Sunday, June 26, 2005

We had a great rest of the week here. Jonathan continued to do a great job at basketball camp. On Thursday, we went for a little while before pool therapy, and Jonathan continued to work on his dribbling, walking/dribbling, passing, throwing and shooting baskets. Today, instead of lowering the basket to the 1 st/2 nd grade level, we worked on making baskets at the 3 rd/4 th grade level, which is where the basket will be when he plays next season. He worked very hard, but he never made any baskets. He did a great job in pool therapy as well and continues to improve and do more and more new things each week. Friday was the last day of basketball camp. Jonathan went and practiced as usual. Dad got to come that day because he has Fridays off. So with Mom and Dad’s help, we worked on shooting baskets again at the higher level. We worked for quite a while and the more we worked, the better he got. Finally, Jonathan was able to make 5 baskets at the higher level! We were so proud of him! He was pretty proud of himself too. I had talked to him about the possibility of playing with the younger kids next season and if he would be okay with that. He said that would be fine, but after today, I think we are going to set some goals for the next 6 months so that he will be able to play with his own age group. We got to watch his sister Sarah play in a scrimmage to end the week of camp and she did an awesome job as well. Jonathan and Sarah both got to take home their basketballs, and now we finally come to the end of two very busy weeks. Jonathan is still riding his bike and is proud to show everyone how he can ride, anytime someone comes over to visit. Today, we had a good day at church. This evening, at the end of church, Jonathan was blessed to get to meet a couple of young men who have prayed for him since he first got sick. They are friends of one of Jonathan’s godly teachers who has so faithfully prayed and shared Jonathan’s story with so many who have also faithfully prayed for us. It is always a great blessing to meet those of you who have prayed for us, whom we do not know yet. I tell Jonathan all the time that he is my hero. Tonight, these young men shared how Jonathan has helped them, through his experience, and they too told him that he was a hero. As I thought about what a hero Jonathan is to us, I realized that there are many heroes in this experience. Each of you are our family’s heroes. We are humbled by your love, concern and willingness to continue to pray and keep up with this precious little boy and his family. You are our heroes and we are thankful for each of you.
Please continue to pray for Jonathan. The Lord is gracious and continues to show His healing each day. His legs are getting stronger every day, but we continue to pray for more and more strength. He is able to get around and do so many things on his own. We are so proud and in awe of his accomplishments as we watch him every day. Continue to pray that we will be able to meet our July 4 goal. Our next goal is to get out of his braces. Pray about that for him and pray that Jonathan will be patient and wear them with a good attitude until God allows him to be finished with them. Pray for a continued good attitude about therapy. Jonathan always does what he is asked to do, never complaining. But in a conversation with him the other day, he share with me all the things he hates to do in his therapy, which turned out to be most everything – even the pool therapy. You would never know by watching him because he does it all without complaint. So pray that he will continue with this attitude and wait on the Lord to completely heal him so that therapy is no longer needed. Deuteronomy 10:20-21 – “You shall fear the Lord your God; and you shall serve Him and cling to Him and you shall swear by His name. He is your praise and He is your God, who has done these great and awesome things for you which your eyes have seen.” Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

We have had such a great week this week! Jonathan has accomplished a great deal and we continue to praise the Lord for these blessing in his life. Jonathan started out the week riding his bike around the block as early as he could get Mom out with him on Monday morning. Jonathan rode down the alley, past our street, up the next block, and back around to the alley and into the garage. He never once stopped pedaling. His little legs were shaking by the time we got back home, but he enjoyed getting to ride his bike. Jonathan worked in the office during therapy later on that day because as soon as he was finished there, he was going to Upward Basketball camp at our church and he didn't want to be too tired. So he worked on the exercise ball and then worked on his balance. He had significantly improved on his balance exercises from last week since we had been working on them at home and he did a fabulous job. She also watched him walk by himself, without his walker or her holding is security belt. We have been instructed to allow him to do some walking on his own, staying very close by, of course, so that he remains safe. She was a little concerned about some swelling in his feet, so we are trying to have him prop his feet up a few times a day to see if that helps. She also said that his braces need to be adjusted again and it is possible that he will need a new pair before he can be completely out of them. After therapy we went to basketball camp. Jonathan amazed us again by balancing perfectly while dribbling the ball, walking while dribbling the ball and never losing his balance while catching bounce passes and chest passes from everyone. He was able to stand and attempt to shoot some baskets, never losing his balance, although he was