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I like to dye our eggs outside. It is always more fun to do things outside…and then I don’t have to worry about the mess. It has been so windy here lately that it was hard to find a day that worked this year…but we finally did. This was our pre-egg dying picture. No normal smiles around here anymore. And anything big brother does, little brother does too.

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These two have way too much fun together. I love to hear their giggles.

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We managed to only have a few cracked eggs this year…and a few green fingers.:)I can totally handle that. It was our best egg dying year yet. You have to click back and see the pics of the boys dying eggs from the past few years.

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Little cuties. They keep growing and growing! And next year there will be one more set of fingers trying to help us. I can’t wait!

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  • April 23, 2014 - 3:11 pm

    Mary Ann - Oh my gosh…how cute. I loved looking back to 2012 & 2013. I thought it was funny how Griffin’s eggs were smashed (but getting dyed!!). Our egg dying experience was way fun now that my grandson is almost 4. We put funny faces on the eggs, and gave some of them hair and wrote our names on them. On Wunday we focused on remembering what Easter was all about so I talked a lot to my Grandson about the Savior and the love He has for us. It was a wonderful weekend.ReplyCancel

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I’ve been listening to this song on repeat all weekend. I came across this little video of Kari Jobe explaining the story behind the song…I always love to know the story, don’t you?

I know Easter is over but let’s not stop rejoicing in our Risen Lord! Jesus is the name above all names. Forever He is glorified. Hope you all had a wonderful Easter. I’ll tell you more about ours later this week!

To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!

Revelation 5:13

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  • April 21, 2014 - 8:52 am

    Mary Ann - It was a glorious Easter…I feel so blessed to know without a shadow of a doubt that He is Risen!! Easter certainly reminds us that He gave his life for us and suffered for our sins but even more miraculously he felts all our sorrows, our heartaches, our loneliness, and our regrets. He helped me see the good in life and helped me to be able to smile again. I knew the passing of my husband and parents (within 7 months) would be hard but I never realized how much I would miss all of them. I’m so lucky and blessed that I became a grandmother….just in the nick of time. My little grandson saved me and gave me every reason to love life again and to laugh and smile again. I hope your Easter celebration was wonderful. I can’t wait to see pictures of your family.ReplyCancel

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  • April 21, 2014 - 12:14 pm

    Stacey - Praise Him! I have also had this song on repeat all throughout the weekend. I get goosebumps each time I hear it. Our Praise team at church sang this and one of Pastor’s did the spoke part in the middle (like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huFra1mnIVE) I am in awe of the sacrifice Jesus has made for us, in awe and thankfulness of the resurrection. So overwhelmed by his Love for each of this! BLessings,
    ~Stacey <3ReplyCancel

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  • April 22, 2014 - 7:51 pm

    Jamie - I LOVE this song. I first heard it when I saw her in concert back in March and this song just does it for me. brings me to tears.. the truths, the worship. Love it. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

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I was a little behind on being intentional with Easter this year. I like to try to do things throughout Lent to help prepare my heart and the boys’ hearts for Easter. But honestly the week after HopeSpoken I could hardly keep my eyes open and all I could think about was taking a nap…so the Easter stuff just came out last week. We have several fun things that we use from DaySpring that you can read about in this post and our collection of Easter books is growing too.

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If you follow me on Instagram (@jessmcclenahan) you already saw a little peek of our newest Easter project this year. Last year we made an Easter mountain out of salt dough. The boys loved that but I wanted to try something new this year. I had seen the idea to make an Easter garden on Pinterest a few times. I never really found a good link with step-by-step directions but just made up my own using this picture and caption.

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We used a 10 inch clay saucer for the base and a 4 inch clay pot for the tomb. I wish I would have found a smaller pot for the tomb because it was hard to mound the dirt around the pot…but we made it work.

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After we got the “mountain” built we sprinkled on grass seed and put a few little rocks from our driveway around the front.

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And then our Easter mountain turned into a full-out construction zone. Gotta love little boys.

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This project would have been so much easier to do outside but it was cold and windy so we were stuck inside. I thought about telling the boys we couldn’t make a mess inside but they were just having so much fun. I may start to see grass popping up through the cracks in my wood floor pretty soon…oh well, I’m pretty sure it was worth the moments of peace that the mess brought.:)

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I bought a 4 inch clay saucer to close the tomb with but Levi insisted that we needed a rock instead. We might need to find a bigger rock though! We planted our grass seed on the 4th and it started popping up on the 9th. Today it was filling in pretty well over most of the mountain. We spray it throughout the day with a spray bottle to keep the grass watered. We still need to make our crosses which we will do this week. I’ll have to take another picture sometime so you can see it all finished.

