Friday, September 29, 2006

We have had such an uplifting, blessing-filled week, that I can hardly wait to tell you all the wonderful things that God has done in Jonathan’s life. Last week I told you that Jonathan wanted to try to skate while they were in the skating rink after Awana on Wednesday night. Well, he tried it and Elizabeth was there to help. There are rails that he can hold on to that help him get around. I think it turned out to be a little more difficult that he thought (which is usually the case when he tries something new), but at least he tried it. Believe it or not, he tried to tackle another big thing the next day. On Thursday afternoon, he asked me if I knew where the pliers were. I asked him why he needed them and he told me he wanted to take the training wheels off his bike. Well I knew what that meant. We put the training wheels on his bike at the beginning of the year so he could ride his bike again. He has always loved to ride his bike, but we thought that because of his poor balance, he would need the training wheels. After trying it a few times, it was so difficult to keep the training wheels in place, and it was almost more work that it was worth. So he really has not ridden his bike much in the last 6 months or so. Well, I helped him take the training wheels off and after airing up his tires we took it outside to give it a try. After going up and down the street a couple of times with me holding on to him he said, “Okay, now let go of me.” So I let go and ran beside him as he rode his bike all by himself! His balance was perfect as he rode and he was able to put his foot down and stop perfectly. I was cheering! I can’t tell you what an awesome site it was to see this precious boy riding his bike again. Praise God who continues to send us His blessings! We got the girls to come out and watch and told Dad about it as soon as he got home. We practiced riding again on Friday as well. The only thing he can’t do on his own is get started. He has to work to get both his legs up high enough to get his feet on the peddles but just as soon as he starts to peddle, he can go on his own. We spent most of the afternoon/evening on Friday shopping for Dad’s birthday. We had a party with the family on Saturday afternoon and his birthday was actually on Sunday. While everyone was over and once Dad finished opening his presents, we asked everyone to go out front to see the last present we had for Dad. Once everyone was outside, Jonathan rode down the street on his bike with a “Happy Birthday Dad” balloon attached to the back as his own gift to his Daddy. It was a blessed moment for everyone. Unfortunately, this was the first and only time he fell when he stopped himself, but otherwise, he has ridden each time perfectly. I’m still too nervous to let him get too far away from me, so I end up running with him while he rides. It wears me out! But I’m determined to do it because it is such an incredible accomplishment and encouragement to him. He has ridden several times this week as well. One day, Sarah rode her bike with him and we rode around a couple of blocks before heading back home. I’m sure it won’t be long before he is able to ride without me running beside him. I just can’t even express to you what joy this has brought me this week. On Saturday afternoon, Uncle Timmy took Jonathan to the music stores to look around. Jonathan came back home with some sparkly blue drum sticks! He is pretty proud of them. When Uncle Timmy is over, he will get in there and work with Jonathan on his drumming. We have been blessed to have two great guys who are willing to give their time to help Jonathan succeed in playing the drums. I thank God for Brian and Tim. We are doing really well with Jonathan’s eating. We are keeping it very strictly to 45 carbs or less per meal. I have started keeping a food journal this week. A couple of mornings last week, Jonathan had blood sugars between 60 and 70, which is pretty low for him (80-150 is his range). His overall readings have been very good. After a couple of days of getting these low readings in the morning, I decided to take a step of faith and lower his Lantus (24 hour insulin) back down to 41. We have never gotten to lower his insulin. It always goes up, never down. It usually takes a couple of days to see any change when you make a change in the amount of insulin you give, and for the first few days it was up more than down. Of course, my first reaction was discouragement because I figured it wasn’t going to work. I have been praying daily that Jonathan’s body will use up the insulin effectively, that he will consistently have normal blood sugars, and that none of the unused insulin will be stored as fat. As I thought about the change that I made, I had to ask myself why I was so worried about it not working. Is my God not able to do this thing for which I have asked Him? Yes He is! And I’m Believing God for this, just as I’m Believing Him for the ultimate miracle of Jonathan’s complete healing. Jonathan has had normal blood sugars all week long. One morning he was at 70 at breakfast and stayed in the low 100s or below all day long. I can hardly wait to tell that we are going down again – this time below 40 for the first time since May. I hope you will pray, Believing with us that it will be soon. I have no idea if Jonathan has lost any weight or not. He is definitely eating smaller amounts