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.

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