unable to get the ball to reach the backboard. We were so pleased and he was very proud to be there. We were able to make it the last 2 hours of camp. Our good friends, Coach Walk and Coach Doug are such a blessing to us and do so much to encourage Jonathan and make him feel a special part of camp. All the kids have been so sweet and encouraging as well. God is so good. As if that wasn't enough of a workout for the day, after dinner, guess what? Jonathan wanted to go ride his bike again! So we went the same route and he did the same thing; he never stopped pedaling until he was back in the garage. Needless to say, he slept very well that night! On Tuesday, Jonathan worked out in the gym. He set a new record of walking 15 minutes on the treadmill at his fastest pace every, 1.5. His side stepping and backward stepping are getting better as well, although we still only do 2 minutes with each of those. His therapist and I discussed the possibility of dropping therapy to 2 times a week in the near future. After that, we went to basketball camp again, this time at the very beginning. Jonathan jumped right in and did as many of the warm up exercises as everyone else did. He continued to work again on his dribbling, walking/dribbling, passing and shooting. Today, our major accomplishment was making a basket. Standing on his own, just pushing the ball up with his arms was not enough. But when Mom holds on, Jonathan can bend his knees and push the ball up with his whole body and get it to the basket. Jonathan made 11 baskets today! Talk about a proud moment! It was awesome! We stayed about 2 hours again that day. This morning, we started out the day by going swimming, since we can't do that in the afternoons this week. Jonathan spent a lot of time swimming off the steps and toward Mom in the middle of the pool. His breath control was great. Today, we spent the entire afternoon at camp. Jonathan worked on all the same things and was able to make another 10 baskets; 5 of them were made so his Daddy could see him. During the first semester of school last year, we kept Coach Walk's baby girl during the day. All our kids love to take care of babies, and they all love baby Juliana. We got to see baby Juliana at camp today. Jonathan got to hold her and play with her and then pushed her around the gym, in her stroller, at least 15 times. He was so proud to be able to "take care of her" again and she seemed happy to see him. Overall, we have had a great week.
Thank you so much for your continued prayers for Jonathan. We are so thrilled to be able to share how God continues to heal and accomplish wonderful things in his life. Keep praying for more strength in Jonathan's legs. Pray for greater balance with each passing day. Pray for strength in his ankles and for patience as we continue to wear the braces. Pray about our insurance coverage, should we have to get a new pair of braces. As with everything, I don't think they are cheap. Pray that we will be able to meet our goal of walking independently by July 4. Pray for a continued good attitude and determination to work hard each day. Jonathan blesses us so much by his hard work. Very seldom will you ever hear him complain. He is our hero. For the Lord is good, His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endureth to all generations.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Last week was such a great week, but boy was it exhausting! Normally, we would have slept in and taken Saturday to recover, but we were unable to do that this weekend. At 9 am Saturday morning, we met our therapist and the Grapevine Ambucks which is the group of businessmen in Grapevine who provide the therapy bicycles. Jonathan was presented his new therapy bike along with about 7 other sweet children, all of which were extremely excited to receive their bikes. Jonathan was so proud and so excited to get his bike. He got a helmet and a teddy bear to go along with his bike. As soon as we were shown how to use it, Jonathan got on and rode all over the parking lot. The bike is an oversized tricycle with pedals for the feet and hands. It’s not a bike that you can pedal for a while and then coast the rest of the way downhill. You have to pedal at all times. Talk about some serious exercise! Elizabeth, Sarah and Mom all got on it to see what it was like and Mom will be the first to tell you that it is not as easy as it looks. It’s pretty tough to ride, especially uphill, but it will be great exercise for Jonathan. After we finished getting the bike, we went to have Father’s Day lunch with one of our Grandpas in Fort Worth. Jonathan was thrilled to show everyone his new bike and how well he could ride it. After we got home that afternoon, we took it outside and Jonathan rode it down the street, then he decided to ride all the way up the street and down the alley to park it in the garage. This was about 4 pm and it was extremely hot, but Jonathan was able to pedal himself most of the way up the street at a pretty quick pace. I was pretty impressed. Later on that evening, we attended a wedding at our church. One of the ladies there, our friend Mrs. Tammy, is a lieutenant in the Dallas EMT Services (I hope I said that right, Tammy). Tammy faithfully visited Jonathan every 3 days when she was on shift while Jonathan was in the hospital. One day, she took Elizabeth and Sarah in her truck around Dallas to some of the fire stations for a couple of hours. They all decided that Jonathan would get a ride when he got out of the hospital. She just happened to have her truck with her, so after the wedding, Jonathan got to take his ride with Mrs. Tammy in her truck. He got to see the lights, hear the sirens, wear the hat and everything. When he got home, he said it was pretty cool.
