Mindy vs. the Marathon ...

I have an interesting relationship with my brain.

This isn't so much a boastful claim as it is a sudden realization. I used to think that the mind was the most fascinating part of the human body; but then I realized, well, look who's telling me that!

Somewhere in my brain, it has decided that it wants to run marathon. So, my body, being a willing servant goes out every single day {except for the Sabbath, of course} and runs. Since I only have seven weeks left to train for this beast, I decided that I needed to start running longer than three miles. :) And so, today I ran 10.

But my mind is evil. While my body is doing its part just fine (it feels absolutely wonderful in every way possible: lungs, legs, toenails, back {which is saying a lot if my back isn't hurting], feet, Achilles that is prone to tendinitis, everything}, my mind calls out to me {well, I guess it calls in to me}, "Minnnnndy, waaaalk! You like walking! Walking feels so good! Walking is fun!"

Curse you mind! You tell me to run this marathon and then when I willingly subject you taunt and tease with the w-word! There is a reason the phrase is, "running a marathon," because if you are actually supposed to RUN it. If you walk the dang thing, people would say, "I am going to walk a marathon."

Probably the most taxing 10 miles of my life. And because of that, current score: Marathon 10, Mindy 0.
Ohh, and by the way, a shout out to all men: it is okay if a girl passes you while running. You don't have to suddenly speed up just to eventually slow down again because she will pass you and repeat the entire vicious cycle over the remaining eight miles, okay? kthanksbye.


The photo is part of the marathon course and where I ran this morning. And no, you won't find me in the photo because I haven't ran the marathon yet. :) I just wanted you to see where I got to run this morning! I think it's pretty! :) But if I was in this photo, I'd definitely be the girl in the cute, light pink top! :) I think all of my long runs shall be done on the course of the marathon so I become familiar with it. :)


Mayday! Mayday!

Uh ... everything I read about marathon training says two months is not enough time to prepare. I'll be honest, I'm a little worried. Oh, well. :)


"I'm a behaviorist ..." {insert perplexed look}

So, I have to be honest ... it was a lot easier to explain my previous job over the one I have now. In fact, no explanation was necessary. I taught seminary. The end.

But these days, things aren't so simple. When people ask what I do and I inform them that I am a behaviorist (or a behavior specialist, either works) I get this confused, perplexed look that screams, "What on this green earth is that?" Or even better yet, "I know she made up her own degree, now she's making up her own job too?"

So, I'm dedicating the next three minutes of my life to try and explain to you what I do. :) I work with adults and children with disabilities, specifically those with extremely challenging behaviors ... Behaviors that include, but are not limited to: hitting, kicking, biting, pinching, smacking, throwing-up {on purpose} and smearing it, smearing feces, property destruction, swearing, and my favorite: rectal picking and feces eating. Yum.

What do I do exactly? I have to find a way to make them STOP. :)

A lot of my time is spent figuring out why the person does what they do and then writing up a very intense document {at least nine pages long} called a behavior plan with preventative, teaching, reinforcing, and consequence strategies that will help decrease the behaviors. In the process of this all, I have to step into the line of fire quite often. End result: I look like a battered woman. These photos are from this past week.

This is a pinch from my favorite 13-year-old with a touch of Bipolar disorder and Autism. Oh, I just noticed the bruise on my other arm too! And then we have ...

A bite!

The day this happened a friend of mine, Michael Brian Lundberg, texted me and asked how my day was. I told him it had been fine, minus the being bit part. He then texted, "By a human?!" Hahaha, yes. Most people get bitten by animals, bugs, etc. ... And naturally, I always have to dance to the beat of my own drum and have to be bitten by humans. :)

I honestly don't mind being bitten, as long as it doesn't break the skin. Once it breaks the skin you have to go to the doctor and have blood drawn, tests taken, and shots given to make sure you don't get AIDS, Rabies, or any other fun and exciting disease from the person who bit you. :) This was my first bite ever that broke the skin. Curses.

Then my absolute favorite ....

No, this is not how we dress to go to work. This is how we cover up our cute clothes while at work so when we have to go clean up the smeared feces we don't get any on us!

Now, I know after understanding a little more about my job that you ... want it. And hope to become a behaviorist yourself one day. I'll be looking forward to that day so we can compare battle wounds and disgusting stories. :)

And, uh ... yeah, the end. :)


After thoughts ...

I have thought about updating the blog, but it just felt wrong putting everything I considered writing about right above the news of Craig's death. Maybe I can offer some final thoughts on Craig and his funeral which I attended Saturday morning.

The services were absolutely incredible. It wasn't just an amazing family saying goodbye to their son and brother, it was an amazing family remembering this remarkable man and somehow in the process leaving so many of us desiring to become more ... more like Craig and in that process more like our Savior.

