Wednesday, May 24, 2006

We have had another great week; one filled with many great things to be thankful for. The most important thing that we are thankful for today is that God has blessed Jonathan with another year of life. Today, Jonathan is 10 years old. We have had a couple of days to celebrate this wonderful milestone in Jonathan’s life. And we are blessed that God in His graciousness gave Jonathan back to us for another year. Life is such a precious gift and we are thankful for every day of it. HAPPY BIRTHDAY JONATHAN! Let me back up and share about our week, and then I’ll get back to the birthday celebration. Last Wednesday was our first Wednesday without Awana for the summer. Usually during the summer, the kids do not go to church on Wednesday evening on a regular basis. That is their time off and my time to go to choir without any other responsibilities or interruptions. But this week, because Elizabeth had to be at church and Lamar had some work to do during the evening, I decided to take Sarah and Jonathan to church for this week. Before we left for church, they got invited to go to a friend’s house while I was at choir. Sarah decided to go, but Jonathan chose to go to church. I told him he would have to go on his own and that Sarah or Elizabeth would not be there with him. He seemed okay with that fact, so we went ahead and went to church after dropping Sarah off at her friend’s house. I walked Jonathan up to his class and he walked right ahead of me, walked right in and sat down with the other boys in the class without the slightest bit of hesitation. I will tell you that has not happened very often in the last year! I told him where to meet me after class and left him there. An hour and a half later he met me and did it all without any problem whatsoever. Wow! I was thrilled! What a great milestone for Jonathan that was. I am praying that God will give us more and more of those independent experiences in the days ahead. Jonathan is very capable of doing many things on his own, but he has had a hard time getting to that independent stage again since his illness. But God is working in his life and we can see the miracles that He is performing and it is such a blessing to watch. On Thursday we finished school and celebrated by going swimming outdoors for the first time this year. The water was just a little too cold for me and Elizabeth, but Sarah and Jonathan swam nonstop for an hour and a half. We are taking a couple of weeks off from school before we start spending about an hour a day going over some math, grammar and handwriting with Jonathan each day. Please pray for us as this is something that we have never done. We always take advantage of the summer as our time to rest and take a vacation from school. Pray that we will get back to it when this time off is over, that we will be diligent in our work and that God will bless our efforts. On Friday, we spent a good part of the afternoon swimming with some of our good friends who are also out of school. We had a fun time swimming and visiting with them. On Sunday, we watched another transformation in Jonathan. We went to church with our families at FBC Dallas, and this time, everyone went to their own Sunday School class. This was a new experience for all of our kids, but we were most concerned about how Jonathan would do on his own in this larger, unfamiliar setting. After the milestone he made on Wednesday, I was hopeful that he would handle this experience just as well. We were amazed and thrilled at how well he did! He told me he was a little nervous before we got there, but once we arrived, he handled everything wonderfully. He went right into his Sunday School class and participated the entire time and seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself. Everyone he spoke to, he told them how much fun he had and how much he loved Sunday School. We were also amazed at how many people know who Jonathan is. As we were waiting for an elevator, a group of people came up and one lady spoke to him and said, “How are you little miracle boy?” We stand in awe of those of you who know us, love us, care about us and pray for us, even though we have no idea who you are. We are humbled and blessed and so very thankful for each of you. On Sunday afternoon, Sarah and Jonathan had their end of the year choir party. I told Jonathan not to eat too much because we were going to have dinner and birthday cake for our little cousin Brent after their choir party. Mrs. Lori, who is Jonathan and Sarah’s choir teacher, told me later on that she watched kids offering Jonathan things to eat and watched him make decisions about what to eat based on my instructions to him. She was very proud of him and how responsible he was about the whole thing. On Monday, we began working on a new eating plan. We are trying to eat smaller portions at meals and have small, healthy snacks between meals. We are trying to exercise at least an hour a day (either all at one time when we swim or broken up throughout the day, 20 minutes at a time) and drink more water. We are also keeping a food journal so we can see how many calories, fat and carbs we are eating each day. I know that this is the door the Lord has opened for us and that He wants us to walk through at this time. Right now I am working with Jonathan on this, but I hope to be able to expand it to include our whole family so that we can all benefit from a healthier diet and lifestyle. This is very difficult for me. I am easily overwhelmed if I allow myself to really think about it too much. But we have made a start and I know that with God’s strength, I can do this. Pray that I will be able to organize myself so that we will be prepared each day and that we will be disciplined to work at this no matter