Intentional

My word for 2023 is intentional. Dictionary(dot)com defines intention as the “act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” Basically, doing something on purpose. What are my intentions? Who do I aim to be? From a Christian standpoint, who does God call me to be? This year, I will try to base my doings off of one question: Am I being intentional? Am I intentionally loving my family? Hanging out with my daughter? This or that friend? Am I being intentional when I teach a little girl to read notes on a piano, able to connect the notes on the staff with keys below her fingers? Messaging a friend?

There are many things that popped up in a Google search for intentional living. A lot of it had to do with goal-setting and trying to stick to a plan. Who is your intention to be? That is all fine and dandy, but I do believe that is a little above my head. I don’t need to have a goal of who I want to be in some distant future. What I do know is who I am: a wife, mother, daughter, sister. A music teacher and (not as often as I’d like) a blogger. I think I’d just like to be more. A little more of everything.

So, when my daughter comes in the house crying because it is way too cold (we moved to Minnesota this summer), I’ll warm her up and make her giggle. When I’m thinking about that friend of mine in Kentucky, I will message her and see how she is doing. I will pay attention. Why am I crabby? It is not my intention to blow up at my family. Let’s play scales on the piano. Lots of them, really loud. (A special thanks to my family who just leaves the room and waits for me to cool off.) I want to be more intentional this year. I’d like to keep blogging, too. Together, we will see where this year takes me!

Do you have a word for this year? What is it?

Be blessed, friends!

Anna

Poems and Books

I saw the woman in the chair; she was in church again today.

Someone said they’ve sold their house; they’re going to move away.

No! I cried, they cannot go; they cannot move away.

I didn’t get to know her; there’s something I need to say:

Please tell me your secret; I want to sit at your feet,

I need to know how you handle the pain that is your daily meat,

How do you keep on smiling when each day your health gets worse?

How do you keep depending on God when you’re living with a curse?

Every time I see her, her smile comes from deep within.

I know her fellowship with God isn’t scarred by the chair she’s in.

She admits her health is failing; she knows she’s fading away.

How can she remain so calm when I’m running away?

My friend, can you tell me how you can trust the Lord

How can you stay so gentle and sweet when He seems to wield a sword?

You are to me a promise even in the midst of pain

God is near and faithful if I will turn to him again.

Liz Hupp

When I heard the former poem, it became my prayer. But then this afternoon, Dr. H took my daughter to the park, so I played the piano for a while. I didn’t get through one song until my fingers became super tired. What was going on? My fingers might be out of shape, but when they are tired, I lose feeling and function. I grew frustrated, as my nap that day hadn’t gone well. So I wrote this next poem.

I am the woman in the chair; I go to church every week.

We’ve just moved again, so I’m new, but let me speak:

It’s true I lean on God for everything, and I’m strong because of Him.

I try to get involved, try and find friends in the community within.

But sometimes I want to cry, just cry.

“It’s not fair!” I yell. “Why me, Lord? Why?”

Why is my illness progressing? Why am I losing function?

Why am I the woman in the chair, the one receiving so many assumptions?

Why do I deal with chronic fatigue, amongst so much more?

It ruins my day, my motherhood, and even my simple chores.

But then His calming presence softly wraps around me.

“I’m still here,” He says. “It’s okay. Just be.”

I sigh as I let it all go. “It’s so hard,” I whisper into His shoulder.

I feel His embrace, and it somehow makes me boulder.

“How did you do it?” I ask. “When You walked the earth?”

“By leaning into My Father,” came the reply. “He’ll show you your worth.”

My eyes were suddenly opened to scripture, as I recalled His promises.

I am salt and light, adopted, and redeemed. I am justified, and I am His.

It doesn’t matter what comes next, because He always will be.

Things might be hard, but my God, He lives in me.

So I can be strong and praise Jesus with my everything.

It’s Him I trust, for health and for life. He is my King.

