It’s a Girl! (Which we already knew..)

I HAVEN’T EVEN WRITTEN ABOUT HER. All I’ve been writing lately are thank-you’s! I’m tired. I always feel worn out. I get frustrated. And the love that consumes me each day is crazy. Most of you know why.

Lydia Ruth Meyer was born on September 1, 2016. She weighed 6 pounds, 3.8 ounces, and was 20 inches long. Oh my goodness. I love her more each day! Man, by time she’s grown up, I won’t even know what to do with all that love! I say things that I used to think was dumb, like, “I can’t even.” But I can’t even finish that sentence because of all the emotions that overtake me before I find a reasonable word. My Facebook page is flooded with pictures of my new little daughter (it’s weird to say that I have a daughter! But I do!), because of so many family and friends living so far away. Lydia grows and changes every day!

To catch you up to date on health stuff. Lydia is incredibly healthy. For this we are all so very thankful! I, however, have not been up to par. Two weeks after Lydia was born, I started another relapse. I had been warned that one would likely come, but I thought it would have been right away. I went to see my OB for a checkup and was admitted to the hospital with a uterine infection. I was on the baby floor, though (because it was pregnancy related), so Lydia could come visit me! I stayed there about two days before coming home. Three weeks later, I was back in the hospital. I went in to the ER on Monday night, and was released Saturday. This one was bad. I had a bladder, kidney, and blood infection all at the same time. Needless to say, I was septic when I came in and was a good part of the week, too. Urine retention is common in people with MS. I just didn’t know it had been happening to me for months prior. That is why what started as a bladder infection, backed up to my kidneys, and got my blood, too. I am still on IV antibiotics three times a day, but thanks to home health, I can stay at home and do them myself. My 14 days will be up soon, though, and then I will be on oral meds. I’m getting catheterized four-ish times a day, too. I keep wanting to do it myself, but that’s hard, and I don’t have all the dexterity in my hands and fingers I once did. That will come, though. The doc said that my bladder is super stretched out, but by getting cathed daily, it will build that muscle again.

My mother stayed in Kentucky with us longer than she had planned on. She decided to stay longer after my relapse began to make sure we were okay. That’s actually one of the reasons I wanted her there first—because I thought a relapse would come right away.  My MIL was coming the next week, so we put her on Lydia duty—that’s why she came! To meet Lydia and help out with her care! My mom had “Anna duty.” She knows what to do when I have a relapse and how to help. She had been taking care of me so long with this MS headache. Even when I relapsed in January for a while, she brought me home to Cottonwood until I was strong enough to go back home. She was not going to go back home until we had hired a caregiver to be with me and help take care of Lydia whenever Doug was gone.

The week with both moms was a little bit stressful, probably because there has never been so many people in our house AND so much was going on! But it was good. My mom did the cooking, because she loves cooking, and she’s good at it. And my MIL was oh-so-helpful with Lydia and other things around the house! It was nice not having the full night duty for almost a month! God’s hand was so much at work before my mom left, though. We inquired about getting a caregiver through a government agency, but it was going to take way too long. We decided to hire privately, and we got a name the next day! So, before the week was up, we had hired Karen and her adult daughter, Amanda, to trade off being caregivers for me and Lydia. It has been so awesome! I don’t feel guilty for taking a middle-of-the-day nap, because I know Lydia is being taken care of, and I know that my body has to heal in order for me to take better care of Lydia by myself one day.

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Doug’s and my first post-baby date! We got all dolled up and everything!

Lydia Ruth is a strong and determined little girl. She has parts of both Doug and me in her, as well as traits from others in our families. As with all children, I’m sure, similarities toward one parent or the other will depend on whose family we’re visiting, and who this or that friend knows better. She is doing GREAT developmentally, and is even doing a few things sooner than the internet says she’s supposed to, which makes this mama smile big. She has to be able to see at all times. She hated the bassinet we’d gotten, because it had high sides, and she couldn’t see what was going on. So we put her in a crib at three weeks. Apparently I walked before I could crawl at 9 months, and I’m kind of expecting the same from Lydia. She loves when we hold her up so she can put weight on her legs and feet. When we put her on her belly for “tummy time,” she tries to scoot—almost crawl (if her body were strong enough)—as far as she can. She’s been trying to lift her head since day two, and now she looks around and takes everything in. We took her to church for the first time yesterday, and we put her in the “Sprouts” nursery for kids 0-24 months. I think she liked it! She didn’t sleep much when she was there, but boy, was she tuckered out when we got home! Lydia started smiling at things and at people about 5 weeks—the internet said that wouldn’t start until 6 weeks! One of our caregivers said about Lydia, “It’s like she’s frustrated with her baby body that can’t keep up with her!” My mama heart just beams with pride for my girl. Even at her two week visit, the doctor commented on how alert she was! Soon, it’ll be time for her 2 month visit—the one that includes shots. Lydia is generally a happy baby, and Doug and I couldn’t be more excited about her!

