It’s a Love Story: Part IV (The PROPOSAL!)

Shortly after Christmas, I went up to Dr. Wile E. Coyote’s house to spend until New Year’s there. I had not met his family before arriving there. His family was great. I’m a hugger, and I gave them all hugs when I saw them (I’m pretty sure—I’ve given and received hugs every other time I see them!). I was surprised that his mom, Karen, and his sister, Beth, were shorter than me. I’m the shortest one in my family. My grandma is shorter than me, but I think she’s shrinking, so it shouldn’t count. Oh, and an aunt of mine who is an in-law to the family is shorter than me. Barely. And my nine-year-old cousin. I’m getting off-topic. Can I just say that my sisters are taller than Dr. Coyote? They almost wear the same shoe size, even.

Anyway, Dr. Coyote was making all of these secret phone calls and kept holding his tongue when we would talk (the whole previous month), because he’s not that great of a secret keeper (although for this, I applaude him!).  December 30th, we were driving home from visiting our friend in the hospital and her new baby and Dr. Wile E. said, “So, we’re going on a drive tomorrow.”  It was determined that we leave around 7am, and mentioned that I should bring an overnight bag.  “And just so you know,” he added, “in my overnight bag, I am packing a tie.”  And I just smiled and thought about which of the two dresses that I packed I should actually bring (he had told me to bring nice clothes, so I overpacked, as usual, and brought nice clothes.  When you’re driving places, you’re allowed to overpack). 

Selfie before we left! (You notice the hats? Well, we had them combined. We believe in intercultural marriages.)
Selfie before we left! (You notice the hats? Well, we had them combined. We believe in intercultural marriages.)

The next morning, Dr. Wile E. Coyote gave me a sheet of paper with directions to places (except all the destinations were cut out of the paper, so there were little squares missing and stuff) and told me I was the navigator.  He wouldn’t tell me where we were going, and I didn’t pry, because I love surprises. As we were driving, Dr. Coyote said he had a thought: “You don’t mind staying in a house if you’re by yourself there? It’s a familiar house.” Not at all. I asked, “Is that because UW La-Crosse doesn’t start school again for another few weeks? And he just shrugged. I peeked at the sheet with the directions, and even though it was just a street address, I kind of recognized the first address (because I had just mailed a bunch of Christmas cards out), but I wasn’t for positive or anything.

At Liberty & Truth, after we changed to look all fancy and before we headed out!
At Liberty & Truth, after we changed to look all fancy and before we headed out!

MILWAUKEE was the city we went to!  First stop?  My friends’ Bridget, Kara, Rachel, and Tang’s house, where Dr. Wile E. Coyote picked up some keys from Tang, who was there.  Then we left again.  (We didn’t even say more than “hi.”) And we went to…Liberty and Truth Ministries!  A church that was my favorite place we volunteered at on Project (Doug didn’t work all the same places I did when we were on Project, but we’ve talked about it, and he was taking notes).  Apparently, Pastor Seay wasn’t going to come in on New Year’s Eve, but Doug explained that “It’s for Anna…”  and Pastor Seay was like, “Oh, well if it’s for Anna, then of course I’ll come in on New Year’s Eve.”  Smiley face.  It was so good to talk with Pastor Seay and catch up while we were packing clothes, so their clothing ministry could be moved into another building.  Gah!  Then Dr. Coyote said we should change into our nice clothes there, so we did.  Pastor Seay took a picture of us and then prayed with us before we continued our day.  It was great!  Then, we went to Culver’s, which kind of threw me off.  We stood out a lot because 1) we were white in a predominately black part of town and 2) we were dressed up all fancy and it was like 1pm.  Dr, Wile E. Coyote emphasized that we were getting a “light lunch.”  🙂  The next place we went to was CITY ON A HILL.  Aka, the building where Project was AND the place were we met and all that jazz.  I tried not to get suspicious, but really.  He brought a duffel bag in and had me wait while someone who worked there showed him to the chapel that he had reserved.  I just sat and waited. I chatted with the receptionist. I read all the posters. A few times. I entertained myself. (I’m good at that.) After 5-10 minutes (it probably wasn’t actually that long), he came back and got me and led me to the chapel. 

Proposal proposal
So, we kind of re-created this scene for a picture, but it was SO not hard to do. I just had Dr. Coyote re-read the last poem (in Old English) to me, and my smile was authentic.
This was the announcement pic we sent to my friends and family.  Hehe?  Oh come on, they all knew it was coming.
This was the announcement pic we sent to my friends and family. Hehe? Oh come on, they all knew it was coming.

