The Macs

Monday, February 8, 2010

a heavenly anniversary

Never look ahead to the changes and challenges of this life in fear.  Instead, as they arise look at them with the full assurance that God, whose you are, will deliver you out of them.  Hasn't He kept you safe up to now? So hold His loving hand tightly and He will lead you safely through all things. And when you cannot stand, He will carry you in His arms.

Do not look ahead to what may happen tomorrow. The same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you tomorrow and every day. Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you His unwavering strength that you may bear it. Be at peace, then, and set aside all anxious thoughts and worries.

Francis de Sales

One year.
It is hard to believe my baby has been gone for that long.

On one hand it seems like it has been forever since I last got to hold her. I hate that feeling. But on another hand it seems like just yesterday we learned of her cancer and started fighting for her life. Either way, my heart aches today in a way that I can't even describe to you.

It has been a year of sorrow. A year that I would have never chosen to walk through. A year that I could not have even begun to imagine. A year that I really didn't think I could even live through. But in the deep darkness, the Lord gave us, and continues to give us, His unwavering strength to bear each day. And on those days when I didn't think I could stand, He was always faithful to carry me. The same was true even today, a day I have been dreading for weeks.

So, here we are on Cora's heavenly anniversary. Praising God that she is in His arms and that we can live in HOPE of seeing her again. But, at the same time missing Cora like crazy.

What do you do on a day like today?

Honestly, we don't even know. Nothing seems quite right.

We decided to be low key today. Unfortunately Joel had to work part of the day, but the rest of the day we just spent together as a family. We gave our little Levi lots of extra hugs. He is such a blessing and was a wonderful distraction for us today.

Last night I made some yummy cupcakes cupcakes. This is becoming a trend for me. Cupcakes must make me feel a little better when I am sad. Sweets always make things better, right? I ate three today just in case.

I made lots of cupcakes. We decided that as we remembered our sweet Cora today, we wanted to take time to thank the many people who took such good care of her while she was sick. While we were in the hospital with Cora we met so many amazing people. During an incredibly horrific time in our lives, they made us feel so loved and taken care of. They loved Cora so well.

After Cora died we didn't get a chance to tell them thank you. We thought today would be the perfect day to do just that.

I packaged up the cupcakes and attached beaded hearts with thank you tags. Joel and I took a few to Newton today. It was "something" we could do as we remembered Cora today. The rest were delivered to the hospital by a friend. We weren't feeling up to walking back into the hospital today. 

We hung out around the house this afternoon. And we went out to eat this evening. That was our day. Nothing special. It may look different next year. But, as I write this we have almost made it through Cora's first heavenly anniversary. 

Just like every other day this past year, we have felt so loved today. We can't believe how many people remembered the significance of this day. We have had so many cards, e-mails, and phone calls from people just to remind us that we are loved and prayed for. You all have been such an encouragement to us today. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Thank you for continuing this journey with us. We are thankful for how far the Lord has brought us this year--a year we didn't know if we could survive--and anticipating what He has in store for our family in the year to come!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Cora! I know your mommy and daddy must miss you something terrible, but I'm sure your sweet baby brother is giving them lots of sweet smiles and snuggles for you.

What an incredible family! God bless!

February 8, 2010 at 11:46 PM  
Blogger Momma H said...

You ARE loved and prayed for - by people you don't even know, or know very little. Your journey has impacted so many lives, and I see you as a living example of the passage you started this blog with.
We all thank God for you and for sweet Cora's life, short though it was. Praise the Lord that she is with Him and you can look forward and not just back. Back is too painful and it is past. Forward - to heaven - when we finally get there - will be so beautiful and bright. Thank God for His hope and love to carry you through!

February 8, 2010 at 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we've been praying for you all today (you and your families)...i wish i could say something that would lighten your hearts load so i will just pray that Jesus will be the lifter of you hearts and heads as you put your heads on your pillows tonight...-meghan

February 8, 2010 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger Launa said...

On our knees for you all tonight!

February 8, 2010 at 11:56 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

my little wilder, 18 months had to be in the hospital to have a bone scan, and such a minor procedure completely crumbled my heart. the love of a parent towards his child is inconceivable, indescribable. i'm sure Jesus would speak the same of us.
thank you for your words, for bringing truth to the pages of the internet. cora has much to be proud of.
lots of love from your friend "once removed" ha!

February 9, 2010 at 12:01 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

What an incredibly selfless thing to do today. Praying for you and Joel tonight.

February 9, 2010 at 12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can honestly say, there hasn't been a day that has passed that you/Joel or Cora haven't been thought about or prayed for by my family. My 23 month old daughter has a doll I've named Cora. She reminds me to pray for you and hold my daughter (and son) a little tighter. May God continue to be glorified through you and Joel.

February 9, 2010 at 12:04 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I've thought of and prayed for your family often over the course of the last year, and I will continue.

February 9, 2010 at 12:09 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

Oh how my heart aches for you. I still remember that day when I sat down to read the latest update on Cora and my heart literally stopped and a short wail escaped my mouth. I just couldn't believe it. My heart broke for you, it still does. And this coming from someone who has never met you or Cora. I can't even begin to imagine being in your shoes. I continue to pray for you guys and I pray our Lord will wrap you in His arms and bath you in His everlasting love. Love and prayers to you and Joel <3
Heather~ On the Homefront

February 9, 2010 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

I just want you to know that even though we have never met, I think about Cora and you all EVERYDAY! Your in my prayers. God bless your precious little Levi. :)

February 9, 2010 at 12:25 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

What a beautiful way to celebrate the life of your sweet girl. There IS something about cupcakes that makes me smile. May you continue to find strength in God and one another.