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I only have two or three actual pics of Lydia smiling. Here they are!

I am so overwhelmed with all of the prayers being said on my behalf, as well as the prayers for Doug and Lydia. I am so thankful for them, and for each person who is whispering them for us! When I was in the hospital this last time, I saw God’s hand at work every single day. As I go to bed at night, I have been identifying the ways the God is moving in my life – physically, mentally, and spiritually. I am so very thankful that I am still here, able to be a mommy to Lydia, and a wife to Doug. Thank you for all of the physical support, and prayer support that we’ve been receiving. We are blessed.

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A Poem for Relaxing Winter Nights with Family

Food, games, sweets, family.

Christmas movies, cookies, snow.

Naptime, chilling, cold.

 

No school because break.

Video games with in-laws.

Writing, more games, fun.

 

This break seems like forever.

Until it is done.

Then the real world will beckon.

 

But until that day,

Family, games, chilling, bonding.

Watching, playing, chill.

 

Talking, playing, snow.

Winter, headed north, family.

Love to you readers,

 

Anna E. Meyer

Letter to Grandpa Kenny

Dear Grandpa Kenny,

You don’t remember me, but you recognize me. Either that, or you can still pretend to know people pretty well. You came to my wedding last year. You knew before I did that I was going to marry Doug. You told my dad that “I think the grandkids are getting married” because “they seemed like they were hiding something from me” when we brought you back to the assisted living facility after Thanksgiving dinner in 2013. You knew who I was then, although my name had slipped your memory. You figured out who Doug was, too. We all took pictures with you before everyone scattered for the rest of December. You had gotten worn out, trying to remember things. That happens faster now.

I remember doing so much with you as I was growing up—it helped that you were right here in Cottonwood. I don’t know how many times you “retired” from farming, but you didn’t stop until you realized that you were forgetting too many things to continue. I respect that you voluntarily stepped out. It takes courage! Your wit has always been so quick, and I’m so glad that it stayed as long as it did!

The way you loved and cared for Grandma Lois was…inspiring. You and Grandma went through some pretty hard stuff in your years here in Cottonwood. I am so proud of you. Now, living in a memory care unit, not remembering many things, you are making do. You are living your life as best you can. You recognize people you see every day, and you are still you. You are still my grandpa. Forever and always.

Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like if I could talk to you and you knew what is going on. If you could answer questions. If you could tell me about meeting your sons- and daughter- in laws. If you could tell me about work on the farm in your day compared to what it is now. What would your opinion be on all of the issues going on in the world? Would your wit be even more on top of things than I remember? What advice would you be able to give me? My dad wonders it, too. Was he this much like Laura when he was starting to take on responsibilities of the farm? What would you tell her? Or Christina? Or me? Would you watch my life as I lived it and smile? Would you have ideas of what else I could do? Now I wonder how much longer you’ll be here with us. Will you live to see a great-grandchild? Would you comprehend that a baby was your great-grandchild? (Not that any of your grandkids have started making babies, but give it time.)

It’s hard watching age catch up with you. I had never seen a gray hair until you stopped greasing your hair every morning when you moved to assisted living. But your smile, though now faded slightly, always puts a smile on my own face. You and Grandma were like that—smiling, joking, loving. Do you miss Grandma? I miss both her and you. We are all growing older now. I have to do grown-up things like pay bills, schedule doctor’s appointments, clean house, etc. Katrina, your oldest granddaughter, got married last week. Mine was the only grandchild wedding you will be present for, and I am both honored and saddened by that. I am so glad that you still welcome my hugs when I give you one, because I think that would hurt worse. I love you, Grandpa. I won’t get to see you for a while now, and I’m a little bit nervous at what I’ll find next time. But I love you, the memory of who you were, and the very being you still are today, though it doesn’t remember as much.

