was…and now walking with Jesus.

    ~KristinaReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, Cora was such a precious gift to us. God has been so faithful.

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    • Jess - Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, Cora was such a precious gift to us. God has been so faithful.ReplyCancel

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  • Mendi - I am so grateful that you shared this. I have recently been challenged to dig deeper and have been looking for a Bible study and these seem to fit the bill!ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Yay! I would love to hear what you decide to study. :)

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  • Toni :0) - I’ve been following along since just before sweet Cora went to be with Jesus. I think I found you through Amanda Balzer and her blog. Even now I still shed tears with you. I marvel at your strength and perseverance to weather such tragic storms. I cheer alongside you with everyone one of those amazing boys you now have. Their smiles and joy they exhibit are priceless. I continue to pray for your sweet family. Stay strong and keep the faith.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Toni-Thank you so much for following my family and especially for your prayers! I appreciate your encouragement so much.

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    • Jess - Toni-Thank you so much for following my family and especially for your prayers! I appreciate your encouragement so much.ReplyCancel

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  • Dena - Our church is doing an NT90 challenge that I signed up for. Reading the New Testament in 90 days over the summer. There are group study opportunities and the bible classes and weekly sermons relate to the same readings.ReplyCancel

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    Jess Reply:

    Such a great challenge for the summer! I would love to hear how it goes.

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    • Jess - Such a great challenge for the summer! I would love to hear how it goes.ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - I study at my church every Sunday. We are learning from the stories of Christ in the New Testement. It’s wonderful to read and learn from his very own words and try to emulate him each day. I need to do a better job. I’m at work right now (it’s very early but I couldn’t sleep so I thought I’d just come in). It made it so I have some time to read this post again and to watch the video. It’s a good thing I didn’t put my makeup on yet. Your words were so beautiful…so profound. I’m in awe of you and Joel all the time. The trust, faith, and hope you put toward God is exceptional. I have gone through some very heartbreaking times in my life…times where I thought I couldn’t take another step or move forward, but I did. Your blog helps me to do that. I know you are so busy as a mom and wife but I hope you continue to share tidbits of your life with those beautiful boys and your husband. Your photos and words always bring a smile (or tears like today) but then it also gives me a lot of hope. Thank you.ReplyCancel

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  • Sue - Jess, thank you for blogging. Your blog is such a blessing to me and so many others. This post is JUST what I needed to read today. Great encouragement and ideas and resources for growing closer to God this summer. Thank you. There is no doubt in my mind that God is using you in a big way. On a lighter note, I love seeing your precious boys, too. I have (older) boys of my own and reading about yours and seeing their sweet selves doing what boys do makes me smile.

    I watched your video and was crushed all over again for you and Joel. I’m so sorry you lost Cora. I’m sure some days it’s very hard to carry on. I have prayed for your beautiful family many times over the years and I will pray for you again today.

    Thank you for doing what you do.ReplyCancel

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  • EricaG - I’ve been reading your blog for a long time. Hearing Cora’s story in your own voices and seeing your tears made me love your family even more than I already did. As always, thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

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Since I was talking about friendship yesterday, I had to show you the new Friendship on Purpose line from DaySpring. There are so many beautiful things! The purpose of this line is to provide products to remind a friend that you are in this together. I love that! DaySpring let me pick out a few of my favorites to show you. So…here are my favorites…although it was hard to narrow it down!

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Good Things Journals  +  Good Things Cosmetic Pouch

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fashionABLE Indigo Scarf + Together Dessert Plates + Good Things Trinket Dish

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Family & Friends Feed Our Souls Tea Towels

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DaySpring is generously giving away all of my favorites to one of YOU & YOUR FRIEND!! Yay! Wouldn’t it be fun to box up everything in this picture and send it to a friend?! Here is how to enter…

Giveaway Details:

The Macs Friendship on Purpose Faves (everything pictured)

For YOU and a FRIEND

ONE winner chosen at random

ONE entry per person

Giveaway ends Friday, May 29 at 10pm (CST)

To enter visit DaySpring’s Friendship on Purpose line…

…then come back here and leave a comment telling me your favorite product or the friend that you would love to give this to.

