Joy in 2016

JOY. It surpasses circumstances; it’s greater than happiness. Happiness is based on happenings, but joy comes straight from God. (Fruit of the Spirit, yo!)

I’ve been reflecting a lot on this in the past year. I’ve had so many reasons for joy; not just happiness. Though my grandpa died in January, I experienced joy knowing that he went to heaven and joined my grandma. Though I had many physical obstacles, I overcame them. I was confined to a wheelchair for a long time. But I became able to walk with a walker! I cried when, at my home church, I made it up the stairs to sing with the choir. What joy was brought to our lives when my healthy little daughter joined us at the beginning of September! She brings us more reason to smile every day.

One of the worst moments of my year—not all that many people know this—was the last time I went to the hospital at the beginning of October. We’d been keeping an eye on my rising fever, and when it hit 106, we called 911. By this time, I was septic: paralyzed in strength and my speech was slurred. Both Doug and I thought I was going to die. But God was not done with me yet. Over the next week in the hospital, I was not sad at the fact that I almost died and with my current state. Instead, I was joyful for the little things.

Doug and I had recently watched the movie “Miracles from Heaven.” In the movie, the mom, who tells the story, tells of the everyday miracles she realized she had witnessed over the whole trial. So I started keeping track of the miracles I saw every day. It really puts life into perspective. There are lists for each day I was in the hospital, and though I don’t make a list every day anymore, I am conscious of all the miracles around me. We are financially okay even though Doug is in his third year of med school, and I’m not working. Both sets of our parents are a huge help to us. There are two wonderful caretakers who come and help take care of me and Lydia when Doug is away. I am still walking with a walker, but my physical therapist, Judy, thinks I’ll be able to walk without it (as is my goal)! I AM getting stronger. I cannot take care of Lydia by myself yet, but I can do so much more with her than I could when she was more than half the weight she is now!

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3). I have had MS a long time. I know that the joy in me wouldn’t be near what it is now if I had been free of this disease. I’m not saying it’s because of the MS my faith is where it is today; I’m just saying that even though I have MS, God has used it for good. I’ve got joy down in my heart, as the song says. Joy is greater than happiness.

-Anna

P.S: I do have to share the HAPPY news that Lydia finally rolled over today! Yay!

Preparing For Our Firstborn!

I ask a lot of questions. I read a lot of blogs and articles that are relevant to what I am interested in/looking for. I have joined the local “MOPS” group here in town. Doug and I only have one more week of our child birthing class, and they have gone into detail about how to care for a newborn. I have gone over my baby registry time and time again, sure I am missing something. I look at my friends’ first baby registries. I ask questions to other mommy friends of mine who have at least two children under 5 (because I refer to them as recent “seasoned” mommies). But. I still feel like I have no stinkin’ idea what to do to get ready for this baby!

Doug takes his Step One COMLEX exam (his board test to be taken THIS summer—there are three before he can become a licensed physician) on July 12. THEN we will begin “officially” preparing for baby. Many women have told me it’s called nesting, but Doug is gonna help me, too! (Which is why we’re waiting until after his test.)

So many people have asked what I still need. Then, I just direct them to my Target registry. I don’t really know, but that registry is a start! When I was born, my grandpa on my mom’s side built my parents a changing table, where the top can come off and it can be a regular dresser, so it can grow with baby. He was very handy with making wood things. Because I’m the oldest AND the first to have a baby, I inherited it. That dresser was in my bedroom the whole time I was in middle school and high school. I am excited that I have something my grandpa made, and excited that I get to use the changing table! We have friends from church who are done having kids, and have offered us things like a pak-n-play or even baby/toddler girl clothes. Doug and I plan on doing the exact same thing after we’re done with kids!

I have written this baby girl a few letters, and I have thought about her and included her in some of my quiet times with Jesus. I will share some pictures of my Bible art journaling to show you, and because I’m just so excited! I have been thinking about her a LOT. Even Doug has baby brain—he recently asked one of his friends, who got married the same summer as us—when they were jumping on the baby train, ha!

Baby has been super healthy the whole pregnancy. As for me, my health is so much better than it was! I am doing PT, and I keep getting stronger! I’m basically learning how to walk correctly—AKA, re-learning how to walk with a cooperative left leg. And, as I said in one of the first posts published after my pregnancy was announced, I REALLY want to stick with what I learn in PT this time. For the first time, I actually have a reason bigger than myself—my child. I only have a few weeks left of PT, but I am doing so much better than I was before I started! And, my last post (published before this one) talked about me doing the things I love once again. This is as much for my health as it is for my sanity, even AFTER baby arrives!

