Wednesday, March 8, 2006

This has been another wonderful week, and we have lots of neat things to share. The highlight of our week was the end of an incredible Upward Basketball season. This has been such a positive experience for Jonathan and it has been such a blessing for us to watch. On Saturday, Jonathan played his last game. Jonathan got to play at least three full periods and a half of a period. He got to bring the ball all the way down and make a basket two times. He did lots of running and did a pretty good job of defending his man. But that’s not the best part of the story. Jonathan’s team started out the game really well and got a good 12 points or so ahead of the other team. There were a couple of guys on the other team who had not made a basket yet in a game. A couple of different times, the teams stood back and allowed these guys to make their baskets. What was neat was seeing our own guys, after having learned to work with Jonathan on the “J Play,” rebound the ball and hand it back to these boys until they made their basket. This team of boys blessed us beyond words. Their coaches deserve the credit for the life lessons these boys learned. They all deserve White Stars, which stands for Most Christlike in Upward, in our book. On Monday night, we finished out the season with the Upward Award Night. This is undoubtedly the loudest, most insanely crazy event that we will ever attend. And it is suppose to be like that! Each year they choose a male and female Coach of the Year, as well as a boy and girl from each grade to receive the White Star Award for the year. Our awesome coach, Ben Alves, won the Coach of the Year award. There was no man in that Sanctuary that night that deserved that award more than this man. I wish you all could have watched him each week with the guys. He was chosen by God just for Jonathan. He was tough with him and made him work for each basket he made, but his tender care for Jonathan was always apparent. He had an entire team to teach the game of basketball to, and yet he was very sensitive and attentive to Jonathan’s every need when he was present. Jonathan grew to love and trust this man which is another gift from God. We were blessed to have him as our coach. Another beautiful and humbling moment for our family was when Jonathan received the White Star Award for the 4 th grade boys. I was moved to tears to see his entire team stand and cheer when his name was called. He received a medal and a card that shared what his coach had to say about him:

"I would have opted for my entire team to get the award considering how they have grown in their sensitivity towards Jonathan and how they have unselfishly worked with him and helped him. But in retrospect, we all know that it is Jonathan who has helped them more…Jonathan has persevered through this season and worked hard to work through and overlook his obvious limitations. His presence and attitude is an inspiration to everyone and has not only helped me to be a better coach, but I think has helped me to be a better person."