Anna E Meyer

I have heard people come up to me and tell me what an inspiration I am. I shrug, because I just do what I do, and I make do with what I have. But if someone is encouraged because I keep moving forward? Praise Jesus. Paul said, in Philippians 1, “For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I hope I can show Christ in my life. I know that one day I will walk and run again. I remember telling my two year old that same thing, so she stopped and prayed right then and there it would happen soon. My life is hard, but Jesus’ life was harder. So many of the early apostles were tortured and killed, all to the advancement of the church. Everyone knew about it and praised God that they were honored to share in Christ’s suffering. It’s hard to see it that way nowadays. Dr.H is reading a book and discussing it with me. “When Jesus Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty,” by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes (where I found the first poem). We are not but a third of the way through it, but boy, is it good. After playing a little piano this afternoon, I felt depressed and defeated. But the Lord speaks to me through my writing.

I’m the lady in the chair, and I think I’ve cooled down.

I’m a child of the Most High, so I’ll just adjust my crown.

I read scripture every night as I go to bed.

His Word is comforting, as I lay my head.

I write to my Lord and sing His praises every day.

I now understand that He’s the potter; I’m the clay.

Stealing lyrics, I’ll sing: Take my life and form it,

Take my mind, transform it. Take my will, and conform it

To Yours, to Yours, oh Lord.

I’ll stand with You and drawn sword.

 I don’t understand why I’ve got this disease,

But You work through Your children as You please.

Because of my life You’ve reached another,

And I don’t need to know reason any other.

Christ suffered while on earth, as well.

You understand and comfort as You tell

Of all the good things waiting for us in paradise.

You’ve made us Yours, You’ve paid the price.

All I can do is praise you today.

All I can write is how I love you always!

Anna E. Meyer

An hour or two after I wrote the first poem, I sat down to write the one above. I can be angry, and then the Lord swoops in somehow and makes me feel better. By reading scripture. Hearing a song, where the words just speak that day. More writing.  There are a lot of things that I, a mere human, don’t understand. My dad always said, “Ask God when you get to heaven.” My daughter, now 5, stops and prays right there that she can find out BEFORE she gets to heaven.

I do not even know how to end this blog post. Maybe I will start writing more. Whichever the case, be blessed, my friends!

Anna

A Narrative: Art

Anna’s fingers tapped the keys as she thought of what the post would be about. Her love of art. She smiled. Music was amazing. She loved it, had even majored in it in college, though the career path didn’t pan out. (How was she supposed to know she couldn’t handle entire classes of kids at once? Especially when they all had loud, unpracticed instruments in their hands?) Anna loved music, but she honestly wasn’t the greatest at it. She had to practice hard to keep up. Sight-reading? Not great. Remembering fingerings? Well, she remembered the keys, but refer to previous point. It gets all scrambled.

She smiled as she remembered the compliment she had received at church that morning on her Facebook album, “Bible Art Journaling.” She hadn’t done any Bible art for a while, but a new Facebook friend had recently discovered the album. She did love doing art in her journaling Bible, thinking deeply about the passage as she created its picture. It was fun to use various mediums as she created.

And words. Anna sure loved writing. She always had, really. Her spelling got better as she advanced in school, and currently, she cringes at misspelled words or grammatical errors. She loves writing dialogue. Music and sound are a strength of hers, after all. She is decent at writing the random blog post about one thing or another. But one of the hardest aspects that Anna struggles with is descriptions. If you’ve never met Anna, you don’t even know what she looks like, because I didn’t include that part of the description.

My lamp doesn’t stay up anymore cuz a little girl who lives with me kept pulling it

Anna made a face and hit “enter” too hard to start a new paragraph. She looked down at her hands on the keyboard. The ring on her left hand glimmered in the light of the lamp that was being cast that way. Shaking her head, Anna adjusted the lamp to get rid of the shadows on the left sides of her hands. Having a lamp was helpful, but it was even more so if it didn’t keep drooping too low.

“Hey, Doug,” she called out to her husband (who she refers to as DrH on her blog), “can you read this for me?” After he read what she had written (and laughed, of course), he started talking to her about her love of art. And it was what she needed to hear.

