Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Love My Life

This morning began our stewardship campaign. Daughter decided to turn it around today, which was good. I wasn't thrilled with the PowerPoint-- not being able to access the Internet from my computer made it hard. I couldn't find my church keys. I forgot to turn my cordless mike on. It was a wonderful morning.
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I met more people today. They loved my sermon. They thought it was a great stewardship sermon. The congregation stopped staffing a toddler room several years ago, there weren't any children. I had several discussion after church today. We're going to staff a nursery-- there were 3 children in worship this morning who could have used it. That's exciting, and I'm sure the congregation will be pleased.
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Several people were asking for time with me today, but it should be an easier week. I need several solid blocks of time in the office to do some planning and worship work.
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The best news of the day was that Brother called this afternoon, and told me how to solve my computer problem. I had been prepared to reformat and reload all my software, and all I had to do was uncheck one box in explorer. I'm grateful. We carved a pumpkin and are ready for the neighborhood goblins this evening.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mean and Unreasonable

Daughter is convinced that I am mean and unreasonable. This morning we went for blood work and breakfast out. Daughter was wearing an orange sweater. When we got home, we went out to do some yard work. She changed into a sweatshirt and put a hoodie over it. When we finished in the yard, she came in and put on a t-shirt. She knows I keep the house cool during the day-- 64. When she complained that she was cold, I pointed out that the t-shirt wasn't a good choice. She went into her bedroom and came out wearing a white sweater. I protested that that was the 5th top she'd had on today. (Anything she has worn, no matter how briefly, ends up in the hamper.) She went in and put yet another shirt on over it and proceeded to rage about how it was her business what she wore and I had no right to complain. I think that Daughter is working real hard to get me to correct her today. I'm not sure why she needs to be contrary today, but she certainly is working hard at it today.
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It's not just all the tops she's worn today. She's also mad because I won't order pizza after taking her out to breakfast. I won't let her buy a new Halloween costume with money she doesn't have. (She's not doing anything or going anywhere for Halloween, and several years ago I spent a lot of time making her a pink poodle skirt).
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Right now she's retreated to her bedroom to pout. She's supposed to be cleaning her room, where the floor is littered with all the clothes she's tried on over the last 2 days. I'm sure they will all end up in hamper. I'm just so mean and unreasonable.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Long Day

I spent two hours last night filling out paperwork for our initial visits with our new doctors. We saw our doctors this morning. I like them. Mine is working on my aching neck and shoulder. He also tweaked some of my medications. Tomorrow morning we're both getting blood work. Daughter liked her doctor, who happens to be a member of the downtown church of our brand.
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We went out to lunch and to the warehouse store. When we got home, we headed to the home improvement store where I met two carpenters from the church who explained patio doors to me. I purchased one, and they loaded it on one of their trucks and it is now sitting in my garage. They will install it next week.
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I am now using Daughter's computer (and am grateful I have it). Norton removed a nasty virus from my computer, and as a result it will no longer connect to the Internet. I tried several times to restore to an earlier point, but it wouldn't work. I'll have to see what the young engineer at the church can do with it on Sunday.
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I realized today that my knees are no longer hurting. I'm also no longer walking up and down stairs all day. I'm glad I bought a one story house. There is another good thing that has come out of the mood. Locking up all the food not only helps Daughter's blood sugars, it helps my weight. I weigh less now than I have in years. God is good.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Power of Joy


This morning I got up, made my bed, put away the clean dishes and then got into the shower. As I was fixing breakfast I was pondering how easy it has been to keep the house clean. I'm working long hours, and I come home energized. I'm overbooked, yet I'm prioritizing and getting done what needs to be done. I was thinking about how much happier I am.


I sat down to read, and this morning's chapter was about the power of love and connectedness. As I read, I realized that my joy is a direct outcome of the love and connections I am feeling in this new place. I was so isolated in Tiny Village. I was always going to be an outsider there. Always. Here, I feel so welcomed and loved. Those connections are feeding my joy, which is energizing me.