February 9, 2010 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger mel @ the larson lingo said...

Thinking of you & Praying for you as you remember your sweet Cora. May God continue to show His love to you & your family.
p.s. Love the cupcake idea, that is so thoughtful & kind of you.

February 9, 2010 at 12:45 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Well, as I sit here and type this message from so many miles away, it's 8:49 on Tuesday morning on 9 February and Cora's anniversary day will be over. I'm sure that as you wake up today to face this new day, you'll feel lighter and brighter. Kids are such a blessing and Levi is one special little guy!!

February 9, 2010 at 1:02 AM  
Blogger Kylie and crew. said...

Praying for you....what a sweet treasure you have stored up in heaven...although not the path you would have chosen, she is there and will be when you get to heaven. Thanks for continuing to share and be open. You both have a mighty call on your life (not because of your loss but because of your hearts).

February 9, 2010 at 1:08 AM  
Blogger Stef said...

I prayed for you over and over again today. We celebrated my son's 5th birthday on the 6th and as we sang Happy Birthday to him, my heart broke for you.

Your joy and trust in the Lord is infectious and I am so thankful to know you via your blog :)
May this new year be one of much healing, peace and pressing on.

February 9, 2010 at 1:35 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

I have been reading your blog for a little while. You inspire me. That short verse by Francis de Sales spoke to me. You encourage me with your strength. Thank you. I will never understand loosing a child, but I do know this, your family is amazing. Thank you for sharing Cora's story. I am blessed knowing there are such good people out there who can turn to God in their most troubled times. May God Bless you in your heartache. I want you to know that I KNOW you will see Cora faith has taught me that. Thank you again for sharing your faith.

February 9, 2010 at 1:36 AM  
Blogger JJC said...

just wanted you to know that i still think about you almost every day even though we've never met. thank you so much for sharing cora with us and for being honest about your grief. it reminds me to have just a little more patience and to live a little more in the moment with my little one who is just 3 days older than your sweet cora.

February 9, 2010 at 1:49 AM  
Blogger cara said...

I just read this and couldn't not comment...and I'll say a prayer for your lovely family tonight. What a hard day to go through, even knowing Cora is so happy, but just missing her so much...You all have touched me, and I do check in on your blog. You are so creative Jess!! I love creating things, mostly out of fabric (really, I like buying fabric :) ), and making things look pretty. Your pictures are wonderful, and the things you make do inspire me, thank you! Your baby boy is just precious, I am so glad you have him! I have 4 young kids, and for some reason, when I see pictures of your Cora, she reminds me of my youngest...Anyway...just know people are praying all over for you all...(I'm up here in Alaska..)

February 9, 2010 at 1:58 AM  
Blogger ........ said...

I cried today just as I did a year ago when Sweet Cora passed away. I had never met your family but oh how you changed my life! My own baby girl is close in age and as I've watched her grow over the past year I have thought of Cora, and prayed for you, often. I have held her tighter and enjoyed her more and thanked you in my heart for giving me perspective. Thank you for sharing your journey then, and now. May your healing continue and may you always know that Cora will NEVER be forgotten!

February 9, 2010 at 2:30 AM  
Blogger Melody said...

Praying for you guys tonight. ((hugs))

February 9, 2010 at 2:43 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Boot said...

Oh Jess, I watched the blog so closely yesterday, willing an update as reassurance you were ok. Of course, how could you be ok but even though I don't know you, it was awful thinking of how hard yesterday must have been for you. My little girl and I said a special goodnight to Cora last night after she was in my thoughts all day, as were you all. Your words reflect such strength and warmth and peace, so devoid of bitterness I can hardly comprehend it. Wishing you continued strength and the knowledge that there are so many of us out there carrying a tiny part of Cora in our hearts and loving her yesterday, today and every day xxx. PS, the cupcakes look wow, you are so gifted at making pretty things (and I'm including Cora and Levi in that :-))

February 9, 2010 at 3:58 AM  
Anonymous tifRn said...

Oh, you Macs. you are just the best family. you give me such hope and inspiration when i am lost or feeling like i am floundering. thank you so much for allowing us at wesley to share your story and to take part in your journey. cora was-is-a beautiful girl and i enjoyed taking care of her. i remember being in with you when she was diagnosed and leaving to get you tissues, and just crying in our utility room before i brought them in. i thought of you today when i saw those pink cupcakes, and i am putting the pink heart on my mirror in the my car to remind me to keep my own heart open and my eyes on God's road for me. God bless you all.

February 9, 2010 at 4:55 AM  
Blogger Mum2twopreciousgifts said...

Dear Jess

You've made me cry. On a day of such significance for you and Joel, you've done something for others through your beautiful cupcakes. You are extraordinary.

I feel Blessed to have 'met' your family through your blog. I feel Blessed to have prayed and continue to pray for you all during your journey. I feel Blessed to have cried happy tears for you when Levi arrived. I feel Blessed that you inspire me to be a better Mum when I'm running out of patience and I'm asking God why he chose to give us a child with disabilities. And you remind me to accept God's plan, disabilities and all, and to smile, rejoice and be grateful for my Blessings.

Thank you for sharing Cora. Her life has forever changed me - for the better.

