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It snowed here today…but I actually took these photos before Christmas. I am not a huge fan of winter. A little winter is okay. Being snowed in a few days is always fun. But it doesn’t take very long before I am longing for warmer days. Longing for a change.

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There is so much joy and beauty that can be found in these winter days that aren’t really my favorite. Just look at the faces of those sweet boys! It is so easy for me to just dwell on all the things I don’t like about it. We’ve been walking through some really tough days as a family recently. Days that we started to question God’s plan. Days that the waiting was long and hard. And days that we had to continue to choose to trust God even when we were scared. We are coming out of this “winter” season in our family and I am so ready for some change…even just a little normalcy. But I don’t want to close the door on these days without remembering the joy and beauty that God has graciously weaved throughout. God has been doing a work in my family this year and I am so thankful for that. I love that we serve a God who takes the really hard things in our lives and redeems them. And I can’t wait to share with you what He has been teaching me the past few months…if I ever find time to write them in a blog post. 😉

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  • Mary Ann - I love the photos of those adorable faces. Kids and snow just go together, don’t they?? We’ve been lucky in Utah this winter. We had a white Christmas and a week of extremely cold temps afterward. But then…well, we’ve had record warm days since the first of the year. There is a little storm that came through over the weekend and a few more little storms on the way. The mountains just 15 minutes away from Salt Lake City have plenty of snow for skiing/snowboarding, all the while we only got rain in the valley. Perfect winter in my book. I’m so sorry you’ve had some difficulties in your life recently. I hope things will right themselves and you will find answers to your questions or problems. I’ve been dealing with a major health issue in my life for the past 5 months. The worst is over and hopefully I will live a long and productive life. I am living proof that prayers will bring peace, take away the fear and leave only comfort. I will pray for you and your family my young friend. Take care.ReplyCancel

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  • andrea - we’ve been praying for your family!ReplyCancel

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  • Debbie H. - Hi Jess, Will be praying for you my friend! We live in CO and I feel the same about winter. A little snow is OK, but I like it best when I know it’s on the way OUT and we can enjoy warmer days again! Love seeing your pictures and will look forward to an update soon! Tough times have a way of moving us closer to God if we let them, and that’s always a GOOD thing, even though there are days when we wonder IF we will survive. My family has been through some unsettling time recently with a move to another home. My kids are all adopted and this is the only home they remember, so it’s been difficult. We are really in the THICK of things now, needing to be all moved in just a week, and CO weather is not cooperating…SNOW here too! (((HUGS))) LOVE and PRAYERS for all of you today and everyday.ReplyCancel

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  • Lea - Jess, what a precious post that shows your heart for God. Yes, God can use the winter days of our lives for our good and His glory. I can’t wait to hear more. Blessings to you!ReplyCancel

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  • Stefanie - Such beautiful pictures! You can see the joy on their faces!ReplyCancel

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  • Diana - Just read your last two posts in inverted order as I was catching up and I wonder if you realize how prophetic this one was about the days you didn’t know yet were coming. Beautiful. God is good.ReplyCancel

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Seven months has been a month of firsts

First airplane ride // You almost had to miss your first airplane ride because your daddy had an emergency gall bladder surgery, but thankfully he quickly recovered and off to California we went.

First trip to the beach // This also meant you got to take your first trip to the beach and dip your toes in the ocean for the first time.

First formula // Your big brother had a seizure while we were in California so you tried out some formula with Grammy while I was in the emergency room with him.

First tooth // On February 8 your first tooth popped up. Your second tooth was soon to follow.

First crawling…almost // You almost crawled for the first time. You are trying really hard and are so close…but not quite there.

First nights away from mama // Your big brother had to spend the night in the hospital when he started having more seizures which mean you had to spend your first nights away from mama. I didn’t like it one bit and was so glad to be together again. I think you were too.

First bath with brothers // You took your first bath with your brothers. Three little boys in a tub is pretty wild but you loved every second.

Not the first ear infection // And it wasn’t a first, but you had another ear infection this month. Those are never fun so we are hoping this is the last one of those!

We all love you so much, Jakey! I can’t wait to see the firsts that eight months bring.

Mama

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So much has happened this past month I hardly know where to begin. So I will start with today.

February 8, 2015.

Cora’s heaven day.

