Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Your Grace is Enough

After moving to Houston 7 years ago we were introduced to a music market that we didn't know that well before. The Christian music is a huge category here. I remember Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant from my high school days. After Amy Grant's marriage issues I lost a lot of respect for that artist and the entire category. Fast forward to Houston where the Christian music station is a pretty popular choice. The teens are quoting newer artists to each other all the time. Our LifeTeen Mass is filled with music pulled from some of these newer Christian artist.

I like singing along to words that glorify our Lord and not the evils of society. I also don't need to flip the channel because the words do not contain deviant sexual content like much of the rock choices. With little ones in the car it is the safe choice. So I do find that we listen to KSBJ often. I was happy to hear that at least one of the known artist is in fact Catholic.

On Tuesday night a small group from our LifeTeen wanted to go see Matt Maher. He was performing on the other side of town for a free out door concert sponsored by Chick Fil'A and the Christian Radio station KSBJ. We piled a few kiddos mostly Tiemeyer's into the van and another Core Team Leader, Miss Sonya, and I drove an hour and half to stand out in the cold and listen to Matt Maher and his band perform for us and around 900 friends. Pooker had met Mr. Maher at the LifeTeen Notre Dame Leadership Conference and was very excited to see him perform.

It was so much fun to take the teens to see this guy. Thanks to everyone for making it such a great night. Next time Miss Sonya we will remember the lip stick.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Little Play Time

The little ones were able to find some play time in between all of our running here and there last week. They all have such fun with each other when we pull some toys out. The trick is not to leave them out all the time but to circle them in and out. That way they all get very excited to see old friends again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Haircuts for the Boys

It was really time for haircuts for my boys. They were really in bad shape. I think our last cut was before Thanksgiving. We were long overdue. I took my time and wasn't distracted this time.

Look at this handsome Pickle!

I think they look better than some of the other cuts.

Bear, Looking good!

Little Jumba wasn't too sure about this. His first hair cut was just mom trimming the baby mullet he was sporting.

This was Jumba's first real cut. He wasn't sure about the humming of the clippers but he did OK and looks adorable. He looks older but adorable.

My little Jumba

Aren't they cute with their short hair!?! I love that I can now see their eyes!

Bear on the Football Field

A few groups of homeschoolers have organized some football teams. The boys are playing flag football. Until now we have avoided getting involved in local football programs. They are too competitive and too costly. To be honest football is not my thing. My dad was never into it. My brother played baseball. None of my sisters or I ever dated the football guys. We all seamed to go for the soccer guys. J was the exception but he had played in high school and was injured. Actually it was a pretty bad injury that resulted in major back surgery the summer of his junior year of high school. Fast forward to the present and Bear wanted to try the sport. His injured father was all for it!?! The first two years of our relationship he complained about how football ruined his life but for some reason it is a great idea our son?
Notice all the big vans in the background!

So a group of boys from the area homeschooling groups began to form teams from the Catholic homeschoolers around the Houston area. There are many of them spread out all over. So Bear plays on a team that stems from the Bread of Life group in the Woodlands. They are actually practicing and playing at the high school just up the road. It is a rag tag team in a made up league. No one has even named their teams. We are not using all of the pads so they are playing tag football. I am told that Bear is safe and I don't need to worry.

The first big game was this past Sunday afternoon. Bear and his buddies won from what I hear. I guess I will now need to learn more about football. I have avoided it for years but now that I life with a player it might be important to understand the language. I tried to pay attention. My daughters understand, but their mom doesn't. I just know that my Bear looked adorable on that field. I am very proud of him for trying something new. It was also nice to be outside enjoying the great weather.

Bear has many fans! They are build into our family!

Bear is the best player we know!

Look at all the fans!

Way to go Bear! Mom and Dad are very proud of you. I love that you tried something new. You fit in no matter where you are. Dad's heart just filled with pride when you were out there playing. We all love you big guy!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Narnia on Stage

There is a group of young people in our community that get together to put on high quality plays and musicals using just the young talent in the area. The group is called CYT which stands for Christian Youth Theater. There are groups all around the country. The group in our little area always does a fantastic job. There are some very talented youth in our area. We plan to take the drama class in next few years for the high school credit.

Many members of the this group are homeschoolers. We are so blessed to live in an area that affords the homeschooling community so many extra curricular outlets for talent. Back in April of 2008 we went to see Beauty and Beast with one of the teens we knew being a piece of enchanted furniture and another young one from our homeschool group being an enchanted fork.

