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!”
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!
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 next late-morning, family who was still around, a few friends, and Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I met at the Olson Farm for brunch. Delish. I like breakfast foods anytime of the day. Especially if there’s egg bake. Or bacon. Bacon is good. Anyway, Dr. Coyote and I opened our wedding gifts. We sent a bunch of bigger stuff with Jim and Karen as they headed back home, and we took a few things with us. The plan was that in two weeks, Jim, Karen, and Beth would come down to Pikeville with a U-Haul and the rest of our stuff. (And they did, in fact. It was great seeing them and hanging out with them, even though we were still in an un-scheduled, sleep-in type of rhythm at the time!)
Anyway, we hung out the whole day with family who was still there. I think most of them left that day, but maybe a few stayed? Anyway, Doug and I left the next morning to begin our honeymoon. We still had the Cottonwood bank account open, so we deposited all our wedding money (so we wouldn’t have to carry it around) and signed Dr. Coyote on for a joint account. We closed it later, but Dr. Coyote did all that stuff, because it was a joint account now. He was a math minor in undergrad. Yeah, he’s smart.
Anyhoo, our first night brought us to La Crosse. Dr. Coyote planned the trip so that there were things we could do on the way if we wanted to or just not. So we stopped in Rochester, MN on our way. La Crosse is his college town. Of course he knew the receptionist at the hotel, a college student a class or two under him. The next morning, we went to Fayze’s, AKA La Crosse’s best, especially for breakfast! The next night brought us to McFarland, WI. It wasn’t very far, but it left wiggle room for what we wanted to do that day. We stayed at “The Parsonage,” an adorable little bed & breakfast owned by an older gentleman and his wife. We visited with the owner at breakfast the next morning. His wife has ALS, and he looked at the B&B as his ministry. He was telling us about how he came to own the B&B, and just his story. It was awesome. We told him our story, as well! The room we stayed in had a hot tub in it! It was awesome, and I would definitely recommend The Parsonage B&B to anyone! The next night, I believe we made it all the way to Indianapolis. The B&B we stayed in that night was downtown and difficult to find with all the one ways and such. I think we were both a little crabby by time we found it. The next morning in conversation, the owner was like, “So, here is your halfway point? So perhaps I’ll see you again?” Yeah, maybe not. Downtown Indianapolis is a headache when you’re from a town of 1200. Anyhoo, we drove by the Indianapolis Speedway that day. Dr. Coyote asked if I wanted to stop there, and we could go on the tour, but I decided against it. It was at this time in the trip when exhaustion caught up with us. But we still had a ways to go! And our trip was not over yet!
That night, we got to Lexington, KY. It was the weekend of July 4th! So we were going to spend two nights there. We asked a bunch of people where the fireworks were, and finally someone told us. But by time it was to leave to get a spot, I was just tired. So we ordered pizza and watched “The Wolverine.” (What? What did you do on the 4th?) Although we did drive around Lexington a bunch, I would almost guaranteed-ly get lost if I tried it without directions again. The next day, we made it to our new home in Pikeville, KY.
We tried a few southern diners, and made it most of the way on gift cards. We even had to do a midnight Wal-Mart run (they don’t have Target here, sadly) that night, and we had a gift card for there, too! When we got to our house and started unpacking what we had, we realized that the little we had brought….wasn’t gonna last us. Because although we had a bunch of necessities, we’d sent everything else with Jim & Karen. Like our sheets and blanket. Our awesome landlords tried to help, though! They left us some toilet paper and hand soap (much appreciated, Workmans!). Our midnight Wal-Mart run included sheets, blankets, pillows (because who remembers their pillow?), some command strips (because one thing we did have was most of our signs!), and food for the weekend, among other things I don’t remember but we needed.
The honeymoon was great, although I wouldn’t necessarily repeat it. All that driving and bed-hopping? Tiring. We did have a few weeks after we got to Pikeville before anything started, though, so we kind of used that time for relaxation and rejuvenation before life started in Pikeville. As I said, Jim, Karen, and Beth came down with a U-Haul about a week later, and Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I had all our stuff set up and tucked away before orientation started, one month after our wedding. We did forget a couple of things that were kind of needed, but looking back, I am surprised we didn’t forget more. Planning a wedding, a huge move across the states, and our new lives together? While I was living at home in Cottonwood and at my apartment in Sioux Falls and both Dr. Coyote and I were working? We are both so thankful for all the family support we have gotten, just figuring this all out.
