Thursday, November 23, 2006

Well, it’s early on this Thanksgiving morning. I was going to have this done by now, but we got too busy cooking and preparing for this wonderful holiday that time just escaped me. The Lord has woken me up early to share His blessings in our lives with you and to start my day doing what we should find ourselves doing every day, but what this day is especially set aside for – giving thanks. Let me share the events of our week with you first. Last Wednesday, we had our last Awana until after Thanksgiving. Jonathan finished his second chapter in his book. We are working hard to get some things memorized to try and finish another chapter before we break for Christmas. On Thursday, we had the opportunity to go see Monsters Inc. on Ice through the Starlight Foundation. Someone had donated several tickets and we were able to go together as a family. It has been a long time since we have gone to a Disney on Ice, although the kids have gone with other Aunts and Uncles over the years. We had good seats and enjoyed our time together as a family. We are so thankful for the Starlight Foundations and the people who donate to this organization to allow us these opportunities to do things that we might not normally have the money or ability to do. They have been such a blessing and brought some very special memories for our family. On Friday, Elizabeth and Sarah had a birthday party to attend, so Daddy, Jonathan and I spent a couple of hours hanging out together as we all spent the entire evening in Dallas. On Saturday morning, we were up early because Elizabeth left for a weekend mini tour with the Chapel Choir to Austin/San Antonio. This was her first taste of what choir tour will be like and she had a great time. Although this kept us from our usual ritual of sleeping in on Saturday morning, it did allow us to get a lot of things done around the house. We spent most of our day doing yard work and cleaning out the storage house. Jonathan and Sarah were right there in the middle helping us rake up a million acorns that have fallen in our yard, and Jonathan helped us as we cleaned out and reorganized our storage house. After that we all crashed for the evening and watched a movie together. We had our usual day on Sunday as well as getting Elizabeth back from her mini trip. The kids are all preparing for their Christmas program which will be on Sunday, December 10. We are excited that Sarah will be getting to sing a solo for her choir on that evening. If you happen to be home on that Sunday evening, you can listen to it on the radio at 6 p.m. on KCBI (90.0 fm). Since Elizabeth’s choir was just getting back from their trip, Sarah’s choir sang in their place for the evening service. Sarah is also part of her choir’s ensemble and they sang a special song as well. This was the first time that Sarah experienced being in the choir loft as the worship choir for a service. She did a beautiful job, as she always does. The Lord has truly gifted all our children with the gift of music and we are so thankful for the opportunities He gives them to serve Him with those gifts. Jonathan had his drum practice on Monday night. He is very excited to have a whole page of new exercises to work on. Mr. Brian spent some time writing out some new rhythms for him and he is anxious to get to work on them. We are so pleased with his progress on his drums. On Tuesday Jonathan went to his last horse therapy for this session. This was another bittersweet time for us. Horse therapy has been such a blessing and an inspiring thing for Jonathan this year. There are two things that Jonathan hates to miss in his week – drum practice and horse therapy. He loves both of these things very much and they do so much to encourage him, challenge him and bless him. On Tuesday, Grandpa Cooper came to watch Jonathan ride. This was his first time to ever see him ride. Grandma Cooper was going to come see him at the very end of the spring session earlier this year, but because of the heat the session ended a week early and she was never able to see him ride. We are certain she was watching from heaven, cheering him and praising God for the incredible work He has done in Jonathan’s life. Jonathan was so proud to have Grandpa Cooper there. He can pretty much get Gracie ready to ride all by himself. The only thing he needs help with is the saddle. It’s a little heavy and hard for him to get it on top of her back. Other than that, he knows exactly how to do everything by himself. At this time of year, Spirithorse is training some of their riders to compete in the Ft. Worth Stockshow which happens in January. Our friend Chad Jones got to compete last year, on Gracie, and he won first place in both his events. There is an area set up where the kids practice the routine they will do for competition. Mrs. Julie let Jonathan work the course this week. She walked him through each part of it. There were orange cones for him to stop