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.

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