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While everyone was taking afternoon naps, Levi and I did some crafting for Cora’s heaven day. IMG_4197new

It has been six years since we said goodbye to my sweet Cora. IMG_4421

I was so thankful for this time to talk to Levi about his sissy. He is a pretty great crafting partner. And he loves to talk about his sister. He told me we should pick lots of pink fabric for Cora. I loved that. He also picked these rocks up on the beach in California and brought them home so we could take them to Cora’s stone today.

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We thought they turned out pretty great. Then Levi ran upstairs and woke everyone up. He was so excited to walk to Cora’s stone. He loves doing things for his sister, but he was also going to get to ride his bike to the cemetery for the first time. It was a big deal.

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It had been awhile since we had visited the cemetery. It was Jake’s first time to come with us too. The boys showed him the ropes.

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They set out all the heart rocks and Levi did a little jumping…until his dad told him to stop. Good thing he was wearing a helmet. IMG_4210new

I wonder if they will still walk to the cemetery with me when they are teenagers. coras heaven day

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Six years. We have missed Cora like crazy every day since. The tears still come and, just like every year, we wonder what to do with ourselves on the day. But we grieve with hope. And we rejoice that our baby girl is with Jesus…that we serve a God who has conquered sin and death! Tonight as we walked to Cora’s stone we remembered how God has redeemed Cora’s death for His glory. And we prayed that He would continue to make His name known through our family in the years ahead. Who knew that six years later we’d be sitting at Cora’s stone with three boys…two of them who couldn’t stop wrestling?! It’s been quite the week and I can’t help but be reminded of God’s faithfulness through it all.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:19-24

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  • Michelle from Australia - Love and hugs from this side of the planet. Jess, thank you for sharing xxReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - I said a special prayer for your sweet Cora yesterday while in church. It’s hard for me to comprehend that it’s been six years, been following along for a long time and can’t believe that much time has passed. So sweet to see those three boys gathered around her stone. Blessings and continued prayers to you all. xoxoReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - What a lovely post in honor of your beautiful angel Cora. The stones are so pretty. I think Cora knows her brothers and parents will never forget her. I love the photo of Levi’s chubby little hands working on the rocks. My little grandson is 4. He likes going to the cemetery where my parents and husband is buried. There are geese there and we can see clear across the Salt Lake Valley where we are surrounded by beautiful mountains. It is a sacred and holy place to me. I talk to Braxton about his Grandpa Rich and how much Grandpa probably wishes he would have met Braxton….but we know that the Lord takes care of our loved ones on the other side. We also know that on that perfect day…we will all be together again. Bless you my young friend. Although I have never met you, I adore your family and always smile and find hope in your posts and photos. Thank you.ReplyCancel

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  • Janet Dreher - Jess, I am absolutely positive your precious boys will walk with Joel and you to Cora’s grave when they are teenagers. She is so special to them, and you are raising them in such a way as to always think of her and love her. I am sending a hug your way and want to say again how beautiful your boys are.
    JanetReplyCancel

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  • Emily - I was first on your blog 6 years ago reading your family story right before little Cora went to heaven. I have been reading ever since. I enjoy following a long with your family and truly admire your family’s love for Jesus! :)ReplyCancel

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  • Kimberlee Jost - I am guessing when your boys are teenagers (or before) you will find them wandering over there on their own to spend time there. And maybe once in awhile with you too. 😉ReplyCancel

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  • Bethe @ Texas Lovely - What a beautiful tribute to sweet Cora. My heart breaks for your loss, even all these years later, but I love that verse. His mercies are new every morning – great is His faithfulness! You have lived that and your testimony is a blessing to others.ReplyCancel

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  • Kelly S - What a sweet girl, and what a beautiful celebration of her life.ReplyCancel

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  • Kim - I too started following your blog when Sweet Cora went into the hospital. I eagerly check your blog for updates on your sweet family. Waiting with anticipation for the birth of each of your precious boys. Your strong faith spoke to my heart and my husband’s. It changed our lives for ever. We celebrate Cora’s heaven day every year with pink and green balloons. Thank you for taking time to update your blog even though I am sure those sweet boys keep you running. Prayed extra prayers for Sweet Griffin. Glad all the tests were negative.ReplyCancel

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  • Melissa Joy - I am crying with you: grieving with hope isn’t easy… Oh, for heaven!ReplyCancel