And although this is the last post of this series, it is by no means the end of our love story. As is the case with weddings and such: this is just the beginning.
It was the case that I possibly suffered from “love brain” since probably this time. It just kept getting worse. And by “worse” I mean “awesomer.” For everyone who was worried that I would one day be a bridezilla, I was not. Stress about my upcoming wedding? Not me!
Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I had talked about colors a little, where I wanted to get married, etc, before he even proposed. I think the conversation happened in October or something. We had decided from the time that we were engaged until our wedding, we would not kiss. Every couple is different, and we didn’t have to do that, but we mutually agreed that among other things, it would make our marriage kiss sweeter.
Nobody I asked to be a bridesmaid had any reaction.
Christina: “Yeah, I thought that was the plan.”
Beth: “Well, I don’t like dressing up and stuff, but I will.”
Laura was in bed and playing on her phone when I asked her. She did smile big when I asked her to be MOH. I liked that. By the way, I took advantage of Laura being my MOH. I was her Barbie doll, after all. I thought she could come up with better church decorations than I could (I was right). In return, she threatened to make me do all these things for her wedding someday. We’ll see, Laura. We will see.
Everyone else I asked was a little more enthusiastic. (Notice all caps and/or exclamation points.)
Emily (personal attendant): “YES.” (No questions.)
Megan (usher): “Yeah!”
Berit (flute): “Yes!”
Jenni (usher): “Sure!”
Basically, people that I love, I wanted involved in my wedding. So I gave out a lot of jobs to many people. I wish I had more to give out, but it was fun. I actually asked my sisters to be in my wedding even before Dr. Wile E. Coyote proposed to me. And I asked Beth (his sister) as soon as we got back to Peshtigo, hehe. Because I had asked so many people to do things, I was like a conductor of a band or orchestra. “Ready, you do this. . . . And you do that!”
Being engaged is really fun. It’s more fun, for instance, to introduce your significant other as your fiancé instead of your boyfriend. We chose a general date (my parents said “no” to May because that was planting). We had friends getting married at the beginning of the month, so we were looking at a few options toward the end. Did you know that my birthday is November 28, and his is January 28? So it worked out perfectly that June 28th was available at the church. Who would have thought that farmers in the area wouldn’t be all done planting by then? It was an odd spring, weather-wise. Also, I told people that my wedding day would be the first Saturday in June where it didn’t rain. And I think I was right!
Anyway, I had a to-do list, so every time I went home or there, or Dr, Wile E. Coyote came to where I was, we would check something off our list. And we did still try to get together every month or so. At the beginning of February, Doug came to Sioux Falls to visit. He stayed at Pastor Jason’s house. He met my roommates, and I got to show him around Sioux Falls, which was my stomping grounds during college. I remember that he was stressed that he was late, and I was stressed because I was cooking supper and it was not done when I thought it would be. But it all turned out for the best, really. He got to our apartment with 10 minutes left on supper (and I had to really scrub out that pan after he left again). We did cupcake taste-tests that visit, because we had decided on cupcakes for our wedding. I think I had to work a half day or something while he was in Sioux Falls, so he got his car worked on because it needed to be before he went back home. Anyway, he got me a rose, because Valentine’s day was coming up soon! I was touched, and it graced our table until the day it wilted.
It’s sad, that I don’t remember everything of those six months of being engaged. I do remember that Dr. Coyote came to Sioux Falls at least one other time. I remember that Dr. Coyote and his mom, Karen, came to Cottonwood so that Karen could see where the wedding and reception would be. I remember that we needed to meet with Pastor Jim for 3 in-person pre-marital counseling and we did. I remember slowly checking things off and not being stressed, much to my surprise and the surprise of a few others. I do remember other things, though:
In March, my parents and Dr. Coyote and I went to Pikeville, Kentucky to check out where we were going to be the next few years. Dr. Wile E. and I had already signed a lease after just seeing pictures, but we got an actual tour. And I went job searching like crazy. I had my resume, and I tried to hand it out to people, but nobody would even look at it. I had heard that I wouldn’t be able to get into the Pike County school system because I wasn’t related to anyone, but I didn’t know that that was such a true statement! The very last place I went in to ask about a job was a music store—Sound House Music. I think Dwain, the owner, liked my credentials and me in general, because he held the job for me until I got there in July! Simply wonderful, and a huge blessing I didn’t realize that the Lord was giving to us. My uncle Brian was concerned about me not having a purpose, or a job in KY. But boy, oh boy! That was like the cherry on the sundae of all the arrows God was pointing toward Kentucky. I felt better about moving all the way to Kentucky after that, for sure!
