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!


Lord, where are you goin’ with this?

Music. Teaching. Writing. Pastoral Care. All my life, I have been led in these directions.  I am at a loss.  You know when I said, “This is the first time in my life I have no idea what’s happening in the future and I’m okay with it”?  Well, those words are coming back to bite me, because I am not necessarily okay with it anymore.  I just want to know what I’m going to be doing so that I can focus on that and refresh or gain even more knowledge in that area.  I didn’t pass my Praxis education tests to get the score for Kentucky, and I’ve heard from a few different sources about this Christian writer’s conference in Michigan in less than a month.  Do I stop looking for teaching jobs and write more?  I honestly didn’t even know where in the Word to turn to, so I googled the phrases, “God’s will + circumstances” to see what I’d get.  I came across a few awesome articles/blogs.  One of them told me to ask myself these questions: “Where has God been leading us? Has He been doing something even when we couldn’t recognize it?  In the light of all God has been doing for us, does what we think we hear God saying through our circumstances make sense?” (Edmondson).  The thing is, God has been leading me toward all four things I started out this post with.  Even when I don’t see it, I look back and realize he has been making me better at those four things.  And now I don’t know what circumstances are saying, because anything makes sense right now.

What I do know is that God has been making it very clear to both Dr. Wile E. Coyote and I that he has a plan for us, and that we are to be in Pikeville, Kentucky for a season.  He has led us to that path in a way that one can’t question.  This last week, Dr. Coyote, my parents, and me drove down to Pikeville (a 2 day drive from anywhere in the upper Midwest).  It was great.  We looked at our apartment that we had signed the lease on a month earlier (smiley face), D went and turned in some forms in person to the school, and I followed up on some job leads I had.  Basically, there have been 3 music teachers hired in the last year, and unless any music teachers are married to a med student who will be moving on soon, there won’t be an opening anytime soon.  But I picked up the sub application for two districts.  And the newspaper, where I sent my resume the week before, was still in the process of looking at all the resumes that have come in.  But the music store.  The music store is looking to expand on the private lessons it offers to band students.  There is a man who gives drum set lessons who would like to focus on something else, so I could potentially have his students.  The owner of the store said we would stay in contact, and that they would probably be able to use me.  So excited!  I love giving lessons.  I love having that relationship with a student and passing on knowledge and watching them grow!  So, ideally, I could be almost-full-time giving lessons, and maybe I could write?  That would be awesome. And while we were there, we also took in some of the sites and got a feel for the town where much of the Hatfield-McCoy Feud took place.  (And I didn’t even really know about the Hatfield-McCoy feud.  I do now!)

The Lord alone knows what the future has in store.  I’ve been finding verses that I feel the Lord has been speaking to me through lately and writing them on index cards so I have them with me to look at again and again.  Verses that calm worry (1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 6:34), calm chaos (Psalm 46:10a, Psalm 37:7a), encourage perseverance because He is with me (2 Chronicles 32:7, Exodus 14:14, Joshua 1:9, Deuteronomy 31:6), command me to love him (Joshua 24:15b, Matthew 22:37-39, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), and tell me that he’s got it (2 Corinthians 12:9).  These are only a few verses I read often to calm me and remind me that the Lord is near.

Dr. Wile E. Coyote told me that he thinks the Lord is leading me in 4 directions on purpose.  I know God has been teaching me trust through every single thing he seems to be doing in my life, but this is another one of those things.  He also tries my TEACHES ME patience every time I turn around, as well, smiley face.

Music, pastoral care, teaching, writing.  I don’t really know what God has in store for these things, but I dream of a job where I can use all these things that the Lord has been preparing me for at once.


Do you look at verses for comfort or have some memorized to repeat to yourself when you need it?  What are they?  Does God talk to you through circumstances or does he sort of just leave you waiting and trusting until the almost-last-minute? 


Anna 🙂

A Letter from 2014 Me To 2009 Me

Dear Type-A, Control-Freak, 12th-grader Anna from 2009,

Yes, I just called you a type-A control freak.  Because you are.  You hide behind other people’s opinions and you like approval.  You don’t like to think for yourself, because what if you are wrong?  You follow the rules and you have this awesome confidence when you know something really well.  I know this MS has been hard so far, and it’s not over yet.

