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.