*    *    *    *    *

And just for my readers…use code Friendship25 to get 25% off the Friendship on Purpose collection. Yay! Discount code expires Friday, May 29.

disclaimer: affiliate links included

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  • Heidi DeGroot - I would love to give the You’re Loved or Good Things art print to a good friend who is getting married very soon! Her first husband passed away from cancer three years ago and she found a great guy with 3 kids of his own (she has 2) and they are the kindest most wonderful blended family.ReplyCancel

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  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - I love the He Fills My Life plate – but every single thing is lovely! Thank you for such a fun giveaway!ReplyCancel

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  • Carley - I really like the cards…I quit facebook a year ago, and I keep saying I want to send more snail mail (but I keep not doing it). Some cute cards might be just the motivation I need!ReplyCancel

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  • Emily - I love all the art prints!ReplyCancel

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  • Anne - I love the tea towels!! It’s all so beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel N. - So many pieces of beauty! I like the notebook sets, pretty paper plates, cosmetic mirror & of course note cards :) Thanks Jess, for sharing!ReplyCancel

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  • Janelle K. - Cute collection! I love the Sisters by Heart willow tree!ReplyCancel

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  • Megan - I love it all, but I think the prints are my favorite! I really like the saying about being loved, brave, and beautiful. I know exactly the friend to share this with.ReplyCancel

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  • Ashley S - I love the Sisters by Heart Willow Tree figurine and the You’re Loved print! I would love to send something from this collection to my college roommate who is still one of my best friends but lives two states away!ReplyCancel

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  • Cara - LOVE the tea towels…and I would love to share with my friend, Kim!ReplyCancel

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  • Meggie - I really love all the notecards and postcards. =)Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

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  • Danise - I absolutely love the tea towels and the elegant trinket dish. I would share with my sister-in-law – she also has an affinity for beautiful tea towels!ReplyCancel

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  • Erin Ellis - I love the Celebrate Friendship – Pocket Notebooks, Set of 3, and I would give them to my best friend, my mom. Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    Erin
    ErinLoves2Run at gmail dot comReplyCancel

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  • Anna H - “He fills my life with good things” cosmetic pouch. What a great thing to be reminded of!ReplyCancel

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  • Cindy M. - I particularly like the Good Things Trinket Dish and the tea towels and I would love to share them with my best friend Lois with whom I have been “doing life” for more than two decades.ReplyCancel

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  • Lesley - I love the pretty hand towels. My choice would be the Love Brings Us Together hand towel. And I would share everything with my sister.ReplyCancel

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  • Amanda - Oh, so much pretty! Everything is adorable, but I especially like the dessert plates that have the Braver, Beautiful, Stronger, and Loved quotes. I would give them to one of my best friends of 15+ years who just had her 2nd child! I haven’t seen her in a few years (she lives in PA, I’m in TX) but the bond is still there :) This is a beautiful giveaway!ReplyCancel

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  • Kara - I LOVE the Together Dessert Plates.ReplyCancel

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  • Jane - love the together dessert plates. Just perfect for my friend Kathy.ReplyCancel

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  • Cassie - I love their cosmetic pouch and their mugs- and I just ordered the mini notebooks for my MIL for Mother’s Day! What a fun giveaway-the little dessert plates are beautiful! Thanks for the fun giveaway:)ReplyCancel

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  • katherine - i love the Family & Friends Feed Our Souls Tea Towels! so sweet!!ReplyCancel

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  • Jen - I love the “two women met for coffee” mug, but everything is so lovely and beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Gabby - My BFF and I will have been besties for 40 years this fall! I think that she would love the Good Things print. Thank you for your lovely posts, Jess.ReplyCancel

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  • Kim Bower - I love the Village Artisan – Summer Orchard Necklace, so beautiful! I would share this with my best friend, my sister :)ReplyCancel

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  • Danielle Rosa - I love the cherished friends photo frame. I’d get it for my BFF who is moving cross country next week.ReplyCancel

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  • Jody - I’d give this to Michelle. She’s going through the worst year ever – death of a child + a divorce. It would brighten her days, I’d hope.ReplyCancel

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  • Julie B - I would get the tea towels for my bestie Missie…who also moved away. It’s been a year and I still miss that lady like crazy.ReplyCancel

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  • Brady W - I love the cosmetic bag that says, “She smiled and brightened the whole world” and i would give it to my sister! She’s my bestie and her smile is brilliant!ReplyCancel

