Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 30, 2009

DECEMBER 30, 2009

Today we celebrate the 5 year anniversary of God's amazing grace in our family. On this day 5 years ago, as our lives began to change moment by moment, I truly could not see or imagine anything beyond the moment we were in, much less imagine 5 years from then. And yet, by the overwhelming grace of God that was all sufficient for each of those difficult moments then, and every moment since then, we are here 5 years later at this moment in our lives. It takes very little for me to recall the thousands of memories that surrounded that life changing event...the exact hour that certain things happened, the faces of the people in the hospital that I did not know that God ordained to care for us, the hugs and tears of family and friends who were there in those early, very dark hours, the waiting room full of people there praying and lifting us up before our Father who was listening and acting on our behalf, even when we could not see it. There are a million more memories that I imagine I will never ever forget, nor do I want to. I could go on and on and on sharing all those memories with you again. But you can read them all again right here on this blog. They are precious memories, though some of them very difficult, yet each one a precious part of God's will and plan for our lives. We are not the same family today that we were 5 years ago. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago. Our lives have been forever changed and for that I praise God. As long as God gives us life and breath on this earth, we pledge to honor Him and share, with anyone who will listen, all the He has done for us.

This anniversary would not be so precious without each and every one of you who have loved us, cared for us, prayed for us, and supported us in so many ways over the last 5 years. You will never know the impact that your prayers and notes to us during those 3 1/2 months we were in the hospital had on our family. Each one was a deposit of God's sustaining grace in our lives. We could not have made it without you. As I sit here and write, tears stream down my face as I remember the presence of our parents, our brothers and sisters, cousins, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, our pastors, friends young and old from both of our churches, friends near and far, friends we didn't even know that heard and just wanted to come and support us, and the hundreds of notes that were printed out and saved (to this day) from people all over the world who were praying for us. It overwhelms me and humbles me. And yet, it wasn't just then, during those 3 1/2 months, but day after day, month after month, year after year over these last 5 years you have stayed with us, encouraged us, loved us and supported us through all the ups and downs of our journey. Many of you didn't know us 5 years ago but have come into our lives since then and added your love and support as well. I'm so glad we are part of the family of God! Your presence and support in our family through these years has changed our lives forever.

While this special anniversary reminds of us God's work in our lives, His mighty power to heal and deliver, His faithfulness to hear and answer the prayers of His people, it is not a place to reside. Just like the Children of Israel, it is an event we will remember each year and one that we will talk of often. But God has so much more to do and accomplish in Jonathan's life and in the life of our family. We want to be faithful to honor Him with the life He has given us and allow Him to use us as He desires to make Him known. Thank you from the depths of our heart for sharing these years with us. You will never fully know, this side of heaven, the impact that each of you has made in our lives. I don't have words adequate to tell you. But God knows and He has been honored by your love. We pray His most incredible blessings on your lives for the overwhelming blessing you have been to us.

Each year we have celebrated together as a family on December 30. We just spend that day thanking God for our family and remembering how very precious the gift of life is. This year, thanks to the generosity of many of our amazing family and friends, we were given the gift of a trip to the Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine. We had an awesome room and wore ourselves out at the water park inside. We had a wonderful time together as we always do. We ended our wonderful day having dinner with some of our family. As Jonathan said, it was the most special way to celebrate this 5 year anniversary. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

As we look forward to 2010 we know there are miracles yet to happen in Jonathan's life. Yes, there will be issues and struggles that we will face, just as there have been over the last 5 years. But faithful is He who has called us, who will also do it...whatever it is we will face (1 Thes. 5:24). God has done incredibly more than we could ever have imagined in our lives these past 5 years, and we look forward with great anticipation to see His will and purpose continue to unfold in Jonathan's life.

Thank you again for your faithful presence in the life of our family. Thank you most of all for your prayers for Jonathan. Thank you for your love and encouragement to him and being the hands and feet that have brought him to this place in this amazing journey. You are dearly loved by Jonathan and our entire family. May God's blessings in this new year be more than you could dream for. And may God be praised, both now and in the days ahead, for His great love and His amazing Grace.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas to all our precious family and friends! I pray that all of you have had a wonderful holiday season this year. Ours has been very busy but very good. Much has happened over the last 2 months so let me give you an update on what's been going on.

