Reflections of the Day....

 As I sit here at my computer, jammies on, slippers on my feet, and a hot cup of tea next to me, I reflect on the day's events.............. 

Today we had our first consultation with the doctor at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. I must say that, as the days have seemed to settle back into a bit more of a "normal" routine this past week, it almost seemed that the whole cancer thing was just a bad dream. That is, of course, until we pulled up to SCCA. Just the sign on the wall brought me jolting back into reality. Anna really does have cancer. We walked through the halls and were witness to lots of people milling about, some with staff tags around their necks, and others with bandanas on their bald heads, and sadness in their eyes. Yes, Anna indeed has cancer. Every corner you turn there are "sanitizing stations" as well as masks for anyone who might have a cough. The knot in the pit of my stomach was very real, I'm positive that the unsure look in our eyes as well as the uncertainty of where things were gave a clue to the "veterans" that we were "newbies" here. That will change in the near future, of course. As we sat in the waiting room, we each had our electronic devices and reading material out, though I don't know if any of us got much reading accomplished at all. We paused and got a few photos in front of the window over looking Lake Union. Then we were called back. Within just a few minutes, we were meeting Dr. Ann Woolfrey who would be sitting with us for the next couple of hours to go over everything concerning Anna and her CML treatment options and risks. She informed us that she is just one of several doctors that we will be seeing as they have a rotation and whomever is on the clock will be our attending. The information she gave was thorough and sobering. Though the outlook for Anna does seem bright considering how many siblings she has! The doc showed us on the white board why her sibs are such optimum candidates for donor matches, then explained why, if none of our other children are a match, a complete stranger would be more likely a suitable donor than her Daddy or Mommy. We also were informed that no results were back yet from the blood tests being done on our four older children...a real bummer as we were so hoping for that answer! The very real explanation of what will go on with a bone marrow transplant and what risks this involves hit home pretty hard. However, we had a strength and peace that passeth all understanding from an Almighty God! To God be the glory!

We were then given a tour of the floors we will be frequenting at SCCA in the months to come. As we walked through the halls, I thought to myself what a very different mission field the Lord is bringing the Houston family to....a people who need HOPE!

After our consultation and tour of SCCA, we headed on over to Seattle Children's Hospital for yet another tour. This time we were shown the cancer floor where Anna will spend anywhere from 1- 1 1/2 months. They have a children's play room, swimming pool, family rooms, and a kitchen to store and heat food. We were shown all of the supplies that will be at our disposal while there. Each room door who has a child receiving a transplant is decorated with a sign saying, "happy transplant day _____!" The walls are graced with cancer patients' pictures. I must admit that, while I stayed strong and controlled at SCCA, I had a harder time while at SCH. My daughter is going to be a patient here and she is going to get really sick. I know she will be a patient at SCCA, but the rooms look more like a regular clinic rather than that of a hospital for really really sick people. It may also be because at SCCA, things were quieting down for the day while at Children's, family members were still wandering the halls. There was a huge line up of small bicycles and tricycles for young patients and their siblings to ride on around the halls- another reminder of how young so many of the patients here are, and another reminder of the mission field we are soon to enter.

After the tour at Children's, we went on over to the Ronald McDonald house and got yet another quick tour. We only got to see the common areas of the smaller house tonight, but it gave us an idea of what we may need in the future to consider. You all might pray that the Lord will guide us in what to do about accommodations while needing to be within a 20-30 minute drive from both places. There are so many weighty decisions that face us right now, but we know that God is in control and it is no mistake that we are facing these things. We know that we face them, not alone, but with a loving Heavenly Father at our side.

Daddy and Anna in the waiting room at Fred Hutch

Mom and Anna

Naomi and Anna
We are all so grateful for all of the help we have received already, as well as the prayers and words of encouragement from all over the world! We hope to be that same kind of encouragement and light shining in darkness for all that we come into contact with in the months to come! We treasure this opportunity and pray that many seeds will be planted and souls given a reason for hope!

On a much more "pleasant" and "playful" note, I must say with great happiness, that today I had about FOUR or FIVE people think that I was Naomi and Anna's SISTER!!!!! So that totally makes up for the vintage thing of last week! (Only once did someone say they thought we were all sisters with our Dad, cough cough, the other times it was stated that they thought we were all four siblings!)

And now, as I pillow my head for some much needed sleep, I will rest in the promises of a Sovereign God. And whether it be in this life or life eternal, our daughter WILL be healed!

"Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases....." Psalm 103:1-3


  1. I am praying for you all and for all of the various things involved in this process!
    I'm glad you were able to get some information about donor matches and tours of the different facilities.
    Praying that you get the test results for potential matches very soon!
    May God give you all strength, courage, comfort, healing, and the peace that only He can give!

    Love you guys!

  2. I want to say something encouraging and helpful, but this post has left me feeling somber and, in a way, speechless.

    Also, last night, a friend comforted me with the verses John 14:27 & Romans 15:13 and those two verses were the first thing that came to mind after reading this post.