See you soon,

You Favorite Meyer Granddaughter (though you may only remember me as your favorite Olson Granddaughter…..),

Anna

A Quick Sum-Up of My Christmas Vacation

No, I did not visit the Griswalds, or Cousin Eddy’s house.  But I did visit my aunt Heidi and Uncle Bruce, which is pretty close to the same thing.  Over the holiday, my parents, sisters, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I went on a 2-week vacation in Europe for the holidays. A week in Italy, followed by a week in Germany.

In Italy, with my uncle’s family (stationed there because military), we saw Mt. Vesuvius (this big volcano that they live right next to), Herculaneum (which is very similar to Pompeii, except smaller and a tad better excavated because it’s more recent), the Flavian Amphitheater (which is the third biggest Roman amphitheater), the Vatican, St. Peter’s square, the outside of the Roman coliseum (because we saw the entire amphitheater in Pozzuoli). And we got to spend Christmas there and hang out with family! Others in the family went shopping, while I stayed home and napped or something because I was EXHAUSTED. We went to a place and had some Italian fine dining. LOTS of delish Italian food. And experiencing riding in Italian traffic. Well, the traffic in Naples, anyway. I had to take a Dramamine every single day. Goodness!

In Germany, we visited our foreign-exchange-family-member and her family. Viktoria (the FEFM) planned this awesome honeymoon getaway for Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I in Freiburg, Germany, where we rode a cable car above the Black Forest, ate awesome German food, went to Christmas markets that were still going until the New Year, and learned a lot about the German public transportation system. At the home of Viktoria, we ate more delicious German food and experienced a German New Year—where everyone has fireworks (that would be illegal in the USA), so it was like a big fireworks show, all around you. The last day, we toured a castle in Heidelberg, as well as the bridge there and ate more German food.

So, that’s the low down on what we did. I apologize I don’t have any cool pics to put up, because my mother was the photographer of the trip and has all the cool ones. You can check some out at her blog, though! So much to sum up to answer the common questions of, “What did you do? Where did you go? What did you see?” Stay tuned, as there shall be many more blogs coming shortly, both about this vacation, and the rest of the many things that are swirling in my head!

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

Why Belonging to a Church is Important for Christians

Before Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I moved way out to Kentucky from the northern Midwest, we looked online for a church similar to ones we’d been attending. We prayed for seven-ish months before we moved that the first church we went to in Pikeville, KY, would be the church that the Lord had for us to grow, flourish, and get plugged in at.

Why?

Because having a church home is how you grow. True, one can do Bible studies on their own or podcast a sermon. But IT’S NOT THE SAME. The church is VITAL to individual spiritual growth. Did you know that for couples who attend church regularly, the divorce rate goes down, leaving it at 1%? They don’t even have to be born again Christians for that to happen—the Lord uses his bride for that effect on people.

Churches are also important because of FELLOWSHIP. Dr. Coyote and I also prayed that we would find friends right away. We came to Pikeville on a Saturday, so that we could go to church the following day. In church the next morning, we met Jim and Erica, a couple from the northern Midwest, as well! They took us out for supper that week, and told us about gender specific Sunday school classes and the time they met at. So the next week, we began attending Sunday school!

Sunday school (or small groups that can meet anytime during the week) are great to get plugged into for a few reasons:

  1. You get to meet people! There aren’t as many people in a small group than there are at church. You will get to know them, and they will get to know you. Friendships may form, if you let them!
  2. You get to grow even DEEPER in your spiritual walk. Not only will you cover extra material, but a small group gives a chance for questions or discussions! VERY helpful.

Which leads me to another reason why attending church every week is so great: You develop a church FAMILY. Not only did we get new friends and new opportunities to grow, we could request prayer for something and know without a doubt that there will be prayers petitioned on our behalf. We can greet people we see at church in the store, not only because we recognize them, but they are family!