God has blessed us and kept us free from illness this entire fall. We are so thankful for that. School has progressed pretty well with a few hiccups here and there. But then what school year doesn't have hiccups, right? Jonathan has done very well so far this year in school. He is very good at staying on top of his work and getting it done. He is not a procrastinator when it comes to school. He is handling 8th grade work pretty well and I am praying that this year will be good preparation for what he will encounter next year in high school. Did I just say that Jonathan will be in high school next year??? Wow! That is almost too fantastic to believe! But what a miracle milestone it will be for him.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our families. Then the Christmas season flew into action! We were busy for most of December with rehearsals and Christmas programs for a good 3 weeks. The kid's Christmas program was first. Our entire family participated in The Wonder of Christmas program with all of the children and student choirs at First Baptist. Everyone did great and it was a wonderful program. Elizabeth had a solo, Sarah sang on the praise team on a couple of songs and Jonathan was The Little Drummer Boy for that song. He had the privilege of playing a snare drum with two other guys in a special version of that song. He had to keep the same rhythm throughout the entire song. In the program, he was called the "Drum Captain". He did an amazing job! He was so proud of the opportunity to get to play, and he was such a blessing to so many people who had the chance to see and hear him play. A friend of our video taped the song and put it on facebook. I will post the link and I hope you will be able to watch it. God continues to give us opportunities to honor Him with the life He has given to Jonathan and show His mighty works that He continues to do in his life.

The next week was the Sanctuary Choir programs and they were wonderful as well. The third weekend, the kids went and shared their music at Operation Care. This is an event held in downtown Dallas to provide food, clothing, toys, and other services for the homeless in the metroplex. The kids did a great job and Jonathan got to play again at this performance.

We had a wonderful Christmas yesterday as a family and with all our extended family. And it was our first white Christmas at that! God remains faithful to bless and provide for us each and every year.

One of our special Christmas presents came early and has a story to go with it. Back in October, we walked through an experience that was new to our family. Our little Pug, Sophie, got very sick and we had to put her to sleep. I had no idea how difficult an experience that would be. I think we all cried for a week. She was 8 years old and she obviously left a hole in our family of pets. Well, in early December, we welcomed Samson Howard to our family. He is a sweet little mini Beagle and we are having a wonderful time having this little baby puppy in our home - minus all those little things about puppies that you can't wait to get beyond! I think he loves living here too.
Sweet Sophie Cooper
2001 - 2009

Samson "Sam" Howard Cooper

Can you believe that next week, we will celebrate 5 years since Jonathan's illness dramatically changed our lives? Wow! God is so good. As this time of the year approaches, memories of this life changing event are constantly on my mind, no matter what I am doing. Next week will be week of reflection for me and I will share more of those thoughts with you then.