With a big hug from our little family in Australia.

February 9, 2010 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger Princess Martha said...

What a wonderful idea to send cupcakes to the hospital. The way they were packaged up was lovely. You did well. I hope today went as well as it could have for you. I am sure Levi loved all the extra cuddles. xx

February 9, 2010 at 5:19 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Samuel's angel day is always hard for me. I think that you did a really nice thing by taking a "thank you" treat to the amazing doctors and nurses who cared for sweet Cora.
Hold tight to Levi. His sweet face will help get you through the rough days.
Take care!

February 9, 2010 at 5:36 AM  
Blogger The Noble Steeds said...

Your strength and faith is so inspiring. Thank you for choosing to handle your grief the way you have. You have been such a great example of a true disciple of Christ.

February 9, 2010 at 5:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although you don't know me, I too spent most of my day yesterday praying for you guys. It's hard not to remember the date since it's my cousins birthday too. Because of this it will be easy to remember Cora's Heavenly Birthday in the years to come. I also had an idea I wanted to share with you that some dear friends of ours came up with. They lost their son 35 minutes after birth. Now every March 6th they have a "family day" in celebration of Zeke's life. Jessica said it's a day she looks forward to now in a special way.

Love and Prayers from Olathe, KS!

February 9, 2010 at 6:40 AM  
Blogger Immeasurably More Mama said...

You've been on my heart a lot during the weeks leading up to Cora's heavenly anniversary. I've been praying for you and Joel and asking the Lord to continue giving you his unexplainable peace.

We are about to lose our first child but in a different way. My husband and I are foster-to-adopt parents. Last Sunday (1/31) a newborn baby boy was placed in our arms and we were excited about the possibility of adopting another sweet baby boy. As the week went along we found out a relative has stepped forward and wants to parent our little guy. We've been told he will be leaving sometime in the next few days.

Our hearts are broken and we don't understand. Instead of being in the arms of Jesus I'll know he's in the arms of someone else that I don't know...I won't know if he's being loved the way he deserves and this is hard. This is going to be another journey with a whole new test of my faith but I know God is good and faithful and will carry me through.

February 9, 2010 at 6:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You and Joel continue to amaze me. Your love for others and the strength you've shown during this past year is tremendous. I think of Cora all the time and wish I could have met her although I feel like she is a part of my life because of your blog.
Levi is a true blessing and God certainly had a plan!
Sending many hugs and sweet thoughts your way from WI.

February 9, 2010 at 6:54 AM  
Blogger Jennifer Gilbert Settle said...

Happy Birthday pretty girl!! I am not sure that I know any words to comfort your hurting heart other than that I will continue to pray for your family...that that you would feel wrapped tightly in His loving arms!!

February 9, 2010 at 7:03 AM  
Blogger Toni :O) said...

I'm thankful to be part of your journey, I think of you all oh how I wish I could have eaten one of those yummy looking, those are some really lucky people to get to enjoy those. Here's hoping every day that passes eases your pain a bit and fortunately you have sweet Levi to lift your spirits and squeeze tightly. Big hugs to you all and may continued love and prayers surround you.

February 9, 2010 at 7:09 AM  
Blogger Brandi said...

I have been praying for you since found your blog. A year, wow! What a beautiful little angel you have!!! What a sweet gesture for you and Joel to do on Cora's 1 year anniversary. The cupcakes look yummy!!!!!!! Praying for you!!

February 9, 2010 at 7:12 AM  
Blogger Let Love Grow said...

I have been praying for you too; Thank you for sharing your journey of faith, pain, tears, and hope. In Christ, Tammie

February 9, 2010 at 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because of you, your honesty and deep faith, I have grown closer to Him. The verses and scriptures you have shared here really caused me to reflect on my on beliefs-- and witnessing you and your family walk through this difficult year has made me a different person-- a better person. Maybe a little bit of Cora lives inside all of us who know her only through her Mom's pictures and words posted on a blog. You love her and honor her so very well--- and I am so happy Levi has joined your family too.

February 9, 2010 at 7:19 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Remebering Cora...ALWAYS!

February 9, 2010 at 7:33 AM  
Blogger hoosier68 said...

Thank you for sharing with us. Your unwavering faith and courage are amazing. I think of and pray for you and yours each day.

February 9, 2010 at 7:37 AM  
Blogger Alli Unruh said...

You and Joel have been on my heart the past two days, and I've been praying for you.

February 9, 2010 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

I am sorry you have had to go through this. Your little girl was/is so blessed to have/had you both as parents. May here little soul be blessed.

February 9, 2010 at 7:42 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

The angel day is such a hard day. Thank you for having the courage to write about it and to treat it the way you felt was right. We tend to ignore the angel day around here. I tell people I miss him just the same as the day before and the day after and I don't feel like giving the day any weight. I felt pressure, the first year, to DO Something. I had seen other angel parents do balloons and other special activies while we just wnted to ignore it. Then I realized the day was about us and just like all the other grieving, we had to do what felt right to us.

You made it through - good for you.

February 9, 2010 at 7:47 AM  
Blogger purejoy said...

happy heavenly anniversary, i know it seems off to say "happy," but happy is the hope we have in Jesus. cora you are missed by so many, and we cry tears of sadness and of joy. so thankful that your little brother is there to fill their empty arm, and he's so blessed to have a big sister looking over him in heaven.

sweet blessings to you, dear mac family.

