Sunday, November 5, 2006

Okay, I did it again – it’s been two weeks and I’m just now updating! I don’t mean to be making a habit of this, but it just seems to be the way it is right now. Well, I have so much to tell you that I better get started. Let’s see, a couple of Monday’s ago, Jonathan got to have his drum practice and we got to see Mr. Brian and Mrs. Debbie’s new house. We are so excited for them and continue to thank God for their willingness to teach Jonathan how to play the drums. He is doing very well. As a matter of fact, Jonathan is helping teach Sarah some of the things he knows on the drums. After his practice on Monday night and the following few days, we would see him showing Sarah how to play some of the things he has learned. After she would get finished, I would hear him tell her how good she was doing. It was so very sweet. On Tuesday, we had a most interesting experience at horse therapy. As soon as we arrived, Mrs. Julie met us and told us she had a surprise for Jonathan. She told us that Daisy had been sold and was now living somewhere else and so Jonathan was getting a new horse named Strawberry. Strawberry is a boy horse with reddish brown hair and a strawberry-blonde mane. While we were missing Daisy, Jonathan was pretty excited about getting to know Strawberry. Strawberry is a show horse so he is very well trained, unlike Daisy was. He is also not quite as big a horse as Daisy was. After riding around the trail and working on some balance exercises, Jonathan worked on trotting with Strawberry while they were in the pin. Sarah and I were watching from the side while Mrs. Julie, Jonathan and Strawberry were trotting. While they were trotting, Jonathan began to lose his balance and lean toward the left side of the horse. Apparently Strawberry knew something was wrong and he stopped trotting. Mrs. Julie was trying to figure out why Strawberry was acting weird and as soon as he stopped she looked to see Jonathan falling off the horse and she caught him on his way to the ground. Needless to say, everyone was a little unnerved by that. Jonathan was not hurt, even though he cried. He was pretty scared though. Mrs. Julie handled everything very well and encouraged him to get back on the horse, which he willingly did. He finished out his lesson without any problem. We are so thankful for Strawberry’s training which helped him take care of Jonathan in this situation, but he is a different horse from Daisy and Jonathan was just not use to the feel of him yet. Jonathan is such a trooper. He has gone through so many difficult experiences and yet he never gives up and continues to press on. On Thursday we went camping for the weekend. This is probably our last open weekend to be able to go camping before the end of the year with the holidays coming up, so we decided to go. It was just our family this time and we had a wonderful relaxing weekend. It was just the get away that we needed for our family. We stayed out there Thursday night and it got pretty chilly during the night. While Lamar was at work, the kids and I did schoolwork and hung out together. After Lamar got home, we had dinner and then he took Elizabeth and Jonathan and they went home for the night so Sarah and I could spend some time together. Elizabeth and I got to do this several years ago and I was planning on doing it with Sarah when Jonathan got sick and so it never happened. So we rented a movie, picked up Starbucks and camped out in the camper together until lunch time on Saturday. We had a great time together and Jonathan did just fine without me for the night. We were back together again Saturday and we got to build our first campfire ever on Saturday night. We just hung out around the campfire, made smores and talked for the evening. We listened to Sunday school and church on the radio before we packed up and came home early afternoon on Sunday. I’m so thankful for the time we had together. I should have updated last weekend, but from the time we got home, it was non-stop all week last week. Monday, Jonathan had a follow up visit with the neurologist. He wants us to continue giving Jonathan the sleeping medicine for about 6 months and he gave us a new prescription for a 1 mg pill so he won’t have to take two. He told us at 6 months to begin backing off and giving him the ½ mg pills and see how he does until we can take him off altogether. He seemed pleased with his progress and we don’t have to see him again for 6 months. We do have an appointment though with his partner who is a gait specialist so that he can evaluate his walking. We will see him in December. When we saw the neurologist back in Aug. Jonathan weighed in at 126. On Monday he was 132. We were a little disappointed, but we talked about what we were doing with his diet and adding in the exercise. We are doing very well with our low carb diet so far. We have found lots of great new recipes and we are sticking to it pretty strictly. So far we have been pleased with what we are doing. I am trying to journal again since we have dropped our carb intake to 20 carbs per day. I’m still not seeing the lower insulin results I keep hoping for and I’m not sure that I am seeing the weight loss that I’m hoping for, but I think we are making progress and we are determined to stay with it. Keep praying for us in this process and I’ll keep you updated on our progress. Tuesday, of course, was Halloween. We started out the day with horse therapy and another unusual experience there. Jonathan got another new horse this week. Even though Strawberry was a wonderfully trained horse, he was too much for Jonathan. He has a big trot which is probably what caused Jonathan to lose his balance. So they really try to fit each child with the right horse, and Strawberry was not a good fit for Jonathan. So this week we got to meet Gracie. She is a much older horse (in her twenties) and she also is a very well trained show horse. As a matter of fact, we were told she was worth a quarter of a million