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Since Jake has arrived I feel like I can barely keep up with my boys. Don’t get my wrong, it is the best kind of busy I could dream up. I love it. Then spring came and life on the farm started getting busy too. Between farming and the boys, life is full. Really full. I am so tired some days but so is everyone else in the world, right?! Anyway, I thought it was time for a little farm update. Since I am obviously not keeping up with this blog either. And who doesn’t want to see pics of little boys with their daddy on the farm?

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Back in March Joel brought the four wheeler over to our house one evening to spread grass seed around our yard. The boys had an excuse to ride the four wheeler and they thought spreading grass seed was awesome. They are trying to convince their daddy that we need a four wheeler to live permanently at our house. I am okay with that not happening for awhile. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Jake talked his brothers into getting off for a minute so that he could have a turn too. Which translates to, he sat in the grass and cried because he was getting left out again. The tears worked. It was his first four wheeler ride. I love how he is looking at his daddy.

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Don’t worry they are going verrrrry slow.

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Jake smiles with his whole face. I think he liked his ride. ๐Ÿ™‚

And a few more farm pics from Instagram…

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feeding cattle – “driving” the four wheeler

hanging out in the feed mill – working cattle

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baby corn plant – planting corn

working on the planter – digging for corn seeds

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These were all from corn planting this past spring. The boys always love when the action starts back up on the farm in the spring.

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And then we all look forward to the fun of wheat harvest in June. Except this year we all got the flu during harvest. The boys each managed to feel better for long enough to have a turn riding in the truck. But that was the extent of our harvest fun this year. Such a bummer. Thankfully Joel was the last one to get the flu, the last day of harvest. It’s about as bad when a farmer gets sick as when a mom gets sick. There is just no time for that. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am @jessmcclenahan on Instagram if you want to follow along!

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  • Brady W. - We LOVE harvest! We aren’t fortunate enough to get to participate in it, but we have some land in the middle of a bunch of fields and my kiddos love to watch it! We just got a few 4-wheelers at our house and they are SO fun. Looks like your boys are living the ‘boy’ dream!ReplyCancel

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  • andrea - love the new blog look!!ReplyCancel

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  • Kathy - Your boys are precious and you take the most beautiful pics.ReplyCancel

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  • Melanie Martini - Jess, I love your blog. Thank you so much for ‘bringing us along’ on your adventures and keeping us updated on your beautiful family. <3ReplyCancel

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  • Mary Ann - I always look forward to your updates so yes I love seeing photos of your family. The farm photos are so interesting and amazing. I live where there are farms but they are not too close to the city. Our view is always of our big huge mountains in SLC Utah. Yup..Jake smiles with his whole entire face. Your boys are really beautiful and I can only imagine how tiring it is for you. My grandson is 5 and he wears me out and I only have to tend him or take him “fun” places (as he calls it) once in a while and there is only one of him!! By the way, I love the look and feel of your blog. Nice changes to the header.ReplyCancel

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  • kimberly oyler - jess, i have been sooooo out of the blog loop lately, so i am just now seeing your new blog design. it. is. gorgeous.!!ReplyCancel

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  • Laurie - Love your new look on the blog! I’m wondering how Griffin is doing with his seizure control. Still praying!ReplyCancel

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  • Stefanie (@LexieLooDylan2) - Your boys are adorable!ReplyCancel

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  • Sue - Farm life is so much fun! We’re bailing hay in Ohio….a favorite with our kids! Thanks for sharing a view of farm life with your family. Wonderful blessings!!ReplyCancel

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  • Erica - Beautiful photos! Such a gift for your boys! I would love to hear what you do with them as far as albums/memory keeping for your family! I’m in the process of trying to decide what to do for my two little boys.ReplyCancel

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Trying to catch up again…Jake at 11 months.

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I had a hard time getting him to sit in my arms this time. He is so big and wiggly that I could hardly hold onto him.

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But then his daddy made him laugh and I managed to hang onto him for a few seconds. Good thing we are almost done with these photos, Baby Tiny!

Jake,

Your little personality is starting to shine through. You are content and laid back most of the time but then I see this side of you that is determined and feisty at other times too. You love just hanging out with your brothers and are happy as long as your belly is full. But if your brothers get to go outside and you don’t, you definitely let me know how unfair it is! You also can put up quite the protest in the middle of the night! Mostly you are just super sweet, very cuddly and your wrinkly-nose smile makes everyone else smile too.

You took your first steps on Memorial Day and are slowly trying to walk more and more. I bet you will be walking by your first birthday for sure! You finally said “mama” and I just love hearing those sweet words coming out of your mouth. You wave at everyone, you are eating all table food, you have two top teeth (which made for lots of sleepless nights for both of us!), you learned how to crawl up the stairs which you think is really awesome, and you love to read books now. Everyday you are seeming more and more like one of the big boys.