On our way to the chapel, I told Dr. Coyote that “I’m excited!”  Because I was– I didn’t know exactly what would happen and I was excited to see what he had planned.  He’s like, “I don’t really know what I’m feeling.”  Ha.  When I opened the door, I saw this beautiful bouquet of purple and white flowers on the pulpit of this little chapel.  “Those are for you,” he said.  The card read: “Always bringing you smiles.  I love you!  Doug.”  THEN he had plugged in his iPhone to some speakers and started playing some music so we could dance (he made a point to put music on his iPhone THE NIGHT BEFORE, ‘cuz he didn’t have any on his phone before).  So we danced to songs like “Your Love Never Fails” by Brandon Heath and other Jesus music that were all about the same tempo.  Then he went to go turn the music down.  I was thinking that I felt like I needed to sit down, but I also thought that might be a bad idea, and I should continue to stand, because….then he was looking at these papers in his hand and put them back in his pocket.  He started telling me all the things he loved about me, sometimes taking out the papers again to make sure he wasn’t forgetting anything.  And then he dropped the top page (which felt more dramatic to me than it did to him).  The next page, he read a paragraph of the story I’d most recently written, about putting on the armor of God.  He quoted me at the end, like one would quote from a book by a specific person and told me that he wanted to fight next to me.  I was like, shaking with excitement.  And then he let THAT page drop (dramatically) to the floor.  The last page in his hands….ahh.  HE WROTE ME A SHAKESPEAREAN SONNET.  It was all about how he saw God in me and loved it and how God had given him permission to date me, and then God gave him the go-ahead to ask for my hand in marriage.  (This is where the “giggle mess” got worse and more exciting, I think.)  Then he gets down on one knee and I’m like, “Yes!”  except he completely ignores me because he’s not done talking yet.  He’s describing the ring and tells me to take a closer look, and I notice that it’s perfect, but that’s about it and I keep squealing “yes” and then he quotes Ecclesiastes 4:12 and asks me to marry him.  THEN I said yes (again).  🙂 

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

Look at those lovely flowers!  My wedding flowers were purple and white, too.  Huh, that's weird....
Look at those lovely flowers! My wedding flowers were purple and white, too. Huh, that’s weird….

That was at like 2, and Dr. Coyote had the whole rest of the day planned.  Gah!  Then we went to Alterra by the lake (which has a new name that I don’t remember but is my favorite coffee shop in Milwaukee STILL).  We had to bring the flowers in because it was winter and they would have frozen in the car. Picture op. Then we went to a real fancy restaurant.  We had steak (that was super good), and our waitress brought us champagne ‘cuz we told her we had just gotten engaged.  And Dr. Coyote was like, “Save room for dessert.  I called ahead and made sure there’s cheesecake.”  Btw, cheesecake is like, my favorite dessert. I didn’t even know he knew my favorite dessert!  So we ordered cheesecake and our waitress comes back with two desserts.  “This is the dessert I was going to bring you before you ordered dessert, and here is your cheesecake.  Would you like me to take a picture of you with your dessert?”  (We had asked her to take a picture for us earlier, because we were documenting our day.  Check out our take one adventure album on Facebook! It’s in Doug’s albums.)  So, the desert she brought out had two little cheesecakes and in between it said “Congradulations” in chocolate.  Ahh.  So we split the big cheesecake the next day when we got back to the Meyers’ house.  Then we went to the Urban’s house (this staff family we met at project), who had left their house for the weekend but left post-its how things worked.  So we watched Fireproof and cuddled and talked.  Then, Dr. Wile E. Coyote brought me back to the four awesome ladies’ house for the night, and he returned to the Urban’s.  It was a great day.  🙂 

A lot of people were actually not at all surprised, including Ashley and Meg, two of our Project friends who were all like, “I totally called it! Like, two years ago!” So I sent the news to friends and family with a picture. Why not?

Part V, the next segment of this series, will be posted Wednesday! I really hope you are all enjoying this. It is enjoyable to me to be writing this whole story out. Dr. Wile E. Coyote, who has been reading my blog on his study breaks, says that there have been things he didn’t even know that I tell on my side of the story. Not that I wanted to tell it all to him right away. Now is a good time for him to know. “I’ve liked you since Project.” “I knew that you’d marry me.” “I think I’ve loved you since seeing you in person after we started dating—maybe even earlier.” And just so you all know, I did a lot of praying before the engagement, when we were still dating, that he wouldn’t break my heart. Then I got to a point where it would have been okay, even though it would have hurt like heck, because we had taught each other so much. But I am so glad that we did get married and are on this adventure of life. I’ll get off my soapbox (that’s coated with love, because I suffer from a disease called “love brain” that prevents me from thinking clearly) and save it. Like I said, Wednesday is the next post. 🙂