Before I close, I want to share one more thing with you that I hope you will pray about for Jonathan. Right before Thanksgiving, Jonathan went for his regular endocrine checkup. At this appointment, the doctor voiced her concerns about Jonathan's slow growth. Up to this point, we have just dismissed it as him being a late bloomer since that's the way Dad was at this age. Lamar didn't have a growth spurt until end of 9th grade, which for Jonathan is a year and a half from now. She wanted to go ahead and do some blood work and a bone age x-ray and just see what showed up, instead of waiting until that much later. Blood work is not easy for Jonathan. His veins are very deep so it is not easy to find them. He always handles it so very well. I think it tortures me more than it does him. About 2 weeks later we got the results back. Everything came back within normal range, although some things were a low normal, with one exception. His growth factor was quite a bit lower - 114 instead of 152 which is the low normal. They are proposing that we continue testing by having him come in after a night of fasting and have two IV meds given and his blood checked every 30 minutes to see what they reveal. These meds would jump start the pituitary glands so they can check the growth hormone, since it actually releases the hormone at 2 am. This test would take about 4 hours. Potential side effects are nausia, dizziness, and faintness with both of them. The second one also has the potential of burning the skin if it leaks out of the blood stream into the tissue. That kind of concerns me. Beyond this extra test would be an MRI of the pituitary gland. Basically they want to see if the gland sustained any damage from the stroke. At this point, I have not committed to have this test done. The earliest appointment would have been early January. I want some time to do some research and pray about the necessity of this test. I am not afraid of doctors or their advice - even if it's something I don't want to deal with. However, I'm also not the type to do everything a doctor suggests, just because they suggested we do it. Because of all that Jonathan has gone through over these last 5 years, I am not interested in putting him through anything that is absolutely not a necessity. At the same time, I received all this information right in the middle of our busiest weeks of this season, therefore really leaving me no time to think it through like I need to. So I am asking you to join us as we pray about this further testing. Pray that God will give us all the information we need to process this and know what His will is about this particular issues. Pray that we will have wisdom, that we will trust Him and not rely on our own understanding. I know He has promised to guide our steps and I am claiming that for this issue. God has been so gracious to us in the past in that every test Jonathan has ever had run, the result has always been normal. Jonathan is willing to have the test run if that's what needs to happen. He is always asking me if I think he looks taller, so the desire to grow is in his heart. If the test results were to show a problem with the pituitary gland, he would have to begin taking growth hormone shots. My prayer is that the gland would be in perfect working order and that growth hormone shots would not be necessary for Jonathan. We will need to make a decision on this soon as his next endocrine visit is in February.

I can't tell you how much it means to me to know that you are praying for Jonathan and for our family. These past 5 years would have been so much harder and much more lonely without your constant love and prayers to carry us through. It is a gift that I never want to take for granted. So I thank you in advance for praying us through this particular issue that we are facing at this time with Jonathan. I know that God's plans for Jonathan are good and full of hope for his future - no matter what that might include. I also know that God promises that we will find Him when we come and pray and seek Him with our whole heart. Thank you for undergirding us with your prayers. We pray for God's richest blessings on you and your family during this precious Christmas season. I'll be back with more next week. I love you all so dearly.

Jeremiah 29:11-14a - 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,' declares the Lord.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October 10, 2009

I know it's been so long since I have been here, that I'm sure you are shocked to finally see a new post! You have no idea how many times I have said "I need to update the website" over the last 4 months. We have had such a blessed and extremely busy summer, and then before I realized it, school started. Well, you know what happens when school starts. Life gets busier than ever! But I have finally decided that it must be done, so here I am. So many of you are so faithful to check on us and to continue praying for Jonathan that I really do apologize for leaving you without an update for so long. Let me recap our summer and the last 4 months for you as best I can.

Last time I posted, we had made it through our week of working at Junior Camp and were about to leave for our very first Choir Tour. Jonathan did even better on tour than he did at Jr. Camp! Our trip was to Birmingham, AL. We got on a bus early Monday morning and got to Birmingham late in the afternoon. Tues. - Fri. we were up early every morning to do VBS, back at the dorms for lunch, off to do at least 2 concerts during the afternoon and early evening, having dinner somewhere and sometimes a special event in the evening, then back to the dorms
to meet before the day was over. It was a very full week, with very busy days. Jonathan only had one time when he really had a breakdown and that was Tues. night. I think he was just so tired that he couldn't make it anymore. We we skipped the meeting and got him into bed and he was fine the next morning, thanks to the extra sleep he got that night. It was truly the grace of God that gave him the strength and ability to make it through that week. The kids and sponsors were all so kind and helpful and made sure that he was okay throughout the week. It was another great first experience for Jonathan. We are now anxiously awaiting to hear where tour will be next summer, and I'm pretty sure he won't miss it for the world! Thank you for all of your prayers for Jonathan during those couple of weeks of travel. He did great!