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  • megan - i’d love to share this with my bestie megHan!ReplyCancel

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  • Michelle S. - I love the paper loaf pans, bundt pans, food trays, etc! I love to bake and deliver goodies to friends, neighbors and family so these would make the presentation that much more pretty!ReplyCancel

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  • Cathy schmainda - I love the celebrate friendship pedestal mug… I’m blessed to have a wonderful best friend (who is unfortunately moving further away in a month!)… Would love to have these mugs so that we can enjoy coffee and hot chocolate together while apart!!ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - Great giveaway!! I’d give this to my BFF of 25 years as she’s Ethel to my Lucy because I married Ricky! :0)ReplyCancel

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  • Kate - I am blessed to have a prayer group of 3 super-encouraging Christ-centered friends, who keep me focused on the Lord! We have walked through many hard circumstances together including the loss of a child, life-changing surgery, infertility, etc., and I am thankful that these girls keep reminding me of answered prayers and God’s faithfulness. Would love to share this package with the whole group! The indigo scarf is my favorite. :-)ReplyCancel

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  • Katie Muse - I think the dessert plates are adorable!ReplyCancel

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  • Christyn - The towels… An everyday reminder!ReplyCancel

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  • Kasey - I absolutely love the cute little plates. I would share with my bestie, Linda. She would love them too!ReplyCancel

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  • Heather Thornburg - What a fun line! Thanks for sharing. I love the Celebrate Friendship pedestal mug but I also love the family and friends tea towel set. Would make great gifts!ReplyCancel

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  • Marty Ross - I absolutely love everything, but I especially love the Together Dessert Plates!ReplyCancel

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  • Amy M. - I have always loved the blessed &grateful creamer, but I also love the new stuff including the you’re worth more cosmetic pouch. I would love to share with my dear friend, Julie. Her friendship is a blessing in my life. Thanks!ReplyCancel

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  • Jenn - I have two best friends… Who I am lucky enough to call my sisters. They both recently moved into their own places and I would love to gift these gorgeous products to them.ReplyCancel

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  • Ashley - I love all of the “He fills my life with good things” items. Gorgeous and so true!ReplyCancel

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  • Jennay - I love this line! What a great thing to celebrate! I love them all so it would be so hard to choose! I really adore the Good Things cosmetic pouch. I would give it to my Mom…who is my friend for life! We’ve always had a special bond and I would def want to spoil her with this amazing giveaway!ReplyCancel

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  • Stephanie Jennings - I adore the family and friends tea towels. They would be a perfect gift for a friend’s upcoming house warming dinner.ReplyCancel

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  • Kate G. - I would give this to Bev, a wonderful, gracious friend of over 10 years now. She has experienced a faith-testing few years with a spouse’s health and now her daughters are leaving the nest and getting married. She’s always there for me no matter her circumstances.ReplyCancel

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  • Elizabeth - I love the makeup bag that say “You’re worth more than you could ever measure.” I would love to give this set to my best friend Sabrinna Newton. She has been so faithful and loyal and has never turned her back on me. I love her so mush.ReplyCancel

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  • Leatha - I really like the Good Friend & Good Book – Pedestal Mug. It’s so hard to choose!ReplyCancel

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  • Susannah - I love the tea towels!!!ReplyCancel

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  • katie b. - i love the boxed cards! Beautiful!

    I would love to share this with my BFF Sarah. :)ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah Beasley - I love the gorgeous line! So beautiful and inspiring! I have several close friends walking me and praying me through a very difficult season, and I would love to give them pieces of this lovely collection. Thank you, Jess!ReplyCancel

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  • Laura - I love the he fills my life with good things cosmetic bag and the you are so loved tea towels! I would share with my sweet friend kari!ReplyCancel

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  • Bridgette Melton - I would love to give this entire set to my best friend. She is currently in the process of building a house and this would be so perfect for her! Looks like I’m going to have to go shopping!! :)ReplyCancel

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  • Crystal sisemore - The set of three notebooks. I would share with my friends Shelley and Lillie.ReplyCancel

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  • Becky Foutz - I would love to give the “Two Women Met For Coffee” to one of my oldest friends. I really miss having coffee with her!ReplyCancel