what obstacles we may encounter. Now, back to the birthday celebration. Tuesday was a very busy day. We had therapy in the morning with Mrs. Lori and then horse therapy in the afternoon with Mrs. Tammy. This week, we brought Grandpa and Grandma Smith, Uncle Timmy and Aunt Keby with us to horse therapy. Most importantly, Dad got to come see Jonathan at horse therapy for the first time. Daisy got so much attention with everyone brushing her, petting her and giving her half a bag of carrots. Jonathan did a great job with Daisy again this week. He rode her very well while Dad walked along beside him. Jonathan always sits up so nice and straight when he rides. He looks very professional. He was able to trot with Daisy better this week and this time, Uncle Timmy got the job of running around the pin with him while he rode. Daisy and Jonathan are still unfamiliar with each other to a certain degree. He had a hard time getting her to walk the figure 8 for him. Daisy always seems to want to go wherever Mrs. Tammy is. When Jonathan works on the figure 8, Mrs. Tammy stands back and lets him lead the horse by himself. Skip seemed to follow Jonathan better than Daisy does, but they had also worked together a lot longer before they got to this point, so hopefully they will get to know each other better each week. Later that evening, all the family came over to celebrate Jonathan’s birthday. We had a great time and he got lots of great gifts. Today is Jonathan’s actual birthday. He got to open more gifts from us today. He rode his new Razor scooter that he got and balanced on it very well. We also went swimming this afternoon and played with the new swim toys he got. We had dinner and Chuck E. Cheese and then went to spend some birthday money after that. In between all of those things, we worked on getting ourselves ready to go camping this weekend. Tomorrow after Dad gets home from work, we will leave to go camping through Monday at Lake Ray Roberts with some other families from our church. It has been several months since we got to go camping and we are all very excited to go. Jonathan wanted to go camping for his birthday, but this is as close as we could get it. I am looking forward to seeing what new milestones Jonathan will accomplish this weekend. God has been good to show us improvement over this last week and we anxiously watch expecting Him to continue working in Jonathan’s life. I am waiting for the day when I can tell you that the sleeping milestone has been accomplished, but unfortunately, we continue to fight this issue every night. We had a little bit of a reprieve for a while, but it seems to be getting worse again. During the hour that I have been sitting here writing this, he has gotten up 5-6 times. We continue to pray and ask God for deliverance from this and I continue to ask Him for his direction and wisdom to know what to do about it. Please continue to pray for us that God would touch Jonathan and heal him of this difficult struggle.
We are always grateful for your prayer support for us. The most important things we need prayer about right now are Jonathan’s sleeping to improve and our focus on making some changes to our diet, exercise and portion control. I am overwhelmed with information. Pray that the Lord will lead, guide and direct me to know what to work on first and that He will give me wisdom to know what to do each step of the way. I have no doubt that He will do exactly that. Continue to pray for Jonathan’s complete healing of his brain, diabetes and vision. Pray that this weekend will bring us some much needed relaxation and that we will enjoy our time together as a family and the fellowship with our friends. I want to leave you with the Scripture that the Lord has given me for this particular time. God bless each of you for your faithful prayers for us. We love you all.

Matthew 6:33 - But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I know this update is well overdue and I hope you will forgive me for the delay. We have had a very full, busy week and there is much to share with you. We should be finishing up school this week. Last week was a rough week as far as school goes. Everyone seemed to have a difficult time, especially with math. The fact that we are in the last few days of school probably has something to do with our issues! Jonathan seemed to be struggling a lot remembering things that he has already done in math. So we had to back track a little and start going over division flash cards each day to help him keep up with what he has already learned. After we finish this week, we will take a couple of weeks off for a break before we start on a new summer schedule where we will try to work more on his math and grammar to get more of his work finished by the time school starts again in August. This will be the first time we have ever schooled through the summer, although we only plan to spend about an hour each day on schoolwork. So I am hoping we will make good progress during the summer. We had a great evening on Wednesday celebrating the accomplishments that each of the kids made in Awana this year. All of them finished their books and all of them received a trophy for their accomplishment. On Thursday, we spent the day at Six Flags for Home School Family Day. Jonathan never ceases to amaze us. To give you an idea of what Jonathan use to be like (before his illness) when we went to Six Flags; we would have to drag him on the simplest of rides and every time he got off the ride you would hear him say, “I’m never getting on that ride again!” Jonathan has changed quite a bit since his illness. I have told him many, many times that I think he is the bravest kid I know. This year, Jonathan rode several rides that he would never in a million years have ever