All Settled In

 Yesterday was a day filled with emotion. The emotion of knowing Anna was heading to the hospital where she will be for about forty days. We've said goodbye before, when she left for three weeks to Uganda. But that was different. This time, we know she will be getting really sick, but we are hopeful that this means that she will be cured of this horrid thing called cancer.

My parents came up for a quick visit, leaving yesterday afternoon. We enjoyed that little diversion! Grandma had made a quilt for people to sign~ already many family members and even people we don't know but are praying for her have signed it.

After Grandma and Grandpa left, we headed out to get a few supplies for Anna's hospital stay. While out and about, we stopped at Starbucks for the half price frappacinos (sp?). As each moment passed, the air got thicker with anticipation. Four o'clock, meds were o'clock, meds were taken. At home, we had family devotions and prayer for one last time. Then the gifts were given. While at the mall, Lydia brought some earrings to Daddy and asked if she could get them for Anna. Of course he said yes! This brought eager little sister, Abigail, to want to get a gift as well. So, she got Anna some bright colored socks. And then, of course, Zeke didn't want to be out done! He got her some zebra print slippers. They were so excited to give Anna their little examples of deep love and devotion.

Once the gifts were received with thanksgiving, it was time to say our very tearful goodbyes. Each sibling had their turn for hugs. Anna spoke words of love and encouragement to each one, exhorting them to trust the Lord and to love the Lord with all of their heart. She told the younger ones to be helpful and obedient. This was tough to witness. But I share a little glimpse of this intimate time with our family.

Once the goodbyes were done, we loaded up and headed out. We drove separate vehicles so I could come home later and get some sleep. Craig is taking most of the night shifts so this pregnant mama can get rest. Anna rode with me, a quiet and short drive. I held her hand the whole way. We parked, got checked in with our parent badges, and headed to the 8th floor of the new building. This is the cancer floor, for teens. The nurses were wonderful! Patti is a christian and very pleasant and bubbly. She made us feel very comfortable, showing us around and explaining things so well. I went in feeling overwhelmed and tearful, I left feeling at ease and confident that Anna is in good great hands. 

This sign was in Anna's room, it said, "Welcome Anna!" After a bit, Anna got into her comfy clothes...the clothes she will be living in for some time. Once we were done with the "orientation" and many questions, Anna was hooked up to the fluids. She has a new shadow~ her little cart of fluids/meds. This will be with her for the duration of this treatment.

Well, as every mommy should do, I tucked my baby girl into bed and kissed her good night. Rest well, my darling! I love you and will see you soon! And with that, Craig walked me to the car, kissed me goodnight, and I drove on. It was weird. I know it's best for me to be home at night as my other babies need me and I'm still not feeling well at night. But it's hard to leave. They did say that both parents are welcome to stay the night, a change in their policy that we are thankful for....who knows, maybe we will do that a time or two. But for now, we will take things one step at a time.

 This morning began the chemo. Eight in the morning they hooked her up and it took two hours. She will have four treatments of chemo a day. After the chemo, they come in every few minutes to draw blood. This will be taken to S.C.C.A. to be examined. This will determine the dose she gets.

I got to talk with Anna after it was done, she is doing well. She feels a bit swimmy from the meds, but she is in good spirit! I let her go as she was getting really tired. She is a light sleeper and though the nurses don't wake her to do procedures in the night, she wakes anyway. Her only request for today, "mom, please bring me some gum and mints...people are in my face all of the time!" Of course, last night we had gone over the other things I am to bring with me, like Phase 10, make up wipes, and finger nail clippers. I might even get to bring her brothers and sisters with me to visit today! We are thankful for the sunshine again. The view from Anna's room is amazing! I'm glad she gets to enjoy the view with the bonus of the sun...even in Seattle! I am thankful for a loving Heavenly Father who carries us through the best of times and the most difficult times.

My encouragement to each of you today is to look around you and thank God for every little blessing that surrounds you. Thank Him for your trials and your heartaches. Why, you may be asking? Because you can never know how sweet something is until you've tasted the bitter. When all you have is sweet, it becomes common place. Bland. Expected. But when you are given a bit of something bitter, the sweet becomes sweeter than you can ever imagine! Thank you, Lord, for this trial in our life!! May the Lord bless you all!


  1. Anna, you have such a amazing testimony of God in you by your cheerfulness while going through this hard trial. I bet that many will be saved by your testimony of God's goodness. Love you!

  2. This brought tears to my eyes.
    The impact of her younger siblings love!
    Please know that I am praying for Anna, you, and your family.
    Love you all!!!

  3. We all love you so much! We are praying for you constantly.
    The Hilsons

  4. I am reminded of God's amazing grace. His mercies are new every morning and it is because of His love we are not consumed. There is nothing that can separate us from His love. I pray that in each moment of every day we all can realize God's redemptive process as we pray fervently and earnestly for our Houston family and for our dear sweet Anna.

