It’s a Love Story: Part III

Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I lived nine hours apart when we started dating. Keep in mind, that I had one semester of school left. I was student teaching. We recognized the importance of dates, but how could we go on an actual date when we were so far away? So, Dr. Coyote planned out this Skype date date. It was kind of lame, when I think about it now, but it was really sweet, because we were trying so hard. We had already decided that we were in this for the long haul (and I had…hoped when he told me that he wanted to pursue me that I was going to marry him someday). We did think we were going to get married. Or did we know? Either way, the Lord made it possible. And he was central to our relationship. We could not have a conversation without talking about God, the Bible, or something that the Lord had been teaching us lately. Anyway. Our date. We had agreed that we would have a decent background, we’d dress up, and drink from fancy glasses (we always had a cup of water nearby when we Skyped, anyway). I remember that I wore a dress (even though he could only see me from the waist up) and faced the computer toward the wall, with enough room between me and the “desk” I was using (aka, two boxes stacked on top of each other). I had just moved in to my new apartment in Sioux Falls, SD. We were still nine hours apart, ‘cuz you could take the interstate to Sioux Falls, whereas you had to take slower highways and country roads to get to Cottonwood. Dr. Wile E. Coyote wore a light green or blue polo. He also had set up a curtain behind him, and on the curtain, he had taped my most recent letter, a green music note he’d cut out, and a purple heart. And we did make our conversation more special that evening (although I couldn’t remember what we talked about at all). Can I remember things or what? (But oh yeah…it was, like, a year ago.)

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

And then we decided to meet up in person—I was having a neurologist appointment at the Mayo Clinic at the end of the month. It just so turned out that Rochester, MN, was close to the halfway point between our homes.   So Doug stayed in La Crosse the night before, and my mom and I drove up morning of. I was so excited. It was two days of appointments, and my mom paid for Dr. Wile E. Coyote to have his own separate hotel room (‘cuz otherwise he would have booked a room in a different hotel, and besides, my mother was getting Farm Bureau discounts). The anticipation was crazy! And Dr. Coyote totally beat us there. We found out where he was (because while he was lost at the Mayo, we had been there enough to know exactly where he was) and headed that way. I was walking on my mom’s arm, because I like having someone who I can hold onto as I walk so I don’t fall or something. Anyway, Dr. Coyote had no clue which direction we were coming from (as he parked in a different parking ramp than us), so I saw him first. He was looking around. And when he spotted me? Goodness. My mom dumped me off her arm and told Doug, “Here. You walk with her,” and so he did. I taught him how to “walk with me.” Dr. Coyote told me later that he felt like a prince. (Smiley face.) Because we were walking together, we could talk easier. I don’t even remember what we talked about. Both of us really had been worried that we would have nothing to talk about, but we’d realized that sometimes just being together was enough—no talking needed! Dr. Coyote came with to most of my appointments—there were a few neither came with, but they got along very well, my mother and Dr. Wile E. Coyote.

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

That night, we went on a date. Dr. Coyote had looked up a good restaurant in Rochester, Minnesota, with live music and a romantic atmosphere. He brought me there. It was so sweet! Our first date. There was conversation, live music, supper, and of course, looking into each other’s eyes. We came back to the hotel room and watched “The Amazing Spiderman,” because we had made a list of things we wanted to do together, and that was on our list. J We cuddled. Anyhoo, the next morning, we read the Word together and discussed it. And then it was time for day two of appointments. (I think I only had like, two this day.) We showed Doug where we’d go when we’d go to the Mayo Clinic (there is a whole subway level beneath the roads and sidewalks, connected to the Clinic). And then, Dr. Wile E. Coyote had to leave. (Sad face.) But first, we went to a Carribou Coffee—we got coffee, mom went to her own little corner and ignored us like she is so good at doing when we’re having a “moment,” and Dr. Coyote and I drank coffee and looked into each other’s eyes. We did that a lot. When we brought him to his car after, our first kiss was behind a light pole that was kind of behind the minivan. (Mom didn’t see us, but she knew. Moms do that kind of thing.) She told me on the way home that she knew that Dr. Coyote would marry me one day. I don’t know how, but moms just sort of know. It’s kind of weird.