In April, I went to Peshtigo for Easter. Karen attempted to gather a bunch of the extended family so that they could meet me, and I them. Well, that probably wasn’t the sole reason they all came, but I did enjoy meeting them all immensely. I, unlike Dr. Coyote, did not have all names down after a weekend. (But they are mostly down now.) We had an Easter-egg hunt, and everything! It was a great weekend.
We didn’t get together in May, because at the very beginning of June, we were going to go to our best man’s wedding. But I couldn’t make it there! So we actually didn’t see each other until wedding week. Wedding week? I think that, and wedding, will be Part VI, appearing on Friday! I might have seven or eight parts to this story. You are still interested, right? Besides, someday, I’ll make this into a book or something or generations after us will read this and be like, “Aww. How cute! They used to plan everything in their weddings, themselves!” or something like that. 🙂
Shortly after Christmas, I went up to Dr. Wile E. Coyote’s house to spend until New Year’s there. I had not met his family before arriving there. His family was great. I’m a hugger, and I gave them all hugs when I saw them (I’m pretty sure—I’ve given and received hugs every other time I see them!). I was surprised that his mom, Karen, and his sister, Beth, were shorter than me. I’m the shortest one in my family. My grandma is shorter than me, but I think she’s shrinking, so it shouldn’t count. Oh, and an aunt of mine who is an in-law to the family is shorter than me. Barely. And my nine-year-old cousin. I’m getting off-topic. Can I just say that my sisters are taller than Dr. Coyote? They almost wear the same shoe size, even.
Anyway, Dr. Coyote was making all of these secret phone calls and kept holding his tongue when we would talk (the whole previous month), because he’s not that great of a secret keeper (although for this, I applaude him!). December 30th, we were driving home from visiting our friend in the hospital and her new baby and Dr. Wile E. said, “So, we’re going on a drive tomorrow.” It was determined that we leave around 7am, and mentioned that I should bring an overnight bag. “And just so you know,” he added, “in my overnight bag, I am packing a tie.” And I just smiled and thought about which of the two dresses that I packed I should actually bring (he had told me to bring nice clothes, so I overpacked, as usual, and brought nice clothes. When you’re driving places, you’re allowed to overpack).
The next morning, Dr. Wile E. Coyote gave me a sheet of paper with directions to places (except all the destinations were cut out of the paper, so there were little squares missing and stuff) and told me I was the navigator. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, and I didn’t pry, because I love surprises. As we were driving, Dr. Coyote said he had a thought: “You don’t mind staying in a house if you’re by yourself there? It’s a familiar house.” Not at all. I asked, “Is that because UW La-Crosse doesn’t start school again for another few weeks? And he just shrugged. I peeked at the sheet with the directions, and even though it was just a street address, I kind of recognized the first address (because I had just mailed a bunch of Christmas cards out), but I wasn’t for positive or anything.
MILWAUKEE was the city we went to! First stop? My friends’ Bridget, Kara, Rachel, and Tang’s house, where Dr. Wile E. Coyote picked up some keys from Tang, who was there. Then we left again. (We didn’t even say more than “hi.”) And we went to…Liberty and Truth Ministries! A church that was my favorite place we volunteered at on Project (Doug didn’t work all the same places I did when we were on Project, but we’ve talked about it, and he was taking notes). Apparently, Pastor Seay wasn’t going to come in on New Year’s Eve, but Doug explained that “It’s for Anna…” and Pastor Seay was like, “Oh, well if it’s for Anna, then of course I’ll come in on New Year’s Eve.” Smiley face. It was so good to talk with Pastor Seay and catch up while we were packing clothes, so their clothing ministry could be moved into another building. Gah! Then Dr. Coyote said we should change into our nice clothes there, so we did. Pastor Seay took a picture of us and then prayed with us before we continued our day. It was great! Then, we went to Culver’s, which kind of threw me off. We stood out a lot because 1) we were white in a predominately black part of town and 2) we were dressed up all fancy and it was like 1pm. Dr, Wile E. Coyote emphasized that we were getting a “light lunch.” 🙂 The next place we went to was CITY ON A HILL. Aka, the building where Project was AND the place were we met and all that jazz. I tried not to get suspicious, but really. He brought a duffel bag in and had me wait while someone who worked there showed him to the chapel that he had reserved. I just sat and waited. I chatted with the receptionist. I read all the posters. A few times. I entertained myself. (I’m good at that.) After 5-10 minutes (it probably wasn’t actually that long), he came back and got me and led me to the chapel.