Who am I, and how do I know these things?  I’m you, after college.  I am currently 23, and life is pretty great right now.  You’re still walking, but you know all those lectures everyone gives you about stretching and exercising?  They’re serious.  Keep at it.  You won’t regret it.  (You’ll probably be lectured from all sorts of people throughout life, so you might as well learn to listen, not do everything but what you’re told.)  I’m still walking, although my limp has gotten worse over time.  (Keep stretching!  Even as I write this now, I haven’t stretched yet today, and I feel like such a hypocrite.)  I am currently job searching—the “currently” part encompassing the last month or so, but I haven’t really done anything about it until now.

I want to encourage you.  Keep playing music.  You just decided, about now, I think, that you’re going to major in instrumental music.  It’s tough, but you will love learning all that you are going to learn.  All the music theory, music history, and those instruments?  You’ll learn so much!  Also, keep writing.  Don’t be discouraged that the story you wrote last year isn’t very good (it isn’t—what is the plot even supposed to be?  It’s weak.)  KEEP WRITING.  You will just keep getting better.  I promise.  I haven’t had anything published yet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried.  And it’s all been totally worth it.  And, you’re going to get involved in this campus ministry, at first because you feel like you’re supposed to.  But God is about to change your life super dramatically using it.  You will love it. And you might find a future career opportunity through it.  Through any of these things that you love—you won’t stop loving them.  In fact, you’ll become better at what you like to do, and you may find future career opportunities through any of those things.  You may be freaking out because you don’t know what you’ll be doing—that’s okay.  I actually still don’t know.  But one thing I’ve learned is to be okay with that.

College is better than high school.  I promise.  And it just keeps getting better.  I am so excited for what comes next.  I’m so ready to leave college behind.  In a letter you wrote to your high school graduating-self back in 7th grade, you totally planned out your future.  It’s kind of embarrassing, you’ll come to realize when you read it in a couple months.  You’re not as bad as you used to be, but you’ll keep easing up.  The details aren’t worth getting upset over.  They’re not that big of a deal.  As Dad says, “Don’t worry about the little things.  And it’s all little things.”

There are so many things I wish I could tell you right now.  You are going to make so many friends in the next 5 years!  But sometimes not knowing is the best.  You love surprises.  So wait and be surprised.  Chose a major and stick with it, but have fun!  And don’t worry about the future.  It takes a long time to learn that lesson, and I’m still continually learning it.  God has the best for you in mind.  Sometimes it will hurt, and sometimes you will cry.  But it’s worth it.  Live and love—you love so well.  Be comfortable with who you are as an individual with your own opinions and talents—not just the opinions and talents you think you should have.  It’s okay not to be the best—you won’t get to play with the Augustana Band every year, but that’s okay.  You’ll still get to play.  Strive to be YOUR best.  There IS a difference, and it’s okay.  I am so excited for you.  You are faithful and fun and so great!

Stay you,

Anna from 2014

My Morning Musings and Jesus

I am amazed by God’s hand every time I see it or hear about it.  Talking with others about what has happened in their lives that led them to where they are at?  Wow.  Even looking around at my own life?  It’s a lot clearer to see God’s hand when you look for it.  Like this whole subbing thing.  I was talking to God last night, and I’m like, “I need energy.  I haven’t been getting up early enough on days I don’t even have to.”  God knows I need to be subbing to pay for rent and stuff, but I didn’t get a job today.  So I got up at 6 anyway, to check if there were any jobs and there wasn’t, so I’m staying up.  Maybe I’ll work tomorrow, and this way, energy won’t be as high of a concern, right?  Since I got up at the outrageous hour of 6am (two of my roommates are in college ministry, so they don’t even roll over until 8, on their earliest days), I think I’ll spend this time with the Lord.

