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

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