 

Anna E. Meyer

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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

It’s a Love Story: Intro to a New Series

I am going to start a series on this blog of my love story with Dr. Wile E. Coyote. Even though I’ve only started talking about him in the last year (and now we’re married!), we have known each other since 2011. Some of our friends and family hadn’t even realized we’d known each other that long. Anyway, this series, entitled “It’s a Love Story,” will tell you a little more about us. A friend of mine wrote her and her husband’s love story on her blog, and it motivated me. Besides, if I don’t write it down now, how will I remember it later? And now, just for funzies, here are some pics from our wedding! 

 

This is one of my favorite shots of us.  And our photographer was AWESOME!  [visit tonymillerphotography.com to see more of his stuff]
This is one of my favorite shots of us. And our photographer was AWESOME! [visit tonymillerphotography.com to see more of his stuff]
Our wedding party!  Photo credit, again, to tonymillerphotography.com!
Our wedding party! Photo credit, again, to tonymillerphotography.com!
Everyone in the wedding party wore converse!  It was fun!
Everyone in the wedding party wore converse! It was fun!
The Olson Family!
The Olson Family!
The Meyer Family!
The Meyer Family!

 

It was a wonderful day.  I just wanted to share some pics here for family– friends and family, all of you!  Go check out the rest of our wedding pictures that we uploaded to Facebook!  (There are like 400 of them, but it takes you through the entire day.)  Also, anybody in SW Minnesota, be sure to check out Tony Miller Photography! 

 

Stay tuned for the series, as I’ll try to upload a new one every week! 

God is SO Stinkin’ Faithful

He knows me too well. I mean, I married the man, but I didn’t know how quick he’d notice things. Then again, Dr. Wile E. Coyote (my HUSBAND for almost three weeks now!) is very observant. Only when he wants to be observant, I guess. Considerate. That’s a good word. So, we’re almost done unpacking. He even grouped what’s left to go through: my stuff in a corner, his stuff is pretty much gone through, these over there, those over here, etc. So I knew that he’d be going to a men’s bible study on Thursday night. I came up with all these ideas in my head: D is going to be so happily surprised! ‘Cuz we’re newlyweds, and we like surprising each other. I’ve even been cooking! Before Dr. Coyote walked out the door, however, he told me: “As soon as you’re done hanging this up, I want you to sit down. I cleared a spot for you in the office, with a computer and your chair. I don’t want you unpacking your stuff or doing dishes or anything. Just sit down and rest.” UGH! How did he KNOW that I was going to do that? He continued: “I notice you’re having trouble today, and I think it’s because you’ve been on your feet and doing things for most of the day. So just go in and WRITE.” Okay. So, it took my mother a while to see when things are happening. But that’s because when I was diagnosed, we all were learning about this MS. But seriously. It hasn’t even been three weeks, and my husband notices when I’m having troubles with this symptom or that?

Then it kind of just came to me. I’m ALWAYS on the go. At least until I crash and am way too tired to do anything. I guess when I met this awesome man who wanted to marry me, MS and all, I didn’t know how much of a help he’d be. In the guest blog post he wrote, “Dating Someone with MS,” he mentioned that sometimes God may use him. HE HAS. Goodness. The other day, we were reading some of my old journals where I kind of gushed about The Med Student, and then in the journals, I’d pray for the guy I was crushing on, because I wanted the best for him. And I still do. There actually came a point (this was in the two years of not knowing how he felt), where I prayed that he’d meet someone he needed; someone that would be good for him, who loved him as he deserved. Little did I know at the time that it would be me. Anyway, looking at those prayers I wrote out for D in my journals, I can see now how they have been answered. And I’ve been surrendering the MS to God and asking for help. So what does God do? Decide that I should get married to the man who will notice my left foot slapping or my knee not bending or extra trips to the bathroom because of bladder issues. Dang it, God! You are SO faithful! And sovereign and perfect and the most creative author of life EVER! Seriously.