On our way to the chapel, I told Dr. Coyote that “I’m excited!” Because I was– I didn’t know exactly what would happen and I was excited to see what he had planned. He’s like, “I don’t really know what I’m feeling.” Ha. When I opened the door, I saw this beautiful bouquet of purple and white flowers on the pulpit of this little chapel. “Those are for you,” he said. The card read: “Always bringing you smiles. I love you! Doug.” THEN he had plugged in his iPhone to some speakers and started playing some music so we could dance (he made a point to put music on his iPhone THE NIGHT BEFORE, ‘cuz he didn’t have any on his phone before). So we danced to songs like “Your Love Never Fails” by Brandon Heath and other Jesus music that were all about the same tempo. Then he went to go turn the music down. I was thinking that I felt like I needed to sit down, but I also thought that might be a bad idea, and I should continue to stand, because….then he was looking at these papers in his hand and put them back in his pocket. He started telling me all the things he loved about me, sometimes taking out the papers again to make sure he wasn’t forgetting anything. And then he dropped the top page (which felt more dramatic to me than it did to him). The next page, he read a paragraph of the story I’d most recently written, about putting on the armor of God. He quoted me at the end, like one would quote from a book by a specific person and told me that he wanted to fight next to me. I was like, shaking with excitement. And then he let THAT page drop (dramatically) to the floor. The last page in his hands….ahh. HE WROTE ME A SHAKESPEAREAN SONNET. It was all about how he saw God in me and loved it and how God had given him permission to date me, and then God gave him the go-ahead to ask for my hand in marriage. (This is where the “giggle mess” got worse and more exciting, I think.) Then he gets down on one knee and I’m like, “Yes!” except he completely ignores me because he’s not done talking yet. He’s describing the ring and tells me to take a closer look, and I notice that it’s perfect, but that’s about it and I keep squealing “yes” and then he quotes Ecclesiastes 4:12 and asks me to marry him. THEN I said yes (again). 🙂
Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can withstand. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.”
That was at like 2, and Dr. Coyote had the whole rest of the day planned. Gah! Then we went to Alterra by the lake (which has a new name that I don’t remember but is my favorite coffee shop in Milwaukee STILL). We had to bring the flowers in because it was winter and they would have frozen in the car. Picture op. Then we went to a real fancy restaurant. We had steak (that was super good), and our waitress brought us champagne ‘cuz we told her we had just gotten engaged. And Dr. Coyote was like, “Save room for dessert. I called ahead and made sure there’s cheesecake.” Btw, cheesecake is like, my favorite dessert. I didn’t even know he knew my favorite dessert! So we ordered cheesecake and our waitress comes back with two desserts. “This is the dessert I was going to bring you before you ordered dessert, and here is your cheesecake. Would you like me to take a picture of you with your dessert?” (We had asked her to take a picture for us earlier, because we were documenting our day. Check out our take one adventure album on Facebook! It’s in Doug’s albums.) So, the desert she brought out had two little cheesecakes and in between it said “Congradulations” in chocolate. Ahh. So we split the big cheesecake the next day when we got back to the Meyers’ house. Then we went to the Urban’s house (this staff family we met at project), who had left their house for the weekend but left post-its how things worked. So we watched Fireproof and cuddled and talked. Then, Dr. Wile E. Coyote brought me back to the four awesome ladies’ house for the night, and he returned to the Urban’s. It was a great day. 🙂
A lot of people were actually not at all surprised, including Ashley and Meg, two of our Project friends who were all like, “I totally called it! Like, two years ago!” So I sent the news to friends and family with a picture. Why not?
