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

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

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.