“Anna, before we were married, I didn’t know much about art,” he told her. “But, like this says, you love it. You know, you always ask what you have to give, because you have limitations. Art is something that you can give, and it helps you connect with people.”

Anna smiled as she felt his newly-shaved head of very short hair. “I love you,” she said. “And you’re right.”

“Before I met you,” he continued, “you were good at music and writing, but even since our marriage, you’ve learned so much about other kinds of art. Like painting.”

Anna looked around her living room, at all the signs that were hung on the wall, even though none of them went together. The pictures next to the Bible verse handwritten in chalk. The wood cross given to her by her dad, and the purple signs she requested of her aunt Pam before she even got married. The picture on canvas created by both her husband and daughter next to the fish. The other many Bible verses in different colors and different fonts on different signs. I’m getting totally distracted, she chided herself. Then, a comment from her dear sister floated through her head: “Anna, your house is like a novel, and it makes me tired.”

Lydia painted a horse but wanted a unicorn. DrH touched up and added a nice background.

Sternly shaking her head, Anna thought about her move this summer and the better decorating she’d probably do. But, she thought with a shrug, I do like my signs.

THIS NARRATIVE IS NOT DESCRIPTIVE! Anna looked helplessly at her husband, who is busy listing out the items in the house they’d be moving. Uff da, thought the Minnesota-native. My next attempt. Will hopefully tell you about a little more than what’s going on in my head!?

Until next time,

Anna

God’s Hand Amid Our Life Update

DrH and I started praying last year that God would lead us to the right job. Back when DrH applied for med school, he went to a bunch of interviews. After he interviewed at KYCOM (Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine), he turned down his remaining interviews. He just knew that KYCOM felt like home. When med school was coming to an end, he did away rotations to get a feel for the different residencies he was going to apply for. SIU Med (Southen Illinois University) was rated second on his list. After he matched to SIU, he realized that it was indeed a better fit than his first choice would have been. We’ve been seeing God move through our whole journey! DrH attended a recruiting event or two, and had two interviews. Avera in Worthington felt like KYCOM and SIU did when we got there. It felt like home.

Last fall, we started praying that God would find us a house. We started looking at the housing market after DrH signed his contract in December (but housing markets aren’t very good in the winter…). We found a realtor and toured a LOT of homes. The problem is, it had to be made handicap accessible. We were planning on remodeling whatever needed to be changed so that I would have access to every room in the house. A handicap bathroom, especially. It was February, maybe? When we discovered a subdivision that was being built in Worthington of condos/duplexes. These houses are one level and have wide hallways and doorways (as our builder said, “Baby Boomers love them!”). They keep building them, because people keep buying them. So we bought our house just before they finished up with the outside. We were forwarded the floor plan, and asked, “What changes would you like before we start putting up walls?” So we are treating this house like we’re building it! We picked out the flooring and paint colors, we helped design the cabinets, and I get a handicap bathroom! We own everything from the glass in, and we just need to okay it with the local home owner’s association to put something in our yard. That also means we don’t have to worry about lawn care or snow removal! All our neighbors will be at least 30 years older than us, but I am so excited!

When I pray about something as much as we’ve prayed for this job and this house, I think it’s easier to see God’s hand. We actually toured (virtually) one of our future neighbor’s houses, as Jean is in a wheelchair, too. I am excited to get to know my neighbors, and I am also excited to go back to Southwest Minnesota! We’ll only have to make a bigger trip to visit one side of the family, so it’ll be easier to plan and make time.

Until next time friends, be blessed!

Anna

Life Update and Getting Back to Myself

LIFE UPDATE: We are moving to Worthington, MN, where DrH signed a contract to work as a pediatrician! When we got married almost 8 years ago, we went right to our new house in Pikeville, KY, so he could start med school. And now, eight years later, DrH will finally be done with training (DWT)! No more will we get stipends disguised as paychecks to live off of. (Seriously. Residents provide cheap doctor labor.) THREE MONTHS. Three months until DrH is a licensed physician! Three months until we move (again). Three months to finish all I wanted to do in Springfield when we moved here for residency. I’m only here for three more months. But, I realized I’m HERE for three more months! Planning ahead is great, but let’s make the most of now!

