Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Well, I’m finally here with an update! Thank you for continuing to check on us and for patiently waiting on me to write. The Lord has been good to us and we are doing well here. We have just been busy living life; nothing out of the ordinary, just doing what we are supposed to be doing right now. I have learned since Jonathan’s illness that our lives don’t have to be extraordinary to be thankful for them. God is in the everyday; He gives us our everyday. It is a precious gift from Him. Sometimes we fail to realize how precious those ordinary, everyday lives are until they are taken away from us for a while. I find myself constantly aware of that fact now. I pray that God never again has to remind me to treasure the gift of life that He gives us each day. Life takes on a different outlook after a lesson like that. God is so very good. Well, let me see if I can back track a couple of weeks and share with you what has been going on. We had a wonderful Easter Sunday. Everyone looked very nice in their beautiful Easter clothes. You will see pictures one of these days. We had lunch at Grandpa Cooper’s house with all of the family and enjoyed a nice afternoon with all of them. That night we went and shared in the Lord’s Supper with our Lakeland friends and family. It’s always a blessing to return to Lakeland and worship with them. We are blessed to have two church families to belong to. The day after Easter, Elizabeth and Sarah both had friends off of school, so we took the day off of school as well and just hung out with friends and went to see a movie. It was a fun, relaxing day. We have spent the last couple of weeks just having normal school days at our house. We are looking at the last 4 weeks or so of school. I am so thankful that this year is almost over. This has been one of the hardest school years for our family, but God has faithfully brought us through it and we are anxiously waiting to finish and start our summer. Everyone is doing great on schoolwork. Elizabeth has the most work to do and has been diligently working on her first year of high school. She has had a difficult work load and overcome many obstacles to finish this year. I am so proud of her. Sarah has also done a great job this year and been able to accomplish most of her work on her own this year. Jonathan has definitely improved from last year. We have gone farther this year than we did last year, although we will not finish all of his math book again this year. He has improved significantly on his spelling. Everyday he begins by writing out his spelling words and then studies them on his own and takes a test at the end of each week. He finished his spelling tests for the year this week and has done a great job. I have been able to give him grammar assignments that he has been able to complete on his own. This is a definite change from last year. He continues to improve in his reading and writing so that he can do more things on his own. We will finish more than half of his math book this year, which is much more than we did last year. He is understanding more and more each time we work on his math. I anticipate this to continue to improve each year. Jonathan has also done a phenomenal job on his Awana verses. He will complete his Awana book tonight with 3 weeks to spare. He has said an average of 3 verses in each section which means that throughout this book, he will have learned and recited somewhere between 150-200 verses this year. I have seen him grow in this since the beginning of the year. He struggled some during the first half of the year, but he has really improved in this second half. I am so proud of him. Jonathan continues to make great progress in his drumming. Mr. Brian does such a great job with him and he absolutely loves learning to play the drums. He is learning new things all the time and I can hear the changes in his playing when he practices. Since I wrote last, Jonathan has only been able to have horse therapy 1 time because of the weather. We have been rained out the last couple of week. We always love it when it rains but not when it interferes with horse therapy. When we did go a couple of weeks ago, Aunt Keby got to come and go with us. This was the first time that Jonathan rode Lollypop. Lolly is a wonderful horse and Mrs. Julie is the most wonderful therapist we could ever ask for. We have really seen Jonathan improve just in the short time he has been riding this session. He is learning to balance better in his legs and feet. He is getting stronger and stronger each time he rides. He always has beautiful posture when he rides and he looks so professional. Each week he improves in his two-point and standing in the stirrups while Lolly walks without losing his balance. He is able to get on the horse now without help but he usually needs a little bit of help getting off. This week he mounted and dismounted all on his own. It’s just a wonderfully encouraging experience for Jonathan each week and we are so thankful for this blessing in his life. We are praying that if it rains next week, it will come on another day besides Tuesday. Jonathan continues to work hard on his exercise. We are all still working on our weight loss, exercise and dieting. God has been gracious to allow us to see some significant results but we are all still working towards reaching our individual goals. It’s so great to see progress. It helps us to continue to be diligent and not give up. Jonathan is hovering around 117-118. He continues to diligently exercise each day. I was thinking just yesterday about how Jonathan has changed in this area since we began this in January. For the first two months, I would have to tell him that we were going to go walk each day. It would probably be accurate to say that this was not his favorite thing to hear. Most of the time he would say, “Oh, we are going to go walk today?” But now, everyday I hear him say, “Mom, when are we going to go on our walk?” Even if I thought we might skip our walk on a day, he reminds me that we are going. He is doing so well riding his bike now. So, since he can ride his bike, ride his scooter and walk, we split it up and do a different one each day. Truth be known, he would ride his bike everyday. The last couple of times he has ridden his bike and his scooter, he has done it without stopping. This alone is a great accomplishment. He pushes himself so hard when he rides his bike, especially on those uphill streets. Sometimes he goes so slow and pushes so hard, but he is so very determined and he never complains about how hard it is. He is one awesome kid! Jonathan spent the afternoon at church this past Sunday practicing for the spring musical that the Children’s Choir will be presenting this Sunday evening. He is really looking forward to his first acting role since his illness. He is the Big Bad Wolf in the musical “Once Upon a Time.” He loves his choir and is doing such a great job.
