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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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Just a quick post to let you know that DaySpring has some great Easter items for kids on sale right now. And they are offering my readers a special coupon code…yay!!

We loved all their Easter products but the Easter Wooden Pop-Out Puzzle was Levi’s favorite last year.

Easter Wooden Pop-Out Puzzle

On Sale: $12.74

with code: 9.56

The Story of Easter Magnet Book

On Sale: $10.49

with code: 7.87

Really Woolly Plush Sheep Gift Set

On Sale (March Only): $15

with code: 11.25

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter - 12 Day Holiday Countdown

 12 Day Holiday Countdown

On Sale: $9.99

with code: 7.49   (does not qualify towards free shipping over $50 purchase)

Make sure you check out DaySpring’s Easter Gifts for Kids. They have lots of fun things to help teach your kids the Easter story or to fill up Easter baskets with! You can find my full review of these products in this post from last year.

DaySpring is also offering my readers 25% off the entire Easter Gifts for Kids section. Use coupon code MacsEaster25 through Friday, April 4, 2014.

disclosure: affiliate links used

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  • March 27, 2014 - 7:34 am

    babykatesmom - Such cute things! The Really Wooly sheep with the yellow hat is named Cora! I’m sure you knew that already :)ReplyCancel

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  • March 27, 2014 - 8:29 am

    Kristin - Hoping your doctor’s appt went well!ReplyCancel

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  • March 28, 2014 - 7:29 am

    Ashley - Hey Jess! Thank you for doing these Daysprings posts! I love that I can buy adorable gifts for my girls that reflect Jesus! When I went to checkout at Daysprings, the code did not give an additional percentage off sales prices. Was it just for regular price items? Just wanted to check!ReplyCancel

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  • March 31, 2014 - 8:06 am

    Mandy @ DaySpring - Hi Ashley! The code should give you 25% off sale prices. The discount is reflected in the far right column. I double checked and it seems to be working– email me with the item you are having an issue with and I’ll look into it for you: mandy b at dayspring dot com. Thanks!ReplyCancel

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  • April 14, 2014 - 12:17 am

    preparing our hearts for Easter » The Macs - […] 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 […]ReplyCancel

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20 weeks

Sunday marked twenty weeks…halfway already! And whoa…this baby is growing, growing, growing…or else my tummy just knows what to do after three babies already. I’m feeling fine besides always thinking I need a nap. But I’m pretty sure that is just part of being a mama, right? I am feeling lots of bubbles and flutters…this baby feels like a mover already. And I think the boys will be able to feel some little kicks soon too…they will be so excited. Griffin has started praying for the baby every night. If we forget he makes sure to let us know. So sweet. And Levi came with me to my last appointment to hear the baby’s heartbeat. He has been begging to come along and it was so special watching his face as he heard that little heartbeat for the first time. My sonogram is next week and we are still holding strong…it’s going to be a surprise! We can’t wait to meet this little one.

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  • March 12, 2014 - 10:38 pm

    Ali - I love that you’re holding strong, but if you decide not to…don’t feel bad about it! Just continue praying and you’ll know what’s best for you. I’ll never forget the post on your last sonogram & it was so similar to my story. It really helped me. God bless you and your family & Congrats!!! :)ReplyCancel

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  • March 13, 2014 - 12:14 am

    Sharee - I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I love it. You are so uplifting and so so crafty! I just (9 months ago is just right?) had my final number 4 and despite multiple ultrasounds we stayed strong and waited! While we would have been thrilled with a baby girl, I think it made the surprise of a baby boy that much more exciting. I feel bad saying that. We really would have loved 4 girls! Anyway, I’m happy for you and look forward to new blogs!ReplyCancel

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  • March 13, 2014 - 7:32 am

    Tara Taylor - I have one biological child and did not find out the gender while pregnant. My beautiful daughter turns 15 tomorrow and I still feel not finding out was the best ever. The excitement of hearing the doctor tell my husband and I “it’s a girl” was crazy, crazy. Deep down I thought she was a boy, but even deeper, I was hoping for a girl. Congrats to you and your family.ReplyCancel

