Saturday, December 31, 2005

What an incredible week, an incredible Christmas, and an incredible anniversary weekend this has been for our family. Our hearts are overflowing with such joy and thankfulness for all God has done for us this year. This has no doubt been the most difficult year our family has ever faced, and yet it is without a doubt the most incredible year we have ever experienced. Only God could cause that to happen. We had the most wonderful Christmas yet that I can remember. There was such a peace and joy in our home that we missed last year. We got up and opened gifts together and had a precious time watching the excitement on the faces of our kids at seeing all that they got. Jonathan got his desired drum set (yes, a real, big, loud, blue drum set!), Elizabeth got the guitar she wanted and Sarah got an electric drum pad that she is thrilled about. It was such a great time. After that, we read the Christmas story, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus, and then had birthday cake with Him for breakfast, a tradition that we enjoy in our family. We went to Jesus’ house to spend time with Him before spending the rest of the day with our families. We gave a special gift to our families this year. We gave scrapbooks to each of them of the journey that they so faithfully walked with us through this year. The books were based on the song, “Somebody’s Praying Me Through.” They turned out wonderful, thanks to my wonderful friend Brenda who gave up so much of her time to help me create this precious memory. Our Christmas was God’s gracious gift to our family and we thank Him for it. Monday, we cleaned up from Christmas and Tuesday we went to therapy. This was our last weekly therapy. We ended 8 months of weekly therapy which was an incredible gift to Jonathan. He has done so well and accomplished so much in these last 8 months. We are grateful for all the therapists who have played such a significant role in his recovery. Our plan is to stay in touch with them once a month to make sure he is still progressing and see new areas that we can work on until we achieve a complete recovery. Our work at home, however, does not stop. We will continue to work and exercise each day, Monday through Friday, to help him continue to improve. At therapy, he did some of the exercises on the exercise ball that he hadn’t done in a while with Mrs. Dana. She also had him sit on a stool with wheels, and pull himself down the hall using his heels, pick up some different colored clothes pins, pull himself back down the hall and clip them on the board that they belong on. Most of the time was spent doing this, but he did an awesome job using his legs to get himself up and down the hall. After that he finished with the balance board and we talked about how far he had come on this exercise. Before we left, Mrs. Dana gave me some information about hip therapy using horses. This is something she wants to look into for him, so we will try to gather more information about that in the coming days to see if that will be a possibility or not. On Wednesday and Thursday, we spent some of our time getting ready for our anniversary celebration and the rest of the time we spent visiting with Uncle Steve, Aunt Cheryl and Cousin Rachelle who came to visit from Kansas.
Yesterday, December 30, was the 1 year anniversary of the day Jonathan was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and taken to the hospital. Dad took a half day off of work and we met him for lunch. At lunch we gave the kids necklaces with a pendant with something specific to symbolize their experience this year. Elizabeth and Sarah received a pendant with a little girl holding hands with a little boy. This is an exact picture of them. They have given their life this year to love, encourage and help care for Jonathan in the most beautiful way. Jonathan’s pendant states his personal testimony – “Through His grace I shall be healed.” Each of these will be engraved with 2005 on them. It was a small gift for the gift of their lives that they have given this year. They are our heros. After lunch, we made a trip to Children’s Medical Center. Although we have not been there since April when we last visited, that familiar, uneasy feeling quickly returned as we drove to the hospital and parked in those familiar garages. The one distinct difference, however, was that Jonathan was not missing this time; he was with us. Praise the Lord! We walked through the hospital showing Jonathan the chair in the emergency room where we laid him when we first got there, showing him the trains downstairs where we would bring him while he was still in the coma and try to get him to communicate with us. We went to the 6 th floor, which is where he was when we left in February. We only saw one nurse who we remembered. Everyone else was either off or does not work there any more. That was a little disappointing, but it was good for us to show him everything about his stay there, since he remembers nothing about that part of his journey. We were not even able to get into the ICU because everything was securely closed. That didn’t keep the memories from flooding our minds as we walked the halls of that hospital. Hearing the alarms going off on the heart monitors on the 6 th floor, seeing the exact place in the cafeteria where we sat that very first night trying to force ourselves to eat, the little room where we sat and found out just how much that hospital stay cost, and the radiology area where we spent an entire day praying and anguishing over the feeding tube that was never put in. And yet, God was there in each of those places, in each of those moments and in control of every detail of our experience at Children’s Medical Center. Before we left, we had the chance to visit with our sweet friend, Mary that we met while we were in the ICU. Her little son, Elisha, has spent his entire life in and out of the hospital with a rare disease. We noticed Mary a year ago while she was praying in the waiting room when Elisha was in the ICU at the same time as Jonathan. It was not long before we talked and got to know each other. She is such a wonderful, strong, Christian young lady, even in the midst of incredibly difficult circumstances. She has been such a testimony and encouragement to our family. We had a chance to see Elisha right before we left. He has been in the hospital this time for almost 2 months and he is battling 3 very serious viruses that could keep him there another 2 months. Please remember to pray for Mary and Elisha when you pray for Jonathan.
We were humbled, overwhelmed, and moved to tears yet again by the presence of so many of you at our home as we celebrated this year anniversary last night. All of you have been there for us from the very beginning of this journey and you have stayed with us, even to this day. You have been the hands and feet of the Lord Jesus that have carried us through this incredible journey. There is no way we could have made it without you. We had a precious time of prayer, thanking God for His mighty power and grace in our lives, and a recommitment to the Lord for whatever He has planned for us to do for Him. We continue to live expectantly, day by day, waiting for God’s perfect healing in His perfect timing. There is much healing yet to be realized, many miracles yet to witness, and much work left to be done. But God who has promised is faithful, and He will bring it all to pass. It will not be late one single day. We continue to covet your prayers for Jonathan and for our family. We will continue to update regularly and let you know how God is working and what He is doing in our lives. As always, we so appreciate your faithfulness to pray for us.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share my heart with you each time I update. It has been a good thing for me to journal this experience each week, and it causes me to specifically remember and acknowledge each thing that God has done for us. Each time I ask for prayer for something specific, I know that it will be prayed for and we wait to see God’s answered revealed. We pray that God will abundantly bless you in 2006. Always Believe and Expect a Miracle! We love you all. Happy New Year! Love the Cooper Family

Numbers 6:24-27 24 The LORD bless you, and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 26 The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.' 27 "So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

You are invited to join
The Cooper Family
as we celebrate God's faithfulness
to our family and His healing power in Jonathan's life through this year.

December 30, 2005
6:30 pm - 9:30 pm

The Cooper House
1665 Niagara Blvd.Lewisville, TX 75077

Join us for a time of fellowship on this special anniversary evening.

There will be a time of praiseand thanksgiving about 8:00 pm.

