Saturday, December 15, 2007

I can’t believe it’s been more than a month since I last updated! Where has the time gone? It’s the wonderful holiday season! I love Christmastime; I always have. Some years have been better than others, but I love the beauty and the excitement that Christmastime brings to our lives. It doesn’t take much for my mind to go back to the Christmastime of 2004. It was the most miserable Christmastime for me and I can remember longing for it to just be over. I missed so much that year. I missed everything special about Christmas; everything that Christmas is really about. But just 5 days after that miserable Christmas, God began to change my priorities, my perspective, my focus…my life. It brings a flow of tears as I think of how much God loved me and how merciful He was to pursue me and bring me back to Himself. My life is very different today because of the great lovingkindness of my Heavenly Father. I was out very early this morning taking Sarah to a day of mission work with her Clarion Choir. I cried and praised God all the way back home for His love and mercy in my life. I pass Children’s Medical Center at least 6 times a week as we drive back and forth to church. It is very seldom that I will be passing that hospital that my eyes do not automatically travel to the top floor of the building – the ICU. I wish I could describe the feelings that well up inside my heart each time I look at that place, as I remember standing at the windows of the ICU wondering, praying and trusting God for the life and future of my precious son and my family. I can look at many of the hotels on I35 that surround the hospital and remember the nights we stayed there, crying an ocean of tears, praying for God’s will and for His healing upon Jonathan. Yes, the Lord allows me to remember those moments quite frequently, but I do not dwell on them. Like the Psalmist, remembering those difficult days causes me to remember the mighty works of my God. That is where my mind dwells. I never relive the overwhelming emotions of those difficult days without remembering the goodness of the Lord all in the same thought. So as you can tell, this time of the year is even more precious to me than ever before.
Well, let me see if I can attempt to remember what has happened in our family over the last month. We had a great Thanksgiving in our family. Yes, we finished school and had a week off, but it was filled with intense house cleaning, getting ready for Thanksgiving. My side of the family came over and we had a great time of food and fellowship with our relatives. Later on in the afternoon, we went to spend the rest of the day with the Cooper side. It is always a busy day, but one that we cherish as we get to spend time with all of our family. We spent that weekend decorating our home for Christmas. It was a busy week and a fun week but a tiring week and we were definitely not ready to start school again the following Monday. The only thing that got us going again was knowing that there would only be three weeks of school before we had Christmas break. As I write to you this Saturday morning, I am pleased to say that we have completed those three weeks of school and are now officially on Christmas break! Yippee! I think I’m more excited about that than the kids are! Everyone is where they need to be to begin the next semester of school on schedule. That alone is an incredible praise! Jonathan has done so well this year in school. I am so encouraged and thankful for the progress that he has shown this year. It’s wonderful to see him excel like he is in school. He has also finished the first semester of Awana and he is halfway through his book. He has made great improvement and progress in Awana this year and we are so pleased with what we have seen him accomplish so far. It’s been an amazing thing to watch. Well, our month of December has been busy with all of the wonderful things and events of the Christmas season. Sarah and Jonathan have both had their Sunday School Christmas parties. Elizabeth got to sing for the Dallas Life Foundation when their Sunday School class went to do the service for the people there last weekend. I hear she did a beautiful job. She also got braces on her teeth the first week in December. The Lord has graciously answered our prayers and provided not only the money for her to get braces, but He also sent us to a wonderful orthodontist who we are very pleased with. We have been asking the Lord for this for Elizabeth for a few months now and He has been faithful to answer those prayers. She is thrilled to have them on because she knows what the end result will be. She will have beautiful straight teeth to go along with the beautiful smile that lights her beautiful face each day. The kids all sang in their Christmas program last Sunday night. Everyone did a great job. Each of their choirs sang a couple of songs and all the choirs sang a song together at the beginning. It was a fun program and we enjoyed it very much. Tomorrow evening is the Sanctuary Choir Christmas concert. Jonathan was asked to sing in the children’s ensemble that will sing with the Sanctuary Choir on 3 songs, so he will get to be part of that as well. We are excited about this evening as well. Lamar’s work Christmas party is at the Gaylord Texan and we have the opportunity to stay there tonight. Aunt Keby is going to come hang out with the kids while we are at the party and then we will spend the night and get to have some family time in the midst of our busy Christmas month. We are all looking forward to it!
No w, I want to share the biggest event we have had this month. As I told you in the last update, Jonathan was asked to represent SpiritHorse in the first annual Ride-A-Thon fundraiser. That was last weekend. It was at a camp in Decatur, literally in the middle of nowhere. When we left our house in Lewisville, it was 75 degrees. We had our air conditioner on at our house because it was so warm and muggy. After an hour’s drive to Decatur, we got out of our car to about 50 degrees! It’s a good thing I made everyone bring a jacket because we almost froze to death the entire time we were out there! We spent most of our time standing by the fire that someone started or sitting in our car trying to get warm. But despite the cold weather, we had a great time. There were 9 kids from SpiritHorse that rode around a course with their instructor. Mrs. Julie was there with Jonathan and he rode Lollypop. Some of the kids got to ride by themselves and some of them didn’t. I really didn’t think they were going to let Jonathan ride on his own, but when it was his turn to ride, Mrs. Julie let him do some of the riding on his own. Since Lamar hasn’t gotten to see him ride much the last couple of sessions, he got to walk around with him while he rode. At the very end of their rides, all of the SpiritHorse kids, instructors, and volunteers that were there were introduced to the crowd. Since Jonathan was one of the last 3 to ride, he was still on his horse when they introduced him. When they said his name, he stood up in his saddle to be acknowledged. It was so cute! He was so proud to be out there and have the chance to ride with Mrs. Julie. As I told you before, Jonathan had a fundraising page and made sure that just about everyone he came in contact with knew about his fundraiser. Thanks to so many of you wonderful people, Jonathan raised the second most amount of money for SpiritHorse! By the time we went to the Ride-A-Thon last weekened, he had raised $1,337! We were thrilled and humbled by your gifts and your love for Jonathan. Although we haven’t heard a total amount yet, the word was that almost $20,000 had been raised in this fund raiser. Their goal was $10,000 so that are doubling their goal, which we are all thrilled about. Because Jonathan came in second place, he won an MP3 player which he is very proud of…even though it is hot pink! So that was a very special thing for him and for all of us. Thank you for loving this little guy so much and for supporting him in this event. You are a blessing to us and your gifts will bring a blessing to many other children and their families who really need this help.
Well, God has been so good to us. We are so blessed. Thank you again for waiting on me and for continuing to pray for and support Jonathan and our family. I hope you will continue to pray for Jonathan. His blood sugars are so-so right at the moment. They are not at a consistently good level. Pray that he will continue to process his insulin effectively and keep good blood sugar levels. We will be going to a pump class on Jan. 3 to see about beginning that process. Pray for wisdom and that we will know exactly what needs to be done for him. Also, pray that we will stay disciplined with our eating and exercise during the holidays. Pray that we can all maintain our weight and not gain any before we hit it hard again at the new year. Jonathan has been having a little bit of pain in his right foot. It is bothering him quite a bit and kept him from getting to practice with his Upward team this week. Pray that it will resolve itself over the Christmas break so that he will be ready to play his games in January. Also pray for our family as we near the 3 year anniversary of Jonathan’s illness. Pray that God will continue to bless our family as we share this time together, remembering His love and power and mercy in our lives. We pray that He will continue to use us as His witnesses to a world who desperately needs to know our great God. We pray that God will truly bless your families with His most special Christmas blessings this season. We love each of you dearly.

Psalm 77:5-15 - I have considered the days of old, the years of long ago. I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, and my spirit ponders: Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again? Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promise come to an end forever? Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah Then I said, “It is my grief, that the right hand of the Most High has changed.” I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples. You have by Your power redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wow! It’s been a very busy month for us! Sorry I’ve been slow in writing. We have had so many things going on in our family and I’ve had so little time to sit down at the computer and write. Hope this finds all of you enjoying this beautiful fall. I love the changing of the seasons. There is not a season that I do not love. I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving, mostly because we get a week off of school! It will be just as busy of a week as any other, but we won’t have the added busyness of school to deal with. I’m so ready for some time off! So I am looking forward to the holidays. Well, let me see if I can back up and share with you what has been going on in our lives.