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

We tried to get together in person close to once a month. We met in La Crosse one weekend, which is his college town, so he showed me his favorite spots. He stayed at the apartment with some of his friends, and I stayed at the house of some of their girlfriends. We went on a Saturday-Sunday so he could bring me to the church he loved so much while he was in college. And Fayze’s. AKA the best place to get breakfast in town. 😉

He came to Thanksgiving at my house. My mother invited BOTH SIDES of the family so that they could meet him. J My favorite moments of that weekend was slow dancing in a bedroom and then laying on the floor, holding hands, praying. It was really great. He hung out by himself with some of my family, and he remembered everyone’s names! If he would have been tested on that, he would have gotten an “A”! Christina had told me months earlier, that if I was bringing my boyfriend for Thanksgiving, I had to bring one for everybody. (Lol.) I remember one night when I was doing homework that Doug spent a few hours with my dad, helping him out with a project and just talking. Neither would relay what they talked about, but both enjoyed it. (Hmmm…?) My birthday was ON Thanksgiving that year. I don’t know about your family, but in my family, when everyone is together, we all celebrate birthdays. Birthdays are kind of a big deal. Dr. Wile E. Coyote got me a birthday present, too, and he gave me my Christmas present, because we weren’t positive when we’d get together next. One of the items, he had buried in another item—it was a ring. I knew that it was coming, because we had talked about it. Dr. Coyote had found this female ring once and tried to return it. When nobody came looking for it, he kept it. It has a purple heart on it and a gold band. He had it resized and cleaned for me. After I got it, I had to tell my family (all the extended family was like, “What!?”) that it was NOT an engagement ring. 😉

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

That trip was really great. Every time Dr. Coyote and I got together, we grew more and more close. We’d been talking about getting married from the start, as I said, but many lies were broken down that weekend. I don’t even remember what they were, I just knew that they were there. We also had to be more careful when we were kissing, honestly. It was getting harder! I think that the person Dr. Coyote didn’t trust the most was himself, even though all the rest of us trusted him. I think it was after this trip when Dr. Coyote first told me that he loved me. I didn’t say anything, because I wanted him to say it first. But I think I’d let myself love him from that first Rochester trip. And Doug, who’s reading this blogpost and finding this out for the first time…..I think you loved me a lot longer, too. 😉

 

After I spent Christmas with my mom’s side of the family, I headed up to Peshtigo, Wisconsin to spend until a few days after New Year’s with Dr. Wile E. Coyote and his family. Before Christmas, I had officially GRADUATED! With a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree, an instrumental music ed major. Anyway, I got to meet his parents and sister, to see the “sights” of Peshtigo, go to church with him, and meet his friends. One of his (now our) friends actually had her baby while I was there! I had seen her the day before in church, and she’d looked great. We went to go visit her in the hospital and see her new little baby and everything! Then the next day was New Year’s Eve. I bet you can guess what happened on that day, because I’m going to wait to tell you until Monday! 🙂

 

Have a great weekend!

Anna

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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

To My Facebook Friends (Please Read!)

Good-byes. I really don’t like them. We don’t talk about “next year” in this apartment. For this reason and many others, I Facebook stalk. Facebook is how I catch up on the lives of those who are far from me and I can’t hug. Sometimes, I drop random Facebook wall posts or messages on people I’m thinking about. If Dr. Wile E. Coyote gets the scholarship we’re praying for, after med school, we could be potentially moved around a bunch. So basically, I’ll have a lot of Facebook friends I wish I could catch up with in person. And I post on Facebook a bunch to give my Facebook friends the opportunity to stalk me and find out what is going on in my life!

This post is short, but I just want to emphasize that Facebook is how I stay in contact with friends and family that live all across the US and in a variety of countries throughout the world. To my Facebook friends who clicked on this link: UPDATE YOUR STINKIN’ FACEBOOK PROFILE SO I CAN CHECK IN ON YOU! I love you all. I also love words of affirmation and little random notes from people I haven’t spoken to for a while. And I love dropping little random notes on you all. SO CHECK FACEBOOK MORE THAN ONCE A YEAR, PLEASE!