Part V, the next segment of this series, will be posted Wednesday! I really hope you are all enjoying this. It is enjoyable to me to be writing this whole story out. Dr. Wile E. Coyote, who has been reading my blog on his study breaks, says that there have been things he didn’t even know that I tell on my side of the story. Not that I wanted to tell it all to him right away. Now is a good time for him to know. “I’ve liked you since Project.” “I knew that you’d marry me.” “I think I’ve loved you since seeing you in person after we started dating—maybe even earlier.” And just so you all know, I did a lot of praying before the engagement, when we were still dating, that he wouldn’t break my heart. Then I got to a point where it would have been okay, even though it would have hurt like heck, because we had taught each other so much. But I am so glad that we did get married and are on this adventure of life. I’ll get off my soapbox (that’s coated with love, because I suffer from a disease called “love brain” that prevents me from thinking clearly) and save it. Like I said, Wednesday is the next post. 🙂
Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I lived nine hours apart when we started dating. Keep in mind, that I had one semester of school left. I was student teaching. We recognized the importance of dates, but how could we go on an actual date when we were so far away? So, Dr. Coyote planned out this Skype date date. It was kind of lame, when I think about it now, but it was really sweet, because we were trying so hard. We had already decided that we were in this for the long haul (and I had…hoped when he told me that he wanted to pursue me that I was going to marry him someday). We did think we were going to get married. Or did we know? Either way, the Lord made it possible. And he was central to our relationship. We could not have a conversation without talking about God, the Bible, or something that the Lord had been teaching us lately. Anyway. Our date. We had agreed that we would have a decent background, we’d dress up, and drink from fancy glasses (we always had a cup of water nearby when we Skyped, anyway). I remember that I wore a dress (even though he could only see me from the waist up) and faced the computer toward the wall, with enough room between me and the “desk” I was using (aka, two boxes stacked on top of each other). I had just moved in to my new apartment in Sioux Falls, SD. We were still nine hours apart, ‘cuz you could take the interstate to Sioux Falls, whereas you had to take slower highways and country roads to get to Cottonwood. Dr. Wile E. Coyote wore a light green or blue polo. He also had set up a curtain behind him, and on the curtain, he had taped my most recent letter, a green music note he’d cut out, and a purple heart. And we did make our conversation more special that evening (although I couldn’t remember what we talked about at all). Can I remember things or what? (But oh yeah…it was, like, a year ago.)
And then we decided to meet up in person—I was having a neurologist appointment at the Mayo Clinic at the end of the month. It just so turned out that Rochester, MN, was close to the halfway point between our homes. So Doug stayed in La Crosse the night before, and my mom and I drove up morning of. I was so excited. It was two days of appointments, and my mom paid for Dr. Wile E. Coyote to have his own separate hotel room (‘cuz otherwise he would have booked a room in a different hotel, and besides, my mother was getting Farm Bureau discounts). The anticipation was crazy! And Dr. Coyote totally beat us there. We found out where he was (because while he was lost at the Mayo, we had been there enough to know exactly where he was) and headed that way. I was walking on my mom’s arm, because I like having someone who I can hold onto as I walk so I don’t fall or something. Anyway, Dr. Coyote had no clue which direction we were coming from (as he parked in a different parking ramp than us), so I saw him first. He was looking around. And when he spotted me? Goodness. My mom dumped me off her arm and told Doug, “Here. You walk with her,” and so he did. I taught him how to “walk with me.” Dr. Coyote told me later that he felt like a prince. (Smiley face.) Because we were walking together, we could talk easier. I don’t even remember what we talked about. Both of us really had been worried that we would have nothing to talk about, but we’d realized that sometimes just being together was enough—no talking needed! Dr. Coyote came with to most of my appointments—there were a few neither came with, but they got along very well, my mother and Dr. Wile E. Coyote.
That night, we went on a date. Dr. Coyote had looked up a good restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota, with live music and a romantic atmosphere. He brought me there. It was so sweet! Our first date. There was conversation, live music, supper, and of course, looking into each other’s eyes. We came back to the hotel room and watched “The Amazing Spiderman,” because we had made a list of things we wanted to do together, and that was on our list. J We cuddled. Anyhoo, the next morning, we read the Word together and discussed it. And then it was time for day two of appointments. (I think I only had like, two this day.) We showed Doug where we’d go when we’d go to the Mayo Clinic (there is a whole subway level beneath the roads and sidewalks, connected to the Clinic). And then, Dr. Wile E. Coyote had to leave. (Sad face.) But first, we went to a Carribou Coffee—we got coffee, mom went to her own little corner and ignored us like she is so good at doing when we’re having a “moment,” and Dr. Coyote and I drank coffee and looked into each other’s eyes. We did that a lot. When we brought him to his car after, our first kiss was behind a light pole that was kind of behind the minivan. (Mom didn’t see us, but she knew. Moms do that kind of thing.) She told me on the way home that she knew that Dr. Coyote would marry me one day. I don’t know how, but moms just sort of know. It’s kind of weird.