A couple weeks ago, I attended a women’s conference here in town. I listened for God to speak to me. I hear Him more clearly when I’m writing. I heard a few things. The biggest: I have been neglecting so many things that I used to love to do. That were part of me. So in these next three months, I am going to get myself back. A huge part of me had always been writing. I started journaling in 2004 (soon after I was diagnosed with MS). It is a great way to comprehend everything and work through it. In 2010, I turned my journals into “Jesus Journals,” and started writing during my quiet times. Instead of telling my journal what was up, I told Jesus. This is also when I started to learn to listen for God’s voice (it takes time and practice!). Shortly after we moved to Springfield, I stopped journaling. I don’t know why, I just did. I haven’t been journaling daily, but a lot more often than I was a month ago!

Another huge part of my life was fellowship with other women. It’s always easier for them to come to me, and I love hosting! I am also part of our local MOPS chapter here in Springfield. We’ve been trying to meet, even if by Zoom, since the pandemic hit. Our last meeting, I shared part of my testimony. And after, I was talking with some other ladies about this or that. I am finally hitting that try-every-coffee-shop-in-town item off my bucket list! Playdates at my house! Coffee dates without kids! I am a born encourager, and I find so much joy in doing so!

Toward the beginning of the school year, I missed serving at church. I Pikeville, I played keys for the band. I have so missed being a part of something like that. I don’t play much anymore. For a couple years in college, I played drum set for Cru (campus ministry). I sure can’t do that anymore. Anyhoo, I digress. I began running lyrics! So every month or so, I am the lyrics operator during church. I love being there as the band is practicing. The stage is only accessible by stairs, but I have asked the worship pastor if he could build a ramp so I could get up there, too. It is so much easier said than done. I want to sing!

I have three months to pack up everything in the house. Three months to write. To build friendships. To encourage. I have no idea what the next chapter in my life may hold, but I can live out the next few pages now with boldness and purpose!

Be blessed, my friends!

Anna

Devotionals and Reading

It has been a long while since I’ve written anything here. Life happens, we all get busy. Today, I wanna talk devotions. I love a good devotional. I am always reading (at least) one all the time! It is such a good exercise to get into the Word of God daily. I used to not be so good at doing so, but the YouVersion Bible app has helped a ton. I also sign up for the occasional Bible study on Lifeway with a friend or read a devo separate from either. I want to share with you two awesome devo’s I’ve read, the second one recent. The narrative is AWESOME. Each of the books is supposed to be 40 days, but I think I finished each in a week or two. What are these devotionals I’m talking about?

My author friend, Joanna Alonzo, wrote these journeys of the heart that seek the Lord with yearning. I read the first book, “Woman in the Wilderness,” a few years ago. Each day has a narrative of a woman, followed by scripture and author’s reflections. If you are in or have been in a wilderness season, this book will speak to you. The description of the book says, “Every Christian in serious and ardent pursuit of Love Divine has, at some point, been the Woman in the Wilderness.” The woman who seeks her Beloved is you! It’s me! I was blown away by this devotional; it resonated with me, though I was not in a current wilderness season

The second book is a sequel, entitled “The Kingdom Child.” This is the book I’m so excited about finishing, I had to share it! The woman has just come from her wilderness journey, and she has now become part of His Kingdom. As in the first book, each narrative, or story, of the kingdom child is followed by scripture and reflections. The Kingdom Child is about growing in God’s kingdom and “exploring [His] heart for His children – in all our uniqueness and differences.” I loved meeting the other characters that the kingdom child interacts with throughout the story. It’s difficult to get along with, work with, or even love your neighbor – even if they are a child of the King, too! Even though I feel like I’m not in the growing season with the kingdom, I loved this book. Who am I kidding? We’re always growing, even if we don’t feel like it!