When it hurts to say good-bye, it just means that we’ve had some pretty great people in our lives. Or something like that. 🙂 But it also means we’re going to say “Hello” to some new great people (which is why I’ll just keep getting more Facebook friends so I can keep up with them long after we’ve parted ways).

Anna

he’s waiting for you

I read this awesome post yesterday by my friend Amy that was about drawing closer to God.  In all my busyness and getting ready to come home and DISTRACTION, I kind of forgot that God and his word come first.  I love when people tell me what to do.  I seek their advice before I look for answers from the word.  Advice from people is more likely to be direct: “I think you should do this and that.”  Done.  Advice from the word?  Not as easy to interpret.  There IS a character named Anna, but she was real old and got to see Jesus and praise him.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Anna, go here and do this.”  Which is not so helpful.  But the Word DOES say that God will provide; that he’ll be with us wherever we go, and that he’s got plans for each of us.  He knows what will happen before it happens.  Predestination or not, God already knows what we’ll chose, and what he’ll do next to try and draw our gaze toward him.  God works through people who are also full of the Spirit.  Like there’s this one guy who I’ve talked a lot about here in the last few months, and I emailed him yesterday when he was at work.  And then the Lord was totally working through him as he typed out a reply.  And so I spent some time this morning to draw closer to the Lord.  I’m very self-critical, but God’s all like, “Why?  You are my MASTERPIECE.  What I have given you, such as comfort and blessings, so I ask that you give it to others, that all may know of my comfort and be blessed.  I am stronger than you, because I am GOD.  I made you, that you may love me and praise me and honor me in all that you do.”  So, I’m like, “Okay, God, you’ve got me.  Seriously.  I’m yours.”  But God doesn’t stop, like, ever.  He continues to love on me through people I love in return.  He blesses me and shows me his love and provision again and again.

Many of us are getting home for the holidays or preparing to go.  This season is about CHRIST.  Before we all get so wrapped up in him, I encourage you all to draw closer to him.  Because he is waiting for you.  His arms are outstretched, and he’s waiting for you to run into his arms.  To cuddle and to draw your gaze to his.  But since he can’t really touch us in the physical sense, he sends the perfect people to cuddle with us.  My favorite part of the Christmas season is getting together with family that we don’t get to see all the time.  In the midst of it all is Christ, blessing us and making our favorite parts of Christmas realized.  What is your favorite part of Christmas?  How do you see the Lord working in the midst of it all? 

 

Anna

Blessings and Thanksgiving with a high degree of cuteness factor

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:24-29

I feel like Thomas sometimes.  I think specifically about my relationship with Dr. Wile E. Coyote.  “No way this is happening, Lord.  Too good to be true!”  And then Dr. C and I pray together and read the word together.  “He’s just a good guy, with a pretty great faith life.”  We go deep (we’re way past favorite colors by now), and we talk about what God has been teaching us.  I pray that God would love him through me, and then God answers me.  “Seriously, God?”  Boom.  A family from his little town in northern Wisconsin was headed to my little town in eastern South Dakota for Thanksgiving.  He got Wednesday through Tuesday off, and even though he could only spend Wednesday through Sunday with me, HE SPENT WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY WITH ME.  “For real?” I ask in wonder.  God shakes his head and rolls his eyes.  “I got this.  Duh.”  The whole time we worry and make excuses, God is holding out his word and his promises.

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you though and through.  May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

On Friday night, Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I danced.  Just music playing on an iPhone and dancing.  After dancing, I flopped on the floor because I was tired.  Dr. C joined me, and then we just held hands and thanked the Lord for all the things he has done and still is doing in our lives and the lives of others around us.  I think that was one of my favorite moments, and it’s making it into my blog not because I want to display my personal life (trust me, you won’t get a lot of that here), but because it was meaningful to me.  It was to Dr. C, as well.  Dancing was like a dream come true for him, and everything was just great.  God is so faithful, and he hears his children and answers them.