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  • March 13, 2014 - 7:55 am

    babykatesmom - Congratulations on reaching the halfway mark! Your belly is adorable & I love that Levi got to go with you to hear the heartbeat – what a special Big Brother thing to do!
    Take care! Praying for your family from Florida :)ReplyCancel

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  • March 13, 2014 - 8:53 am

    flowerpowermomma - Blessings on this sweet baby and the joy it is bringing to your home. How fun for Levi with the heartbeat and adorable that Griffin has a servants heart to pray consistently for the babe.ReplyCancel

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  • March 13, 2014 - 1:19 pm

    amy jupin - you are the cutest preggo momma!
    praying for you, jess!ReplyCancel

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  • March 13, 2014 - 2:55 pm

    creole wisdom - Could you be any cuter? How exciting Baby #4’s birthday will be :) A second daughter or third son will be just the perfect addition.ReplyCancel

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  • March 13, 2014 - 4:40 pm

    Toni :0) - Love the update. We didn’t know for either of our children until the day of arrival and I can tell you, it’s really awesome to wait. I loved being able to say the baby is here and it’s a “Boy” or it’s a “Girl!” Best surprise ever!! Prayers always sent your way. God bless! xoxoReplyCancel

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  • March 14, 2014 - 9:33 am

    Mary Ann - You are such a beautiful mama….I’m excited to see what your baby will be – boy or girl – it is great that you are going to be surprised and what a wonderful surprise it will be. Me and my husband adopted our son, our only child when he was 15 days old. I got the call at my work that Child and Family Services had a little baby for us. So, we didn’t know until that day whether we would get a boy or a girl. He was and still is the light of my life. He and his darling wife had my grandson almost 4 years ago. I feel so blessed to be a grandmother. It is a dream come true. My husband passed away only 18 short months before Braxton was born. I think my husband knows about Braxton and is looking down from heaven with a smile on his face knowing he’s a grandpa and happy that we are taking good care of his grandson.ReplyCancel

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  • March 17, 2014 - 8:28 pm

    Megan - Congrats on the half way mark!!! I have been a long time reader but changed computers and lost a lot of my bookmarked blogs, then one day you popped into my mind and I thought “I wonder if she is pregnant again?” so I Googled your blog and you had just made the announcement a few posts before! So excited for you guys! And I totally agree with the comment above … I will never forget your post after sweet Griffin’s ultrasound. It was so beautiful and open and relatable. I’m excited to see what you are having and pray any anxiety you both face will be swept away by peace from God. He already know what it is, after all. :)ReplyCancel

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  • March 17, 2014 - 11:33 pm

    Melissa Joy - Beautiful, Jess, truly. I would have been 16 weeks if my little girl had lived… and looking at your belly makes me cry… but actually for good reasons. I’m praying for you and your lovely family!ReplyCancel

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  • March 22, 2014 - 9:59 pm

    Amanda - I have been following your blog for a long time now but I have never commented before. I think you are amazing! Your boys are so cute and such fun to follow. Congrats on the new little one on the way.ReplyCancel

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  • April 6, 2014 - 11:33 am

    Sarah W. - You look great! Isn’t it crazy how we show so much faster each time around and how fast the time flies! I wish I was strong enough to wait and have a surprise at the birth too… at first I thought I could… I couldn’t. I’m so excited for your growing family!ReplyCancel

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Wednesday was Cora’s birthday. She would have been six.

The boys and I have started a little tradition of painting rocks to put at Cora’s stone. We still put flowers at her stone every once in awhile but they don’t last long in the Kansas weather…they usually freeze or blow away! But our rocks are always there and I love that. When I see that little pile of rocks it reminds me of my Rock. It is only because of Jesus that I have the strength to visit my daughter’s gravestone. It is only because of Jesus that I live in hope.

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 18:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
    out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
    and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
    and put their trust in him.