This morning, once again, I give thanks to God for calling me to this place at this time. For 4 years I assured Daughter that God would call us to the right place at the right time. As I write this, I can hear Daughter singing. She's sitting in Administrative Assistant's office (alone-- AA doesn't get in until 9:00) stuffing envelopes. The mommy time and love she experienced yesterday have filled her with joy, too.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Limits

I told Administrative Assistant today that she was to keep me from scheduling any meetings next week. Of course, I already know of at least one I have scheduled for next week. I'm afraid to look at my calendar and see what else is on it. I have had at least 2 commitments every day this week (each of them taking several hours). I am not getting the time I need in the office to do things like write a sermon and plan worship. I haven't had time to go get a new desk chair or even figure out business cards.
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In my desire to do everything now, I'm pushing the limits of what is humanly possible. Next week I have to make time to follow through on whatever needs to happen to get Daughter into a program. Her anxiety level is so high right now-- she needs a schedule and routine. She needs to be busy. It's hard to find things for her to do at the church. Today Administrative Assistant got mad at the men who were cutting down trees around the church-- they were blocking the driveway as two different groups were arriving for events at the church. Daughter saw her anger and was terrified. She came in and knelt beside me and wrapped herself around me. She stayed in that position as I met with a ministry team leader about plans for the stewardship campaign. Normally she doesn't let people see her like that.
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I left her at the church while I went to lunch with a woman and met one of the shut-ins. She was almost hysterical at the idea of me leaving her. One of the women who has been working in our yard stopped by the church and wanted Daughter to help her with some things at the house. They called me to see if it was alright if Daughter went with her. I thought it was a wonderful idea. This woman has a heart of gold, and she talked to Daughter. She promised Daughter that if she stopped wetting the bed she'd take her someplace this spring for the night or the weekend. She offered suggestions of things she could do to stop wetting the bed. Daughter told me about the conversation this evening. She was so happy, and feels like she has a special friend now. That's good.
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When Daughter got back to the church, she helped stuff letters and cleaned my study. I was impressed. We had a guest for supper tonight. That went well. Tomorrow afternoon some men are coming to measure my patio door so I can order a replacement and they can get it installed. Right now it is screwed shut for security reasons. It will be nice to be able to use it.
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I had lunch today with a delightful senior. She told me her goals in life when she was young: to have a pop-up toaster and a machine that brought moving pictures into the house. Her husband had both, so she told him that was why she married him. Years later, when she was looking for a new home, she wanted one with a front door and a back door. She is a retired social worker, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her.
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Maybe, when I stop over scheduling myself and get Daughter settled into a program, I will write coherent posts on a regular schedule. I think I'm hitting my limits.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Good News

There was a message when I got home today that I would be getting a letter and a phone call about the next steps for getting services for Daughter. That's good news. She needs a program.
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As I'm getting busier, she's getting more frustrated. I'm beginning to have meetings with ministry leaders. Today I met with the couple who have been overseeing the mission program. They are burning out, so we came up with some ideas that will hopefully get more people involved and sharing the load.
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We ate lunch in the basement today, as there was a tornado warning. The property chair decided to come hang out with us rather than venturing out into the storm. Tomorrow they are going to clear out some trees. I asked what they were doing with the wood, and perceptive man that he is, he asked if I'd like some firewood for my fireplace. They'll bring some over to the house for me. I'm happy. He also dropped some conduit off at the house that can be used by the electrician who is going to add outlets to the basement for me.
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We're having company for supper tomorrow night, so when I got home I made soup and a cake. Daughter came home and complained. She's feeling neglected. She was quite upset when I told her I was going to be going out for lunch and to do some visits tomorrow without her. I'm meeting with the stewardship leader in the morning, and then picking up one of the pastoral care people for lunch and to go visit some of the shut-ins. She needs a program. She needs to be doing her own thing. Of course, at this point finding the time to do the rest of the work to get her situated in a program. I'll make it work. It's a priority, so I'll arrange my schedule to make it work.
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I'm loving being in ministry here, even if I am feeling a little overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. It's exciting. I'm where I'm supposed to be, and I'm energized by it all.
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More on the Board Meeting Evening