God’s faithfulness is so like wow.  Not only in my relationship with Dr. Wile E. Coyote, but in so much of life.  I feel so gosh darn blessed when I look around at my stellar family and when I hear the soft guitar playing of my roommate and the opportunities I’ve had the last few years and just all sorts of things.  (There was a little moge poge of scenes going through my head, and accompanied with Kate’s beautiful guitar playing, it was like a movie.  Just telling you all.  I’m also in kind of a sappy mood lately, but ya’ll can blame that on the holder of my heart.)  Also, my roommates keep upping mine and Dr. C’s cuteness factor, cuz we’re seriously adorable.  And he can be such a romantic and I love it (which totally encourages it, too).  I am SO full of smiles this week.

Also, Thanksgiving Day was my birthday, and my mom wrote this post about me in her “30 Days of Thankfulness” month of November blog series.  I’m kind of a lover of words, and this was an awesome birthday present.  Also as a lover of words, I pretty much love encouraging things from the Word and things that Dr. Wile E. Coyote tells me and anything encouraging at all.  My love language is words of affirmation, you see.  Wow.  This blog post began with a verse and just took off.  Thanks for sticking with me.

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

Anna

A Princess’s Response to The Unexpected Knight

A princess’s response to this poem. Sometimes, a knight needs to listen to the princess, too.

 

Ever since a little girl, I’ve dreamt the day he’d come

I the princess, he the knight, who’d come to take me home

I’ve heard tales and seen pictures of the one like my knight

In the movies and in storybooks, perfection was the sight

“But nobody is that perfect,” a voice said in my head

“But I’ll wait for this perfect knight,” I argue stubbornly instead

He’s my knight in shining armor who rides a noble steed

He’ll waltz in here a victor and sweep me off my feet

He’ll find me and save me and I will be his bride

We’ll fall in love at first sight, and into the sunset we’ll ride

I wait and wait but still he doesn’t come

One day a knight rode past, but he wasn’t the one

Instead of looking a victor, he looked wearied and worn

He walked beside a dirty horse, both deserving scorn

He called up to me and said he would like to marry me

But career with my knight was the only sim’larity

My knight’s armor would be shining and grand

His armor was the only thing helping him stand

My knight would have an impressive sword at his side

His sword was dull and broken, not deserving of pride

What was left of his shield would not be any use at all

I smugly turned, resuming to wait for my knight to call

“Why can’t he hurry up?” I said to myself impatiently

The tower holding me in thickens painfully

With each heartbreak, walls are added, I fear there’s no hope for knights

But when my one true knight will come, he will put up a fight

As a princess to the knights, I plead for perseverance

Don’t give up when we keep you out, instead give us assurance

You may not be the unrealistic knight in our dreams

But you will save us heroically no matter the extremes

A Time to Embrace

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to refrain, and a time to EMBRACE.  Ecclesiastes 1:1-2, 4-5

All semester, my counselor had been asking me what it would be like if I embraced my MS.  And I thought I had, but then I knew I hadn’t.  It’s been a wrestling match for years and years (seven, to be precise).  I want it to be invisible again, like before I would be struggling to walk in warm weather and it was still easy to forget about.  I want God to come down and heal me of it, so that all can hear my really cool testimony and be like, “God’s awesome!”  I do want God to be glorified through it, but I don’t want it anymore.  Then, this morning, I read this really awesome email (that descriptor doesn’t do it justice, though) from my friend Amy.  She told me that her favorite memory of me was one where she saw me struggling to walk, but that same day, she saw me praising Jesus with everything I had.  She told me how obvious my love for the Lord was, even though I was dealing with MS.  That was a year ago.  Amy is not the first one to tell me how God has used me to touch her life, but this time?  I think it is time to embrace my MS.  For real, this time.

I am confident, Anna Olson, that God’s been working in you, that he’s been working through you in the lives of others, and that he’s using your struggles for good. . . . So, Anna Olson, don’t be shy. Continue to be bold, to trust God, because you have every reason to do so.

So, this brace that I wear and am asked by a ton of people about?  The one that I always feel embarrassed by and hate answering all the questions about?  I am not ashamed.  I will wear it because I need it, and answer questions about it patiently.  Sure, this MS is frustrating at times, but I won’t let it get me down!  It is time to embrace this MS; embrace that it is a part of me; and embrace all the good that God is doing through it (especially cuz anytime I get a front row seat to see God’s hand at work, I am in awe or him all over again)!

 The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17

Smiling BIG, Anna =)^2