Way back in October, on Sunday evening the 14th, Jonathan’s choir sang in the service for the first time this year. He had a little bit of a spill when he was going up the steps to the top of the platform to get in his place to sing during practice. He didn’t lift his foot up high enough and therefore tripped and fell forward hitting his chest on the corner of the arm of a chair. Although I was not there, it must have been a pretty bad fall because he scared everyone to death. He was definitely upset by it and cried a good deal. But after he finally got calmed down and regained his composure, he was fine. He was able to sing in the service and he did beautifully. I hate for those things to happen to him, but at the same time, it’s good that they do because it helps him learn to deal with the spills that come with everyday life. On the following Tuesday, Jonathan had his Endocrine appointment in the morning. We saw a nurse practitioner this time instead of our regular doctor. From his appointment in July until October, he grew ½ inch (55 – 55 ½), he lost ¾ of a pound (118 ¾ - 118), and his A1C went from 8.3 to 7.5. All these things are very good news for Jonathan. We did discuss the issue with the classes we have taken and they seemed to have gotten the same input from a number of other parents. As far as the pump goes, there is a class that he needs to take in order to get the process rolling. I plan on talking with them and trying to get that going by the end of the year. They did mention that because we were charged for a couple of classes that did not benefit us in any way, they might be able to apply the charge of those classes to the pump class. So I am going to see what we can work out with them and hopefully get this thing going. I have had several people share their information with me regarding their kids and their pump experiences, and I appreciate it very much. It just gives me more to think about and check into. So I am very grateful to all of you who have taken the time to share with me. Before we left, we had the chance to talk to one of the doctors that we saw every day while Jonathan was in the hospital. Dr. Adakari is now a doctor on staff at Children’s in the Endocrine Dept. It was the first time we have seen him since Welcome Home Jonathan Day at church after he got out of the hospital. It’s always great for us to have the chance to see people who cared for Jonathan when he was so sick and when the diagnosis was so grim. It gives us one more opportunity to testify of the power of the God we serve. It was a treat for us to see him and talk to him. After we went to the doctor that morning, we spent the rest of the day at the State Fair of Texas. This is one of the special highlights of the year for our family. We had a great time together at the fair, as we always do. Later in the week, we got to spend the day celebrating Uncle Timmy’s birthday. Jonathan is really loving having Uncle Timmy as his drum teacher. He is doing so well and he sounds really good. It was great fun getting to spend the day celebrating his birthday with him. The next big thing we did was Halloween. Since it got dark later in the evening this year, we went to the Fall Fest at Lakeland and got to see and visit with so many friends. We had only planned on staying about 30 minutes, but ended up staying 2 hours! It was great to see so many friends! After that, we went and did a little Trick or Treating before we went to celebrate Uncle Chris’s birthday. That was an extremely busy day for us, but one that was lots of fun. At the end of that week, we celebrated my 40th birthday and our 18th anniversary, so we basically spent the weekend partying! I don’t remember that happening since the weekend we were married! My family threw me a surprise 40th birthday party and Lamar and I got to spend an evening together for our anniversary, thanks again to our wonderful Aunt Keby. She came to stay with the kids and her and my wonderful children put the entire surprise party together for me. It was the most fun birthday/anniversary weekend I have had in a long time. I felt so special and so loved by so many people. It was an awesome blessing for this Mom. On Sunday, we finished a great weekend at church by our Sanctuary Choir giving a concert in the evening service. The Lord has greatly blessed our family by bringing us back home to this church. And for me personally, I am blessed to be back in this incredible choir. It was such a wonderful, worshipful experience for me and one that I was thrilled to be part of. God is so very good! Well, needless to say, I was hoping that this week would be a little less busy and a little calmer for our family. I’m not sure it is every “not busy”, but “less busy” works for me. Jonathan had evaluations for this year’s Upward Basketball season. He got to see his wonderful Coach Ben while we were there, which just increases the excitement of the upcoming season. This will be a bitter/sweet season for us as it will be Jonathan’s last year to be able to play in Upward Basketball. So this was the last time we will ever go to evaluations. It’s kind of a sad thought. But we are looking forward to a great season and watching Jonathan play. He will begin practicing in December and his first game will be in January.
Well, last but not least, we are excited to share that Jonathan has been asked to ride for SpiritHorse Therapy in a ride-a-thon in December. A church in Argyle is sponsoring this ride-a-thon and all of the money raised will go to SpiritHorse. There will be about 10 kids who take lessons that will be riding to represent SpiritHorse. Jonathan has a fundraising page with a picture of him Lollipop, whom he will be riding, and a small bio about him. Anyone who wants to can go to his page and donate a one-time gift or a dollar amount per mile to sponsor him in this ride-a-thon. God has used SpiritHorse for such great good in our lives; we are pleased to be able to represent this wonderful charity in hopes that God will use for good in other family’s lives. Jonathan is very excited to get to participate in this and he is really looking forward to it. We have posted the information at the top of the screen if you are interested in learning more about it or sponsoring Jonathan in this event.
Well, God has been so very good to our family. We have been physically well, everyone is doing well in school, and we are blessed to be living life to the fullest as a family. Thank you for waiting on me again to update. It means so much to us that you continue to check on Jonathan and that you care about him and what God is doing in his life. We are so blessed to have so many precious friends. Please continue to pray for Jonathan as we finish out this year. He is still holding steady with his weight loss and exercising. Pray that we will stay faithful and disciplined with this through the holidays and that God would reward his diligence by allowing him to lose a little more weight before the end of the year. Also, continue to pray for his blood sugar levels. We had to go back up a couple of points on his lantus as his numbers began to creep back up over the last month. Pray that God will help his body to process his insulin appropriately and that we will be able to go back down on his insulin. Ultimately, we are still praying for God’s complete healing of his diabetes. I have been reading through the Psalms each morning. There are so many Psalms that speak the prayers of my heart or the praise of my soul and there is not one that does not speak to me in some way each day. It’s hard, sometimes, to find exactly what I want to say at the end of my posts. God’s Word is incredible. I’m so thankful for it. So I will end this post with words of praise to our God for the blessing of life and for the incredibly precious family He has blessed us with. You are part of our blessings and we praise God for all of you. May God bless each of you in an incredible way this week.

Psalm 92:1-4 - It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning And Your faithfulness by night, With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp, With resounding music upon the lyre. For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I hope this post finds all of you doing well. Everyone is great at the Cooper house. God continues to be good and faithful to our family and we are incredibly blessed by His love and care for us. We continue on a good schedule, doing well in school so far this year. For a home school mom, that is such a tremendous blessing! Everyone is on schedule and everyone seems to be understanding and grasping the concepts they are learning. Jonathan continues to do well. I wish you could see him each day during his schooling. He is very diligent. He gets up to his alarm better than anyone else in the house. He gets himself ready for school and sits down at the desk in his room to listen to his Bible on the CD. After he finishes his Bible, he studies his memory work for the week. I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly improved he is in this area. We have made such huge strides this year. Each week, he studies 8-10 verses on his own and later with me. I am amazed and realize how well he is doing when I sit down to go over his verses with him and he recites them almost perfectly after having gone over them more on his own than with me. This is the very first time in his life that he has gotten to this point. It is a joy to see him progress like this. He is also going to Awana, Sunday school and choir all on his own and doing it all by himself. I knew he could do it, but he had to find out that he could do it, and I think he has. What a confidence builder for him. Anyway, back to school; after he finishes studying his verses, he begins to work on his school work and doesn’t stop until he is finished. He never complains about what he has to do, he just does it until he is finished. His determination and steady diligence will be a great asset to him in the future. This week, because the weather has finally gotten cooler in the mornings, we have been taking a bike ride when we finish school work. He is greatly improved in his bike riding, even though it has been several months since we have ridden. After riding for 30 minutes, he may begin to get slower and more tired, but he starts and stops with little effort and handles the bike very well. For that I am grateful. His legs are definitely stronger as a result of our working out. The only negative thing about our bike rides this week was that he took a pretty good tumble on our first day out. He clipped a pole with his handlebar, which threw him off the sidewalk, and when he tried to stop, he just happened to be in an incline, which caused him to tumble right down it and land on his head in the street. All I could do was watch it happen. Thankfully, he had his helmet on which saved a serious head injury. He didn’t hurt himself too much, but it did upset him. He managed to make it home without any problem. And it obviously didn’t bother him too much because he has asked to ride again every day. We are enjoying the cooler weather and the chance to get out and exercise again during the day. We had great fun last weekend as we had the chance to go camping at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose. We spent the week getting ready to go and left on Thursday evening. We all get so excited when we get to go camping. We love the time together and just getting away from life’s routine to just hang out together. We loved this campground. It was beautiful, relaxing, and had lots of places to explore. The only negative was that it was much too warm for an October camping trip. Friday was Sarah’s 14th birthday, so we tried to make it as special for her as we could. We went hiking and looking for the dinosaur tracks which were mostly covered by the water in the river that runs through the park. We helped Jonathan up and down the paths and made our way to the little river. After exploring some, we drove into Glen Rose, had lunch on the town square and did a little exploring in the historical downtown square. After that, we came back to the campsite, grilled some steaks and had a mini birthday party for Sarah. During the evening, the rest of our camping group showed up. It was a great beginning to a great weekend of camping. We spent some time in the afternoon on Saturday playing in the river because it was so hot. Jonathan did well walking through all the rocks in the river and seemed to have a great time hanging out learning how to skip rocks with his Daddy. We left Sunday afternoon and made our way home so we could celebrate Sarah’s birthday with our families after church. On Monday, we received an addition to our family – a sweet, little, solid white kitten whom we named Lacee. Our good cat Allie, that we had for about 9 years, disappeared a couple of months ago. So now we have Lacee and we all love her. Jonathan loves to hold her, pet her and play with her and has told me many times this week that he wants a cat of his own. While all of our pets technically belong to everyone, we got our dog on Elizabeth’s birthday, Sarah got the rabbit for Christmas and we got Lacee for Sarah’s birthday. So I think Jonathan’s feeling a little left out. He, however, is able to claim his horse, Ella, as his own. He is doing very with his riding. He gets stronger and stronger every time he rides and he is handling his horse better and better each week. He loves Ella and loves to ride. Jonathan also continues to do well with his sleeping and with his diet and exercise. He is still hovering around the same weight, but he is doing well with his exercise and continues to diligently work at it each time we go. His blood sugar has been okay since we lowered his lantus. It has been a little higher this week that we would like. I am praying that the Lord will touch his body and allow it to control this insulin and use it to the best of its ability so that we do not have to go up again. Jonathan has his endocrine appointment this Tuesday at 10:00. I hope you will be in prayer for that. We will discuss the pump again I’m sure, as we are no closer to getting it now than we were in July. Pray that he will get a good report and that we will continue to see God’s hand in Jonathan’s physical life.