gotten on before. For those of you who know the rides at Six Flags, he rode the Bobsled, Conquestador, Superman (which is very high), Run Away Mountain (which is totally in the dark), the Mine Train, and Roaring Rapids and Splash Waterfalls (which are both extremely wet). We also rode some of the other fun rides that we always ride like the Log Ride and the Antique Cars. Jonathan also took on the challenge of trying to ring the bell by using the sledge hammer. It was pretty difficult and took him seven or eight tries, but he did ring the bell and got a stuffed animal for it. We took the wheel chair with us, but Jonathan stood in several long lines and also did plenty of walking. We always have a great time at Six Flags, and this day was no different. We left a little early so we could watch Sarah play her last basketball game and then we ended the day by celebrating with her team at Braums eating ice cream. Jonathan surprised us yet again the next morning. He woke up sometime around 7:15 and I remember telling him to lie back down for a little while. Apparently he didn’t do that. He said he tried to wake me up, but I never woke up. So he went downstairs, checked his own blood sugar and got his own breakfast. After that he came back upstairs and got back in bed and went back to sleep until we woke up around 9:30. When he told me he did that I thought he was just not fully awake and must have dreamed that he had done that. However, I was shocked when I found out he knew what he was talking about and he had actually done everything he said he had done! I was very proud of him, but a little unnerved that he did all that without my knowing about it. He was smart enough not to draw up his insulin and give it to himself because he was not sure which one to use, although if he had known which one to use, I have no doubt he would have given himself his own insulin. That though kind of scared me. So we just set down some ground rules about that and are working on learning which insulin he gets at which time. We did decide that he can draw up his insulin, but he can’t give it unless Mom or Dad double checks it to make sure we don’t make any mistakes. I am so proud of his eagerness to take care of himself and to do things on his own. He is an awesome kid! On Saturday, Aunt Keby came over and we all went to the Denton Water Works and swam in the indoor pool for a couple of hours. Swimming is one of Jonathan’s favorite things to do. I think he asks every day when we get to start swimming. After swimming for a couple of hours, we went to dinner and after we got home, I got to open a Mother’s Day present from each of my kids. Remember last weekend when Jonathan spent the night away from home for the very first time? Well part of that plan included Aunt Keby taking the kids to have a picture made for me. I got three beautiful framed pictures of my three precious children for Mother’s Day. They took my breath away. I think I am truly the most blessed mother in the world and I am so thankful for these three blessings. Speaking of pictures, we hope you enjoyed the new page of pictures that we finally put on the website. It’s been so long since we put pictures up there, we actually had some from Halloween last year! Well we have already taken a ton more that I hope we can get up there to show you soon. I had a wonderful Mother’s Day this year. We got to spend some time with both of our Moms/Grandmas on Sunday, so that was a treat. I wanted to update over the weekend so that I could let you know that Jonathan was going for his diabetes checkup on Monday, but I knew that many of you would be praying whether you knew that or not. We went yesterday morning for his regular endocrine appointment. Despite the weary 2 ½ hour wait, everything went pretty well. Jonathan’s A1C was 8.6, which is up from the last visit. I was expecting it to be up because his blood sugars have been consistently up over the last month and a half. He also gained 5 pounds since the last visit. We are going to get back to taking the glucafauge and we had to raise his night time insulin again, to see if we can get his blood sugar back down to a more consistent normal level. I know the biggest thing that will help him is his diet and exercise. I also know that if I don’t take the lead with this, it will not happen. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with the thought of how and what to do about this that I just don’t do anything. So I am going to be asking you to pray for me that I will be diligent and determined to work with Jonathan on this over the summer months and that God will be gracious to us and bless us with good results. I am thankful that no tests were discussed and that nothing extra was needed for this visit. I have had some growing concerns about staying with this group of doctors and I prayed that God would direct me to know whether to stay or leave based on yesterday’s visit. We decided to start seeing a different doctor in this network at a different location the next couple of times, so we are going to stay with Cooks for the time being. I hope that these concerns will change with the new doctor, but I know that the Lord will guide us to the right doctors for Jonathan. He has been faithful to do that throughout this entire journey. After our visit, we spent the rest of the day at Grandpa and Grandma Smith’s house. Today we had our cranial therapy and horse therapy. We are still making good progress with Mrs. Lori and we are so thankful that God has sent her to us. Horse therapy brought an unexpected change for us today. When we arrived, Mrs. Tammy told us that because Skip suffers from arthritis, they were going to restrict him to just being a walking horse. Since Jonathan likes to trot the horse, that means that