Today, I read Proverbs 13. Verse 12 reads, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” And then verse 19, “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.” A longing fulfilled? I thought of D’s and my story. And God’s just been so FAITHFUL and ENCOURAGING. I see “a longing fulfilled” as “a prayer answered.” It is the presence of God, when prayers are being said from across the nation for a person or throughout the world for an issue. When prayers are being said as I’m writing them in my journal, God is there. Sometimes he tells me “not now,” even though I can’t always hear that very clearly. (It took Dr. Wile E. Coyote to tell me that he was interested in me to realize that God had been saying “not now” to a few of my earlier prayers.) Sometimes he tells me “no,” by circumstances or a changing of my still-stubborn mind. But in the last…year, especially, he has been answering “yes” so much. At last. Things are falling into place. I have a job lined up (and apparently it’s pretty hard to find a job here…unless God orchestrates the perfect job for you and you didn’t realize it until you met with your future boss and he tells you what’s up…), Dr. Coyote and I have a beautiful place to live (with AWESOME landlords), four parents who know that D and I are starting out paying for med school and are so very helpful (I love you, all our parents!), D is connecting with med students the month before school starts, and we found a church home and have been making friends through it since the very first day we were in Pikeville, Kentucky. It makes me sigh in contentment. See? Even though I may have been…irritated when I started writing, it only took seeing God and all he’s been doing to let me relax.

I am kind of scared about when The Student starts med school. I have been told that my support will be huge, but how? I have never been the wife of a med student before. I have a job lined up, but there are so many dang unknowns. There are so many unknowns when it comes to Dr. Coyote, as well. He has never been a med student before. He doesn’t know what it’ll be like! But in the meantime, we are enjoying our time together. We are making this place our home, and getting to know the community. With my name change, I’ll be getting a Kentucky ID, for goodness sake! But I KNOW, that no matter what, God’s presence is with me. He is my longing fulfilled. And I trust him with the unknowns. I trust him to be a good wife, and a favorite music teacher. I trust him to be a published author. I TRUST.

How are we doing, you ask? Well. What is the best part about being married? Not being nine hours away and seeing my honey every day. How are our thank yous coming? ….you’ll get them. Don’t worry! 😉

 

Keepin’ it real,

Anna E. Meyer

I’M MARRIED! And God is good :)

Colossians 2:9-10, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.” Basically, this is saying that Christ completes us. Not a soulmate or lover. Christ. In Genesis 2:18, God says, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” And then woman was formed.

Anna and Doug Meyer
Photo credit: Byron Bredlow

Here I was, all ready to gush about my recent wedding and the awesomeness that it is being Mrs….Wile E. Coyote (AKA Meyer). And then the Lord just kind of tapped me on the shoulder. Christ completes me. D and I do help each other and kind of fill in gaps, but we are not the fullness of the other. I knew this, and I just want to make it clear. (Now that I found where it is stated super clearly in scripture!) D and I are our own, independent people. We have individual relationships with God and with our own friends. We are two totally different people. What a miracle it is that God can take two very different people and make them ONE! “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). When someone gets married, relationship priorities shift. Parents don’t help make big, important decisions. The spouse does. Parents may give advice, especially when sought out, but the number one person in a married person’s life is their spouse.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I have been praying since we started dating that our relationship would be glorifying to God. He has been hearing our prayers. This I know because of a few things: the doc (student) and I started dating in August. We were engaged on New Year’s. Married on June 28. Everything in our relationship has just landed in place. It’s incredible. Our wedding was focused 100% on God, and all our guests could see it. We didn’t have alcohol at our reception, but it was a PARTY! That fact really spoke to the place where our reception was and the people helping us out there. Those who we’ve shared our story with have been encouraged, and those who have been watching our story unfold have seen it, too.

So here we are, living in Pikeville, Kentucky. The Lord has been hearing our prayers for this place, too. Awesome landlords, we fell in love with a church the first full day we were here (Sunday), and we’ve been invited out to supper sometime this week by a couple that has lived here for a while (from Minnesota!?). Anyway, we honeymooned out here with minimals and some wedding presents. Dr. Wile E. Coyote’s parents will be out here next week with a U-Haul and the rest of our stuff. So, it’s been a challenge filled with late-night Wal-Mart runs when we realized how smart we were and forgot a blanket for the bed, a pillow for me, and laundry detergent? Ha.

I’ve only been married for like, a week, but already I have been hearing prayers answered there too. I have been praying that God loves my husband through me. I have been given this patience I didn’t know I possessed when I really just want to yell. I have been showing grace, when other parts of me fight it. Ya’ll who aren’t married yet? Patience and grace are huge things you notice real fast.

I felt like I needed to update you, my readers, on my life. I can’t even really talk about being married yet because it has been 10 days. That’s it. But those 10 days have been awesome and filled with road trips, no schedule, and a plethora adventures—exploring new cities, going to new restaurants that are common in the south, and talking with all those nice people with different accents. (Although, I guess since we’re the outsiders here, it is us with the accents!)

Keep it real, my friends!