Hope to see you all there.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

I know that I am long overdue for an update. I have thought about it every evening since Tuesday, but we have been so busy getting ready for Christmas, that I thought I would just wait and send you a Christmas Eve update. I remember Christmas Eve last year. Lamar and I talked about it just last night as we were wrapping presents for the kids. Last Christmas was probably the worst Christmas we have ever had. We were so busy and everything got left until the last minute. We were miserable until Christmas finally got here and then we could relax and enjoy the day. That is not what I wanted our family to be like at Christmas. Christmas is such a special time of year – a time of giving, sharing, loving, remembering, enjoying family and celebrating the most incredible gift ever given to mankind. But it is so easy to let things get out of order, and the things that really matter are overshadowed by the things that will be gone as soon as the day is over. Last year, we missed what really mattered most. Little did we know that just 5 days later, we would be brought to the point of realizing how precious life really is, and how incredible precious our loved ones truly are.
This year, we have been busy preparing for Christmas, but there is so much joy and peace in our Christmas this year. I am constantly aware of my kids being close by. We have spent as much time together as possible as a family and I feel so incredibly blessed. I hate the fact that we let so many “good” things get in the way of what was “best”, but I’m so thankful that God got our attention and changed our perspective on life.
Let me see if I can share with you all that has gone on since I last wrote. We finished up all our activities at church a week or so ago, and we also finished school, accomplishing everything we set out to accomplish to finish the first half of the year very strong. We have been able to find a pretty good routine to settle into again, and look forward to making a few changes after the beginning of the year to keep things going well. Last Sunday, our family was over to celebrate Grandma Smith’s birthday. We all enjoyed the Christmas musical at church in the morning then we had a great time visiting at lunch and through the afternoon with each other. We moved therapy to Monday this week, and Jonathan did a great job again, as usual. He went downstairs and rode the bike again for 15 minutes. Then he went back up to the office to work on balance and flexibility in his ankles. You will have to forgive me this time for not being specific; so much has been going on this week that I just can’t remember exactly what he worked on. But make no mistake he did as good a job as he always does. Jonathan also had basketball practice again that evening. Each time he goes to practice, he gets better with his endurance. He only sat down two times, which is another improvement over the last practice. His coaches are working with him, pushing him to do better, and helping him feel like an important part of the team. They are learning some of their plays, and the guys are all very patient when it’s Jonathan’s turn. His response/reaction times are pretty slow, so we are going to try to work on some of that at home. He will have a couple of weeks off before we start again in January. We also had a chance to do a little baby sitting and play with our sweet little friends, Koby and Juliana. Jonathan loves Juliana, and he even got to hold her a few times after practice. It was fun to have them around again. On Tuesday, we went to meet some new homeschool families that are about to begin a Moms in Touch prayer group in January. The girls made some new friends and Jonathan hung out with me while the Moms visited. On Wednesday, we spent most of our day finishing up our Christmas shopping. Even though it was a busy day, we sure enjoyed our time together. On Thursday, some of the homeschool families from our church got together and caroled for a nursing home in Lewisville. We do that every year, and we always love singing and visiting with the residents. After caroling, we went to visit Dad at his new job. The kids have been wanting to see his new office, so we went to visit and then took Dad to lunch at McDonalds. Later on that evening, we had some friends over for dinner and enjoyed visiting with them. Jonathan got to hold and play with their new little baby boy who is also named Jonathan. We have so many wonderful friends who are such blessings to our family. Dad was off on Friday, so we got out and did some last minute shopping during the afternoon. After dinner, the kids went upstairs to watch a movie while we wrapped presents for them. And today is Christmas Eve. This day was busier than all the others put together! We spent the afternoon, making Christmas cookies for Santa (and a few for us too!), baking Jesus’ birthday cake, wrapping presents, making sandwiches for our get together with our family, and finally stopping at the end of the day to open a couple of presents before going to bed. I have to share with you just how precious my sweet children really are. This year, while we were out shopping, they bought presents for each other and for Dad and Mom with their own money. Elizabeth spent her own money and Sarah used a gift card that she got for her birthday to buy gifts for each of us. They helped Jonathan get stuff as well, or let him be part of their gifts. While we were out shopping on Wednesday, I stopped by the bank to cash the check that Koby and Juliana’s mom gave us for keeping the kids on Monday. I gave each of the kids $10, which they had no idea they were getting, because they were the ones who did most of the work. When we got home from shopping, they went upstairs together to do something, then they went and got the mail for the day. When I finally got around to looking at the mail, I saw an envelope addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. Lamar Cooper” (but without a stamp!). When I opened it, there was a note from the kids including the $30 I had given them. The note said they wanted us to have the money in case we needed it for Christmas. They told us to please not give it back to them, even if we didn’t need it. Now, I know how much my kids like to have money of their own. But I was moved to tears to think that they so willingly, with no thought for themselves, gave up their own money for us to use. We have been struggling some financially as the end of the approaches, but we have been faithfully asking God to provide for our every need and thanking Him for doing just that. God is faithfully providing for our needs little by little, and He blessed us by allowing us to see our children demonstrate what Christmas is all about.
Thank you so much for continuing to pray for Jonathan and for our family. God has blessed us so much this year that our hearts are overflowing with thanksgiving and gratitude for all that He has done. I hope you will continue to pray for us in the days ahead. Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Pray for the continued complete healing of his brain, his vision and his diabetes. Pray for increased strength and mobility in his legs, especially his right leg, his ankles and his hips. Pray for increased flexibility in his ankles. Please continue to pray for his weight gain and his eating. Also continue to pray for his sleeping. Some nights are good, some are not too bad, and then some are very bad. Please pray that his brain will heal in these critical areas, and that we can be patient until the process is complete. So many of you have written to share with us that you are praying for Jonathan, about his sleeping, at many different times of the day and night. I always share your letters with Jonathan, and he is always so encouraged to know that people are praying for him. You are such a blessing to us and we thank God for your faithfulness to pray. Please pray for us as we continue to trust God to provide for the needs that we have coming up. God has been faithful; He will be again. Pray that we will trust and obey. Also pray for us as we approach the year anniversary of this incredible journey. We are looking forward to celebrating the miracle of life on Friday, December 30 and remembering God’s incredible work in Jonathan’s life and in the life of our family. The next time I write will probably be around that time. I hope you will join us in celebrating Jesus and praising our Heavenly Father on that day. We will be celebrating with our families that evening at our home and would love for any of you to stop by and celebrate with us if you would like.
It is now Christmas Day. I pray that this Christmas day will be the most wonderful day ever for each of you, our wonderful friends. As you celebrate the most wonderful gift of life ever given, our Saviour Jesus Christ, don’t forget to celebrate the precious gift of your family – your children, you husband, your wife, you Mom, your Dad, your brothers and sisters, your friends. Don’t let this special day go by without thanking God for His incredible blessings in your life. We pray that God will surround you will His love, His joy and His peace this Christmas day. We love each and every one of you.

Merry Christmas and God Bless Us, Everyone!

With love, Lamar, Kristi, Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

God continues to bless our family as we near the end of this incredible year. Jonathan is doing incredibly well in many ways. All the kids are doing very well in school and we should finish our first half of the year on Friday. We are looking forward to a couple of weeks off from school. Overall, I have been very pleased with our progress in school thus far. Jonathan is reading very well, writing better each day, and doing very well in math, language and spelling. Last Wednesday and Thursday, we got to stay home and enjoy some sleet and ice at our house. There was not too much, but it was nice to have it around. Unfortunately for these kids, there was no “snow day” at our school! On Friday, Elizabeth and Sarah went to spend the night with a friend, so Jonathan, Dad and Mom went to see a Singing Christmas Tree at another church in the area. Dad and Mom have been part of a Singing Christmas Tree in the past, but this was the first time that Jonathan had ever seen it. We had a great time and enjoyed the program very much. On Saturday, we hung out together until the girls got home, and then enjoyed a Christmas party with all of the wonderful people who so faithfully helped Lamar in the Tech ministry at Lakeland this past year. Sunday was filled with church and a Christmas party or two, but otherwise was a pretty low key day. Jonathan had basketball practice again on Monday evening. He did even better this week than he did last week. There was no crying at all, and he only sat down to rest 3 times during the whole hour practice. That was about half the rests from the first week. He stayed up and practiced everything that everyone else did, even working on the first couple of plays that the team learned. His coaches are very attentive to him, but they push him to do more than he thinks he can do. They always encourage him to shoot until he makes a basket, and then when he does, there are always some of his teammates that clap and cheer him on. After basketball practice, we went to the mall to visit Santa. We always love to visit Santa, and even after an hour of basketball practice, Jonathan was able to walk around the mall and stand in line for almost an hour without needing to sit down. We have noticed over the last couple of weeks that Jonathan has not complained about his ankles hurting like he usually does. He is still being active, even more so now than last month, but there is no complaining of hurting ankles. I’m hoping that means that they are getting stronger and that he is tolerating activity on his feet better. Jonathan went to therapy again yesterday and did a great job. He got to do a whole set of new things instead of the same old stuff he usually does. He spent the entire time in the gym downstairs. Instead of running on the treadmill, he rode the stationary bike for 15 minutes. He started out with his braces on, but was able to do it much better without them. After that, he did the squat machine a few times. Mrs. Dana would try to hold his right foot straight, but it seems to always turn out. She also said that his ankles are very stiff and don’t have much flexibility to them. They don’t bend like they should. So she used the squat machine to have him push up with his toes, to exercise his ankles. After that, we used some different pads inside the parallel bars to give him a different twist on walking the balance line. Then we did some balancing on one foot while pushing up and down with the other foot. She showed me some exercises we can do at home to help gain more flexibility in his ankles. This is partly a result of wearing the braces. While the braces help stabilize the leg and knee, they don’t do a whole lot for the ankles, so we need to work that separately. She also suggested that some hip therapy might help smooth out his walking. She told me about some children who do therapy with horses that seems to help. She is going to try to give me some information about it so that we can see what the possibilities are for that. Later in the evening, some of our family came over to watch a special show that the girls have been watching. The rule is that everyone has to have their bath before the show comes on. So after telling Jonathan that he also had to have his bath, he asked if I was coming to help him. I told him I would come in a few minutes, but that Dad was upstairs and could help him get started. Before I had a chance to get upstairs, Jonathan called me and told me that he had gotten his bath all by himself! He has done parts of his bath by himself before, but never the entire process. It is so encouraging to see him do things that he normally thinks he has to have help with, but finds out that he can do them on his own again. There are many of those blessing every day.
Jonathan still continues to struggle with his sleeping issues. Some nights are better than others, and we are trying some different things to see what might help. We have been letting him sleep in our room on a mattress beside my bed. It’s a little better for me because I don’t have to get up as much to help him when he is right beside me. However, I don’t want him to get in the habit of having to sleep in our room again. Our dear sweet friends, Mr. Ken and Mrs. Anita, told us on Sunday that they have committed to pray for Jonathan 3 times a day, specifically about his sleeping, until God brings healing. It is such an encouragement to know that people are praying so specifically for Jonathan and the needs he is facing. That night, Jonathan slept better than he had in weeks. He only woke up crying 3 times, and none of them were very bad. Monday night, he cried a little more, but still nothing major. So we decided to try him in his room on Tuesday night. We even turned on a rest and relaxation CD to see if that would help. He wasn’t asleep 30 minutes before he began to wake up crying about every 15-20 minutes. So after a couple of hours, I just put him back in our room for the rest of the night. He continued to cry, but not as frequently. We are still trying to gather information and suggestions about what to do, so please continue to pray for us about this. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that it has only been a year and that the brain is still healing. I know that God will heal this part, even as He has healed the other parts of Jonathan’s body.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers. I just know that many times when we see positive things happen with Jonathan, it is because you all are faithfully praying for us. You continue to carry us through the struggles and the blessings of this journey we are on. Please continue to pray specifically for Jonathan, that his brain will heal completely and that we will see complete healing in his vision and his diabetes. Pray that his sleep will continue to improve and that his mind will be at rest as he sleeps each night. Pray that we will have wisdom and know how to help him through this difficult issue. Continue to pray for his weight and his eating, and that we will be able to bring those under control so that he will be healthy. Pray for continued strength in his ankles, legs and hips. Pray that his endurance will continue to increase as well as his activity level. Pray that we will have wisdom to know how to proceed with his therapy in the new year. Please pray for our family as we face some needs as we near the end of the year. Pray that we will have wisdom and that we will wait on the Lord and trust Him to provide for those needs that He already knows we have. God is so good and so faithful and we give Him praise for the incredible things He has done in our lives this year. I leave you with this thought from my journal, Streams in the Desert that I read today. May God bless each of you.
"Trust also in him" (Ps. 37:3).
The word trust is the heart word of faith. It is the Old Testament word, the word given to the early and infant stage of faith. The word faith expresses more the act of the will, the word belief the act of the mind or intellect, but trust is the language of the heart. The other has reference more to a truth believed or a thing expected. Trust implies more than this, it sees and feels, and leans upon a person, a great, true, living heart of love. So let us "trust also in him," through all the delays, in spite of all the difficulties, in the face of all the denials, notwithstanding all the seemings, even when we cannot understand the way, and know not the issue; still "trust also in him, and he will bring it to pass." The way will open, the right issue will come, the end will be peace, the cloud will be lifted, and the light of an eternal noonday shall shine at last.