Jonathan and I have been reading a book about the life of George Muller. I have heard so many stories about him and the miraculous answers to prayer that he experienced in his life. Not only did I want to learn about him, but I wanted Jonathan to learn about him as well because I wanted him to be encouraged by the life of someone who experienced miracles as he has. Did you know that George Muller dealt with some physical ailments as well? Once he became a Christian, he was so ready to serve the Lord as a missionary. But because of some government issues that stood in the way, it seemed that he would be hindered from doing that. God allowed George Muller to get sick for a period of time to remove the plans of the government in Muller’s life. But God did not have plans for Muller to be a missionary. So he allowed Muller to suffer from these stomach problems at other times in his life in order to prepare him for the ministry He had for him and to get him going on the path that He had planned for him. Amazing! Did you also know that George Muller learned to trust God for EVERY need he had? He never took a salary and he never told a single human being of any needs that he had. He only told the Lord and waited for Him to provide for those needs. I am in awe of this man’s faith. And God proved Himself faithful to answer and supply every need of this man’s entire Christian life. Jonathan faces some impossible needs in his life that only God is able to provide…his complete healing to be the biggest one. I pray that he will learn to put his faith and trust in God and Believe God for this miraculous provision in his life. What a day of rejoicing that will be! I pray that I will learn to trust God and Believe in faith for God’s faithfulness in every area of our lives, just like George Muller.
Thank you so much for your love and faithfulness to pray for Jonathan and for our family. You are precious to us far beyond our ability to express it. We love each of you and pray that God will be faithful to you and bless you with His most awesome blessings this week.

Lamentations 3:21-25 - This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Wow! Can you believe I’m here and it’s only been two weeks! I must be doing good! I knew if I didn’t update today that it would be another couple of weeks since we are going camping again next weekend. There is not a whole lot that has been happening except that we are living our lives and loving where God has us right now. We continue to see God’s hand of faithfulness in our lives each and every day. We are truly an incredibly blessed family. We are seeing some significant improvements in Jonathan’s life so far this school year. So let me share them with you so you can see how God is continuing to work in his life.
So far, school is going well. The first school year after Jonathan’s illness, things progressed so slowly. I was less than encouraged at the end of that year that we might ever be able to make it through high school. But at the end of last year, I saw so much improvement in Jonathan’s school work. I ended the year with hope that as he progresses through each school year, things will get better and better and we just might make it through high school. This year has begun with some great changes in Jonathan that are very encouraging. As you know, Jonathan is a very dependent person. It’s not that he has to be and can’t do things on his own, but he seems to choose that option more often than not. He relies on me heavily for most everything. I think that is a result of our relationship throughout his illness and hospital stay, and the months following that. Typically, we are together most of the time and it is just a natural thing for me to handle or help him with much of his life. I am aware of that and have been praying and working on helping him become more independent in his every day life. This year in our school schedule, we have worked in a 30 minute time period at the beginning where everyone has a quiet time. Jonathan is currently listening to the Psalms on CD. He will turn on his CD and listen to his Psalm every morning on his own. As you also know, Awana has begun and Jonathan is in a new Sunday School class. Both of those classes come with lots of Scripture memory work. He is very motivated to learn the memory work in both of those classes which is in itself a huge improvement. Right now, he is learning 3-4 verses a week in Awana and 5 verses a week in Sunday School. And he is doing it, for the most part, on his own. I type up the verses he is learning for the week and enlarge them so that they are easy for him to read, and during his quiet time, he spends some of that time reading and memorizing those Scriptures on his own. This has been a wonderful change that has brought me so much encouragement. I know it may seem like a little thing, but it is a huge thing in Jonathan’s life and something for which we praise God for. Jonathan also sits down each day and begins his schoolwork on his own. He is able to practice his spelling words, do his handwriting, read his grammar sentences and do the work on his own. He is doing pretty well in math as well. He is struggling a little with his 3 digit multiplication, but we continue to work on it each day, and I know that he will soon master that as well. God has been good to show us improvement in Jonathan’s life through his schooling. Jonathan has also begun taking drum lessons from Uncle Timmy. So far he has had two lessons with him, and I think they have stayed in there and worked for about 1 ½ hours each time. He is doing very well with it and I can already hear a change in his playing. This is such a blessing for Jonathan as he loves his Uncle Timmy greatly. I know that God is going to use this in a great way in Jonathan’s life, and I hope in Uncle Timmy’s life as well. Jonathan is also doing very well in horse therapy. He and Ella make such a great team. I can see so much added strength in his legs. It is exciting to see how much he has improved and how far he has come with this. We continue to work with him to help him become independent in his riding. As I have said before, he has a tendency to rely on Mrs. Julie to make the horse do what he is asking her to do, instead of working to get her to do it because he has asked. Horses are a lot like children. Sometimes they have a mind of their own and decide not to do what you have just commanded them to do. It is much easier for Jonathan to just do what he can do and wait for Mrs. Julie to step in a make it happen for him. This is the next big hurdle for Jonathan to tackle, but when he does succeed, it will be a huge turning point for him. I am praying and believing God for this in Jonathan’s life. We continue to remain faithful to our diet and exercise program. It is sometimes discouraging when you stay at the same spot for a period of time, but we try not to lose heart. The good thing is that we are not going up! We are maintaining. Jonathan is still at 113 pounds right now. However, even though his weight may not be changing much, his blood sugars have been great. When we first began this program at the beginning of the year, it seemed like when he was losing weight, his insulin levels would remain the same. But when we were not losing weight, we would be dropping his insulin. We got down to 25 units of lantis and kind of stopped for several months. Honestly, I guess I thought that was so good that I quit praying for God to continue to work there. I just realized that recently and have begun praying about that again. After spending the last week and a half checking his blood sugars at 3 am, we have dropped his lantus again by 3 points. He is now taking only 22 units of lantus each night! What a praise! He is growing so much in caring for his diabetes on his own. He knows when he is low and he knows how to check his blood sugar on his own. The only thing he still does not do on his own is draw up his insulin. We still continue to pray and believe God for healing of his diabetes. It will be awesome when it happens! While we are seeing more strength in Jonathan’s legs because of his faithful exercising this year, there is still a great deal of weakness in his right leg. It is amazing to watch him walk so well when he really thinks about keeping his foot straight. We encourage him to make a conscious effort to keep his foot straight, knowing that one day it will be a natural thing instead of something he has to concentrate on doing. We continue to pray for strength and healing for his right leg. The Scripture I claim for Jonathan regarding this is Hebrews 12:11-13. I will share it with you at the end. Elizabeth and Sarah are both doing great as well. They are such tremendous blessings to me that I can’t even describe how incredibly thankful I am that God has given them to our family. They love and care for Jonathan in such a beautiful way. One night while I was taking a shower, Jonathan slipped and fell in the bathroom. He did not significantly hurt himself, but it did hurt and upset him. Lamar helped him up and got him to sit on his bed. By the time I got there, Elizabeth and Sarah had surrounded him and were talking to him and making his laugh so that he had already forgotten all about the fall. The unconditional love and constant care they both give to Jonathan truly blesses my heart each time I see it. They are such precious treasures.
I want to share one last thing with you that has been on my heart lately that I have been praying about for Jonathan and would like to ask you to join me in praying for him. One of the things that I have always been amazed at and so grateful for is the kindness of the children that we encounter towards Jonathan. I know that children can be unkind and make fun of other kids who are different or kids who have obvious issues. I can only think of one incident in these past almost 3 years where a child has been less than kind to Jonathan. They are all very kind and caring toward Jonathan and that has truly been a gift from God. It has come to my attention in recent weeks that while the children he is around are always kind and considerate of him, Jonathan really does not have a close friend that hangs out with him like the other kids do. Jonathan has never been an extremely social child. He would always ask to have someone over to play, but then half way through the visit, we would find him playing on his own while his friend was playing with the girls or doing something else. Those social skills are even less now. We always encourage him to go hang out with the other kids, talk with them and see what they are doing. While he may go and do that, it usually doesn’t last long, because he doesn’t interact much and he is easily overlooked. It breaks my heart. He doesn’t seem to notice or be bothered by it because he is just content with our presence in his life. But we watch it happen and it bothers us. It makes me cry. While we continue to work toward helping Jonathan become less dependent of us as his parents, to branch out on his own in some things, and develop his social skills, I have begun to pray that God would bring a “David” friend into Jonathan’s life. I am praying that God will bring someone special into Jonathan’s life to be his special, close, kindred spirit friend. I’m not sure what God has in store for Jonathan in this area, but I know that it will be for his good. I hope you will join me in praying for Jonathan about this specific thing in his life. God has begun an incredibly good work in Jonathan’s life and I know that He will be faithful to bring it to completion and the results will be amazing.
Thank you so much for your incredible love and care and your constant prayers for Jonathan and our family. I can’t imagine what this journey would have been like if we had had to walk it without you. Knowing that you are praying encourages us more than we could ever express. We hope you will join us in thanking God for His work in Jonathan’s life and pray with us for His continued work and blessing in these areas. May God richly bless each of you this week. We love you all.

Hebrews 12:11-13 - All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Well, it looks like it’s been another month again since I posted. Where does the time go? It’s just an amazing thing to be living life and doing all those ordinary things we do that make up our lives. There are so many times that I just stop and thank God for allowing us to be at home, living this everyday life instead of being in the hospital. God used those 3 ½ months of Jonathan’s illness to change my life in many ways. Being aware of and being thankful for the little things that are so easy to take for granted is one of the ways my life has been changed. I pray that I never again take my daily life for granted. It can change in a heartbeat. I am constantly aware of what I am doing and find myself regularly asking the questions, “Is what I’m doing a part of what God has called me to be doing? It is so easy to let other “good” things get in the way of the “Best” things that God really wants us to be doing. I learned that lesson the hard way, but I’m so thankful He taught it to me. I never want to Him to have to teach me that lesson again. I have become increasingly aware of how precious our family time is. Jonathan’s illness changed our family. I realized during that time, when my family was temporarily separated, what a gift God had given me in them, and how I had easily let other good things rob me of my precious family time. God graciously restored my family and has been redeeming that time for me over these last almost 3 years. Yes, can you believe it will be 3 years this December since Jonathan began this journey? A truly amazing journey it has been! God has been good to us and continues to show Himself faithful in our lives each and every day. What a blessing it is to be alive and living in His will.