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  • Kelly - I like the “He fills my life with good things” trinket dish. A good reminder to have around.ReplyCancel

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  • Jessica - the tea towels are darling!ReplyCancel

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  • Briana - Love, love, love the “together” dessert plates!ReplyCancel

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  • Sandra - The “Savor Every Sip” tea towels are adorable!!! I would love to win this to give to my friend Mashell, who has been there for me in so many times…good and bad!ReplyCancel

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  • Katie - Hi Jess! I love all of these and the meaning behind it!!! I think I love the tea towels as a sweet gift!!ReplyCancel

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  • Elizabeth - I love the savor the sip tea towels oh so very much! I would love to share these with my beautiful sister as she is my best friend.ReplyCancel

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  • Heather - I LOVE the tea towels that say God’s Grace is With Us Every Moment. Such a beautiful reminder! I would love to win one set for me and my mom!ReplyCancel

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  • Diane Taylor - Hi Jess – I love the friendship cards – Dayspring has knocked it out of the park with this line! Beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Annette Adams - The paper bundt pans are my favorite. They would be great way to share a pound cake for someone who needs their spirits lifted rather than using a regular paper plate. Let’s you send a message along. Beautiful!ReplyCancel

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  • Melissa Marsh - I would love to gift my very best friend, Gia, with the teapot and teacup set to remind her to slow down and enjoy a good cup of tea with me. It’s so simple and beautiful, and I’d hope it would remind her to cherish the simple things in life. Everything is gorgeous though!ReplyCancel

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  • Elizabeth - Love the friendship tea cups for a fun tea party!ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah Pallozzi - Their are so many cute things it is so hard to choose. I love the cosmetic bag with the verse. Also, the cards are adorable.ReplyCancel

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  • amy j. - Love the tea towels! And the little trinket dish! So cute! :)ReplyCancel

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  • Amy Henrickson - I’d love to give the dessert plates to my best friend Amanda. She lives really far from me and it brings a smile to my face when I think of her eating off those plates (while thinking of me!)ReplyCancel

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  • Stacy - My favorite is the cosmetic bag – so cute!ReplyCancel

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  • Sarita Boyette - I love the note cards with the blue roses on them & I would like to share with Shauna, who has had 4 heartbreaking pregnancy losses and needs some cheer. Thank you!ReplyCancel

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  • Vanessa C - Oh my goodness! I would love the Together Dessert Plates! I would love to give them to my best friend who happens to be my sister. Because together we make each other better and I love her so!ReplyCancel

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  • Hilary - I think I would split these lovely things up between 2 dear friends and my sister :)ReplyCancel

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  • Lindsay W - I love the dessert plates!ReplyCancel

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  • Kim - Many of my friendships have been formed simply by sitting at the table sipping on a cup of tea. I guess that’s why I was drawn to the God’s Grace teacup and saucer. So pretty and so inviting! What a fun giveaway, Jess!ReplyCancel

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  • meredth - Can’t decide between the dessert plates & the tea towels!ReplyCancel

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  • Aly - I love the tea towels and I know my sister would too!ReplyCancel

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  • Roma - I love the You’re Braver than You Ever Imagine mug. My friend, Diane, helped me to realize that I am brave and helped me become the teacher I am today. She retired last year, and I’d love to tell her thank you with it.ReplyCancel

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  • Amberley - I am just loving this collection! I would love to win and share all of these items with someone special. Someone who was my first friend after moving so far away from our family and everyone we know. Someone who has been such a blessing to me and my family!ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel E. - I would love to give this to my mom! Thanks for doing this, Jess!ReplyCancel

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  • Lois - I think the tea towels are a wonderful way to share the friendship. What a beautiful everyday way to be reminded of God’s love in even the mundane tasks of the every day.ReplyCancel

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  • Emma G - I love the tea towels!ReplyCancel

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  • STACIE - Love the tea towels and the dessert plates. I would share them with my sweet friend who recently moved into her forever home!ReplyCancel

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  • Meredith A - I love the tea towels!ReplyCancel

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  • Andrea@KnittyBitties - I would love to share with my sweet friend and niece-in-love, Jessica.ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel - I love the Gods grace teacup set. :)ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah Marshall - I love the Beautiful Smile cosmetic pouch and I would give it to my beautiful co-worker and dear friend who truly is beautiful inside and out.ReplyCancel

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Good friends are such a treasure. The older you get, the more of a treasure you realize a true friend is, right?! Life can be really hard and when you find a friend that sticks with you through some of your ugliest days, it is such a gift. I am so blessed to be surrounded by many friends like this. But I have one friend in particular who has walked through a lot of life with me and her friendship has been such a gift.

