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!

Getting my Life Back

So, I’ve been sitting at home, back in Kentucky, since April. I have checked and double checked our baby registry. I have been Bible art journaling. Even though I don’t have a lot of energy to do so, I have tried to help out around the house as I can. And yesterday, I realized. Why am I not writing? Why am I not playing piano every day? These two activities are ones that I LOVE; have much finger dexterity in February or March, but I have it back now! Why is the child in my womb not hearing her mommy play music all the time? Why has my creative slow simply stopped?

So, I am re-discovering ANNA. I have made a commitment to write and play the piano, 30 minutes a day each. I have an author friend who was starting to write a book in October or November, and she published it a few weeks ago. Why do I drag my stinkin’ feet every time I close in on a goal of mine? Yeah, the first book I self-published, I went about it all wrong. But that doesn’t mean I should STOP. I had to cancel piano lessons in January, because of my relapse, which led me to live in Minnesota for a few months while everything was figured out health-wise. But I have heard interest of new students—why have I not been pursuing them super hard? Um, if I leave it all up to them, they won’t be taught!

In the next year, I plan to WRITE. I plan to self-publish more books that I think my audience will enjoy. Books that have been cooking in my head for YEARS, that simply need to be refined and rewritten. I didn’t even sleep very much last night, because my brain was remembering all the things I have wanted to do for so long. I have two months until baby comes. Then, even though I’ll be exhausted, I will still be at home. Even if my body can’t do everything I want it to when I want it to, I can WRITE. I can PLAY. So, what am I waiting for? I even got up at 6am this morning because I couldn’t wait. (I’ll probably crash in a few hours, but hey, I’m up now!)

Here’s to getting my life back!

My Battle Plan against Depression, first steps

Sword Spiritual Warfare2 Corinthians 1:8-10: 8 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. 10 He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.

I have been looking into spiritual warfare a lot lately. I have also been reflecting on my inward struggles and have decided to draw up a battle plan. My biggest inward struggle is against the depression and anxiety that try to control the rest of me. It has been since I can remember. I am at a much better place than I once was. The biggest current struggle now, is that the serotonin-deprived parts of my brain are trying to convince me that it’s not worth exercising or stretching every day. It’ll tire me out and prevent me from getting anything else done today. It might get better for a little while, but then one slip up, and I’ll be right back where I started. It’s almost Thanksgiving, when we’ll be flying back to Minnesota. Car rides and flights always set me back. Why bother? This is a lie I have struggled with for FAR too long.

This spiritual battle wages because we are given the power to overcome sin’s grasps when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. There is no battle when there is no opposing side. The Spirit of God brings us to life spiritually, but we still live in these bodies of flesh that still have a sinful nature. Thus, the battles rages—but victory is assured because we are in Christ! (Matthew 26:41; Romans 7:14-20; Galatians 6:16-17)

In Genesis 4, Cain gets angry that God didn’t look upon him and his sacrifices with favor as God did with his brother, Abel. God addresses it in verses 6 and 7: “6 Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’” God tells us to fight against sinful feelings! These feelings of depression and anxiety? THEY DON’T CONTROL ME!

Isaiah 53:4-5: “4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for out transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Here, we discover that Jesus went to the cross for our body, soul, and spirit. His suffering was not just for our soul’s salvation, but the HEALING of our soul, as well! He brings us peace—because not only are our sins on that cross, but so are EMOTIONS, FEELINGS, and everything we can imagine! Frustrated? Nail it to the cross. Depressed? Nail it to the cross. Anxious? It’s on the cross!

I know these are a lot of scriptures, but these battle plans need more than just words of mine. You see, the word of God is the sword of the spirit. And with the faith that we receive by reading these verses of truth, we can extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16-17). I shall continue.

The very first scripture I wrote was a time when Paul was depressed. So depressed that he despaired of life itself. In 1 Kings 19:3-4, we see Elijah when he is depressed. “3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom brush, sat down under it, and prayed he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’” Here, we see Elijah in isolation. Depression THRIVES on isolation. Shame is in the driver’s seat when depression shows up. “I am no better than my ancestors who died in the desert before seeing the Promised Land. Kill me, too!” That sounds an awful lot like what I said earlier in this post: It’s not worth exercising. I’ll just go backwards, anyway. I’ll just have this disability forever. Ahh!