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  • PK - My prayers are with you. What a strong God loving woman you are!!!ReplyCancel

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  • Stefanie - Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • creole wisdom - Your testimony and beautiful faith just shine, Jess. Sending you lots of love and prayers from Minnesota.ReplyCancel

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  • Mary - Jess, I starting following your blog when precious little Cora was ill and I have watched your family grow so wonderfully out of such a time of despair. Your honesty in sharing your pain is appreciated and I think of Cora every February 8. She is surely smiling down from heaven as she watches her three little brothers grow. You have done a wonderful job raising them. Blessings to you and your family this Lenten Season.ReplyCancel

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  • k&c's mom - I’ve shared this same comment with you several times since 2009: I discovered your blog right after you lost Cora, and months before I lost my husband. I still believe that God used your words, your testimony and your faith to prepare me and help me through my loss. It’s been a joy to pray for your family over the years and continue to see the blessings God does pour over you. His mercies ARE ever new. Blessings on you and the entire family on this anniversary day.ReplyCancel

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  • Angie - Tomorrow, we celebrate “Jacks Day”…the day we said Hello and Goodbye to our 2nd of 4 sons! I’ve been following your blog for over 8 years now! Cora and I share a birthday, March 5th…. and we also have a Levi:) I feel somewhat connect to your family! I see your strength and admire you so much! We have 3 boys and miss our 4th everyday. God Bless you and continue to share your story and love of God! There are many times that I read your blog and it keeps my faith in God just from reading your words:) THANKS!! (for being you!)ReplyCancel

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  • Natalie H - I found your blog in the days right before little Cora went to Jesus, I prayed for you continually that first year in particular and have checked in with your blog periodically ever since- rejoicing in the births of your precious boys, especially. My first child is Cora’s age so your grief was very close to home and has made your story unforgettable to me. Margaret turns 7 in April. I still Google your blog by entering the name Cora Paige, God bless your family now and always. ❤️ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah Joy - I ran a cross your blog years ago. I often think about you and your family. And what a beautiful girl Cora is. I love the way you and family still honor her.
    With my own journey with cancer, I hope my hubby can do that when I pass for my girls.ReplyCancel

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  • Aly - I just love the heart rocks. You are an incredible momma and I appreciate your authenticity. Hugs to you!ReplyCancel

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I am finally catching up on Jake’s monthly posts…so bare with me. Month 6 through 8 are coming all at once…with month 9 soon to follow. I have to write it all down or I will forget (because I already had trouble remembering back to six months)! So here we go…Baby Tiny at six months.

Dear Jakey,

How can half the year have gone by already?! Six months is a big deal. And while I would love for you to start sleeping through the night and take better naps, I am hanging onto these precious baby days. You are the sweetest, happiest baby. You started eating baby food this month and you think it is pretty great. Baby cereal and vegetables…there hasn’t been anything that you haven’t liked. Why am I not surprised that you like to eat?! You are sitting up like a pro. You love to be in your highchair, walker or bumbo. Although I can barely fit those chunky thighs into the bumbo anymore. Maybe that has something to do with you weighing 21 pounds 4 ounces. You are still known as Baby Tiny by almost everyone. I’m pretty sure that nickname is going to stick, so I hope you like it. I laugh every time I think of my big, chunky baby being called Baby Tiny…but somehow it suits you.

Happy half birthday, sweet boy!

Mama

Jake 1-6 months

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She Reads Truth is offering a discount to my readers. Yay! Receive 15% off the She Reads Truth Shop using code JESSMAC (offer good today through midnight on Wednesday). Just add the items to your cart and redeem the discount code at checkout. There are so many great prints, scripture cards, study packs and more. I love that ampersand tee…so cute!

I have been working on The She Reads Truth The Bible in a Year plan. What about you? Anyone else doing a She Reads Truth study?

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  • chrissi - i just started one of their reading plans yesterday and i am so enjoying it. thanks for the code.ReplyCancel

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  • Hollie - I’m going through their yearly plan, too, and loving it! I’ve been eying some of their prints, so thanks!ReplyCancel

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  • Sarah D. - Yay! I’m doing the Bible in a Year plan, too. :) A friend surprised me with the tshirt– it’s my favorite!!ReplyCancel

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