we have to ride a different horse. We were a little sad about that because we have grown very attached to Skipper. But we got to know Daisy today. She is a bigger horse and she is absolutely beautiful. She is a white and brown Paint Horse, and she was wonderful to ride. Jonathan automatically thought to pick out a girl colored saddle pad instead of the usual blue one he always chose for Skip, and the girls went nuts with the brushes making sure she was the most beautifully groomed horse on the property for at least an hour. Because she is a bigger horse than Skip, Jonathan had to get use to her walk and trot and he seemed like he was much higher up than usual. He is still getting on and off the horse on his own, and he is standing up taller in the stirrups each week. He is learning to stand up and sit down as the horse is walking. He also struggled a little bit with the trotting today, but he will get use to Daisy very quickly. He seemed to love her instantly. We stopped off on our way out to pet Skip and give him a carrot. He walked right up to us and let us love on him, just like he knew we were there to see him. We are going to miss the Skipper, but we already love Daisy. We’ll try to get pictures out so you can see her, but if you can’t wait, you can go to their website: , click on Our Horses and scroll down until you find Daisy. She is the next to the last horse at the bottom of the page. Jonathan is still struggling with his sleeping. Some nights are okay and some are worse. None of them are as bad as they use to be, but we are still definitely struggling with the issue. Last night he reminded me of those weeks of coming out of the coma when he would be agitate and cry so much as he turned his head from side to side. That is exactly what he was doing last night. It’s almost like he is still suffering from that agitation over a year later. Please continue to pray about this for Jonathan.
Wow! What a week this has been; so many things happening. We are glad that you continue to check on us, care about us and want to know what is going on. You mean more to us that you will ever know. We hope you will continue to pray for Jonathan and for our family. God is working in our lives. Sometimes it is through dealing with these difficult issues, such as the sleeping, his vision and his diabetes. Sometimes it is through our talks as a family. Sometimes it is through our therapy, and sometimes it is through special times together, like Mother’s Day. He is doing a work in all of our lives. One a Sunday night recently, our pastor asked us to stand up and share a praise for something the Lord had done. Jonathan stood up and said, “God is healing me, and I believe that.” I too believe that; we all do. The Lord has been dealing with me, causing me to ask myself, do I want Him to heal Jonathan so we can be done with this difficult situation in our lives, or am I willing to wait for His healing of Jonathan and grow in my relationship with Him in that process? I know that Jonathan is in God’s hands, so I am trying to focus on God’s desires for my life and the life of our family that we might miss if He were to heal Jonathan right now. We continue to pray and ask you to continue to pray earnestly for the things that we have specifically asked God to do in Jonathan’s life that I shared with you in the last update. Please pray for us as well that we will know God’s desires for our lives and that we will seek to know Him in a deeper way through this journey. Well, I promise not to wait so long before I update again. We love you faithful friends, and pray God’s most wonderful blessings on you this week.

Ephesians 1:18-19 - I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

We have had a pretty good week here overall. Life seems busy right now as we are trying to finish up the end of our school year. We are trying hard to stay on schedule so that we can finish school in a couple of weeks, but that is proving to be somewhat difficult because of so many things going on. Last weekend we celebrated Aunt Sherri’s 40 th birthday. We had a picnic birthday party on Saturday evening with our extended family. Jonathan got out and played on the toys and enjoyed swinging on the swings the most. On Sunday night, we got to go to Aunt Sherri’s surprise 40 th birthday party after church. The last surprise birthday we had for Uncle Lonnie (Aunt Sherri’s husband), Jonathan was still in the hospital and we had to send a picture of Jonathan saying “Happy Birthday” instead of actually getting to be there. So we were all thankful to be able to share this surprise birthday in person. Jonathan had a drum lesson on Monday evening and continues to get better and better each week in his drumming. On Tuesday we saw Mrs. Lori. She worked on Jonathan’s neck. It was tighter than usual so she worked on trying to get rid of some of that. We took Grandpa and Grandma Smith with us to horse therapy. The morning classes were canceled because of rain, but we are glad it stopped raining so we could ride Skip. This was the first time Grandpa Smith has gotten to see Jonathan ride. Skip usually gets the royal treatment each week from all the kids. Jonathan gets a brush and brushes him down while Sarah and Elizabeth get other brushes and work on his mane. He is the most groomed horse when he is ready to ride! Jonathan is doing a great job of getting him saddled and ready to ride. This week he decided to try to get on the horse without any help, and that’s exactly what he did. He put his leg all the way over the horse all on his own, without any help from me, for the first time ever. He also got off the horse again on his own. We are thankful for the improvement we see each week in Jonathan. We took everyone around the trail and then we went into