I’ve always been a cryer

When I saw my primary doctor about my knee I asked her if it would be safe to stop taking my anti-depressant. I had started on a higher dose, but since have gone down to the smallest dose because it was making me too numb. But now that I’ve been feeling so good, physically and mentally, I thought it would be worth a shot at stopping it altogether. She said I was on a low enough dose that I could just stop taking it and wouldn’t have any adverse effects. So, I stopped.

Here’s how I know it was leaving my system. Last week I turned on the tv and caught a few minutes of Wife Swap. The husband did something really nice and thoughtful for the wife, and I got a little choked up. Almost shed a tear. Then, a few days later I was watching a video on Facebook of a man playing the saxophone for a herd of cows, and I kid you not, they all came to the fence to listen. Again with the lump in the throat.

Then there was the time we went up in the carousel at Cedar Point and I almost had a panic attack. It was at that moment I remembered that I was off my meds and in order to cope I had to do what I had learned to do – which is to breath slowly and tell myself what was real and true. I had to tell myself that the likelihood of anything bad happening was very minimal, or else they wouldn’t have let us on the ride in the first place. And then keep breathing, slowly, in and out.

So, these sorts of things keep happening, and it tells me that the anti-depressant that was artificially numbing my emotions is out of my system. That makes me so happy, I could *literally* cry (Sometimes people say literally when they don’t mean literally. I am not those people.). This is such a good thing. I was taking the anti-depressant because I was having anxiety attacks, but I never did like that it seemed to dull my emotions all together. You can’t pick and choose with these drugs, I guess. The upside is that while I now feel sad emotions more vibrantly, I’m also feeling the happy ones too. I’m FEELing all the FEELS. You feel me?

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Cedar Point 2019

Last week we made our now annual trip to Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio. This was a favorite place for Mike and me when we were kids, and it makes us pretty happy to be able to share the magic with our kids. The odd thing is that they each love it for different reasons. Luke loves all the thrill rides, and Natalie loves the petting zoo. So while the boys run around riding rides, the girls mosey and shop and make friends with camels and tortoises.

You can see in the first picture below that we had to get a photo to show where we were while the boys were waiting in line for the Steel Vengeance. We were happily exploring the museum, NOT riding the Steel Vengeance. When we got a closer look at the model of the ride (you can see it behind us) and the 90 degree drop it makes, we knew we had made the right decision.

We have always been able to buy our tickets ahead of time and get two for the price of one, but this year Mike found us an even better deal that included drink passes. We all got bracelets that allowed us to get free fountain drinks all day long. This turned out to be a really great thing because they have refreshment stations all over the park, and they don’t just serve soda. They had fruit juices and teas as well. I’m not a soda drinker, but I do love my sweet tea, so this made me very happy. Also, it completely wiped out the begging that’s gone on in the past when the kids are thirsty (as they should be, walking around in 80 degree weather) and Mom doesn’t want to spend $10 on enormous fountain drinks they will likely not be able to finish drinking. With the unlimited drink plan they gave you small cups, so you only got what you needed at the time and by the time you finished it, you were close enough to the next station so you could just get another.

ALL that to say, we never felt dehydrated the entire day! So hurray for that.

Also, isn’t my husband cute with his Coca-Cola logo looking Guns & Ammo shirt? I tried to get a nice photo of us but our goofy daughter photo bombed us. That picture on the right was taken at the end of the day and Natalie was trying not to smile. Her dad always manages to cheer her up when she’s trying so hard to be in a bad mood.

We finished the day with a night ride on the carousel, which was both beautiful and terrifying. I’m not crazy about being up so high in the air and this was the first year I went on it without the benefit of Zoloft. That’s another blog post altogether, but let’s just say I came really close to a panic attack at the top of the carousel. Thankfully Mike could see I was not okay and he held my hand and reassured me we would be okay. I survived, obviously, and will now be working up the courage for next year’s carousel ride. Because tradition trumps anxiety, and also I’m a smidge sentimental.

My legs held up really well all day. Towards the end my knee was hurting a little so I put my knee brace on and that helped some. My balance was suffering and my left foot felt like it was dropping so Mike held my hand at that point in order to give me some stability. I walked a record 21,693 steps that day and nobody had to carry me to the truck, so I call that a win. Everyone had their brand of fun and it was a great and memorable day. I look forward to going again next year!