We tried to get together in person close to once a month. We met in La Crosse one weekend, which is his college town, so he showed me his favorite spots. He stayed at the apartment with some of his friends, and I stayed at the house of some of their girlfriends. We went on a Saturday-Sunday so he could bring me to the church he loved so much while he was in college. And Fayze’s. AKA the best place to get breakfast in town. 😉
He came to Thanksgiving at my house. My mother invited BOTH SIDES of the family so that they could meet him. J My favorite moments of that weekend was slow dancing in a bedroom and then laying on the floor, holding hands, praying. It was really great. He hung out by himself with some of my family, and he remembered everyone’s names! If he would have been tested on that, he would have gotten an “A”! Christina had told me months earlier, that if I was bringing my boyfriend for Thanksgiving, I had to bring one for everybody. (Lol.) I remember one night when I was doing homework that Doug spent a few hours with my dad, helping him out with a project and just talking. Neither would relay what they talked about, but both enjoyed it. (Hmmm…?) My birthday was ON Thanksgiving that year. I don’t know about your family, but in my family, when everyone is together, we all celebrate birthdays. Birthdays are kind of a big deal. Dr. Wile E. Coyote got me a birthday present, too, and he gave me my Christmas present, because we weren’t positive when we’d get together next. One of the items, he had buried in another item—it was a ring. I knew that it was coming, because we had talked about it. Dr. Coyote had found this female ring once and tried to return it. When nobody came looking for it, he kept it. It has a purple heart on it and a gold band. He had it resized and cleaned for me. After I got it, I had to tell my family (all the extended family was like, “What!?”) that it was NOT an engagement ring. 😉
That trip was really great. Every time Dr. Coyote and I got together, we grew more and more close. We’d been talking about getting married from the start, as I said, but many lies were broken down that weekend. I don’t even remember what they were, I just knew that they were there. We also had to be more careful when we were kissing, honestly. It was getting harder! I think that the person Dr. Coyote didn’t trust the most was himself, even though all the rest of us trusted him. I think it was after this trip when Dr. Coyote first told me that he loved me. I didn’t say anything, because I wanted him to say it first. But I think I’d let myself love him from that first Rochester trip. And Doug, who’s reading this blogpost and finding this out for the first time…..I think you loved me a lot longer, too. 😉
After I spent Christmas with my mom’s side of the family, I headed up to Peshtigo, Wisconsin to spend until a few days after New Year’s with Dr. Wile E. Coyote and his family. Before Christmas, I had officially GRADUATED! With a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, an instrumental music ed major. Anyway, I got to meet his parents and sister, to see the “sights” of Peshtigo, go to church with him, and meet his friends. One of his (now our) friends actually had her baby while I was there! I had seen her the day before in church, and she’d looked great. We went to go visit her in the hospital and see her new little baby and everything! Then the next day was New Year’s Eve. I bet you can guess what happened on that day, because I’m going to wait to tell you until Monday! 🙂
After Summer Project, God took me on this journey of growth that was incredible. I have used the analogy that is was like I was the pinball in a pinball machine—Project took the handle and brought back the thing that drives the ball into the game, and after, the spring let go and I grew like crazy in the Lord. It was incredible. I totally fell in love with the Lord like I hadn’t before. For almost an entire year, I forgot about the little crush I’d had on this Doug person. (Even though we still wrote letters—we were still friends, as we all were from Project.)
And then I student staffed Summer Project the next summer. Mostly new faces on the Project, but all the same that we were working with. And I started thinking about the last time I walked those halls, when I was a student on Project. I reminisced. I loved being a student, it was like a spiritual greenhouse! But being staff? I re-learned what I had the previous summer, and this time, all that I hadn’t had enough room in my brain to process at the time and was lost, stayed! I learned about God’s heart for the poor. I learned about God’s intent for marriage. And out of nowhere, I started thinking about—you guessed it, Dr. Wile E. Coyote. I’d go out for coffee on days off with my friend Jill from Project the year before and ask her what to do. So I prayed. And the prayer continued after the summer ended. Dr. Wile E. and I had been keeping in touch by writing snail mail letters, and sometimes texting. Always, we spoke about scripture, what God was teaching us, our lives, and share prayer requests. We shared if God had answered prayers or if we were still praying for an earlier issue or how it was resolved. D didn’t know he had long ago “sister-in-Christ-zoned” me, and that was a struggle.
Over the NEXT year, I struggled. “Lord, I have feelings for Dr. Coyote, and I don’t want them there. Take them away!” and “God, Dr. Coyote doesn’t like me back, I know it. If he does, I pray that he will tell me!” Jill had told me, “Dr. Coyote has a sister, so he has to know that you like him, right?” But I wasn’t so sure. I thought the only way to get his attention was to hit him in the head with a 2×4 with the words “Anna likes you” imprinted on them, so that when he’d look in the mirror, he’d receive a sign to act upon. But I kept praying.
