"It's A Wonderful Life"

For those of you who love a good Christmas story, here's "It's A Wonderful Life-Lenaburg Style". As everyone knows by now, just 2 short months ago our family was faced with a dire future-possible bankruptcy, the loss of our home and Courtney in failing health. What a difference a few short weeks and the overwhelming prayers and support of our friends, family, church community, and so many other angels have made!

We are very, very happy to announce that as of this afternoon, not only is the 2nd mortgage COMPLETELY paid off, but we have RETIRED THE ENTIRE $75,000 of secondary debt!! What a miracle this has been for our family financially and what a relief it is to have this burden taken from us. In addition, thanks to the legions of prayers, Courtney has been experiencing a "reawakening." Her seizures have lessened to about 1 severe seizure a day during the past 16 days. She is laughing again, talking to us (loudly in her own special way) and is alert, peaceful, and happy. This is the most amazing gift that we could have received this Christmas season. This time with Courtney is precious as we never know what waits for us around the bend. We cherish each and every smile.

What happens now, you ask? In order to ensure that Courtney's medical and daily care needs are met in the future, we are establishing a medical trust for her. Any gifts received over the amount needed to retire the debt will be placed in this trust. We ask for your prayers as we meet with the trust attorneys next Monday, the 17th, to work out the final details. We are praying specifically for wisdom as we go through the process of ensuring that Courtney's personal dignity and right to life are protected.

There are so many people to thank for this miracle. First, Our Lord, His most precious Son and Our Mother Mary who have never left us for a moment. His grace is sufficient in all things! Our dearest friends, Tom and Meg Kilgannon, Marques and Christine Silva, and John and Therese Ryan who sent the original friend-raising letter on our behalf. There are no words left that have not been spoken. We will never forget this kindness and praise God each day for your friendship. To Lyle and Kathy Vestermark, Grandma Green, Cherie Sherrier, website guru Tim Shermer and Father James Barkett for their incredible encouragement and tireless support. To Brian and Nate, youth ministers extraoridinare, Pat Seiler, all of the Knights of Columbus councils especially Council 8600, and the parishoners of St Mary of Sorrows, St Veronica's, St Ambrose, St Claire of Assissi, and the Shrine of St Jude for their prayers and incredible generosity. To the students from Challenge Club, Little Flowers, St Ambrose, St Veronica's, and Seton School for their prayers and fund raising efforts for the campaign. Remember that all of us are made in the image and likeness of God, and when you see Courtney don't forget to say hello, loudly!

This experience has completely changed our lives, as a similar one did to George Bailey in one of our favorite movies-"It's A Wonderful Life." We have been given a miracle we never imagined possible, love and grace have been showered upon our family and we are truly grateful for all of God's angels who have worked to make this Christmas miracle possible. We are humbled to be chosen to receive this blessing and pray that we will never lose this feeling of gratefulness and humility in our hearts. God's generosity can never be outdone! May He continue to be praised and glorified in all that we say and do!

Merry Christmas!

Love and Blessings,
Mary, Jerry, Jonathan and Courtney


PS. If you are in Fairfax, Va next Friday night (12/21) at 6pm, join us at St. Mary of Sorrows Church for "Sideburn Idol", a talent show and fundraiser for Courtney's trust. The SMOS Youth Group will be putting on a supper and variety show. We look forward to seeing you there!!