dollars in her day and her name (which is officially Grace Kelly) is on a plaque in some horse stadium in Kentucky. (Sorry, I don’t remember the exact details) Needless to say, she is a pretty awesome horse, not to mention the fact that she is beautiful, she is white and she is one of the softest horses I have ever touched. Even though she is a girl and not a boy horse, Jonathan seemed okay with the change again. The longer he rode her the more he loved her. She has the smoothest trot. She glides when she trots and he felt so much more secure with her. Mrs. Julie worked with Jonathan on the trail the whole time. We went back and forth on the trail and she let Jonathan do all the steering on his own. He has finally learned how to give the go signal with his feet as well as speaking it. Plus he combines all of that with a kiss sound and she walks right on for him. So even though it was another change, we were pleased with the outcome. Other than a little bit of school and horse therapy, we spent the rest of the day getting ready for the Halloween activities of the evening.
At our house we had two beautiful princesses and a military escort. Between Grandma Smith and me, we managed to make Elizabeth and Sarah’s dresses. Jonathan made it easy on me and I only had to buy him a camouflage shirt to complete his outfit. This year we didn’t even take the wheelchair with us. Jonathan did a pretty good job of walking around while we trick or treated. We passed up a few house at the very end, but overall he did a terrific job. He was probably the most unique trick or treater. When he approached someone, he would stop and salute and say, “ Jonathan Cooper, US Army, reporting for duty.” Then after he got his candy, he would salute again and say “Happy Halloween” or “ Jonathan Cooper, signing off.” He got lots of salutes and tons of laughter out of the people he spoke to. He had such a great time doing that. And can I also just say that he never once complained about the fact that he can’t even eat any of the candy that he did all of that for. By the end of the week, he had split up his candy with his sisters, only keeping a few things for himself for some special time in the future. I’m so proud of him and he blesses me so much. After trick or treating, we went to the Fall Festival at Lakeland. It was such a blessing to see, visit with and hug so many of our friends there. After staying there for a little while, we then made our way to Grandpa Cooper’s house to celebrate Uncle Chris’s birthday. It was a very full day to say the least. We spent this weekend celebrating my birthday and our 17 th anniversary. My family made me feel very special. I am so thankful for my precious family and especially my wonderful, faithful husband. They are all my most treasured earthly possessions. In the last update I was still struggling quite a bit with my health. I finally had to break down and go to the doctor about a week and a half ago. I was able to get an antibiotic which instantly made me feel so much better. I even had a mono test done and fortunately it came back negative. I am finally feeling good again. Elizabeth however, came down with a cold again today, so please pray for her quick recovery and that the rest of us can stay well.
Well, there is the past two weeks of our lives. Thanks again for waiting on me. I can’t tell you how much it means to us to know that you continue to pray for us and watch our progress. Thank you for your faithful prayers for our family and especially for Jonathan. Continue to pray especially for our low carb diet and our weight loss. I believe that Jonathan is making progress. We were given a couple of pieces of exercise equipment and they are things that he can do on his own. The night we got them he did about 100 sit up crunches and he seems to be very excited about being able to exercise on his own. One day last week we took a walk. When we started out he was unhappy with me, so we walked in silence and he took the lead. At one point after we had walked up and down a couple of blocks, I pointed in the direction of home and he wanted to go the other way. So I told him I would follow him. After it was all said and done, we walked about 35-40 minutes. That is the longest walk he has ever taken. Although I was not too excited that he was unhappy with me, it sure helped us get in some good exercise! Whatever works! I finally got some batteries in our scale and this morning when he weighed in, Jonathan weigh 128. So that is our starting point. I’ll keep you updated on our progress. Please pray that God will grant us the weight loss we desire. Please continue to pray for his insulin intake and that his body will process it as it needs to, that none of it will be stored as fat and that his body will begin to use up the stored fat that he already has. Continue to pray for our health. Please begin to pray now for the appointment in December with the gait specialist. He definitely needs some help with his walking, however I have no idea what to expect. God has been gracious to orchestra each part of this process in Jonathan’s life and I know he will take care of this as well for Jonathan’s good and His glory. Just recently I have been talking to the Lord about Jonathan and what we have been through these past two years. He led me to this story of Lazarus. I found myself being able to relate to this story, although our circumstances were different than this family. I pray that whatever impossible circumstance you may be facing, that you will be able to join us as we join Martha in proclaiming, “Yes, Lord, I Believe.” Our love and blessings to you all.

John 11:21-27 - Then Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 "But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You." 23 Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." 24 Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 "And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

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