-Anna

Any advice from other seasoned mommies out there? Leave a comment below!

Sometimes, MS Just Stinks

When I was diagnosed with MS, I think every single neurologist I saw warned me about pregnancy. Mind you, I was 13 years old! Then, before Doug and I were married, my neuro talked through what pregnancy would be like with both of us. I would have to go off of the only MS medicine that has ever worked for me, let it get out of my system, and then try and get pregnant. Doug and I had planned carefully when we should move forth with a family, knowing that God held it all in his hands.

My last dose of Tysabri was taken in September. It would take three months for it to get out of my system, and it would be completely out by December. Mind you, my body has not been without medicine since 2006. But as I usually do, I push through all the MS-stuff that gets in my way. We didn’t really notice anything until the middle or the end of December. We found out weeks later that I had actually gotten pregnant by then! Yay!

I started a full-blown relapse about the beginning of January. Church ladies had been super helpful, but when my husband chose taking care of me above school, we knew something had to be done. Me, always in contact with my neuro, got on some steroids right away, but I was admitted into the hospital, where I could have constant care and not worry about silly falls. My parents were in Florida at a farmer’s conference thing, so the decision was made for me to go home with them the remaining of first trimester. Then, Doug could concentrate on school and not spend every spare moment worried about me, and I could have some more constant care by those who were there when the whole MS thing started.

Since I’ve been home, I got on another three-days of steroids, have actually seen my neuro at the Mayo Clinic, and saw my baby on an ultrasound! Each day I get stronger. You know, until the days I realized just how much I’d pushed myself the previous day. Then it’s back in a wheelchair and resting so that I can accidently push myself on another day. Tomorrow, I head back to the Mayo Clinic to see PT and OT. THEY will decide when I can head back, in a way. Can I take care of myself? Can I stand and not fall? Can I WALK and not fall?

It KILLS me to have to be here, waiting to get better. I’ve decided to DO something about it, though. I want to hold and to play with my baby when he or she is born. I have been putting off PT orders since I was diagnosed back in middle school. But now I have a reason to want to keep up doing what I still can. Daily stretching? Daily exercise? I‘ve been down this road before. What I do today may not be noticed by my body for days or even weeks. I may wear myself out too far and knock me down for a couple days. But Baby M.

Thank you all for the prayers that have been sent up on my behalf. Keep them coming! MS is nasty, and all my frustration toward the situation is aimed at that. But I AM getting better! Even on weak days, I notice things I can do that I hadn’t been able to do before. Stay well, my friends! I will write again sooner than later! ❤

Anna

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Meyer Accepts Stringer Position at Local Paper

extra era     Anna Meyer accepted the opportunity to write for the Appilachain News-Express while a reporter of theirs is on medical leave.

Meyer has been living in Pikeville, KY for more than a year. She has made friends at church and throughout the community. One of those friends, Lisa Forsyth, is related to the editor of the News-Express, one of the local newspapers in town. When Meyer brought up to Forsyth that she was interested in working at a newspaper last Sunday, Forsyth put a little bug in her nephew-in-law’s ear about Meyer’s writing talents.

In a Facebook message, Forsyth relayed to Meyer, “I pitched your writing talents to Russ [Cassady] and he said to come to the News Express office tomorrow to talk with him! They do have an opening that they were getting ready to fill and that’s the reason for the rush!”

Meyer reported to the office the Monday morning. Cassady was surprised to see her so early, but brought Meyer to the publisher of the paper, Jeff Vanderbeck. The two men interviewed Meyer. Meyer came home and sent Cassady some writing samples. Vanderbeck called her Wednesday afternoon, asking if she could come in the next day.

“It has been years since I’ve written journalism,” Meyer said after receiving the call. “But I’m excited to have a deadline and a reason to write again, besides it just being for-fun.”

You can look for features written by Meyer in the News-Express starting next week.

Being Patient (Be Careful!)

smiley clock

Patience. I hate it. But not when other people are to me—just when I have to wait. I NEVER ask God to teach me patience. Not anymore. Do you know why? Because he’ll give me opportunities to be patient. I caught on to that in college.

Patients. The pretend people that Dr. Wile E. Coyote is talking to in the next room over, as he prepares for his ISA tomorrow. (ISA—I don’t know what it stands for, but it’s basically doing doctor-stuff, like asking the patient questions and checking everything in the correct order for a physical, etc.) I’m good at being a patient.

Patience. Usually things just “come.” Blogs and stories and poems just flow through my fingers. But this weekend? It hasn’t happened like that. Writer’s block? Because now that I’ve published a book, I want to finish everything I’m working on at once and publish them, too! Not happening, sorry. I probably need to wait a few months, anyway.