I was looking for some ideas for my Sunday School class over the weekend and came across this video. Have your kids seen this already? I just loved how Phil Vischer talks about the meaning of Easter and why it is so important. I have been thinking a lot about what it means that Jesus stood under the stream of God’s wrath in my place…that God looked at Jesus and saw all of my sin…all of your sin. That’s a hard thing for me to wrap my own mind around let alone explain to my preschooler. I loved the visual in this video when Jesus was on the cross and how God saw his Son stained with all the sin of the world. What a horrible thing to imagine and yet such a beautiful picture of the gospel and His love for us. I showed this to my Sunday School class today and then Levi and I watched it this afternoon. And then we watched it three more times because he loved it so much. I am praying that it gives me more opportunities to share truth with my kids this week as we continue to talk about Easter.

Jesus is alive!

That’s not just good news…that’s amazing news!

And now I want to go buy the What’s in the Bible? videos. Do you have them?

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  • April 14, 2014 - 9:03 am

    Amanda - We have these videos! They are so great. Your boys would love them!ReplyCancel

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  • April 14, 2014 - 10:48 am

    Missy - Thanks for posting this Jess! The kids loved it!ReplyCancel

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  • April 14, 2014 - 2:44 pm

    Jenae - We have nearly all the WITB videos and Levi would probably love them! Caleb loves them and Noah isn’t quite as crazy about them, probably because they are just a little over his head. Honestly, Kevin and I love them too. I learn so much from watching them (and they are really funny)! :) ReplyCancel

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  • April 15, 2014 - 4:55 pm

    Mary Ann - What a fun project…you are brave to do that with dirt and rice. I have a carpeted dining room so that would be more of a challenge….I will leave that my grandson’s parents to handle. I get anxious when my grandson plays with play dough or putty but I guess I need to be more flexible, right!!! I love your “He is Risen” banner. Your boys are getting so big…they will be the best helpers when you new little one comes along.ReplyCancel

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  • April 27, 2014 - 10:03 pm

    a little more easter » The Macs - […] is how our Easter mountain garden turned out. The grass came up but I think it would have worked better if our “tomb” […]ReplyCancel

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I got back from Hope Spoken last Sunday and corn planting started the next day. It’s that time of year again. When planting starts the boys think that their daddy needs their help all. the. time. They don’t know how good they have it because their daddy usually lets them tag along quite a bit. They really love when we bring Joel a meal and they get to pack their own lunch boxes and eat in the tractor too. (Adorable lunch boxes from Sarah + Abraham.)

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Griffin was getting a little nervous as the tractor got closer to him.

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Joel loves his boys so well. I love how you can see it on his face as he gets closer to the boys. And his smile is totally back! We are so grateful.

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The boys are already trying to kick me out of the tractor. Griffin gets a little stressed when I sit in his seat and he has to sit on the floor.

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I have no idea what we are going to do when there are three little ones who want to ride in the tractor??

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My boys eat their best meals in the tractor. Isn’t that crazy? They usually eat about twice the amount of food they eat at home…and sometimes mooch off their daddy too.

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I know I’ve said it before but there are a lot of things about farming that are hard for me to get used to…lots of learning to be flexible. But these days of eating dinner all squished in the tractor cab together are so precious. I am so thankful for my little family of farm-loving boys. I know that these will be some of my favorite memories together.

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  • April 8, 2014 - 6:56 am

    Amber - Love these photos. They are precious! My boys think their Daddy can’t get it done without them too! :-) ReplyCancel

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  • April 8, 2014 - 8:16 am

    leiah - Maybe you’ll have a little girl who will prefer to have a tea party at home with you instead of lunch in a tractor. Then it will be something special for the boys.ReplyCancel

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  • April 8, 2014 - 12:46 pm

    Sarah - I just love all your pictures. Farming is tough and being a farm wife is even harder, but it is so worth it..especially when you are raising kids on a farm. I don’t think there is a better place to raise a family!ReplyCancel

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  • April 8, 2014 - 4:14 pm

    Leslie Veer - Hard work makes boys hungry!ReplyCancel

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  • April 9, 2014 - 5:34 pm

    Nicole W - So precious. I wonder if they eat so well in the tractor because they know deep down that if they keep eating, they never have to get out and go home. ;) They want to stretch that time for as long as possible. Love it!ReplyCancel

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  • April 11, 2014 - 11:34 pm