at, poles to steer Gracie through, boxes to turn her around in, poles to step over, bridges to stop on, and the newest thing for Jonathan was learning to back the horse up. He has never made the horse walk backward before. That’s a trick. She walked him through the whole course one time, showing him how to back Gracie up because he had to do it twice. The second time around, she unhooked the guide rope and let Jonathan go by himself. We had to remind him of a few things to do, but otherwise, he did the entire course on his own, even backing her up with very little assistance. With just a little more practice, I am confident Jonathan would be able to compete. Mrs. Julie told him that she would recommend him for the competition next year. I can’t tell you how proud and impressed I was with his confidence and his growth as I watched him ride. After doing the course, he showed Grandpa how he could trot on the trail. After a time or two, he was able to trot without Mrs. Julie or I holding on to his legs. After that, Mrs. Julie unhooked him and he took Grandpa on a walk on the trail on his own. He is so proud of the fact that he can walk his horse on his own. I told him to take Grandpa with him as he rode and when he rode up next to Grandpa, he said, “Grandpa, you walk with me.” That made me smile. Grandpa took lots of pictures and I hope to get some of them up for you to see soon. It was hard to say good-bye to Gracie and Mrs. Julie. There were many weeks of change for Jonathan this session, but as always, God was in complete control of every detail and He worked it all for Jonathan’s good and His glory. We hugged our sweet horse, Gracie and our awesome instructor, Mrs. Julie good-bye and we are praying that God will let us work together again next session. But knowing that God will orchestrate what is best for Jonathan. A couple of hours after we got home from horse therapy, I found Jonathan asleep in his bed. When he woke up, he had a sore throat and the beginnings of a cold. Yesterday he was pretty miserable as he has a pretty major one. Even though he felt terrible, he tried to help us as we cooked and prepared for Thanksgiving today. He slept pretty well last night but each time he woke up he sounded awful. Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan are all struggling with colds right now. Once again, we seem to be passing around the germs that must have been hiding in our house for 3 months now. Please pray that all of them will get well soon and that they will all be able to enjoy our holiday weekend together, especially Jonathan.
Well, there is so much to be thankful for this year. I have always loved this holiday season. I love the time we get to share with our extended families, but I love spending time with my own precious family the most. As each year passes, this time together becomes increasingly more precious to me. Thanksgiving takes on a whole new meaning for me now. After having almost lost Jonathan, the depth of my gratitude to God for His blessings and His miracles grows deeper with each passing day. I can feel it in my heart. Today I think about many of the sweet people we know who will spend today being thankful no doubt, but missing the very special loved one that God has so graciously given back to us in Jonathan. We too will celebrate this day without our own precious Grandma. What a wide range of emotions tugs at my heart. So what are we thankful for this Thanksgiving? We are thankful for life and the chance to spend one more day with the ones we love so much. We are thankful for the healing that God has touched Jonathan with. We are thankful for the beautiful sound of laughter and love that we listen to between Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan. We are thankful for our incredible families who have walked alongside us, held us up, loved us and supported us through every step of this journey. We are thankful for salvation and for heaven, for without either there would be no hope for our hurting hearts and for all those who are missing a very special person at their table this year. We are thankful for Jesus and His love for us and that He is intimately involved in every part of our lives. And we are thankful for each of you who have loved us and prayed us and blessed us so much over these past two years. It is our prayer that this will be your most meaningful Thanksgiving ever. We are so thankful for your continual prayers for us and ask that you keep praying for Jonathan and for our family. Pray for our health, especially the kids, for Jonathan’s continued healing, for his diet and weight loss, and for his upcoming appointments in December. Know that we love each one of you so very much. May God abundantly bless you and your families on this wonderful Thanksgiving Day, 2006. All our love, The Cooper Family.

Ephesians 1:3-6 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

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