February 9, 2010 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger Ruthie said...

Praying for your whole family. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You inspire me. You remind me of God's goodness and presence even amidst trial and heartache.

Ruthie - a blog reader from Ohio

February 9, 2010 at 7:54 AM  
Blogger A said...

I was thinking of you on her heavenly anniversary (hug). I am so glad you got some great family time, and those cupcakes look BEAUTIFUL! Maybe you should add a cupcake division of Cora's :)

I pray that you will feel God close in the coming days!!

February 9, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

I've never met your or Joel, but I can honestly say that you are in my thoughts and prayers every single day. As a mom I can't imagine experiencing what you have, and my heart aches for you.

What a wonderful way to celebrate little Cora. I'm sure Cora was quite tickled by the beautiful cupcakes that you made in her memory.

Sending lots of love and prayers from Virginia.

February 9, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Christy @ MCH PHOTOGRAPHY said...

Awh, my thoughts are with you & your family!! What journey you've been thru

February 9, 2010 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger The Drama Mama said...

It sounds like you guys had the perfect heavenly day! You guys are always in my thoughts and prayers! Sending lots of prayers, love & HUGS your way!

February 9, 2010 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger JESSICA said...

Your words always bring a tear to my eye, but your hopefulness and positive outlook bring joy to my heart. Levi is blessed to have you as parents.
Those cupcakes look DE!LICIOUS!! The people who received them must have been grinning from ear to ear. :)

February 9, 2010 at 8:06 AM  
Blogger meg duerksen said...

love love love.
love you both.
love cora.
love levi.
you are loved by me.
and my family.

the cupcakes with the hearts?! that is the best jess! seriously great idea. cupcakes DO bring are RIGHT!

February 9, 2010 at 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an awesome adorable way to spend your day. It only shows us all even more how amazing you are by spending such a difficult day thanking those that were there for Cora when she was sick. You are amazing. You are definitely loved and prayed for by MANY people. Now and forever. You are such an inspiration...Cora and Levi are two very lucky kids:)

February 9, 2010 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger dawn said...

It sounds like you spent your day as best you could.

Our four month old son Aidan went to be with the Lord almost 11 years ago, and so we've done this day you describe ten times now. In some ways it get's easier and in some ways it doesn't. It sometimes sneaks up on me and my somber mood the week approaching surprises me until I look at the calendar. it's like my body knows. weird.

We don't do much special on Aidan's heavenly anniversary except hold each other tighter. But on his birthday each year we honor him with a family night. We go out to dinner and do something special with our other two kids. Aidan's birthday is our own holiday--a day to remember a special boy, a day to remember the way God has sustained us, and a day to celebrate our family.

But I agree with you--nothing seems quite right. so glad you have Levi to hug on this day.

February 9, 2010 at 8:29 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

I was thinking of you and praying for you yesterday - knowing that it would be especially hard.

February 9, 2010 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Andy and Cari said...

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.

Did you catch the word TOGETHER?

Peace, love and comfort to you today.

February 9, 2010 at 8:36 AM  
Blogger Brown Apples said...

Beautiful post, Jess. I am so thankful for the way you have let God carry you two and continue to let him be the source of your hope. It is so encouraging and challenging to SO many of us. We love you guys.

February 9, 2010 at 8:37 AM  
Blogger Miranda said...

We have thought of you almost daily for the past year and have held you in our hearts every second. It's understanding that you wouldn't know how to celebrate this day, but you have chosen to do it in a wonderful way.
Thinking of you and sending you hugs!

February 9, 2010 at 8:50 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

I ahve read your story for about 9 months or so, and please know that I pray for your family every time. I am praying know that God will bless you, your husband and sweet baby boy beyond any imagination! You are so loved and happy anniversary to your precious daughter in Heaven!

February 9, 2010 at 8:57 AM  
Anonymous C&Gs Mommy said...

I have prayed for you over the past year and thought of you all day yesterday. I think you are such an amazing woman and an amazing family. You are an inspiration to me as a mother and as a person. You have no idea how your strength and faith has made me a better mom to my 2 daughters (age 2 and age 2 months) Thank you for sharing so deeply with us.
Melissa from MD

February 9, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Al's World said...

You are all an inspiration, and a testimony to God's faithfulness. You are loved, and prayed for. Again, I am so glad you had precious Levi to hold and snuggle on a day like this. God bless you all!

February 9, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Your words encourage all of us to lean on Christ, for he is our rock and salvation. Your sweet Cora was such a beautiful child and I know she is in heaven swinging and playing with Jesus today. Thank you for sharing your story. You touch our lives beyond what you can imagine. And your little Levi is precious! With love from Arkansas!

February 9, 2010 at 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Angela said...

You and your family are an inspiration! You make me think twice about life and how important family is. Happy Heaven Day sweet little Cora!

February 9, 2010 at 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Robin in Benton said...

I was thinking of you and praying for you yesterday as you celebrated this anniversary of a day that was too painful to be imagined and at the same time joyous as we know that Cora is held safely in God's hands and is watching over all of you from heaven until you get there to see her again. You continue to inspire and encourage others with your faith. God Bless You.