Today is Father’s Day. We are so very grateful for our Dad. Jonathan made his Daddy a Father’s Day card and said he was the best guitar player, computer guy, sound man and the very best Dad. Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan also gave their Daddy a very special gift. They, along with another family in our church who has two girls and a boy, sang the song, “Thank You” by Ray Boltz, together in the service. They all did such a great job and were such a blessing. As they sang, I thought about their Dad and how much he has given to the Lord, and how each of us in this family have been touched and changed by the life that he lives for Christ. I also thought about how much our children have given to the Lord, how they have touched and changed so many lives, and how thankful we are for each of them. What a blessing. Later on this evening after church, Jonathan received a visor hat from a man in our church. He is always excited when people give him things, and this gift was no different. He was still holding my hand when he got it and put it on. He turned around, saw his sister Sarah and started walking faster than I have ever known him to walk since he has been out of the hospital. This was so exciting to me because typically, when he holds my hand, he walks at a snail’s pace, which I don’t mind. But when I commented about how fast he was walking, he took off by himself and started walking perfectly at a very nice pace. I was so excited! It was awesome to see him walk so normally. There are times when I want to get discouraged about how long it is going to take for him to get back that independence that we once enjoyed at his age. But then the Lord blesses me by allowing me to see Jonathan do something new or something better than he has done before. Then I am reminded that He is faithfully working in Jonathan’s life, healing him in His time, and that His way is always perfect.
Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Pray for increased strength in his legs. He complains from time to time about his ankles hurting and I think it’s just because they are still very weak. Pray that he will receive good exercise and benefit from his new therapy bike. Continue to pray for his July 4 goal of walking independent of his walker. Although he has not used the walker in about 2 weeks, pray that he would get the approval of his therapist to be free of everything (including his security belt) and walking totally on his own. Pray that he will continue to attempt to do more things on his own. Continue to pray for his complete healing of his brain, vision and diabetes. You can also continue pray for his bladder control at night and that his eating and weight gain will level out. We are grateful to our Heavenly Father for is abundant blessings upon our family. We are thankful for our father and our grandfathers on this Father’s Day. We pray that God will bless all of you Dads who have faithfully prayed for us. Happy Father’s Day!

Friday, June 17, 2005

We have finally come to the end of Vacation Bible School at our church. Jonathan was able to go all week and he held up very well. It was a long difficult week as we not only went to Bible School, but we also went to therapy all week as well. On Tuesday, as we were standing in line with the kids in our group waiting for our missions class, a little boy came up and asked one of the girls in our group which one was Jonathan Cooper. I heard him and said, "This is Jonathan Cooper." He looked at Jonathan and said, 'Hey man, we've really been praying for you." We found out that several kids in our group were part of one of the school classes that made and sent Jonathan get well cards when he was in the hospital. We had the most awesome kids in our group. They were very attentive and considerate to Jonathan, no one every rushed him, and by the end of the week, everyone was wanting to walk with him and fighting about who was going to hold the elevator for him. The snack staff did a great job of making sure he was able to eat snack every day and the rec staff sat with him and talked to him while everyone played. He was made to feel very included in every part of Bible School and we were very blessed by it all. Jonathan worked very hard in therapy on Tuesday and Thursday. He did several new exercises on Tuesday working on increasing his balance. On Thursday, he added running in place and jumping up and down on a step in the pool, as well as moving faster going up and down on the stairs. We went swimming on Wednesday afternoon and he worked on going under the water without a mask or holding his nose. Another sweet thing that happened this week was listening to Jonathan's sister Sarah share with him what she learned in Bible Study at VBS. On our way home on Wednesday evening, Sarah was sharing that she learned that God doesn't make bad things happen to us, but He allows them to happen for a reason. So God did not make Jonathan have diabetes and a stroke and have to stay in the hospital for a long time, but he allowed it to happen to him for a reason. And the reason is that those of us who believe in Jesus would get to see His power in healing Jonathan, and that those who don't believe in Jesus would come to know Him as their Saviour. It was such a blessing to hear her share so confidently about what she had learned and then take the time to help Jonathan understand it with her. God has truly blessed us with some wonderful children.