We went back to see Peter Pan our friend Mel now playing the rolls of family's maid and of a pirate.

This time Maggie's best friend Dom-N-Q joined Mel in the performance of Narnia. We cancelled on of our PE Days and in its place took most of that group to the theater to see our homeschooled friends. We had 67 in our group to see Mel was Wolf Ryewith and Dom-N-Q was one of the White Witch's Cruelies. Wow they did a fantastic job. Neither one looked like them self and it was kind of creepy how both can really take on the roll of an evil character. It was a wonderful morning. The show itself was wonderful. It was much easier to see the Christian overtones in this live production than that of a movie. Bravo we say and if you have a chance and live in the area the performances are this weekend and next. Well worth the ticket cost and time.

We didn't get a chance to meet up with Mel after the show but we did see Dom-N-Q. Thanks girls we really enjoyed the show and you did a great job.

Friday, January 16, 2009



Sad news to share:

"The doctors placed Natalia on a vent this past week in hopes it would help clear up the fluid that has accumulated in her lungs. Her chest x-rays remain unchanged. When Natalia first found out the plan to be placed on the vent she told her mom, "only for a few days." Just like Natalia to be calling the shots even while on a ventilator. :) The vent is very uncomfortable for Natalia and so they are giving her medicine to help her rest. After much discussion with the doctors and prayer it has been decided to remove Natalia from the vent today. We are unsure of what God's plan is for Natalia's life but we know He holds her in the palm of His hand. God may choose to heal her today with a miracle and have her breath on her own or He may choose an ultimate healing and take her home to the place He is preparing for all of us. We do not know what the outcome will be but we do know He has a plan for Natalia's life and that He loves her very much. Pray today for peace, strength, and wisdom for the doctors, Danny, Melissa, and Cecilia. Thank you in advance for keeping them in your thoughts and prayers."

This is not the news that I hoped to share. Please cover this family in prayer today. I don't know who wrote this. It was posted on her carepage this morning.


I hear that Natalia is not doing well at all. Her family fears that her time is very short. I am so heart broken. I beg you to pray for this young woman and her family. She has continued to fight the Leukemia with all she has. Her faith is incredible. I don't know how her family can stay strong in a time like this. Please help me to support this family with your prayers. When I get more concrete information I will pass it on. God Bless Natalia.


"Natalia is still in ICU. She has had a lot of pain the past 2 days, so they are starting a new pain medicine today. If she has pain she tends not to breath deep and then her heart rate goes up. They are hoping that if they control the pain, her lungs will get more oxygen and they will get a better chance to heal."

This news is a little scary. This poor girl is getting tired. Please life up her family in prayer. They are struggling to keep up their spirits as well. It has been a long hard battle. Natalia has more strength in her that I ever will. I thank God for her example and just ask that you continue to life up the family.

I am way over due in giving an update. Natalia was doing well over the summer. Her 30 day was good and then her 60 day. At 100 days she got the terrible news that the Leukemia was back and that the Bone Marrow Transplant had not been a success. This brave young woman stated that she wasn't going to be too upset but that she thinks that God must have more to teach her. What a strong woman she is.

Her treatments are going to try to keep the leukemia at bay while they prepare for another transfusion from a different donor. She has had more than a few setbacks and needs our constant prayers. She developed pneumonia and has spent weeks on end in the ICU. She is doing a little better now but we pray that she will remain strong enough to fight the leukemia off until they can restart her chemo.

Natalia's lungs are also doing a little better everyday. She is only on 1 Liter
of oxygen down from 8 Liters when we first moved out of ICU and now she can do 2
laps around the floor.The doctors would like to send her home for a few days
next week, but we will just have to see.

Natalia is a strong young woman and I admire her fight so much. Thank you for all your prayers.


I stold this from Natalia's Caring Bridge Website. It was so beautiful, I cried as I read it. This young woman has so much faith and so much love to give. I thank God that I know her and beg God to continue to heal this remarkable young woman.
She does Make Bald Beautiful!!!