How do I fight this? I need to focus on God changing ME instead of what’s around me. In Matthew 14, Jesus is walking on the water, and Peter asks to be called out, too. Picking up in verse 30: “But when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’ 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” Peter didn’t pray for the storm to stop, he prayed, “Lord, do a work in me! Reach down and rescue me!” – THEN, the storm stopped! I’m not going to wait until I get miraculously better or I “feel like” exercising or stretching. I can’t keep praying that I’ll “feel like” exercising and stretching more. I just need to DO IT. Because I know that when I take a step, God will be there to guide it. Peter walked on the water until he saw his circumstances and got scared. I’ve been scared too long.

I talked a lot about exercising and stretching for my MS in this post, which is definitely something I need to be doing. I have been dealing with a lot of other lies that this battle plan will help to eliminate. The first step of what I need to do is to straighten all these things out in my mind. Actions are the follow through of thoughts, and I need to start there. Instead of praying that I’ll get more work and that it will pick up, how about I start doing the work I have better? It all starts in my mind.

“…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us” (2 Corinthians 1:9b-10).

Resources: “The Depression Struggle” sermon by Richard Holmes; “Understanding Spiritual Warfare” by Tonilee Adamson and Bobbye Brooks.

This Post by a warrior in Christ, Anna E. Meyer

The Spoon Theory

“The Spoon Theory” was thought up by an individual with Lupus. It always makes me sad to think about, because I don’t have to plan life as much as she does. She has to plan around her ability to button shirts in the morning or take extra time to look presentable if there are bruises on her arms or if her hair is falling out. You can view her original story here. Anyway, I was thinking about this as I read the article to Dr. Wile E. Coyote yesterday morning, and I wanted to create my own spoon theory. Anyone who is physically disabled or has an illness such as MS, fibromyalgia, Lupus, no matter how severe or not, can relate to the Spoon Theory.

spoonEach spoon represents energy that I have in my day. People who are not sick have an unlimited number of spoons, and even if they use them all up in a day, many are regained with a good night’s sleep. This analogy also works well with a gas tank, that once you run out, it takes another night’s sleep to gain it back. But for the sake of this post, I will stick to spoons.

I’ll begin this illustration by handing you, my reader, twelve spoons.

“Only 12?” You ask suspiciously. Yes. Only 12. Let us begin the day.

At 2, 4, and 7 am, we get up to go to the bathroom, so it is really hard to get up later. Luckily, I do not work in the morning, so if I don’t get up until 8:30 or 9, it’s okay. But I’m already behind. But I have 12 spoons. At 8:47am, I get out of bed. I get up, shuffle through the clothes in my closet, and get dressed. I go to the bathroom to take my medicine, brush my teeth, put on some makeup, and just in general be ready for the day. I then go and put a bowl and some cereal on the table, make a pot of coffee, and sit down to eat breakfast. Oops, there are only 11 spoons in our hands now. I was standing for much too long this morning. Unlike others who have central nervous system diseases, I don’t notice when a spoon is missing until I sit down and relax for a moment. You can see how this may be hard when I am go-go-go for too long. It also doesn’t help how stubborn I am at times.

After breakfast, I sit down with my Bible, journal, and cup of coffee to spend some quality time with Jesus. I love doing this daily for a few reasons: 1) It starts off my day with eternal thinking, which always puts me in a better mindset when it comes to other things. And 2) It doesn’t cost a spoon. : ) Then I go ahead and do some chores. I put some clothes in the wash, and I decide to get some supper started in the crock pot while I’m up and on my feet right now. If I went and sat back down now, I would not lose a spoon, but because I have all this energy and am motivated and already here, I shall continue—but I lost another spoon. After supper is started and clothes are put in the drier some 20 minutes later, I sit back down in my spot to rest and catch up on some writing or reading or something else on my computer. I have 10 spoons. I wanted to go shopping today, but I also have to work today. Shopping usually costs about 3 spoons, so I decide to go tomorrow. We’re out of milk, but Dr. Coyote will make eggs or something for breakfast for himself. Shoot, we’re out of eggs, too. “Well, then, I shouldn’t have done laundry and started supper if I wanted to do all those things today!” I say frustratedly to myself. I look at my schedule the rest of the day and plan it out.