now with very few snacks, if any. I am praying that God will allow this to happen, even without our knowing it. I am pleased with how we are doing things at this point and hope to be able to make more significant changes as time goes on. Another incredible blessing is that Jonathan is sleeping all night long almost every night now. If he wakes up at all, it is usually only once and he turns right over and goes right back to sleep. I praise God for this incredible blessing. When I think back over the earlier months of this year and how we struggled through so many months of difficult, discouraging nights, I am so thankful that we have found something that will help him sleep. Jonathan is doing well in his school work, as well as in Awana and in his drumming. He continues to struggle with his vision issues, even with the new expensive glasses. They are definitely an improvement, but he still struggles with seeing numbers and letters correctly without extra magnification. It can be frustrating at times, but we are trusting God to take care of this as well, and we are thankful for the sight that he has. On Tuesday, Jonathan went to ride his horse again. He is doing so very well this session. We are thrilled to have Mrs. Julie as his teacher. She is wonderful! She is very encouraging and handles Jonathan very well. He has shown significant improvement in his skills in just two weeks! She is a very aggressive teacher with him and really pushes him beyond what he has already learned. She accomplishes an incredible amount of work with him in the hour that he is there. She worked a lot on his balance with him in the riding pin this week. She pulled his feet out of the stirrups and had him ride without holding on, putting his hands in all different places, turning from side to side, etc. and he had to balance without the assistance of the stirrups. He is able to stand up taller in the saddle for longer periods of time, even when the horse is walking. She let him lead Daisy without her holding on with her strap. He got to trot on his own as well. She is working on his reigning and helping him command the horse on his own. He his getting better each week at getting on and off the horse without any help. It is such an amazing thing to watch him pull his leg over the horse on his own. That is such a huge accomplishment for him! He is also able to do that with his bike. Not only did the Lord allow Jonathan to accomplish that, but He has also blessed our sweet little friend Lyndsey Jones with ability to do that as well. Just this week, Lyndsey was able to get on her horse all by herself for the first time. God is so good!
I am going through Beth Moore’s Bible Study, Believing God. God has been teaching me so much about Believing Him, about His ability to do everything, about faith and hope and why I can trust Him even when He doesn’t do what I am Believing Him to do. There have been many moments of understand and truth which have set me free in this journey of faith in God for these impossible situations. God has been so faithful and loving to our family and to all of you who have walked this road with us to give us these outward expressions of His supernatural power in our lifetime. Many of you are also witnessing with us the miracles and wonders He is doing in the life of Lyndsey Jones’s ( and in Caroline Beauchamp’s little life. ( There are many people who say that God doesn’t do miracles today like He did in the Bible. I praise God that we can stand and testify that that belief is 100% wrong! We are recipients of the signs and wonders of God and we will continue to be witnesses, along with many of you to an unbelieving, watching world.
Thank you for waiting again for this update. Thank you for your faithfulness to check on us and to continue to pray for us. I hope you will join us as we thank God for these awesome miracles in Jonathan’s life that God has so graciously performed. Pray that Jonathan will continue to ride his bike and will gain more flexibility in his hips and strength in the muscles in his legs to be able to move more easily, get his legs and feet up on his peddles and start riding his bike on his own. Pray that he will continue to excel in his horse riding, his drumming and in his school work. Pray for God to do something supernatural with his vision. Everything is possible with God! Continue to pray especially for Jonathan’s eating, his weight loss and his blood sugar levels. Pray that we will continue to go down on his insulin. Pray that we will continue to be diligent in eating 45 carbs or less per meal and that God will reward us by allowing him to lose some much needed weight. Pray that his body will process the insulin properly and that there will be no insulin that is stored as fat. Pray that his body will begin to use up the stored fat and that we would see a decrease in his weight, his insulin intake and blood sugars within normal range. Most of all continue to Believe God with us for Jonathan’s complete healing. Also pray for our sweet little friends Lyndsey and Caroline as they are both recovering from surgery and need God’s hand of miraculous healing in their lives as well. You can read all about them at their websites above. God bless each of you for your faithfulness to pray for our family. All of you are wonderful and precious to us. We are so blessed to have you in our lives. Have a blessed week. To God Be The Glory!