Well, let me see if I can think back a month and update you on all the things we have been doing. We were able to start school as planned on Aug. 27. No, I was not nearly as ready as I wanted to be then, but we started anyway. So far, so good. We have made it 3 weeks and we are still on schedule! I call that a successful start to the school year! That first week was a short week because we left on Fri. to go camping for Labor Day weekend. It has been almost a year, for various reasons, since we have had the chance to go camping. Labor Day weekend couldn’t get here fast enough for us. We went to Lake Tawokani with 4 other families from Lakeland and we had a very nice weekend. We had such a great time visiting with friends and we had an awesome time just being together as a family. God has blessed us with many special family memories by allowing us to camp. We are looking forward to many more. So, basically, our first two weeks of school were 4 day weeks. On the very first day of school, Jonathan and I spent the afternoon attending an intensive insulin class at Children’s in the hopes of finding out more about the pump. It was basically another 3 hours of the same stuff we heard in the first class we went to. We did get about 30 minutes worth of insulin pump information, but we have to go to at least 2 or 3 more classes before we actually will get the ball rolling with the pump. I was a little frustrated with that. So really we are no further along with that issue than we were when we went to that class. I have not made any other appointments regarding that yet. So he is still doing the same thing he has always done for now. On the day after we returned from camping, Jonathan started horse therapy again. It was so good to be out there again. We are blessed to have Mrs. Julie again, our most favorite teacher. She was thrilled to see Jonathan and told him how good he looked. She did tell us that Jonathan was getting a new horse because someone who has always ridden Lolly was coming at the same time so Jonathan would need a new horse. Seems like we have heard that story before! But that’s okay. Mrs. Julie has such great confidence in Jonathan’s ability to be flexible with change. And he made this change, as he has the other changes, with no problem whatsoever. Jonathan’s new horse is Ella, who is a new horse at SpiritHorse. She is a beautiful horse and a perfect size for Jonathan. They look perfect together. Jonathan remembered everything he was suppose to do and got Ella ready to ride. Oh how I wish you could have seen Jonathan ride that day! I think the biggest change I saw in him was his increased strength. He stood up so tall and strong in the saddle for his two point exercises. It was amazing! He got on and off the horse with much greater ease and strength. He has really come a long way since his first session out there. As a matter of fact, this past week when we went, Mrs. Tammy, Jonathan’s very first teacher, was out there and walked around with us while he had his lesson. She and I talked a great deal about how much better he was now than when she first had him. The improvement is significant and the change in him is great. God has used this therapy for so much good in Jonathan’s life. We have been so blessed and are so thankful for this incredible opportunity to utilize this therapy. We are looking forward to a great session of horse therapy. On Wed. Sept. 5, Awana started up again. This is Jonathan’s last year to do Awana. He has really been looking forward to starting Awana. He has new teachers this year, Mr. and Mrs. St. John. Our goal this year is for Jonathan to go to Awana by himself, from beginning to end. Last year, since we were at a new church, I would go and stay with him through verse time and help him study to say his verses. This year, Jonathan is going all by himself, studying on his own or with Mrs. St. John who said she would take my place and help him study. I have also started typing out the verses he is saying and enlarging the print so that he can study on his own. I know he can do this on his own, but he has to learn that he can do this on his own. He did just fine last week on his own and I know he will do just fine the rest of the year. After Awana is over, he used to go to the skating rink and hang out with the other kids whose parents are in choir or other places until 9 pm. Over the summer when he would come with me to choir, he would go hang out with Uncle Timmy in orchestra rehearsal. So instead of going to child care in the skating rink this year, Jonathan is going to the orchestra room to hang out and watch (and hopefully get to play a little!) during rehearsal. He is really looking forward to that. He loves to hang out with Uncle Timmy anytime he is playing. Which brings me to tell you that he had his first drum practice with Uncle Timmy this week. I think they spent an hour and a half working together and Jonathan loved every minute of it. I know that this will be a good thing for Jonathan and that he will grow in his ability to play the drums. Jonathan loves Tim and thinks the world of him. We are so thankful that Tim is willing to give up his time and teach Jonathan. I can’t wait to see how God is going to bless this in Jonathan’s life. Last Saturday, we were invited by the Starlight Foundation to go see Beauty and the Beast at a community theater in Ft. Worth. It was a small theater with probably about 150 seats and the play was done in all four corners of the room as well as in the middle. Because the theater was so small, it was almost like you were in the middle of the play with people singing, dancing and talking right next to you or right in front of you. We had a great time there! After the play was over, the cast came out and talked with the Starlight families and signed autographs. We got pictures with Belle and the Beast (once he turned into a prince!), Lumiere (the candlestick), Mrs. Potts, Gaston, LaFou, Cogsworth (the clock), and some others. The young man who played Cogsworth was named Jonathan Cooper. We saw that at the beginning of the play and thought that was wild. He was the first person we approached when the play was over. We introduced Jonathan Cooper to our Jonathan Cooper and got their picture together. It was such a fun afternoon for us. Sunday was a busy day for us. After going to church in the morning, we left and went to Six Flags for Essilor’s family picnic. We got there and had lunch with many of the people that Lamar works with. We got to meet them and their families. As soon as lunch was finished it began to rain. And it rained off and on the rest of the time we were there. So we really only got to ride one ride because everything else was closed because of the weather. We were not able to stay long anyway because everyone started choir on Sunday afternoon and we had to be back at church by 4 pm. So it was not a huge loss that we were unable to ride much or stay long at Six Flags. We will get to go back at Christmas and go to Holiday in the Park. All the kids were thrilled to begin choir again. They missed it a lot during the summer. There are many things to look forward to this year in all the choirs.
Well, I think that catches us up on our life for the past month. Thank you for continuing to check on us and for waiting for my updates. I hope you will continue to pray for Jonathan and for our family. Your prayers mean a great deal to us. Please pray that Jonathan will continue to do well in school and that he will grasp and understand the concepts he will be learning in the 6th grade. Pray that he will be able to handle Awana on his own, that that he will continue to progress in his drum lessons and with his horse therapy. Jonathan is still sleeping well without any medication which we are so thankful for. We are still on the same diet/exercise program. Jonathan is still at 113 pounds. Please pray that he will be able to drop those last13 pounds soon. We would love to see it by the end of the year. Jonathan ended up getting a cold when we returned from camping which set him back just a little on his workout. He has had a little more difficulty this past week trying to build his stamina back up during his workout. Hopefully he will be back in full swing soon. These past few days he has had wonderful blood sugars…all within normal range! Pray that we can continue to see that happen and that we will know when and what to do with the pump. We hope you have seen the new photo album that we put up for you and that you enjoyed the pictures. Thank you again for your love, care and prayers for our family. We pray that God will abundantly bless you because you have been such a tremendous blessing to us. We love you all.

Psalm 28:6-9 - Blessed be the LORD, Because He has heard the voice of my supplication. The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him. The LORD is their strength, And He is a saving defense to His anointed. Save Your people and bless Your inheritance; Be their shepherd also, and carry them forever.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Oh my goodness! Where has the time gone? I have never waited this long to post an update! It’s been an entire month and I can’t believe it! This has been the busiest month for me. You should see my August calendar; there are only a couple of squares that don’t have something written in them. Our entire summer has not been exceptionally busy, but that could be because I waited until August, just before school starts, to get my life organized and my home cleaned up. On top of all of that, we have had an unusual amount of doctor appointments this month. Jonathan has had his doctor appointments, Elizabeth and Sarah have had their physicals as well as one has been seen for glasses/contacts and one is being seen for orthodontics, and I have had my yearly doctor appointments. That’s what happens when your insurance kicks in! So needless to say, we have been extremely busy over these last four weeks. On the whole, our family is doing great. It feels good to get things straightened up and organized. There are some things that will not be done before school, but those projects are neatly stacked around my house to be done a little at a time over the next few months. The big things will be finished up this week after we have our garage sale and get all the remaining things out that need to go. I spent the weekend organizing and getting things prepared for school to begin on the 27th. I am finally getting ready for that to happen. At one point, earlier in the month, I remember hearing myself say that just the thought of school made me want to cry because I was not ready for that to happen. As it usually does, the closer it gets, the more I find myself ready to begin. I’m glad the Lord does that for me. Being a home school Mom, there is not much else that happens during the school year for me except for school. It consumes almost all of my time. But I don’t mind. As a matter of fact, I love being able to do it. This year I am praying specifically that nothing major will happen as we begin this new year of school. If you remember, last year we started school and after two days, Lamar’s Mom left us to go live with Jesus. This, coupled with the fact that we were in a new year with Elizabeth starting high school, made for one of the most difficult years we have ever had in our home schooling experience. So we are praying for a smooth start to the school year and that the Lord will allow it to be uneventful.