Patients. Last week, when I had a doctor’s appointment at the end of the day, I did NOT complain that she was way behind. It was my own fault for scheduling an afternoon visit! And besides, I am already prepared to defend my husband if he gets behind once he’s a doctor, and people let me know how happy they are about it. But that will be in….6 more years, at least. After this one. Did YOU know that the “8 years to become a doctor” happen AFTER the undergrad 4? We are in year 6/12. Which sounds way better than year 2/8. Which is another area in which I have to show

Patience. You know, for having so much trouble being patient for short-term stuff, I certainly have to show it for long-term stuff. Oh no! Those prayers I said back in high school and college!? GOD IS STILL TEACHING ME

Patience. Seriously. Be careful what you pray for, people! God is actually listening!

Your More-Patient-than-She-Thinks Writer and Friend,

Anna

Words

Words. I take them to heart, typically. I mean, words of affirmation has always been one of my top love languages, and I’m a writer. I like to encourage other people, because I like to receive love that way, as well. I mean, when people don’t say anything encouraging, I guess I try to let it roll off my back. But….that is MUCH easier said than done (it’s still a work in progress). In my small group on Sunday, we read all of James 3. It’s a short chapter, but we went two verses at a time, with much discussion and talk interspersed throughout our time together.

I don’t usually read scripture that’s in a blog post if it’s too long, so I won’t copy/paste James 3:1-12 here. Some of the biggest things I got out of it: The words we say are either a blessing OR a cursing; it’s black and white (there is no gray area). A fig tree can’t produce olives, a spring can’t produce both fresh water and salt water. Us, as humans, are the only creatures that can produce both life AND death at the same time (with our words!). James even goes as so far as to compare our tongues to fires, like the fires of hell! Matthew 15:18 says, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart.” Uff da. I’ll admit, marriage has made me more careful with my words, especially at home. As a med school wife, I didn’t really know what I was supposed to do to “support” Dr. Wile E. Coyote in med school, like everyone said was my job. I even freaked out a little bit because I just needed to know what that looked like. But then I realized, that I could just be me! Every time I encourage Doug, I see how my words affect him. If I’m crabby and in a pity-party, it’s a good thing he’s there to pull me up. And vice versa. If he’s in a pity-party about this or that, I take it upon myself to pull him out and give him a smile and a laugh.   Words. Get ready for some examples (because I like thinking that way).

Image from http://evanmoneyleadership.com/change-your-words-and-change-your-life/  (This is a good blog read, too!)
Image from http://evanmoneyleadership.com/change-your-words-and-change-your-life/
(This is a good blog read, too!)

While touring the Vatican with my family this last December, I rented a wheelchair (which was smart, because I wouldn’t have been able to do all that walking, especially because we’d seen so many Italian things already!). Every time we would get to some stairs, we’d turn around and backtrack until we found a lift that could get me in the wheelchair on another floor. To get to the Sistine Chapel, there was a very slow lift that could bring a chair down. The security on each end of the hall would halt all traffic for the wheelchair to get through, and then they would go again until another wheelchair came by. We had to wait a while for the lift, and I was just looking around. My sister, Laura, spoke up. “Anna, don’t you DARE feel bad about being in a wheelchair. None of us mind, really! Anna? Don’t you dare.” How did she know? Of course I was feeling bad! About how much strength it took Dr. Wile E. Coyote to push me up a ramp, or the fact that we had to backtrack so many times!? But Laura was right. Why should I feel guilty about having to use a wheelchair, when it was such a benefit? Yes, I hated it. I’ve always hated wheelchairs, because my dang pride is so big, and being in a wheelchair admits defeat. But really, it was the best thing. No, I wouldn’t have been able to walk the whole thing. Especially after all the walking we had already been doing that week, and all the walking that we still had to do in the upcoming week of our European vaca! Laura’s words meant a lot and did a lot for me.

The encouragement that Dr. Coyote gives me when it comes to my Mary Kay business is incredible. He believes in me when I have trouble believing in myself. I love the encouragement I get from my friends who are also in Mary Kay, as well! God is using Mary Kay to teach me MANY things. This includes the power of words. If I tell myself that I’m going to advance into this next leadership position, I will. But if I tell myself that I can’t do it, I paralyze myself and I won’t be able to do it. (Good thing I’m going to, anyway!)