Psalm 77:11-14 - I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. 13 Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God? 14 You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.

Habakkuk 3:2 - LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Well, the story of my life these days seems to be that I’m always late with everything and always trying to catch up. I made the mistake Saturday morning of working on other things I wanted to try to get done instead of updating and I never had another chance to sit down at the computer the rest of the weekend. I’m always exhausted at the end of the day and tonight is no different. But I am determined to post something tonight. So please forgive me for taking so long to update again. We had a good week last week, made some significant progress and have seen God do some more “firsts” in Jonathan’s life. I finally took Jonathan and Sarah to the doctor on Monday because the coughs continued to exist. Sarah had a bronchial infection and got a couple of prescriptions. Jonathan’s lungs were clear and so we are just waiting for the dry coughs to go away. Lamar and Elizabeth both came down with it pretty bad last week so we have all been fighting this respiratory whatever that seems to be hanging around our house. Everyone seems to be doing better, but we are all still coughing and sneezing off and on. Jonathan had his regular endocrine appointment on Tuesday. We went to the Hurst clinic which is close by Grandpa and Grandma Smith’s house. We went there because we were told they had a device to check his A1C (average blood sugar). The Lewisville clinic does not have one so he has to have blood drawn when all he really needs is a drop of blood from a finger poke. I have put my foot down and refused to put Jonathan through any more than is absolutely necessary, so we made the appointment to go to this clinic because we were told they had this device. Come to find out, they don’t have it yet. While we were there, Jonathan weighed in at 131 pounds. At the last visit he was 119. So obviously, he is continuing to gain weight despite the changes we made over the summer. The nurse we talked to is a Type 1 diabetic herself. She explained to me again (I’m sure I have heard this before but it did not sink in at the time) the way the insulin works in the body. There are receptors on the outside of the cells that catch the insulin and allow the sugar in the body to go through them and process them. The only cells that do not have these receptors are fat cells. So when there is an over abundance of fat cells, it crowds the good cells and keeps them from getting the insulin and using it up, thus resulting in higher blood sugar levels. Reduce the fat cells and the other cells can grab more of the insulin and use it more efficiently, thus resulting in more normal, lower blood sugar levels. So I asked, what happens to all the insulin that does not get grabbed by these receptors? It is stored up as fat. Apparently another reason why most people I have talked to have gained weight using insulin. She gave me a few ideas of things to do as far as his eating goes, but when the nurse practioner came in, she pretty much contradicted what the nurse told me. So here I am again at this delima of how to help Jonathan lose this weight. Do you realize that with just 14 more pounds, he will have gained 100 pounds over the last two years? That bothers me immensely. The NP talked about putting him on another medicine that some of the people in their office have tried that helps you lose weight. The only problem is that it is another shot, three times a day. She also talked about treating him like a Type 2 diabetic and only allowing him 45 carbs per meal, period. She gave me the example of the plate: ½ is vegetables, ¼ is meat, and ¼ is starch and each of the portions is ½ cup, which is what will fit in the palm of his hand. So I told her to give me another chance to work with him before deciding to do the other shot. So we have been diligently working on only eating 45 carbs per meal, no snacks. His blood sugar levels have been very consistently within normal range for the past week. He has such a good attitude and is very willing to work at this. But it is so hard because he thinks he is hungry and is always asking for something to eat. It’s hard for me as well to have to tell him no and keep him from eating things he really wants but really doesn’t need. But I am determined to consistently keep track of what he is eating and how much he is eating until our next visit. I want to find out how much of his weight gain is from food and how much is from the insulin. The other thing that bothered me is that the NP wanted me to go up again on one of his insulins, not just a couple of units, but 5-7 units. So I’m wondering how this is going to help this process to continue giving him more insulin when what he is getting now is not getting used up, which allows more