Romans 15:13: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Circumstances keep telling me not to doubt God, because he is always faithful and true.  Over and over again he has come through, so why not trust him with what I need now and in the future?  When I trust him completely, I don’t worry.  I’m filled with peace, because I know that he will always come through.  I spend a lot of posts on this blog talking about worry, because it used to consume me.  But it doesn’t anymore.  Why worry?  Control is an illusion—even when we think we’re in control, we’re not.  So let’s succumb to the One who is and talk with him about everything instead of trying to do it on our own! 🙂

A year ago, I thought I’d stay in the South Dakota-Minnesota region forever.  I mean, after this winter, I have my doubts, but now look!  I’m moving to Kentucky and I’m getting MARRIED!  I have absolutely no idea (still) about what awaits me in KY, but I’m trusting.  I’m asked what I’m up to when I’m not subbing, but I stay busy.  Interning with Jason, who is the head of the nursing home ministry I’ve been involved in?  (Which is super awesome and exciting, by the way.)  Working on those wife skills I’ll need next year?  (I’ve actually been making food that doesn’t just come from a box, and it’s edible!)  And planning a wedding, being proactive about getting teacher certification in KY, and writing.  Okay, so I haven’t been writing much fiction lately, but letters, emails, and the occasional blog post should count for something, right? 🙂

Romans 15:5-6: “May God, who gives the patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus.  Then all of you can join together with one voice, giving praise and glory to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Blessings to all my readers, whether it be randomly now, or keeping up on all my stuff (which can be kind of repetitive, sorry about that)


Being Grown-Up and Worrying (Unneccesarily)

Being grown-up is scary.  They don’t tell you that when you’re little.  When we’re little, we just want to be adults; treated like adults, respected like adults, no rules like adults?  Except adults have rules.  They need to answer to people like their landlords, employers, and the IRS, amongst all other sorts of bills and decisions made by grown-ups.  In college, I felt like I was getting used to the idea.  And then I graduated.  Bombarded by decisions to make!  Where should we live?  Given the options of a few places, which is the best?  Where should I apply to work?  There are so many things I would enjoy.  What would give me enough money to pay the rent, the bills, and for food and necessities while Dr. Wile E. Coyote is in school?  How will I make friends as an adult?  How different is it from when we’re kids?  Hopefully, less drama.  One thing I’m not too good at is big-decision-making.  I have learned to trust my gut and think about logic at kind of the same time.  Okay, so mostly spontaneous gut-feeling.  But that’s usually right. 

And then, I take a deep breath.  Being “grown up,” I realize my faith has also developed with me.  I am closer to my God now than I ever was before.  When I was a kid, I acted like a kid, and I thought like a kid.  But now that I am an almost-married woman, I must put the ways of my childhood behind me (1 Cor. 13:11).  I still have a child-like atmosphere and energy at times, and that’s okay.  I ask my roommates to cook for me because I don’t really like it, and I stay in bed as long as I can, especially when I don’t have to work.  God tells me not to worry so much in verses that I have memorized and remind myself often.  “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself” Matthew 6:34; “Do not be anxious or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” Joshua 1:9; “Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you” 1 Peter 5:7, “BE STILL and know that I AM GOD” Psalm 46:10.  I used to worry about getting my homework done and still having time to read.  Now I worry about bigger things.  But NOTHING is too big for God.  This MS I have, that I worry about all the time?  God’s bigger than it.  He could take it away if he wanted to.  Finances and the future?  A job, a place to live, and friends?  God is bigger than everything there is.  He CREATED the world.  God is my comfort, my sword and shield.  When I’m a kid and when I’m an old geezer (I still have, like, 30 50 years to go on that).  “The Lord will fight for you, you need only be still” Exodus 14:14.  I don’t have to worry about all the things I tend to worry about; because God has totally got it.  Especially when I’m grown-up. 

Sometimes I sing my roommates awake or shoot them with Nerf guns.  Sometimes I do homework and sit in front of books and stuff.  Sometimes I think about making a fort or communicate only through song.  Sometimes I pay bills and keep records of things.  And sometimes, I like to cuddle up in my heavenly father’s arms, because yes, even grown-ups do that. 

Change and God’s Awesomeness

Change is freaky.  In Deuteronomy, when Joshua is about to succeed Moses, the Israelites think so, too.  I feel like at this stage in my life, I’m like Joshua.  I’ve been learning and keeping my place in the background.  Pastor Jason is even calling me his “apprentice” as I learn about the ministry of bringing church to nursing homes and being a leader in lining people up for this and that, as I plan to take this ministry to Kentucky next year.  A couple weeks ago, I began worrying.  But God’s like, “Um, no.”  And led me to Deuteronomy 31.  Moses is like, “I won’t be going any further with you.  I’m such an old fart.  But God will go ahead of you.  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of those enemies.  God’s got this.  The LORD your God  goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”  And then he summoned Josh, his “apprentice,” and said in front of all Israel: “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with these people into the land the LORD swore to their ancestors.  The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  All of Israel is really supportive, too.  God has given them a new leader, and Joshua 1 is the big self-esteem boost for Josh.  It says “be strong and courageous,” four times in just those 18 verses of chapter one.