the fenced area to work on our exercises. Jonathan is standing up taller in the saddle each week. This week Mrs. Tammy worked on helping Jonathan sit down into the saddle and ride with the horse instead of against the horse. She had him close his eyes and imagine different things that helped him really get into the rhythm of the horse while we walked around the ring. She worked with him on breathing deeply so that he could relax while he rode. I even found what she had to say to be very helpful and I was walking instead of riding. Of course, Jonathan’s number one request was to run Skip, so we had to do that a couple of times around the ring to show off to Grandpa and Grandma. We finished with some reigning and then took Skip to give him his carrots and his good-bye pampering. Horse therapy is such a wonderful event for us each week. We are so thankful for it and look forward to going each week. On Wednesday, Jonathan finished his Awana book by saying 16 verses that he had learned through the year. He did an awesome job! Next Wednesday, he and his sisters, who also finished their books, will receive their awards for completing another year of Awanas. We are proud of all of their kids for their hard work and for hiding God’s Word in their heart. Well, Friday marked another milestone in Jonathan’s life. Aunt Keby came over to take the kids for the rest of the day to do something fun and give me a little time to myself. Lamar and I actually got to go to dinner and spend the evening together for the first time in a long time. The girls are always ready to spend the night with Aunt Keby and this time was no different, except that Jonathan kept saying he wished he could spend the night too. Up to this point, we have always said that when his sleeping got better, he could spend the night. I wasn’t going to let him spend the night because the nights this week have not been very good as far as sleeping goes. And Thursday night was especially bad compared to what we have been experiencing at night over the last few weeks. But Aunt Keby was willing to take on the challenge and Jonathan left with the intention of spending his first night away since his illness. As a matter of fact, the last time he spent the night away from home was a couple of days before he went to the hospital. We didn’t know if he would make it or not and we told him we would come get him if he wanted to come home, but being the trooper that he is, he made it all night long for the first time away from home. This was the first night since he has been home from the hospital that I have gotten to sleep all night long. This was just as much of a milestone for us as it was for Jonathan. Up to this point, we have not felt comfortable allowing anyone to take care of his diabetes, nor have we been ready to let him go away from our care for any length of time, especially overnight. So this was a milestone for all of us. Apparently Jonathan slept pretty well, even though he got up a few times and Aunt Keby handled everything just fine. Jonathan told me this morning that he would consider spending the night away again, so this was a good experience for all of us. The only draw back to them spending the night away this weekend was that we didn’t get to sleep in like we wanted to. But it was for a good reason. We had to pick the kids up early this morning so that we could go celebrate with Grandma Cooper as she graduated from Criswell College with an associates degree. Talk about a milestone! She has been working on this degree a little at a time for about 8 years. So we say “Way To Go Grandma! We are Proud of You!”
Thanks for checking on us again this week. God continues to be with us as we continue through this journey. Yesterday, after the kids left and I had some time to myself, I spent an hour in prayer praying for our sweet little friend, Benjamin Shannon and his family who are still waiting on God for his healing. After praying for Benjamin, I spent some time thinking about Jonathan and specifically what we needed to pray for him. I came up with seven things that I want to share with you that are specific requests that I want to bring to the Father on Jonathan’s behalf.

  • Healing of his sleeping
  • Healing of his walking, balance, muscle tone, and straightened feet
  • Healing of his weight
  • Healing of his activity level, memory, and initiation of activity on his own
  • Healing of his emotions, more independence and feelings of security without us
  • Healing of his vision
  • Healing of his diabetes

I know that none of these things are too difficult for God. I know that God desires us to bring our requests to Him and allow Him do to exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or even think. I also lift these requests up to Him with the first and foremost request that His will be done, not ours. You have been so faithful to pray for us throughout this journey and I hope you will take these specific requests and join us in lifting them up to the Lord, seeking His will and waiting on His answer. We are so grateful for all of you and your faithfulness to pray for us. We are indebted to you for eternity. May God bless you all with His most incredible blessings.

Daniel 9:17-19 So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplications, and for Thy sake, O Lord, let Thy face shine on Thy desolate sanctuary. 18 "O my God, incline Thine ear and hear! Open Thine eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Thy name; for we are not presenting our supplications before Thee on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Thy great compassion. 19 "O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Thine own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Thy city and Thy people are called by Thy name."