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.