Thank you for your continued prayers. Jonathan is doing so very well. We are so pleased with how well he is doing. Please continue to pray for more strength and endurance in his walking. He are still walking without his walker, but he has a tendency to want to rely on us and holding our hands when he walks. Pray that he will become more confident in walking on his own. Pray for strength in his right leg and foot and for increased tone in both of his legs. Continue to pray for complete healing of his brain, vision and diabetes. We have been so blessed and praise the Father for His continued healing and provision in our lives. We thank God for each of you and the prayers that you continue to lift up on Jonathan's behalf. May God richly bless each of you.

Monday, June 13, 2005

We hope you have looked through the new updated website. Hopefully it will be easier to get pictures up there for everyone to see. Doesn't Jonathan look great in his new glasses? He is doing so well with them. I don't know how much they really help him, but I think there is some improvement. He doesn't mind wearing them at all. Last Thursday, at pool therapy, he did a great job as usual. There was another PT who was observing during Jonathan's class. His therapist was talking to her about Jonathan, telling her that she sees him 3 times a week. She did say, however, that he probably wouldn't need to come 3 times for much longer because he is doing so well. That was great encouragement! On Friday, he reached a milestone - Jonathan no longer uses or rents a wheelchair. He had not used it in weeks, so we decided to turn it in on Friday. We are so proud of him for being able to accomplish this, only 2 months out of the hospital. He is still not using his walker either. He either walks on his own or holding our hand. He still tires very quickly, but we try to be very sensitive to that and not ask for more than he can handle. Jonathan came down with another cold over the weekend and was pretty miserable on Saturday and Sunday. However, we went to have dinner with a few other home school families out at their campsite at Lake Lewisville. After dinner, each of the children were presented with a certificate for completing their school work this year. Jonathan was able to stand with the others and accept his certificate and get his picture with the other kids. It was a sweet moment of accomplishment for him, even though he felt miserable. Jonathan stayed home from church on Sunday morning so he could feel better and be able to attend Vacation Bible School at our church this week. It was quite a tiring morning, but he was a real trouper and did everything he could to participate in all the activities. All the children in his group were very patient with him and didn't mind following at a slower pace. His little neighbor friend that he took was very attentive and made sure he stayed right by his side to help him get everywhere he needed. It was so sweet to watch everyone encourage him through the morning. We had to rush home, eat lunch and rush to therapy at 1 pm. Even after a tiring morning on his feet, he still walked 15 minutes on the treadmill, 2 minutes on each side by side and 3 minutes backward. Then he did squats for about 15 minutes with both feet and each foot separately. He was pretty worn out after that, but he is so good to never complain.
Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Pray for continued strength in his legs. Pray that his right leg and foot will grow stronger and that it will straighten instead of turn out, and that he will be able to walk on it properly instead of on the inside of it. Pray for endurance as he continues to work toward independence in his walking. Pray that he will be able to stay healthy. Continue to pray for his complete healing, especially with his vision and his diabetes. Praise God for His awesome healing and that we are no longer using a wheelchair and walker. How great is our God and how humbly we praise Him for all He has done in our lives! Thank you so much for your prayers.