Tuesday, December 6, 2005

We have been blessed with another good week this week. Last Wednesday was Jonathan’s first night without Mr. Terry in Awana. Jonathan, of course, did just fine, and Mrs. Lori, Mr. Terry’s wife, stepped in and helped Jonathan through the evening. She even helped him with his basketball skills during game time, and after devotion, when it was time to go home, Jonathan told her she didn’t need to walk him downstairs; he could do it himself. And he did! She did come by to make sure he made it okay, but that was a great accomplishment for him. After Awana, Jonathan spent time hanging out in the lobby with other people, visiting and socializing with everyone while Dad and Mom were busy. It’s so nice to see him be independent from time to time. We are praying that that will continue to increase as time goes on. One of our very special friends gave our family tickets to Six Flags for Saturday, so we spent our afternoon and evening at Holiday in the Park at Six Flags on Saturday. During the day, the weather was quite warm, but when the sun went away, it got very cold. We got to ride a few rides, but there were so many people there, we didn’t ride much. At 7 pm, we were also able to go to a free concert with Point of Grace and Jeff Johnson. We almost froze to death, but we stayed for over an hour and thoroughly enjoyed the concert. Unfortunately, Jonathan got up Saturday morning with the second half of the cold he had the first few days of Thanksgiving week. So by the time we left Six Flags that evening, he could hardly talk and was feeling pretty crummy. Other than that, we had a great time at Six Flags, and we are so thankful for these precious friends who gave us the opportunity to create another treasured memory together as a family. On Sunday, the Sarah and Jonathan’s choir sang their special Christmas songs and played handbells during church. Jonathan was able to play handbells, but he was unable to sing with the choir because of his cold. He was feeling a little better, and was also able to go to his Sunday School class party in the afternoon, which was pizza and going to see Chicken Little. I’m glad he felt good enough to go because he had a wonderful time. The kids in his Sunday School class are the absolute best group of kids that Jonathan could be around. They are so kind and caring towards him, they always help him and always encourage him, and it blesses my heart to be around them. On Monday, Jonathan went to his very first Upward Basketball practice for this season. He has a wonderful coach who is very attentive to Jonathan, but is also going to challenge him as much as possible. Jonathan started off well by getting in there and working with the rest of the guys. But the first time he needed to sit down and rest, he started to cry. Jonathan needs to realize that there are other people in his life who are in charge of him at particular times that he needs to go to, instead of always coming to Mom. We talked about it several times during the hour that he practiced, and by the end of the practice, he was telling his coach each time he needed to sit down for a rest. He also did very well at getting back up and going back to practice without sitting out too long or being told to go back in. The other guys on his team were very accommodating and patient with him. He dribbled, passed and shot a number of times and made a good number of baskets. We even saw a few steps of running at one point, which made us all cheer! We watched him bend his knees and push himself up to make baskets, which is a huge improvement from camp during the summer. When he was making baskets at camp, we would have to hold him under his arms and help push him up to make the baskets, and yesterday, he was doing it all by himself. What a miracle! He came over and hugged us several times and was just so excited and proud at what he was doing. One time he was so excited, he almost squealed and said, “I just love this!” We are so very proud of Jonathan and so very grateful for the miracle of life that God has given to him. Many of these coaches, players and parents prayed us through this year, just as you all have. Jonathan only made it to a couple of practices last year before he got sick. As a matter of fact, he was worried about missing his first game when he got sick. Little did we know that he would miss the entire season. But God is so good, and we look forward with great anticipation to what Jonathan will accomplish and to see how God will use this basketball season in his life at this particular time. Jonathan did great today in therapy. He ran, again, three times for 1 minute each time at 4.0 mph. He appeared a little more worried about being able to do it, but he persevered and made it through all three times. Back up in the office, Jonathan worked on balancing on one foot while doing things with the other foot, and pushing up on a step with one foot at a time. Mrs. Dana always wears him out, but Jonathan always does such a good job. I think that Jonathan is finally over this cold again. Hopefully we will all stay well through the holidays.
God continues to bless us each and every day. We still have struggles that we deal with day to day that sometimes cloud our vision. Then we have a moment, like basketball practice, where we realize just how much God has blessed up and how much progress we have made in a few month’s time. Thank you so much for your faithfulness to pray for us. God hears each and every one and faithfully answers them. Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Pray for patience as we wait for God’s complete healing to be manifested in his life. Pray for continued healing of his brain, vision and diabetes. Please pray that his balance will improve and that he will be able to accomplish those balance challenges in his therapy. Please continue to pray for his eating and weight gain. He is still hovering around the 110-113 range, but we are slowing making changes in his diet to hopefully help lose some weight. Many of us know just how difficult this is, so please pray that God will honor our diligence and efforts, and allow Jonathan to lose the weight he needs to be healthy and control his diabetes. Pray that Jonathan will gain confidence in his abilities, gain more independence, and not be afraid to be away from Mom. Pray that he will relearn how to initiate activity on his own and begin to do more and more things for himself. Although we are progressing slowly, Jonathan is doing very well in school on every skill that we are studying, and we praise God for that.
Probably the biggest prayer request I have to ask for Jonathan is his sleeping at night. This remains our biggest challenge right now. Jonathan is barely able to sleep for 2 hours at a time without waking up crying, just like he is having an awful nightmare. I have no idea what he is dreaming about and he usually can’t tell me either. Most of the time, he never even fully wakes up, but lays back down once I get him calmed down, goes right back to sleep, and wakes up again, minutes later, crying just as bad as before. This cycle goes on hour, after hour, all night long. And every morning, he is completely unaware that he ever cried once during the night. Needless to say, it is wearing me out. If I wasn’t so tired, I might try to count just how many times he wakes up, but I would guess it is usually about 10-15 times a night. I’m not sure what to do about this, but I’m asking you to pray specifically for this issue with Jonathan. Pray that whatever is causing this will be healed. Pray that he will know peace and rest in his mind and thoughts. Pray that we will both get rest and that I will be patient with him even though I am weary of dealing with this.
One last thing; God has blessed our family by providing Lamar with a new job. He resigned his position at the church and began a new job on Monday. We are confident that this is where God is leading us, and we are anxious to see how God is going to use this new situation in our lives, as we seek to serve Him and follow His will for our family. Our only concern at this point is a delay in getting insurance with the new job. It could be as late as March before we can get insurance there. I know that God has already made provision for all our needs, and we are trusting Him to provide for this need as well. Please pray with us regarding this, and that throughout all these changes in our family, we will continue to trust in the One who always does exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think. Thank you for your prayers.

Hebrews 10:23 - Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

This past week was probably the most precious Thanksgiving week we have ever share together as a family. There were many times that we were overwhelmed with gratefulness at what the Lord has graciously done in our lives this year. We hope that your Thanksgiving was as precious as ours was. Life itself is incredibly precious, as we have been reminded this year. We spent the day Wednesday getting ready for Thanksgiving Day. There was no church or Awana, so we spent the evening at home together as well. Thursday morning we woke up, started cooking and spent the morning watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Mom’s side of the family came over to our house for lunch. Some of our family has not seen Jonathan since May, so it was nice to be able to share with them how great Jonathan has done these last few months. After having a nice dinner and visit with them, we made our way to Dad’s family for our second Thanksgiving Dinner of the day. Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan’s great-grandma, Mamaw, was here from Mississippi, and this was the first time she had seen Jonathan since Christmas last year, just days before Jonathan became ill. Needless to say, she didn’t even recognize him. Overall, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day. On Friday, we got out our Christmas decorations which is a tradition for our family. We put up our beautiful Christmas tree and other Christmas decorations. It seems like just yesterday that we had our Christmas tree up. It was the only thing from Christmas last year that was still up when Jonathan came home from the hospital in April. But we are glad to have it up again. On Friday evening, Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan got to go with their Aunt Keby to the Texas Tornadoes Hockey game in Frisco. They all had a wonderful time, and they were able to stay for the entire game. Jonathan called us when it was over, very excited because the Texas Tornadoes won 4 to 1! He seemed to do very well away from us that evening. Lamar and I went and did some Christmas shopping. It’s not often that we have time alone, just the two of us, so it was a nice time for us. On Saturday, Jonathan and Dad spent several hours at Grandpa and Grandma Cooper’s house visiting with Mamaw. Later in the afternoon, Aunt Keby took the kids to see a movie, and Lamar and I got to do some more shopping and spend some more time, just the two of us. Wow! Two days in a row! That’s a record this year. We went to church on Sunday, but since it was a holiday weekend, there were no hand bells or choir. Jonathan went with Sarah to their class on Sunday evening, so I was able to go to church and hear about God’s provision in our lives, which we have witnessed in an unusual way this year. On Monday, we started back to school and we are working hard for these three weeks to stay on schedule so we can finish strong before Christmas break. All the kids are doing so well in school. I am so proud of them all. I can’t tell you what a blessing it is to be back to schooling at home, since we missed it earlier this year. I love and treasure the time I get to spend with my kids, even if it is doing school work. As soon as we finished our schoolwork, we got to go shopping with Grandma Cooper and Mamaw for the rest of the afternoon. It is always fun to go shopping with Grandmas! We had a great time spending time with them. To finish off the day, we got to have dinner at their house with them. Today, Jonathan did a great job at therapy. Mamaw was his special guest today. She got to come watch Jonathan work out and see what all he has done and learned to do over these last few months. Instead of going straight down to the gym, Jonathan worked up in the office first. He stood on the balance disc while we played the alphabet game again as he worked on his balance. After that he did several types of jumps on the mini trampoline. Then he got to swing on one of the therapy swings. He laid down on his stomach on the swing and Mrs. Dana threw him a long cloth. He climbed up the cloth with his hands and then she would tell him to let go and he would swing back and forth on the swing. Not only does it work the muscles in the arms, but it works all the muscles in his back and shoulders also. He seemed to enjoy this. He was pretty tired when we headed downstairs to the treadmill at the very end of his therapy, and he was not real sure he wanted to do any running today. But we encouraged him to do some so Mamaw could see how well he was doing. He ran a minute and a half at 4.0 today which was pretty good considering how tired he was by that time. We were proud of him for trying.
I have been reminded daily in my devotions this week of the goodness and faithfulness of God to us as we have walked this difficult road this year. We have so much to be grateful for. Our praise will never be enough for all that God has done for us. We continue to face some challenges and we continue to ask you to pray for Jonathan as you have so faithfully done. Please continue to pray for healing of his diabetes, his vision and his brain. Pray specifically for healing and progress in controlling his eating and his weight. Pray for continued strength and endurance in his legs, feet and ankles. Pray specifically that his balance will improve as he continues to work on it. Pray that his activity level will increase and that he will learn again how to initiate activity on his own. Also, please earnestly pray for healing of his mind and peace and rest in his thoughts and dreams as he sleeps. He continues to wake up crying many times during the night. Pray that he will find deliverance from this soon. Thank you, from our hearts, for always checking in and following Jonathan’s progress and for your constant prayers on our behalf. We will never be able to adequately express how grateful we are for each of you. It is true that your prayers are the wings that have carried us through each phase of this journey. You are an incredible blessing to our family. I want to leave you with some Scriptures from Psalm 66 that I read this week. May God abundantly bless each of you. Come and see the works of God, Who is awesome in His deeds toward the sons of men. (v.5) Bless our God, O peoples, And sound His praise abroad, Who keeps us in life, And does not allow our feet to slip. For Thou hast tried us, O God; Thou hast refined us as silver is refined. Thou didst bring us into the net; Thou didst lay an oppressive burden upon our loins. Thou didst make men ride over our heads; We went through fire and through water; Yet Thou didst bring us out into a place of abundance. (v.8-12) Come and hear, all who fear God, And I will tell of what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, And He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear; But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His lovingkindness from me.(v.16-20)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