Well, as you can see, there is nothing extra spectacular to update, but so much to be thankful for in the everyday. God continues to work in our family and to show Himself strong on our behalf each and every day. Thank you for your constant prayers and for regularly checking on us. Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Pray that he will continue to lose weight. I don’t know if he will make his goal of 110 by his birthday or not, but we will be thankful for whatever God gives us by that time. Pray that he will continue to see results because of his faithfulness to work hard at his diet and exercise. Pray that he will be able to finish school well over these next few weeks. Please continue to pray for his appointment with Scottish Rite. They responded again with another request for more information, so we patiently wait to hear back from them again. Also pray that God will show us where we need to go for his endocrine care. I can’t tell you how much I would just love to see Jonathan’s healing and not have to worry about an endocrine doctor, but I know that God’s timing is perfect and that He will be faithful to show us who we need to see until His healing comes. Pray that his blood sugars will remain good. We have struggled with some slightly higher levels lately, so pray that we will know whatever changes we need to make in order to help keep them within normal range. Also pray for our family as we will be leaving Thursday morning to go out of town and will return late in the day on Saturday. I’ll share more about that next time. Just thank God with us for His blessings in our everyday lives. God is faithful and His love endures forever. Thanks again for checking on us, dear friends. We love and cherish each one of you dearly. Until next time…

Psalm 34:8-10 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! 9 O fear the LORD, you His saints; For to those who fear Him, there is no want. 10 The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; But they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

This has been a wonderful week for our family in many ways. I have so much to share with you. God has been very good to us. First of all, let me start out by telling you about last Sunday. I told you in the last post that last Wednesday Uncle Timmy let Jonathan help him play the percussion/drums in our dress rehearsal for our Easter musical. What I didn’t tell you was that Tim was going to see if Jonathan could help play in the actual concert on Sunday evening. When Tim told Jonathan that, he was beside himself with excitement for the rest of the week. Just the thought of the possibility made him so very proud. So Jonathan came to rehearsal on Saturday afternoon, and Tim helped him play the tambourine, the suspended symbol and the timpani drum on several songs. Jonathan did really well and Tim did a phenomenal job of playing everything and talking Jonathan through everything all at the same time. Jonathan was more excited than you can even imagine knowing that he was going to get to play in the concert. I was also excited but equally as nervous about it. But I was confident in Tim’s ability to handle Jonathan and help him play without messing anything up. Well Sunday evening couldn’t get her fast enough for Jonathan. Aunt Keby found him a black suit coat and Uncle Timmy gave him a tie and cumber bun and Jonathan joined Tim, Steve Tucker and Charles Darus on the platform for the concert. Not only was Jonathan excited about this, but the entire choir was thrilled to have him participating. I can’t tell you how many people shared with me what a joy it was to see Jonathan playing. I had several tell me they couldn’t watch him because it made them want to cry. The miracle of Jonathan’s life continues to glorify God and causes people to acknowledge the power of our great God. What a wonderful blessing. The concert was wonderful. I tried to pay attention to my music and watch Jonathan as much as I could. Jonathan faithfully watched his Uncle Timmy for instructions, he counted out his part when he needed to and he handled everything with great ease. On the very last song, Jonathan got to join Tim with a final roll on the timpani drum. It was a huge ending to a huge accomplishment for Jonathan, one that makes me smile and brings tears to my eyes even as I write about it. Jonathan was flooded with compliments and congratulations by many, many people. He was so proud. He thanked his awesome Uncle Timmy for helping him play and also thanked our wonderful director, Eddie Farguson for allowing him to play. It was another record awesome day for Jonathan, one that he will not soon forget. Well, you would think that after a mountaintop experience such as that, it would take a lot to bring someone down. However, for me, I think I fell off the mountain the very next day. I finally heard back from both Scottish Rite and Children’s endocrinology. Scottish Rite asked for more information to see if they will be able to help Jonathan, so I sent back what they asked for and am waiting to hear from them again. Childrens called to give me the dates of the appointments. Since it has been two years since we saw them, they require us to take their Diabetes Education class before we can see the doctor. As I told you in the last post, our very expensive, very poor insurance just recently got worse. We now have an HSA account which means we still have to pay almost the same amount for the insurance each month then we have to put money in this account to pay for our doctor visits, prescriptions, etc. There are no copays, just discounted prices on these things. Last week I paid $142 for one month’s worth of one of Jonathan’s insulins. He has to have two insulins. $142 was the discounted price. That was a savings of about $8 from