    Welp, all I can say is I'm praying for you, beautiful. :)


  3. As I have read this update, my mind filled with scripture as your minds are. I was reminded that when we dwell in the secret place of the most high, we will abide in the shadow of the almighty. He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble. We are to be strong and of good courage and to not be afraid and to not be dismayed for the Lord is with us wherever we go. We can trust in the Lord with all of our heart knowing He is directing our paths. We can rejoice in the Lord alway and in Christ we can be anxious for nothing knowing that through our prayers and supplications with thanksgiving in our hearts, we can make known our requests unto a great and mighty God. He has plowed a field that is ready for seed as we have read here, a mission field where only the chosen are taken to. John 14:27 reminds us that the Lord left us with peace, not as the world gives peace, but His peace and because of this peace He can ask us to not let our hearts be troubled. It is truly a blessing and honor to be able to be your prayer warriors. We come behind you in fervent, effectual prayer. And we can have songs in our hearts of praise and thanksgiving for what the Lord has already accomplished. I am reminded from this last Ladies' retreat that "God never moves without purpose or plan. When trying His servant and molding a man. Give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long. In darkness He giveth a song. O rejoice in the Lord, He makes no mistake. He knoweth the end of each path that I take. For when i am tried and purified I shall come forth as gold." "This is my story, this is my song, praising my savior all the day long. This is my story, this is my song, praising my savior all the day long." I pray that scriptures and songs will permeate through your hearts. We know that God is indeed changing people's hearts and He is receiving the glory.

  4. We continue to pray for the Houston family and especially Anna. What an encouragement she has been to me and my family as we labored on the mission field of Uganda. She is one wonderful girl, blessed by God. Please let her know that Bro Tracht (her would be father-in-law :-)) thinks of her daily. God bless and keep you all.

  5. Thank you for this post. I am encouraged. Mr. Roy.

  6. I wish I could have come with you all yesterday. Perhaps another time, if a match is not found in your children I want to be the "stranger" to see if I am a match. I can't express my feelings in words but I love you Anna so much and your family.


  7. Praying for you all during this difficult time. How comforting it is to know that our heavenly Father loves each of you and will give you the strength and courage to go through whatever is ahead. Deut 33:27 "The eternal God is thy dwelling-place, And underneath are the everlasting arms..."

    Sarah Hainline and family

  8. Many prayers for you all! Miss you and love you much! This {{{HUG}}} is for you, my friend. Hugs to all the Houston clan! I know many of us could ditto what Kaitlyn said. Praying for wisdom for all the decisions to be made. I know many of us are anxious to hear about a match too... I just keep reminding myself that the Lord's timing IS perfect... and He will let us know the EXACT time we need to know. Much love and many prayers, Grace

  9. You all know if no family donor is found, there will be a church-wide blood draw for Anna. Mr. Roy

  10. I'm praying for Anna and for the Houston family
    Your friend

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  12. Mrs. Houston, Pastor Craig, Children,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences with us on your blog. It helps us to be informed and to pray more purposefully. I know there are tough times ahead and even now, as you've shared, tough things already. But there are also wonderful blessings in store. I know the Lord will both minister to you and through you as you go through this trial together. Not only with the wonderful love and loyalty of the Houston family with that "stick together" attitude, but also with a church family who love and support you with a sincere heart. We travail with you, weep with you, hurt with you, and we also rejoice with you and pray with you for Anna's good, her healing, her welfare. Casting your care upon him, for He careth for you. 1 Peter 5:7 Please know, I think of you all and Anna every day. Tom Fitch

  13. This truly is weighty, and my heart is breaking for all. But we serve the God of all comfort, and I pray that He would continue to fill you with His perfect peace and joy.

    "Wherein we greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:" 1 Peter 1:6-8

    I love you guys!

  14. Emily,
    Though far away, you are near in my heart and prayers.
    I really can't think of anything to say that is worth writing, but pray that these verses will be a blessing to your heart.

    Ps 18:1-3
    I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.

    2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

    3 I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.


  15. Anna,
    Please have a good weekend. It makes me glad to know that you are surrounded by a family and church people who love you. Please know, though, that you have many more friends than you realize. There's a small army praying for you in South Carolina. If you ever get to visit, you'll see them wearing orange for you. Just thought you should be aware. Let me know if there's anything you want from here. I mean it. Let me do something for you. Also, I'm waiting for that e-mail. ;)

    I know you have a ton of people sending comments and advice and Bible verses, but I wanted to share with you how God got ME through a very hard time, because I want you to feel as happy about Him as I do!! ^_^

    "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
    I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
    He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
    Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
    For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off. The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever." -Psalm 37:23-29

    -Jennifer Henson (Fur)

    p.s. I am here if you want a non-Washington friend to talk to!

  16. Since we first heard we've been praying daily for Anna and your family. Alton, has taken this very seriously and has approached it with a great deal of... determination. Everytime I ask if he wants to pray for something he says, "I want to pray for your friend Anna. That her bones will get better." I showed him Anna's picture on your blog and I think he now calls her our friend.

    IF I don't mention Anna by name and I pray for the Houstons, then afterwards he'll ask me to pray for her. And sometimes he just prays for her on his own.

    I can only think that maybe God has a reason for Anna getting CML. Maybe the only way that one of the doctor's will get saved. We had a friend in Hawaii who during her cancer treatment had the opportunity to lead one of her nurses to the Lord. The nurse's husband got saved, was deployed to the middle east, and died there within a couple months. It's amazing to see how God can turn our tragedy into His victory for His glory.

    We hope to have the opportunity to be a blessing to you during this trial. And my own little prayer is that if none of your children are a match, that I might be.

    Praying with love,

    The Fullers (Justin, Jamie, Alton & Warren)

    Yes. Warren prays. But its BRR BRR BRr Amen


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