to get stored as fat, which means more pounds. Needless to say, I’m struggling to understand and to figure out how to help reverse this process for Jonathan. Please pray for wisdom and guidance, for someone with the knowledge that can help us in this process, or for us to find the information we need to know what to do. On Wednesday, Jonathan went to AWANA mostly by himself. I stayed with him while he said his verses, which I will probably do for a while, and then he did the rest on his own. I peeked in the gym during game time, on my way to choir practice, and saw him playing dodge ball again with everyone. I’m so proud of him and how well he is doing things on his own. After AWANA, the girls go pick him up and they hang out in the skating rink while I finish choir. I asked Jonathan what he did and he told me he met a new guy who wanted to hear all about his story, so he shared it with him. He also told me he wants to take his roller blades and practice skating. Elizabeth said she would help him. I’m not sure I’m real comfortable with that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that becomes a reality in the next few weeks. On Thursday, Jonathan had his follow up appointment with the eye doctor. He wanted to check and make sure no changes needed to be made on his glasses. He seemed pleased with Jonathan’s progress and wants to see him back in November to begin working on some vision therapy (I think that’s what he said). He is meeting with another doctor friend of his and discussing Jonathan’s case with him to get some input on what kind of low vision help we can get for him. Jonathan seems to be able to read things from a farther distance rather than having to hold things up close to his face. He still has a lot of difficulty with smaller print, but overall his is doing pretty well. We have experienced a couple of great praises this week as well. On Wednesday, we heard from the neurologist about his sleeping medicine. We had been giving him 1 whole pill and he was doing better, but still waking up about 3-5 times a night. He might just wake up crying or coughing, but would lay right back down and go right back to sleep. The doctor wanted us to try giving him 2 pills (which is really only 1 mg). So Wednesday night, we started giving him 2 pills. This has allowed him to sleep almost all night long, with maybe 1 very brief time of waking up. He no longer gets up to use the bathroom and he has been sleeping at least 10 hours every night since last Wednesday. Praise the Lord! He has made such significant progress and we are so thankful for this. The other praise is that for the first time in his entire life, he has been sleeping all night in his bed in his bedroom for 10 days now. We have been able to put away the mattress on the side of our bed and he is going to sleep in his bed every night and waking up to his alarm every morning. This has been such a long awaited blessing for us. It is just awesome to see him at this place after so many long, difficult months of dealing with this. We are praising God for this miracle. And another miracle to praise God for - We actually successfully made it through one whole week of school last week! I can’t tell you how hard I prayed that God would spare us any major issues or distractions so that we could at least get started with school. Everyone is doing well so far. We are trying to settle into a new routine for this year and so far we are making progress. One last thing to share with you is that the fall session of horse therapy began last week. Jonathan’s lesson is at the same time this session as it was last session on Tuesdays at 1 pm. Unfortunately, he had his scheduled endocrine appointment during that time last week, so we were unable to go. But we were able to go today. When we got there, we were expecting to see Mrs. Tammy again, but we found out that we have a new therapist, Mrs. Julie. She was wonderful! She did everything with Jonathan during his lesson today that Mrs. Tammy did with him all during the spring session and then some. He worked on his balance, his riding skills, standing in the saddle, trotting (which seems to be his favorite part!) and he even got to ride Daisy by himself in the riding pen. He also got to give Daisy a wet down before she went back to her pen, which is something that we have never done before. He did so good! He remembered almost everything from the spring session and he was so excited to see his beautiful horse again. He was even able to get on and off his horse without any help getting his leg over the saddle. As we were leaving I thought of the many times we have gone to something expecting it to be one way and finding out that something had changed. God is so faithful and I’m so grateful that He is never surprised by those changes, even though we are. He is so gracious to always make those changes for our good. It always ends up better than we were expecting. So we give Him glory.
