Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday, February 24, 9:25 AM

Yesterday was a long day for Jonathan. He had his first out-patient doctor's visit, and like most of them, the wait was 45 minutes before he was even seen. So, about a 2and 1/2 hour trip out of the house left him pretty pooped the rest of the evening/night. That's kinda the way it'll be for a little bit. There's so much energy that he has to put in everything that it just wears him out.

Since he's been home he's been eating a lot better. He's gaining weight back little by little. That's one of the goal right now - to put some weight on him. He lost over 1/3 of his body weight while being in the hospital!! The major concern and need of prayer right now is still vision in his right eye. Everything else so far is healing at the pace it should, but he still has no sight out of his right eye and the vision in his left is sometimes strained. Because of that he has difficulty reading and focusing on words, writing in lines, etc. It's definitely a big concern for him, and one that we pray about often with him. So, please continue to join us in those prayers.

God is definitely still working in this situation and in all of us. Since the beginning we have seen the evidence of His hand all over this circumstance and over us. Now, we are only seeing that continue. We give him praise for all He's done and believe that the best is yet to come!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday, February 23, 6:50 PM

What an amazing day!!!
Over the past week or so discouragement had become a very big part of Jonathan's day. He was tired of the situation, tired of the hospital and once he got home, tired of not being able to do everything by himself. He questioned why God allowed this to happen, and why when he prayed he felt like there was no answer. Today the morning started with the same discouragement and the same questions. Dad and I left for church while mom stayed with him. I arrived home afterward to with mom smiling ear to ear and telling me there was something Jonathan wanted to tell me.

He started crying and said that this morning he woke up feeling like it didn't matter if he lived or died, it didn't matter if God saved his life because he wasn't hearing God speak no matter how much he prayed. After breakfast he was watching TV and stopped on what looked like a church service. It happened to be a service broadcasting from Southeastern AG University. There was a pastor from Louisiana that was speaking. Through that Jonathan said that God spoke to him - in that moment God called him to youth ministry!!!! Jonathan, through tear filled eyes, told me how great it was to finally hear from God, to know what is was He had for him. He said that he couldn't wait to get back to school. He also said God spoke to him to go back to Southeastern. I can tell you that by this time me, mom and dad were all praising God and crying. Rachel was on the phone and doing the same.

For days Jonathan has been saying that he wanted to hear from God. Today he did when he NEEDED to. It couldn't have been a more perfect timing. Today we've all been celebrating God's goodness. Megan, charlie's girlfriend, brought over the finished product of the prayer cloth. We read to him every one's messages and prayers of encouragement and with tears he asked me to tell everyone thank you.

Each part of this journey there has been new steps, new phases and new beginnings. Today is another one. God has so many things in store for Jonathan. We have always believed that. Now Jonathan knows that just the same. He anxiously awaits all that it is and we anticipate is will be greater than our greatest dreams. We serve a good God, a mighty a God, a faithful, merciful and Holy God. A God of miracles and a God of second chances.

Thank you a million times over for your constant prayers. Please continue. Tomorrow he has his first, of many, doctor's visits. We are continuing to pray and believe for the healing of his right eye and full restoration of healing in his left eye. Please be praying and believing, with us, for that as well.

The story has just begun....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Saturday, February 20, 9:00 am

Jonathan is home!!! Praise the Lord. It was a little overwhelming at first, but he's definitely more comfortable here. All of the same frustrations are there as his physical condition hasn't changed - only his physical lovation has. Still, he's happy to be home and we are so happy for him to be!! I will write more about the experience later when time permits. I just wanted everyone to know - HE IS HOME!!! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 10:35 AM

Not much in the way of big updates other than the fact that we've only got 2 more days til Jonathan gets to come home. Friday is the day, and these days seem to be dragging - even more so for him! Please, be praying for a few things to take place before he goes home - that his neck brace would come off, we are waiting the results of the x-rays for that, and that his G-tube in his stomach would come out. He is eating more on his own. Hopefully, enough to get that tube out. It drives him crazy and is a source of anxiety for him. So, the sooner that's out - the better!