Thursday, June 9, 2005

Wow! What an awesome God we serve! Again, I must thank you for your faithful prayers for us. God continues to faithfully hear each prayer and answer them so that His name might be glorified. Let me just share all the great things that have happened to us this week. On Monday we had therapy in the office. Jonathan worked very hard and did many strengthening exercises on the exercise ball, all of which he did extremely well. After that he did some balancing on a couple of different balance boards. On one board, he was able to balance by himself pretty well. He is doing a fabulous job walking without his walker. He is keeping his balance really well and very seldom loses it. After therapy, we went swimming at a friends house. Jonathan is doing very well with his swimming. He even got up the nerve to jump off the steps and swim toward Mom several times. Another really awesome thing that happened today was that Jonathan gave himself his very first insulin shot! He has a diabetes bear named Rufus with patches in all the areas that you can give an insulin shot. Rufus has his own shot and Jonathan gives him one when he gets his own. After playing with him for a while, he decided he wanted to give himself his own shot. He did so good with it and was very proud of himself. Jonathan is also doing so much better at playing with his sisters and not having to stay as close by Mom all the time. There were several periods of time on Monday that Jonathan went and played on his own or with his sisters and Mom was able to do whatever she needed, even sitting with Dad and watching TV for a while this evening. I can tell you that hasn't happened in a very long time! We are so proud of Jonathan.
Tuesday was also a day of answered prayers. One of our biggest prayers about Jonathan's eye appointment was that the doctor would be sensitive to Jonathan and his situation. I can tell you that God gave us the most gentle, kind, sensitive, soft spoken man in Dr. Beauchamp. He was such a blessing. His assistant that we saw first was also very kind and delightful to work with. We were blessed that Elizabeth's vision issues are not a problem at this time and there is no course of action to pursue unless we determine any nearsightedness or significant drifting of her eyes. With Jonathan, he told us that his optic nerves and maculas in both eyes are undeveloped. There is no way to correct that at this time, but he was encouraging about the continuing medical advances being made that could allow for that sometime in Jonathan's lifetime. He has a slight astigmatism, so at this time our course of action is to try some glasses. Jonathan was very happy with that and quite anxious to get out and get his very own glasses. His sister Sarah just recently got glasses, so he was very excited to be "Twins" with her. We were able to get his prescription filled and leave the mall with glasses on his face Tuesday afternoon. He is able to see objects more clearly, but still cannot read letters without being close. He also still cannot see as far as a normal person with glasses, but they are definitely an improvement for him. Unless his vision gets worse, we will go back to see Dr. Beauchamp in a year. He looks very cute in his new glasses! Jonathan sat down with Mom and read a couple of short stories out of a school reader and did very well. We are continuing to pray for healing of Jonathan's eyes, and that God will give Jonathan supernatural vision, even though his eyes are under developed. With God, all things are possible! After the doctor visit, Jonathan went to the gym for his regular Tuesday therapy. He did 15 minutes on the treadmill and a couple of minutes walking side to side on each side and backward. He improves each week on these difficult areas of walking. He also did some squats on the machine and his Daddy got to watch him do it all. Another neat thing is that his teacher measured him for a particular therapy bike that is like an oversized tricycle with a bigger base to keep it from falling over when he rides. Technically, he is not suppose to ride a bike for a year, so this would provide him the chance to ride a bike safely. It is a little different in the fact that you pedal with your hands and feet, so it will also be very good exercise for him. The incredible part of this bike is that it is about $700-$800 and it will be provided to us for free by some businessmen in the area who provide these for children who need them. God continues to be our constant provider!Jonathan continues to help with his diabetes management. He helps take his own blood sugar as well as give himself shots. His blood sugar has stayed below 200 the majority of the time and under 150 most of the time for an entire week now. So we feel like we have gotten to a good point with managing his blood sugar.
We are overwhelmed with God's healing and provision in our lives. Each time we look at Jonathan we realize what an awesome God we serve and how faithful He is to care for His children. Please continue to pray for strength, stamina and endurance as Jonathan moves closer to walking independently. Pray for continued strength in his right leg and foot. Pray for God's will to be done in Jonathan's vision and diabetes and that we would be patient to let Him provide the healing in His own time. Thank you so much for your prayers. We are so blessed! God bless you all!