Thank you for checking on us and for patiently waiting for these updates. We treasure your friendship and your love and care for our family. Please continue to pray for us that we will be able to keep up the progress we are making with schooling. Pray that we will find our good health again soon. Pray especially for Jonathan and his weight loss. I can’t tell you how easily discouraged I get when I look at this situation. I get frustrated because I can’t seem to make it go down and I don’t know what to do. It seems to continue to go up no matter what I do. And then I stop and pray and give it to my Lord who alone can make it right. I want to Believe God for this miracle as well. Pray that we will Believe, that God will help us overcome our unbelief and that we will expect great things from God in regards to this particular issue in Jonathan’s life. Pray that God will bring someone into our path that He will use to help us with this process, or that He will direct us to the right information that we need to help us. Pray that God will reward our commitment and diligence by allowing us to see Jonathan lose the weight we so desire to see him lose. Pray that his body will process the insulin effectively so that none of it is stored up as fat. Pray that we will begin to be able to reduce the amount of insulin he needs to keep his blood sugars normal and that we will continue to see good blood sugars within normal range. Most of all, continue to pray that we will stand firm in our faith, Believing God for the miracle of complete healing of the diabetes and expecting God to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Continue to pray for Grandpa Cooper and the rest of the family. Everyone seems to be doing pretty well, but we could all use the extra prayers. Pray especially for us this weekend as we celebrate Lamar’s birthday. It will be the first family get together without Mom and I know it will be tough. We love all of you so much. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts for your faithful prayers. May God bless you all.

Psalm 138:7-8 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me; Thou wilt stretch forth Thy hand against the wrath of my enemies, And Thy right hand will save me. 8 The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Thy lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Thy hands.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Okay, I’m back again to finish updating you on our lives this past week. Thank you for continuing to check on us and for being patient with me when I can’t seem to get my act together and get this done. I have lots of neat things to share with you from our weekend, so let me get started. We left to go camping at Lake Murray in Oklahoma on Friday morning. Several other families from Lakeland were coming for the weekend as well, but we were able to get away early on Friday and we arrived at Lake Murray by about 1:30. This was our first time to camp at Lake Murray and we had not been camping since Memorial Day, so we were excited to be there. We got everything set up, had dinner and then went to play in the lake for a little bit and explore the lake area. The rest of our friends did not show up until later that evening, so we had most of the day to ourselves. Of course the kids are always excited when their friends get there, but overall it was a pretty relaxing day. Saturday was an overcast but pleasant day. It sprinkled on us almost the entire day, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves. At least it was not over 100 degrees and miserably hot! We went out on the lake and played with the other families. Jonathan played with his Daddy for a long time in the water and both of the girls got to go inner-tubing with the other kids. Before we left the water, Jonathan and I got to take a ride on Mr. Hladky’s boat with some of the other adults. Jonathan did not get to ride on the boat the last trip, so he was very excited about this ride. He was pretty nervous and kept a good tight grip on my hand. It would get tighter each time Mr. Hladky turned the boat, but then he would relax once we leveled out. The special thing about this boat ride was when Mr. Hladky let Jonathan drive for a while. Then I was the one who was nervous! But Mr. Hladky stayed close by and made sure we didn’t hit anything or anyone. It was such a special treat for Jonathan. He was so proud to be able to tell his sisters that he got to do something they have not done yet! Thank you, Mark, for making this a special memory for Jonathan. After dinner that evening, the kids were getting ready to play a game. Jonathan came over and asked me to get his flashlight for him. I was surprised to see him getting ready to play. They were going to find kids in the dark and put them in jail, which meant he would have to be walking around on uneven ground in the dark. But he was going to be partners with one of the dads who was playing and he was ready to play. It was such a neat thing to see him playing with the other kids instead of sitting around with us by himself. They played for quite a while before we turned in for the night. We are so thankful and encouraged when we see Jonathan doing these little things on his own. On Sunday we met together for worship, had lunch together and then went to visit Tucker Tower which is a little nature museum/tower with the history of Lake Murray. There was not much there, but it was a fun little outing for us. Instead of going out on the lake that afternoon, the men challenged the kids to a game of football. It was the Dad’s against as many kids as wanted to play. I didn’t think