6 months since DIAGNOSIS... :O
Posted Jul 10, 2009 10:16pm
Hey everyone!Well, I just wanted to write a quick note because today is... 6 months to the day since I diagnosed with Leukemia. I cannot believe it. The time has flown by, which I guess is a good thing. I remember hearing those words of "Natalia has Leukemia" and it kinda makes me shiver. It is very strange. I still cannot believe this is happening, it is all so much to soak in even after 6 months. It is amazing how one day you can be going about your normal life and then the next day, three little words like "Natalia has Cancer or Leukemia" can change your life FOREVER. It is so weird because I can picture exactly how the room was set up and looked when my doctors told me this news. And I remember when they told me that this whole process would be about 6-9 months, I thought that 6 months was going to be forever. But, honestly, it has not been too bad, I have had my ups and downs but I honestly think I have had more ups and fun than downs (PLUS I don't remember most of my downs because I was so drugged up (:). I mean, I have gone through, and my family too, so much. I have gone through more than what most people do in their entire lifetime, but in 6 months... more shots than most people, times throwing up, mouth washing, sleeping, eating, ultrasounds, ect... but man, I must say that I have had my share of fun with this whole experience. I have met some of the most amazing people in my entire life through this experience, and have learned so much about myself, my family, and my faith which I am so thankful for. And I am not even done yet, so I am anxious to find out what else I have to learn. I know that I am not done yet and still have my journey in front of me, but I just thought that I would write a little bit. 6 months is pretty big for me... I still cannot believe it.Okay well... I also have to thank you all for standing by my side this entire time. I could NOT have done it without you, your messages and cards, or your prayers. I am TRULY and honestly very thankful to have you all in my life... God has truly blessed me and I don't know how to repay you.Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!!
Today Natalia is having last round of chemo before her bone marrow transplant on the 22nd, I believe her mother is her donor. Please lift them both up in prayer. She has a remarkable spirit and has been doing extremely well. She even got to spend that past two weeks at home having treatment as an out patient. Thanks so much!

From Natallia's caringbridge page:


Last day home

Posted 13 hours ago

Well, this is my last night home before I go to the hospital for my transplant. I am going to enjoy this night in my bed! :) I have had a TON of fun these past two weeks. So, on Saturday we went to the Dynamo game and they won!! It was so much fun with friends and family, my dad cooked sausage. Yumm! And then on Mothers Day we just relaxed as a family and didn't really do anything, but it was still fun not to have any plans. Oh, although, I did go to our neighbors pool and hung out there. I didnt go in, I just put my feet in while my sister and our friends Taylor and Aislinn swam. It was hard just to watch but it was still fun to hang out with them. And then, today my friends came over today for lunch and then my cousin came over after. So, it was good to see everyone right before I went into bone marrow. But, I must say that the highlight of my day and I think of my whole time home was going to the dance studio. I had not been since December, so that is about 5 and a half months! I missed it so much. It was so good to go say hi to everyone. Richard, my ballet teacher, let me sit in and watch one of his classes for a little while. But, wow, that was really hard to just watch. It just made me miss it more. Actually, haha, I cried after we left the studio. Wow, I am a baby... but it really was one of the hardest things I have had to do in a while. It made me want to dance sooo bad. But, I was so HAPPY just to be there and really made me want to start it again ASAP and work really hard at it again. I can't wait till I can dance again.

So, I must say I have mixed emotions about BMT. Part of me is really excited and ready to be on hopefully, my last step to this whole process, and the other part of me is a little worried. But, I think I am more excited and anxious than anything. I am pumped haha... well, I mean as pumped as you can be for a Bone Marrow Transplant and chemo. Oh, and so we got the results from my Bone Marrow Biopsy and Spinal Tap and they came back clear! So, that was SUPER awesome news. And then my ANC on Friday was 2000. So, all good news! :)

Well, I think that is all for now. So, I am not sure how I am going to be feeling with chemo so, I am not sure how often I will be writing. If I am not feeling good, I will have my mom write a little for me. But, we will see. If I feel okay tomorrow I will write to let you know how it is going.
Thank you again for all of your prayers and support. I am so thankful for you all... MORE than you can imagine. I can tell you that I would not be able to do this without your prayers. God is GOOD!!
Thanks again guys!
Love you all,


This is one strong remarkable young woman. She is fighting for her life in between making more friends while teaching others how to be joyful. Each post of this young 16 year old are full of joy and excitement about the next days adventure. She updates us on her pain but only to record it, never to complain. Every single post she makes to her caring page is asking for prayers for someone else or thank you for your time, prayers and donations to her or her peers.

Health wise she is right on track. She will get to spend the next 2 weeks at home. I think she has just finished her third round. Now they are working on her bone marrow transplant. It looks like it might happen within the month of May. I don't know that much about it but I understand that it will offer her the best chance of permanent recovery.