Psalm 40:1-3

I had this great idea of cutting fabric hearts out and gluing them onto the rocks this year. I thought the boys could help me paint on the glue. But they assured me that Cora would want her rocks painted…so pink and orange rocks it was!

And while the boys painted I made a few fabric heart rocks for my girl.

In the afternoon while Griffin was napping Levi and I ordered some books for Wesley’s Joyful Life Library.

Last year you all were so awesome and helped us fill up the ten Joyful Life Libraries with books. We decided we wanted to give some books for Cora’s birthday again this year. If you haven’t heard of the Joyful Life Library…go check it out! Levi had so much fun picking out his favorite books for the sweet kids at Wesley.

When Joel got home from work we drove to the cemetery with Cora’s birthday balloons and our pretty rocks.

Griffin had been sick and didn’t want to be in the birthday balloon photo. Poor guy. He looks miserable!

So Levi was in charge of sending the balloons off to heaven. The boys love this tradition and so do I.

They set out all their rocks too.

Levi and I wondered how big Cora’s pile of rocks will be when we are celebrating her twentieth birthday.:)

And then we celebrated sissy’s life with dinner and bowling. This was the first time the boys had been bowling. They loved it. Griffin even cheered up a little.

Levi was a pro in no time.

And Griffin was cracking me up. He kept saying “me do it” because he wants to do everything by himself. His ball took forever to reach the pins. And he would get so frustrated if we even tried to help his ball go a little faster.

It is always hard to know how to celebrate my daughter’s birthday. Even after celebrating six birthdays without her…we still feel like we don’t know what to do. We, of course, celebrate the precious gift of Cora’s life. She was and continues to be a blessing to our family in so many ways. Her short life was a gift and we know her days were ordained by God. But the reality is that celebrating birthdays without the birthday girl is just hard. A sweet friend sent me this note a few days before Cora’s birthday:

“Praying for you this week and that you experience Jesus’ loving presence step by step…He is peace…no need to try and create it…He is peace…life sucks sometimes but He doesn’t.”

Her note was so short and simple but so true. I often try to create the “perfect” birthday for Cora. Or at least as perfect as you can get when your daughter is not here to celebrate with you. I try to create peace. But you know what? I have found that usually the day doesn’t go like I expected…or like I hoped. I am so thankful that I don’t have to try to create my own peace…He is peace. It is true, life sucks sometimes. But even when our circumstances aren’t what we would consider “peaceful” we can still find perfect peace in our Savior. It wasn’t a perfect day. Our hearts ached and the tears flowed as we missed our sweet birthday girl. But we were truly filled with His peace. A peace that surpasses our earthly understanding.

You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
 Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Isaiah 26:3-4

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  • March 9, 2014 - 12:34 am

    Kristina - There are no perfect words to say….but I felt for you as I read this post. For a momma who doesn’t have her girl there to celebrate with on her birthday. I LOVE the rock idea. What a great way to get your boys involved.

    May you continue to have the peace that passes understanding. What a day that will be…when you see Jesus and Cora face to face!ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 1:54 am

    Rosalind - Hugs and strength to you during this difficult time. There is no expiration about grief and you should never feel guilty for missing such a gorgeous and vibrant little girl. I only wish that your family had had more time with her.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 5:45 am

    Michelle from Australia - Hugs.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 8:37 am

    Paige - I have no words greater than God’s to share to take away your hurt, but my heart breaks for you and I care. Prayers, Jess, prayers for peace to continue to reign in your heart.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 10:18 am

    creole wisdom - I love that note your friend sent you. Isn’t it a huge blessing to know that He died for us and that you will one day be reunited with sweet Cora in heaven? But, I can only imagine that waiting is difficult. Your decision to cling to love and God during this time is so admirable. Those rocks are beautiful, I love that the boys enjoyed painting theirs. Sending you so much love and hope xo.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 12:35 pm