Jonathan was going to play, but when he saw everyone out there, he got up out of the chair and went to join his Daddy’s team. They played for a long time and Jonathan managed to stay in the game until about the last 20 minutes. He got to be the quarter back and helped the Dad’s team win the game. At one point, they gave Jonathan the ball and all the Dad’s locked arms around him and walked him to a touchdown. I was so proud of him for playing for such a long time. It was an awesome site. Needless to say, Dad was moving a little slow after that, but Jonathan did great! On Monday, we woke up to rain and it rained the entire day. That’s the first time in our camping experience that this has happened. It would have been great if we had not had to pack up and move. Since we were going to stay a couple of extra days, we moved to a different part of the lake that had full hookups. We found what we have decided is our most favorite camping spot yet. It was a beautiful little spot, not far from the lake, but nestled under some trees and very quiet. We could have stayed there another week. We could hear the ducks close by on the water and we had a little bunny and a turtle come and visit us. We saw the turtle at breakfast on Tuesday morning, so we gave him some lettuce and watched him eat his breakfast before he moved on with his day. Since everyone else went home on Monday, it was just our family from then on. After we set things up a second time (in the rain), we all settled in and watched a movie before going to bed. On Tuesday, we spent the afternoon at Turner Falls. Elizabeth had gone there during camp earlier in the summer and was excited to show us what she had discovered there. The first thing we did was climb up to a castle that someone had built back in the 30’s. We climbed up and down tons of steps and explored all around this castle. Jonathan climbed up and down right with us. After that we found one of the water falls and tried to wade through the freezing cold water. Daddy and Sarah were fortunate enough to slip and fall and get totally soaked in the freezing cold water! The rest of us managed to stay on our feet. After lunch we drove around through the park and then stopped to climb some more and find some caves to explore. We found one cave and climbed through it. Climbing around this place was very difficult for a normal person which made it even more difficult for Jonathan. But with all of us helping and Jonathan’s determination to participate, he made it almost every place we went. We were all aching and hurting by the time we left, but we had accomplished much climbing and exploring that day. I can’t tell you how proud we were of Jonathan and what he had accomplished that day. We praise God for the miracle of bringing Jonathan this far. We had planned on heading home on Wednesday. The kids all wanted to go to church Wednesday evening, so we packed everything up and made it home about 3 pm. We put a few things up, took showers and left within a couple of hours for our first Wednesday night at First Baptist. Awanas started for Jonathan and both the girls began a new worship/Bible study time. I stayed with Jonathan during Awanas for this first night to see how things were done. I have been amazed at how determined Jonathan is to be independent since we have come to First Baptist. Jonathan usually holds my hand when we are together, but I can always tell when he is determined to do something on his own because even if I try to hold his hand, he won’t do it. I enjoy those times watching him confidently do whatever he is trying to do. Jonathan continues to be a miracle of God in progress. After getting his new book and his new shirt, the group went to devotion time and game time. I stayed in the background and let him be part of the group on his own. During game time, the boys ran a relay race 4 different times and Jonathan ran right in the middle with the rest of them. After that, they all played dodge ball for the rest of game time and Jonathan was right in the big middle of it the whole time. He made a new friend with one of his leaders and he told me as we were leaving that he was sure he could do this on his own. We’ve come a long way since last Awana year! The rest of the week has been quiet and we are trying to get ready to start school (for the second time this year) on Monday.
Thank you for continuing to pray for us. Please pray for us this week. Pray that we will be able to start school without any major issues. Jonathan has at least two doctor’s appointments this week – Tuesday is his endocrinology appointment and Thursday he has a follow up appointment with the eye doctor. Also, please pray for our health. We are all suffering from much coughing and sneezing. Jonathan is still dealing with this weird cough. He has been off the sleeping medicine for a week and is still having times of hard coughing, so I don’t think it is the medicine. I will have to talk to the doctor on Monday, but I went ahead and gave him the sleeping medicine again last night. He was able to sleep most of the night after waking up coughing about three times right at the beginning of the night. We may have to see the pediatrician on Monday about this. Please pray that God will protect our health during these stressful days. Continue to pray for Jonathan’s complete healing and thank God with us for the incredible achievements that we have witnessed this week in his life. Your love, care, prayers and encouragement mean more to us that we could ever tell you. Thank you for carrying us through this leg of our journey. We couldn’t make it without you. May God abundantly bless you.