Well, let me see if I can back up a month and let you know how Jonathan has been doing and what has been going on. I believe the last time I wrote was the day before the girls left for youth camp. They did indeed go to camp and they had a wonderful time. We had to have them at the church by 5:30 am, which we did, and Jonathan went with us. He wanted to be able to tell the girls good-bye and was willing to get up and come with us to do that. He did really well that week without them. We had several things planned that week and we had a good week while they were gone. On Monday, we went to visit a couple of my good friends who live out of town. They both have young children that we had not seen much of, so we went and had a great visit with them. Jonathan loves little children, especially babies, and he had a great time playing with the kids. After that we went to have lunch with Dad and see his office and meet the guys he works with. We also spent some time that week working on cleaning and rearranging Jonathan’s room. We cleaned it all out and moved his furniture around to make it new and different for him. We would work for a couple of hours in the morning and then go swimming or to see a movie during the afternoon. We finished the week by painting the dresser in his room and hanging up some special stuff on his walls. On Tuesday, we spent the morning going through his Diabetes class. We were mostly reminded of things that we have heard before or already know, but there were a few things that we learned that will be helpful as we continue to manage his diabetes to the best of our ability. We found out that we had to sign up for another class, an intensive insulin class, in order to find out about using the pump, so we really didn’t find out anything that day about that. When I called to schedule that class, they were full until the end of August, so that is something we will be attending on Monday, Aug. 27. So hopefully, we will find out more about using the pump at this upcoming class. On Friday, Jonathan had a special event to go to. There are some precious people in our Sunday School class who are members of the Founders Club with the Frisco Roughriders Baseball team. They graciously gave us tickets to go to one of the games, so we went on this particular Friday evening. We got there about 45 minutes before the game began and one of the young men who works there, took Jonathan and us on a tour of the complex. First off, he gave Jonathan a baseball cap signed by one of the players and they Jonathan got to meet him and have his picture taken with him. After that he took us around and shared some things about the complex. He took us to the dugout and let Jonathan check out the practice bat, listen on the phone that they use in the dugout, stand on the practice mound, and walk around in the pitcher’s warm up area. We got to go out on the field and have a picture taken and then went back up to where our seats were, just in time for the game to start. We had such a great time learning about what goes on at a baseball game. We had incredibly awesome seats, about 8 rows from the field, right between home plate and the Rider’s dugout. Jonathan had his binoculars held to his face almost the entire time and he followed just about every detail of the game. I have never seen him so interested in a game before as he was that night. After that game was finished, which the Roughriders won, we got to watch some very cool fireworks, right above our heads. It beat the July 4th fireworks that we saw, hands down. The entire evening was a wonderful experience for all of us and we are grateful to the Leeds for blessing us with this opportunity. Even though we had a great week, we were thrilled to have Elizabeth and Sarah back home from camp on Saturday. I love to listen to people talk to Jonathan about his sisters being gone. He usually tells people that he has a good time without them, but he is always so glad to have them home. He will usually tell people that he is glad he is not an only child. He loves his sisters and misses them when they are not here. We took them to dinner and just listened to them tell their stories and talk about their experiences of the week. We were blessed to see that the Lord had spoken to them in specific ways and to hear the things they talked about and learned about during the week. On Sunday night after the camp service, we went to dinner with several hundred other people from camp. It was chaotic but fun…just like it was when we were their age. Watching them go through their youth experience at First Baptist is like reliving our own experiences for Lamar and me. God is so good to have brought us to this place. Well, as I said earlier, much of the days and weeks that have followed the kid’s week of fun have been spent working on cleaning out and reorganizing things in our home. In the midst of all of that work, we have had some special friends over for dinner a couple of time, the girls have taken turns spending some time with Grandpa and Grandma Smith, and we attended a stage play of Little Women done at our church. The lead role of Jo March was played by Jonathan’s choir teacher, Mrs. Noelle Stanley. Uncle Timmy also played the drums and percussion for the play. They did a wonderful job and it was an enjoyable evening. Jonathan spent the first half sitting with Uncle Tim and watching him play all the parts he had to play. He has watched Uncle Tim do this several other times and always takes advantage of these opportunities. As a matter of fact, Jonathan has started coming to choir with me so he can go hang out with Uncle Timmy in orchestra practice. Most of the time he loves to just watch, but Uncle Timmy is good about letting him play something somewhere along the way, which always thrills Jonathan. He always feels so special when he gets to play. Back to the play, during the second half, Jonathan sat with us and watched his choir teacher, whom he absolutely adores, play her role as Jo March. He was thrilled with what he saw. He stood outside after the play was over until she came out and he had a chance to tell her how wonderful she did. He was very proud of her. This past weekend, Elizabeth had her friends over for a party to celebrate her birthday (which was actually back in July) and to watch the premier of High School Musical 2. There was a house full of giggly girls, screaming and having a great time and Jonathan was right in the middle of it most of the time. He might act like it’s a bother to have all those girls around, but the truth is that he really doesn’t mind too much. This week Jonathan will have his last drum practice with Mr. Brian. The Lord has brought us to this point and it is time for us to make a change in this part of Jonathan drum training. God has used Mr. Brian in a significant way in Jonathan’s life in helping prepare him to use this talent that He has given him. Before Jonathan ever even thought of playing the drums, Mr. Brian would show him how to play some things when he was over at his house. I’ll never forget the day that I walked into the ICU waiting room just a couple of days after Jonathan suffered his stroke to see Mr. Brian and Mrs. Debbie standing there holding Jonathan’s first pair of drum sticks and hearing Mr. Brian say to me, “Jonathan is going to need these when he gets out of the hospital.” We kept those drum sticks in his room to remind us of the faith of those precious friends who we knew were praying and Believing God with us for Jonathan’s healing. We have been incredibly blessed by this family’s love for us. Change is never easy to make, but it is a good thing, especially when you know that it continues to keep you in the center of God’s will. So while we will miss Mr. Brian, we are so thankful for the sacrifices he and his family have made to teach Jonathan how to play the drums, and we pray God’s richest blessings on his life and the life of his family.
Well, I think we are up to date on our life now. Thank you so much for waiting on me to update. I hope things will begin to settle down once my house is in order and we get into our routine of school. Thank you for continuing to pray for Jonathan. He is doing very well. He is still weighing in at 112 which is good. Please pray that he will continue to lose those last 12 pounds before the end of the year. Pray that we will continue to be diligent in our exercise and that his legs, especially, will continue to gain strength. Pray for our upcoming insulin class as we begin to pursue using the pump. Pray that God will work out all the details and that we will know exactly what we need to do. Jonathan is still doing great sleeping without his medicine. Praise God for such a wonderful answer to prayer. There are some new changes on the horizon for Jonathan and some old things that will begin again in the next couple of weeks. We anticipate God’s continued work in Jonathan’s life in the days ahead and look forward to seeing what He has in store for him. I have been given two Scriptures in the last week that I wanted to share with you. The first is from my precious friend and mentor for many years. She emailed me and told me she was reading her Bible and came across this Scripture: Lametations 3:31-32. “For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.” She had written beside that verse: Jonathan Cooper – 1/3/05. Our God is faithful to His promises. The second Scripture is another promise that our pastor spoke on last night in church. I pray that this week, God will remind you of His special promises to you. Thank you for your love and prayers for us. We love you all!

Psalm 138:8 – The Lord will accomplish (perfect) that which concerns me; Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your own hands.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I hope this update finds you all having a great summer! We are enjoying ours very much. It pains me to think that school is literally around the corner. I have a very little time left to get things done that I want to get done and to be honest I’m just not ready for school to start again. I have some great things to share with you this time so let me jump right in and tell you what the Lord has done in Jonathan’s life these past two weeks. On Monday, July 9, we began our week of VBS at First Baptist. It has been about 10 years since we were at VBS there, so we were very excited to go again. Jonathan is really the only one who got to “go” to VBS, but we all had a job to do that week. Jonathan was in a class of 5th grade boys and I worked in the room next to him with the 5th grade girls. Jonathan’s class had about 15-20 boys each day and about 4-5 college guys leading it. The director of his class was a college guy who fills in for Jonathan’s Sunday School class when his teachers are out, so Jonathan already knew him. He likes Campbell a lot and Campbell took good care of Jonathan and helped him really enjoy himself at VBS. I saw Jonathan just briefly a couple of days during the week, but otherwise, he did the entire VBS week on his own, without me in his class. That is a praise and a wonderful testimony of the miraculous work of God in Jonathan’s life. I stayed busy in the next room with about 38-46 5th grade girls every day. Elizabeth worked with about 20 1st grade boys and girls and Sarah spent the week working at the homes of some of the widows of our church in the Dallas area since she is too young to work in VBS. Every day but Thursday we rode into downtown on a charter bus which was great fun for all of us, but a real treat for me especially! The only reason we didn’t ride on Thursday was because of Jonathan’s doctor appointment which was right after VBS which I will tell you about later. Overall, it was a great week at VBS. If VBS was all we had to do that week it probably wouldn’t have been so bad. But each day was full of other things that had to be done that week which made the whole week very exhausting. On Monday I had to finish birthday shopping for Elizabeth since her birthday was the next day. We spent the rest of the evening with Uncle Timmy and Aunt Keby which was also a lot of fun. Tuesday was Elizabeth’s 15th birthday. During the afternoon we baked her cake and then spent the evening with all of our family to celebrate her birthday. We had a special visitor with us for this birthday; Lamar’s grandmother, the kid’s great-grandmother, Mamaw, was visiting from Mississippi and this was the first time she has been here for one of the kid’s birthdays. We enjoyed seeing her and got lots of pictures with her while she was here. We had a fun time celebrating Elizabeth’s birthday and we thank God for the precious gift He has given us in her. On Wednesday we went swimming in the afternoon and then I had a doctor’s appointment to go to and on Thursday, we went straight from VBS to Jonathan’s endocrine appointment at Children’s Medical Center. I know that many of you were praying for us as we went to that appointment because I felt it. I spent the entire week praying about that appointment and trying to get my heart and my thoughts right about it. By the time we got to that appointment, here were my thoughts: Yes, there were many things that we had done over the last 7 months that were completely opposite from what we were told to do at our last appointment with Cooks back in December. If I were to go back to Cooks and tell them all that we had done, their response to everything would have been, “Oh, that’s not good.” So needless to say after hearing that response to