    Amber - Such a sweet story of how you celebrate your sweet girl. Prayers to you.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 1:43 pm

    gin - it’s hard to read this. It touches my heart to see your love for your daughter and your love for your heavenly father knowing He is in control, no matter our wants or plans.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 2:33 pm

    awbree - Oh Jess. This made me cry. What beautiful words you have. Your grace amazes me. What a wonderful way to remember her. xoxoReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 3:41 pm

    Jennifer - Your husband is dreamy!!! ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 3:43 pm

    Stefanie - You celebrated her birthday perfectly. Those sweet rocks are a wonderful token of your love for her. Prayers for you and your beautiful family.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 6:56 pm

    Toni :0) - I can’t believe sweet Cora would have been six. I still pray for you and your family, all the time. Not many words to say but prayers and hugs always surrounding you. God bless.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 8:10 pm

    molly - what a beautiful celebration. and the rocks are so neat.ReplyCancel

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  • March 9, 2014 - 9:41 pm

    Jane - This was…is….just a beautiful post. I hate to say “post” because that just makes it sound so internet-y. I wish I had some profound words for you, something of comfort or peace, but I don’t……and honestly, when we (anyone here) reads this, it is always YOU that comforts us. You that teaches us through your pain and honest questioning and soulful devotion to Christ that leave US feeling renewed and closer to God. You who shows us His grace and lessons.

    I don’t have anything to give to you, but to say Happy Birthday, sweet Cora. You are loved by so many here on earth and your beauty radiates here even still after you look down from the Heavens.

    JaneReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 7:03 am

    Diane Taylor - Hi Jess – it’s been awhile since I commented on your blog (I still read it faithfully) but this post made me smile at first, thinking about your beautiful daughter in heaven – and then it made me cry. I guess it is good that the smile came first :) I just celebrated my son Jonathan’s 2 year angel day on March 1st. I still can’t wrap my arms around the fact that he is gone. I never forgot the wonderful email you sent me about your journey thru grief. At the time I was so numb and in shock, I read your words without really getting it. Now that 2 years have gone by, I actually reread some of my emails from those first few months and saw them with different eyes. I remember reading a quote from VP Joe Biden, after he lost his wife and one year old daughter in a car accident (back in the early 70s): “There will come a day, I promise you, and your parents, as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye”. I think I am finally getting to that point. Jonathan was my only child so my hopes and dreams of watching him get married, having children, etc….those dreams are gone. But I smile now whenever someone mentions him to me – smiel before I cry. And that feels like a huge step to me.

    Thank you again – you will never know what your email meant to me. Happy 6th birthday Cora! You are loved beyond measure – and I love your beautiful rocks.

    xxoo – DianeReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 7:10 am

    Sarah D. - Oh my, I feel like I could’ve written this same post word for word. :) We may have to borrow your rock idea. I’m thankful for you! xoReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 8:46 am

    Jackie - You have created a beautiful tradition that will forever be cherished I’m sure by your family. Much love and prayers for you and your family, may you forever be blessed.ReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 9:01 am

    Mary Ann - I’m sure Cora thought the rocks were perfect and she felt your love every minute of the day on Wednesday. March is a bittersweet month for me: my anniversary was Wednesday March 5, it would have been 38 years for me and my darling husband; his birthday was Sunday March 9th, it would have been his 60th; and my beloved mother passed away on March 23rd, 5 years ago. Those milestones are hard for me but I can’t imagine how hard it is for you and your husband without your precious beautiful Cora. I feel so blessed to know that our Savior died for us and atoned for our sins but also that He was resurrected and lives and so shall we. We will be together with all our family on that perfect day. Until then…life will try and test us but life will also bring beautiful memorable happy days where living and moving forward will all be worth it. Thanks for sharing a bit of your day that your honored your princess. I love the pictures…your boys are so darling.ReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 9:45 am

    ranee - love this post. my oldest will be turning six in april, and i can’t imagine the heartache you must feel, but love the way you honor her life and the God who created her. thanks for sharing and prayers for you!ReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 9:47 am