I meet my friend Erika for coffee every Tuesday morning. It is SO uplifting. We tell each other about how our weeks are going, and then we’re just there for each other. I love our Christian fellowship, where we can just speak life to each other! I am always open to having coffee dates with more friends, they just have to respond to my text messages….. And when I tell somebody “We should get coffee sometime!” I am not one of those people who says it and then thinks differently. When somebody says that to me, I immediately want to put it down in my datebook. Because I LOVE talking with someone one-on-one. It’s where I THRIVE!

Words. Chatter. Emails. Letters, even. Love them! I am intentional about my relationships with people. God has been telling me this week that I need to focus more on relationships with people where I live, in Eastern KY. See? Even he says encouraging things to me.

How have words positively affected you? I’d love to hear some of YOUR examples!

The First Week of Classes Complete: Update on Life of the Meyers

Books, books, books. I love reading. I love writing. I love having them on my bookshelf, even if I haven’t had TIME to read them yet. I finished writing my query today, and after I finish a synopsis, I shall start sending in my query and proposal (each agent calls for a different type of submission). Everything has been working out (again). I have had trouble with motivation and with writing just the right words in the past, but it has come together. Maybe it is because Dr. Wile E. Coyote has found his own niche for studying and has been at the library most of the weekend. Goodness, if this keeps up, I could have another three novels written before we get to clinicals! I have a list of things that I want to write but I have to take it one at a time. As I am working on the query and synopsis of my completed novel, I feel a push to begin the sequel. I have been learning so much about writing styles and writing in general from resources that I have been diving into! Also, I have found this whole new genre of books out there that fit mine completely: Christian urban-fiction. I’ve been reading reviews on Goodreads and going to websites and I just want to read all these books now, too! But of course, I don’t have time. I’ve discovered that this genre has been growing a lot since the late 80s, but I didn’t even know that until after I finished my book. And I’m just so excited about it, that I want to talk about it with people, but of course, they have not read it yet, because I am not yet published. *sigh* I’ll get there. (smiley face)

And THAT leads me to the totally awesome job I have at Sound House Music: teaching music lessons to students who are paying me for lessons and are excited because they WANT to learn. In public schools, you get those students that are just going through the motions because band is an “easy A” or their parents want them to play in band. I haven’t figured out how the music lessons and writing exactly will work hand-in-hand, but I have such a passion for both of them that is just erupting from my soul right now. I currently have 3 students, but another wants to get started when school starts up for him (public schools have already started here in Kentucky! Is that early or what?). And when word gets out that I can give lessons in more than just drums and piano, I will hopefully have even MORE students! I am so excited. I may have talked about all this here before, but I don’t care, because I’m just excited. Kind of like I’m excited to start sending my query in. I KNOW I’m going to get a lot of rejection before I will get a book published, and I KNOW that I beat myself up about music stuff too often. Which is great that God has been giving me such encouragement lately! – next paragraph –

I have talked about the friends that Doug and I have been making here, even before school started. Well, us and some friends I’ve mentioned here before, who I’ll call the “Bang!ers” because Bang! is the only game that is played when these particular people gather and play a game, met for a prayer night the Friday before classes started for our students. We first went around sharing prayer requests, and I shared how I didn’t feel “good enough” for my job at times. Among so much more prayer, that lie and those self-esteem issues were attacked. And I have been feeling the prayers. Much more, I can feel when those lies creep in and I throw them away, because God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of love and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7). He has also given us authority over all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19), so we can command it away. And this week, the small group I am in began going through Ephesians. We read Ephesians 1 for this weekend, and in our discussion Sunday morning, we talked all about our identity and how Paul tells us over and over of the many spiritual blessings we have received in Christ (it’s every spiritual blessing, actually!). The Lord has been attacking lies before The Student, as well, so we’ve been able to encourage each other. I am continually amazed by God’s incomparable love and blessings, his grace and his peace, and his constancy through EVERYTHING.

How is Dr. Coyote doing after this first week of classes? Well, he was at the library for hours at a time this weekend. It has been a roller coaster. Some days, it’s like, “Uuuuuugh,” and other days , it’s like, “This is the best ever!” Apparently, life of a med student. He has already been changing his study strategies until he found something that helps him study a lot better than his undergrad studying technique. His studying is like a roller coaster, as well. Sometimes, it’s like, “I was just plowin’ through!” and other times, it’s like, “I had to push to get it done.” Doug received his iPad keyboard today in the mail, and is currently geeking out about it. Maybe after supper, he’ll be done geeking out about the iPad, and be ready to geek out about anatomy? 😉

 

Adapting to this Kentucky resident/med schooler/spouse life! 🙂

 

Anna (AKA the native Minnesotan/music teacher/writer and science is like, whaaa?)