It’s hard to believe you are almost one. Where did the past year go?! I love you so much, sweet boy!

Mama

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  • Julia - I love how much he looks like his big sister!ReplyCancel

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  • Melinda - He is absolutely adorable!ReplyCancel

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  • EricaG - Hi! Jake is such a cutie. I love the new look of your blog. I use the anchor as a personal symbol of my faith, and I was excited to see it here.ReplyCancel

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  • Lisa - Oh my goodness, what a sweet, sweet boy!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ReplyCancel

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Trying to play catch-up again. So, here is ten months…even though he is really eleven months…almost ONE!

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Dear Jakey,

You are ten months old and with each passing day you are seeming more and more like a little boy and less and less like a baby. You want to do everything your big brothers are doing. You are happiest when you are playing with them. They like you a lot too but they don’t like that you can easily mess up all their stuff now. Sometimes they have to set up a barrier to keep you out and you are not a fan of that. You love to be outside and if they run out the door without you it makes you so sad. Maybe when you stop putting every single rock in your mouth I’ll let you go out more. Haha! Except if mama makes you stay inside or your brothers won’t let you play with them, you are so happy and content most of the time. You have started giving high fives, clapping, and you stand on your own now too. You might end up being my earliest walker! You have started eating table food and you are always up for eating something. Always. I have to work hard to keep you out of the pantry now! I think you are working on some top teeth coming in too. You still aren’t the best sleeper but you are the best snuggler. I’m trying to soak up each moment and remember that these days of baby snuggles will soon pass. I love that I have a house full of boys. And I love that you are one of them. Love you so much, Baby Tiny.

Love, Mama

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  • Toni :0) - I’m not sure he could be ANY cuter!! Happy babies are the best!ReplyCancel

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  • Maria Postma - Love following your blog and watching your little guys growing up. Adorable baby!ReplyCancel

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  • Debby Graber - He is just about to walk isn’t he!! I was in the bunnies room this morning for awhile and then moved to the ladybugs, but watched how he would walk just holding on to Tony’s finger! Tony’s been gone a couple of weeks and he said “Does he walk?” He held onto his finger just in case. Then I got moved to the other room, but it was so neat to see your sweet little guy. Growing soooo big!!ReplyCancel

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  • Lara - He is just the CUTEST thing! Love all his chunk-ness!ReplyCancel

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  • ranee - LOVE the new blog design! Looks so great!!ReplyCancel

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When Levi was a baby I’m pretty sure I posted just about every photo I took of him and documented every milestone. I posted a little less about Griffin, but still documented most things. Then Jake came and…well…I’m sorry, Jake. For some reason (three boys, maybe???) I don’t have much time for blogging and I often forget to even pull out my camera! I don’t want Jake to get a complex when he looks back at this blog and realizes I forgot him. So, let’s go back a few months and pretend like Baby Tiny just started crawling even though he is almost walking (I know!).

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Crawling is fun and he loves cows. So obviously this was the perfect setup to catch a few pics of his newest skill.

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Come on, Baby Tiny! Get the cows! IMG_4833new IMG_4834new IMG_4835new

Almost there…

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Yay!!! His brothers were behind me cheering too.

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Not long after the crawling began, he started doing this too.

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Crawling, standing, and even his first steps (more on that later!). He is growing up way too fast.

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  • Mary Ann - I love your updates. Baby Tiny is so darling. The photos of him standing and that look on his face…it’s like he’s saying, “Ha Ha…I can get where ever I need to get..you can’t stop me now.” Jake is so sweet…I’m sure in no time, he will be running to catch up with Levi and Griffin. What precious gifts from God.ReplyCancel

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  • Amy J. - Wow, looks so much like Cora! Oh hey I just realized I think I’ve only posted a comment like once, but have been following your blog since sweet Cora! Continuing to pray for Griffin, hope he’s doing well.ReplyCancel

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  • babykatesmom - Baby Tiny is just so precious! Thank you for the pictures of your sweet boy.ReplyCancel

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  • Toni :0) - He is soooo cute!!! Loved this update!ReplyCancel

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  • Stefanie - he totally looks like his big sister! Every time I see pics of him I smile because that face is too sweet. Yay for crawling!ReplyCancel

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  • Impy - I know everyone’s saying it, but let me join in! All of your boys are so unique and gorgeous, but this little one,,,,,,,he has Cora all over his little face. It’s the most precious thing to realize and see. I just want to wave and say “Hi sweet Cora!”. For all of the loss and heartache, you remain divinely blessed. This for me, is proof of God’s love.ReplyCancel

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biblestudy6

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.ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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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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