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.

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