God continues to bless, and we have so much to be thankful for as we head into this Thanksgiving season. Jonathan is still doing so very well in every way. Last Wednesday, we went to Awana again, and Jonathan said more verses and passed a couple more sections. This was the last week Jonathan had Mr. Terry to hang out with and help him. We will miss Mr. Terry, but we know that he will be back before the year is out. We spent Thursday and Friday working hard to finish up schoolwork so we could have Thanksgiving break this week. Friday night and Saturday morning, both the girls spent time with some friends, so Jonathan, Dad and Mom just hung out together. On Saturday morning, Jonathan wanted to go to the school park that is at the end of our neighborhood. We haven’t been there in quite a while. It’s probably a good quarter of a mile to walk to, but Jonathan was determined to go and very sure that he could handle the walk. We made it there and then sat down for a rest. There was a handicap swing that Jonathan swung on. There are several slides on the playground, and Jonathan climbed up the stairs and slid down several of them. Some of them he came down faster than others! Jonathan played on the toys and even tried to hang on the monkey bars. That was pretty tough, but he tried more than once. After playing for a while and then resting for a little bit, we made the walk back home. The walk home was a bit tougher than the walk there, and his ankles were hurting quite a bit. But it was such a neat thing for us to do something familiar that we haven’t done in a very long time. We had a good day on Sunday. Jonathan went to Sunday School, choir, and hand bells, and we had a church- wide Thanksgiving dinner in the evening. On Monday, we took the girls with us and walked to the school park again to play. Jonathan wanted to go again, so we did. It was just a tough walking there and back, and his feet and ankles hurt just as much, but he wanted to go again. He did just as good a job this time as he did the first time, plus he had a great time with his sisters with him. We are spending some time getting things ready to have family over for Thanksgiving. Jonathan is getting better at helping with things around the house. I try to give him easy jobs that I know he can do so that he doesn’t get lazy and think that everyone else has to do all the work. Today was a special therapy because Dad got to come watch Jonathan run for the first time. He ran three times, each 1 minute at 4.0 mph. Last week he only made it 2 min. and 45 sec., so he was able to beat his record again today. Back in the office, he balanced on the bubble disc that is hard to balance on while we threw the ball and played the alphabet game. He worked on stepping up and down on a step and then walking on the balance line. All of this, he did without his shoes on. She also watched him walk and said there is no sign of hyper-extension in the knees. Next week we will meet with the lady who did his new braces and see what she might suggest the next step to be, but he is not ready to be out of these just yet. Maybe next year sometime. Jonathan is still struggling walking the balance line. That is such a tough thing for him. But we will continue to pray and work on it at home and during therapy.
Although there is not much that happened this past week to share, we are thankful for the good things that did happen. Just being able to live our lives outside of the hospital is a tremendous blessing that we are mindful of each and every day. Please continue to pray for Jonathan. We still face many challenges and struggles each day and night. Please continue to pray for his complete healing in his brain, his vision and his diabetes. Pray that he will continue to gain strength and stamina in his ankles, hips and knees. Pray that whatever is causing him to be off balance would be healed and we would begin to see improvement in walking the balance line. Please continue to pray for his weight, his eating, and whatever part of his brain controls those issues to be perfectly healed. Please pray for his mind to be at rest as he sleeps each night and that whatever is causing the continued crying so frequently at night will go away. Also, please pray for good health. So far we have stayed well, but I think he is showing signs of a cold this evening, so pray that it won’t be too bad. We have so much to be thankful for each year, but especially this Thanksgiving. As we approach the year anniversary of Jonathan’s illness in just a few weeks, I hope you will join us in praising God for the awesome miracles He has done in Jonathan, and for the blessing of life. I hope you will pray for our family as well, as I know it will be a blessed, but emotional milestone for all of us. Not only are we thankful for Jonathan’s life and the miracle of healing that God has done, but we are so very thankful for each one of you who have walked this journey with us. We are so thankful for each of your prayers that have carried us through and that have moved the hand of God on our behalf. We really are a most blessed family and we are humbled by it all. We pray God’s most precious blessings on each of you and your family this holiday season. Psalm 100: Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. 3 Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. 4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name. 5 For the LORD is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting, And His faithfulness to all generations.

Happy Thanksgiving With Love from the Cooper Family.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Lord has blessed us with yet another good week. It is such a blessing to be able to live our lives each day – a blessing not to be taken for granted. Jonathan is still doing very well. He is doing such a great job in school. Every day, he reads better, writes better, and continues to tackle each skill he is working on without much trouble. He is adding and subtracting large numbers and he is working on the past tense of regular and irregular verbs. He is on the third chapter of a chapter book that he is reading and we are working on comprehending what he reads and being able to retell what he has just read. Because his reading is rather choppy, sometimes it is very difficult to remember the details of what he just read. But we work on it every day and each day it gets a little better. He is doing a phenomenal job memorizing his verses in Awana. He is on the third section of his book and he learns at least 2-3 new verses each week. While he is doing very well with the routine that we have established for Awana, I caught a glimpse of how much he relies on that routine and how fearful he gets if it appears to change in any way. Last Wednesday, he began to get upset and start to cry because I was standing outside the door of his classroom talking with someone while he was sitting in a chair, just feet from the door where I was standing. After verse time, when I was about to leave, he began to get upset again because Mr. Terry was not there. But by the time we got down to the gym, he had calmed down and I was able to leave him in the gym until Mr. Terry got there. So even the smallest change is difficult for him to handle. We probably still have a long way to go on this issue, but we’ll keep working on it. Mr. Terry had to tell Jonathan that he is going to be gone for a couple of months because of his work. Jonathan has come to love and rely on Mr. Terry very much, so he is a little concerned that he is going to be gone. However, his wife, Mrs. Lori has promised to take his place and help Jonathan work on his basketball skills during game time, which is what Mr. Terry does. It’s amazing how much Mr. Terry has been able to encourage Jonathan to get up and do things. He even got him to walk up the stairs to devotion time instead of ride the elevator. We are going to miss Mr. Terry terribly, and we will be looking forward to his return. Speaking of basketball, the new Upward Basketball year is just around the corner. On Friday evening, Jonathan and Sarah went to the evaluation that is held before the teams are formed. They had to dribble with each hand, do the side shuffle, and shoot baskets from three different angles. Jonathan did pretty well on the shuffle and dribbling with the right hand. The left hand was much more difficult. But he made at least 1-2 baskets on each angle. Although he is a little apprehensive about basketball, I think he is excited about the upcoming season. At least he is very open about the fact that he can’t wait to get the uniform! Not much happened over the weekend. After being gone so much the last weekend, it was nice to stay home this weekend. Jonathan weighed in at 110 on Sunday. We actually went down a pound! Sunday also marked 1 week that we have been taking the oral medication to help with his insulin. We were told that it would take about 6 weeks before we would start seeing some results, but we have already started seeing much lower blood sugars, and have actually begun to back down a little on his insulin. Another interesting thing about this medicine is that even though he hates the way it tastes, he always remembers to tell me that he needs to take it, because I always seem to forget. There are many things that he can’t remember, but this is one thing he always seems to remember. On Monday, I got a call from Cooks with the results of his blood work. Jonathan’s A1C was 8.6 which is around what it was the last time (8.4). We expected it to be lower this time, so I’m not real sure why it wasn’t. It is suppose to be between 5-6, I think. They didn’t really have any comment about it one way or the other. As far as his thyroid and pituitary gland, both of those are functioning normally. Praise The Lord! After my initial instinct to worry about that, I remembered the promise that we received from the Lord for Jonathan’s complete healing, and I realized that in order for that promise to be true, those glands had to be functioning properly. So while I continued to pray for the results, I was able to confidently say that I knew they were just fine. Praise God for His faithfulness to fulfill His promises! Jonathan did such a great job today at therapy. He ran for a total of 2 minutes and 45 seconds! He ran for 1 minute two times and made it 45 seconds the third time at 4.0 mph. He said his knee was hurting him and I think he just got wore out that last time around. Back up in the office, he worked on balancing on one foot while throwing some colored rings, then he stood on a disc that is very difficult to balance on while throwing the discs. He also did some squats. The last thing he did was work walking on the tape line. He is still struggling with his balance on this. Mrs. Dana said it is not from weakness, but that it is probably because of the brain injury, with possibly some help from the vision issues. She kind of indicated that it may just always be like that. But we plan to continue working with him on that.
God is so very good. Each of you who pray regularly for Jonathan and for us, are so very important to us. I can’t tell you how much it encourages me to talk to you and know that you are still praying and keeping up with Jonathan. We rely so heavily on your prayers. Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Pray for continued healing of his brain, his vision and his diabetes. Pray that he will continue to excel in school and in understanding what he is learning. Pray that his memory will continue to improve. Please pray for strength in his ankles, knees, legs and hips. Pray specifically that his balance will improve, and whatever is causing it to be off will be healed. Continue to pray for his weight, his eating, and his blood sugar. Please pray specifically for his self confidence and his ability to do things on his own again. Also, please specifically pray for his sleeping. While he sleeps all night in his own bed, he wakes up crying many times each night. I don’t think he is always awake, and he always lays right back down and goes sound asleep again instantly, but something is causing him to cry. I don’t mean just a whine, but he cries hard many times. Consequently, that means that it has been a long while since I have had a night of uninterrupted sleep. Sometimes I will be up with him 4-5 times in an hour. So please pray for his sleeping to improve and whatever is causing him to cry would stop. Join us also in praising the Lord for the positive results we are seeing in the medication he is taking and in the results of the blood work that we received. We continue to trust God and believe in the healing that we have asked for, and we wait to see God reveal a little more each day. Joshua 21:45 Not one of the good promises which the LORD had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass. Great is Thy faithfulness!