Isaiah 43:10-12 You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, That you may know and believe Me, And understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, Nor shall there be after Me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD, And besides Me there is no savior. 12 I have declared and saved, I have proclaimed, And there was no foreign god among you; Therefore you are My witnesses," Says the LORD, "that I am God.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Well, we are home from our extended camping weekend. I have so much to update you on that I’m not sure where to begin. It may take me three days to get it all done, so I hope you will bear with me. I’m having a hard time sorting through all the thoughts running through my mind. We haven’t been on such a roller coaster ride since Jonathan was in the hospital. And yet I can’t help but look back on how faithful God was to bring us through that most difficult time of our lives; I am confident that He will do it yet again.
Almost two weeks ago on Saturday, August 26, we attended the funeral for our wonderful Mom and Grandma Cooper. It was one of the saddest and yet most uplifting moments for us. I can’t tell you how blessed and awed I was to see so many people who were touched by Mom’s life, who took the time to come and honor her. I have never seen so many flowers in my entire life that surrounded the front of that beautiful sanctuary. It was an awesome site. Lamar’s Dad did a beautiful job of speaking for the family. He read letters from each of the 4 children including a poem that Lamar wrote to our Mom’s several years ago. There were three other men who spoke at the service. They honored Mom’s life each in their own beautiful way, but they also turned our attention to the reason we have hope – Because Jesus Christ died and rose again, because the tomb is empty, we know that someday we will see her again and live with her in the presence of our Saviour forever. Even in death we are able to rejoice. The hardest part of the service was at the very end. Everyone was asked to leave and allow our family one last moment with Mom’s body. Being their very first funeral, the kids did very well. Elizabeth and Sarah cried during the service but were able to handle it without getting sick. It was such an uplifting service that I think they were both pleasantly surprised and how easy it was to get through. As we were taking our turns as families, saying our last good-bye, Jonathan kept telling me he couldn’t look at her again. We knew it would be hard for him, but we wanted him to try. Up to this point, he had not cried since I told him that she had died three days before. He was so very brave and he stood with us one last time by her casket and cried his little heart out. Everyone else lost it at that point as well, but his Grandpa stood strong by his side, and we all made it through that very emotional good-bye. That day was an extremely long day for our families. We left for the funeral at 8:15 am and got back home after 5:00 pm. After resting for a couple of hours, we went to Dad’s house and ate dinner and visited for a while. We talked and laughed and had such a great time talking and reminiscing. Dad shared with us that they had gone through Mom’s purse the night before and he found a piece of paper that had several things written on it. After reading it, he realized that these were things she had been praying about. He was afraid that she had known that some things were wrong with her physically that she had not shared with him and it seemed to really bother him. He showed us the piece of paper. It read: Lose weight and eat healthier; Make walking perfect; Learn and understand schoolwork; Heal sleeping and restfully sleep all night; Heal diabetes completely; Heal brain completely; and Heal vision completely. I took one look at that paper and said, “Whose prayer list does this sound like?” It was Jonathan’s list of things that he desires for God to heal in his life. She had been praying for her little man. I could see where Dad would think that she was praying about these things for herself. Each one of these things, with the exception of the healing of the brain, were things that she could relate to as she prayed for Jonathan. Grandma loved Jonathan and told everyone she met, including someone the day before she died, about the miracle that God has done in his life. She is our ambassador in heaven right now praising the Father for His mighty healing work in Jonathan’s life. I can’t wait for the chance to thank the Lord myself for His work in our lives through this experience. Well, it didn’t take long for the first of the first to hit our family – Our first Sunday morning at church without Mom. It’s amazing how this emotional roller coaster doesn’t just happen day by day; it can come hour by hour or even minute by minute. It took me several days before I felt like I turned the corner and was able to wake up without this sadness surrounding me. On the day that Mom died, I answered the phone call from Dad in the middle of a Bible study that I had just begun about thirty minutes earlier. The study is Believing God by Beth Moore. I never finished that first part. While I continued to Believe God for the things I new to be true about Him, I really struggled with understanding His will in allowing this painful event to hit our family. I decided to begin again, one week after Mom’s death. The first thing I noticed this time that I didn’t pay attention to the first time was the first Scripture she read: Joshua 1:2-3 Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them-- to the Israelites. 3 I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. God spoke to me immediately. He knew we were about to deal with death in our family when I started this study the week before. He also knew that this week I would need those words to help me continue to Believe Him for the promised land that He has waiting for me to possess. I know that there is something significant awaiting me in this study because within just the first week, my faith has been challenged again and again. I am looking forward to being able to share with you what God reveals to me in the days ahead. For now, I’m Believing God.
