The Macs

Sunday, August 30, 2009

still famous

Our sweet little Cora was on the news again last night. We love how, even now, people are still talking about her. She is famous!

Channel 12 did a follow up story on the progress of Cora's Playground. We are so thankful for how the reporter, Megan Strader, has portrayed our story each time we have been interviewed. Thanks Megan!

While I HATE being on TV (somehow Joel got out of talking on this one), it is our prayer that through our story the Lord's name would be famous.

You can check out the news segment here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Sweet Baby Mac.

Even with all these mixed emotions, we love him/her so much already.
Seeing these pictures at our sono last week definitely made me want to hold our baby.
I think we are both ready for our arms to not feel so empty.

This little one was moving all over the place the day of the sono.
The technician was having trouble getting the pictures she needed.
Which is funny because they had to push all over my stomach to get Cora to move around.
She was a very calm baby and didn't move that much.

We might have our hands full with this one.
But that is ok with us.
We could use a little excitement around here.
And we are anxious to know this little one that God has created just for us.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the details

My friend Megan posted some great pictures 
of Cora's Playground on her blog today.
Like this one.

She did such a good job of capturing 
the fun details of the playground equipment.
Thanks for your sweet post Megan.
Your pictures are fantastic like always!

Have I told you how much I LOVE the playground?
If only Cora was here to play on it with me.
She would have loved it too!

Monday, August 24, 2009

still standing

Somedays I wonder how I can keep going. I wonder how I can keep moving forward without Cora and with this huge hole in my heart. It makes me so sad to think it has been six almost seven months that we have continued through life without Cora alongside us. I hate that time is moving forward without her here. But then I marvel at the fact that it has been six almost seven months that I have lived through this dark storm and I am still standing.

Yesterday as we worshipped in church, the words of these songs seemed to jump off the screen at me. I think I needed a reminder of why I am still standing. A reminder that Christ alone is my solid ground through this fierce storm. And because of this living hope, He gives me a reason to keep moving forward.

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I stand

(In Christ Alone)

Jesus You're my firm foundation 
I know I can stand secure
Jesus You're my firm foundation
I put my hope in Your holy Word
I put my hope in Your holy Word

I have a living hope
I have a future
God has a plan for me
Of this I'm sure
Of this I'm sure

(Firm Foundation)

I pray that whatever you are facing today, that you too would find your feet standing secure--

in Jesus, our firm foundation.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

love, love, love...


I just love how Cora's Playground is coming together.
Check out the new flooring.

Isn't it GREAT?

DuraPlay installed the flooring. They even donated some of the cost so that we could have the colorful design--which I love!  

We are so thankful for all these talented, generous people who are helping make Cora's Playground possible.

Monday, August 17, 2009

what a day

Today has been an emotional roller coaster. 
But I think it is a perfect picture of how our lives feel right now.
Constantly going back and forth from joy to sadness... 
and trying to function amidst it all.

The day started off with our sonogram. That's right! I am half-way through this pregnancy and we are getting closer to meeting this sweet little baby that will be joining our family. We can't wait!

My doctor sent us to a specialist for the sonogram. As far as we know neuroblastoma is not hereditary. They are not treating this as a high-risk pregnancy. But, after everything we went through with Cora my doctor wanted to do everything possible to give us peace of mind right now.

The doctor's office we went to today was right across the street from the hospital where we spent 17 days with our sweet Cora. It was so hard to even see that hospital building again. We were thankful the sonogram wasn't actually in the hospital. I don't think we could have handled walking through those doors again.

Today we are thankful for good news. We were so thankful to find out that Baby Mac is healthy. Everything looked great! What a relief. But then it was back to reality as we had to answer tons of medical history questions and explain to the specialist Cora's brief battle with cancer.

The doctor was so kind as we struggled through all the answers. The tears were coming. After talking with the specialist we feel pretty confident that there isn't too much to worry about. I will have two more sonograms throughout this pregnancy with the specialist. Again, just to take every precaution and for our own peace of mind. We are thankful for proactive doctors who are trying to make this as easy as possible on us.