I love that YouVersion has a streak of days it tracks for you. It’s definitely better motivating to open up the app everyday. I also like to see how many Bible plans I’ve gone through and stuff like that. I’m definitely motivated by keeping track of things like that. I love reading Christian fiction that makes me think, as well.

Do you struggle to read God’s Word everyday? What helps you?

Be blessed, friends!

Anna

A Few of My Testimonies (Great Is Your Faithfulness)

The seven-year-old girl eyed the pictures hanging up in the Sunday School room, skeptical. She climbed the stairs with everyone else and found her mom. “Mom,” she declared, “I don’t know if I believe in this Jesus stuff.  It seems too good to be true.” Standing in the lobby of the church, the girl’s mother was taken aback. “But, sweetie, you can’t go to heaven and see Grandma unless you believe in Jesus!” The girl was surprised by her mother’s reaction, and scared she wouldn’t get to go to heaven and see her great-grandma, whose was the only funeral she’d attended. That evening, the girl had a very serious talk with her two little sisters. “And so,” she concluded, “you have to believe in Jesus, or you won’t get to go to heaven.” 

Looking back at my life, I only see the grace of God in so many ways. Too many to count, really. Like the time I had suicidal thoughts, but my sister told me conversationally how much she heard it hurt. That people would call 911 after they overdosed just to get their stomach pumped and some relief. I was afraid of pain. Or this other time, when I went to grab something on the floor of my car, and I went into the ditch. I looked up and was headed straight for a telephone pole. There is no other explanation how I safely got back on the road with only a dent in the borrowed minivan I drove.

At night when I can’t sleep, I sing “How Great is Thy Faithfulness.” If that doesn’t work, I transition to “How Great Thou Art.” I can’t not see the mercies my heavenly father pours out on me. Like when I was headed back to the parking lot in my electric cart, unsure how I’d have the energy to unload groceries into my car. God would send somebody, who was just walking by, to help. Or when I was walking with my walker and reached the end of my rope before I could even get it back in my car. A little help here, God? Well, the lady that had just walked by me turned around to see if I needed help. So many times, I have seen the tangible provision of God. Now, I am in a unique position with my physical disabilities. People walk by me and can sense I might need help. They check, even if unsure. What about the people that look perfectly normal on the outside? Do they receive tangible help, too? The answer is YES. Undoubtedly.

God’s mercies are new and exciting each and every morning. I have verses and promises of God plastered all over my bathroom walls. “I, Anna, have received an unction from the Holy Spirit within me that will reveal, teach, and show me ALL the things pertaining to my life and that which I need to know.” And again, “I am who the Bible says I am, can do what the Bible says I can do, and I will have what the Bible says I can have. And I establish this.” One more of my favorites, “I trust with childlike faith my heavenly father, even though I may temporarily not know all the details and mercies God has set in motion on my behalf!” Thank you, Sallie, for these words I could handwrite on notecards and hang in my bathroom! 

Like everyone, I have my down days, weeks, whatever. In these times I wallow in self-pity and refuse to read or even remember God’s promises. But every time, when I come back, God is just like a loving parent. “You done now?” He seems to ask me with a hint of a smile. “Yeah, yeah,” I admit. “You are always good.” And really, once my pity party is over, I’m reminded of the goodness and faithfulness of my Good, Good Father.

We all have so many testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness. If you are a child of God, you have a story somewhere. Can I hear some of your best?

Be blessed, my friends!

Anna

Love and Birthdays

Thirty. By this time in life, I’m married, have a kid, and my husband is halfway done with residency. When my birthday was in November, DrH really showed off his super sneaky and thoughtful side. Before my birthday, I knew something was up. In the morning, I walked into the kitchen to find a 50-balloon banner on our wall and the letters strung to make up the phrase “HAPPY 30TH BIRTHDAY” (I love surprises). All were quite colorful (I love bright colors, too). Around lunch, DrH was talking about a timeline. He got on my computer, did some things, and presented me with the Zoom meeting…where all of my extended family was waiting! DrH presented me with my present, “from all [my] friends and family.” He looked at the screen and said, “You all know what this is, and Anna’s going to open it right now.” What? Both sides of my extended family knew what this gift was? The box contained BIRTHDAY CARDS (my love language is words of affirmation). My dear husband had gotten a hold of so many people, and they all sent me birthday cards! My bucket was full. Over the next few days, a few stragglers came in and I got to read almost 150 birthday cards! I don’t cry or tear up when things are happy or sad. If anything, I “mist.” Well, there were a handful of cards that definitely had me “misting!”