I had several people who were concerned I would be blindsided by issues that would be raised at my first board meeting. Due to a number of factors giving has been down the last few years, and in order to balance the budget, mission support has been cut. There are people who are very upset about that. As we talked about the budget yesterday, it was reported that one man was ready to leave the church over it, and demanded that there be a written policy for mission funding. I led the board in outlining the criteria they use for budgeting, starting with the need to have a balanced budget. That information will be passed on to the congregation with the budget, as well as the actual committee requests. Finance committee was actually able to give mission a little more than was requested and cut other areas of the budget, which shows the commitment to mission. (Mission is still 19% of the budget, so it's not like we don't support it). I also told the board it was important not to let individuals hold us hostage with threats to leave, and it was fine to say to the man, "I'm sorry you feel that way, and we would miss you, but you need to do what is right for you." That response seems to stop those threats right away.
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We talked about ways to handle other issues, and I told them how important it is that views and perspectives be expressed openly in the meeting. I told them I wanted to bring the parking lot meetings into the meeting. I assured them that I was open to whatever they had to say. We talked about how to handle complaints they might here about me: "Have you talked to her about it?" "May I go with you to talk to her about it?" "If you aren't willing to talk to her, we don't need to be having this conversation."
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The platform at the front of the church was removed by my predecessor, who was tall. I'm vertically challenged, and some people are concerned they can't see me. They want the platform back. I told them I'm a klutz, but that I'd like to give it a month, since once I become more comfortable I will be moving around more. If, after a month, there are still concerns, I'm willing to bring the platform back. They liked that idea.
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We will have an extended meeting in January for training, prioritizing, and planning for the year. They were very open to that idea. I promised them I'd limit the extended meeting to once a year. Apparently my predecessor had a fondness for doing Saturday workshops.
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The children's sermon is coming back to worship beginning in November. They were going to schedule volunteers to do it (which apparently was a problem last time). I explained that I would like to do the majority of them because it is a great way for me to build relationships with the children. They thought that was wonderful, and so I'm doing all of them. I reminded them of the importance of letting the website coordinator know about plans and changes. It was over a 2 hour meeting, and they left happy. I think we're off to a great start.
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Now the downside. I'd left Daughter in my study watching a DVD. When we got home last night, she had a low blood sugar. One of those low blood sugars that was very resistant to treatment. She woke me up in the night because she was low again. This morning I asked her if I needed to lock up the insulin when I wasn't in my study. She took 41 units last night during the meeting (more than her total daily dose). She was bored. The insulin is now locked up.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The First Board Meeting

Tonight was the first board meeting. Their meetings have been running about 45 minutes. Tonight we went 2 hours. We had some good discussions, made some plans, and tweaked some things. They were wonderfully receptive and very affirming of the way I led the meeting. I heard more good comments on yesterday's worship. We are all excited about the opportunities before us.
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There is work to be done, and my calendar is filling up rapidly. This morning there was a letter for me from the crazy man who was in worship yesterday. His first line was something about a brief letter-- at the beginning of a 6 page letter. He's coming to talk to me tomorrow afternoon. I'm going to ask Administrative Assistant to interrupt for an important matter after I've spent 45 minutes with him. He could easily monopolize my day. I have learned to set my boundaries.
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I'm loving every minute of this, and falling further behind every day. I will need be very intentional about my time management. As you can tell, blog posts are not going to be as frequent.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Reflections after a Week

I've now been the pastor of this church for a week. I am amazed at how much more energy I have. I look forward to getting into the office very day. I like being back in in a metropolitan area. Daughter and i just made a quick run to a superstore. We bought some art things to keep her busy this week (the jewelry didn't work out very well), some more flower bulbs, and some milk.
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I had someone offer to help with Daughter today. Her husband works midnights, but she doesn't work and is available during the day while he is working. I think I'll check with her for help on those days when I have a breakfast meeting. Daughter can stay with Administrative Assistant once she's in, but before she's in this gives me an alternative. The first board meeting is tomorrow evening. They are used to short meetings, so they won't be thrilled with me. I have lots of things I want to cover tomorrow.
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My calendar is beginning to fill up-- there are lots of people who want time with me, and a few that I want to talk to about upcoming events. Next Sunday the stewardship campaign begins, and there's talk of beginning a capital funds campaign in January. I'd prefer to wait a bit longer than that, but we'll see.
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Friday we will meet our new doctors. I'm hoping we will hear about a case manager and will be able to begin figuring out a program for Daughter this week. It's going to be a busy week, and since I'm battling a sinus infection, so I think I'll go to bed early. I think they are going to come measure my patio door for replacement this week. There are three men who are going to do that for me. Once they've measured, I'll go choose a new door, and if it's in stock, it will be installed quickly. Once the new patio door is in, I'll put a bird feeder outside the family room window. I don't want to put up a bird feeder until I have easy access to it.
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I really feel like this is the ministry for which God has been preparing me. I'm excited about the opportunities and challenges that are ahead. I love my new home. I love this congregation. I'd been searching sporadically for over 4 years. This was definitely worth waiting for. Like I promised Daughter, God has called us to the right place at the right time.