Thanks so much to each of you for your continued prayers for this young friend of ours. She is a remarkable young woman. Her example continues to teach me to find joy in every situation. She has also reminded me to trust in God with everything. Thank you Natalia for being such a witness to those that know and love you.


I just wanted to update this little spot of my blog to let you all know how Natalia is doing. This is one strong young lady. I am so proud to know her and to be able to pray for her.
You can find her story here: Natalia's site

We have been doing all kinds of fun things to help Natalia and her family through this difficult time. I wish I could say that we have really sacreficed but I can't. We are having way to much fun. The teens started an idea of collecting hats. They knew that Natalia would be loosing her hair and they wanted to give her something to help with that. They also wanted to tie into Natalia's apostolic heart. They began the Hats for Nat Prayer Drive. They asked people to buy a hat that they themselves would like. Pray for the person that would wear the hat and for Natalia. Then turn the hat over to us. Natalia then in turn gets to pass them out to the people that she will meet over the next 6 months at Texas Children's hospital. We have collected some very cool hats for this prayer drive.

We also got to help with another fundraiser at Chick-Fil-A this past weekend. We had a blast and met so many people from our parish and the homeschool community.

We don't yet know how much money we raised but it was wonderful to see the community come together to help a wonderful young woman. I also got to see some young children do some incrediable things to help someone they didn't even know. One young 9 year old saw us at CFA and then again in the newspaper. She walked around her neighborhood selling flowers and collecting money for Natalia. This young woman came back to CFA with $22. I love that she did it all by herself. She saw a need and did something about it. It sounds a lot like our friend Natalia.
Natalia turned 16 in February. She lost her hair days before this milestone birthday. This picture is of her and her sister Ceci. Her birthday was between the 1st and 2nd round of chemo.

The 2nd round was very hard on our dear young friend. She asked for prayers this time after reaching an emtional wall. A survivor told me Saturday that the 2nd round is hard. You know what you are up against and you have so many ahead of you still. It is no longer a new adventure and now a reality that you must live through. She is now finished with round 2 and has many mouth sores. She is in lots of pain. Please continue to remember her and her new friends in your prayers.
p.s. the pictures of Natalia were all taken from her caringbridge website.

The week before Thanksgiving I went to the grocery to pick up Pooker after her shift at work. She wasn't ready so I walked inside to grab a gallon of milk. I didn't want to waste the time sitting and just waiting and we can always use another gallon of milk. Just inside the door I ran into Melissa L. Our daughters had played basketball together for HCYA. I told her that Pooker was working at this very store and she told me that her daughter Natalia was volunteering so much that it made a job almost impossible. That did not surprise me at all.

Pooker and Natalia had been on the same team when we played HCYA basketball. The program was so intense that we couldn't balance family life with the four players schedules. We ended our short basketball careers but Pooker had become friends with a Natalia. They had bonded quickly being that they were both from the same side of town and that they were both Catholic. We have been together or various projects and activities over the past two years. Pooker and I really do like spending time with Natalia and her mom. As a Freshman last year Natalia got to join us for our Catholic Coffee Club religion class but it was hard to put into their schedule. Natalia is a dancer and her sister is a soccer player. They struggled with some health issues with the sister and Natalia's grandfather for a few months. We didn't see them much for awile. Natalia sent a email out a few months back that she had opened a charter for "Shoes that Fit" and was trying to collect shoes and socks for those in need. Why, because she saw a need and wanted to fill it.

So that is a small introduction to our friend Natalia. She is someone we know and love. We don't know her too well but always enjoy enjoy running into he and I hoped she and Pooker would see each other on the college campus. That will not be happening now.

Instead of starting classes Natalia found out on Sunday that she has AML Leukemia. She was admitted into Texas Children's Hospital with an expected stay of 6 to 9 months. That's right people I said MONTHS. This poor baby. She will turn 16 in the hospital receiving chemo not fighting her mom and dad for the car keys. This brave young woman of God began her caringbridge website by listing the 10 positive things this might bring for her. She truly is an example of Christ to others in everything that happens with her. I want to beg each of you to offer some prayers up for our dear Natalia and her family. We will be working on fundraisers to aid the family soon but for now please pray.

You can find her story here: Natalia's site

Heavenly Father, We ask that you restore this beautiful woman to her full health. Give Natalia and her family all the strength necessary to endure what lies ahead. Let us all, as Natalia's community, rally around to support the L family in their hour of trial. Keep them close to you and help us all know YOU through Natalia's example.