Well, I know I said this was going to be a long update, but I think I will stop here and share more with you tomorrow about our weekend. Thank you for letting me share our journey through the valley of the shadow of death with you. Many of you know exactly where we have walked and where we are going. Your prayers, cards, gifts, food and encouragement have blessed our family in such an enormous way. You are such treasured friends and we are so thankful for each of you. I hope you will continue to pray for us as we journey through the changes that lie ahead for our family. Please pray especially for Lamar’s Dad. Petition God, on his behalf, for all the things that he needs but doesn’t know how to ask for. The one thing that has been burned forever in my memory is hearing Dad cry. Each time he would see someone for the first time, he would hug them and cry in a way that I will never forget. I would listen to him cry and groan with such a great pain that you knew came from deep within his heart and soul. As difficult as it was to hear this over and over again, the Lord used it to remind me that He was doing just that very thing on our behalf before the Father. What a comfort to know that Jesus knows exactly what we are going through, He knows exactly what we need, and He knows exactly what to say to God, especially when we do not. May God bless each of you for your faithful prayers for us. We love you all.

Romans 8:26- 28 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Well, I had every intention of posting an update this week, but time has gotten away from me. We are leaving in just a little while for a vacation that has been planned all summer. Unfortunately, because of the events of the last week and a half, that vacation will not be what we had hoped it would be. But what time we will get to be away, I am believing God that it will be a time of rest and renewal for our family and that we will just enjoy being together. When we return, I promise to post an update so I can share with you what has been going on since we buried Lamar’s Mom last Saturday. The funeral was one of the most uplifting services I have ever been a part of. It was a beautiful tribute to her life, but a personal invitation to me from the Lord to remember where my hope lies and where my eyes need to focus.
There are definitely a few things that we need your prayers about this week. Please continue to pray for Lamar’s Dad and the others in the family as we are away this weekend. Pray for our family that we will rest and be renewed by our time away. I’m not sure if it is colds or allergies, but several of us are coughing and sneezing, so pray that we will be able to stay well while we are gone. Pray for Jonathan especially. Over the last couple of weeks, he has had a dry cough. I gave him some medicine because it originally seemed like a bronchitis type of cough. Then over the last week, it seems to have changed. He doesn’t cough all the time, but when he does, it is quite an ordeal. He coughs very hard, several times in a row without being able to catch his breath, and comes close to throwing up every time. I’m not sure what is going on. I did check the side effects of the sleep medicine that he is taking and one of them is a cough. So we decided to stop giving him the sleep medicine and see if it has any effect. Please pray for God’s healing of this in Jonathan’s body and that we will know exactly what we need to do about this.
I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your prayers for our family. Your faithfulness to pray for us has been such a tremendous blessing in our lives. We continue to need and covet your prayers as we follow the Lord on this journey. Knowing you are praying gives of us the strength to keep going. We love you all and pray that God will give you a blessed, restful weekend with your families. I’ll update you when we return.

Joshua 3:5 Then Joshua said to the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."