  5. Tears are flowing and our hearts are aching for you as the separation becomes a reality. We cannot begin to imagine all the emotions you must be feeling, but know that you are trusting in the Lord of all to be with you through this entire time. We look forward with you, to the joy that will surely come in the morning. Anna, we are so thankful for your sweet and loving countenance that will bring cheer and hope to everyone you meet. We miss you, yet trust that you are right where the Lord wants you for His glory and your good. We love you and are praying for all of our dear Houstons.
    Scott and Jean

  6. The picture of Anna and Julia made me tear up... Bittersweet goodbyes for sure. Loving the sweet spirits of your children!
    Love and prayers for you all,


  7. Hadassah and I read your post together as we are getting ready for Anna's fundraiser. We love you and are praying. The pictures and the word picture that you have given us are sobering and encouraging at the same time. We love you all!
    Love Jackie Harper and Hadassah Rose♥

  8. Praying with many tears for you ALL!! Thank you so much for explaining things for us so we can understand a little better as most of this is foreign to us. Praying for God to give you (and Anna) many peaceful sleeps even though you are separated from Pastor and Anna at nights. Please tell Anna that I miss her, love her and am praying for her DAILY! Take care of yourself and your baby during this time. Love and hugs, Grace

  9. With Him all things are possible!
    Praying for miraculous healing!
    God Bless you all-
    Thank you for sharing... it plants seeds that He will grow!

  10. Anna, you are "Simply amazing." I can see the love of Jesus shining right through your sweet smile and joyful countenance. Praying (as I know this new phase will be extremely painful and at times pretty scary) that you will always feel God's amazing love for you and that He will fill you with His peace. Love you so much

  11. Tears are streaming down my face as I read the post and view the pictures. Love you so much sweet Anna, I am praying for you daily. Your sweet testimony is such a blessing. I'm working hard at getting your blanket done as soon as possible, Oh, and not to worry, I'll remember the sour gummy worms ;-)
    Love- Mrs Simpson

  12. Love love love you guys!! So neat to see Anna's quilt - the girls were excited to see her with it. We continue to pray for all of you. :)

  13. Anna, I love your smile! Hardly a moment passes that you're not in my thoughts. I'm praying fervently! I miss you!

    Love you so much!
    Sarah S.

  14. Today very close friends of our family had court proceedings to finalize the adoption of their foster child. Several of our children commented on how strange it was that something so wonderful could be happening on the same day that Anna begins chemotherapy. Just a reminder that God has adopted us and loves us fervently, caring for us more than we can imagine. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (Romans 8:15) Praying that our Heavenly Father will keep you from fearing the unknown, surround your family with His presence, continue to build your family's faith, and bring comfort and healing to Anna.
    The Blackstads

  15. Dear Houston Family,

    Thank you so much for continuing to keep us updated on how things are coming along. I too was tearing up when reading about the times with each of Anna's siblings. Anna is such an encouragement to not only her younger siblings but also us older folks. I marvel as I know it is the Grace of God that continues to shine Anna with her beautiful smile and her Trust in the Lord. Continuing the pray for Anna and the Houston family.

    Love and Prayers,
    Rick Potvin
    Pr. 3:5-6

  16. I am gathering my 6 girlies together in just a minute to pray for your family. You and I are the same age and my husband is a pastor too. We will be praying for you and your whole family.

  17. "This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord 's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him." Lamentations 3:21-24. Love you guys and am always praying.

  18. Thinking of you all SO much!! ((hugs)) Praying!

  19. Thinking of you continually ... and PRAYING!
    Susan Bradrick

  20. Thank you for this account. We are praying for you Anna! You are very brave and God will continue to give you the strength you need to face this trial. May you see His blessings through it!

    Much love from Moscow friends,
    The McIntoshes

  21. ive seen on movies, the med line they put in, and it isnt the same... it is kind of weird to see it not in a movie.... i love you anna! i am praying for you every time i think of you, which is probable every few minuets! Ray ray.

  22. While I was reading this post and feeling, (though I’m sure in a very small way), some of the emotions that you guys must be feeling during this time, the last verse to a song called The Perfect Wisdom of Our God by Stuart Townend & Keith Getty, came to mind, and it’s what I’m praying for you all.

    O grant me wisdom from above,
    To pray for peace and cling to love,
    And teach me humbly to receive
    The sun and rain of Your sovereignty.
    Each strand of sorrow has a place
    Within this tapestry of grace;
    So through the trials I choose to say:
    “Your perfect will in Your perfect way.”

    You are in my prayers often and I thank God for your testimony to His faithfulness during this difficult time. Your example of trusting submission to our Sovereign God is a huge encouragement to me. :)

    Love and prayers,
    Monica Delano :)

  23. Praying for your sweet family. May you feel God's strength as you continue through this difficult time. He is our refuge and strength!!

    In Christ,
    Laurel Bright

  24. We are reading your posts as a family and are blessed by the Spirit of Christ in your entire family. Please know we are praying for Anna and the rest of the family every day. Thank God for her brave brother.

    The Brower Family
    DeLeon Springs, FL

  25. Replies
    1. Emilee that is a good part of the bible and that nice of you to post that

  26. We continue to pray!

  27. Dear Emily, it was hard to read aloud to my boys. Praying for Anna and her testimony in this time. I love you all so much. William always remembers to pray for Anna.

  28. We are praying for your family during this difficult time. Anna your testimony is amazing and you bring great honor to our Lord in your sweet spirit. We are praying for strength and great days.
    In Christ,
    The Mcarthurs


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