The letter “R”

Now, DrH’s birthday is exactly two months after mine, so I had some time to plan. He only has January and February left to take any more vacation time he has left until June (the year resets with the school year). We got back from vacation on Wednesday night, and he got his 2nd Covid shot after Lydia was in bed. His birthday was Thursday! After he got up, we ate breakfast, and I gave him his “intro” for what I called “Doug’s 30th Birthday Quest.” It basically said he’d have to travel to each place, and complete an activity before he received the next clue. Going back to the car would unlock his next birthday present. It all made a lot more sense in my head than how it actually panned out. However, it was a great day! First, DrH, Lydia, and I met his friend Boyung at his work and we played some cards (DrH’s love language is quality time). Next, Lydia had a doctor appointment. DrH could not figure out why I scheduled her that day of all days. Well, as we were checking out, the ladies at the reception desk asked five trivia questions. Little did I know that in high school, DrH was in Hi-Q, where he had to study sports statistics and such! No, he did not know who won the superbowl in 1991 (NY Giants), but he knew that the Green Bay Packers won in ’92. Who even knows that stuff? Lol. He did tell me that the trivia was fun! The next clue led us to Jenny, our nanny and neighbor. She gave Doug another present and his clue before she took Lydia for the rest of the day! Next, we went to our church, where one of the pastors did an in-depth study in Hebrews for half an hour (DrH has told me that he enjoys discussing the Bible and such). The clue he got there led us to go pick up his birthday cake that I’d asked him to order earlier that week (because what if I had picked the wrong one? Wasn’t risking it). On the fridge where his cake was being stored was a riddle. Smarty pants DrH figured out the answer after a few moments. The final clue led us to his favorite restaurant, Panera Bread. We swung through the drive thru and went home to eat. Now, DrH was not feeling all the best that morning, but he said he did appreciate the effort I put into it! After nap, we packed up Lydia’s and our overnight bags. We went to a hotel in town! Big thanks to all who helped out in this fun day, especially our parents, who funded the hotel and food for the day. Eating food from a fancy place was nice!

The MN Twins!

I wrote all this to tell the people that helped me out how the day went. DrH and I dated long-distance (between 7-9 hours) the whole time we were dating, so we started talking about everything. After getting married and realizing how much we didn’t quite know about each other, we started reading books like “5 Love Languages” and more recently, “How Full Is Your Bucket?” Being married to someone with a chronic disease is so not easy, and we’ve found out that by surprising each other and showing love to one another in different ways, we can keep moving forward, together. We’ve never gone this far out of our way for birthdays, but 30 is the first decade we get to start together!

How can you find ways to love those around you? Your friends? Neighbors? Parents? Kids? Do you know the 5 love languages? What’s yours? What’s theirs?

The Pinkie Toe

When we moved for residency, I tried starting a new blog. Well, I stopped blogging for like, a year and a half. And I think I like this blog I’m at. There’s history here. I wrote this one as a reflection of my past, and to remind everyone: YOU are important!