There are some people that have had bad experiences with church or never feel welcomed. Let me touch on the second point first:

At some bigger churches, especially, where there are multiple services, not everyone is going to know anyone else. They may just think your new face is in their regular service because normally you go to a different one. REACH OUT! Tell somebody that you’re new there. Dr. Coyote and I were lucky—we got to the church we currently attend during a holiday weekend, so EVERYBODY knew that we were new—we weren’t sitting with anybody, and there was a scant crowd that day. But I didn’t instantly recognize people as family after one attendance. “Hi, I don’t know you!” I sometimes say while I’m greeting somebody. Whether I’m simply unfamiliar with a person or they are new—it doesn’t matter.

do-you-think-god-cant-use-you quoteThe first point: Yes, many churches have hurt people. I have heard tales over and over about it. But does that make you want to give up church all together? Not all churches are the same. I’ve attended churches of all sorts of denominations because to me denomination doesn’t matter, as long as the pastor preaches from the Bible and there is a welcoming atmosphere. Those two things are honestly the most attractive first-impressions of a church. (I’ve moved around a little bit in my lifetime, believe it or not.) Why were you hurt? Because of a conviction you received that you didn’t want to hear? Because of something you, nor anybody in the congregation had any control over? I find it sad that after a church has issues with a pastor, many times they disintegrate. Who was that church following? The pastor? A human being, just like you and I? Or Jesus Christ, the God of the universe? Just so you know, Jesus can use ANYBODY. He is able to use a pastor who has committed a crime, he is able to use a homosexual pastor— he used prostitutes in the Bible, for goodness’ sake! And liars and thieves and drunkards and ahh! So many.

Here’s something else: We’re told to.

Hebrews 10:25
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Jesus went to the synagogue regularly (when he goes to Nazareth, he went to the synagogue AS WAS HIS CUSTOM). All over the New Testament, we are told to gather together! Love one another! Serve one another! What better place to do that than the church?

Most of all, friends, I actually love going to church. My weeks get long, but when I go to church, I know I’ll find someone to hug, and I’ll get my “fellowship fill” for the most part. I’ll learn something new, and the Lord will teach me things that GO WITH THE SERMON all week. Seriously, that happens all the time. When I’m down, I receive encouragement. When others are down, I can give it. Life gets monotonous and draining, but the Lord is with us through it all! (And don’t JUST go to church—spend time with God every day! He’s just that fun to hang out with. But…that’s a rant for another post.)

Anna E. Meyer

MS: The Importance of Relationships

I have recently been hearing of dating woes of young adults with MS. This applies to anyone with MS, but as I am getting married in less than two months, I’m thinking back to the last couple years.

In 2011, when I was at Summer Project, I had a discipler who told me when I was sharing my MS-woes, “If a guy won’t date you because you have MS, then he’s not even worth your time.” This troubled me because unlike all these other girls in college who had had so many boyfriends, I did not. I was…me. I had a limp, and there was no interest. Anyway, I started writing letters to friends, one of them being my now-fiance, Dr. Wile E. Coyote. In writing letters, we got to know each others’ hearts and our spirits. He couldn’t focus on things it appears I may not be able to do, because he couldn’t see it. We were hours away from each other, and pretty much only wrote letters. Yes, there are things I can’t do. But there are so many more that I can.

What bothers me is when people can’t see past a limp; a disease; a label. “She has MS, so she’ll never be able to have a good job and earn enough money, so she shouldn’t even be in a relationship with my boy.” There is discrimination against people who have a disease such as MS not only in the workplace, but in uneducated opinions of the general public. Diseases like MS aren’t a death sentence. I was diagnosed 10 years ago, and even though some of my visible symptoms seem to be getting worse, I am just fine. I’ve had to learn some hard lessons over the years. What friendships are worth pouring myself into? What is worth my time doing that won’t wipe me out or leave me feeling unworthy?

Because I had just begun puberty when I was diagnosed, I have learned about myself while learning about how to handle the MS. I know my limits and what I can do, as well as who I am and what I’m passionate about. The more comfortable I became being myself, the easier the MS was to handle and deal with. It is a part of me, but it does not define me. You don’t want to be my friend because I have MS? That’s okay, you would be a terrible friend, anyway.

It is because of the MS that I have matured and become the person that I am. Those who stop being my friend because of my disease may not be able to handle health issues in themselves or their families later. Having MS has taught me to be empathetic to others who are different, and I can relate to many more people than I would otherwise be able to.

I am so blessed to be where I am at now. About to marry my best friend, who looks at me and sees me? Sure, the MS is there, but it doesn’t define me. I have had some great support over the years, and I love being a support to others who have MS; those who have had it longer than I have, as well as those recently diagnosed. If you’re the friend or family member of someone with MS, one of the best things you can do is be there. You won’t be able to understand completely, and that’s okay. A lot of times, we just want to be treated normally! Most of all, thank you for sticking with us.

