Friday, April 7, 2017

Blessed Because He is With Us

Snow girl
Addie had another clean culture last month: normal respiratory flora and normal vitamin levels. We're all happy she's had such good luck. And I do call it luck, not blessings or hard work paying off.  I don't know why saying "We're blessed" bugs me so much.  I know that all good things come from God. I also know that some Christians have terrible problems. The ending of Hebrews 11 (verses 32-40) tells of those who had miracle lives and those who "did not receive what was promised." After all, Christ Himself said that the heavenly Father, "makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust." God does not bless Addie more than Rees (who has had more trouble with his health) and I do not work harder at taking care of her than I did Rees.

Our chapel
I've knelt in our hospital's chapel after a CF clinic visit with a kid and given thanks together; and I've knelt in there alone, having signed over a kid upstairs for an admission. Tears both times, the crucifix and tabernacle before me a physical reminder of life's true love and pain.  I turn to God in good luck and in bad luck through this journey from womb to earth and beyond. We all get through on our own trajectory and Eternal Love surrounds us whatever the lab reports read. That surrounding by God is his blessing.

I don't think to be blessed by God means health and prosperity. I think it means that we are watched by our Creator throughout this valley of the shadow of death (And aren't we CF families living with a shadow of death?) where we fear no evil because he is there to comfort us. We are blessed, then. When the cultures come back badly, we are blessed; and when they come back clear, we are blessed. He is with us.


So serious
. I did a little digging on the word Blessed and found that it is used in the Scriptures several ways.

*To praise God: Bless the Lord oh my soul.

*As a desire for goodness: Blessed are you among women.

*For sanctification: He took bread and blessed it.

*As a gift: Children are a blessing.

I did not look these up to be an annoying know-it-all, though! I needed to make sense of things.  And my studies blessed me (haha, yes).

Cute purse, baby, large coffee.
A friend of mine lost her son last month and a friend of hers wrote about the question of blessings for some and not others (Why Us and Not Her?). We're all trying to make sense of things, aren't we? I wonder if I bristle at reports of health blessings because of the reminder that some are not blessed that way and the unfairness of it all exhausts me. It is still a good word, however, because it brings our focus back to God, so I need to not bristle (Help, Holy Spirit!).

The sun has returned to Alaska!
I do hope and pray for all of us in this fight, that we rest in the blessing of God's presence in good luck and in bad luck.

Love, Allison







Monday, January 2, 2017

Beginning the New Year

On our way in



Ian with his beginning pile
We spent the day on an easy hike in a place called Sun Valley. The temperature ranged from zero to five degrees, the sun was shining (but not hot at all!), and the sky was bright blue ~ my favorite looking day. I had a new day pack to try out (Thanks, Ken) and the boys had new fire starter metal thingies to try out (Thanks, Dad). After walking for a few hours, we arrived at a lake, dropped our backpacks, and gathered material for a fire: first moss, then twigs, sticks, branches, and finally logs. It took longer than I like to get it to catch with the scrapings, but it worked!

Success!


Hard to capture just how high he was.
Happy Joseph
 Not much feels as good as a fire in the woods when it's zero degrees! We kept them going for about an hour and had some snacks. Ian thought it would be a good idea to climb trees and question my mothering rules. Some of us (Clare and I, actually) stayed by the heat and toasted ourselves front to back. Luke, Joseph, and Addie took it upon themselves to rove about and pick up sticks to toss on the fire. Good job. It began to darken on the hike out and the temp dropped to a few degrees below zero but we felt good from the fire and food.

Facebook tells me that we hiked on New Year's Day last year as well. I guess it's a tradition now. Excellent. No phone service; no internet; no toys. Just us in Alaska. Perfect.


She walked the whole thing.
Then, just as we were settling down and getting cozy at home, I received a text from Rees: Hey Mom, do you, Clare, and Ian want to meet me at the theater to see Rogue 1? So I put my smoky-smelling hair into a bun (Hey, it's Alaska) and out we went again. What a perfect day. The only dark spot was missing John, but he told us that he's doing fine and enjoying Christmas and New Year's pretty well with USO organized field trips (Field trip isn't the correct term, but that's what it sounds like to me). So it's OK.


Big breaths into 2017 and love from the Howells.



P.S. ~ I feel that I should share what happened to a baby of ours. It took me a long time to write.