The Macs

Friday, November 27, 2009

even this year...

...there are so many things to be thankful for.

We made it through the first part of the holiday season. And honestly, yesterday I did not wake up with a thankful heart. I woke up with a heavy heart and tears. I knew that I was having to face another holiday without Cora and I was so sad. The normal happy family gatherings just didn't seem right without her. I thought about what that day should have looked like. Our house should have been filled with excitement as we got ready for the day and told Cora all about going to Grammy and Papa's to eat dinner and play with her cousins. Instead our house was horribly quiet and there was no one to talk to. I just felt this huge hole in my heart. It has been there since Cora died, but yesterday I felt it so intensely.

But, God's grace was truly sufficient to get us through the day when we would have rather stayed in bed and not faced Thanksgiving at all. He gave us the strength to make it through. And yet despite the sadness and heaviness in my heart, yesterday I sensed how much I still have to be thankful for. Even in the face of death and celebrating these holidays without Cora, God's hope comes shining through.

Yesterday I took time to write down the many things I have to be thankful for. These were just a few:

Joel. My husband is amazing and I can't imagine walking this road of grief without him. I am so thankful for his constant love, understanding, and support. I am so thankful that I have someone to cry with who misses my sweet little girl just as much as I do. I am so thankful for how he continues to point us to Jesus in the midst of pain.

Cora. My sweet daughter and the eleven amazing months we had with her. Even though loosing her has been the most painful thing I have ever had to endure, I wouldn't trade those eleven months for anything. I feel so blessed that the Lord chose me to be Cora's mama. She has forever changed my life and I can't wait to see her again in heaven.

Baby Mac. What a blessing he/she is to us already. I am so thankful that our house will be filled with the love and joys of a child again. I am so thankful that Joel and I will get to be daddy and mommy again.

Family. ALL of our family is wonderful. I honestly couldn't ask for a better support system. Even as I write this they are helping me paint and finish some projects in my house so it is done before the baby comes. They love us and will do anything for us and I am so grateful. I am especially thankful for my mom and sister who have stuck so close to me this year. They have seen me at my ugliest and I am so thankful for their unconditional love.

Friends. Old friends and even a few new friends who allow us to be real and miss Cora along with us. They care about us so much and want to know how we are REALLY doing.

HOPE. I am most thankful for the hope that is found in my relationship with Jesus Christ alone. It is this hope that sustains me and inspires me to keep enduring. It is this hope that assures me of the deep love of my Savior even amidst a painful world that doesn't make sense. Because of this hope, and because I am in His loving care, I have everything I need.

For that and that alone, I am extremely thankful.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

coming tomorrow

The plan is to post tomorrow around 1:00 pm (central standard time).
See you then!

Monday, November 23, 2009

last peek

Commit your way to the Lord. Psalm 37:5a

Talk to God about whatever may be pressuring you and then commit the entire matter into His hands...Acquaint Him with it; yes, even burden Him with it, and you will have put the concerns and cares of the matter behind you. From that point forward, exercise quiet, sweet diligence in your work, recognizing your dependence on Him to carry the matter for you. Commit your cares and yourself with them, as one burden, to your God.

Streams in the Desert

I needed this reminder. All of a sudden the past two weeks I feel like I am at the drowning point again. Any hint of stability I was starting to feel is all of a sudden gone. There are so many big milestones coming up and another life change too. My emotions are going crazy and sometimes I just don't think I can handle it. And really I can't by myself. So this week I am going to try to stop worrying. I am going to try to stop trying to handle everything by myself and put my worries and fears at the feet of Jesus. I know that I am going to have to continue to cling to Him to get through Thanksgiving and Christmas and welcoming this new little one into our family.

Speaking of Baby Mac...

We had our last sonogram today. It is hard to believe that we made it through all three. Everything is still looking great! We were so relieved and so thankful. The best way I can describe how we are feeling is cautiously excited. We know this precious baby is going to be such a blessing, but it is so hard to know what it is going to be like to bring this little one home without Cora. Another fear to lay at His feet.

Here is one last peek before we get to meet Baby Mac...

Gotta love those big pouty lips!


FYI...The plan for Cora's is to post on Wednesday morning. Keep checking back for updates.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

a few answers... a few questions about the Cora shop

When will you post?
The goal is next week...before Thanksgiving.
I will keep you updated as it gets closer.

Any boy items this time?
We have a swaddle blanket and onesie that would work for a boy.
The burpies could be used for a boy.
Otherwise, everything is pretty girlie.
We are working on some new ideas for the boys.
Sorry boys.

Any dresses bigger than 5T? least not at this point.
Actually we don't even have ANY dresses in sizes 2T-5T this time.
Bummer, I know.
We are having a horrible time finding NICE, plain shirts to use.
We can't get the Cherokee shirts we were using any more.
Any ideas??

So, you don't have ANY 2T-5T dresses??
No, but we do have skirts this time.
I know it is not the same.
But, they are super cute too...I promise.
A Christmas skirt might be just what your little girl needs.

What else will you be posting?
NB swaddle blanket and onesie sets
dresses 3 month-24 month
skirts 2T-5T

Any special/custom orders?
We just can't keep up with that right now.

I wish we could make everyone exactly what they want.
I promise we would if we could.
But that is just not realistic right now.
Hopefully you will get to Cora's in time
to find something Christmas-y for your little one!

Monday, November 16, 2009

water for christmas

On Friday, in 24 hours over $10,000 was raised.
Thank you for joining me.

Friday, November 13, 2009

first gift

Christmas this year is hard.
While everyone is getting excited about the approaching holidays,
this year is so different for us.
Our little girl is not here to celebrate with or buy presents for.
Last year we were discovering all the joys
of experiencing Christmas with a child.
This year our house is empty again.
That is so hard.