Anna

SmilesSquared Anna and Doug

Check ‘Yo Self. And SMILE.

It always interests me and yet annoys me at things we say about people driving in other cars down the interstate, people sitting at different tables at restaurants, people behind the register, and in general, just people that we don’t know. Those we have never seen before and never will again. We automatically make judgments about those whose stories we know nothing about. I fear the judgments being made about me at times. I have a limp, and I can barely move my left leg properly. When I meet someone on the sidewalk: Will they stare? Avoid me? Awkwardly look at me, see my limp, and look away? Ask or assume what’s wrong? When I pull over to the side of the road and stop on the interstate so that I can listen to a job being called and type in numbers on the keypad (substituting): Will those who I just passed wonder what happened, if only for a fleeting moment? Will they think to themselves, “Why did she pass me so quickly if I’m just coming back now to pass her? What was the point?” And I really appreciate those who I pass (while my car is on cruise a few mph faster than them), who will speed up to pass me, and everyone in the vehicle glares at me as they do so. I have heard many rants and observed for myself how putting a cash register between two people changes the attitude of a customer to one of entitlement; and giving the cashier attitude is what they deserve, because they weren’t allowed to budge in line or their card was rejected.

I confess that I, too, am an avid maker of quick judgments. I assume a motive of why a person is driving way faster than anyone else, and I write it off as them being idiot drivers. What if they are rushing home because of an emergency? What if someone in the car is in need of something immediately? There are so many judgments that I used to be so quick to make, but am working on. I would judge those unmarried and living together, those who have children out of wedlock, those who are homosexual, those who have three or four spouses and/or many kids, each with different fathers or something, among other things. I am very traditional, and have all those traditional values. But I DON’T KNOW THEIR STORIES. I don’t know why somebody is like the way they are, and it is wrong for me to assume and degrade a person for an action I only see from the outside. I don’t know WHO they are, so what right have I even to judge? When someone asks for my opinion, I may give it. And I have opinions about those I’m close to because I know them well and I care about them. I try to understand, and I fully support my friends and family, with whatever choices they make.

Words mean a lot to me, so when someone says something unkind or not thought-through, I am hurt by the comment. But when a stranger compliments my lipstick or says a kind word, my day is made.

I challenge you to be more conscious of how your attitude and words may affect other people’s lives, if even in a moment. To make this world a better place, it starts with US and the million choices we make every day. Pass on the positivity! Have you sent a smile to someone today?

Anna

 

1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

 

I Love, I Friend, I Keep in Contact!

One of my roommates told me today that if I move to KY and drop off the face of the earth where she’ll never hear me again, she’ll be very angry at me. Um, relationships are huge to me. I have learned the hard difference between authentic friends and convenient friends. I have been convenient for people to be friends with before, and I much prefer those authentic and true friends. And I look for them wherever I am. And I was thinking about how Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I will be moving around a lot for the first handful of years (it may be like, every hand being full between the two of us—maybe even toes, but I don’t know). So I decided that my Christmas list would keep growing, I would keep getting more awesome friends on Facebook that I’ll never want to unfriend because how can you creep on them?

One of the people I look up to tons is my Grandma Lois. She passed away about 5ish years ago, but I keep discovering more and more about her incredible life. She had MS, too, and there weren’t any medicines that worked well when she was diagnosed. So she was pretty immobile toward the end of her life. But every Christmas, somebody (usually my mother) would go through her Christmas list with her, update addresses, and see who could be taken off (but there usually was some adding, as well). Grandma Lois sent Christmas cards to her kids’ friends from high school and college. Now, I probably won’t do something like that, because I have enough friends as it is, and mailing Christmas cards is getting expensive (but totally worth it because everybody loves getting mail and checking in to see what everybody looks like now, who the kids are starting to look like, how old you should be feeling, etc). But everyone loved my grandma because she was so cheerful all the time and was nice to everyone. There are so many people that I don’t even know who know who I am and will tell me how much my grandma meant to me.  (I hope people say that about me someday!)