I leave at 11am to go grocery shopping, and after I decide something, I’ll do it, even if I…shouldn’t. If I leave at 11, I know Dr. Coyote will be out of class in time to help me unload groceries (because I texted him as I left). But as I’m grocery shopping, I have to back track because I forgot that something on my list was in the second aisle, not the second-to-last like in my hometown. I skipped getting another thing that I really did forget on my list simply because I didn’t want to lose another spoon. I have 6 spoons when I get inside the hot car, and 5 spoons before the car cools down enough where I feel like I’m breathing fresh air and my body temp goes down.

As soon as I get home, I climb the stairs with eggs in my hand, put the eggs away, and sit down, exhausted, with 4 spoons left. I didn’t take as long as I thought I might, so it’s not even noon yet when I crash. I listen as Dr. Coyote gets home and heads right for the car, taking as many groceries in his hands each trip as he can. He then starts putting groceries away (because he is such a sweet guy like that). At 12:18, I get up to help with the last few things. I now have 5 spoons again, because that sitting break is exactly what I needed.

“What do you want for lunch?” I ask my husband. He has to leave for class again at 12:55, so that doesn’t leave us much time. Had I not went grocery shopping, I could have had lunch started, or even finished by now. I beat myself for it, but Dr. Coyote tells me to go sit down again, because he has an idea for lunch.

I join Dr. Coyote at the table as he finishes putting together salads on two different plates, thanking him for carrying up the groceries and for making lunch. We eat and visit. I still have 5 spoons left, but I think I can get another back before I need to go to work.

That is just the first half of my day, but I do have to plan a little more. These are some recent examples of some harder days I’ve had. But I learn from my mistakes. I haven’t always planned enough in my day, but I know what I can and cannot do. Unfortunately, I’ve had to learn a lot of that through trial-and-error, but I don’t make the same mistakes forever. I’m not always aware when I’ve just dropped a spoon or took one away until after it has happened. Sometimes, I take tomorrow’s spoons by mistake, and have a harder day tomorrow.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote is learning more about MS in me and MS in general, as well. I share with him little bits, but it wasn’t until I read him the original spoon theory article that he really understood. Reading articles from the MS Society, I do know that people who have MS use 5x more energy than people without. We have to think as we walk. I have a limp, and need to lift up my left leg, even when it feels s o   h e a v y at times.

In an article I read by Cathy Chester yesterday morning, I learned that there are a few different kinds of fatigue. There is primary MS fatigue, which Chester described as “waking up feeling somewhat energized, then feeling tired in the afternoon and less tired in the evening.”  There are also different forms of secondary MS fatigue. Nerve fiber fatigue is when you are doing something, like walking or playing the piano, and suddenly your legs or your fingers feel weak. Both of these happen to me personally. There is fatigue of walking with a disability, which I have already discussed. There is fatigue caused by disrupted sleep. I have experienced this, as well, as urinary problems and other digestive problems have woken me up in the night repeatedly. To learn more about MS fatigue and what you can do about it, read the article I read yesterday here. I have found that planning, as well as rest breaks, work for me. I have jobs where I can sit while I work, and I have family, friends, and an amazing husband who will all help me out when needed. They don’t even know when they step up and rescue me, but God knows what I need and makes sure I get it.

I felt like I should write this so that my friends and family can understand me better. I have told this story to one friend, who had tears in her eyes as I finished, because she simply hadn’t understood before. I don’t want people to always feel like they need to help me, because I am independent and can do plenty of things on my own. But when I can’t do everything that one might expect, this is why. I haven’t completely understood how to explain, nor have I wanted the sympathy that stories like this sometimes bring. But I have come to a place where I would just like you to understand.

I’d like to hear from you: If you have an illness, do you have to plan your day around your illness? What kinds of things do you do to help yourself? If you don’t have an illness, does the spoon theory help you understand other illnesses better?

With love,

Anna Meyer

My 10th Celebration of Life

On this day ten years ago….my mother and I traveled an hour away from my hometown to visit my neurologist to receive my official diagnosis. The results from the spinal tap had come back, and finally, Dr. Nelson would tell us for sure if I had a pinched nerve, MS, or a brain tumor. He had given all three of these as possibilities as to why my entire left side had stopped working normally, but his theory was that I most likely had MS. That is what we knew before we got to Wilmar, MN. I was CONVINCED that it was nothing but a pinched nerve, and for some unknown reason my name had been on the prayer list at church for the last few weeks.