the full price. So I asked Childrens for the cost of the diabetes class and doctor visit. The class alone costs $400. I don’t even know what the doctor visit costs. So needless to say, our financial needs caused me such significant discouragement on Monday and Tuesday. But I continued to pray knowing that God has faithfully provided in the past and knowing that He has to take care of these needs because His Word says He will. To add to my disappointment, when we got to horse therapy on Tuesday, we were met with the news that Jonathan was going to have a new horse. When we began this session, there was a conflict with our horse Gracie. There was another boy who has ridden Gracie for 4 years who moved his lesson to the same time as Jonathan this year, which caused the conflict. They tried to get him to change horses and ride another one, leaving Gracie for Jonathan. This child apparently has a difficult time with change and was not adjusting well to the new horse. Jonathan is the most easy going, flexible, easily adjustable to change kind of person you could ask for. I was the one who had a hard time with the change and he just took it all in stride and was not bothered one bit by any of it. He convicts me. So, Jonathan is now riding Lollipop. He is one of the biggest horses I have ever seen. He’s not tall, just a huge horse. He is one of the horses that pulls the carriages for those who can’t ride horses yet. Since we have never experienced the carriages, Mrs. Julie hooked Lollipop up to a carriage and showed Jonathan how to drive. Jonathan took Elizabeth, Sarah and me for a ride. Lollipop seems like a great horse. He is also a beautiful light brown horse with a huge blonde mane. You can see his picture on their website: Anyway, even though I allowed our circumstances to get me down, the Lord was faithfully working His plan of provision for our family, although unknown to me at the time. By the end of the day, Lamar had an appointment to interview for a job with a company that he has been working with for the last couple of weeks. By Wednesday afternoon, he had accepted the offer and will soon be working for a company called Essilor. Not only is this God’s will and direction for Lamar in his work, but the biggest provision is that our insurance cost will be cut more than half and we will be going back to the same insurance company we had when Jonathan was sick, which we know to be good insurance. Again I am convicted that I let my circumstances control my joy and attitude and yet I am humbled that God was so gracious to provide for us despite my discouraged outlook. So needless to say, we are very excited about the potential this new job brings to Lamar. We have been seeking the Lord’s direction for some time now about this and we are so thankful for God’s answer to this prayer.
We are still diligently working on our diet and exercise. Jonathan is still riding his bike on his own and getting better with it all the time. He finally dropped another pound this week, so we are encouraged about that. He is now at 119 pounds. Lamar and I also continue to lose weight and we are all very encouraged about our progress. Please continue to pray for us as we remain diligent in this process. Pray especially for Jonathan that he will continue to lose weight. Our goal is 5 pounds for the month of April and 10 pounds by his birthday, May 24. Please pray with us that we will be able to find another endocrinologist for Jonathan to see. Please pray that the Lord will guide my search and that we will find the exact doctor that we need for Jonathan. Continue to pray for the possibility of Scottish Rite. Jonathan’s legs, hips and ankles continue to get stronger the more we exercise. Please pray that we will be able to find help to correct his foot that does not require surgery. Join us as we praise God for His wonderful work in Jonathan’s life and His provision for our family. Pray that we will be faithful to trust Him with our whole heart and make Him known in all things. He alone deserves the glory.
Easter is such a special time for our family. Elizabeth, Sarah and Jonathan were all saved around Easter. Elizabeth and Sarah were both baptized on Easter and Jonathan made his profession of faith on Easter. Jonathan played the part of a young crippled boy named Micah who was healed by Jesus in 8 Days 3 years ago. You can watch the video here on the website (8 Days 2004). It is one of the most moving things for me to watch. Scroll down and you can watch the next most moving event for us, Easter 2005. Easter not only represents the ultimate victory of the resurrection of Christ, but the power of God to breath life back into our precious son and raise him up again. Easter will have profound meaning for our family forever. And yet if Christ had not risen from the dead on that Easter Sunday morning 2000 years ago, our hope and faith would be in vain. It is our prayer that you will experience afresh and anew the profound impact of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in your life. Hallelujah to the Risen Lamb!

So Shall We Live – Light of the world with hope fills the sky, for gone is the power of the darkness. The tomb that held the Son of God breaks with a cry from heaven, “He who was dead is risen! Up from the grave ascended! The reign of death is ended!” O, Saints rejoice and lift up your voice, for we bear the wounds of our Saviour. And just as Christ was crucified, we who are buried with Him, are reaised in newness with Him. We share His resurrection, our blessed liberation. So shall we live, for His cross has gone before. Christ has spoken our freedom, He’s broken all our bondage and opened God’s heaven to man. So shall we live, and so shall we reign in glory and power, now and forever. Blessed is the name of the Lord! Amen.