The girls traveled to Chicago for their tour at the end of June/first of July . They also went to Florida for Youth Camp at the end of July. Since it was so far away and included a 14 hour bus ride, we opted not to let Jonathan go to camp this year. Hopefully it will be closer next year and he can go then. During the couple of weeks at home in the middle of July, we celebrated Elizabeth's 17th birthday. At that time, she became a licensed driver! Once they returned from camp at the beginning of August, we spent most of that month trying to get things cleaned and organized around our house before school started. June and July were so busy that they flew by without our getting much accomplished. As I have said before, once school begins, nothing but school and church gets done for the next 9 months. So we worked hard to get stuff done around here and get prepared for school to start at the end of August.

During those weeks, we were making plans to go on vacation. This year, we got to go on our first cruise as a family. Lamar and I have been on a couple before, but this is the first one that the kids got to go on. This is one of the things that I have dreamed about doing as a family but never really expected to get to do it. But God blessed, and we spent one of the most wonderful weeks together as a family on board the Carnival Cruise Ship Ecstacy, sailing to Progresso and Cozumel Mexico. We left from Galveston, so we went down on Sunday and spent the day in Galveston. On Monday morning, we boarded the ship and set sail Monday afternoon. We sailed until Wed. morning and then went ashore to Progresso. We took an excursion to one of the Myan Ruin sites Uxmal. It was a beautiful place with lots of exploring to do. But it was a very hot day so it was a little tough on Jonathan. But as always, he persevered and managed to make it through all of the walking and the heat. On Thursday, we went ashore in Cozumel and went to a beautiful beach called Chankanab where we all snorkled together for the first time. It took Jonathan and I little longer to get the hang of it than the others, but once we did, we had a great time. After spending the morning on the beach, we had lunch and then went shopping for a little while before boarding the ship again and sailing home on Sat. morning. We had a great room with a wonderful window. We all stayed in the same room and it was perfectly fine for all 5 of us. The girls met a bunch of kids their age at one of the clubs and had a great time with them all week. Truly, there was not one thing to complain about on the whole trip - except that we had to leave. Saturday we drove home and spent the weekend in a little state of depression because our wonderful trip was over. It truly was a dream come true for our family, but for me especially. I can't think of anything I would rather do than spend time with my precious family. I am so thankful that God changed my whole life, my perspective and my priorities through the experience we went through almost 5 years ago. Oh the blessings I would have missed if He hadn't. This trip is one of those special memories that I will cherish forever. Here are some pictures and a couple of links to all our cruise pictures so you can see them all if you like.

School is going well so far. Jonathan is doing very well and handling pre-algebra like a pro. He is in the 8th grade, Sarah is in the 10th grade and Elizabeth is a Senior this year. Everyone is enjoying choir so far as well. Both the girls made it in the Master-Peace Ensemble and Jonathan made it in the His Kids Ensemble. We are looking forward to a wonderful year at church this year.

Last weekend, we celebrated Sarah's Sweet 16 birthday at the Hard Rock Cafe in Dallas. We had a great time and spent about 3 days celebrating this momentous birthday. Then on Tuesday of this week, we took our annual trip to the State Fair of Texas. I think we have been going to the State Fair for about 10 years now and we look forward to it every year. It was wonderful as always and we had a great time there.

So far, everyone here is staying well, with the exception of a few small colds. Nothing major. Jonathan is doing pretty well physically. He are still working on keeping good blood sugars and eating well. We are trying to stay active and do all the things we know we need to do. It's not easy, but we persevere, nonetheless. We are working hard over the next month to hopefully see some good results by the time we go to the doctor in November. God continues to bless us and we praise Him for His grace and provision in Jonathan's life.

Well, that's the last 4 months in a nutshell. I could not have asked for a more blessed summer than what God gave us. Again I apologize for taking so long to update. I am always keenly aware that you are there and praying and I want you to know that God continues to hear and answer those prayers each and every day. Thank you for your continued faithfulness to our family. May God bless each of you with His most wonderful blessings. We love you all.

Psalm 126:2-3 - Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful shouting. Then they said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them." The Lord has done great things for us; We are filled with joy.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

June 14, 2009

Well, one week down, one week left to go! I can't thank you enough for your prayers for Jonathan last week while we were at Jr. Camp. It was a wonderful week! He did amazingly well all week at Jr. Camp. He only had a couple of break downs all week, compared to a couple of break downs every day last year. I will tell you more details later when I have more time to write, but I wanted you to know how much your prayers carried us through this past week.