February 9, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can not get your family out of my thoughts and prayers. You may not feel like you are strong but you are incredibly strong. Our son was born very ill - for 6 months, doctors tested and tested for various cancers. While God continues to give us love and strength, I will never be the same again - and there was never any cancer! My son is now five and lives with a blood disorder - but he is VIBRANT & HEALTHY. I love how you place your focus on giving to others. You are reminding me to keep my focus on today and not in the past and to trust God's plan. Take care of yourself, be kind to yourself, allow gentle grieving, and know you are an inspiration and a blessing to me. God bless you and your entire family.

February 9, 2010 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

Extra prayers to you last night and extra kisses for my daughter in honor of Cora. You are loved. The cupcakes are such a wonderful idea. I am so glad that so many people contacted you to remember Cora. It does help even if they don't know what to say.

February 9, 2010 at 9:35 AM  
Blogger This Is Stupid said...

I have never commented before, but I started following your journey this day last year. I had a 2 year old daughter and I was pregnant with my second at the time. Your faith and walk through grief stuck a very deep chord in me. All I can say is, thank you for being so authentic and open and vulnerable. I have learned so much about grief, death and rebirth... how fragile life is and how our days are numbered and each is to be treasured. I miss Cora, too, and I have no connection with you at all, except through stumbling across your blog...All I have is a mother's heart--that's the only way I can relate at all. I am crying tears with you. (I hope it's ok that I comment. I just wanted you to know that you are being thought of and prayed for in Nashville!)

February 9, 2010 at 9:43 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

I am still so very sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what it must feel like to lose such a precious gift. But your faith amazes and astounds me and also gives me hope for this life and the next.

I hope you know that your story has touched so many. I thought of Cora the other day when I saw a newborn with the same name. I wondered to myself, does this baby know how special her name is? Probably not. But I will definitely never forget your story. I will never forget Cora and think of her often.

February 9, 2010 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger leel said...

i thought of you both multiple times yesterday. a year, already? time flies and stands still at the same time once again for you, i imagine. thoughts and hugs to you.

February 9, 2010 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

In some ways I can't believe it has already been a year. I think about your family often and I wanted to thank you for being such a wonderful example of living in God's faith and love.

February 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM  
Anonymous Janine said...

I was thinking of your family all day yesterday. Your faith through all of this is inspiring. Cora's life has touched so many people around the country and probably around the world. God Bless.

February 9, 2010 at 10:23 AM  
Blogger The Carroll's said...

Wow! I saw the title of this post and can't believe it has been a year since Cora went to be with Jesus either. It was just a few days earlier that I learned of your blog and started following your story. I still have her sweet picture on my fridge that I received with one of the items I ordered from Etsy. It's a reminder to me to pray for your family and to praise God for each day I have with my kiddo's. My daughter is only a few months younger than Cora would be and we just had our son less than a month before your welcomed sweet Levi so I feel very connected to the season of life you are in. Thank you for continuing to share your heart and story with us. My faith has grown because of yours. Continuing to pray.
Love, The Carroll's in Alpharetta, Georgia

February 9, 2010 at 10:32 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Praying for you all each day!

February 9, 2010 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Marla Taviano said...

Love you guys. Cora's sweet story has touched my heart in a way I can't explain. Praying for you!!

February 9, 2010 at 10:44 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

i thought of you so much this week. saying a prayer of strength for you even today. i cannot believe it's been a year, i remember sitting and crying (with you i'm sure) reading about cora. may God continue to pour his hope, peace, strength, & blessings over your family. you are loved by family, friends, & strangers.

February 9, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Townsendpartyof5 said...

...when I didn't even think I could stand...

Jess, your words are so powerful!
As is your faith.
What an incredible woman you are -somehow standing today. God is so proud of his creation!

Sending prayers from Chicago

February 9, 2010 at 10:53 AM  
Blogger Melissa Joy said...

What words are there to express to you right now?
I don't know.
But I am praying for you.
Crying with you.
Grieving with you.
Praising with you.
Clinging to the hope of Heaven with you.

February 9, 2010 at 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is beautiful that the Lord led you to thank those who cared for your gave thanks...that is a beautiful gift...

thank you for sharing your hearts with us and His sufficiency in your brokenness...

when I grieve over an anniversary I don't normally articulate it, I just sit in it...because I know it will pass....but the pain is still there...but with time, it seems to be decreasing...

I had a miscarriage 2 years ago this week, and there are 2 little boys at church that are the age our baby would have been...

I look at them and smile, knowing my Father does all things well...and I rest in that knowledge...

February 9, 2010 at 11:06 AM  
Blogger jonahbonah said...

You are still very much so a part of my daily thoughts and prayers!!! For someone that I don't even know you mean so much to me.


February 9, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Francis de Sales quote was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you!

February 9, 2010 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Beki - TheRustedChain said...

Thinking of you. Loving you. Praying for you.

Every single day.

You may not know it, but you're incredible.
God bless you Jess.

February 9, 2010 at 12:20 PM  
Blogger Abby Johns said...

I remember how I felt a year after my mother passed away from cancer. I felt like the pain would never subside, like I would feel that way for the rest of my life. I leaned so hard on God, I prayed for him to take the pain from my heart. The second year was a mixture of feelings from the first year and being able to go some stretches of time without feeling completely lost. I am happy to say that now, more than 4 years after her passing, I feel healed, I feel that I can look back on my time with her thankfully without completely breaking down.

I pray for this healing for you and your family. I prayed for Cora when she was sick, I cried when she passed and I am thankful that you have continued to share your story because it is a reminder to live in the present with my little one.

February 9, 2010 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Suzi K said...

You have such a sweet heart. Praying still.

Blessings to your little family.