I’d pray for Dr. Coyote, and then I’d pray for my future husband separately. They were, after all, two different people. I finally came to a point where Dr. Coyote didn’t have to be the man for me—and I began praying that he would meet someone and get married. Someone who he needed, that would support him and ministered to him in the way he needed. Dr. Coyote was one of the first people I’d text if I needed prayer for something. My sister went to the ER? I texted my best girlfriends, Dr. Coyote, and my co-ed Action Group. I needed an opinion? I texted my best girlfriends, Dr. Coyote, and my co-ed Action Group.
The summer of 2013, I was living at home and working on the farm. I had been trying to finish the manuscript of the novel I had been working on for the last year, but I needed some ideas. “What is your favorite story in the Bible? And who is your favorite Bible character in the OT?” I sent a mass text and got a few answers. A couple hours later, when I was in the tractor, Dr. Coyote texted me and said he didn’t get the mass message because he did not have a smart phone. So we agreed to talk more on Facebook after he was done with CNA class that night. (We did that every once in a while, too.) When we did talk on Facebook that night, he mentioned that we should Skype or something the next day.
[Okay. At this point, I was trying NOT to acknowledge feelings for him. He was just a really good friend…And I was excited to be talking more.]
The next night, we Skyped for FOUR HOURS. I loved it! We talked about anything and everything. And the next time we Skyped, it was just as long! But let me tell you a little bit about our conversation that second Skype call (‘cuz it’s important to the storyline):
First we chit-chatted about life and stuff, and then conversation turned to the Word.
Dr. Coyote: [Takes a deep breath, pauses as he has on his “thinking” face, and then looks up.] What have you been reading in the Bible lately?
Anna: I’ve been reading…[talk about what I’d been reading and learning from it]. What about you? What did you read in the Word today?
Dr. Coyote: [Deep breath.] I read Ruth—I was trying to find somewhere in the Word where it talks about dating, and I decided that Ruth and Boaz were a good example. I was looking at how Boaz treated Ruth, and he didn’t keep anything from her—he told it all to her. I don’t want to keep making you guess…why we’ve been talking more and all this stuff. [Anna is getting very nervous here. Also, I don’t remember if Dr. Coyote said much more, because I couldn’t hear it over my pounding head.] I’m interested in pursuing you. [Emphasis mine. I could feel the redness creep up my face, I was so excited. He talked about going to med school and not wanting to mess with God’s plan for my life while I’m thing, uh, maybe God’s plan for my life is you! But I stayed quiet and listened.] What do you think?
Anna: Well, I am not opposed to you pursuing me, ‘cuz I kind of like you, too. I say….we just keep talking like we are, and see where it goes.
Dr. Coyote: Okay!
Later evening, he texted me and was excited. He was wondering what he could tell people what’s going on. I suggested we call it a “strong friendship.” [Lamesauce. Right?] I was actually surprised that he was so excited, because he was almost-dating me. That had never happened before. So we called ourselves “strong friends.” We continued to talk, and my family just shrugged and said we were dating. I would correct them, but they’d be like, “Anna! You guys talk all the time and you like each other. You’re dating.” And I agreed (in my head. Not out loud). I wrote Dr. Wile E. Coyote another snail mail letter, telling him deeper things about me that I hadn’t told him before and asking questions about his own life. I ended it with, “Sincerely, your strong friend who wouldn’t mind being called your girlfriend.” When Dr. Coyote received the letter in the mail, he read it, and then brought it to our next Skype date. He addressed things I had said, asked questions, answered questions I had asked of him, etc. We went all the way through the letter. When he got to the end, I felt my face turn red as he read out loud, “Sincerely, your strong friend who wouldn’t mind being called your girlfriend.” He looked up and shrugged. “I don’t mind, if you don’t mind!” he said. We were both real smiley. “Now what?” he asked. “Um, we make it Facebook official?” I suggested. And so we did, as we were talking over Skype. And before we ended our call, everyone in my family had liked the status.
“Congrats, Anna!” my dad said when I entered his office later that night.
From my friends at school, I received text messages: What? You’re dating someone? Who? How long have you known him? You shouldn’t blindside me like that!
And so, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I began dating. But we lived nine hours apart. And that, my friend, is when this whole nine-hour long-distance relationship began. 🙂
As usual, stay tuned! 🙂 The next one should be up Friday (‘cuz I don’t want to post the whole series in one week!)