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

We have had a wonderful week! There are many things to share with you. Last Wednesday, after finishing school, we gathered up our things and went camping for the rest of the week. This is something our family has just recently started doing, but I can’t tell you how much we all love to go camping. It is just such a fun family time together and we treasure each of these memories our family is blessed to make. After getting everything set up, we came back to go to Awana. Jonathan is still doing a great job memorizing his verses. I think we have found a good routine that helps him get through the evening without any emotional issues. Just having me stay with him during the first 30 minutes seems to do the trick and he is able to finish out the hour without me just fine. Mr. Terry is always there for him and he and Jonathan grow to be better friends each week. Mr. Terry is such a blessing and we thank God for his love and care for Jonathan. After Awana, we went back out to the camp where we spent our first very cold night of camping. It was great! Thursday was Mom’s birthday. After we had breakfast and Daddy went to work, we all sat at the picnic table and did school work. It was a beautiful, cool morning and we had a great time together. After school, we met Daddy and went out to lunch. As we were walking to our table to be seated, Lamar and I were walking behind Jonathan. As we watched him walk, we noticed how smoothly and normally he is walking. There is a small catch in his walk, but otherwise, he looks very normal when he walks. We are in awe of how far Jonathan has come since he began to walk again. God is so good and we are humbled at His goodness to Jonathan and our family. I can’t tell you what a blessing it was for me to spend my birthday with my family. There are still many times when I thank God for the blessing of being out of the hospital. That is a gift that should never be taken for granted. Later on that evening, some of my family came and grilled out with us at the camp. We had a very nice evening together. Before everyone got there and before it got dark, Jonathan was riding his scream machine while his Uncle Tim and Grandpa Smith were watching. He was going to show everyone how he could do a U-turn on his scream machine. He headed down hill and instead of doing a U-turn, he spun out and almost turned himself over. We all pretty much nearly freaked out. He decided after that, that he was done riding for a while. As we listened to him tell the story over and over again to different people, he always said, “I spun out and almost turned over, but I felt the hand of God holding me on there and keeping me from falling off.” Those words always brought a smile to our face. We are thankful for the Lord’s watch care over Jonathan. Uncle Timmy and Aunt Keby pitched a tent and camped out with us that night. We had a great time having them with us. After breakfast on Friday, we went for a walk down a trail that the girl’s found while riding their bikes. It took us to Lake Lewisville. Jonathan walked all the way down to the lake and we sat and threw rocks in the water for about an hour. It was beautiful and the breeze was cool around the water. Friday was our 16 th anniversary. Normally, the kids would have been somewhere and Lamar and I would have spent some time by ourselves. This year was different. While I would have enjoyed the time alone, we were so grateful for the time together as a family. We spent more time away from each other this year than we have in 16 years, so we treasure every opportunity we have to be together, as each opportunity is a great gift from God. After hanging out at the water for a while, we headed back down the trail to our camper. Jonathan decided he would walk through the pebbles, the grass and all the way back to the camper without holding anyone’s hand. This is pretty good since he is hesitant to walk on his own on uneven surfaces. But he did a great job with it. Once we got back to the concrete trail, he started walking at a faster pace than the rest of us. As we were all lagging behind him, he just took off running by himself! We all almost had a heart attack! He didn’t run far, but it was the coolest thing to see him running on his own. Technically, he is not suppose to do that on his own until he is released by his therapist, but I don’t think he knew that or thought of that when he started to run. Nevertheless, it was a neat thing to watch. Later on that evening, we made a big pot of chili and Grandpa and Grandma Cooper came out and ate with us. Overall, our 16 th anniversary was a wonderful day. We had to pack up and go home on Saturday, much to everyone’s dismay. It’s so nice to get away, even if it’s only up the freeway and few miles from home. After getting back home, we showered and went to Ft. Worth for Cousin Emily and Cousin Marissa’s birthday party. We spent a few hours there and came home to get ready for Sunday. We had a good day on Sunday. Jonathan continues to do well in Sunday School, hand bells and choir. He is still getting around very well, and he decides when he wants to do things on his own or when he wants me to come with him. We finally started taking the oral medication he was prescribed on Sunday. It will be a while before we see any results from it, but we are hoping it will help to decrease his insulin intake. He is doing very well with his blood sugars. They are staying within normal range much more regularly than they ever have. We weighed in at 111 this week. Aunt Keby gave me all her Weight Watchers info so hopefully planning and keeping up with the calorie intake will be a little easier with her equipment. I was not able to get the results of his blood work yet because the doctors have to look at it first before they call us with the results and they won’t be in until Wednesday/Thursday of this week. Hopefully we will hear something then. Until then, please continue to pray about them. On Monday, we worked with the stretchy band that we got last week at therapy. He is getting use to balancing on one leg while exercising the other. He is doing better on his balance on the board and walking on the tape line. Later that evening, we went to a fund raiser to support Jonathan’s Sunday School teacher, Judge Jim Crouch. Mr. Jim and Mrs. Shirley are very special people in Jonathan’s life and very good friends to our family. We are proud to support the Crouch family and thankful for their friendship. Today, he did an awesome job in therapy. The first thing he did was go down to the gym to run on the treadmill. He was ready to beat his record, so he ran at 4.0 mph for 45 seconds, three different times. He did great! It really wears him out, but he was very proud to beat his record again. Up in the office, he jumped forward with both feet on the colored circles. Then she reset the circles and he did a hopscotch jump – jump with two feet, then jump on one foot, back to two feet, then to one, etc. That was pretty tough, but he did really well with it. She also worked balancing on the board, which he did extremely well on. Then she worked on walking on the tape line. He is still trying to learn how to shift his balance when he takes each step, but he is getting better and better each time he tries. Mrs. Dana said she has lots of things she could work on with Jonathan, so we may continue to go once a month after the first of the year. But our goal is to be finished with therapy once a week by Christmas. God has been so very good to us. We continue to see progress and accomplishments in Jonathan each and every day. There are still many things left to accomplish, but we are so encouraged by the healing that we see each day. Thank you so much for your prayers for Jonathan and for our family. Please continue to pray for his complete healing. Pray that his legs, hips and ankles will continue to get stronger. It doesn’t take much for those ankles to really start to hurt, so pray especially for strength in his ankles. Continue to pray for positive results from his blood test. Please continue to pray for his weight and for us as we try to help him achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle. Pray that he will gain more and more confidence in himself and continue to take the initiative to do things on his own. Pray that his activity level will increase. Pray that we will be patient to wait for God’s timing to know the full healing that God has in store for Jonathan. Your prayers, your love and your encouragement carry us on each and every day. We thank God for each and every one of you. We pray that as you watch God’s work in Jonathan’s life, that your faith will be strengthened and that you will always remember, no matter what you may face, that nothing is too difficult for Jehovah (Gen. 18:14a). God bless you all.