The First Sunday

Today was my first Sunday, and it was a wonderful day. The bell choir and choir were both in worship today. I met a lot of people, and am beginning to remember some names. There was a meal after the service, and the food was delicious. They presented me with a book that has pictures of the families with personal notes of welcome.
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There was a man I suspect is mentally ill who passed me a note as he shook my hand after worship. He needed to talk to me ASAP. I spoke to him briefly. He's coming in Tuesday afternoon to share his whole story, but I suspect he's schizophrenic. He told me he was responsible for the natural gas explosion in California several weeks ago, and it was also tied up with his former denomination. I'm sure it will be an interesting conversation. He told me he wants to join, and I need to pray hard that this denomination doesn't fall victim to the same conspiracy.
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Once again I enjoyed putting together the PowerPoint. I didn't get it done as early as I'd like, but was satisfied with the end result. I'm already doing some mental work on next Sunday, and look forward to digging into the research tomorrow. The movie that was scheduled for tonight has been postponed, so Daughter and I are relaxing today. I took a nap on the futon in the family room, with Daughter sleeping on top of me.
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Daughter has been overwhelmed by the welcome we have been given. She doesn't feel like she deserves it. I think she is just overwhelmed by everything. She sang with the choir today, and that was good for her. I received specific good comments from the lay leader, who liked the intro I gave him for the Scripture lesson he read. I also heard from someone who had received one of my birthday notes. He was thrilled with it. One man said, "We've been waiting a long time for you." I acknowledged that it is a slow process. He said, "No, you don't understand. We've been waiting years for you." I hope they remain as enthusiastic.
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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Overdoing

I have been fighting a cold, and I thought it was getting better. Unfortunately, it has gone into a sinus infection. I'm trying to decide if I should go to urgent care and get antibiotics. At this point, I'm going to give it a couple more days. I took some decongestant this morning, and I think that's helped. What didn't help was the fact that I did way too much yesterday.
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I was up by 7:00 cleaning the kitchen. I did a deep cleaning, found homes for more items, and made a huge pot of chili. I mowed the back yard, or rather, mulched the leaves. I did lots of laundry. Yesterday evening we drove about 30 minutes north of here to an apple orchard. I bought half a bushel of northern spy apples, my favorite cooking apple. The drive was about the first time I'd sat all day. I was already sore by the time we got home. I sat with the heating pad on my back and fell asleep. At midnight I woke up and dragged myself into bed.
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It was almost 9:00 before I got up this morning. I've been waking up at 5:30, so I was amazed I'd slept that late. I got up and ached all over. My muscles and joints were protesting the fact that I'd been on my feet most of the day yesterday. My sinuses were full and aching. In short, I was pretty miserable. I took ibuprofen and a decongestant and got out the heating pad. We made a quick trip to the store for groceries and to pick up Daughter's prescriptions. Now we're watching football. I still have to finish sermon and PowerPoint for tomorrow. Tomorrow there is a potluck after the worship service, so I'm going to make an apple dessert to take for that. There is a movie in the evening. I will need to get to bed early tonight so I will be ready for tomorrow. For now, it's time to go take another decongestant.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A Pattern?

Yesterday evening Daughter started crying and complaining that she was in pain. This evening, as we were coming home, Daughter started crying, telling me she had a terrible headache. I'm wondering if this is her newest way of expressing her stress. I'm being careful not to react too much. I tell her I'm sorry she's not feeling well. Yesterday, she took something for the pain at bedtime. I told her she could have something tonight, too, but she forgot to ask. When we got home, the headache was forgotten.
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It was a productive day. I made 5 lbs of dry pinto and 5 lbs of ground turkey into chili, most of which will go into the freezer. I bought half a bushel of apples today. Some will become applesauce for the freezer, and I think I'll make a pie for Wednesday night, when we're having someone over for supper. The house and yard are in pretty good shape now. There is still some work to do in the garage and basement, and some art to hang, but this is home. I love it more each day.

Holding

Today is my day off, and so I have been taking care of cleaning, cooking, laundry, and finishing Daughter's enrollment in Medicaid. I had to choose a health plan for her. When I called to get her an appointment last week, they told me what plan to pick, but of course, I forgot. So, I called the office to find out what plan I was supposed to pick. The woman who answered didn't know what I was talking about. She put me on hold. After a long time on hold, another woman picked up the line and asked why I was waiting. I explained, and she told me they wouldn't accept Daughter as a patient because she's on Medicaid. I pointed out my insurance is primary. She said that didn't matter. I pointed out that I had been told it was fine when I made the appointment last week. She put me on hold. Finally she came back and said okay, they'd see Daughter, and it didn't make any difference what Medicaid plan she was in.
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So I called Medicaid to enroll Daughter in a plan. They put me on hold. They had a very irritating rotation of 3 different voices and messages assuring me my call was important and to please continue to hold. Of course, when they finally got to me, they had to get Daughter's permission to talk to me. Daughter was not in a cooperative mood. She was outside working with a woman who came over to do some yard work. I gave her the phone, and she said she didn't understand the man. I finally found out what he needed and dragged her into the house and had her read the case number and our address. She did. I enrolled her in a plan. The man suggested I get guardianship papers on file with her case manager. Of course, that means I have to find time to fill them out, file them with the court, and attend the hearing. I think it's moving up on the priority list.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day Four