Anyway, I also like writing snail mail letters to people. This, too, is getting to be an expensive and time-consuming hobby. If I could, I would write way more letters than I actually do. But everybody smiles when there is non-bill-or-junk mail in the mailbox! I think I’ve mentioned it before, but my two biggest love languages are words of affirmation and quality time. Writing letters certainly takes time, and I love putting smiles on people’s faces. Note: If you write me a letter, I will most likely write you back. (How did Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I keep writing letters for so long? HE WROTE ME BACK. Just saying. Okay, so I wrote him more letters than he wrote me, but still. Continued communication goes two ways, people.)  The first thing any of you, my friends, should think of after you move is: I SHOULD SEND ANNA MY NEW SNAIL MAIL ADDRESS.  I mean it, people.  I keep having to track you down after reading about you moving to a new place on Facebook or something!

To sum up: I have a lot of friends, and the numbers will keep growing. Also, I will try my best to keep in contact with you all! I will never FORGET somebody, but I might forget to write you a letter back. Sorry! Also, I love all of my friends dearly. I took a quiz on Facebook (because there are so many right now) that says I have a deep and passionate heart (and it only took 9 questions!). Okay, but I actually think that’s true. I love a lot. And because God loves through me, too, of course my heart is big enough for everyone! And even though I’ve never actually met many of you who are reading this post, I love you just for reading it!

As my title says, “I love, I friend, I keep in contact!”  WHO’S WITH ME!? 🙂

Anna

The Power of Three

Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be overpowered, two can withstand.  A cord of three strands cannot easily be broken.”

I love this verse.  It has so much meaning, and recently, it’s been playing out in a tangible way.  A few, actually.  Allow me to explain. 

1. The trinity is three.  Not that they will ever be broken, not even just one of them, because they’re divine, but three is one of my favorite numbers.  I actually like the number 9, because it’s 3 x 3.  And I was born in ’90 and graduated in ’09.  And I like palindromes.  Seriously off-topic.  Moving on.

2. I have two sisters.  They are best friends with each other, and they can withstand tons.  I have relationships with each one of them that’s different.  But when the three of us are together?  Like, wow. 

3. My relationship with God, and my relationship with Dr. Wile E. Coyote.  Both of them?  Try an all caps WOW.  It’s crazy.  I tell both of them what’s up, and Dr. WEC comforts me with God’s words and his own.  Even though D and I are 9 hours away and I can’t tangibly feel God’s hugs, words can be like a hug to me.  He points me to Christ, and I point him right back.  I am amazed at all that God can do with one person.  With two people who have devoted themselves to him?  *Head shake in amazement.*

4. This was the scripture at my parents’ wedding.  I just discovered that when I mentioned the verse to my mom.  What an example I have grown up under.  I am so gosh darn blessed. 

5. I don’t think my sisters will read this post, but I this verse is also a prayer for each of them, that if/when they do find a “somebody,” that their relationship will stand like the verse says, as well.  Husband, wife, and God.  I pray that they are pointed to Christ all the time.  This is the prayer for my other family and friends, too.  I have gotten to know people who aren’t both believers, and it has affected their faith.  I don’t know why I have been made aware of this, but I don’t want this to happen to anyone in my family or my friends, either.  I pray that all stand up in their faith, and that their faith may grow like crazy all the time. 

I love authentic relationships based on heavenly things.  Relationships based on worldly things will crumble and fall.  I’m not talking about significant-other relationships, but friendships, as well.  I can talk about my faith with my best friends and we can talk about what God’s been doing in our lives and talk about the Word.  There is such a thing as relationships like that, and they are awesome.  In church on Sunday, we heard a testimony from a guy who was like, “Why didn’t anybody tell me sooner!?” in reference to the life that God can give you (salvation).  I went through a lot of crap in high school, with the MS and all that, affecting me each day.  Even then, I was aching for authentic friends, but I didn’t know it.  I was kind of a loner and a little different, I’ll admit.  But I didn’t know there were such things as “authentic friends” to be looking for.  So now I’m telling you.  If you don’t have authentic friends you can tell anything to, why not try and get deeper?  Why not meet someone new at church and be real?  But only if the other party is willing to be real, as well.  I don’t know.  I just feel like telling you, my readers, that yes, there is more out there.  Keep strong in your faith, and keep praying.  God is cookin’ up some pretty awesome things (even if it takes YEARS of praying for it, it’s worth it). 

Until next time,

Anna