everything I tried for at least a year, I was not the least bit thrilled about sharing this with Childrens, as I expected to hear the same from them. I am completely confident that what we have done during this time is the exact direction that the Lord led us to walk in regarding Jonathan’s health care. We have seen God’s blessing not only in Jonathan’s life but in ours as well as we have followed this direction. So I began to think, what am I afraid of? Why should I be afraid of having followed the will of God in this particular circumstance? I always tell people that being in the center of God’s will is the safest, most blessed place to be. We have been there with this particular part of Jonathan’s healthcare and the Lord has been faithful to bless. Why should I be afraid of anyone’s response to that? To be sure, I had no intention of going in and defending myself to this doctor by saying, “This is what God told us to do.” However, I was able to find rest in my anxious heart and mind knowing that God would honor our obedience and that He would be our defense. Psalm 118:5-8 says: Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. This Scripture and the prayers of many faithful friends and family gave us the confidence we needed to walk into this appointment. When we got there, Jonathan told me he was a little nervous about it. We talked about God’s faithfulness in his life and that He would again be faithful to him that day. Dr. Ham remembered us. She seemed genuinely glad to see us. She asked us how things had been going over the last 2 ½ years and I began to share our journey with her. She listened very intently to everything I told her. Not one time did she reprimand me for anything that we had done over the last 7 months. She looked at his blood sugar numbers and after talking to us for a while, she seemed encouraged and pleased by what she saw. In regards to lowering his insulin by almost 25 points, she said he was exactly where he needed to be. She was pleased with his weight loss and with the exercise program that we are currently doing. She made some changes regarding his meal time insulin to help keep in at a more consistent level. She was very encouraging and supportive of us which is the exact opposite of what I expected. Jonathan talked to her a lot and seemed to be at ease with her. He asked her what she thought about his possibly using the insulin pump. She said she thought that he would be a good candidate for using the pump. He has shown a great deal of maturity and responsibility, especially over the last 7 months in checking his sugar on his own and giving himself his shots after I draw them up. She said we are already doing half of the things they would require us to do to begin using the pump, so she thought it would be a great idea. I loved it because Jonathan took the initiative to ask her this question on his own. He seems very excited about the possibility of the pump. This coming Tuesday, July 24 we go back to the Diabetes class and we will discuss the pump while we are there. Needless to say, we left that appointment praising God for His faithfulness to answer our prayers once again and to increase our faith through this experience. Thank you for praying for us during that appointment. God heard your prayers and answered them again. We were finally able to rest up some from our busy week over the weekend. On Monday, we were out early again going to our appointment at Scottish Rite. I don’t know how you feel about doctor appointments, but all of them cause me some degree of nervousness. Jonathan was also a little nervous about this appointment. We had no idea what to expect, so we simply had to trust the Lord about what we would hear from them. We were, however, able to feed upon the fresh faithfulness of God in our lives and we were able to approach this appointment with much less anxiety. We saw three people while we were there. The first one was an assistant to the orthopedic doctor. We talked about what happened to Jonathan, what we had been told to date about his foot and what we were seeing and concerned about from our perspective. We also saw a physical therapist who gave us some suggestions of things we could do to strengthen his legs. After that we saw Dr. Cusato, the head orthopedic doctor. We liked him very much. This is what we were told. They do not think he needs surgery on his foot. Originally we were told he needed the muscle lengthened in the back of his foot in order for it to work properly. They said that he is able to get it to a standing position, which I believe is better than what it was back in December. I think that this is a result of the workout that Jonathan has been doing with his feet over the past three months. They said the reason he walks the way he does is because his hip and thigh are very weak and because he does not have the strength to lift them properly he compensates by walking the way he does. So basically they told us that we are doing all the right things by exercising and losing weight. They assured me that he will not destroy his hip by the way he is walking, which was a concern of mine. They told us to continue doing what we are doing and that they would see us back in a year. Depending on what they see in a year, they could possibly take an x-ray at that time, but he did not feel it was necessary right now. What a blessing! The Lord reaffirmed our present course and our obedience to His leading in our lives in this area. We were thrilled to hear that no surgery was needed and it has given us a greater enthusiasm to continue our weight loss and exercise program that we have been working on. We are changing some things in Jonathan’s exercise routine that will help specifically strengthen his hip and thigh and we will continue to work in that direction and see what God wants to do. Again, thank you for praying for us about this appointment as well. We are always comforted by the knowledge that you are faithfully praying for us. I don’t know how we would have made it through this journey without you. God knew we needed you and we have been blessed to have you walk alongside us in this journey.
Well, this is where we are today. Please continue to lift Jonathan up in your prayers. Pray that we will continue to see Jonathan lose weight over the next 6 months. Our goal is for him to lose another 15 pounds by the end of the year which will put him at 100 pounds. He is looking so good! We are thrilled with his progress. He still has quite a big stomach for his frame, but it is gradually getting smaller. I believe that his walking will improve even more when his stomach returns to a normal size. Losing 15 pounds will help that. You could take your prayers to the next level by asking God to help him learn when he is full and when he needs to stop eating. I’m not sure he knows when that is. He either just stops because his plate is empty or because we tell him he doesn’t need any more. So pray that he will learn how to control that part of his eating. Continue to pray for his exercise program. Pray that God will strengthen the legs that are weak, especially his right hip and thigh, and that his walking will improve in God’s perfect time. Pray that I will be content to let God heal this in His perfect time, and that I would not be so anxious to have it taken care of now. Pray for our Diabetes class coming up this week. Pray that we will gain more understanding and knowledge of how to effectively treat Jonathan’s diabetes. Pray for us as we make the decision about the pump. Pray for all the things that will accompany that, including insurance, etc. Thank you for your prayers for Jonathan’s sleeping. He is doing well with it. He does not wake up every night and when he does, it is just briefly, once or twice. We are pleased with his progress in this area as well. Please pray for Elizabeth and Sarah this week as they will be leaving early in the morning to go to youth camp in Corpus Christi. Pray for Jonathan as well while they are gone. We have a busy week ahead of us which will hopefully help the week go by quickly and we won’t miss them so much. Each of you are a priceless treasure to our family. We are the most blessed family on the face of the earth! Thank you for loving and supporting Jonathan and our family. We love each of you and pray that God will bless abundantly bless your lives because of the blessing you have been to us. Have a wonderfully blessed week!

Hebrews 12:11 – All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Well, I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July week this week. We have had a great couple of weeks here. Let me share what has been going on in our family. On Tuesday, June 26, we were rejoined together as a family for the first time in about 3 weeks. Elizabeth came back from her choir tour that day and it was such a great blessing to have her back. Because of all the rain we have been having here, we were concerned about the weather for their return flight. We prayed during the morning that day that the Lord would cause the weather to be clear until they had landed and were safely home. The Lord was gracious to answer that prayer for us. The area was clear and free of rain between 1-2 pm. As soon as we drove out of the parking garage to leave the airport, it began to rain and it rained so hard I wasn’t sure we were going to make it home. Isn’t God so good? He cared about my concern over that detail of Elizabeth’s trip and graciously answered my prayer. Again and again He proves Himself worthy of my complete trust in His control over every detail of our lives. I’m so thankful to have my family back together again. We spent the rest of the week catching up on all the details of her trip and listening to her and Sarah share their stories of their first choir tours. It was great fun and a wonderful time for all of us. On Sunday evening, we spent our worship time listening and singing along with the Chapel Choir as they presented their home concert. Chapel Choir Home Concerts bring back many wonderful, special memories for Lamar and me. This one was the best yet because our own daughter was a part of these special memories this time. At the end of the concert it is always a tradition to have all the alumni of the choir come join the current choir in the loft and sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. This year we were able to stand beside Elizabeth and proudly sing along side her, sharing this special time together with her. I can’t even adequately express how special it is to have our kids where they are and to be part of this very special church that means so much to us. What a blessing it has been. Well, there wasn’t much going on at our house last week. On Tuesday, we went to Frisco with Aunt Keby and Uncle Timmy to see some fire works. We had a perfect view and were close enough to enjoy the fire works. On Wednesday, we spent a few hours at Main Event playing video games with a game card that a nice family gave us on our way in. It had about 3 hours worth of time left on it, so we were able to have some fun without having to spend any money! That was a real blessing as well. We grilled out at our house, had a nice time together as a family, and ended the evening watching fire works together. We were planning to go camping Thursday – today, but our reservations were canceled because of too much rain. We spent Friday evening and half of the day on Saturday on a special Passport to Purity weekend with Elizabeth. Sarah and Jonathan went to spend the night with Aunt Keby and Lamar and I got to focus our attention on Elizabeth. It’s hard to believe that Elizabeth with be 15 years old this week on July 10. She is an incredibly special young lady and she has blessed my life in so many ways. She shared with me just recently how much Jonathan’s illness and what we have experienced with that has changed her life. She is such a wonderful girl and I am anxious to see what God is going to do in her life in the years ahead. We stayed at a hotel in Dallas and spent Friday even and Saturday morning going through 5 different sessions that will prepare her for the years ahead of her. Then we spent a wonderful time having lunch at Antares, a restaurant at the top of Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas. After lunch, we got Sarah and Jonathan back and spent the rest of the day swimming at the hotel, eating dinner and walking around at the Galleria. While we missed having the opportunity to go camping together, we enjoyed spending the time together away from home, even though it was short. This next week will be a busy week for us as we will be in VBS at First Baptist every morning. We are looking forward to it.
Jonathan is doing well. We are enjoying our slow pace this summer. He has been doing pretty well with his sleeping. He has not had a sleeping pill since June 1. This past week he has woken up several times during the night, and I’m not sure why. He will do this two or three nights in a row and then go one night without waking up at all. I am just keeping my eye on it and continuing to watch his progress with this. I hope you will continue to pray that he will overcome this completely and that I will have the wisdom to know what needs to be done. Jonathan is also doing well with his diet and exercise. He finally moved the scale again this week and lost 1 more pound. We were very excited. Please continue to keep this in your prayers and pray that he will continue to see progress as he works so diligently each day.