Lovin’ life and livin’ in the moment,

Anna MEYER

Dating Someone with MS

I asked Dr. Wile E. Coyote to write a guest blog of his experiences dating someone with MS (hence the title) after I wrote this post about the importance of relationships while having MS. Oh, and have I told you, my readers, that I am marrying this man in like, two weeks?  🙂  Enjoy!  -Anna

 

I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. I don’t know everything. This is the phrase that really humbled me and really began to sink in when starting to date Anna. She has a disorder called multiple sclerosis (MS). So what is it like dating someone with MS? I’m not sure if it is the same for everyone because every person is different, every relationship is different, and MS varies drastically from person to person, but I pray that sharing my experiences a little will help people out there understand what it can be like. Anna’s blog is so encouraging and I don’t want to stop that trend with this. I love you Anna! 🙂

 

The summer after I graduated college is when I really started thinking a lot more about moving our friendship to something more. Anna had shared with me glimpses of her MS and some personal things in day to day living that she struggled with, but not a whole lot of the deep stuff and really personal ways it had and has affected her. I’m not sure if it was soon after we started dating or right before (we will say right after to make things more consistent) I started getting afraid. What if we can never have children? What if she gets the JC virus and becomes a vegetable before we even get married or during our marriage? What if we can never have sex or it won’t be the same because of her MS? What if we can never run or walk together, because I like to run? Can I handle taking care of her in the future if things get worse? Am I ok sacrificing my dreams of being a doctor and beyond to take care of Anna if needed? What if she ends up in a nursing home really young? Can I be there to support her through all this? These are just a handful of the questions that would fly through my head. To add to this fear, my dad would ask questions like, “Do you feel like you will be missing out on some things in life by pursing a marriage with Anna?” Little did he know that was a very bad question to ask that made me doubt if my family even supported my relationship with Anna (not sure if he meant it that way, but that’s how I took it).

Additionally, my first time seeing Anna’s MS in action since we were dating was at her Mayo Clinic visit in Rochester. This was also our first time seeing each other in person for more than a day since summer 2011. This was August 2013. I was really nervous and tried my best to keep an open mind. Anna had described her limp to me multiple times, but to really see it was different. Well, up walked Anna and her mom, linked arms. We hugged and I got Anna’s arm and away we went. I was actually quite proud and giddy at this moment. Locking arms is kind of romantic. The doctor’s appointments raised a lot more questions, more out of curiosity, love, and concern, now. I am a born learner and observer though, especially when it comes to medical stuff and human body stuff.

Backtracking a little bit, leading up to the visit to Mayo with Anna, I did a lot of research and digging into her medicine Tysabri. This really triggered a lot of fears in me and my family when I shared some of the things I had learned with them. To put it simple, this medicine makes a person more at risk of getting infected by a virus known as the JC virus. This virus has the potential to turn someone very quickly into a vegetable with not much to stop it (at least that is what I remembered reading or what I perceived it as). *Disclaimer from Anna: the JC virus just means an increased risk for PML, the brain disease that can transform a human into a vegetable. D did his research months ago, and the risk for PML has also been getting smaller over time.* From what I remember, the odds are 1:1,000 of being infected while on the medicine. What was I getting myself into? For just starting to date a good friend, could I handle all this? Do I love her enough to be by her side if this happens? My doctor side kicked in as well and questioned whether there was other options of medicine (not knowing Anna’s whole story too well yet). So at the doctor’s appointment, her doctor never really mentioned if they found evidence of the JC virus infecting Anna or not. This scared the pants off me and really worried me because I wanted to hear it myself that everything was still okay. Anna and her mom weren’t too worried about it and tried to reassure me that no news was good news. I wasn’t convinced.

Basically, I made MS much larger in my head than it really is. It is a sucky disease, but by no means life threatening or aggressive (for Anna at least and most I know who have it). And with today’s research and medicines, can be controlled quite nicely along with its symptoms. Also, I distrusted Anna’s doctors and the LORD that the best decision was made for her to be on Tysabri. The LORD would protect her from getting the JC virus and has for about 6 years already. He would also give me all the strength and abilities I would need to take care of Anna how she needed it no matter what happened. He brought us together. He will help always.

Something else that made a difference for Anna and I was that I loved Anna for who she is before seeing her MS in full action. I loved her writings A LOT! I loved her optimism in the midst of MS struggles. I loved her musical talents. I loved her desire to hug people. I loved her relationship with Jesus and where they have gone together over time. I loved her spontaneous personality and go-get-um personality. I loved her Minnesotan and Olson dialect. I loved her many smiley faces. I loved her stubborness and affectionate nature. Okay, I love a lot of things about Anna and could go on for a long time with these things, but I must move on with this blog. Honestly, at Mayo clinic walking with her, I still saw her as Anna, not as someone to pity because they limp and have no sense of texture in their fingers. Not someone to feel sorry for because they have a life altering disease called MS and had it since 13 years old. How did I do that?