    Selena Bragg - These memories are precious… And as the daughter of a dairy and row-crop farmer, I remember the occasional frustration from my mother when it came to planning events & the such, as a farmer’s schedule begins early in the morn, (& during both planting & harvesting), may go late into the night, esp if rain is coming… However… I love the faith of the farmer & his family. Fully relying on God, season after season, and praying for specific weather conditions to come to your farm, or miss your farm, as they watch that planted seed grow and yield “food” to help feed the world. So.much.faith. So much trust, hope, and love for the farm. Generations of faith and hope passed down. It gives me chills to reflect on my upbringing and the faith of my family with regard to the farm, as well as life. I’m thankful for my farm-raised childhood into adulthood. The countless memories of showing cows, bottle-feeding calves, rounding up cows that got out, watching my dad, uncle, & grandfather pull calves in the middle of the night, helping move equipment to the next field, sandwiches & candy bars in the tractor ;), pallets of bean and corn seed that I was allowed to go pick up once I began driving, “smelling the rain” for which we were so thankful, late nights of hauling hay, riding the spray-coupe with the door open :), riding in the big rig to drop off a load of corn, wheat, or beans, the release of the buddy seat in the combine – sooo comfortable! – And so many more. I now live in the city, & my boys are “city boys” in comparison to my raising. That makes me sad, yet thankful for our life as I know this is where God wants us… I say all that to say – your boys are learning a level of faith from their daddy that few will ever understand, not to mention the memories. At 33 years old, those memories are forever etched in my mind. They will be so thankful for them… Just like me and my sister are for ours. (And over time I’m betting you will love the farm life more and more! ;))

    Thank you for sharing your family, your faith, & your heart. You are beautiful inside and out. Thankful that Joel’s smile is back. :) :) Happy planting!ReplyCancel

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  • April 18, 2014 - 2:31 pm

    Stefanie - I love these pictures! What a great day for your beautiful boys!ReplyCancel

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  • April 26, 2014 - 2:17 pm

    Jenny - These pictures are priceless! I have been following you since Cora’s days. SO very happy to see you are having #3. One quick question: Is your farm certified organic? I am always curious about corn farming…ReplyCancel

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  • April 26, 2014 - 2:19 pm

    Jenny - I meant to say baby #4. Hope it is a girl. :) ReplyCancel

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Over a year ago I got an email from Danielle asking me what I was doing in March 2014. Haha. I can hardly plan a week ahead, let alone a year. She told me about this women’s conference that would be happening in Dallas. A dream that the Lord had placed on Casey, Emily, and Danielle’s hearts. A conference filled with stories of Christ in each of our lives, and how we can use these stories for His glory. Hope spoken. And she wanted me to come and share my story. I remember telling my husband about the email and secretly hoping that he would tell me he wasn’t so sure about the whole thing…I mean, I didn’t even know these people in real life! Instead he looked at me and right away told me I needed to say yes. I was so nervous because speaking in public is a major stretch for me…but speaking at a women’s conference…that was totally out of my comfort zone. After Cora died, as I felt God’s leading to keep writing on my blog, I vividly remember telling Him that I didn’t ever want to pass up an opportunity to share the gospel and His faithfulness in my life. I didn’t want this heartache in my life to be wasted. But I would have never dreamed He would give me an opportunity like this five years later. And I love that my husband is such a big part of that. I am the one that is usually writing and speaking but this is the story the Lord has written for our family. And Joel is the one usually in the background, faithfully leading our family and cheering me on to keep writing and sharing and taking these opportunities that God gives me. I love that about him…a lot.

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Anyway, back to the conference. Danielle, Emily and Casey were the sweetest hosts. These are ladies that I have admired from afar through blogs and instagram and it was so great to get to finally meet them in person. They were so gracious and I loved their hearts for each woman attending the conference to feel loved and that above all Jesus would be glorified. Oh, and the conference itself? It was so great. They put so much thought into every detail. The decor, food, music, and speakers…everything was amazing. And I’m pretty sure I ate enough cake pops and drank enough coffee for the rest of the year.

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I loved that these sweet friends (and sister!) came to the conference with me. They were my cheerleaders. These women have walked through some dark, dark days alongside me. I was so thankful that they came to cheer me on and encourage me. They even all came to my sessions and hid on the sides so they wouldn’t make me cry. And I made them work too. They put all my prints (that sweet Heather designed for me) in plastic sleeves so that I could hand them out at my sessions. I have the best friends.