On that day, ten years ago, I was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I was started on some medical steroids, and I was shown how to use the Autoject for my three-times-weekly medicine shots, just under the skin. (It would be another year before I gave myself those shots….and, of course, I was bribed—because what other way is there for a kid to be willing to do something unless they get something in return?)

Since my diagnosis, we have called the anniversary of that day my “celebration of life.” It is the day when I can look back on a year and see all the things I have been able to do, even though I have MS. On this ten-year anniversary of this life-altering diagnosis, I reflect on the things I have accomplished in my life!

1. I’ve been on all sorts of cool vacations and stuff.

Who cares if I had to rent a wheelchair to go Disneyworld? I went to Disneyworld! I’ve also rented wheelchairs at zoos, and even the Minnesota State Fair. Those places take a lot of walking, and I don’t quite have the energy to walk all that way. But I still got to experience it and enjoy my visits! Those places, by the way, have been the only ones I rented a wheelchair for. I can still walk! ….just not super far. I’ve been to the Wisconsin Dells and the Black Hills of South Dakota, just doing the tourist thing because I could. In high school, I went to a youth gathering with a church denomination, and had an AWESOME time with my cousin Jenni and my aunt Sheryl! In college, I went on TWO summer mission projects. Just because I have MS, doesn’t mean I can’t have fun! So I have to plan a little extra, and the south is typically a bad idea in the summer. I STILL LIVE LIFE.

2. In middle school, there were no cheerleaders, and I wanted to be one, so I petitioned and found a coach for middle school basketball cheerleaders!

The January after my diagnosis. I am second from the right, front row. You know, the one with the big smile?
The January after my diagnosis. I am second from the right, front row. You know, the one with the big smile?

We were moderately good. Our most difficult move was when one cheerleader stood on the thighs of two other cheerleaders, but we stayed safe. I wasn’t really into watching sports, but I did notice that when our middle school teams had cheerleaders, the whole “crowd” was pretty riled up. You know, for a middle school game. Smiley face. Of course, this cheerleading team kind of left the middle school when I did. I always wanted to be a cheerleader. Our high school had football cheerleading, but by that time, I just wanted to play in the pep band. (We see why I became a music major?)

I was also on the golf team for a few years before the walking became too much for me and I acknowledged that I wasn’t that great.  But it was fun!

3. I got my black belt!

Actually, I started Tae Kwon Do in 4th grade.  In 7th grade, I got my junior  black belt.  I was diagnosed with MS in 8th grade.  In 9th grade, I got my 2nd degree junior black belt.  After I turned 16, sophomore year, I got my first degree adult black belt.  And senior year, I got my second degree adult black belt!  I was involved in Tae Kwon Do for 8 years; 5 of those years after having MS.  I remember difficulty in my first tournament after being diagnosed, but then I just focused on what I COULD do instead of what I COULDN’T.  I taught and I was a referee as my level advanced.  I became inactive in TKD after I graduated high school, but I will always be a second degree black belt!

4. I finished high school AND college.

One of my college professors once told me that he had never seen such determination in a student. So I wasn’t the best. Who cares? I did as best I could. I was DETERMINED to finish well and I learned a ton while in those college years. I wrote a post about what MS has taught me over the last decade or so here.

5. I played a senior recital of percussion music.

At that time in my life, I had skill, because I was playing on these instruments all the time. I played a piece on the marimba, the timpani, some toms (drums), the vibraphone, and even flower pots! (Videos of all these can be seen on YouTube.) I loved that season in my life, when I could go from instrument to instrument in the percussion section in an empty band room and just PLAY.

6. I’ve had a “grown-up job” since I graduated.

Even before I graduated, I’ve been giving private lessons. According to some of my other music-major friends, I wasn’t charging enough, but still. As soon as I graduated, I got on the substitute teacher list for a few different school districts. And when I got to Kentucky, of course, I began working at a music store—giving lessons! And now I’ve started up this Mary Kay business! Before I was married, I paid my own rent, bought my own food, and loved when Mom and Dad came to Sioux Falls to take me grocery shopping. And now, I don’t get many visits from Mom and Dad (because I currently live, like, 20 hours away), but I still get care packages of coffee brands that aren’t sold in the south. (Thanks, mom!)

7. I’ve written, like, four novels.

Only one I’ve written is decent enough for me to want to publish it, but I do want to publish it! [2015 edit: you can find my first book here.] I also write shortstories and blog posts all the time. And other little things when I feel like it. I’ve kept a journal since I was diagnosed! And things have just kept moving from there. I don’t believe they will ever stop, either.

8. I wrote music for a class in college and directed an ensemble playing it in church one time.

So I maybe didn’t take into consideration that band instruments play better in flats than sharps. And that high school students can’t pick up music as fast as college students. But I was so proud of that piece! I even published my college friends and I playing the piece here on YouTube.

9. I GOT MARRIED!

My handsome groom and I at our wedding this last July.
My handsome groom and I at our wedding this last July.

Just this last summer, if you are keeping up with me at all on this blog. (I’ve kinda talked about it a lot….) Never did I ever think I would meet a man who saw ME past the MS that has been so apparent in my life. I have a limp, which is the most obvious symptom to the world and the first turn-off to anybody who sees that instead of me first (which is pretty much everybody). But Dr. Wile E. Coyote, while he notices my limp, only notices if it’s a bad day or a good day and helps me stretch sometimes. Or if he’s walking with me, and I pull him around. (He’s not as sturdy as my sisters when they’ve walked with me, hehe.) I love Dr. Coyote, my best friend, and he is what I need. But God knew that. And I am privileged to be starting this med school journey with him and trusting the Lord until graduation, and beyond! (Like, forever. Every. Minute.)

10. I have become stronger than I thought possible.

Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have had to push past the limits of where I would want to quit because something is hard. Being diagnosed so young (at 13), I had to face many decisions and situations that most teens shouldn’t have to face. I thank the good Lord for my always-supportive family who helped me so much!

On this day in ten years, who knows what things I’ll accomplish that I’ll be able to remember? The thing about having MS is that though we have to plan a little more, sometimes sleep a little more, and maybe be careful of what activities we chose to partake in, we still live normal lives. I haven’t felt normal for years, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I would love to wake up one day and the Lord tell me, “You’re cured!” But I know that when people see me walking with a limp, unphased, it brings God more glory.

Anna E Meyer

So I’ve talked about what I’ve learned and what I’ve done, MS wise. What else would you all like to know (MS-wise)?

God is Bigger than Any Ole’ Giant!

Since I can remember, I was especially too hard on myself. I was picked on growing up, but I was terribly mean to myself, too. I thought, “I’m going to beat up myself so bad that nothing anyone says will phase me, because I verbally hurt myself worse.” I was not verbally abused or anything like that by anyone except myself. I was a quiet person, and I only talked very much to my family and close friends. Since then, I have learned to value myself and love myself for who I am.

Now, instead of verbally abusing myself, I am disappointed in myself. If I think I should do something and I don’t, I feel guilty about it. Or I feel bad for not being what I deem “productive.” I’ve mentioned that on this blog before. In my eyes, “productivity” is achieved by running around and doing a lot of things, being on my feet until I’m too tired to stand anymore, and transforming a certain room to look spotless before Dr. Coyote comes home. But I’m not productive like that. I’m not being the best I should be. I’m not perfect.

“You shouldn’t feel bad or guilty about not being the best you should be according to your book,” I felt the Lord telling me. “You are already the best person you can be in my book. You don’t need to change. I love you—you are my child.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote has been encouraging me, as well. He doesn’t understand why I need to be on my feet so much if it zaps my energy. In fact, he tells me that I don’t need to. I look at a list of demands I have for myself, and instead of requiring myself to get it done in a few hours, what about a whole day? Or even a few days? Who is going to know if I put up all these fliers all over the county today or over the week?

I pray for motivation, but it doesn’t come. Does it not come, or am I not supposed to be doing that right now? “God has planned every single day before you were even born,” Dr. Coyote told me the other day. “So if you don’t get something done one day, it’s okay. It’ll get done when it’s supposed to.” This word was very encouraging when I heard it. It’s not like we’re Calvonists, but Dr. Wile E. and I know for certain that God has got everything under control. So why am I trying to control it? God obviously knows my needs better than I do.