I want to share with you some thing that you can pray about specifically this next week. After spending time searching and calling different endocrinologists, we finally have an appointment. We will be going back to Children’s Endocrinology on Thursday, July 12 at 12:45 to see Dr. Melissa Ham. Dr. Ham was the first doctor we saw in the emergency room when Jonathan got sick. She was also the first doctor we talked to in the early morning hours before the sun was up shortly after Jonathan suffered his stroke. I will be honest with you and tell you that I am not looking forward to going to this appointment this week. We have not been to see an endocrinologist since December because of various insurance issues and changes that have taken place this year. God provided enough supplies and insulin and made it possible for us to get through all these transitions until we had permanent insurance again. Now we must see a doctor to get new prescriptions. There have been many changes that we have made with Jonathan’s diet, exercise, insulin amounts, etc. over these last 6 months and most of it is backwards from what the doctors would tell us to do. I am fearful of what they will have to say. Because of Jonathan’s unique circumstances, I have always desired to find a doctor that would look at Jonathan as an individual instead of the status quo way that all diabetics are looked at. I am afraid that I’m not going to find that here. I feel as though God has opened this door for us to go back to Children’s, even though I tried to find another door to go through instead of this one. Every door I tried was shut. I know that God is in control of Jonathan’s doctors. Please pray that I will trust Him with this. This is very hard for me. Pray that we will be a witness to Dr. Ham as we meet with her. Pray that she will be exactly what Jonathan needs. Pray that we will not run into any difficulties or obstacles. Pray that I will be open minded to their care and the information I receive from them. Pray that I will not be defensive but that I will acknowledge God and honor Him in my conversation with her. Pray that I will not fret or be anxious about this, but that I will trust my God who is faithful. Because we are going to VBS this week, they are letting us take the diabetes class that you are suppose to take before your doctor visit in a couple of weeks. Also be in prayer for Jonathan as he goes to his Scottish Rite visit on Monday, July 16 at 9 am. I have no idea what to expect at this appointment. I am praying that God will provide a way for Jonathan’s foot to be corrected without surgery. Above all, I want God’s will to be done. Please pray that God will give me the grace to accept that will, especially if it is not what I am asking for. Pray that I will not be anxious about this appointment either. You would think that as much as we have been through, the incredible things that God has brought us through and the amazing prayers that He has answered in our lives that it would be easy for me to trust Him with these issues that are coming up. I wish I could say that I’ve got that down real well, but the truth is that I am bombarded with anxious thoughts as we approach these appointments. Knowing that you are praying for me, for Jonathan and for the doctors that we will be seeing brings me a great deal of comfort. So thank you for praying for us about these upcoming appointments. Thank you for checking on us, for loving us and for lifting us up in prayer. You are a blessing to us. I look forward to sharing with you all that God is doing in our family as we continue our journey through this experience. Thank you for making the journey with us. We love each and every one of you.

Philippians 4:6-7 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Well, I hope you will forgive me for my lack of posting for these last three weeks. I definitely did not intend to wait this long before posting. I have thought every day this week that I needed to sit down and write and it just never happened. Thank you for continuing to check on us and for waiting for me to get to the computer and write.
Most of our three weeks have been spent preparing for and getting Elizabeth and Sarah through their choir tours. Most of the time I feel like the majority of my time and focus is on Jonathan and things pertaining to him. It has been a good thing for me to focus my attention on Elizabeth and Sarah these last three weeks and the things going on in their lives. During the first week of June, we got Sarah ready for her trip to Gulfport, Mississippi. She left on Sunday, June 10 after singing in the early service. She spent the week there and called every night to talk to me and let me know what was going on. One of my good friends was a sponsor on her trip, so it was easy for me to let her go and not worry about her because I knew she was in good hands. I wasn’t sure how Jonathan would do while she was away. He had a busy week while she was gone so he didn’t have a whole lot of time to sit there and miss her. Elizabeth was also still here for most of that week as well. Jonathan spent each afternoon in Upward Basketball Camp at Lakeland. Elizabeth went with him every day but Friday and she helped coach one of the teams. For the week or so leading up to camp, Jonathan would occasionally ask me if I was going to come with him or if he was going to go by himself. We had a talk one morning about how he feels insecure when he is not around his family. He told me that it bothers him to be like that. He said that he can do things by himself as long as he knows his family is in the same general area, like going to Sunday School or choir on his own, knowing that we are also at the church. But he has a harder time going to things by himself when he knows that we are not there as well. We are working on helping him get better with that. I tried to help him see that if he will start doing some of these small things on his own, like going to Awana, VBS, and Upward Camp by himself, and he sees that he can do it, that it will help prepare him to do bigger things like Disciple Now, Mini Choir Tours, and eventually Youth Camp and Big Choir tours. And then some day, he’ll be ready to go to college, or get married and start his own family. So we are praying that the Lord will continue to work in his life regarding this particular issue. It’s nice to know that Jonathan loves us so much and loves being around us. I am very thankful for that. But I do want him to continue to grow towards feeling secure and in his ability to do things on his own without one of us needing to be there. It will be a joy to see God accomplish this in his life over the years. He did great a basketball camp. I think I heard that he only got hurt just once, but otherwise, he did really well. And he had a great time also. On the last day of camp, Friday, June 15, we got up and left the house at 5:30 am to take Elizabeth to the airport to send her off to Cleveland, Ohio for her choir tour. I am utterly amazed at home many people are up and out at that ungodly hour of the morning. After getting her off and getting Dad off to work, Jonathan and I laid back down for a short nap before going to Upward Camp for the afternoon. On this day, he was completely on his own. He did fine, of course. That day, they played their final game for the parents about an hour before camp ended. Jonathan got to play and did a great job. I can’t wait to see what this next season of Upward has to hold for Jonathan. It will be bittersweet because it will be his last year to play, but after watching him play these last two seasons since his illness and seeing the progression, I know that it is going to be an awesome and very memorably last season for him. After his game was over, Jonathan got to go on his very own mini tour with his cousin Emily and his wonderful Aunt Keby. He left for “Keby Tour 2007” on Friday afternoon and came back on Saturday afternoon around dinner time. They went to a very fun wave pool in Dallas and spent the evening playing there. After that they went to Keby’s house and made “Keby Tour” T-shirts. Jonathan designed his own and put a cross/Bible picture on the front and a fish with “Jesus” inside it on the back. After sleeping in on Saturday morning, they had a very special lunch at a nice restaurant and then went to see Fire House Dog since it was somewhat rainy outside. Jonathan also got to go do some shopping for himself, which is an Aunt Keby specialty. He felt very special and had a great time. I’m not sure that there has ever been a time that our kids did not enjoy their time with Aunt Keby. She is a wonderful treasure that the Lord has blessed our family with. She does so much for us as a family and also for our children. She is an incredible blessing to us and we love her dearly. Sunday was Father’s Day and we took our very special Daddy to lunch with both of our Grandpas at one of our favorite restaurants. It was definitely an incomplete celebration because we were missing our girls, but we tried to make it as nice for Lamar as possible. After lunch, Jonathan and I touched up Sarah’s room and got ready for her to come home later that night. Sunday was the first time Jonathan really talked about missing Sarah. He made her a welcome home card and talked quite a bit about how much he had thought about her and missed her while she was gone. I was a little surprised because he had not said much during the week about missing her. He was almost beside himself with excitement that she was coming home. When we got back to church around 5 pm, Sarah was there and we got to see her and give her a hug. Jonathan gave her the card he had made and then we went to church and listened to the Clarion Choir present their home concert and talk about their trip. They did a beautiful job and we were so proud of Sarah and so glad to have her home again. After the service, as we were leaving to go eat, Jonathan stopped Sarah and said, “Okay, I just have to do something.” She stopped, looked at him, and he threw his arms around her and hugged her really big and told her how much he had missed her and how glad he was to that she was home. It was probably one of the sweetest moments that we shared. Although they may not always act like it, our kids are very close, and it is a great joy for me to see them love each other so much. Jonathan stuck pretty close to Sarah for the rest of the evening and they have had a great time spending the week together this past week. Not much has happened this week as we have tried to let Sarah rest up from her trip and spend as much time sharing stories from her trip as she wanted to. Jonathan did set an unusual record this week. On Wednesday, we were at Grandpa Cooper’s house visiting with them before they left for Israel on Thursday morning. While we were there, Jonathan had some beef jerky for a snack. It was kind of tough. Right before we left, he handed me his piece and said he thought his tooth was about to come out. So he went to the bathroom, got his tooth out and gave it to me. He had several teeth that have needed to come out, and that was one of them. He took his beef jerky back and kept eating. As we were walking to the car, he spit another tooth out in my hand. We thought that was wild enough! As soon as we got home, which was 2 minutes later, he went to the bathroom and pulled 2 more teeth out! He lost 4 teeth in a matter of about 30 minutes! That was definitely a record at this house! The tooth fairy was severely unprepared for this event, but managed to scrape together about $8 in change, which Jonathan took to the bank on Thursday and changed into some bills. It was pretty amazing. Last night, we got to go to the Mesquite Rodeo with the Starlight Foundation. We got to eat barbecue and we had great seats watching the rodeo. It has been several years since we have been to the rodeo. It was a lot of fun and we had a great time together. Jonathan and Sarah both got their faces painted with a big lizard in honor of Elizabeth, who is affectionately know by most everyone these days as “Lizzard”. We are anxiously awaiting for Tuesday afternoon when we get to have Elizabeth back with us. You are all invited to come to the home concert on Sunday evening, July 1 at 6 pm in the Sanctuary at First Baptist Dallas. Chapel Choir Home Concerts are always wonderful and this one will be even more special because Elizabeth will be part of it. We will have our family together again. Thank you so much for your prayers for our girls. Pray that God will continue the work He has started in their lives and that their commitment to Him will go deep and they will bear much fruit.