Two things really helped with this: 1) The love that Jesus has for me overflowed to the way I loved and saw Anna. 2) I had gotten to know who Anna was as a person for about 2 years through letters, emails, phone calls, and Skype. *Note from Anna: Skype didn’t start until summer of 2013. But spending, like, 4 hours at a time on a Skype call pretty much made up for that.* To see inside a person you have to get to know them. Talk to them. Ask them questions. Open up with them about your life and listen to them when they open up about their life. Then, you must remember that Jesus knows, created, uniquely designed, and loves that person and see that person with that same frame of mind.

So more about my experiences (sorry I tend to get more preachy then real). Walking with Anna is tough sometimes. We have to walk slower and I have to be more conscious of where I step or the space we have so we don’t walk off the street or on uneven ground (Anna can handle uneven ground or will walk on it anyway even if it really wasn’t worth it because of her stubborness or impatience). I never thought I would become a unit with Anna everywhere we went, but I grew to like the closeness. It actually made me kind of protective because I wasn’t sure if she could handle walking without support. Of course she reassured me often, sometimes I think biting her teeth, that she can.

On the note of protectiveness, I would be concerned for Anna a lot (and still am) when I don’t see her. She will tell me about her day of little energy or how bad she felt her walk was that day. She will tell me about getting super hot and not sure how she would continue with the day. She would tell me when any of her symptoms would flare up a little. This worried and worries me because I want to be there to support her all the time and be there to comfort her. I don’t want her to overdo it and burnout. I also want to see her care about her body and health as much as I do, so I encouraged her often to stretch and eat a little healthier (I still do both). Through this I learned a couple things and am still learning them. One, Jesus is always there to support, provide strength, and comfort Anna in her time of need. She knows this and looks to Jesus for that support. When we are married Jesus will use me to do this, but not always because her help is ultimately from Him, not me. Second, Anna has to make the decision herself to make lifestyle changes when it comes to her health. I can encourage her, but I can’t force it on her. Just like asking any person to change to or add healthy habits, that person has to find the motivation and need in themselves before the change will take place. I am learning to accept this and be patient with Anna’s decision making on her own health.

The toughest part about dating someone with MS is understanding the nature of the disease. I can never understand it because I can’t experience it without having it, but getting Anna to describe what happens to her body or how she feels in specific and analogical ways is extremely helpful. When I can go through a whole day even on low energy and still stay standing, Anna cannot. It took some time to learn her energy levels vary a lot because of fatigue and MS. I remember shopping at target together a few months ago registering items for our wedding. We walked around the store for a good 1.5 hours I would say. Anna had to stop and sit down. She was beat tired. I was fine. She was not. Also, Anna will get frustrated with her limp or energy swings often. She will try to push herself too far even though I may give her a very concerned look as I think, “I really don’t want you to overdo it.” I cannot fully understand the frustration inside. But I must let her work through it herself. I learned quickly to let Anna be stubborn if she is set out to be (at least to a point). I also learned that Anna is still an independent person. And like all people, needs help with certain things in life. Anna may need help balancing while walking a long distance. I may need help washing the dishes faster. I am not saying I learned this overnight, but trusting Anna that when she needs help, she will let me know. She is learning each day to ask for help when she needs it and it takes time for her to learn this. I try my best to be understanding of her learning processes.

This leads me to why Anna and I are complements. She is a get-r-done kind of person. I am a think-it-through kind of person. She has a disorder that forces her to slow down. I struggle with gettin-r-done when I need to. God has given me a spirit of understanding when it comes to people that is supernatural to me sometimes. I do not boast in this, for it is not of my own. This has helped me tremendously to understand Anna and her MS. I try to get into Anna’s world and perspective. I even looked up how much an average human leg ways to try to imagine what it would be like to limp like Anna. I sometimes think intently about what it is like to walk with a foot-drop and try to mimic it. I told Anna on a day or week when MS is made aware throughout the world, I will wear gloves and weights around my left leg, and potentially a device that forces my foot to extend so that I can experience at least somewhat close to what Anna does each day.