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Julie and I met in high school. We found out we were both going to be attending K-State and decided to be roommates. That was the beginning of such a precious friendship. And let me tell you, we have done a lot of life together since then. College, boyfriends, leading our first Bible study together, graduations, standing next to each other in our weddings, teaching, babies, PICU visits, NICU visits, Cora’s funeral, adoption, surgeries, BSF, cheering each other on through speaking events, leading more Bible studies together, lots of phone calls and texts, late night coffee and grocery runs, birthday parties, play dates…and so much more fun in between.

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The past few years she has been the friend that lives closest to me…which is a big deal when you live in the country. During the summers we spent lots of time going back and forth between our houses for play dates. Our schedules were similar and I could call her at the last minute to hang out or if I needed someone to watch my kids. I knew she wouldn’t care if she came over and my kids were still in their pajamas or my house was a mess. And we we often would end our girl’s nights by picking up a few groceries or supplies for a birthday party because you just have to do those things when you are already in town…country problems.

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The fun thing about doing life together for so long is that our kids have become really good friends. Really good friends. It has been the sweetest thing to watch. Levi is actually convinced that Julie’s kids are his cousins. Don’t try to tell him otherwise.

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We have two kids that are very similar in personality. In case you need a hint, they are the littlest two. Haha. When I told the boys that the Johnsons were moving they were so sad. Almost as sad as their mama. Levi said, “But mom, I will NEVER see them!”. I know the feeling, buddy.

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I had to say goodbye to Julie a few weeks ago as she left with her sweet family for a new adventure in Colorado. I had been dreading that day for weeks. This girl really knows me…and still likes me, she loves my kids like her own, she makes me laugh, and most importantly she is always challenging me to keep my eyes on Jesus. She and her family are an example to so many as they follow hard after Jesus even if it means doing something that is uncomfortable. I love that about them.

So the past few weeks we’ve all been pretty sad. I think the hardest thing is letting go of the fact that we won’t be “doing life” together anymore. I know Julie and I will always be friends but knowing that your kids will no longer be growing up together is hard. Honestly I’ve wanted to just sit around and pout about the whole thing. And some days I have. But I was thinking about what a gift even these past five years of being moms together have been. I’ve loved having a friend who lives so close and is in the same stage of life as me. I’ve loved the play dates and coffee dates. I’ve loved doing Bible studies together and leading Bible studies together. I’ve loved that we’ve been able to be there for each other through some really hard things and cheer each other on through some really great things. We have both grown and changed a lot. Our time together has been a really good gift. And for that, I am so grateful. God has filled my life with good things and one of those good things is my friendship with Julie. Our friendship will continue but life is going to look a little different now…but I can be confident that HE will keep filling me up!

He fills my life with good things!

Psalm 103:5

GO HERE to enter the DaySpring Friendship on Purpose giveaway. There is a discount code too!

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  • Leiah - Nearly crying here. I feel for you! I moved 7 years ago to a new continent. It is very hard to make new friends. You know your friends are still your friends, but in daily life, you really miss them. *hugs*ReplyCancel

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  • Michelle from Australia - Jess, you ‘introduced’ me to Julie when you asked for prayers for yet to be born Calla. And I feel Blessed to have been able to follow Julie’s journey since. I even once called on her to bake a cake for you :)

    My best friend and her husband moved to San Francisco 3 years ago. Which is a long way considering I live in Australia! But I’ve been to visit 3 times, she’s been here a few times and we make it work.

    I’m sorry you are missing your wonderful friend. But I hope and pray that Julie’s family will love their time in Colorado.