I had not realized how anxious Daughter was about the assessment yesterday until this morning. On the way to the church, she asked a few questions about transportation. She was satisfied with my answer. When we got to the church, she demanded that I open the extra office for her-- the last few days she's insisted in being in my office. She drew a picture for me this morning, and then finished the stewardship letters, including putting them in alphabetical order. When she was done with that, she asked Administrative Assistant for more work, and so she sorted some choir music. AA was amazed at the change in her.
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One of the things I decided I was going to do is send notes to members for their birthdays. AA designed note cards for me, and I sat down and wrote notes for everyone with a birthday this month-- the note is basically one sentence, telling them I'm giving thanks for the gift of their life and praying for God's blessing for them in the coming year. AA is sending them out so they arrive on or before their birthdays. One of the women who got a card today came in for choir this evening. She was so excited to get that little note.
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Daughter did very well at choir tonight. I did not get as much done while I was at the church this evening as I had hoped, but that's okay. It was fun to visit with people as they came in and out. I'm loving my life and ministry here in Capital. I've got a little bit of work to do before Sunday, but not too much. I'm going to be able to enjoy my weekend.

EGR

At the reception on the Saturday I was here for the congregational vote, a rather unique individual cornered me. Choir Director intervened, and explained later that she was "EGR." I was confused, "EGR?" "Extra Grace Required."
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Yesterday I sent Choir Director an email, telling him that Daughter wanted to join the choir, and I planned to bring her tonight. I told him if there were problems or she was becoming a hindrance, to let me know. I told him I was more than willing to pull her out and take the blame if there was a problem.
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He responded quickly, telling me he would love to have her in the choir, and while he'd let me know if there were issues, he wasn't concerned. His closing line, "To be perfectly frank with you, if we can support [EGR] for all these years, we can support [Daughter]!"
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I think joining the choir will be good for Daughter. She's struggling. It has become a real battle to get her out of bed in the morning. She lost TV privileges and earned an early bedtime yesterday, and still wouldn't get up this morning. When I got in the shower, I told her that as soon as I was done in the bathroom, it would be her turn. She acknowledged me, but then wouldn't get up when I got out. She lost TV privileges and earned an early bedtime and was about to lose choir when she got out of bed. We will still be in the office by 8:00. I did laundry, fixed breakfast, packed our lunches, and read the newspaper while I was waiting for her. Tomorrow's my day off, and we'll spend the next 2 days doing things together. I think we'll go to a cider mill one of those days. Hopefully after some mom time she'll be more cooperative next week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Assessed

We completed Daughter's assessment for services this afternoon. It was a long, exhausting process. We will hear within 2 weeks if she qualifies, and if she does, she will be assigned a caseworker. There are a number of different options for day programs, which is good. I don't have to get an attorney to get guardianship in this state (which was very good news.) There are resources for respite, but I'll have to arrange it myself. There's about $100 a month available.
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I am exhausted. Daughter earned an early bedtime by her refusal to get up this morning. I think I may go to bed early as well.

Loving It

Have I mentioned that I love my new position? I love having a study in the church again. It's wonderful to come in here and have the space and support I need to be effective in my work. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to organize my work week, but I am eager to come in each morning and get to work. Today we have Daughter folding stewardship letters, labeling envelopes, and then putting in the letters and pledge cards. She pointed out a typo a little while ago-- we dated it as 2011, not 2010. We had a good laugh over it, and told Daughter she could do future proof reading. When people come into the office, she's pulling out their letters and handing them to them to save postage.
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The kitchens are now locked, so she can't get at food. She's anxious about the assessment this afternoon, and has talked to me about it several times. I am glad she's talking about it rather than acting out. I've reminded her that I won't put her in a program that isn't appropriate for her, and that my number one priority continues to be her safety. I will be glad when the assessment is complete, I think it will ease the stress for both of us.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Different Approach