So, Joel and I have been trying to think
of some "different" ways we can give this year.
When Megan asked me to share about this opportunity,
I thought it was the perfect way to start out our gift giving.

Today, November 13th...
Today is the day where bloggers everywhere
are joining together in a campaign to buy water for Christmas.

4500 mothers bury their children EVERY DAY due to contaminated water.
That statistic crushes my heart.
It hits very close to home this year.
Because I have been there.
And while it is a harsh reality,
no mother should ever have to bury their child.
The lack of access to clean water
is the leading cause of death in underdeveloped nations.
But we can do something to help.



$10 will buy clean water for someone in Africa for 10 years.
10 years.

$10 isn't much for us, is it?
And your $10 will be changing a life.

Will you join me today?

Click the photo below to be directed to a secure donation site
of the non-profit organization charity: water
All donations are tax deductible.
100% of the profit goes directly to clean water solutions in West Africa.


Share this with everyone you know.
water for christmas

Thursday, November 12, 2009

christmas at cora's

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

my baby brother

My baby brother is not such a baby anymore.
He is a senior in high school this year.
And he is WAY taller than me.

This weekend we spent a lot of time cheering him on in the bleachers.
That is quite a sacrafice for a pregnant lady.
But it was worth it.
His team made it to the state soccer tournament
and I had to be there to cheer him on.

They did awesome.
They played some tough games.
They made it all the way to the finals and lost by one.
I know it didn't turn out like they had hoped,
but second place in state is still pretty awesome.

The whole family was there.
Fun times.

I got teary eyed when I hugged my brother after the game.
I knew he was so disappointed.
Man am I emotional...I even can cry at soccer games now!

And I don't think you can tell in any of the pictures,
but my brother is still sporting his pink shoelace.
For Cora.
What a sweetie!

I am so proud of you Owen!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

eat beef

Several of us stopped to eat lunch at this cute little burger and shake place
on our way to the airport.

We couldn't leave Tennessee without showing some Kansas pride.
You know, like any good Kansas farmer would.
By supporting the beef industry.

Joel showed everyone how to put away a one pound hamburger.
The whole thing.
Gotta love that guy!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

my heart will choose to say

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful,
Where Your streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name.
Blessed Be Your name when I'm found in the dessert place,
Though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say--
Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be Your name when the sun's shining down on me,
When the world's all as it should be, blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering,
Though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out I'll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say--
Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name.

You give and take away, You give and take away
My heart will choose to say "Lord , blessed be Your name!"

I have always loved this song. It was so easy for me to sing these words at the top of my lungs when my world was all that it should be. I had my sweet little girl in my arms and life was good.

But, as we walk this road marked with suffering and pain, it suddenly changes the meaning. Joel and I chose to sing this song at Cora's funeral because we wanted the words to really ring true in our lives, even in the darkness. I remember singing the words quietly that day, still so numb and in shock as to what had just happened. I remember thinking,
Can I still honestly sing these words even with empty arms?

After a sweet time of worship on Sunday morning of the retreat, we ended our time together with this song. I just sobbed through the whole thing. I wanted so badly to go back to life as it was a year ago. I wanted so badly to not accept the fact that I was spending a weekend at a grief conference. I wanted so badly for Cora to still be here with us. Is this really part of your plan for my life God? Did this really happen? Am I really supposed to say blessed be your name when the most precious thing in my life has been taken away from me?

And during that time I felt Him simply saying,

I will never fully understand His ways. And I am learning that is okay. Even though it seems like it would be so much easier if I could just understand His purpose and plan in taking Cora home. I am learning that I have to trust. Because I know who God is, I can accept what He gives and takes away--even when I don't understand. That doesn't mean I like it though! I have to determine to keep walking towards Him in the darkness. It is a choice I have to make every day.

My heart will choose to say, Lord, blessed be Your name.

Monday, November 2, 2009

what defines you?

More from the retreat...

There are so many things that I heard last weekend that keep running through my mind. I feel like I have jumped back into the busyness of "normal" life and haven't had time to process everything. I didn't take any notes at the retreat, so I have been trying to write down a few things I want to remember. This one thing has really stuck with me:

I don't want grief to define who I am.
I want Christ to define who I am.

What defines you? Isn't it so true that we often let our circumstances define who we are?

The hole that Cora left in my life when she died is a huge part of who I am. It always will be. Grief is a raw, hard thing. It is something that I have to face everyday now. But, do I want it to dominate my life?

We laughed with this group about how so often you feel like you are walking around wearing this big blinking sign that says, "MY CHILD DIED". It is like a warning when you are approaching and it creates so much awkwardness. If you are happy you feel like people think you are fine and ready to move on. If you are sad you feel like you are a burden to everyone around you.

Joel and I talked during the retreat about how we don't want to let grief control our lives, our family, or our relationships. While there will still be those days when we are so sad that we would rather pull the covers over our heads than face another day, we don't want grief to define who we are. We want people to look at our lives and see Christ. We want Christ to be glorified, even in our grief. We want our lives to be defined by Him.

It is easy to say that, right? It is so much harder to live out. I went away from this weekend realizing there are no easy answers. There is no quick fix to my grief. Not even at a conference for grieving parents. But what I did realize is that I need to be constantly filling the hole that Cora left in my life with Christ. Studying His Word and learning to know Him better. IN HIM is the only place that I am going to find true comfort and answers to my questions as I grieve. And as I spend time with Him and allow Him to overcome even my deepest sorrows, I am allowing Christ to define who I am. That is what I want people to see in me.

Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You're not in the driver's seat--I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how.
Luke 9:23-24 (The Message)