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Psalm 37:5 - Roll upon Jehovah thy way, trust upon Him and He worketh."
For those of you who check on us this morning, I just wanted to remind you that we will be seeing the eye doctor this morning at 9 am. The appointment is actually for Jonathan and his sister Elizabeth, who has also had some eye surgery and vision issues in the past. Please pray for Dr. Beauchamp. Pray that he will be sensitive to Jonathan and Elizabeth. Pray that he will be able to recommend the treatment that they both need to allow them to see better. Pray that their treatment will be easy for them to handle and that it would not include surgery or anything major. Pray for peace of mind, especially for Elizabeth. She is very anxious about what the doctor will say. Pray that she will be able to trust the Lord for herself as she has seen Him to be faithful to Jonathan. Pray that Jonathan will be able to understand what is going on and be able to give accurate information on the tests that will allow the doctor to know exactly what he needs. I know that God's will will be accomplished in our family again today. We are praying, trusting and believing. Thank you for your prayers.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

I am late again on the update, so let me tell you about our week. We had a great Memorial Day holiday. We went to a friend's house to swim on Monday. Usually Jonathan swims with his mask and snorkel tube in his mouth. This time, he got rid of the snorkel tube and just swam back and forth across the pool holding his breath. He did an awesome job! He has always been a great swimmer and we are seeing that slowly return. First thing at his therapy on Tuesday, his teacher practiced his walking. When she finished, her instructions to us were to begin walking without his walker and only holding on to his security belt. We already walk without the walker but we usually hold his hand. She said that is similar to using the walker because it provides something to lean on. With only holding the belt, he has to do all the walking, but we are still close to make sure he doesn't fall. She said this would fatigue him more because he would be doing it all by himself. Consequently, we have folded up the walker and put it away and have not used it since. On Thursday, he did great as usual in his pool therapy. After therapy, we went to pick up Jonathan's Grandpa Cooper and Uncle Chris who were returning from a trip to Israel. The first thing Grandpa Cooper told him was about a lady who lives in Israel, who came up to him and told him she had been praying for Jonathan after listening to Grandpa Cooper talk about him during Mrs. Criswell's Sunday School class on Sunday mornings over KCBI radio on the internet. The prayers offered up on Jonathan's behalf, all around the world, is still one of the most awesome, yet humbling parts of our experience. On Friday, we went to the mall for the first time without the wheelchair or the walker. We didn't stay long or go far, and we took lots of sit breaks, but it was a first for us. There are many times when Jonathan is very determined to be independent. And then there are times when he is very content to be dependent. We just try to capitalize on those determined times. We are on our way to reaching our July 4 goal. We continue to see improvement in Jonathan's singing voice, his breath control is better and his interaction with others is improving as well as his initiating activity with his sisters and on his own. He loves to play board games, card games, video games and he loves to color. We have also had more "regular" blood sugars this week. We have been more consistently under 200 since June 1. We are still working toward getting them to where they need to be.
I probably will not write again until after Tuesday, June 7, so I want to ask you to begin now to pray for our eye appointment on Tuesday morning at 9 am. While Jonathan's vision seems to be close to what it was before his illness, I know he needs some help visually. Please pray that Jonathan will be able to tell the doctor what he needs to in order to get an accurate diagnosis and exactly what he needs to help him. Pray for Dr. Beauchamp that he will be sensitive to Jonathan and his situation and that he will be able to explain to us what we need to know in terms that we can understand. We have committed this to the Lord, we are trusting completely in Him and believing that He is already working this situation for Jonathan's good and for His glory.
Thank you so much for faithfully keeping up to date with Jonathan's progress and for continuing to pray for him. Please continue to pray that his legs will gain strength and that his muscles will continue to get stronger. Pray for his determination to do things on his own. Pray that we will daily make progress toward reaching our goal of independent walking by July 4. Pray for his mental healing and healing of his vision and diabetes. Pray for our eye appointment on Tuesday. We thank God for all of you, for all that He has done and for all that He is going to do.