February 9, 2010 at 12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. You are an incredible family and I look forward to your posts coming to the blog almost daily. Just wanted you to know I admire you so much and you are just an incredible mother. Your family is so lucky to have you and I am sure Cora is so honored to have you, Joel , and Levi as well.
Summer & Family in California

February 9, 2010 at 12:42 PM  
Blogger Anna said...


February 9, 2010 at 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I am praying for you today and everyday. Today makes 4 years since I lost my daughter at 3 months old. You inspire me and helped me find my way back to the Lord. Thank you for sharing your story.

February 9, 2010 at 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Nan said...

You two are a picture of God's grace... Thank you for your godly response (and that includes the raw emotions, admissions of anger and anguish and wrestling with God.). You are such a great example of Christian joy.... That joy is not a plastered on smile when hellish circumstances are upon us but it is simply in laying it all down at His feet and entrusting yourselves to His providence and care. Peace be yours this day...

February 9, 2010 at 12:58 PM  
Anonymous Brigid said...

Thinking of Cora and all of you today on her angel day. I continue to think and pray for you and your family everyday and read on as you travel this journey. I don't know what it is about cupcakes, but we have done the same thing in memory of our little girl :)

February 9, 2010 at 12:59 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

You continue to inspire me with your faith. To watch you give so selflessly in thanks to others on a day that is unbelievably difficult for you leaves me in tears. Praying for you now and everyday.

February 9, 2010 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sending love and hugs your way and we are also remembering your sweet girl. Even though we've never met your family was heavy on my heart yesterday.
God bless the Macs :)

February 9, 2010 at 1:11 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

What a sweet gesture & beautiful way to remember your sweet Cora today.

Wouldn't it be a great tribute to your little girl to add her new little brother to your blog banner?

{just thinking out loud}

Love & Blessings from Pooh's Corner.

February 9, 2010 at 1:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've prayed for you so many times throughout this difficult year. I knew yesterday would be terribly hard for you and Joel. Your beautiful postings often glow with God's love, grace and presence. Sweet Cora has touched so many lives...many who you'll never meet here on earth.


February 9, 2010 at 1:51 PM  
Blogger Kristin Stegent said...

I can't imagine how incredibly hard yesterday and the days leading up to it must have been. I ache for you guys. I cannot even stand the thought of the pain you must feel some days. You guys are precious! Cora is a beauty who will long be remembered, thought of and talked about. I wish so badly she was here with you, Joel and her baby brother though!

February 9, 2010 at 2:10 PM  
Blogger HannahM said...

Thinking and praying for you, yesterday & celebrating Cora's sweet life.

February 9, 2010 at 2:35 PM  
Blogger The Schilling's from Cimarron said...

Hello........ I didn't blog on Monday for the fact that it was a very hard day for us too. Thinking back on the times together and the overwhelming emotions we shared together. We still think of you all the time and miss baby Cora, even though we didn't get to share in the fun times of her life. Hope to meet Levi soon and just know we are still wishing you lots of love and happiness everyday! take care and we miss you lots!

love you,


February 9, 2010 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger Juliann said...

praying for you today, as you begin a new year. praying for peace, comfort and covering (Psalm 91).

Gurnee, IL

February 9, 2010 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger Kristen {a little ditty} said...

What a beautiful passage at the beginning of your post, hopefully that kind of thinking has helped you a little bit during this time that I imagine must be about the hardest thing to go through. Your continued strength and thoughtfulness (the cupcakes!) are certainly inspiring.

February 9, 2010 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

We miss Cora TONS - and we always will.

Love you guys lots!

I could use one of those happy cupcakes right about now.

February 9, 2010 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Hoping you had a peaceful day yesterday. Those are hard days.

February 9, 2010 at 3:20 PM  
Blogger Tricia said...

Your honesty and faith continue to inspire and encourage me.
My heart aches for your pain today.
What a lovely way to celebrate Cora and her very special doctors and nurses! The cupcakes were, I'm sure bittersweet to those kind folks, but what a beautiful way to show your love and appreciation.

I am saying all the wrong things today, I'm afraid.

Please just know that you all continue to be in my heart, and that Cora has touched the lives of every member of my family. Every one.

With love and prayers,

February 9, 2010 at 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Christine said...

You were on mind so much yesterday and we prayed for you as we do so often. Your sweet Cora and your family have impacted so many lives and brought such inspiration and stronger faith to so many. My daughter turned a year old on the day that Cora met Jesus last year. So yesterday as she turned two, I also thought of dear Cora in Heaven looking down at her new baby brother and loving parents. We continue to pray for you and your family although we have never met. Sending you lots of hugs and blessings!!

February 9, 2010 at 4:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I feel like I dont know what to say. What will be comforting to you? I just want you to know that I love your family, I love your strength and I love your faith in God. I dont think I ever knew you could really love someone without having ever met them before. You are so blessed and Cora is blessed to have you as her mommy.

February 9, 2010 at 4:43 PM  
Blogger Marianna said...

What a sweet thing to do on Cora's first heaven anniversary. When you wrote you baked cupcakes and I scrolled down, I thought "WOW, you did make lots of cupcakes!". I have no doubt they brought joy to many people's lives today.
A nice way to show the love of Christ. Praying for an extra measure of peace today.
Your blog writings are a blessing to me.

February 9, 2010 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger mrstolli said...