Just an overall great day

Today was a really great day. Nothing out of the ordinary or spectacular, it was just a good day, so I wanted to share before I head off to bed.

The kids and I went to church this morning. Hubby was at a shooting competition so it was just the three of us. We had been preparing to ride the bus, but were able to secure a ride with the pastor’s wife at the last minute. So while we were a bit excited about doing something new by riding the fixed route bus, we were thankful we didn’t have to get up super early to catch the bus. We’ll hopefully try again on another day before the summer is over.

Church was great, as usual. I love my church family, because they are just like that: family. I was able to have a bit of time after the service to catch up with the some of the other women and invited two of them to BSF in the fall.

The afternoon was spent relaxing, having lunch with the kids, chatting with my sister, and doing a bit of bookkeeping for the church. By the evening, after dinner, I was feeling pretty sluggish and the sun hadn’t set yet, so I threw on some running clothes and went for a quick two miles around the neighborhood. I’ve been doing a pretty good job with resting my knee and doing the exercises the doctor gave me, and tonight’s run really showed me that it’s paying off, because I only took a few brief walking breaks and I had no knee pain throughout the run! Even after I got home I didn’t feel any pain. Not only that, but my pace was pretty strong for the time I was running, at around 11 or 12 minutes, which is pretty fast for me. I usually average closer to 13 minute miles. So I was pretty ecstatic about that run, and it really gives me hope that I’ll still be able to complete the half marathon in 56 days!

I’m excited about the upcoming race, but I’m even more excited about a lot of leadership opportunities I have coming up. Leadership is not necessarily my comfort zone, but I feel like God has really been working on me in this area, and helping me to step out of my comfort zone little by little. I can still be my introvert self and interact with others. I really enjoy getting to know people and hearing their stories. In the fall I’ll be leading a Bible Study Fellowship group, a discipleship group through my church, and Financial Peace University. That sounds like a lot, but I’m hopeful I’ll be able to keep a good balance and manage my time well enough to handle it all.

Shifting gears here, but I recently saw the dermatologist and I thought it was just going to be a follow up to get refills on the antibiotic for my rosacea, but the doctor I was seeing left the practice so I was seeing a new one. Not new to the practice, just new to me. I was very reassured from the minute he walked in the room because he actually examined my face under the light, and the last doctor never did that, which I always thought was odd. This new doctor is changing up my medication a little bit and putting me on something stronger, with the hopes that eventually I won’t have to take the antibiotics. He also gave me a prescription for a cream that should help the specific problem areas on my face. So that was a really positive visit and I went home feeling hopeful that we can get my face cleared up even more.

So the last couple weeks were filled with a couple doctor’s visits, my monthly Tysabri infusion, and lab work to make sure I can still take the Tysabri. Then in a week or so we go to the dentist for cleanings, and take the kids to the orthodontist for evaluations. Not exactly your idea of summer fun, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Being healthy is super important to me because if I didn’t have this energy, I wouldn’t be able to do any of the volunteering that I’m signed up to do. So I’m staying focused (i.e. mildly obsessed) with the running, daily exercises, eating my fruits and veggies, drinking my greens, and taking my vitamins. Staying healthy for this M.S. girl is kind of a full time job.

The Prodigal

I’m a little tired today, but it’s still early. There’s a chill in the air, so I’m out here enjoying the chirping of the birds while wrapped in a blanket.

The cool weather has me wishing I was running. With the breeze and the sun, it’s my favorite weather to run in. If I didn’t have neighbors so close on each side I would be doing my exercises out here on the deck. Maybe next year I’ll be old enough to not care, but I’m not there yet.

This morning I was reading Luke chapter 15, the story of the prodigal son, and it reminded me of the ridiculous choices I made way back when in my prodigal days. I also read as part of a devotional reading plan this morning about how we often relate to God in a similar way to how we relate with our earthly fathers. And this led to a strong desire to share my prodigal story with you kind readers. So, here goes.