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

There has been a wide variety of experiences throughout this last week to share with you. Last Wednesday, after finishing school, Jonathan got in his room and pulled out his cars and his car mat and asked me to play cars with him. Before his illness, Jonathan’s favorite thing in the whole wide world was to play cars. While he was in the hospital, every time the gift cart would come by, we would pick out a new car for him. Since he has been home from the hospital, playing cars is one of the things he has done very little of. I have longed to see him play with his cars again. I’m sure part of the reason he doesn’t play with them much is because it is so hard for him to get up and down on the floor. So it was a welcome surprise for him to want to play cars that day. Later on in the evening, we went to Awana. Each time the kids pass a page in their books, they get Awana shares that they can spend at the Awana store two or three times during the year. Jonathan had 126 shares to spend that night! Jonathan has a wonderful friend name John who comes to say hi each week and usually gives him a stack of his own shares. That’s part of the reason why Jonathan had so many shares to spend. His friend John is one of the most giving boys we have ever met and he encourages Jonathan every time he sees him. He is a true blessing. Jonathan said all the verses he planned to say, and then studied on a couple more and was able to say those to finish his next section. Very cool! He did great again, once I left him. No crying. He and Mr. Terry have become great pals, and Mr. Terry is there for him every week. They practiced some more basketball stuff during game time as well. I thank God for Mr. Terry. I already shared everything that happened at the endocrinologist on Thursday. We are still waiting for the results of the test and should be able to find out on Thursday. On Friday, we went to home school party where the kids made Thanksgiving place mats for a city wide Thanksgiving dinner for the less fortunate. After making the place mats, the kids got to share what they were thankful for. Jonathan was very thankful to be out of the hospital. He said he would forever be thankful for that! After that party, we went to a birthday party for one of our cousins. So we spent the rest of the afternoon in Ft. Worth with our family. On our way home, we were finally able to find a Halloween costume that fit Jonathan. After we got home, he tried it on and loved it. There was a little belt that went with it and Jonathan asked me if he had any pants that had belt loops on them because he wanted to wear a belt. Right now, the best thing for him is elastic waist pants because they fit better around his waist. The more he talked to me about that very simple little wish, the more discouraged he became, until he finally had a complete melt down and cried for an hour. He told me he’s not like everyone else and he’s not like he use to be and he can’t do things like everyone else can, and he cried hard for a long while. I can’t even express to you how severely that broke my heart. We all just loved on him and tried to encourage him and help him to know that God was going to help him get through this difficult part of his healing process and that he can do all things through Christ who gives him strength. He was finally able to stop crying and settle down before going to bed. That night I made a chart to just keep track of how many calories he is eating each day for the next few days. According to my research on the internet, he should have 1800 calories a day. On Saturday, I wrote down everything he ate and how many calories it contained. He ate 1600 calories as far as I can estimate. That is less than he is suppose to have, but according to the information I read, he needs to eat 500 less each day in order to lose weight. That 1600 calories really didn’t amount to a whole lot of food and I realized how very difficult this is going to be for us to accomplish. But we are determined to keep trying. On Saturday, Jonathan told me I didn’t have to come pick him up from Sunday School on Sunday, because he was going to come by himself. That was an exciting new declaration! I checked with him again Sunday morning and asked him if he was really going to do that and he said yes. So I told his teachers what he was going to do and he did exactly what he said he could do. He even stopped by the bathroom before coming to meet his Daddy in the Sanctuary. He also came from choir again on his own. We are making great progress with things at church. Monday was Halloween and we had a great time. We went Trick or Treating for about an hour before going to the Fall Festival at our church. Jonathan was a Ninja Turtle (Raphael to be exact), Sarah was a Candy Corn girl and Elizabeth was a prom queen. Aunt Sherri and Cousin Emily came over and went with us. Jonathan walked to some of the houses and rode in the wheelchair the rest of the way. Most of the time he was up and walking, he was going up and down steps, so it wore him out pretty quickly. But he hung in there and got a pretty good amount of candy – none of which was sugar free. He didn’t seem to mind; he just had a good time trick or treating. We took the wheelchair to the church and he rode around for a little while. Then he got up and walked through the gym playing games and talking to people. He was a pretty tired Turtle by the time we left. Before we went home, we went to Trick or Treat at Grandpa and Grandma Cooper’s house and to wish Uncle Chris a happy birthday. We had some birthday cake and ice cream and Grandma and Grandpa made sure he got some sugar free candy. Overall, it was a great Halloween holiday. Jonathan did such an awesome job at therapy today. He went down to the gym to run on the treadmill right off the bat. Today, he ran for 30 seconds at a time, 3 different times at 4.0 mph. Mrs. Dana stands behind him and holds his gait belt. She said he felt much better today. She said he was doing all the work and she was barely holding him up at all. I think he thought he was going to die on that last try, but he pushed through and ran a whole minute and a half today. It was great and he was very proud. Up in the office, he worked on his balance on the balance board. Then she worked on something new with him. She tied a flexible band around his ankle and had him pull his leg out sideways, backward, and forward while balancing on his other leg. This not only strengthens the leg he is moving, but also strengthens the leg he is balancing on in the hip area. She gave us a piece of this green band to take home and work on. So we have something new to work on in our therapy time each afternoon at home. Jonathan continues to make such wonderful progress each and every day. We are so grateful for the continued healing that the Lord gives us each day and we praise Him for all the wonderful works that He has done. Sometimes it is easy to get overwhelmed when we look at the size of the mountains that we still have left to climb. I have been overcome with emotion as I have prayed for Jonathan each day since he cried about a his weight the other night. Some of these things seem impossible to overcome. I know we can’t do it without God’s help. And I also know that He will do just that. I am reminded of a song that says: “Got any mountains you think are impossible? Got any rivers you can tunnel through? God specializes in things thought impossible and He will do what no other power can do.” So we continue to rest on His promises and feed on His faithfulness to continue to bring healing to every part of Jonathan that needs it. Please continue to pray for his strength, his balance, his weight, his diabetes, his vision, his brain, his emotions, his thyroid, his pituitary gland, his memory, and his schooling. Pray that we will run with patience as we continue to journey down this road that God has taken us on. On Sunday as I stood in the service praying for Jonathan, we were singing: “Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness. Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.” We praise the Lord for His unfailing love and faithfulness to us. We praise Him for all of you whose faithfulness to lift us up in prayer has brought us through this incredible experience. We love you all.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I know that I don’t normally update except for once a week, but I wanted to share what we learned today at Jonathan’s endocrine appointment. This was our first time at the Lewisville Cook’s Specialty Center. Jonathan did very well and we got a pretty good report overall. We seem to be doing everything right and his blood sugar logs show a significant improvement since the last appointment. He weighed in at 111, which is just a couple of pounds above what we have been weighing at home. We usually weigh first thing on Sunday morning, with no clothes on before we eat anything (we take all the help we can get!). So at least we were pretty close to their scale reading. We didn’t see the doctor, but we visited with a diabetes educator and a nurse practioner, both of whom were very nice. The NP said that the amount of insulin he is getting in relation to his weight is pretty high for his age, indicating that his body may not be absorbing the insulin like it should. She suggested we take a medication twice a day that regulates the insulin of a Type 2 diabetic. This causes the body to absorb the insulin more effectively, and hopefully we will be able to decrease the amount of insulin that he gets overall. This will help him not become insulin resistant. So we have a prescription to start taking that twice a day and it should take about 3-6 weeks to begin to work. We also talked about the weight gain issue. The educator told me that we should keep working on it, but try to maintain his weight and let his body grow into it. We looked at his height/weight percentile on the chart. He is about 25% on the height, and over the top on the weight. I asked what he should weigh at this age and was told he should weight 58-65 pounds. We are an awful long way from that. She checked his BMI (body mass index) which should be less than 80%. His is over 95%. The NP added some lab work to the list to check his thyroid and his pituitary gland to see how they are functioning. Because he has had a brain trauma, it is possible that his pituitary glad has been damaged which means the growth hormone is not acting like it should, which can result in the weight gain. Neither of these things is correctable; they can only be replaced with medication. If the thyroid isn’t working right, he will have to take thyroid medicine for the rest of his life. If the pituitary gland in damaged, he will have to get another injection every night before bedtime to help with that. So that is what we found out from our visit. After the office visit, we had to go across the street to get blood taken. Jonathan is such a brave little boy and once again, the Lord gave him the grace to handle the blood work. This time was not as easy as the first time. It took them several tries to find the vein, and then it wouldn’t flow very quickly, so it seemed to take forever to get the viles filled up. He cried once, but then he was able to watch once they found the vein and he didn’t seem bothered by it. I was so very proud of him. He may only be 9 years old, but he is my hero.
Needless to say, I was thankful for the good report, but a little discouraged by the possibilities that are yet to be determined. Several things have been filling my mind that I wanted to share with you. One of the most amazing things, to me, about Jonathan’s experience is how healthy he was throughout his hospital stay. There were no infections, to medication then or now except his insulin, and no holes or scars from anything that they told us was necessary for him to live. That alone is an incredible miracle. On January 30, while we were still at Children’s Medical Center, Lamar and I received a promise from the Lord: Mark 11:24 "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you." Two days later, Jonathan was anointed with oil and prayed over by our pastor, several godly men in our church, and Jonathan’s grandpas. These were defining moments in this journey that changed our lives. We prayed for a complete healing for Jonathan. We began to live, and think, and talk, and believe that God had healed Jonathan, although we had no idea when that healing would actually happen. Each day we see God’s promise fulfilled as He manifests His healing in Jonathan a little at a time. Although the journey is not complete, and there is much healing that remains, we continue to stand on the promise God gave to us. I am ashamed to admit that already I have had to fight the urge to worry about the results of the additional lab tests being done. And I know myself well enough to know that I will battle this many times over the next week.
John 14:13-14 which says "And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." So I am writing to ask you to pray specifically with us over this next week about Jonathan’s thyroid and pituitary gland. Please pray specifically, in Jesus name, that both of those issues are healed and working as they should be. Pray specifically, in Jesus name, that whatever is causing the weight gain will be healed and that we will have wisdom and all the information to help Jonathan through this process. Please pray specifically, in Jesus name, that Jonathan will be healed of his diabetes. When we asked for a complete healing, we asked for everything. I don’t know that I have ever heard of anyone being healed of diabetes, nor do I have any idea how it can happen. What I do know and stand firmly upon is this promise: Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Finally, I ask that you pray for our family – me especially – that we continue to stand firm, believing in the faithful promises of God and in His power to heal and deliver Jonathan. Thank you for letting me share. It strengthens my faith to share with you, knowing that you will lift us up in prayer, just as you have so faithfully done this entire journey. I know we have shared these promises with you before, but I want to share it again: "These things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, do not despair, for these things will surely come to pass. Just be patient! They will not be overdue a single day." says the Lord. ~ Habakkuk 2:3 May God abundantly bless each of you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I am so excited to share with you the great things that happened over this past week! I’m still so thankful for the blessing of making it through Awana last Wednesday night without any crying. We spent the day Thursday getting ready for our garage sale, which we had on Friday morning. Even at the garage sale, I had the opportunity to share with one of our neighbors about Jonathan, what has happened to him, and what God has done in his life this year. We always take every opportunity to bear witness to anyone who will listen of God’s amazing power and love. On Saturday, we spent the day in Ft. Worth with our family, celebrating Uncle Tim’s birthday. Uncle Tim was one of our family members who faithfully spent the night with Jonathan once a week while he was in the hospital. We are grateful for our Uncle Timmy and it was a blessing to be able to celebrate his birthday with him. During the afternoon, we went to play Putt-Putt. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had a great time. Jonathan was able to play the entire course without getting too tired. He very much enjoyed it and did very well squatting down to put his ball down, pushing back up, swinging his club and walking through the course. It was great exercise, plus it was a lot of fun. Sunday was full of wonderful new accomplishments for Jonathan. First of all, we weighed again on Sunday morning. We did not lose any weight, but we also did not gain any weight. So we will continue to work towards our goal of eating better and losing some weight. After church, Jonathan’s Sunday school class had a party in the gym. They ate pizza and played a bunch of games. Mr. Jim and Mrs. Shirley are his wonderful teachers, and they planned a great party for the kids, making sure that Jonathan had sugar free things to eat and drink, which I appreciate so very much. When it came time to play games, Jonathan wanted to play them all. Not once did I have to encourage him to play the games. He took the initiative to play each one on his own. One of the games was riding a scooter between red cones, picking up a straw hat, putting it on and getting back to the next person on the team. After the scooter, they pushed a beach ball between the cones with a plastic rake, doing the same kind of game. Jonathan’s team lost both times and he knew it was because he was too slow. But that didn’t seem to matter much to the other kids or to Jonathan. After that, they got in a circle and pretty much played dodge ball – if you got hit with the beach ball, you had to get out. Jonathan was a pretty easy target for that game, and he got out both times pretty quickly. The first time he got hit, it totally knocked him down to the ground. But he didn’t hurt himself; he just got up wanted to play again. Seth, One of the other boys decided it was his job to block Jonathan from getting hit the second time, which I thought was very sweet. After that game, they played a game with flag football flags and hats. Once your flags and hat were taken away or knocked off, you were out. Jonathan managed to make it to the end (with a little help from Mom maybe!). He and another girl, Lauren, both had one flag left. All the kids were cheering for him and she was so sweet to let him take her flag so that he won the game. It was such a neat moment for him and for me. I can’t tell you what a blessing it has been to be around these children. There’s not one of them who ever hesitates to help Jonathan with anything, or encourage him, or talk to him, or be his friend. Jonathan has been blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful children. We are so thankful for all of them. The last game they played was beach volleyball which they played sitting down. Needless to say, Jonathan was pretty worn out by the end of the party. I was so proud of him and how well he did playing all the games. After about an hour at home resting his feet, Jonathan went back to church for handbells and choir. I usually go pick him up from choir and bring him back to the sanctuary for a snack before church. This night, I was practicing some music for the service, and when the time came for me to go get him, I looked up to see that he had come to the sanctuary already. I looked around to find Sarah, but Jonathan was by himself, talking to his Daddy. The next thing I know, he is walking up the stairs in the balcony to go to the bathroom – By Himself! He came back and walked back down the stairs, back to his Daddy – By Himself! During the service, he sat with his Daddy while I sang in the Praise Team, then he met me downstairs in the lobby to go to service with me – By Himself! I can’t tell you how thrilling it was to see him take such initiative to do all of this on his own, without waiting for someone to help him do it. It was wonderful! What a Lord’s Day this was for us! Jonathan continues to do very well in school. He is adding and subtracting three digit numbers, reading a chapter book, working on contractions and learning new verses in Awana every week. Today was a great day at therapy. True to her word, Mrs. Dana took him right downstairs to the gym to start running on the treadmill. He was so excited about doing it, but got just a little nervous when he actually got to the treadmill. But Mrs. Dana handled him very well. After warming up on the treadmill for a few minutes, she stood behind him, held on to his gate belt, and turned up the speed. After telling him what to do, Jonathan ran for about 15-20 seconds at 3.5-3.7mph. It was his first time to run since last December. He ran three different times, about the same length of time, and stayed on the treadmill a total of 10 minutes. It almost totally wore him out, but he was proud and so were we. Back up in the office, Jonathan balanced on the balance board while throwing balls to Walker. After that, he practiced walking on the tape line on the floor. Overall, he did great, worked hard and accomplished something great today in therapy. God is truly good. God continues to manifest His healing power in Jonathan with each passing day. We are so thankful for the blessings this past week has brought us. I hope you will praise our gracious Lord for these blessings with us, as well as continue to lift Jonathan up in your prayers. Continue to pray, in Jesus name, for the complete healing of his body, his brain, his vision and his diabetes. Continue to pray, in Jesus name, for complete healing of his emotions and his memory. Please pray for him specifically on Thursday, 10-27-05 at 1:30 pm as he goes to the endocrinologist here in Lewisville. Once again, we will be seeing someone new, as well as having blood taken again. Pray for calmness for Jonathan, for a good relationship with a new doctor, for a good A1C (average blood sugar) and that he will have a good report all the way around. I am overwhelmed at God’s goodness to us and His faithfulness to see us through each step of this journey that we have been on this year. Thank you for holding us up in prayer and for all the words of encouragement that you faithfully send us. I stood with the Praise Team on Sunday evening, feeding on the faithfulness of God to our family as I sang the words of this hymn of praise that I leave you with tonight – “Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art!” The Lord bless each of you dear friends.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