I was thinking of you and praying for you just yesterday beacause I knew this day was coming soon. I've been praying for you for quite some time. I may never meet you and your dear family on this side of heaven, but I feel like I know you so well. I pray for you all the time and find myself shedding many tears for you. I can't imagine what you've gone through, but I know that God has a plan even when we don't understand. You are in my prayers!

February 9, 2010 at 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Courtney said...

HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY CORA! My heart aches for you today I know all to well the pain. Praying for you always.

February 9, 2010 at 7:33 PM  
Blogger Patti said...

I had just started following your blog via a prayer request through another blog when Cora was diagnosed. I remember checking in on the blog, praying for healing and I saw the post that said she had gone to be with Jesus. I was at work and got up from my cubicle and went and SOBBED in the bathroom. Her story changed the way I appreciated my own 4 month old at the time. Thank you for keeping up your blog, it is inspirational. Cora was an amazing child.

February 9, 2010 at 7:58 PM  
Blogger Kathy Hardison said...

May comfort be found in knowing that people are thinking of you today and I am praying that God will carry you through this day and the days ahead. I am sure Cora is in the arms of Jesus tonight being given a tight hug.

February 9, 2010 at 8:27 PM  
Blogger THE ZELLERS said...

Knowing Cora through your blog has changed my life as a mother. Thank you for sharing your family with us-- little Levi is such a DOLL! We are thinking of and praying for you today.


Amy Zeller
Wimberley, TX

February 9, 2010 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Melanie @ Whimsical Creations said...


February 9, 2010 at 9:05 PM  
Blogger Spoiled Daily In Love said...

I'm at a loss for words ~ as tears are streaming down my face, my eyes are turned towards heaven, asking our Father to give you and your husband the comfort & love you need right now. Oh how I know He'll answer. Blessings, EMichelle

February 9, 2010 at 9:50 PM  
Blogger k and c's mom said...

Oh, sweet family, I know this road has been a rough one for you...You all stay close in my thoughts and prayers. And I thank you for the encouragement you have given me in my own journey through grief. You have no idea how much your words have helped me.
Blessings to you every day, but especially today.

February 9, 2010 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger Alexa said...

beautiful Cora has been with Him for a whole year.. I'm sure she's dancing with the king! ♥ You are so brave! Thinking of you and sweet Cora today and every day!

February 9, 2010 at 10:17 PM  
Blogger Ginger said...

I thought of you all day... I pray that God continues to use little Cora's life. I wish she could meet Levi... he is so blessed. I'm so sorry that you have this kind of anniversary... you will continue to be in our prayers.

February 9, 2010 at 10:27 PM  
Blogger nate said...

hi jess and joel. i love you guys so much. we prayed for you today at our staff meeting. i miss you and cora, too.

lots of love from florida,

February 9, 2010 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger nate said...

did i mention that i'm proud of you? cuz i am. you're showing us how to hope in the resurrection of Jesus.

He is risen. Thank God.


February 9, 2010 at 10:34 PM  
Blogger Tristen@blissfulchaos said...

I have stumbled upon your blog about 5 months ago and have been amazed by your family. In spite of such a devastating experience, you seem to find the strength to help others at any chance you get. You are truly admirable. Your story has deeply touched me. I continue to read back to before this blog was a tribute to your daughter, but just a regular blog to pride about your daughter. As I read all your posts, I feel your pain and my heart hurts for you and your family. I also followed your journey with your second pregnancy and when the news came that you had little Levi, I feel like I know him! I'm so happy for you that you have God, an amazing family, and a new bundle of joy to help heal your sadness.

February 9, 2010 at 10:36 PM  
Blogger The Idaho Olsens said...

Thinking of your family on this day...please know that you are loved.

February 9, 2010 at 11:19 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

What a sweet thing you did. And as hard and awful and unimaginable as this year and day have been, I smiled when I read,"I ate three just in case." I hope that's all right that I said that. I think that when we can enjoy life in spite of the sorrow then God is manifested. You all show that quite well. Like many others I have this feeling of wishing I could make something better. But only He can, and will continue to do so. In His hope...

February 9, 2010 at 11:53 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Big hugs to you on this extra difficult day. My sister died 27 yrs ago and my mom and I still always go out for lunch on her birthday and the day she died and talk about our memories of her. I was only 3 at the time so it's nice to hear about her and know that while I might not have a sister to call up on the phone, I *do* have a sister, a real one, she just lives up in heaven. Little Levi's got that too. A real sister in heaven, one that will always be a part of your family. Hang in there. (((hugs)))

February 10, 2010 at 12:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

praying for you!!!!

from Australia

February 10, 2010 at 12:27 AM  
Blogger melloss said...

I remember reading that she was gone and though I do not know you all personal I was so shocked and sad I cried for you all so so much and Wish that no one ever had to feel this type of pain. I sit here today and cry knowing how hard it is to miss some one so so much and then have a beautiful little miracle to love at the same time. I was awaiting Levis arrival for so long then moved the day before he was born so I did not find out until last week that he was here and a boy! I am so happy for your blessing and so so sad for your loss. I hope that with each passing day you can keep coping the best you can. Thank you for sharing your life with us all it really is so helpful to see others faith and love in such a hard time. Levi is soooooooooooo Handsome and I know his big sister would have loved to hold him.

February 10, 2010 at 1:25 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

What a sweet way to remember Cora by making and delivering cupcakes. And glad Levi was there to bring you a sweet distraction! Love ya’ll!