I was a straight A student in high school, with the exception of that B in gym. I was a well behaved child, mostly. Not necessarily because I was good hearted, but more so that the other kids at school wouldn’t judge me and call me a hypocrite. So when I tossed that graduation cap in the air, I felt like I had been released from the judgment. I could experiment with the world. I wanted to explore. I started saying yes to the party invitations.

Prodigal: “spending money or resources freely and recklessly; wastefully extravagant”

That summer, while still living at home, I did a lot of heavy drinking. I discovered a lot of things, like how my friends were acquiring liquor, and also that my body does not like rum. Since I had turned 18 earlier that year, I was able to legally buy cigarettes, so I started smoking too. Menthols, because regular cigarettes were nasty. (Who was I kidding, right? They’re all nasty.) It was a fun summer, but it was mostly regrettable for all the lying I did to my parents.

When I went off to college that fall I thought I had gotten the rebellion out of my system and I could move forward. Famous last words.

I lived in the dorms, down in the valley. I had to walk quite a ways to get to class (up hill! Both ways! In three feet of snow!!). During this time period I was dressing like a dime store punk – greasy hair, long baggy bell-bottom pants, polyester shirts. I kind of wish I had pictures, but we didn’t have digital back then. My new look must have attracted the wrong people because I was befriended by John, who also lived in the dorms. I’ll never forget this conversation: we were walking to class and talking about music and I was telling him how much I liked Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd and he asked me – “Oh, do you smoke?” I thought he meant cigarettes, so I quickly answered yes.

And that, my friends, is how easy it was to get started smoking marijuana. This was the beginning of the end of my college experience. I was introduced to pot and as it turns out, I loved it. So much so that I was smoking it all the time. I was sleeping too late, missing class, being a total jerk to my roommate, and doing questionable things I thankfully can’t remember. This went on for months. When our grades were posted and I saw that I was getting C’s, I gave up. I had never in my life gotten C’s, so I couldn’t see any way to come back from it. Without a word to anyone, I went to the registrar’s office and dropped out.

My mom lived in the same town, so I told her first. She graciously allowed me to move my stuff into her dining room and sleep on a cot until I could secure a more permanent space. I don’t remember how long before I told my dad, but I remember we were in a movie theater, waiting for a movie to start. I told him I had dropped out of school, and instead of being angry at me for throwing away my future, he told me he loved me and gave me a great big hug.

I still can’t really describe to you how much these gestures of grace and forgiveness mean to me, even to this day. I trusted I could count on my mom to accept me, but I had expected condemnation from my dad. I expected disappointment, yet I received unconditional love. I was the prodigal son, and he welcomed me home with open arms. He didn’t throw me a party, but he may as well have. That hug was something special. It was a gift that gave me the strength to move forward with my life. To pack up and move on.

Genesis 12:1 (NIV) “The LORD had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

I spent several months living in an apartment with a couple of my brother’s friends from high school, and eventually (miraculously, perhaps) rededicated my life to following my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God met me on the kitchen floor with a dusty Bible one morning and called me to move to Lansing. It’s where I’ve built so many cherished friendships, and it’s where I met my husband and we are raising our family. It’s where I later learned that my great grandparents built a home and raised their children (my grandfather and great aunt). My grandmother even graduated from the same high school my husband did.

So the miracle that happened here, the end of this story, is that God saw that door I slammed shut with my stupidity and opened a window to a new life, a better life. He welcomed this prodigal daughter back home and threw her a party.

Have you slammed any doors shut in your life? Is God trying to show you a window to something better? Maybe it’s time to dust off that Bible, grab a cup of coffee, and search for it. Pull up a chair and sit with Him for awhile, He’s waiting to show you. If nothing else, He wants to give you a big party-sized hug.

Say that three times fast

Welp. I was finally able to see my primary doctor about my knee pain. The pain showed itself initially on a long run a month or two ago, but since then it likes to reappear when I’m walking too far or sitting too long. And of course when I’m running. The knee brace helps some, but still. I’m trying to train for a half marathon here, and I wanted to be sure I wasn’t doing any permanent damage to my knee.