The entire program was a beautiful tribute to Craig. However, the part that stayed with me the most was when his father and his mother got up to speak a few words {I am so grateful for my friend Erica who somehow was able to jot down their extraordinary experience}. As mentioned in my earlier post about Craig, I had heard he had jumped feet first into the lake to retrieve an oar and simply didn't resurface. However, that wasn't the case ... He jumped feet first, but he did resurface. There was a wind on the lake that day and the water was quite choppy. The waves began to take Craig under and the boat that Craig's parents were on {a sailboat} just kept getting swept further and further away from their son.

His father spoke of this experience, "This is a very unnatural, and unusual circumstance. It is the worst feeling to watch your son die. Marie {his mom} did all that she could, she threw ropes, she tried so hard. I jumped in the water. But we couldn't reach him in time. We did all that we could."

His mom then spoke, "That night when we went home, I couldn't sleep, as you can imagine. I went into our backyard and sat on a swing we have, and looked up at the stars. I poured my heart out to Heavenly Father. I told him, 'I cannot live anymore. The pain, the anguish is too much for my heart to carry. The hurt is too much.' And then, somewhere between my tears, my prayers, and my dreams, the pain was taken away. Many people have said that they are amazed at how strong I am through this whole thing. But I tell them, I am not strong. The power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ is strong. And it is because of our Savior that my pain is gone, and has been replaced with peace."

Craig will always be a reminder to me of how I want to live. His family's experience through this tragedy will always be a reminder to me that I can always turn to the Lord for His healing grace.
Before I end this massive post, I want to leave you with a few things from Craig. The first was found in his journal, a list of his personal goals:

1. People are always more important.

2. Do what you need to do when you need to do it whether you want to or not.

3. I am not a victim, ever.

4. Purity is power.

5. Leave it better than when you found it.

6. Life is a joy, a journey in becoming like my Heavenly Father.
7. Live with purpose.

And, my favorite, "We can always lift others, no matter how bad of a situation we are in. It is a divine gift. The only true and lasting joy comes from forgetting ourselves and helping those around us."

Craig, you lived up to your own words more perfectly than almost anyone I have ever seen. We felt your love, we saw your service. That divine gift was in you. Hopefully your legacy may continue through those who know and love you. Goodbye, my friend.


My favorite pirate ...

Craig Decker
November 22, 1982 - July 5, 2008

Before the eight o'clock hour this morning I received news that my dear friend, Craig Decker, had been in an accident at Utah Lake over the weekend. He was out boating with his family when an oar fell into the lake and Craig jumped in to retrieve it. Craig never resurfaced. His body has yet to be located.

Craig was one of the most remarkable people I had ever met. All he really ever wanted to do was to make a difference in this world. A little over a year ago he lost his hand in a firework accident. One of the first things he told me after he lost his hand was, "Mindy, I am so grateful I had bought that firework. If I hadn't, someone else would have and they would have blown up their hand." Some say that such a tragedy builds such amazing character - not Craig - he already had it.

He absolutely had the best attitude about everything ... After he got fitted for a hook on his amputee arm, he threw a pirate party. He said, "When life gives you lemons you make lemonade. When life gives you a hook, you throw a pirate party." He always joked that his hand took the early bus back to Heaven.

And now, he has too.

The world is a better place because Craig Decker lived in it. We should all live to leave every place better because we were there. Thank you for teaching me that, Craig. I love you and I will never forget you. We all miss you so much. I am so grateful I was blessed to be called your friend.

Craig posted several videos on Youtube to help other amputees learn how to do things with only one hand: Opening a jar, typing with one hand, and tying shoe with one hand.

He also had a blog where you can see his amazing spirit and optimism even through trialing times. This post is my favorite: 7 Lessons Learned from Fireworks.


{Gulp ...}

No, I am not talking about a 32oz drink from McDonald's nor any other food/beverage establishment.

I have a very official {and frightening} announcement to make:

Without telling anyone (I am actually posting this before I tell my parents and family) ... I applied for a head cross country coaching job for a division III school in North Carolina, and after multiple "secret" phone interviews ... I've been hired.

I fly out in 17 days!

Just kidding. :)

Uhm ... The real story: I am ... planning on running my first marathon in September.

This is the first summer in four years that I will actually be able to train {as much as I love EFY, it never allowed me enough time to prepare for the grueling 26.2 miles} and the year before that I was recovering from a stress fracture, Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and IT-band syndrome. And all years before that: I was either running for Utah State or my high school team and a marathon just didn't "fit" into my schedule.

So ... I figure if I broadcast this news to the great world wide web {read as: the people who know me and actually read this website}, I can be reminded that a. I am really going to run this dang thing and b. I should really train for it {unlike the half marathon I ran last August with absolutely zero training, yet surprisingly enough, was my favorite race ever}.

And for those who like photos better than words ...

Here I am, not running a marathon in high school.

Annnnnd, here we have ...

me not running a marathon while running with Utah State. :)

Top of Utah Marathon*Saturday, September 20, 2008*6:55am*Goal: under four hours*

P.S. If you actually believed that North Carolina thing ... I'll give you a golden star! :) Annnnd, if this post mysteriously disappears, that means I no longer want to run the marathon and I will not recall ever posting this. Got it? :)
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