So this afternoon Daughter's blood sugar was sky high. I knew she had been into food, and I also knew that if I asked her what she'd eaten she'd get mad and deny everything. So, I apologized for messing up her insulin. I told her I really felt bad that I had miscalculated so badly. I talked about how guilty I felt. She confessed. She found cake in the church kitchen. The kitchens will be locked tomorrow.
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I had two men come into chat today. They are concerned about the first board meeting Monday night. Apparently there are some people who are eager to get things they don't like fixed. They see my arrival as an opportunity to do it. They are concerned that I will be ambushed Monday night. I am grateful for their concern, and hopeful that I'll be able to handle the issues that will come up.
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I also had a phone call from a man who is on disability for mental illness. He wanted to tell me all about how his life had been destroyed by the fundamentalist church he grew up in. He told me all about the impossibility of being sure God existed. He was a master manipulator, and when I tried to disengage he'd start hinting about suicide. Unfortunately for him, Daughter has taught me boundaries and how to avoid getting hooked.
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It was a productive day. We got a lot done. I was going to go visit a man who had cancer surgery last week. When I called and warned them I had a cold, they decided they'd prefer not to see me this week. We did have a good phone conversation. Tomorrow we have Daughter's assessment for services at 3:00. I think we'll both be relieved when that is behind us.

Reflections on the First Day

Daughter is anxious-- she wants to be close to me when we are in the church building. I set her up in an office a short distance from mine, but she ended up in my study because she wanted to be near me. She was frustrated when I told her to stay in my study while I attended some meetings yesterday evening, and she stayed here for a while, but then found me and sat at my feet (which wasn't a problem).
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Yesterday did not go entirely as planned, but I did get most of the boxes unpacked. I did get some reading done for this Sunday's sermon, and I did attend 2 meetings in the evening. The groups were open to my suggestions. It was wonderful to be able to sit in a meeting and not run it. This congregation has some strong leaders, which will be both an advantage and a disadvantage. One of the groups was making plans for the Advent season, and I'm going to host an open house on December 19 following Christmas caroling.
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I haven't figured out a way to raise the seat on the desk chair in my study to a height where I can work comfortably at the desk. We may need to get a new one-- or put a pillow on it. Fortunately, there is a computer stand next to the desk, and the pull out for the keyboard is the perfect height for me to work comfortably on my desk top.
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I am going to like it here. There will be challenges, I will be stretched and grow, and I am very grateful God called me to this place.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fixed!

I have a new thermostat installed, and my furnace is now running. I also received a soft sales pitch for a new, higher efficiency furnace. I'll see how high the bills are before I make that decision. The home warranty will cover the majority of the cost, so I'm grateful.
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Daughter is quite excited about the jewelry making kit I bought her. She is also quite proud of the ways in which she is being cooperative. She does seem happy, and I am grateful. I have most of the boxes empty in the office, so that is good. Yesterday Daughter chose something to hang on the hook on the outside of my study door. It's something along the lines of, "The Lord put me on this earth to accomplish so much, and I am so far behind I will never die." I laughed and told her she could have waited a few weeks-- I hadn't had enough time to get behind yet!
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As of right now, though, I feel like that was a very appropriate choice. There is much to be done, and I'm finding it challenging to prioritize and focus on the most important things. For now, I need to focus on the commentary I'm reading for Sunday's sermon.

Would Friday Be Okay?

I woke up this morning in a cold house. Not exceedingly cold, but 60, which is cold enough. I could hear the furnace working, so I figured I just needed to set the programmable thermostat to start heating a little earlier in the morning. Daughter got up and complained that the house was cold. I checked the thermostat. The furnace was still running, and the temperature was still 60. I felt the air coming out of the vent. It was cold. I went downstairs and checked the furnace, it was cold (though dutifully blowing the cool air throughout the house). I pulled out the home warranty our realtor purchased for us. I read the fine print and entered a service request on their website. We packed up and came over to the church. A local plumbing and heating company just called. She had received my service request. Would Friday be okay?
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I pointed out I had no heat. She offered me Wednesday. I reminded her I had no heat. She put me on hold. Someone will be out this afternoon between 12 and 4:00. So much for my plans to be here until 2:00 this afternoon. Knowing my luck, they will be late, and I won't be able to make it back to the church for my 6:30 and 7:00 meetings this evening. On a cheerier note, I did manage to get into the building and successfully disarm the alarm system. Daughter is unpacking the final boxes of books for me. She was excited about coming this morning. I've opened the door to the spare office and she has put her computer and drawing stuff in there. It might be good that we'll be leaving before noon-- she won't have too long to be bored today.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Okay, I'll Admit It."