It was a hot June Saturday when 17 students from all over made their way to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They all arrived at different times, so there were games and such in the chapel of the brick building. The first floor houses the chapel and a ton of offices; the second floor also houses offices. The third and fourth floor have been turned into dormatories with a common bathroom. The girls lived on the 3rd floor; the guys on the 4th. No girls were allowed on the guys’ floor, no guys allowed on the girls’ floor. But there was a common room besides the chapel that would be open to both everyone part of the project, all the time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It had been a long car ride from Austin, Minnesota, with my new friend Ashley and her family, who brought us to the building called “City on a Hill.” My mother had gotten me from my home in Cottonwood, MN to Austin the night before, when I met Ashley and her family for the first time. Anyway, her family, as well as the Project Staff, helped us bring our things to our perspective rooms. When we felt we were somewhat settled (to unpack then or not? How about….not really), we were invited to go downstairs (or elevator) to the chapel and join the game of Nertz. I, being my timid and shy self, was nervous about meeting new people. But over a game? That was alright. This is when Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I first met. As I sat down, names were shared around the table. And actually, I didn’t give Dr. Coyote much thought. The Summer Missions Project, hosted by Cru, lasted from the middle of June to the beginning of Here are some of our most memorable moments together:
In conversation with each other at an outdoor picnic at somebody’s house:
Dr. Coyote: Sometimes I don’t know what to think about, so I just think about nothing.
Anna: Nothing? Like, the concept of nothing?
Dr. Coyote: No, nothing.
Anna: I didn’t even know that was possible.
Dr. Coyote: Yeah, I do that a lot.
At the beach:
Anna: Will somebody help me put sunscreen on my back?
Dr. Coyote: Sure.
After Project, when I was texting a bunch of my Summer Project Family because I missed them, Dr. Coyote and I were talking about being motivated to get into the Word:
Anna: Well, do you have an accountability partner for that? To make sure you are getting in the Word?
Dr. Coyote: No
Anna: You should find one.
Dr. Coyote: Would you be my accountability partner?
And we did talk about the Bible a lot….still do, actually.
There were a few other moments that happened on Project with no words, that I thought was pretty cool:
We played a lot of Rummy 500 in smaller groups—about 6 was the max that played. I taught everyone, and I won a lot. I liked that. But sometimes other people would win. The Rummy 500 groups got smaller and smaller. I even remember playing Rummy 500 with just Dr. Wile E. because I wanted to play it with someone and he liked cards. I beat him. Most of the time.
There were a lot of throwing water on each other and pranking each other. Once, we went to a Brewer’s game, and Dr. Coyote was sitting in front of me. I had just gotten a cold water bottle. So I did the only other logical thing and pressed it to his neck. He gave me no reaction. When he was walking to a seat a few rows above me, I looked at him, and he just smiled. To this day he still doesn’t give me reactions.
I wrote a bunch of letters in codes, and most of my friends were like, “Cool, but I don’t have time to translate that.” But DR. COYOTE WROTE ME BACK, IN CODE! This is while we were still on project. The trend continued.
Here are some pictures from summer Project:
And all these pics were taken before we reached the Project half-way point! But you see the trend. By the end of Project, I had this little crush on this “Doug”-person. I even talked about him a little to my family, I guess. Anyway, I started writing hand-written letters to everyone on Project. Only one person continually wrote back. I get a reply, I write back. And so Dr. Coyote and I kept in touch, mostly through snail mail, for three-ish years. Texting a little, too. Especially to talk about the Word at first. But then there was this one texting conversation June 2013, where this little story took a little turn.
I am going to start a series on this blog of my love story with Dr. Wile E. Coyote. Even though I’ve only started talking about him in the last year (and now we’re married!), we have known each other since 2011. Some of our friends and family hadn’t even realized we’d known each other that long. Anyway, this series, entitled “It’s a Love Story,” will tell you a little more about us. A friend of mine wrote her and her husband’s love story on her blog, and it motivated me. Besides, if I don’t write it down now, how will I remember it later? And now, just for funzies, here are some pics from our wedding!
It was a wonderful day. I just wanted to share some pics here for family– friends and family, all of you! Go check out the rest of our wedding pictures that we uploaded to Facebook! (There are like 400 of them, but it takes you through the entire day.) Also, anybody in SW Minnesota, be sure to check out Tony Miller Photography!
Stay tuned for the series, as I’ll try to upload a new one every week!