The good news is that there is no permanent damage. I suspected that after my visit to the free clinic, but my doctor confirmed it. Her diagnosis was Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, or Runner’s Knee. She recommended R.I.C.E. – rest, ice, compression, elevation – which I’ve kinda sorta been doing already, with the exception of rest. Resting is hard. She said it would probably be best to stop running for awhile, and just stick with my home exercises. She didn’t say NOT to run, but just that I would heal faster if I didn’t. Oh, and she gave me some rehabilitation exercises to do at home that will help strengthen the muscles that support the knee, which should help to prevent this from happening again down the road.

Since the weather in the coming week is forecasted to cross over to triple digits, and I hate running on the treadmill, I’m not all that sad about not running. Putting a pause on the training makes me a little nervous though, because my half marathon is only 65 days away. But – I have to trust that the home exercises are going to keep my body fit and help prepare me for running 13.1 miles. Also, I’m adjusting my expectations so instead of running the whole race, I’m okay with having to take walk breaks. The ultimate goal is to finish, however long it takes me.

Twizzler Force, it’s a thing

This is me saying no. Mike bought a five pound tub of my one and only favorite candy because it was a Prime deal and now it’s here and I’m trying to lose the 4 pounds I gained on vacation.

Send help! I think I’m gonna have to have the family hide it from me. This is not a battle I can win. The Twizzler force is just too strong!!

2019 Selleck Reunion

I’m feeling a bit out of sorts but we’ll try a blog post. Sure, why not?

So we had a big family reunion last week. This we have been planning for almost a year and it came and went just like that. This is my dad’s side of the family. His two brothers and their wives and kids, and the kids’ kids. My brothers and one of my sisters and all their children. Even our cousin from England was able to make it! There were around 40 of us and we managed to find a place we could all stay at for 5 days and not kill each other! Though I think most of us agreed that fifth day was unnecessary and next time we’ll probably shorten it a bit.

We played a lot of games, we swam, boated, ate tacos, drank coffee. It was wonderfully relaxing and the weather was absolutely gorgeous, with the exception of a bit of storming on the last day. But rather than bore you with details of a trip you didn’t have the privilege of joining us on, I’m going to risk being too sentimental and just talk about what this trip meant to me.

You see, this family of aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins is pretty darn special. My cousins and I talk fairly regularly. We wish each other happy birthdays, we check in randomly just to be sure we all have our morning coffee. We did not grow up near each other, as all our fathers (three brothers) are retired Methodist pastors and we all did a lot of moving around the state (one brother moved the family to Georgia and stayed there). But every year our grandma and grandpa would get us all together for a week in the summer, and then in later years we would join all the families for Christmas breaks. We cousins formed an incredible bond, and when Grandma passed away from breast cancer while most of us were still in high school, we kept that bond strong. Sure, we’ve drifted in and out of each other’s lives as we built careers and started families, but we’ve always come back together. We still genuinely enjoy each other’s company.

So while we are able to stay in touch with the help of phones and internet, there’s just no substitute for in person interaction. To hear the laughs, make the goofy faces, to really let loose and have zero risk of being judged. I can completely be myself with my Selleck family knowing that they will never think less of me, that they will always love me and have my back. That, my friends, is an enormous gift that I will never take for granted. If you have family like this, or friends who have become like family (we have some of those too!) then tell them today how much you love them. Don’t wait.

Seriously. Did you tell them? Go tell them now. I’ll wait…

Ok, I’m back. That was all, really. Unless you want to hear about our last night at the hotel. On the last night at the hotel, many of the family members had already headed home but we were hanging on. One last night away from home and I was sleeping great until someone started shaking me. It was 3:30 am and everyone was up and out of bed. I saw my daughter leaving the room. My husband was pointing at the smoke alarm on the ceiling. So the smoke alarm was going off, but I couldn’t hear it. Nor could I smell any smoke, because there wasn’t any! It was just a malfunction in the alarm. Mike managed to turn it off and we all settled back into bed (my daughter had come back from checking to see if any other alarms were blaring). A few minutes later it went off again. Three times this happened and we were able to call the owner (this was an independently owned establishment) and she sent her husband over to retrieve the malfunctioning alarm. Thankfully we hadn’t just thrown it in the lake. Needless to say, we were very happy to be home the next day and sleeping in our own beds.

The End.

I may be deaf and half-blind, but I am and will always be… still Mindy