I am asking you again to pray for us this coming week as we leave first thing tomorrow morning for Clarion Choir Tour to Birmingham, AL. We are packed and ready to go again. This will be another new experience for Jonathan, so please pray for his ability to handle all that will happen this week. We will be up early every day, doing VBS in the morning, concerts for nursing homes, homeless shelters, and shelters for battered women and children, working with Habitat for Humanity and site seeing every afternoon/evening. These will be full and very busy days for us. Pray for strength, rest, and safety for us. We will return on Sat. evening. Our home concert will be Sunday evening, June 21. You are welcome to join us as 6:00 pm in the Sanctuary at First Baptist Dallas to hear the choir sing and share about the trip. If you are unable to come, you can watch the service live on line at Select the View/Listen to Service.

Thank you so much for bathing us in prayer this week. We will need every one of them! You are such wonderful and faithful friends. We studied this passage this morning in church and it made me think of how blessed we have been to have such a faithful band of friends to walk with us and support us these past 4 1/2 years. You have been our strength and encouragement and continue to be so even today. We love you all.

Ecc. 4:9-12 - Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

June 7, 2009

Well, I'm here to write, just before we walk out the door for a week. Tonight after church, Elizabeth, Sarah, Jonathan and I will once again make our way to Mt. Lebanon for a week of Jr. Camp with First Baptist Dallas. Last year, you will remember, Jonathan was a camper and experiencing Jr. Camp for the very first time. It was a good week for us, but very trying in many ways. The most unexpected part was how emotional that week was for Jonathan and for myself. This year, Jonathan is going as a helper instead of a camper. He will still be staying in the cabin with Mr. Buford like he did last year, but this year he will be the sidekick of his good friend Mr. Sam Peterson who takes pictures all week at the camp. Lamar and I have known Sam for many years, and he and his wife Janie have become dear and precious friends of our family over this last year. Jonathan is especially excited about getting to hang with Sam and I am so appreciative of Sam's willingness to give Jonathan the job of being his assistant. Jonathan keeps telling me that he is so excited about this week and has a good feeling that this is going to be a great week for him. He is expecting it to be different this year that it was last crying every day for one reason or another because he is older and stronger, and all those things. I know he is a different person this year than he was last year at this time. He is older and stronger and doing so good at so many things. I hope you will pray for him this week that he will be able to handle all that this week will bring and that he will see that significant change in himself during this week.

We will arrive home Friday afternoon and spend the rest of that day and the weekend preparing for Jonathan and I to leave at 7:30 on Monday morning for Clarion Choir tour to Birmingham, AL. for a week. This will be another first for Jonathan, a second week of being away from home and a whole different ball that he has not experienced yet. Please begin now to pray for Jonathan that this important week of Choir Tour will be a fabulous new experience for him and that he will be able to physically and emotionally handle this busy week of ministry. Pray for me as well. I know I have told you how emotional these events can be for me as I watch him struggle to experience these things and still push him to handle what I know he is capable of handling. Pray for God's blessings on both of us and on our choir and sponsors as well. We are both looking forward to these events with great excitement. I will write again when we return to share pictures and all that God has done for us. Thank you for your faithful prayers for us. We couldn't make it without you!

Ps. 100 - Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May 9, 2009

What a couple of busy months we have had at our house! It's been crazy busy here since I last posted, but it's all been wonderful things that God has allowed us the opportunity to live. We have been working very hard to stay on top of school. We are in the last 3-4 weeks of school, depending on which child of mine you are talking about. Jonathan is a very diligent student and never procrastinates doing his school work each day. He wants to get it done early every day, which means he gets it done on time, or early at the end of the year. I'm so pleased at how he is doing in school. Each year, God encourages me with his progress and I'm so thankful for that progress that has been made these last four years. We are coming upon the hardest years of all, but I know that 'We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength." Elizabeth and Sarah are also doing well, they are just working overtime here at the end of the year in order to get it all done by the end of May. They have been babysitting twin boys for a dear friend of mine for the last few months. They babysit every Tues. and Thurs. which has allowed them to make extra money for their trips this summer. They love their boys and the family that they are helping, and they have adjusted pretty well in their schoolwork with this new schedule this semester. During these last couple of months, they also spent many hours working their biggest fund raiser for tour, which is the World's Largest Garage Sale.