Each day we see God's hand, and we thank Him for his mercy and His grace. On Friday Jonathan leaves the hospital - 3 months sooner than they originally anticipated! That is only God!! So, we thank Him for the miracles thus far, and are assured knowing that this is just the beginning. Continue to pray for his right eye and that the left eye would be fully restored as well. As we believe God is the same yesterday, today and forever - we know that the God who raised the dead to life, cause the lame to walk and made the BLIND TO SEE - will in fact do that for Jonathan. I can't wait til I can post that has, in fact, taken place. Be on the watch for that one. I believe it's coming soon!! :)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, February 16, 8:30 AM

Only 4 more days and Jonathan is home!!!! We have a calendar in his room and each day one of us marks off yet another day - one more down and one more closer to leaving that darn hospital. He is more than ready, and prays everyday that it would be sooner than Friday. :)

He's doing great physically. He's getting stronger little by little. He's able to stay upright for longer periods of time. What used to tire him out, a 5 minute ride in the wheelchair, is now a 15-20 minute ride. So, he's definitely progressing. Friday night I stayed with him and we practiced reading, writing and typing. All were difficult tasks, but he wanted to work on them nonetheless. Through that process he realized that more than hand/eye coordination - he needs God to heal his eyes. That becomes more and more a prominent need as his other functions and abilities regain their proper action - his eyes have yet to. So, please, please be praying with us for healing there. His right eye has no sight whatsoever. At this point it's not even responsive to light. He asked me for a flashlight Friday night and put it right up to his right eye - and nothing. He was definitely discouraged about that. So, we prayed, we talked and now we wait for that healing to take place.

With this whole situation comes some discouragement. No matter how many times you remind him that he's doing great, that it could be much worse or tell him stories of all God has done - the situation, in Jonathan's words, "still sucks". He's positive and praising God the majority of the time, but the past few days he's been a little weary and the process isn't going fast enough. So, please, as you pray for his sight to be restored, pray for continued joy in the midst of this. He's got a long road ahead, but he's more than ready for it to be over. So, pray that God's grace to walk this difficult road would cover him, and his love would surround him.

So, Friday is the day. We're all counting down, getting the house ready and trying to keep him looking forward. Last week they took x-rays of his neck. If all has healed they will be able to take the neck brace off. He's had it on for 12 weeks and it is driving him crazy. We anticipate that will be off either today or tomorrow. Just another step toward total and complete healing. We rejoice for every battle won knowing total victory is already ours!

Thank you so much for your prayers, your comments, your encouragement. Now that Jonathan is aware of what's going on he often asks to see his page, and for me to read the comments that you all leave. So, he is being encouraged by your support and prayers, and is amazed at the outpouring of love you all have displayed. We tell him often of all that have visited, sent emails, brought food, made phone calls, sent cards, etc. He knows he is loved, and we remind him of that everyday. . .

Only 4 more days to go - we're counting down!! :)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday, February 13, 9:05 AM

It's been another few days. Mom's feeling better and has been able to go up to see Jonathan during the day, and get her rest at night. NyQuil definitely helps with that. So, please continue to pray that none of us get sick again or that dad gets sick at all. We're trying to get the house germ free before Jonathan comes home. Praise the Lord - he'll be home in one week from today!!! February 20Th, Lord willing, is the date they gave us to bring Jonathan home. They've even begun, in the therapy gym, to show him how to get in and out of a car. So, we've got his room all set up - total makeover - and the house is all accessible for him. He's definitely ready and so are we.

Wednesday night I stayed with Jonathan. We just sat and talked for a few hours. We were both teary eyed at some points. I shared with him some of the miracles that God had done that he wasn't aware of - how the Lord dissolved the fluid on his brain, had him nod "yes" and "no" on Christmas day, etc. I read to him the blogs that I wrote about those specific events and the comments from so many of you that encouraged our hearts, urged him on and committed to pray for that very need. He was amazed and one of the few words that he could muster was "wow". Over and over again - that's all he could say.

We talked about how he felt about certain things and I was able to encourage him, while letting him know that those feelings are valid and it's OK to share those too. We reminisced about old times and talked about the future and what God might have in store. I shared some of my "scenarios" that I had dreamt up and asked him what he thought. He simply wants what God wants for him, and I assured him that's the best thing to want for and that's the best thing that he'll ever have. It was a great night, and one among many through this ordeal, that I will cherish.