Thank you, as always, for your faithful prayers and continuing to check on our family. I know there are many people who are currently going through difficulties with their children. I check on several precious children and their families daily, and I pray for them. Not all of them are fortunate enough to have people encourage them and lift them up on their journeys. I often read the comments that people leave to these families and I am amazed at the words spoken by many of them. Not all of them are encouraging and supportive. One of the biggest blessings of this journey of ours has been all of you precious people who have always been so supportive, encouraging and prayerful for our Jonathan and for our entire family. There has never been an unkind or unsupportive word from anyone in these 2 ½ years of this incredible journey of our family. This fact alone is a treasure that we will never take for granted. We could not have made this journey without you and it encourages us to know that you are still on it with us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for loving us and for caring for us in such a wonderful way. Here are some things to pray about. First of all, we are praising God that Jonathan has gone almost one whole month without any sleeping medicine! He is doing very well and I can’t even remember when the last time was that he woke up during the night. When I think back to this time last year and how difficult and discouraging this issue was for him, it makes me smile and praise God for this miracle that God has brought about in Jonathan’s life. Thank you for praying us through this issue and praise God with us for this wonderful blessing. Also, I finally received word just yesterday that Jonathan has been approved to be seen at Scottish Rite. His appointment is set for July 9, but I am going to have to change that since that is the first day of VBS. So I will try to let you know when the exact date of the appointment will be. Please be in prayer for that visit. The Lord knows how much I want Jonathan’s foot to be corrected and healed. He also knows how much I would like to see that accomplished without surgery. Pray that His will would be done and that we will be willing to trust Him no matter what His will involves. Also, continue to pray for progress with his weight loss and exercise. He is still stuck at 115 pounds, but at least he his not going up. Jonathan and his Daddy go to the gym a couple of times together during the week and he is proud to be following in his Daddy’s footsteps and tackling some of the difficult workout things with him. He is doing great and I’m so proud of him. Jonathan has also made an impact on others at the gym, as some have stopped and spoken a word of encouragement as they watch him work so hard. Continue to pray for his blood sugar levels and for his upcoming endocrine appointment. I’ll let you know when we are going and who we are going to see as soon as I know! May God bless each of you this week with His most awesome blessings. We love each of you more than we will ever be able to express.

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come unto Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Monday, June 4, 2007

Wow! I feel like it has been ages since I have updated! It’s not that there isn’t anything to write about, it’s just that we are getting to live our lives and there are always things to do. One of the biggest perspective changes for me over these last two years has been how I view each day of life. Every day is such a precious treasure. I wake up each day thankful that we are all together at home and we are well. I go through my day doing all the things that are considered “normal, everyday stuff”. And then I go to bed with all of my family tucked in around me, usually very tired, but always so thankful that we are together at home at the end of our day. I pray that this perspective never goes away. Again, I believe that I am the most blessed person on the face of the earth. Well, since it’s been forever since I’ve updated, let me see if I can even remember what has been happening in our lives enough to share with you! Let’s see, back on Tuesday, May 15, we had our last horse therapy session for the season. We didn’t actually know it was our last one until later that week. Those emails telling us that the season is over are usually the most disappointing news we get. I wish I could adequately express how much we love going to horse therapy. Usually those two words are never used in the same sentence…love and therapy. But with horse therapy, it’s completely different. We love everything about it. It has been such a tremendous blessing not only for Jonathan but for our entire family. Jonathan has made so much progress this season. So far, this year has yielded the most progress in all areas of Jonathan’s life since his illness. It has been exciting to see the progress he has in so many different areas. He was really beginning to make some headway with handling Lolly on his own without Mrs. Julie’s assistance. I hate it that we had to stop at this point. Nevertheless, God is in control of Jonathan’s life and His timing, of course, is always perfect. We will miss Mrs. Julie and Lolly for the summer, but we are already anticipating the season beginning in September. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for Jonathan then! On Wednesday, May 16, Jonathan received his award for finishing his third TNT Book in Awana. I hope you have had a chance to see the new pictures we posted. The last couple of pictures are of his Awana class. He had two awesome teachers this year who really stepped in and helped make this a great year for Jonathan. He participated in every aspect of Awana, even game time. We are so thankful for Sam and Billy and for the great job that Jonathan did on his memory work this year. On Friday of that week, Jonathan officially finished school. Sarah officially finished her school work the next week and Elizabeth finished her work last week. So as of this post, today is our first official day of summer vacation for everyone! Yippee! I love summer vacation! Most people think summer vacation is for the kids, but when you home school, summer vacation is for the Mom! We had such a wonderful, relaxing summer last year and I am praying and hoping for another great time of hanging out together with the three most awesome kids in the whole world. On Monday, May 21, we were in Ft. Worth celebrating Cousin Brent’s 3rd birthday, and on Thursday, May 24, everyone was at our house celebrating Jonathan’s birthday. We had a great time on Jonathan’s birthday. We spent the morning celebrating with Aunt Keby because she had to go out of town later that day. Then we all watched Shrek 2 in the afternoon while we waited for everyone to come over. We had dinner at Chick-fil-a and then cake and presents after that. Jonathan got lots of neat things for this birthday. The most important things he got were a new splash cymbal and stand and a new drum stool for his set. Uncle Timmy helped him put it all together and they worked on some drum things while Timmy was over. I wish you could hear Jonathan play the drums. He is sounding so good and week after week, he is able to accomplish one new rhythm after another. It’s so exciting to hear him play. I know that God is going to use this in Jonathan’s life and service to Him and I can’t wait to watch that unfold. I hope you enjoyed the pictures from the Easter concert that we posted in the album. Those are special pictures that we will always treasure. It was a great opportunity for Jonathan to get to play, but the most special part of that experience was playing next to his awesome Uncle. God is so very good. Hopefully one day we will be able to put a little video clip of one of the songs he got to play on. It will bring a smile to your face to hear it. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go camping this year for Memorial Day weekend, but we did have dinner at our house with Uncle Timmy and Aunt Keby. We taught Uncle Timmy how to play the Wii and we had a lot of fun together. Right now we are spending our days getting up later, doing random things around the house that need to be done, and getting Elizabeth and Sarah ready for their very first Choir Tours. Sarah will leave this Sunday, June 10 and Elizabeth will leave a week from Friday, June 15. They are both very excited about their trips. We are praying that God will make Himself known to them in a very personal way. We hope you will join us in praying for them as they go and serve Him during these trips. There will be a couple of days that Jonathan is by himself and it will be very quiet at home without his sisters. Please pray that he will be able to handle their being away without any problem. We have such a close knit family and we will miss the girls a lot while they are gone. Jonathan will get to go to Upward Basketball Camp next week during the afternoons. Even though Elizabeth will still be in town most of that week, Jonathan may be going on his own to camp each afternoon for the first time. He knows he can do this on his own, but he seems somewhat insecure about it. Doing things on his own has been a very slow process for Jonathan. He just likes knowing he is in the same general area as the rest of his family. So this will be a big deal for him if he is able to go to camp by himself. I hope you’ll keep that in your prayers as you pray for him over the next week. We are still going to the gym and working out every day. Jonathan is still at 115 pounds. We are still on the same diet we have been on since the beginning of the year. We hope to see him begin to lose again soon. He looks good and he is sliming up. He is able now to wear pants and shorts that button/zip instead of having to wear ones with elastic waists. He even has to wear a belt with some of them so they won’t fall off. He is getting taller and his ring is getting to be too big for his finger. We are thankful for his progress so far this year and pray that God will allow us to reach 100 pounds by the end of the year.
Well, that’s about all there is to tell you. Thanks for checking on us and for waiting for me to update. We are doing well. We are living life and we are thankful for it. I remember praying, after Jonathan got out of the hospital, that God would restore to our family the time we were apart during his illness and rehabilitation. More than two years later, He is still answering that prayer. God has removed every outside distraction from us and allowed us to focus our time and attention upon our family. Although that has not always been easy on us, I see God’s hand of provision in it and it has brought a peace and a healing to our family that we would otherwise have never known. Oh how blessed it is to be at rest in the center of God’s will. As always, we are so thankful for your prayers for Jonathan and for our family. Please continue to pray for Jonathan’s progress in losing weight. Pray that he will remain diligent in his exercise and that God will allow us to see more weight loss begin again soon. Pray for me as I search for an endocrinologist. I need to have one chosen by July 1 so we can get to the doctor as soon as our new insurance takes effect. There still has been no word from Scottish Rite. Please pray that we will hear from them soon if this is what God desires to use to correct Jonathan’s foot/walking. Pray that I will trust Him to use the means that He desires for Jonathan’s healing and that I will wait patiently on Him. Also, please pray for Jonathan’s sleeping. Since the last time we tried to take him off his medicine, we have only been giving him ½ of a pill each night. He has slept perfectly with that small amount. On June 1, we decided to try again to take him off of the medicine completely. So far he is doing well. He has only woken up briefly one time each night for these four nights. I was told it takes about 2 weeks to get completely out of his system, so please pray for him that he will be able to sleep soundly each night without the medication, even after it is completely out of his system. Please pray for Elizabeth and Sarah as they leave to serve the Lord on their Choir Tours. And pray for Jonathan as well while they are gone. We love each of you and are so blessed by your love and prayers for us. May God pour out His most precious blessings on you this day because you are such a blessing to us. We love you all.

Ephesians 1:3-6 - Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love H predestined us to be adopted as Hs sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with Hs pleasure and will--to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves.