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!

I Am NOT The Author of This Story (Just this Post)

We were going through Mark 2:1-12 at a Bible study on Monday. Just in case that reference doesn’t make you think, “Oh yeah, I remember that story!” allow me to refresh your memory. So, Jesus is back in Capernaum and everyone hears about it. Of course, they’re all flocking to him because they want to see him perform miracles like some circus act. Anyway, these four dudes are carrying their buddy on a stretcher because he is paralyzed. But they can’t even get in the house because it is PACKED. So, they go up to the roof, vandalize the roof to make a hole so the stretcher would fit, and lower their buddy right in front of Jesus. Jesus, seeing that the men actually believe Jesus will heal the paralytic and didn’t just come for a show, sees their faith and first forgives the sins of the paralytic. Then he heals him.

When I read these miraculous healings, I am awed by Jesus Christ’s power. And then I am filled with jealousy. There are SO many healings in the Bible. In fact, miraculous healings still happen today. So why am I not healed? I’m a storyteller and a rational thinker, but mostly a storyteller. I love a good story. Anna in the Bible lived with her husband for seven years and then was a widow until she was 84, when she got to see baby Jesus at the temple. So, it would be pretty cool if I was healed of MS after 7 years, right? So why wasn’t I? I prayed for it to happen, but I’ve had it for almost 10.

I realize now that there are more, better, and God-glorifying stories as I have MS. Being healed is a one-time deal. But overcoming struggles is a repeated process (day by day, hour by hour, etc). Did I just want to be part of a miraculous circus act? No. Even though that would be cool. I mean, I am a side character in this epic story called life (God is the main character, of course). I can glorify God through having MS, through my relationships, through my marriage (in 45 days), and through everything in my life in general. Yes, I am jealous of people in the gospels and even those I hear about now who have been miraculously healed. But, I don’t want to be a character in a one story, but many! I know that God would be able to use me whichever way he wants, but here looks like a pretty great place to be at the moment.

There’s another thing that we can never forget—God is the best storyteller in the history of the universe. I can’t be telling him what he should or shouldn’t do—I’m in the story. Only the author, who is outside of it, can write it. (So we should all stop trying.)

 

The Writer and Thinker of This Post,

Anna

The Correct Path? (Is it even possible to find?)

Once upon a time, there was a writer who liked to write.  And a blogger who liked to blog. (Same person.)   She was not only a hobby-writer, but also a musician and a soon-to-be teacher, as long as this next semester goes well.  And then, this writer/blogger/musician/teacher, wanted to add something else and so she had a genius idea to go to seminary.  This person that I’m talking about in third person is actually me, if you didn’t guess, and I want to do everything.  Oh, and I hobby-compose music, too.  It’s super fun.  But if I try to do all of the previously mentioned things, will I be only “okay” at everything?

Let’s ease up as I remember that the Lord has totally got my back and my future, so I don’t have to worry about that.  Whatever I decide to do will be in his will, even if I become something totally different and unrelated to all of the above.  If I suddenly became a janitor, that would be God’s will, too.  But I don’t foresee that happening EVER, and we get the point that everything we do is in God’s will.  Don’t you think he is bigger than that?  Of course he is.  He has not just chosen ONE path for your life.  When there are options before you, you get to choose.  We were given freewill, after all.  And don’t get into a big argument about Calvinism, because that doesn’t matter.  Yes, we have options.  We can chose any path before us and it will be the right one.  I was Skyping with my friend Ola on Sunday, and she was sharing about how we are each unique.  YES.  We are unique and the Holy Spirit is in each of God’s children.  And that, my friends, is incredible.  In Exodus, the Holy Spirit came to one man and the tabernacle was built perfectly.  The Holy Spirit is in each of us, so no matter what we do, it won’t be wrong.  The Spirit will USE us wherever we are and whoever we’re in contact with.  Our job is to remember him and let him live through us, so that these things are possible.  Not saying that they aren’t if we don’t, but it certainly makes things easier and makes you, the person who asks the Holy Spirit to move through you, more aware of what he is doing.

But sometimes I doubt a lot.  Actually, a lot of times.  My music ed prof talked about me filling out job applications while I’m student teaching when he saw me today, and I get really excited, because it would be so fun!  But what about seminary?  How long will that wait?  Until I get burned out from teaching?  The average music teacher lasts about three years.  But to spite that number, I will make myself go at least four.  Not that I like to spite statistics, but I kind of do.  How many years will I teach before seminary?  Because I want to do both.  And also, a book that I finished this summer is being copy-edited by a friend/neighbor/retired English prof who I’m giving horn lessons to (and she is my very best student in SO many ways).  I’m pretty excited.  I need some prayer there, please, ‘cuz I’m planning to send it in to some publishers at the end of the summer.  (Smiley face)

The Lord has a unique path designed for you, and you get to choose the direction.  Well, God is ultimately in control, so he will use the direction you take for his glory.  Pray and ask him to use the steps you take!  And, if you get impatient with life like I sometimes do, just remember that his timing is ALWAYS perfect, whether we like it or not.  God can do some pretty awesome things in the waiting-period, just saying.

Anna

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Writing: To God Be the Glory

I spent most of last semester learning about having to advocate for music education in all that I do.  Transferring that thought, I have justified and reasoned why I like to write so much (for myself, mostly).  So why do I like to write?  (This is me thinking out loud almost more than “advocating”.)writing for the glory of God

General: I think and speak better through writing, most of the time.  It has become my life’s mission to display and present and proclaim God all the time in many different ways to many different people.  One of the ways I can do this is through writing.

Fiction: I like to write fiction because I am allowed to present Christ in a new way.  I love analogies, and in writing fiction, I am allowed to bring some of the analogies to life.  Fiction is a powerful medium, and I’ve been given the passion and the gift to use it.  I have stories to tell: stories of God’s love, redemption and forgiveness.  I have my own story to tell, and I have evidences of God’s power and righteousness to share.

Letters: I don’t write as many letters as I would like to, but I have been writing letters to more people in the last semester.  My own letter writing has evolved into something in which I can encourage the letter-receiver with scripture and with Christ-centered chatter.  I’ve discovered that my two most prominent love languages are words of affirmation and quality time.  It takes time to write a letter, and I think about the person I’m writing to all while I write it.  As I said, in a letter, I am given the opportunity to encourage and affirm the receiver of the letter.  Snail-mail letter writing is a lost art, but I believe in it still!

Blog: Sometimes, I feel like I have a message to share.  Nothing new or profound, just what God has been teaching me recently or something that’s on my mind.  I love making spiritual analogies, and there are a lot of them here on my blog.  I share my testimony, I write about my struggles, and I write about school.  But in all this, I can see God working through it.  He is King of everything, not just what directly talks about him.

I worship God through writing.  Be it a letter, an off-topic blog post, or fiction completely immersed with God, I praise him through it.  Writing is one of the gifts I have received from the Lord, so all I can do now is use it for his glory.  I am trusting him completely, as in the next year I will try to get some things published.  To God be all the glory.

Anna E. Olson, unpublished writer, trusting in Him always.

Changin’ it up! (But SMILING)

So, I sign off most of my posts with “Smiles Squared” with a little smiley face to the power of two.  That’s what this =)^2 is if you didn’t figure it out.  So, I have re-named my blog to “Smiles Squared.”  I just wanted to let you all know that before you start getting weirded out that some other person’s blog is getting emailed to you or something.  Still Anna!  I’ve been doing “Saturday Smileys” for a bit now, and I plan to keep it up.  Also, I created the “Smiles Squared” logo that I have recreated on the computer and now have as my blog icon thing, originally in high school.  Smiles and smiley faces?  I like them a lot.  I like smiling.  Smiling’s my favorite!  So, in honor of the new title and blog icon thing, here are some smiley quotes:

A smile confuses an approaching frown.  ~Author Unknown

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.  ~Phyllis Diller

The world always looks brighter from behind a smile.  ~Author Unknown

A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you’re at home.  ~Author Unknown

A laugh is a smile that bursts.  ~Mary H. Waldrip

Smile – sunshine is good for your teeth.  ~Author Unknown

A smile you send will always return. ~Indian Proverb

Beauty is power; a smile is its sword.  ~Charles Read

Smiles are great investments: the more you collect, the better you feel. ~Author Unknown

Before you put on a frown, make absolutely sure there are no smiles available.  ~Jim Beggs

If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it.  ~Andy Rooney

Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it.  ~Author Unknown

I have made it a goal of mine to make people smile by my writing or by doing things or saying things to people.  I don’t always do a very good job, but if I make only one person smile all day, then I feel good.  =)

Smiling ALWAYS, Anna =)^2