In church, we are doing this series about defeating the giants in our lives as we read 1 Samuel 17. We have talked about when giant problems occur, the characteristics of a giant killer, and strategies of slaying our giants. Well, I think in writing this, I have discovered my giant. So I’ll remind myself of God’s faithfulness, because he will be faithful once again, and I will defeat this non-reasoned guilt!

When I was in middle school, I entered the darkness of depression. That’s probably what led to my verbal self-abuse. The Lord was very much protecting me through those years. My journals from them are darker, but all my poems are filled with hope. I had a smile on the outside, even though inside, the smile wasn’t there. I learned that negative thinking only led to more negative thinking, so I did all I could to be positive. Even when I felt like throwing myself a pity-party, I had family who loved me turn that frown upside-down, whether I wanted it or not. Even today, when a friend or relative tries to throw themselves a pity-party, I do all I can to make them smile. I started on medicine for my depression and anxiety in college, and I am generally much happier (and, you know, being a newlywed now and all that….hopelessly in love with my husband? Just adds to it!)

I struggled for years, thinking that I didn’t deserve to get married, because who would look at me and not see the MS first? Who could love me despite the MS? Me, with the MS included? God had plans much contrary to my thoughts. I mean, hello, I just wrote a whole series on how awesome God was in bringing Dr. Wile E. Coyote together? Being married before the first year of med school? All our friends and family in Christ here? Yep, God knows me better than I do, as well as everything else.

My thoughts drift and I wonder if God even uses me. I mean, I want him to, but am I allowing him to? I miss my friends, even if I haven’t seen them in person for a couple years. So I write them letters, and they write to me back. A letter from my friend Becca that I received a few weeks ago: “Your persistence never ceases to amaze me. After, what? 3 years….and you are still pursuing me in relationship. And I appreciate it so much!” Letters I get from friends and family are very encouraging. And I’ll write back! So write me a letter, friends! Because God uses them so we can lift each other up.

I will stop feeling guilty over things that are not my fault or I have no reason to feel guilty over. If I didn’t get the laundry done because I was spending too much time with Jesus and lost track of time? I am NOT sorry, because I got to spend that time with my Lord. If I forget about starting supper and have to change plans quick because I was writing a blog post, I am NOT sorry, because I stock my kitchen so I can do that whenever I think about it and because writing blog posts help me think and feel better (don’t you notice the trend of despair toward the beginning and resolution toward the end?).

Just for precaution, when I successfully knock Goliath over with my slingshot, I am going to run over and use his own sword to kill him and take his head.

My God is SOOOOO bigger than any Goliath!

Anna E. Meyer

I couldn’t find a video on YouTube of Jr. singing this song, but I’m singing it in my head.

It’s a Love Story: Part VII (Honeymoon)

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.

Rochester, MN
Rochester, MN
At a diner in Indianapolis.
At a diner in Indianapolis.
Drove past the speedway both to & from the diner.  Maybe I'll go back and watch a NASCAR race there someday?
Drove past the speedway both to & from the diner. Maybe I’ll go back and watch a NASCAR race there someday?

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!

Our new home state! (We were texting parentals each new state we got to!)
Our new home state! (We were texting parentals each new state we got to!)
Happy 4th from the Meyer's!
Happy 4th from the Meyer’s!

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.

 

Anna E. Meyer

It’s a Love Story: Part V

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. 🙂

 

Until next time,

Anna

It’s a Love Story: Part III

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.)

Dr. Wile E. Coyote walking with me during our first Rochester visit together!
Dr. Wile E. Coyote walking with me during our first Rochester visit together!

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.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I before our first real date!
Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I before our first real date!

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.

In LaCrosse, WI at Grandad's Bluff
In LaCrosse, WI at Grandad’s Bluff

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. 😉

D and I playing piano while standing up, because the bench was at the Thanksgiving table!
D and I playing piano while standing up, because the bench was at the Thanksgiving table!
The YA table :)  The few adults had to sit on the end.  :)
The YA table 🙂 The few adults had to sit on the end. 🙂

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! 🙂

 

Have a great weekend!

Anna

It’s a Love Story: Part II

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!)

Anna