In the midst of all of that, Elizabeth had the opportunity to experience prom for the very first time...not once but twice! It was such an exciting time for all of us as this was a new experience for all of us. She took her good friend Harrison Ward and they attended the Home School Prom at the end of March, and then they attended Harrison's prom at Grace Prep at the beginning of April...two proms in less than a week! It was crazy but a lot of fun. Elizabeth was absolutely beautiful. It's hard to believe that she is already old enough to go to prom and will be graduating from high school one year from now. God has truly blessed us with the most wonderful children and we are in awe of His great blessing of being able to enjoy this special event with her. I have included a couple of pictures of her, but you can also see the album with all the pictures we took from the Home School Prom at the link that I have posted. It was a pretty amazing event.

Home School Prom

Grace Prep Prom

In the midst of all the excitement of proms, there was tons of music activities going on as well. At the end of March, Jonathan participated in his first Dessert Theater with the Clarion Choir. This is a fund raiser that the Clarion Choir (jr. high choir) does to help raise money for their trip. The kids sell tickets and then serve desserts to those who come before the present them with music that they have worked on. This year's theme was Rags to Riches. The choir did selections from Sister Act, Annie and Aladdin. Jonathan took his job of selling tickets very seriously. His goal was to sell 100 tickets (they only asked them to sell 10 each) and I believe he sold 80-90 tickets. I was super impressed with him! The kids did a great job and it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I was too busy helping to get to take any pictures. Lamar and I also participated in the Easter music, Bow the Knee, that the Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra did, so March and April were full of music for our family...something we all enjoy very much.

Just an extra little piece of information...Sarah was photographed for a billboard advertisement for our church that was up in Dallas at Northwest Hwy. and Greenville for several weeks. Here is a picture we took of it...kind of cool seeing yourself on a billboard! It's not something that happens to just everyone, so we were pretty excited about that.

After several busy weeks, we were able to get away for a few days and go camping, something we haven't had the chance to do in several months. We went to Lake Mineral Wells State Park. It was a great weekend with no rain, and we had a fabulous time together as a family, catching up with each other and catching up on our rest. Here are a couple of pictures, or you can see the album at the link I posted.

On Thursday of this week, we got to spend the day with some of our family and friends at Home School Day at Six Flags. We look forward to this day every year and we always have such a great time. It's the best day of the whole year to go to Six Flags! This year, we had no rain and pretty short lines to stand in. It was a little warm, but not miserable. It was great fun as it always is. Last night, Uncle Timmy and our good friend Gabi took the kids to see Denver and the Mile High Orchestra play in concert in Dallas. Jonathan got to meet the drummer and had him sign his drum sticks. They also got a picture with the lead singer and he also signed Jonathan's drum sticks. They had a great time there and Lamar and I enjoyed an evening together by ourselves.

Lastly, Jonathan had his endocrine appointment at the first of May. We have been struggling with high blood sugars for the last month or so. We increased his insulin and the week before we saw the doctor was the best week of blood sugars he had all month. His A1C was high and his weight increased again. His doctor is wonderful and just really encouraged him in his eating and exercising. Jonathan got a step counter for Easter and has really taken to using it every day and keeping track of his steps. This has helped tremendously in motivating him to be active. We are walking in the evenings and he and I try to walk some time during the day as well. We are really watching what we are eating and I'm trying to help teach him how to do that himself. He is's just a difficult process.