There is much to update you on this week, so let me jump right in and share with you what has been going on in Jonathan’s life in the last few days. Last Wednesday was an extremely up and down day for us. We spent the day taking care of our little friend Juliana. Jonathan loves babies and has a very special love for little Juliana, so it was a lot of fun to have her here. Jonathan got to help take her on a couple of walks and he pushed her around in the wheelchair we were borrowing since we didn’t have a stroller. But by the time dinner came around, Jonathan began to start fretting about going to Awana. He barely got his dinner down before he started crying about it. We all tried our hardest to help him deal with it, but nothing seemed to sink in. He was so distraught about it that he couldn’t even tell us he knew God was always with him so that he is never alone. He cried hard for a solid hour and nothing we could say would make him stop. We were at a complete loss as to how to handle him with this situation. I think he finally just cried himself out because by the time we went to his class, he had at least stopped crying. I stayed with him during his verse time and helped him study his verses before he said them. After that, he seemed to be fine, so I left him and picked him up an hour later. Our wonderful friend Mr. Terry was there to hang out with him again, and when I picked Jonathan up, he was beaming. He and Mr. Terry had worked on shooting baskets during game time. Mr. Terry even guarded him and he was able to make 3 baskets even then. Jonathan was so proud of himself. It was such a great ending to a very discouraging beginning of the evening. While I finished up choir and Dad finished up his responsibilities, Jonathan sat out in the lobby with his sisters and visited with the others who were out there. He seemed very confident and very much at ease with being away from me and hanging out with the other kids. So we ended this situation on a positive note. We had another uneventful weekend, just working on things around the house and trying to get ready for a garage sale that we are having at the end of this week. Jonathan did very well on Sunday morning, and never hesitated or got upset about going to Sunday School. He seemed quite confident and at ease, even before we got there which is usually when he begins to get worked up about it. Not today. We also weighed on Sunday morning and although we didn’t lose any weight, we did not gain any weight either. We had a restful afternoon and went back just to choir that evening. Sarah was off on a scavenger hunt and actually didn’t make it to choir until the very end. Jonathan was able to spend all of that time in choir by himself without Sarah and without crying. Another positive accomplishment! This week we had therapy on Monday because we went to the State Fair of Texas on Tuesday. On Monday at therapy, Jonathan got to work with Walker, the new therapy dog, who was also there that day. So they went out in the hall and Jonathan helped Walker work on his fetching while he worked on balancing different ways. First he had to balance with his feet in front of each other while throwing the ball. Then he stood on a round disk that is kind of puffy, so that when you stand on it with both feet, it makes it very difficult to balance. It uses lots of muscles in the calves and it was quite difficult. (I tried it myself!) He also balanced on one leg while throwing the ball. Then he walked with Walker all the way down the hall like he was walking on a balance beam. On the way back, he walked sideways, and then he went back into the office to finish his therapy. Jonathan really enjoyed working with Walker and he will get to do it again next week, because Walker will be there on Tuesday when Jonathan is there as well. So we will try to get a picture with Walker next week. Back in the office, Jonathan did several different exercises while wearing the moon shoes. Mrs. Dana also asked what we wanted to work on during these last few weeks of therapy. I asked her about running and she said she would work with Jonathan next week on the treadmill. On the treadmill, he can hold on and she can have better control of him with his gate belt on than she would if they just tried running down the hall. So he will be working on running as well as continuing to work on the balance beam, which is what Jonathan told her he wanted to keep working on. He had a good therapy session with Mrs. Dana and he continues to make positive improvements each week. On Tuesday afternoon, we went to the State Fair of Texas. This is one of the things our family loves to do each year. It has become a tradition for us. We went with out Aunt Sherri and Cousin Emily. There were thoughts of our trip last year that we reminisced about and then many humbling, grateful thoughts about how gracious God has been to us this year to allow us the chance to be here again with our whole family together. I can’t even express how precious these little experiences have become to us. We are so very blessed. Jonathan did very well. We borrowed a wheelchair to make it easier for Jonathan to get around. While he walked some of the time, it is amazing how much of a crutch that becomes for him when it is available to him. But his endurance level at this time was no match for the endurance needed for a trip to the State Fair, so we were glad to have it. The biggest thing for Jonathan was riding some of the rides on the Midway. The first thing he did was walked up a very long stairway to get to the top of a very tall slide. With his sisters on either side, they all slide down together, and Jonathan got to the end first. He got off laughing and very proud of himself. Jonathan also went through a fun house with his Daddy helping him. It was pretty tricky because the floors moved and there were many uneven surfaces to get through, but he did it very well and loved it. He also went on a 3D car ride with Elizabeth. The last ride he did was another fun house that we thought would be pretty easy. Right before the kids went in, some friends of ours came by and Mr. Steve and his daughter went in this fun house with Jonathan and the girls. Jonathan actually started to cry before he went in because he wanted me to go with him, but he went on and did it without me. This fun house turned out to be much harder for Jonathan than I thought. Once he was in there and I saw the first hurdle he had to get through, I couldn’t believe I had let him go in there without me. Thankfully, Mr. Steve was there to help him get through. At one point, Jonathan was going to come out and not finish going through it. As they were standing there waiting for all the other kids to go by so he could come out, he turned to Mr. Steve and told him he didn’t want to leave, he wanted to finish going through it. And that’s exactly what he did, crying most of the way through. I was so very proud of him. He had the chance to quit but he stuck it out and finished the course. What a blessing that was to see in him. The last thing he did was play one of the games so he could win a stuffed animal to take home. We were all quite exhausted, but it was a great day overall. Let me end by sharing a praise from today. After such a discouraging start to Awana last week, I was prepared for almost anything today. But tonight, Jonathan never shed a single tear about going to Awana. Praise the Lord! We talked about it off and on during the day and I agreed to come with him during verse time and leave like I did last week. He never once got apprehensive or upset about any of it and I was able to leave exactly like I did last week and he was perfectly fine. He and Mr. Terry worked on some passing/catching skills during game time and Mr. Terry told me he never even whimpered once during the evening. What a blessing! He said 4 verses and passed 2 more sections in his book, and afterward while I was finishing choir, he chose to stay out in the lobby with the girls and hang out with the others out there. We are so proud of Jonathan!
God is so good. Each time we run into an obstacle, God is faithful to see us through it and to bring us encouragement and positive improvement as we continue to press on. Thank you so much for your prayers. Knowing that you are praying makes those difficult days so much easier to get through. Continue to pray for Jonathan’s healing process. Pray for continued strength in his legs, hips and ankles. Pray that his stamina and endurance will continue to increase. Pray that he will continue to improve in his emotions and ability to handle situations without crying. Pray for continued healing of his vision and diabetes as well. Pray that his memory will improve and that he will continue to progress in his school work. Our God is great and greatly to be praised. Tonight we praise Him for all the wonderful works that He has done. Thank you for sharing this miracle with us. We love and appreciate you all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