He Leads Me Along Write Paths

I met a girl at church camp one year who’s pinkie toe wasn’t actually on her foot, it was up a couple inches on her leg. I thought that was very interesting. In a show I used to watch on Disney Channel, called, “Phil of the Future,” there is an episode where Phil is embarrassed to go on a class trip because they would all be barefoot as they stomp on the berries to squish them. He was embarrassed, because in the future, nobody had pinkie toes anymore. In an article I read from wiseGEEK explaining the purpose of a pinkie toe, the writers stated that the issue of the pinkie toe’s function is said to be “frequently called into question.” It does the same thing as the three other little toes between it and the big toe. The article goes on to say, “It has been suggested that its…

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A Reflection: My MS Journey

I’ve always kind of said that my physical and spiritual selves were related. In the past, I tried to do everything perfectly. I strived to be the best (intellectually, of course—I’ve never been very good at sports or other physical feats). And then, in 8th grade (2004), I was diagnosed with MS. I’m not labeling it good or bad. God takes the bad and uses it for good, but I would never wish chronic illness on anyone. I found that I got tired more easily, I couldn’t do everything myself (no matter how much I tried). God used the MS to teach me a few things. I’ve written on this subject before, for example, in this post (which is an older reflection like this), but it’s always refreshing to my spirit to reflect again and praise God for it all! Here are some things I’ve learned in my 16 years with this progressive disease: 

Trust God. I feel like we say we trust God a lot, but how much is “a lot?” Enough? I learned to trust God so much more after MS. It was easier, years ago, to ask God for energy for the day when I didn’t have any. My condition is a lot worse, but if I am by myself and trying not to fall on the floor, when I ask God for help, he sends it. He either gives me the strength I need to do a task myself, or he sends somebody else to help me. Which leads me to my next point:  

Remember that we need each other. I would fall, and when somebody came up to help me, my stubborn and independent nature said, “Nope, I’m okay! I got this!” It took years, but I eventually realized that by accepting help, I was giving somebody else the opportunity to bless me. They could help me up, or do something simple for me, like helping put my groceries in the car. They just blessed me by helping me, and I think when you do things for others, your bucket is filled a bit more, too.  The same is true in life. We aren’t supposed to be good at everything. God gave each one of us a different gift than the other, so that together, we could be something beautiful. When DrH was in med school, I became president of the club for the spouses. When you’re president of something, it is way too easy to do everything yourself. But nobody is supposed to. Presidents are given the authority to delegate. It felt good when I would recognize somebody’s strength, and ask them to do a job in that area. I have been part of many leadership teams, and I have noticed this, again and again. When we each do the thing we shine at, we are able to be a well-functioning team!  

Take breaks. I would get tired out so fast, but I was on a roll! Just as my body calls for a rest every midday, we need to break up what we’re working on. Again, When DrH was in med school, he learned the 50-5 technique. Study for fifty minutes, take a break. That could be a break of two minutes or ten. Then every so many short breaks, take a long one. He still uses this while he is working on something at home (he probably uses it at work, too, but I never see him). I have learned to break up my work sessions like this, as well. It helps!  

Stay positive. I have seen people devastated by their diagnosis, allowing it to stop them from living. These people go downhill quickly. On the other hand, I have seen people who are positive, even though their situation may not be. I’ve waxed and waned, but my demeanor has always, naturally, been a positive one. I grew up with the northern Midwestern view of “It could be worse.” Which is true, things could always be worse. And instead of focusing on what could be worse, let’s look for the positives! I also just happen to be an optimist. When a close friend or family member is having a grumpy day, I will figuratively take the corners of their mouth and pull as hard as I can to turn them up. I will try everything to cheer them up. Even my daughter, when I was having a bad day, asked if jokes would help. She’s four, and her jokes aren’t super funny or make a lot of sense, but I smiled and “laughed” anyway. I sure love her!  

Learn Life’s Lessons. I wrote this blog when I was a senior in college. When I wrote my senior sermon, I reflected on what the previous 8 or 9 years of MS had looked like. Re-reading this, I was reminded, once again, how much God can teach us through our circumstances if we let him. 

I’ve been looking back on some other posts that are in this blog, and there’s a lot of good stuff here. I’ve been reading about my MS Journey from 2012, to 2016, and now. (Yes, I wrote everything here, but I’ve liked re-reading them, too!) I started this blog when I started college in 2009, and I’m not going anywhere. Stick with me as I continue living and sharing more about my journeys!

Be blessed, my friends!

Anna