    Laura - Love the adorable hearts for your sweet girl and love that the boys have these traditions for their sissy. Hugs to you and your cuties.ReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 9:53 am

    amber - Thinking about you guys as you miss your beautiful girl. Happy 6th birthday sweet Cora! That girl is gonna have one huge line in heaven waiting to squeeze her. What a beautiful reunion that will be. Praying the pain this side of heaven is a little less today. Thank you for sharing your sweet family with all of us. And for reminding us to be grateful no matter the circumstance.ReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 10:00 am

    Donna - What a great way to celebrate your precious girl’s birthday. A bit serious, and a bit fun. You are doing a great job of keeping her memory alive for her brothers. They will always cherish her, even though they have not met her yet. On a side note, how did you take such awesome photos in a bowling alley??? Mine are always dark, blurry, and grainy.ReplyCancel

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  • March 10, 2014 - 9:09 pm

    k&c's mom - Your blog was one of the first ones I ever started following about five years ago. I’ve prayed for you and your family so very often, and your brave journey through loss helped me through my own journey. I love that you are real, honest, and authentic, and that you follow hard after the Lord in all seasons. Blessings on you and your family. Thank you for sharing your heart and life with us… we are lives that are helped and changed by your beautiful spirit.ReplyCancel

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  • March 12, 2014 - 8:58 am

    tara - i know i’m going to cry before i ever read this post … every single year. but thank you so much for sharing with us all. i think that rocks are precious and i hope you’re still posting about all those rocks in fourteen years.ReplyCancel

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  • March 12, 2014 - 10:55 pm

    Amie - There are no words….. You all are never far from our hearts and prayers!
    Always sending you lots of love and hugs….ReplyCancel

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  • March 14, 2014 - 9:56 am

    Nicole Marlett - I have never left you a comment before, to be honest I rarely comment on other people’s blogs, even though I write one of my own.

    Many years ago I came across your blog after reading about your daughter’s life, somewhere I can’t recall. You see, our daughters would be the same age (they are 4 days apart in age), and our daughters were both given, very different, devastating diagnoses. Off and on I have flowed your blog praying for you from afar and being inspired by your faith.

    I am not sure I would have ever left you a comment until I read this post. I fell lead to just reach out to you, as someone who has experienced the unthinkable. Our sweet sweet Lucy Grace died on February 8th, 2014 after a lifelong battle with Mitochondrial Disease. When I saw this post and recognized that your sweet sweet Cora’s death anniversary was also February 8th, I felt compelled to reach out to you. I am sure you receive a number of comments daily as you write a beautiful blog. I just wanted to say that for some reason I feel that we are meant to connect. If nothing more than to say our girls are together in the most glorious of places, Heaven.ReplyCancel

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  • March 15, 2014 - 9:17 pm

    Melinda - Hugs to you and your sweet family.ReplyCancel

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  • March 17, 2014 - 3:38 pm

    tasha roe - i can’t believe it’s been 6 birthdays with out her! i have followed your blog since she was sick and remember my heart breaking for you guys when she went to heaven. i have admired your faith in all of this. it has really ministered to me and taught me to rely and seek The Lord for everything. Hugs!!ReplyCancel

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  • April 4, 2014 - 2:54 pm

    Jules M - I love what you have done to celebrate Cora’s birthday. I hope that it all filled your hearts with a little extra love. I am going to make some of those rocks. My son brought a painted rock to Papa’s cemetery & we would laugh at how he would put it in a certain spot & then my mom would move it & then he would move it back. We would just watch as they would do this without words. They had no clue that the other was moving it but they both had a spot that they thought was perfect for it. I hope that they keep the rocks there. My dad’s get ‘cleaned up’ each year & we need to bring new ones. May you have moments of happiness with your memories. May you feel Cora’s presence because I’m sure that she can feel the love that you are sending to her. Hugs.ReplyCancel

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  • April 6, 2014 - 11:28 am

    Sarah W. - I’ve been a little absent from the blog world for a little while… This was such a sweet post about your day celebrating sweet Cora’s life. The rocks are beautiful and I loved all the images of your boys having such a great time bowling. Happy Birthday to Cora.ReplyCancel

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