We had a busy day. Worship this morning. I went to lunch with the regional church official and Daughter went home with some members (in a red Corvette-- which thrilled her no end). We planted some bulbs this afternoon, I took a short nap, and then it was back to the church to hear some missionaries. When we got home this evening I had Daughter take some things in the garage to the basement. She came in and sat down in the family room, looking content. "Okay, I'll admit it, this place feels like home now."
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I think the welcome she received at the church gave her the reassurance she needed. She was telling everyone that she was going to make real jewelry this week with the kit I bought her yesterday. She's quite excited about it. God is good.

Worship

This morning is my last Sunday to sit in worship without leading it. It has been truly wonderful to have these two weeks free of the responsibility of planning and leading worship. While I enjoy the planning and leading, it does take loads of energy, and it can be hard to truly appreciate worship while responsible for leading it. I enjoy these rare opportunities to sit in the congregation and just soak it in. As I think back, I think this will be the third time this year I've done that-- most of my vacation Sundays have been used to preach elsewhere as part of the search for a new position. Today, we will worship with the people I will begin serving tomorrow. After worship I will go to lunch with the regional church official while Daughter goes home with some members.
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There is a special service to rededicate a rebuilt organ at a neighboring church this afternoon, but right now I think I'll skip it. The cold medicine helped and I slept well last night, but I am still tired. I suspect a nap may be on the agenda for this afternoon. I want to recover from this cold as quickly as possible-- which means I need to take care of myself.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

So Much for Helpful and Cooperative

I mowed the lawn today. It's been a very long time-- about 13 years, in fact, since I mowed a lawn. My lawnmower was difficult to start, so I was determined to keep it running until I had completed the job. Daughter refused to mow, but helped with some trimming, and then disappeared into the house. I was not thrilled. I was trying to figure out how to find out what she was doing, and remember I had my cell phone in my pocket. I called her cell, which was turned off. It took two phone calls to the house before she picked up and reluctantly came back outside to trim in the backyard. I had left the refrigerator unlocked, so I was concerned about her being unsupervised in the house. Her blood sugar was mysteriously high at supper time. She was irate when I asked what she had been into. I don't know what she got into, but I'm fairly confident she was into something.
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After eating a loaded baked potato, she wanted a large apple and peanut butter. I told her she could have a small apple without peanut butter, but she'd need to take additional insulin to cover the carbs. She wasn't happy, and decided she didn't want anything. She commented that she guessed she'd have to get used to eating less. I don't think I had any concept of the amount of extra food she was getting into. She should lose some of the weight she's put on relatively quickly if her food take is reduced that much.
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I'm still not trying to finish the basement or garage as I allow my neck and shoulder time to heal. It was still a productive day. In addition to mowing the lawn I made a big pot of potato soup. I am coming down with a cold. I guess the stress has migrated from my shoulder to my head. It's nice to live so close to stores-- I'm going to drive over to get some cold medicine so I can sleep tonight.

Settling In

Daughter is much calmer and doing so much better as we settle in. This morning when she got up, she reminded me it was Saturday, and I had promised to take her shopping for jewelry making supplies to keep her busy next week on Saturday. I told her she had to do some things first, and reminded her that she hadn't worked as long as the rest of us had yesterday. She acknowledged that was true. While I was making her a list, she began putting away the clean laundry-- one of the times I had planned to put on her chore list. I told her she had to move, as I wanted to be back before the football game started. I heard her crying as she dusted the living room. There are a number of reminders of my parents in the living room-- pictures and some of their furniture. I called her and hugged her, acknowledging it was hard to see reminders of them, and sometimes they made me sad, too. I told her she could look at those things and miss them and feel bad, or she could look at them and remember all the good memories. I reminded her that there would be more good memories. She completed her chores without complaining.
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We went to the craft store and the grocery store, and she was cooperative, and didn't protest when I said no to some of her requests. I really do feel like we are settling in. Instead of unpacking, the focus has shifted to keeping things clean. I printed out the form to get Daughter enrolled in Special Olympics. Sister Best Friend found the website and emailed me a link. We can get the doctor to fill that out when we're there on the 29th. I feel ready to start work on Monday. I'm looking forward to starting work on Monday. I'm loving our new home and this community.