Thank you for continuing to check on us and pray for us. Please continue to pray for Jonathan as he works on losing weight and eating healthy. Pray that we can keep his blood sugars under control with both of those things. Pray that he will continue to grow taller. Lamar was a slow bloomer so I'm not worried about Jonathan, but he keeps waiting to get taller and he regularly checks to see how much he has grown. You can begin now to pray for his upcoming trips. June 7-12, the kids and I will be helping again at Jr. Camp. Jonathan will be a helper this year instead of a camper. Pray that he handles that well. We will get home Fri. afternoon, be home for 2 days and then leave early Monday morning, June 15 for Clarion Choir Tour to Birmingham, AL and return on Saturday June 20. This will be a long week, full of VBS, mission projects, concerts and recreation. Please pray that Jonathan will be able to handle this week well. I will be there with him, so pray for my emotional state as well. Helping him handle some of these things proves to be emotionally draining for me. Specifically, you can pray for strength for his feet and ankles, and stamina and energy for the week. I will update as soon as we return to let you know how everything went. I will be counting on your prayers and want to thank you ahead of time for faithfully praying for us. You are also welcome to join us on Sunday, June 21 at 6 pm for the home concert.

God is so good and remains so very faithful to our family. We are blessed beyond measure. Thank you for your faithful love and friendship. I pray that each of you Moms will have a wonderful, blessed Mother's Day. We love you all.
Deut. 7:9 - “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 14, 2009

It's been another long while since I have been here to update. We are all doing well and having a blessed 2009 so far. We have been busy, as usual, with school and church activities. Jonathan is really doing well in school. He diligently gets up and does his work every day. He seems to be catching on to every new thing he learns and we are on track to finish each subject by the end of the year, probably for the first time since his illness. What a blessing! There was a time, right after his illness, that I wondered if Jonathan would ever make it through high school. The learning was so slow and tedious. But each year, God faithfully encourages me with the progress that Jonathan makes, that one day, I know he will be able to graduate from high school. We have managed to get beyond the cold season. During this last couple of months, Jonathan seemed to suffer with a cold about every two weeks. We have been cold free for about a month now. Let me back up a little and share a few special things that have happened over the last couple of months.

Clarion Choir singing at Night of Praise

On February 1, Jonathan went to his first Super Bowl party. Since this is Jonathan's first year in the youth, it was his first chance to get to go. It was actually my first Super Bowl party as well. We spent the evening at the Saints Athletic Center in Dallas just hanging out, visiting with everyone and watching the game. Elizabeth and Sarah, of course, have their friends that they hang out with. Jonathan usually hangs out with us. I was so proud of him that he went out on his own a few times and just did his own thing instead of hanging out with Lamar and me the whole time. One time, he came up to me and told me he was going to go outside and see what was going on. He spent some time with other kids sitting on the floor watching the game. He walked around and talked to whoever was around and seemed to enjoy himself the entire evening. I continue to pray for a good friend for Jonathan. It tugs at my heart to see him doing things by himself when he is at a big group event. Everyone is always so sweet to him, but it's not the same as having someone to always be able to hang with. But Jonathan has always been kind of a "by himself" kind of kid, so he doesn't seem bothered by being on his own. Since I am the complete opposite, it bothers me to see him like that. But God knows what Jonathan needs and I know that He is more than able to give Jonathan exactly what he needs in every situation. The highlight of this evening was the speaker. His name is Ray Johnston. He briefly played for the Dallas Mavericks before he was diagnosed with leukemia. He, like Jonathan, ended up in a coma for a time, then had to learn to walk, talk, eat, and use his hands again, just like Jonathan. I was watching Jonathan as he listened to this young man share his experience. As soon as it was over, Jonathan walked right up to me and said, "I need to go meet this guy." He was the first kid to meet Ray and I stood there and listened to Jonathan tell Ray how much he appreciated his story and how he knew just what he had been through because he too had gone through much of the same thing. Ray was so sweet and smiled and told him how great it was to meet him and how much they really had in common. He was one of the kindest, most humble people I have ever met. It was a neat meeting for Jonathan and a blessing for me to see. Even though Ray had a bone marrow transplant, since he was with us on Feb. 1, he has been re-diagnosed with leukemia again. I hope you will join me in praying for this young man, that God would heal him and allow him to continue to share about the God he so strongly believes in.