Yesterday mom came to spend the day with him, and said he did great in therapy and was overall in good spirits. Dad came later in the afternoon, and I came back after work. As soon I showed up we got him in the wheelchair and took a stroll outside by the bay. We were all laughing and talking - just enjoying being out and being together. Jonathan is definitely back to his old self with all of his sarcasm and crazy humor. It comes in waves. On his birthday, Jonathan, after dad kept referring to himself as Dr.Newman and other such titles, said, "OK, your bishopness". I reminded him of that yesterday and it brought another big smile, which I love to see, and a big laugh from all of us.

Really, he's doing great - beyond what anyone, well, medical staff at least, anticipated. When they brought him in to the hospital they told us that he would be there anywhere from 3-6 months, 6 being the probability. He'll be going home days before we hit the three month marker!! Of course, he still faces a lot of challenges, so please do not be mistaken - your prayers are undoubtedly needed, but please be encouraged knowing - those prayers are working! We are seeing tremendous progress and we know the best is yet to come.

The most prominent need, amongst the many that there are, is for his sight. He still can not see at all out of his right eye. Though he can see out of his left, it is limited. He struggles to see out of that eye. So, please, as you pray for his recovery - pray for restored sight. We have told him, and read to him, the many times of those that God restored sight to. We can't wait to tell you that God has done the same with Jonathan.

Thank you all for your prayers. I asked Jonathan if there were anything he wanted me to say on the blog. The only thing he wanted to say was, "Thank you for praying". So, from Jonathan and from the family - Thank you and please, please continue.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday, February 10, 1:25 PM

Another few days have passed since the last update - more sickness, but I am finally getting better, Thank God! Unfortunately, I think I passed it on to mom. She is home in bed today, so please be praying she would get well very soon.

Jonathan is doing great! Yesterday they took the trach completely out!! One less area of irritation for him and one step closer to the full recovery we've been believing for. Last night I stayed with him and before mom left for the night he began complaining about his stomach hurting. He threw up and was in severe pain for a couple of hours. After some x-rays, blood drawn and no food or fluids he finally drifted off to sleep around midnight. He woke up this morning feeling well, and doing great in therapy. His day starts at 7:30 AM with occupational therapy. Today the task was for him to try to dress himself with as little assistance as possible and he did it!! It was a very hard task, but he was determined. It took near 20 minutes, but he succeeded!! He's such a trooper and constantly tries whatever task is put before him - no matter how difficult. He's doing great, and we're so excited that we may get to bring him home very soon.

I know many of you would like to visit him. Please understand that at this point - he doesn't wish for anyone to see him. Because of his current state - he's very reluctant to welcome anyone in the room. So, please understand that we are respecting his wishes. I do promise you this, as soon as he is ready, we are throwing him a major celebration and all will be invited to join us!! :) So, until then please keep praying.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday, February 6, 11:20 PM

I again apologize for the delay in posting, but I have been pretty sick the past couple of days. I didn't even go up to the hospital on Thursday because of it. So, in as few words as possible I will try to fill you in on the past few days.

Wednesday afternoon Jonathan had his swallow test which he passed with flying colors. Although, it was a traumatic experience, and one that he didn't want to even speak about afterward. Since then he's been reluctant to eat/drink much of anything - even the strawberry hulk drinks from smoothie king that he loves! :) So, please be praying that his apprehension would dwindle and he would be able to get his nourishment orally. Now we are still having to feed him through his stomach tube because he's not eating enough.

In the next couple of weeks there will be a lot of changes for Jonathan. If everything goes according to the doctors plans they will be able to take his trach out, remove his neck brace, remove the stomach tube and get him started with preparation to go home. So, there's a lot that needs to take place in order for his release from the hospital to be set. There's some additional progress that needs to take place in order for that to happen. Jonathan is doing so great in that area. He's pushing himself as much as he can, but everything takes so much out of him. He's trying so hard, and at times can become so frustrated that though he's making tremendous effort he's not seeing that same measure of results. So, as you pray for his body to recover and gain strength - please pray for his spirit to do the same.