I was also talking to my mother about Kentucky, and she told me that if I wasn’t supposed to be going, God would be closing doors.  And some of the doors that have opened are just crazy.  Like Dr. Wile E. Coyote’s mom’s co-worker’s family is all in the Pikeville, KY area, and most of them are teachers.  Okay—that doesn’t just happen.  And student teaching is going well.  I will finish strong!  Woo!  How can I not, with God on my side?  Also about that, the more I depend on him, the better my days go.  Who would’a thunk?

Smiling a big ‘ole smile ‘cuz God is good and he is so great,


An Update and a Lot of Chatter

And here I thought the week before last was exhausting.  By Friday, I usually have my lessons down.  Sorry to the students I only see Monday and Tuesday?  Especially that first class, man.  I got observed twice this week.  Basically, I need to practice giving lessons on Sunday, so that on Monday, BAM!  I’m ready and rehearsed.  I’m pretty much at the point where I’ve got to do that, but that’s okay.  Friday was my best teaching day.  And I’ve only got one week left!  Better late than never?  I’m a slower learner sometimes, because I’m stubborn, probably.  This morning, I woke up at 6am (when my alarm goes off on school days) and was thinking of all sorts of possibilities for the lesson plans I’m working on today (that I actually started Saturday!).  What is going on, you ask?  It’s about time my brain catches up with where I’m supposed to be at.  I creatively think a lot in the mornings.  Thus being the reason I keep a notebook by my bed.  Sometimes I write when I can’t sleep, too, but that has NOT been a problem since school started, especially in recent weeks.  Last week at the elementary school!  I feel horrible that I don’t know names well yet.  But, I’ve learned, if I hear a name numerous times or mess up a name and ask the student to correct me, I don’t forget their names as fast.  I also know the names of these identical twin first grade girls, and I know which is which based on their classmates (I finally had this straightened out in my head LAST week).  I am excited and nervous to be starting band the week after next.  As Mr. Fode was talking to me about where his passion was in teaching these kids, I remembered the original reason I had decided that I wanted to teach beginning band: so that early on, the students would fall in love with their instruments and be taught CORRECTLY so that reasons to want to quit band minimize in number.  I was a band geek, and one of the only ones when I was in high school, I think.  I was that kid that stayed after school to practice a part on the xylophone and took lessons as much as I could.  Mr. Fode said that teaching elementary music, he as the teacher is the catalyst for the kids’ love of music.  His job is to share his love of music so that the kids will love music, too.  “If they don’t do band or choir, that’s not on me,” he told me.  Also, if they maybe don’t have the best teacher in years to come, they may stick with something simply because they love the music.  Ah, the music.  I know church and public schools are separated, but there is no sound quite like that of a horn playing “How Great Thou Art” or a flute playing “This is My Father’s World.”  A low brass instrument playing “What Wondrous Love is This”?  Perhaps this is where this came from:

If I had a totally ideal job, it would be beginning band and some general music.  It would include arranging hymns for high school students to play for their congregations.  It would include writing fiction, devos, and articles that help point people to the hope of Christ.  And I love working one-on-one with a student and guiding their learning.  Be it a lesson or a discipleship time, I have been discovering how much I love that, too.  Last Sunday, we were talking about how God wired each of us differently and for a purpose.  Why do I want to do so much?  Will I have opportunity to do all of it?  I want to build relationships and point others to Christ through my work and my actions.  I want to praise God with music and writing and building others up as the New Testament says so often to do.  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 says, “May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  Ah, his encouragement is the best ever.

