Tuesday, September 6, 2005

We had such a great camping trip this past weekend! We headed out on Thursday afternoon and got to Tyler State Park about 4 pm. We got everything set up and started to cook our first dinner. Right before we sat down to eat, a couple of ladies came by and asked us if we were from Louisiana. She then shared with us that they had lost everything in the hurricane and that they had bought their campers on a credit card just to have some place to stay. There were about 10-15 of their family staying in 4 campers and they had a few changes of clothes to wear, some soft drinks and chips to eat, and that was about it. So we got out all our hot dogs and hamburgers and cooked them up. We grabbed as much stuff as we could and took the food to them so that they would be able to eat that evening. We were able to share with them where to go the following day to get some assistance with food and gas. God has used so many of you to provide for our needs this year, so it was an awesome experience for our family to be able to help provide for someone else’s needs. Jonathan brought his scream machine and rode it around some with the girls on their bikes. Before going to bed that evening, we had some Jump 5 music playing in the camper. All of our kids love to sing and dance to Jump 5 music. Jonathan has always had his own unique style of dancing and he never hesitated to dance for anyone who was willing to watch. While Jonathan slept during those weeks he was in the coma, everyone who came and talk to him told him that they were waiting for him to wake up and sing and dance again. Well, that night, in the camper, Jonathan joined his sisters in dancing to the music. It was the first time we have seen him dance since he got sick. It was that same, unique, Jonathan dance, only maybe a little bit less dramatic. It was such a wonderful blessing! Friday, we spent most of the day on our own until the other families joined us around dinner time. We swam in the lake every day and had a wonderful time with all the other children that were there. On Saturday, Jonathan and his good friend Hannah spent their time at the lake diving for shells and collecting lots of them. On Sunday, after eating lunch together, they sorted through their shells and then they went on a walk together up and down the street. Hannah has been Jonathan’s good friend for several years and she has held the most unwavering faith in God for Jonathan’s complete healing from the very beginning of his illness. We are grateful that Jonathan has such a good friend in her and we all love Hannah and her family. It has been exactly two months since we camped the very first time. The difference in Jonathan this time, compared to our first trip, is phenomenal. His mobility is so much better and we saw him initiate activity on his own a number of times. We still have to push him to do most of his activity and interaction, but we saw little improvements in this area over the weekend. Before we left on Monday, our family walked a small nature trail together, and Jonathan was able to walk the entire trail without any trouble. He only lost his balance and fell once the entire weekend, and that is really good for having to walk on such uneven ground. We were all sad to leave, and we are all looking forward to the next trip. It was a nice time for us to get away, and we are thankful for the time to do so. Jonathan is doing very well with his braces. He wears them some every day, mostly when we know we are going to be doing some walking. He had therapy today and did a great job. He walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes, at least half of the time at 2 mph. He did some squats, then went back up to the office and did his ball exercises, some step ups and downs on several different size steps, then he jumped off of a couple of the different size steps, and walked on the balance beam. His therapist is going to set some new goals for him. He is doing such a great job. We are very proud of him. We have started back to school today and all of the kids continue to do very well with their school work. It takes quite a bit of time to work with Jonathan, but he is a trooper and never complains about how long it takes him to get his work done. The girls are very good about working on their own while I have to spend much of my time with him. They are also very good about helping him do things while I work with them on their school work. Jonathan’s biggest challenge is being able to read his papers, especially when the print is not very large. We are also working on improving his writing and remembering how to write several letters and numbers correctly. Overall, he is retaining the skills we are working on, so I feel he is doing pretty well. The kids start Awana tomorrow night at church. The plan is for Jonathan to go by himself, which will require him to go to 4 different places for 1 ½ hours. We talked about it today and he said he could do it. He seems to be excited about getting started again. I am a little concerned, just because he changes places every half hour, and both of the girls will be in their own classes. I think this will be good for his independence and I know there will be many of his friends who will be glad to help and make sure he is okay. So tomorrow, we take on yet another new challenge.
Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Pray for him tomorrow as he attempts this new challenge on his own. Pray that I will not worry about him. Pray that this will be a good experience and will build his confidence in himself and what he can do on his own. Pray that he will continue to improve in his independence. Pray that he will learn how to deal with things emotionally that cause him frustration. He has a tendency to get frustrated and begin to cry instead of asking for help. Pray that each day will bring more mental and physical stability. Pray that the braces will do the part of straightening his feet and causing him to walk properly. Pray for continued strength in his hips, legs, ankles and feet. Continue to pray for the bed wetting issue. He does great for several nights in a row and then he has an accident and we feel like we have to start over. One night during the camping trip, he actually slept all night without having to get up to go, and he woke up completely dry. So please continue to pray for success for him with this. Continue to pray for his diabetes and his eating to level out. When his activity level is up, his blood sugar is down, so pray for increased physical activity, and that most of it will become self initiated. Also, please pray for healing of his vision. Pray that God will provide us with the information, tools and people who can help us get what we need to help him in this area. There are still so many things to pray for. We are grateful that you continue to keep up with Jonathan’s progress and that you continue to faithfully pray for him and his needs. God continues to hear and answer our prayers every day. His faithfulness is great!

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