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.

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