And in case you are wondering--which I'm sure none of you are...
We are not finding out if Baby Mac is a boy or girl. 
It will be a surprise to us all. 
Cora was a surprise too and we loved it that way.

Well, if that wasn't enough to handle in one day, there was more. 

Joel and I still have not purchased a gravestone for Cora. I don't even know if gravestone is the "correct" word. I just know that I hate even saying gravestone or anything like it. 

We should have done this a long time ago. But it has been too hard. It is just one more thing we have to do to make Cora's being gone all the more real. But today since Joel was already gone from work--which is hard when you are a farmer--we decided we needed to just go and do it.

It was just as horrible as I expected. I wasn't sure if I could even walk into the place without falling apart. But, I made it through without even a tear (I fell apart when I got home instead). I don't think I could cry because I was just so mad that we were even there.

I was mad that the salesman was showing us clipart pictures to put on the stone to represent our daughter's precious life. How can we choose a clipart picture to represent how much Cora's life meant? I was mad that we were trying to decided how to write Cora's name on a gravestone instead of writing her name on nursery name tags, birthday invitations, and play group lists like my friends are doing with their kids. And I was mad that my daughter's name was going to be in a cemetery--even though technically it is already there. It just seems so wrong. So final.

We were there a little over an hour and that was all we could handle. We probably will have to go back to make the final decision, but at least we made the first step.

Maybe it was a mistake to do all that in one day. But really, our days are filled with those extremes of emotions quite often. It is just our reality right now. And although we often don't know how to deal with these emotions all at once, the Lord knows every little thing that we are feeling. And He cares about us more than I can even comprehend.

I am so thankful that Cora's life does have meaning. I am thankful that we can look beyond her gravestone and see the hope of eternity. And although walking this road really stinks, I am thankful for this new eternal perspective the Lord is giving to me.

Now we live with a wonderful expectation because Jesus Christ rose again from the dead. For God has reserved a priceless inheritance for His children. It is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
1 Peter 1:3-4

Saturday, August 15, 2009

the canadian rockies

Driving through the Canadian Rockies and seeing the falls and lakes was definitely my favorite part of the trip. The scenery is amazing. The lakes are beautiful colors--blue, green, turquoise--and so clear. The pictures really don't do it justice. You will just have to go see for yourself!

Moraine Lake...

Emerald Lake...

Takakaw Falls...

Lake Louise...

The Chateau at Lake Louise...

As you see all these beautiful places you just can't help but be amazed by our Creator.

Do you not know? 
Have you not heard? 
The LORD is the everlasting God, 
the Creator of the ends of the earth. 
He will not grow tired or weary, 
and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary 
and increases the power of the weak.

Isaiah 40:28-29

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.

How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 36:5-7

I am so thankful that the God who created all of these beautiful places is the same God who is walking beside me through this storm. 

He is the same God who I can take refuge in and find strength to make it through another day. 

He is the same God who loves me unconditionally. 

And He is the same God who is completing his good and perfect plan in my life--even when I don't understand. 

What a mighty God we serve!

Friday, August 14, 2009

ice exploring

We left early the next morning.

It was a beautiful drive--or so I was told.

I was really struggling to stay awake in the car. I was so tired.  Joel kept asking me how I could sleep when we were traveling on Canada's most scenic highway. Somehow I managed to. Truthfully, I was a pretty lousy driving partner. Sorry Joel!

But, by the time we got there I was rested and ready to do some exploring. 
Ice exploring.

Our destination was the Columbia Icefield. We wanted to see a glacier up close. Thanks to this huge ice explorer (bus) we did just that.

This was the scariest part of the tour. 

You might not be able to tell from the picture but we were driving straight down. It felt like we were falling off a cliff--very slowly.

See all the people holding on to the backs of their seat? I wasn't so sure about my safety. Joel thought it was great.

And then we drove right on the glacial ice and up to the glacier.