Most of the time I look at these events and I am moved at the incredible blessing and inspiration that we receive from so many people. But I was able to see tonight what an inspiration Jonathan is to so many people. Who would have thought that this little guy could inspire a group of boys his age to unselfishly give up winning a game of basketball for winning the game of life by helping someone accomplish something important in their life. We praise God for the opportunities that God has given Jonathan minister to those around him, even to kids his own age. It is our prayer that God will use this experience in these guys’ lives in the years to come. Jonathan continues to do well in his drum lessons. Since his last lesson, we have seen him sit down on his own several times to play the drums, even after he has done his practicing. He seems to really be enjoying this new challenge and we are very glad. He is working on a learning a song that we have sung together as a family, so when he learns the song well, we will try it out in church. We are all looking forward to that. All the kids continue to progress with schoolwork. Jonathan has been working on multiplication tables for quite some time now, but every morning he faithfully sits down at his desk and pulls out his flashcards and goes over all his multiplication tables. It has been very good for him and he remembers more and more of them each day. Jonathan is still wearing his braces for about 5 hours most days during the week. I don’t know if it is doing much good, but I also think the real help lies in retraining his brain to use his legs and walk correctly. I was able to check on our insurance website and found this particular therapist that was recommended to us is on our insurance. I hope to be able to visit with her and find out what the options for us are there. Jonathan and Sarah’s choir got to sing in church on Sunday evening. They did a very good job. Jonathan really doesn’t like to sing “high” like all of the songs seem to be for him, but he sang beautifully with the choir and they did a great job. Mrs. Lori is not only his cranial therapist, but also his choir teacher and the kids really respond well to her. Mrs. Lori left yesterday for a mission trip to India, but Jonathan was able to see her for about 45 minutes before she left. Jonathan seems to benefit from the therapy she does with him, plus she faithfully prays over him and for his healing which is a wonderful added benefit. I’m not sure how to describe Jonathan’s sleeping this week. It has been okay, then it has been awful, and now it seems to be improving a little. Lamar was out of town one night last week, so I let him sleep in bed with me that night. Jonathan has always slept with us, from the time he was able to get out of bed and walk to our bed, until the night before he went to the hospital. I know that is an unusually old age to be sleeping with your parents, but that’s how it was. So I thought maybe he would sleep better if he slept in our bed again. It was not a good night, which I’m sure is a good thing, because we did not need to get into that habit again. Friday night he slept beside our bed on the floor like he does every Friday night, and it was a miserable night. A friend of mine suggested we try giving him Melatonin. So after consulting with my wonderful physician friend, Meghan, I purchased some on Saturday. They are only 1 milligram tablets and we started out by giving him 1 tablet Saturday night. Jonathan slept much better that night, but I’m not sure how much of it was the Melatonin or the fact that he was utterly exhausted. On Sunday night, we gave him 2 tablets. He didn’t sleep as well as I hoped he would, but I decided to keep trying it for a couple of days. Monday night, although he still woke up a number of times, the intensity of his crying was much less than it usually is. He was able to calm down more quickly and his crying was much less violent and severe when he did wake up. We have gotten up late every day this week, but Jonathan has been able to sleep from about 6 until 10 every morning without waking up. As much as I hate to start our day that late, we all desperately need some of that uninterrupted sleep whenever we can get it. Last night, we gave him 2 tablets again and as best I can remember, the last time I was in with him, the clock said somewhere in the 3 am range (I think). I woke him up at 10 am this morning. That’s the longest amount of time he has slept in months! Please continue to pray for him that this will continue to improve each night. Later, as Jonathan was on his way up the stairs to get ready for school, he lost his balance and fell half way down the stairs. It scared us all to death. Fortunately he only hurt his arm and his leg. He has a pretty good bruise on his right elbow, his right knee and a knot right below his knee. Pray that this will heal quickly and not cause him much pain. We begin therapeutic riding in one week, Tuesday, March 14 at 1 pm. Jonathan is very excited about this and we are thanking God for providing this opportunity for him.
Thank you for your faithful prayers for Jonathan and our family. We continue to see God work and we continue to seek Him for the needs we have. Please continue to pray for his sleeping. Pray that God will heal that part of his brain and that this destructive sleep habit will change to one of peaceful rest for him. Thank you to all of you who faithfully read and share your suggestions with us. We try every suggestion you give us and we appreciate your love and concern for us. Please pray that we will have wisdom as we seek the best course of action for Jonathan’s ongoing therapy. I know what I want for him, but I’m not sure what the Lord wants for him right now. He has been faithful to guide us each step of the way. Pray that we will allow Him to continue to lead and not try to take things into our own hands and make His will happen the way we want it to. Please pray for his new therapist Linda and for his new horse Sterling. Pray that God will pave the way even now for this relationship. God has been faithful to hand pick each person that has played a vital role in Jonathan’s recovery, and I am confident that Linda is God’s chosen person for this particular time. Continue to pray for the results of the Cushings test. We will be taking the collection tomorrow (Thursday), so pray specifically for Jonathan this day and for the test results to come back within normal range. Pray that we will not worry or fret over this, but that we will rest in God’s sovereign control over this issue in Jonathan’s life.
This time last year we were finding out that our stay at the OCH would last another 5 weeks instead of what we had asked God for, which was to go home. Jonathan had begun to ask when he was going home. It was one of the hardest issues of our timing versus God’s timing that we have ever experienced. And yet we have found God’s timing to always be perfect. There are things that we are still waiting on God to fulfill in this healing process. We know that His perfect will is for an appointed time and we continue to wait in faith, believing that it will not be late a single day. I found these Scriptures in my devotional today and will leave them with you tonight. We praise God for all that He has done and all the He has yet to do. We also praise God for each of you, our precious friends and faithful prayer warriors. May God richly bless each of you this week.

1 Chronicles 17:23-25 And now, O LORD, let the word that Thou hast spoken concerning Thy servant and concerning his house, be established forever, and do as Thou hast spoken. 24 "And let Thy name be established and magnified forever, saying, 'The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel; and the house of David Thy servant is established before Thee.' 25 "For Thou, O my God, hast revealed to Thy servant that Thou wilt build for him a house; therefore Thy servant hath found courage to pray before Thee. 26 "And now, O LORD, Thou art God, and hast promised this good thing to Thy servant. 27 "And now it hath pleased Thee to bless the house of Thy servant, that it may continue forever before Thee; for Thou, O LORD, hast blessed, and it is blessed forever."

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