Thank you all for your prayers. We remind Jonathan daily that so many are doing just that - please do not stop!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 9:00 AM

Not much time for a full update, but an urgent prayer request was needed:
at 11:00 Jonathan goes down for his full swallow test. They did one on his birthday that was bed-side with a little bit of apple sauce, but this one is more involved and more important. Instead of a nurse administering it - a doctor will be present to determine if Jonathan can consistently swallow when needed. This will determine whether or not they will be able to start administering food orally. If he passes he will start off on puree's such as apple sauce, pudding, smoothies, etc. No liquids such as water for a little while and solid foods won't happen til after that. So, please be praying that all goes well during the test. Jonathan has lost over 1/3 of his body weight since the accident. As many of you knew him - he was a pretty big guy. So, we've got to get some REAL nutrition in him and put that weight back on so he can build up his strength. Jonathan is very worried about the test, and was even expressing that yesterday - a full 24 hours before it would take place. So, please pray for peace of mind and spirit as well as success of this procedure. Thanks so much. I'll let you know the results asap!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Monday, February 2, 8:50 AM

A Letter to my brother:

It's your birthday today. A day we normally celebrate with one of your favorite dishes - gumbo, lasagna or fried fish and a pecan pie just for you with a cookie cake to share. At some point in the evening you'd be doing silly dances in the kitchen with Dixie, your dog, and sticking something, probably the birthday candles, up your nose - yep, even at 27! But today's a little different. Today the celebration of one more year of your life is bigger than you or I could ever imagine. Today, when I tell you happy birthday I also tell God thank you - for giving me that chance!!

You've always been a smart guy, but there's one thing you'll never fully understand -just how much your family loves you. We'll never be able to put it into words, spend enough time to show you or do enough to demonstrate all the love we have for you. Still, I'll try my best to help you understand, even if just a portion of how much love is really there. There's so many people that admire your spirit, your passion and your courage. You're the bravest person I know, and one of the most passionate people this world will ever know. You're strong. You love without question. You have compassion beyond what many understand, and you never ever give up. You're my big brother, and I couldn't be any prouder to say that.

You've got 27 years of life behind you today, but so much more in-store for you still - much more than you know. So many wait for your life to touch theirs, and so many celebrate because, for them, you've already done that. I pray today, as we celebrate and give God all the glory for your life - you would know that you are loved and cherished, but most importantly - that you would know God's love. I pray you would see it in the faces of your family, that you would hear it in our words and that you would feel His presence with you always.

You're an amazing man - son, brother and friend - and I pray that God's biggest dreams would be fulfilled for you. Just know - though it may not always be easy you'll never be alone! God is always with you and your family is too!!

Love Your biggest fan :),
you little sis'

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sunday, February 1, 11:20 PM

Sitting here beside Jonathan's bed so grateful that he's made it to another birthday, another year, and other opportunity to see God's plan fulfilled. In just about 40 minutes it will be officially Jonathan's birthday. Just 27 years ago God gave my parents, our family and so many a wonderful gift. Now, 27 years old we are amazed by how far he's come in recent weeks. God is definitely doing a work in his body and his spirit!

Tonight - dad, Charlie and I watched the Superbowl with him. He started getting tired about half way through so Charlie gave him the play by play action. He's coming into his own again - the sarcasm and silliness is beginning to come back little by little, but the realization of his current situation I believe has pretty much set in. So often he says that he's got a long way to go, that he's trying and that he's praying. He realizes his needs, but most importantly and most gloriously - he realizes the supplier of all of those needs - Jesus Christ! He wakes up and goes to sleep with praise on his lips and thanksgiving in his heart. He knows he's got a difficult and long road ahead, but he's got so much determination and so much love surrounding him we absolutely believe his recovery will be much shorter than expected.

Still, he's not able to see out of his right eye and that concern of his grows more and more each day. So, please be in prayer about that! Tomorrow, being his birthday, we are praying that they will do a swallow test with him. Since the accident, Jonathan has nothing administered orally - he's not had even a single drink of water. Although, admittingly - I have cheated and put the mouth swab/sponge, we use to clean his mouth, dipped in water and then given to him. So, he's had some drops of water, but not even a full sip. We are praying tomorrow, but definitely some time this week they will perform a swallow test. The first thing they will test him with is apple sauce. He will have to start with puree's, but that is so much better than nothing at all. So, please, pray that tomorrow, for his birthday - Jonathan will be able to have apple sauce and that the test he will pass with no complications.

Thank you for your prayers and already the birthday wishes that have come through!!


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