It was pretty amazing.

And beautiful.

There were blue cones marking off the area that we weren't supposed to go past. 

The tour guide said it was dangerous. There were holes that you could fall into (they had a special name, but I can't remember). 

Apparently these people didn't hear the warning--or didn't care. And I am not sure what the crazy Hawaiian man was doing. He was even wearing a lei.

The run-off from the glacier was freezing and the water was SO blue.

Lots of people were collecting the glacial water in their water bottles.  Joel decided to test it out. I wouldn't taste it--I wasn't so sure. I told Joel he was going to get sick. 

When we got back on our bus and the tour guide informed us that drinking glacial water is supposed to be very good for you and keep you healthy. Once again I was too cautious and Joel was right. We'll see how that keeping you healthy part works out for him.

And after all that exploring I was exhausted. Good thing we had a long drive ahead so that I could take a nap. I had to rest up so that I had enough energy to eat my Cows ice cream that night!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

banff & cows

Joel and I have always wanted to go to Banff.

We almost went there on our honeymoon, but it didn't work out. So, it was perfect that we could spend our 7th anniversary there instead. My aunt and uncle let us borrow their car and we hit the road for three nights in Banff.

Just as we had heard, it was beautiful.

The first day in Banff we did a lot of driving and walking around.
There was so much to see.

This first day in Banff was also one of the hardest for me on the trip. Banff is very touristy, so there are tons of families on vacation. Tons of strollers and tons of cute little kids. Everyone is taking family pictures and taking pictures of their kids. Having so much fun TOGETHER.

I think that observing all of these families was another reality check for me. There were going to be no pictures of Cora on this trip. It was just me and Joel. And then I began thinking about how Cora would never be in our family pictures again. She will always be part of our family, but not visibly. That was hard for me to grasp. Hard for me to imagine. 

We walked through this beautiful garden. There were flowers everywhere. And while most people were taking their sweet pictures like I said. I just cried. I wanted so badly for Cora to be toddling around the gardens with us. I wanted to take a real family picture in the beautiful scenery. But instead we just walked and talked and I cried some more.

And then after I did my best to compose myself. We took our own "family" picture in the gardens. With my crying eyes and all. It was the best we could do!

After dealing with all of those emotions we decided that we needed a treat. 
That always makes you feel better right?

We spotted this ice cream place that looked very popular. 
Seriously, every night we were there there was a line going out the door. 
But that didn't stop us.

I think it was the cows that lured us in. 
It made us feel like we were back home in Kansas.
Except our cows are definitely not that cute.
And there is no ice cream.

It was worth the wait. 
The ice cream was SO good. 
In fact we went back EVERY night we stayed in Banff.

Thanks to Cows, I think my ice cream cravings have begun. 
It is for the baby though, right??

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

joel's day

Joel's birthday started out like he had always dreamed, I mean dreaded...
with a trip to IKEA.
I know your husbands would be jealous.
I was so excited. I only have been to IKEA a few times and I love it!
I promised Joel we wouldn't have to do any more shopping on this trip.
Just IKEA.

Luckily they had games for kids or husbands who were bored shopping.

And once again I had to leave IKEA without buying these sticks. I want them every time I come. Joel was very unreasonable and wouldn't let me take them on the plane!

Joel was such a good sport to go shopping on his birthday.
We went straight from IKEA to FATBURGER.
Who doesn't like to eat on their birthday?

We spent the afternoon at the Calgary Olympic Park.

We tried out the medals podium. Joel let me be the gold metal winner. Isn't he sweet?

Then headed to the icehouse.

Joel practiced the luge.

And we tried out the bobsled. I bet you didn't know we were so athletic!

Can you believe people actually ski off of this thing?! They are crazy. It was so high up.

Joel was ready though. 

And here he is accepting his Olympic gold metal. He was being such a goof that day.

Before we left we had to test out our hockey skills. Like true Canadians. We weren't very good.

My aunt had to show us how it was done. In high heels and all!