One more thing before I wrap it up. Psychologically, Anna has been to the depths of the dead sea and back. I count it a miracle she came back by God’s Great Grace. This scared me at first that this might happen again. But I see now it won’t. Anna now looks at only the potential for who she can be and what she can do. She loves people more than ever and pursues her dreams without letting MS stop her. Along these same lines, Anna has learned to deal with stares from those who don’t know her. I now get stares when with her. Maybe people pity me and her. Maybe I shine the light of Jesus that I love someone with a limp the way I do. Maybe they think I and/or Anna are both mentally handicapped. After a while, I learned not to care. I know I love Anna and I know who she really is. She is beautiful to me inside and out. A quick note on that: I honestly was kind of indifferent to Anna physically at first. But very quickly that changed. When I knew Anna on the inside, I think the inward beauty started transferring to how Anna appeared on the outside to me. Now she is my babe! And we are getting hitched in 13 days!

The past few days I have been wearing a bracelet Anna gave me that says, “I love someone with MS.” I use to look at that in pride, saying to myself, “That’s right.” or I would smile thinking of Anna. I still do the latter and as I wear it I think of the story Anna and I have to encourage and share with others about MS and our relationship. I am not perfect and do get impatient with Anna sometimes. I do have thoughts here and there entice me that I am missing out on something by marrying Anna. But I know that I will experience far better things then those things I am “missing out on” because I love Anna more than any person on this earth.

 

I hope this was encouraging and real.

 

Doug (AKA Dr. W. E. Coyote)

Grace, Getting Married, and Gearing Up :)

Two weeks. HEY EVERYONE, I’M GETTING MARRIED IN TWO WEEKS! Less than that now. 🙂 I am doing physical therapy (last one will be the Wednesday before), I will get my new AFO brace the Tuesday before, and I just have a lot of feels right now. I went to my cousin Trish’s wedding on Saturday, and I started losing it at her reception. Totally not the place to start crying. I don’t even notice stress anymore, and I push it to the side. But it’s messing with me, and I don’t like it. Oh, no. I’m not stressed about the wedding or anything. I’m actually quite excited for that. Everything is falling into place, and it will be the best day I can’t even imagine. It’s other things. You know, leaving everyone and everything here. Saying good-bye to my roommates last week, when I have no idea when I’ll see them again. Packing when I don’t really have any idea what I’ll be needing for work. Starting a new adventure of many unknowns. Being able to see Dr. Wile E. Coyote more than once a month because of a nine-hour difference, but every DAY because we’ll be married! The inevitable culture shock that moving to Kentucky from the northern Midwest of the South Dakota-Minnesota-Wisconsin region.

I’m also kind of worried that at first, the pre-doc and I will drive each other nuts. In our premarital counseling, we spoke of examples of this: Say I put the spatulas in one drawer, but Doug thinks they should go in a different drawer and we fight about it. We’re not really fighting about where the spatulas go, but grieving the loss of our childhoods. Now, this is only a hypothetical example. This has been bothering me quite a bit lately, as I see some of Dr. WEC’s quirks and view them in a negative light. I even see some of my quirks and worry about how D will perceive them. But there is this ridiculous word that God has been leading me to, and I can’t really give Dr. Wile E. Coyote any grief. This word is GRACE.

This morning at church, we talked about the parable where the landowner goes into the village to get workers for his vineyard more than once in a day. Some workers were hired at noon, 3pm, and 5pm, even, when the rest of the workday started at 6am and finished at 6pm. The end of the day comes, and the landowner pays those who came last to work first, and those who got there in the morning last. And he gave them the exact same pay. There are other parables in the Bible that make us feel good and rejoice. Like the prodigal son, who returns home after some bad choices but is welcomed home and his return celebrated. Woo! The Good Samaritan who helps the injured man on the side of the road. Woo! But the employer who pays all of his workers the exact same thing, whether they worked 12 hours or 1? That goes against a lot of things. But that is the crazy, ridiculous grace that we so often hear about. It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been running the race—someone could have found the race path yesterday and reach the finish line tomorrow. God wants to welcome us all into his kingdom. In the parable, the owner speaks to the grumbling 12 hour workers: “I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money?” (Matthew 20:14b-15a).  Yep, God wants to give us all the same gift of eternal life.  Are you okay with that?

Talking with Dig-Doug this afternoon, he spoke about how on top of things we are. We totally have a plan, and God has been helping us throughout. He added, “We have each other through it all. And even bigger than that, we have the Lord.”

So, in answer to questions I have been hearing: Yes, I am excited to get married. Even though we have a few little things left to do, I am totally ready. Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I will be starting the adventure that will start in this chapter of our lives. The words “I do” will mark a beginning, and I am so excited.

Love to you all!