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The weekend was filled with old friends and new friends. I loved being able to get to know women like Jami, Shannon, Carissa, Kimberly, Katie, and so many more. The conference went by way too fast. I wish I would have had more time to spend hearing the hearts of these women. What a blessing they were to me!

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Along with speaking in one of the sessions I also got to lead a small group. These women were so great. I loved listening to their stories and the work God was doing in each one of their lives. I know I learned more from them than they did from me!

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We were asked to pick a word for our session…”the story of ____”. That was a little overwhelming for me. How do I pick just one word? But right away I felt like God gave me the word blessing. It was so crazy because as I prayed about what I was supposed to share at Hope Spoken and how in the world I could narrow down all that the Lord has been teaching me over the past five years into a thirty minute session, I felt like He was speaking to me about true blessing just as much as I was praying He would speak to the hearts of the women attending my session. Because of some circumstances that unfolded in the weeks prior to the conference I needed to preach Truth to myself.  I needed to be reminded of what God’s abundant blessing looks like in my own life. That’s usually how it works when I’ve been asked to speak. The Lord ends up doing a major work in my own heart. And I’m so thankful that He’s not finished with me yet.

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So Saturday I was a conference speaker and Monday I was back to riding in tractors and being a farm wife (a very sleepy farm wife!). That just about makes me want to laugh. I remember in college how much a dreaded each and every speech class. I just knew that public speaking would not be what the Lord had planned for me. The profuse sweating, shaky hands and quivering voice seemed like a pretty good indicator to me. And being a farm wife? I told everyone I knew that I would never marry a farmer or live in the country. Haha. I am so thankful that although we sometimes think that we would do a pretty good job planning out our own lives, the Lord has a much bigger and better plan and purpose for us. And what a blessing it is to see that plan unfold as we keep our eyes on Him. It is not always easy or comfortable…and we don’t always understand His ways…but He graciously leads us with the promise of His abundant blessing over our lives.

For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16

Oh, and did you know there is already plans for Hope Spoken 2015? You can find out more details on their Facebook page. Can’t wait!

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  • April 4, 2014 - 7:25 am

    Jennifer B. - I know this isn’t at all what this post was about, but I just wanted to comment how wonderful it is to see your husband’s beautiful smile fully restored. I’m guessing you will never take it for granted now. What a blessing to have it back.ReplyCancel

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  • April 4, 2014 - 9:09 am

    Amanda - As I read your blog post I couldn’t help but think of the biblical heroine, Esther. You two have a lot in common, did you know that? :) Quite and reserved yet chosen by God to be pulled completely out of your comfort zones to do His magnificent will. May God bless you for your faithfulness and may he use your story to bring honor and glory to His name, friend!ReplyCancel

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  • April 6, 2014 - 11:34 am

    Sarah W. - Can’t believe you were in Dallas, and I wasn’t aware. Looks and sounds like an amazing beautiful time.ReplyCancel

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  • April 6, 2014 - 8:28 pm

    Debby Graber - Didn’t see you this morning, but did talk with Joel. I prayed for you each day while you were gone. Your comment about dreading speech class made me think about my sophomore year when I was supposed to do a speech in class and I faked having laryngitis!! I laugh about that now. God has such a sense of humor. I would never have imagined speaking either!ReplyCancel

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  • April 7, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    Mary Ann - I’m so proud of you…the conference sounds wonderful. Your story has unfolded in ways that you could never have imagined. I think it is hard to feel blessed all the time, especially when it takes so much of our hearts to try to see the good that life has to offer and to find a way to be happy when the most unimaginable heartache happens in our lives. Your darling beautiful Cora must be smiling right now knowing her mama shook off her fears and talked in front of all those other women. She would be proud of the lovely woman you are and the amazing mother and wife you are. I love your blog because it is filled with everyday stuff like farming, vacations, kids, activities, etc. but also filled with the love you have for our Lord and Savior. May the Lord’s tenderest of mercys continue to bless you and your familhy. Excited for your new little one!!ReplyCancel

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  • April 7, 2014 - 10:16 pm

    Bethany - I have been watching for a post on Hope Spoken. I wanted to go so badly but wasn’t able to plan for it this year. I most wanted to hear you speak. It looks amazing and I ordered a devotional book from the meeting. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
    Bless you and your sweet family. I love keeping up with you all.ReplyCancel

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  • April 10, 2014 - 11:20 am

    momoftwo - Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for sharing your story. You really made me realize that I was putting God in a box. Seems so silly now, but I really was just getting Him out when it fit in with my plans. So backwards! Loved listening to you.ReplyCancel

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