The following weekend, Jonathan attended his very first Disciple Now weekend. It was also our first time to be part of that weekend as well. We hosted the 7th grade boys at our house since it was Jonathan's first year. I can't begin to tell you how proud I was of him and how he handled this weekend. We had six guys at our house, including Jonathan, so it was a good group to handle. They went to bed late on Fri. and got up early Sat. morning. Jonathan usually doesn't do well with going to bed late and getting up early, and he can be pretty whiny about it. But this time, he joined in without a word. The guys were outside playing football in the street at 7:30 am! When I looked out there, Jonathan was right in the big middle of them all. I couldn't believe it! He didn't even speak to me on his way out! He just joined in and hung with the rest of his classmates, whatever they were doing. After breakfast, quiet time and some Bible study time, they were back outside playing football. That was the game for the weekend. During the afternoon, we took them to Argyle to do a mission project. We were able to hook back up with Mrs. Julie, Jonathan's horse therapy teacher at SpiritHorse until last fall. She has just purchased her own ranch and is hoping to start her own therapy center there. We took the boys out to her place and they worked for a couple of hours weeding flower beds, shoveling hay, cleaning out the feed room, carrying off trash and whatever else needed to be done to help Mrs. Julie get her new place in order. The guys did such a good job and seemed to enjoy every minute of it. Once we finished working and eating lunch, they went right back to football and included Mrs. Julie's husband and youngest son. Overall, it was a great weekend and a great first time DNow experience for Jonathan. God continues to bless Jonathan with each new experience and it's so wonderful for me to see His hand at work in Jonathan's life.

This was our first year without Upward Basketball as a part of our family. It was a little weird, but there was plenty of stuff to fill it's place. The last game of the season, we went to watch our good friend Koby Walk play. Jonathan found out that Coach Ben's team was going to play later on that day, so we surprised him by coming back to watch his game. It was so fun to see the surprise on Coach Ben's face when he recognized that we were there. A couple of Jonathan's teammates were there and he got to see them and visit with them as well as Coach Ben's wife, Mrs. Leah. Coach Ben let Jonathan come hang out on the sidelines with the team. Most of the time, he stood right next to Coach Ben and several times I looked over to see Jonathan talking to him about the game. You could have sworn he was the assistant coach! It was fun to see them together again. God truly blessed our lives by bringing Coach Ben into it. There have been many people in Jonathan's life, since his illness, that God has brought to impact his life in a huge way. But there is no one who has impacted Jonathan's life to the extent that Coach Ben has. I'm not sure I can even put into words what I see when Jonathan is in the presence of this man. It is truly a God thing. I am so grateful that Coach Ben was willing to be used by God to touch the life of my young son. His genuine love and care, coupled with his constant encouragement and pushing Jonathan to be and do more than he thought he could, have helped make Jonathan who he is today. We all love Coach Ben and Mrs. Leah so very much. Not only did Jonathan get to see them at their game, but Coach Ben invited Jonathan to come to the award night and sit with him and his team, which he did. So Jonathan got to experience a little bit of the beloved Upward Basketball this year, which was indeed a real blessing, as it always has been.

Well, Jonathan continues to progress each and every day. We are still working on controlling good blood sugars. That seems to be getting a little harder since he is close to going through puberty. We still struggle with weight gain and activity, but we continue to work at it. I see progress in Jonathan in initiating activity, finding things to do, and keeping active instead of sitting around idly. He is progressing in persevering and working on things until he accomplishes them instead of quickly giving up if he can't get it. He is progressing in being more on his own instead of always being with me. He is handling most of his diabetes care on his own now. There is so much positive progress that I am thrilled and blessed to see. Thank you for your continued prayers for Jonathan. Thank you for continuing to follow his progress and for remaining faithful to travel this road with us all this time. You are a precious treasure to our family and we thank God for each and every one of you. God bless you all.
Psalm 138:8 - The LORD will accomplish what concerns me; Your lovingkindness, O LORD, is everlasting; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.