February 10, 2010 at 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your family is never far from my thoughts, and always in my prayers ... especially on this heavenly anniversary.

How blessed you are to share life with sweet Levi. He is an absolute doll. I'm sure he gives you many reasons to smile each day!

"Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift ...
That's why it's called the present."


February 10, 2010 at 9:54 AM  
Blogger gina said...

I have never met you. I am not sure I even commented her before - maybe once. But I have learned your story and prayed for your story through messages and love on other blogs. So today, know that you are loved and thought about from people you can never even imagine know your story. Know Cora's. God Bless Baby Cora , forever.

February 10, 2010 at 9:58 AM  
Blogger Run26.2Mom said...

The cupcakes look yummy. Another amazing act of your true genuine spirit and heart, remembering others on such an emotional day. We remember you this time of year and continue to pray for you and your beautiful family.

February 10, 2010 at 10:48 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I thought and prayed for you all on Monday. I thought of Cora as well, thank God you will be able to see her again!

February 10, 2010 at 12:04 PM  
Blogger Lexie Loo, Lily, Liam & Dylan Too said...

You have been in my thoughts and prayers this week. This had to be an unbelievable difficult day for you. I think the cupcakes were a beautiful way to celebrate Cora's life.

February 10, 2010 at 12:24 PM  
Blogger Valerie Koop said...

I pray (and cry) for your family often.

We have never met, but the day you posted about Cora and the cancer ... it rocked me to the core. I realize now it was because my husband has stage 4 cancer and when I learned of Cora it was yet to be diagnosed. The biblical verses you posted spoke to me; that this was a journey we were on, too.

I read your blog daily because I find that God speaks so loudly through it. On days when I struggle with faith I read many of the passages you have written and it soothes me so much.

May the Lord continue to comfort and hold you.


February 10, 2010 at 12:33 PM  
Blogger Rich and Carolyn Dewey said...

We continue to pray for you. May the God of all Comfort wrap His arms around you and give you PEACE! Thanks for sharing your open, hurting hearts with all of us. You continue to give to us in ways known only to the Lord himself!

Thinking of all four of you!


February 10, 2010 at 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are a strong woman and I will continue to pray for you and your family!

February 10, 2010 at 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God Bless you all!

February 10, 2010 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger laura said...

Jess for overa year I have read your Blog you truely inspire me. Your an awesome Mommy & Wife you always have creative ideas,Levi must be a great baby to allow you the time to make so many cupcake for the people that took care of Cora. Your family will always be in my thought & prayers.
May God continue to bless your lives.

February 10, 2010 at 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Audrey said...

Have been thinking about your family non-stop these past few days, knowing it was getting close. Life is full of little blessings, Cora was just one of so many!

February 11, 2010 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Kristi REDISKE said...

What a great thing you have done to remember your Cora and the people who were able to help so much. I think this is such a great Christian witness also-you inspire me to do more for others. I would like to know where you get those cupcake holders and how you make your tags-so very cute! You are very talented, giving-its obvious what your spiritual gifts are. Still praying for you all.

February 11, 2010 at 4:54 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Been thinking of you this whole week. You are so creative Jess! I love the bows on the cupcakes..WONDERFUL IDEA!! Praying God continues to comfort your hearts.

Love Heather

February 11, 2010 at 5:47 PM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

What a beautiful way to remember a very beautiful child. I was a reader of your story just as it began to unfold last year. I have remembered you all in prayer and hurt with you throughout the year as well. May God continue to bless you with courage, strength, a lifetime of memories, and most of all, HOPE.

February 11, 2010 at 7:35 PM  
Blogger Jenifer's Journey said...

Happy Birthday Cora! Many of preys to your mommy and daddy to get threw this terrible days

February 11, 2010 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Tall Pipi said...

I came across your blog for the first time on your baby's heavenly anniversary. Thank you for sharing her story and your continuing journey. It is such a blessing to read and be reminded of what faith really looks like. In NZ we are way ahead of you in hours, but my prayers for you on this day stood the test of time. I'm glad your day just 'was'. I look forward to reading more of your journey. Thank you for making the most of what the Lord has given you.

February 12, 2010 at 4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a "right" thing to do on this type of day. I think you are amazing to think of others and to thank them. God bless you and your family.

February 13, 2010 at 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He never promised the cross would not get heavy
And the hill would not be hard to climb
He never offered victory without fighting
But He said help would always come in time
Just remember when you're standing in the valley
Of decision and the adversary says give in
Just hold on, our Lord will show up
And He will take you through the fire again!

February 14, 2010 at 5:31 PM  
Blogger Amanda Nicole said...

Thank you so much for the cupcakes and hearts! The cupcakes were rumored to be the best we had ever had!!! Seriously you made those!?! I need the recipe! They were fantastic! And they came in handy on a very rough couple of days in the PICU. Thank you so much. Your beautiful Cora and family have not been forgotten up in PICU. We think and talk of you all often especially those of us who have kept up with your blog and have loved seeing you grow and bring lil Levi into the world. He's a handsome lil guy!

February 16, 2010 at 9:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a long time to be missing your girlie. I'm sorry about your pain. :(

It was a very thoughtful and special way to spend the day the way you did.

February 16, 2010 at 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Candi said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I remember reading your story last year, and I just found your blog once again. Your family is in my prayers. On a positive note, congratulations on your handsome little guy!

March 1, 2010 at 10:57 PM  

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