I have suddenly (like, over this last week) been worried that it’s going to be a lot harder to find a job than I think it will be.  After teaching a few years, I’ll be hirable—you know, a young teacher with experience, but not too much (you don’t want to have to pay them MORE).  But how can I get experience if nobody will hire me?  Anyway, I handed that over to God.  I’m trusting that I’ll have an awesome first job teaching, and I’m asking in faith that it will be in the same town Dr. Wile E. Coyote goes to school in.  Which, breaking news, might possibly be somewhere in Kentucky that I can’t show you on a map (because I myself haven’t google earthed it—I just take other people’s word on it).  Yeah, that means he got accepted there!  Pretty sure I was way more excited that he got accepted than he was.  Smiley face.  Kentucky is a long ways from home, though.  But all things are possible with God—Paul writes in Philippians that he has learned to be content with nothing or with plenty.  Whichever, it’s possible with God.  So I am ready to be content with whatever God has in store for me next year.  He’s got my back, and with him whatever is to come will be possible.  I may have stopped making complete sense.  Whatever.  It’s the beginning of another real long week that will go to fast and busily by.

So, that’s an update and a lot of chatter.  Maybe that will be my title for this post.  If you recognize it, than I probably used it.  Goodness.  You know that “may have stopped making complete sense” thing?  It’s been like that a lot lately.  I’m “normal” in the classroom, but otherwise it’s been one of those to-busy months.  So (that’s my comfort word, I’ve learned)…yeah.

Be blessed, everyone!


Jesus, My Saving Grace, as Long as Life Endures

So, I’m a little tentative to put some things on my blog.  However; this is how I cope, and I wanted to share all Jesus’ reassurings he’s been showing me and giving me lately.  It is okay when you struggle with anything.  We live in a broken world, and life wouldn’t be lived well without struggles.  Keep on, keeping on!  Also, pray.  — Anna


The flooding waters are black with despair and illness.  Depression cuts through the waves and tries to take down any person it can.  I see my sister sinking.  “Help her, Jesus!  Pick her up!”  And he does.  But she is still in the water.

“You were sinking?” a doc asked my sister.  What if she begins to sink again? he wonders to himself.  And so a life boat is called to retrieve her.  It’s not a real life boat, though.  It’s a fleshful, temporary vessel.  I call upon the life boat that saves and redeems, the true God who cares for each of his children even more than any could imagine.  He can use the temporary vessel and anything he wants to so that his work can be done.  I don’t see my sister.

I am sitting on a life raft, as well.  The MS that inhibits my body tries to pull me down into the waters.  Depression splashes onto my body, too, but the real life boat has pulled me out of the waters before.  I see my sister clinging to the real life raft she had been on before, as all go with the other life boat.

“The waters had come up to my neck, but you saved me, oh God,” I whisper.  “There is no foothold in these miry depths, and one grows weary crying out to you.  But you answered me with your salvation, as you do so often.  Your great love rescues me from the mire and delivers me from the deep, black waters.  Now come near to my sister and rescue her, as well.”  (From Psalm 69)

I had never known what it was like, being the sister of someone with MS, like mine.  I’m the diagnosed person, but I think I understand.  MS affects everyone, as does every illness or disease flesh suffers from.  I helplessly watch her being taken away, and there is nothing I can do as they send me home.  I worry like crazy about her, and I plead with the real life boat’s captain.  “Anna,” he tells me, “I totally got this.  Just trust me.”

I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving (Ps 69:30).  I worship him.  “Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, oh God.  Do not forget the helpless (Ps 10:12).  I cry to you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.  Those who know your name trust in you (Ps 9:10).

“The Lord has promised good to me; his Word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures” (Amazing Grace, verse 4) He will my raft and sails be, long after found are cures.  As long as life endures.


Patience in a Poem

By Anna E. Olson



It can be an issue.

But not so at the same time.

I can be patient.



I’m patient with my students,

Most of the time.


When they leave,

Sometimes I complain to myself.


I’m patient with people I’m around

At least for the most part.

Not always.

But for the most part,

They can’t see a hint of impatience.


When I have a ton of energy,

I feel I must use it.

It’ll go,

And I’ll miss my chance.

So give me something to do!


When I have that weird energy,

I can be annoying.


To certain people.

But I’m getting better at containing it.


My worst area of impatience

I have no control.


I can’t do anything.

Not now to change it, really.


Worrying about the future is another issue.

But what good does it do?


So I cast my worries,

Because I know God cares for me.



I can be patient.

But not so at the same time.

It can be an issue.

Oh, patience.


[Written yesterday, but I didn’t publish it today, because I exercised “patience.”]