We have enjoyed another good week this past week. It was very busy, but good. We spent most of last week celebrating Sarah’s 12 th birthday. Her birthday was Wednesday, so after school and before we went to church, we spent some time shopping, making brownies and going to Chuck E. Cheese for dinner. It was a fun day. Jonathan did well at Chuck E. Cheese, getting up and playing games and using up all his tokens. After that, we went to Awana. Jonathan is still having a difficult time leaving Mom to go to his classes. He does just fine until we drive up to the church, and then you can just see his countenance change to worry, and then come the tears. He will try to keep from crying, but no matter how much I try to take his mind off of it, he eventually starts to cry. We are so blessed, though, to have several people who walk with him, sit with him and work with him to help him successfully make it through the evening. We are so grateful for Mrs. Rhonda, Mr. Terry and Mrs. Lori. They show him so much love and care while he is with them. I know I can leave him with them and he will be well taken care of. I know it is good for him to be away from me and I want him to build up his confidence again to know that he can do things on his own, but it is always difficult to leave him crying – it always has been. But other than that, he is doing exceptionally well in Awana. He is saying verses every week and is about to finish the first full section in his book. He is also doing very well in school. His writing, reading and math are getting better every day. He is also remembering the things we are working on pretty well. On Friday, we spent most of the day getting ready for the sleep over that Sarah was going to have with her friends. Jonathan helped us all clean house and get the camper ready for the girls to sleep in. Even though they were all girls, Jonathan was thrilled to hang out with them while they were listening to music, singing and dancing around. We built a fire in the fire pit in our back yard and sat out there with Aunt Keby who was there to help with the party. It was a fun evening, and all the girls were so sweet to talk with Jonathan and include him in what they were doing. On Saturday, after all the girlfriends left, we cleaned up and got ready to have all of our family over to celebrate Sarah’s birthday. Not a bad deal getting to party for 3 days just for one birthday! But we always love having all our family over, even though it is nothing more than complete chaos. We went to church on Sunday as usual, and even though Jonathan started to get upset just before going to Sunday School, he stopped as soon as he got into class and was just fine. God has been gracious to give Jonathan Mr. Jim and Mrs. Shirley as his teachers. He has looked forward to having them as teachers for several years. He loves them and feels completely secure with them. What a blessing it is to have people like them at this exact time in Jonathan’s life. He continues to go to handbells and choir each week and is doing pretty well in them. We spent all last week trying to make a conscious effort to work on eating better in hopes of losing some weight. We decided to make Sunday our day to weigh in, so on Sunday morning, Jonathan got on the scales. We were a little disappointed to find out that he gained about 4 pounds in the last couple of weeks instead of losing any. But we will not be discouraged, we will just continue to work towards our goal and pray, believing, that God will help us accomplish this goal as well. We have had a very good week as far as blood sugars go. We are really working on trying to move around on the sites where we give him his shots, so that his body will absorb the insulin better. It has had a significant impact on his blood sugar levels, so we are glad to have made this discovery. He has consistently stayed much closer to normal than he has ever been before, so we are thankful for that. We continue to do therapy time at home each afternoon. Jonathan continues to work hard and improve on his balance and strength each day. We are trying to take a walk as a family in the evenings while the weather is nice enough to do so. We took a walk Monday evening, and Jonathan worked hard at keeping up a steady, quick pace. He pushed really hard at the end and walked his fastest pace back to our house. He did great. Today was our first day at therapy with Mrs. Dana back. She took him downstairs to see how he was doing on the treadmill. She started it at 2.0 mph which I think is faster than he was doing when she left. After a couple of minutes, he told her he could go faster so she took it up to 2.3 mph. After another couple of minutes, he told her he could go even faster, so she took it up to 2.5 mph and he walked at least 7 minutes at that pace without stopping. That was the best he has ever done on the treadmill. Mrs. Dana said she was very confident in watching him walk around on his own. She said she was not fearful anymore watching him walk. She said his greatest need right now is balance and she really wants to focus on that. She asked me what kind of plan we had in mind, so I shared with her that our goal has been to be finished with therapy by Christmas. She said that was a good plan, so that gives us about 8-9 more weeks of work with the therapist. I pray that we can accomplish a great deal in those weeks. It’s kind of neat, though, to actually think of seeing the end of this part of his journey in the near future. After working in the gym, we went back upstairs and Mrs. Dana worked with Jonathan on his balance. Jonathan always tells me that he will never get out of therapy because he will never be able to walk on the balance beam by himself. That is one of the goals Mrs. Dana has for him. After telling her that today, she watched him walk across the tape on the floor, then she got out the balance beam and began to instruct him on how to shift his weight on the right leg to keep his balance and not fall off. This was the first time that anyone has told him how to actually do this exercise, so that was a real positive thing. Now we can work on that at home as well. He also got to ride a scooter that someone had donated, up and down the hall. It was a bigger, fatter scooter, but he was able to do it pretty well. He had to do it on both legs, one of which is harder than the other. And, of course, all during his therapy, Jonathan served as a welcome distraction for little Jenna who was trying to eat again, and was not real happy about it. He and Mrs. Dana even sang for her to help her not cry. Everyone in the entire office heard it too! Mrs. Dana told Jonathan that she had missed him and she was very proud of how well he was doing.
We are so proud of Jonathan. God continues to hear our prayers, answer them and bless us with so many good things. Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Please pray for continued strength in his legs, hips, and ankles. Pray that his endurance will continue to increase. Pray that his feet will straighten out and that he will be able to walk on them correctly. Pray that his learning will increase and his memory will continue to improve. Pray for healing of his vision and his diabetes. Please pray specifically that Jonathan will be able to lose some weight. Our goal is 5 pounds this month. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but most of us know how tough just 5 pounds can be. Pray that we will be diligent and disciplined as we help him try to accomplish this goal. Please continue to pray specifically for his emotional healing. Pray that he will be able to think of ways to handle situations before crying, and that he will be able to leave Mom and do things without having to have his family with him. Pray that he will grow more confident in his ability to do things on his own. Also pray that we will be able to see significant improvement and accomplishment during these last weeks of therapy. Thank you so much for your continued prayer support for us. We are grateful for each of you who hold us up with your prayers. We continue to trust in the Lord, stand on His promises, and pray believing that we will see Jonathan’s complete healing revealed. Thank you for believing with us. Isaiah 40:28-31 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.