Anna

HOPE

Hope: noun (first definition) the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best

I took a quiz on Facebook today that told me in five simple questions what my happy word is, and it gave me HOPE. Normally, I take those Facebook quizzes for funsies and just laugh at the result. But I liked the description on this one: “You refuse to give up on anyone, including yourself. You see the best in others. You think happiness should be shared. You spread your message of optimism as much as possible. You will keep believing when everyone else has stopped. You think good will always prevail in the end. You believe if we trusted each other more, the world would be a better place. All we need is a little hope.”

I downloaded “e-sword” (basically, a really neat tool for studying the Bible in-depth, even though at first it looks like an old, ’90s computer program or something), and in the KJV, I looked up “hope” and got 130 matches. It’s interesting that modern translations substitute other words like “wait” or something. But the Hebrew dictionary entry for “hope” is this: “tiqvâh tik-vaw’ From qâvâh; literally a cord (as an attachment ); figuratively expectancy: – expectation ([-ted]), hope, live, thing that I long for.”

The word hope gives joy and expectancy. In the trinity, who is continually at work here in ways we can’t see; in the physical return of Christ. In each other. I do believe in sharing happiness with others. Smiles are contagious, you know. I can’t be in the doldrums longer than I want to because of my optimism (even before I was on anti-depressants and cried a lot and freaked….I still smiled, which is kind of weird when I think about it now). Hope is the word that was on those red rubber bracelets before the National MS Society decided that orange was a better color for their logo. Hope for a cure of MS and a better tomorrow. I have dreams and hopes for myself and for the way things will be. I hope to become an author (now with the name “Anna E. Meyer” instead of Olson, as I formerly wrote of often…smiley face). I hope to teach others of the subjects that I love—of music and playing it; of Christ and the many things I’ve learned and want to pass on; of simply living a hope-filled and a Christ-filled life. Because Christ is hope. He is my hope and the reason for my continued smile. It is he whom I trust, and my Minnesota-roots that have taught me to trust others, as well.

There is always a reason for hope. Even when life feels down or bad things happen, God is there. There is a silver lining. Hopes of mine have already become realities: my hope of a husband who loves me for me (well, that’s a month away still, but he loves me for me even now); my hope of writing for an audience (thanks to this blog and readers like you for my start), and my hope of a future, even with this blasted MS. I graduated college in 4 ½ years. I’m currently living in an apartment with three other roommates whom I love like sisters. And I’m getting married in a month! God is good.

Smiling,

Anna

What are your hopes? Have you seen hopes become realities?

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

Dogs and Men

A Look At a Dog

Dogs smell funny. They have bad breath and gas, too.

Dogs can be picky, but still eat many things, and when they do,

they might get sick. And then we, the humans, must clean it up.

We must feed the dog and give him water in a bowl, not a cup.

I tried that once (and it’s not the best idea ever).

Dogs sleep in random places, and are easy to trick (because we’re more cleaver).

Dogs want to play all the time; they like fetch and tug-of-war.

But we humans set the rules. We decide to let them out the door

or trick them into going outside before we shut it quick.

Dogs are not smart enough for my trick.

Sometimes, they’ll just cuddle and be calm.

But that will soon end, because it never lasts long.

There is dog hair everywhere because they SHED.

Even if they live outside, their hair will end up in your bed.

All in all, I kind of like dogs. They’re not so bad.

They are better than many other living things, so I’m glad.

 

A Look at a Man

Men smell funny. They have bad breath and gas, too.

Men can be picky, but they still eat many things, and when they do,

they might get sick. Because they never know when to quit.

It’s up to us, the women, to help them stay fit.

I tried that once (and it’s not the best idea ever).

Men sleep in random places, and are easy to trick (because we’re more cleaver).

Men want to play and not just talk; they like catch and wrestling on the floor.

But we women set the rules. We decide to kick them out the door

or trick them into doing dishes for us quick.

But men are too caring to see through my trick.

Sometimes, they’ll just cuddle and be calm.

But that will soon end, because it never lasts long.

There is hair everywhere because both of us SHED.

And then you get married, they end up in your bed.

All in all, I kind of like men. They’re not so bad.

They are better than many other living things, so I’m glad.

 

The Olson Family Dog, Pongo
The Olson Family Dog, Pongo

A Note About my Comparisons

Once, I hung out with my dog, but I was missing my long-distance hunny.

So Dr. Wile E. Coyote said that he sent the dog in his place (funny).

I mentioned how annoying the dog was, but he just shrugged.

And I began to see what he was talking about, so the dog was hugged.

It’s not that Dr. WEC is a dog or anything like that,

But I see the dog more often, and he’s not a cat.

And because the Doc is such a dog person, I guess I’ll hear his say;

Especially ‘cuz we’ll probably end up getting a dog one day.