    God Bless both The Macs and The Johnsons xxReplyCancel

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  • Melissa Joy - I love seeing glimpses of the sweet sisterhood & friendship you share with Julie (and your families together). Beautiful!
    We had a similar parting with our dearest friends (our kids thought they were cousins too!) two years ago, but we are so thankful it is only a 7+ hour drive between our houses, so we can still make it work once or twice a year to keep the bonds as best we can. But oh! saying goodbye is the worst. And the distance IS hard. (((hugs)))ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - I, too, found Julie through you to pray for Calla. I was so surprised they were moving but boy did God have his hand all over it! Thankfully FB and hopefully a yearly visit or two will continue to keep you each close to each other. Skype can be a wonderful thing as well! Friends are such a blessing!ReplyCancel

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  • creole wisdom - Oh! What a sweet entry and tribute to your sweet friend. I remember chatting briefly with Julie at last year’s Hope Spoken and I could tell how much she loved you and what dear friends you are. Saying good-bye is hard, isn’t it!?ReplyCancel

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  • Kristina - Made me sad to read! I believe her blog is how I found your blog. And now I follow both of you. :) May God fill in those empty places that Julie leaves behind. God bless you both!ReplyCancel

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Since I posted Jake’s six month photos I had to go back and look at all of my babies at six months…just for fun.

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Cora :: 6 months

photos by Megan Duerksen

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Levi :: 6 months

photos by Megan Duerksen

griffin6months

Griffin :: 6 months

photos by Megan Duerksen jake6months

Jake :: 6 months

photos by me

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There were a few photos I took of Jake that reminded me so much of his big sister…

coraandjake2 coraandjake

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Practically twins. I love that.

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  • Michelle from Australia - Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful and beautiful. Each one of them so very, very precious. Thank you for sharing Jess xxReplyCancel

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  • andrea - So sweet…it’s beautiful to see the similarities and differences in each of them. :)ReplyCancel

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  • ranee - Wow! Crazy how much they look alike…sweet sweet babies. :)ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - The similarities are uncanny. Beautiful children!ReplyCancel

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  • Laura - Oh my goodness, what a blessing to see the similarities! All of those Mac babies are so beautiful. Hope you aren’t done having them. ;)ReplyCancel

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  • Adrienne - I’ve followed your’s and Meg’s blogs for a long time. I even have two pillows made by Meg for Cora’s Playground. And I thought the same thing about Jake looking like Cora when you posted the other day. So special! You are a sweet mama with a precious family. Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

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  • chrissi - such beautiful babies♥ReplyCancel

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  • Jessica - Beautiful babies. Practically twins is right! I so look forward to your posts. :)ReplyCancel

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  • Kimberly Dial - Oh the preciousness. Jake & Cora definitely look the most a like. Thanks for sharing your sweet babies.ReplyCancel

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  • Deborah Pruden - There is so my joy in those little faces! Blessings to your beautiful family.
    DeborahReplyCancel

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  • Jennifer Minor - Such cute, chunky babies!! LOVE it!! Thank you for sharing the comparison pics!! I can’t get over how much Jake looks like Cora. I agree, practically twins!!ReplyCancel

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  • Rachel - Oh my goodness, they look so much alike! Both such beautiful babies. I’m so glad that you get to see a bit of Cora in your Jake. Such a wonderful reminder of your girl.
    You are one blessed mama!!ReplyCancel

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  • Melissa Joy - Oh Jess, I love this. It brought immediate tears to my eyes, seeing all four of your sweet babies together at the top.
    And seeing pieces of Cora in her brothers is SO marvelous. I love how Griffin’s cheeks and eyes and hair and expressions give me chills, because that’s exactly what Cora looked like when I first started following your blog and praying for your family.
    Thank you for sharing your precious sweethearts with us today!ReplyCancel

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  • kelli - wow. thank you Jesus!ReplyCancel

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  • Jenni - Wow! All of your children looks like siblings! But Jake and Cora, my goodness they look so much a like. What a sweet little blessing!ReplyCancel

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  • Megan - When you posted his first post of his 6mo pics I thought that bottom one looked SO much like Cora too. It makes my heart so happy that you can love and appreciate how similar they look. I imagine it must be heartbreaking on some level too but my goodness gracious … Those are four of the cutest faces ever!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - Jake is the winner for looking most like his sissy. They are both so beautiful as are Griffin and Levi. I love the smiles and the chubby kissable cheeks. I love the photos you took.ReplyCancel

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  • Pamel - The resemblance between Cora and Jake is amazing!!!!ReplyCancel

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