Friday, October 15, 2010

God Is Good

Today we received my driver's license and Daughter's state ID in the mail-- and notification that she has been approved for Medicaid! We didn't even have to go in for an interview. We received notification in ten days time. It's retroactive to October 1, when it stopped in our old state. Apparently the fact that it was a continuing case made things much easier. Now she still doesn't have the card, but that will come in the next few days.
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We have the assessment scheduled for Wednesday at 3:00. Not only that, but apparently the information about needing Medicaid first wasn't accurate, so we could have scheduled it earlier. What I have come to realize, though, is that Daughter needed time with me to adjust and feel more settled before she started into her program. She has been overwhelmed, and if we had pushed to get things done faster, she would have been even more overwhelmed. This slower pace gives her time to see where I am working and what I'm doing and feel settled in our home before she starts in a program.
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The woman I talked to yesterday also gave me some information on what I should request at the assessment. I'm pleased. We finished the living room today, and also got some other things done. We went to see the move Secretariat. It was very good, but it included the death of elderly parents-- in the same order my parents died last year. It brought back memories for both of us.
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I now have a working lawn mower, so tomorrow I'm going to mow my lawn-- hopefully for the last time this year. I'm ready to start work on Monday. God is good. While I've been concerned and impatient about a slow process, I recognize that this has probably been best for Daughter. God's timing is not our timing, and God is never late.

A Better Night

The pain has definitely improved, though it is still there. Before I got up I was considering the possibility of tackling the garage today, but once I got up and started moving around I decided that was not a good idea, as the shoulder is definitely still sore.
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Sister Best Friend and Husband will be here in about an hour. We're going to work on finishing touches this morning, and then go to a movie this afternoon. Hopefully I will post more pictures this evening after we hang art and finish putting things in place.
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Daughter got up early this morning. She wouldn't get up yesterday, so she lost TV and computer privileges. It would seem that that got her attention. She has been in a cooperative mood this morning, which is also good. I know she's looking forward to seeing SBF and SBFH.
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I'm enjoying having a desk to work at in the guest room. I'm going to make use of that desk right now to make some phone calls that need to be made. I hope everyone has a fantastic day!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Different Day

Today we went over to the church and unpacked some books. I got set up on the network, and had the drivers installed for the new color copier we just got. There were people coming in and out, and the passing conversations were fun. Daughter got a little bored, but she did well. We came home and headed over to meet a woman who serves as an advocate for parents who are seeking services for their children. She's going to check some things out and get back to me. I will call tomorrow and see about getting the intake appointment set up, even though the Medicaid hasn't come through yet.
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I had made appointments for Daughter and me with new doctors. They are in the same practice. I chose the woman for Daughter, and the man for me, since he has training in using manipulation to relieve back and neck pain. The couple who introduced me to the advocate use these doctors and like them. I was pleased to hear that. They also told me there is an urgent care center right next to the practice if I decide I need to do something before my appointment on October 29.
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I think I have decided on a pattern for my work week, at least as I begin. Like my predecessor I'm going to make Monday a reading day, but instead of reading at home, I'll go in and read in the office. The Administrative Assistant is off on Monday, so hopefully it will be a quiet day. I know that if I tried to do my reading at home, there would be too many distractions. I also realize that people may stop by the church when they see my car there, and that's okay. Those distractions are opportunities for ministry. Friday and Saturday I will take off. My hope is that the sermon will be done by Thursday. We'll see how that works. I will be in the office in the mornings, and the afternoon will be for visitation and meetings. I will continue to schedule some personal appointments during the day, since I will be spending many evenings at the church.
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I'm looking forward to getting started.

Pain

The left side of my neck down into my shoulder is once again very sore. I put heat on it last night, and had Daughter rub some muscle rub into it. I took arthritis tylenol at bedtime, and the pain still woke me up a little after 3:00. It took me a while to figure out how to get out of bed with the least amount of pain. I finally managed to get up, and put a heat wrap on it. At 5:30 I gave up on sleep and got up. I'm waiting for my stomach medicine to begin to work, and then I'm going to eat something and take ibuprofen.
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The priority this morning is going to be making some more phone calls and finding a doctor. There is an urgent care place not far from here, and if the ibuprofen doesn't give me some relieve, I may check it out today. I'm beginning to wonder if I've somehow damaged my shoulder. Hopefully the ibuprofen will help ease the pain. There is still so much that needs to be done around here....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Piggy Bank


Today was a gray, rainy day, and we were tackling the basement. Daughter was unwrapping fragile items in the basement, and unwrapped a china piggy bank (yes, the picture is of the bank). I quickly took it from her and headed upstairs. I moved quickly in part because I didn't want it to get dropped and broken on the concrete floor, and more importantly, I didn't want Daughter to see me crying. The piggy bank was Dad's. I remember, back when I was an only child, Mom explaining to me the importance of saving money and helping me put my pennies in that bank. I remember her showing me how to use a table knife to slide the coins out.

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Daughter, with her hypervigilance, knew something was wrong and followed me upstairs. She was quite concerned, demanding I call one of my sisters. I assured her I'd be fine, I was just sad. It has been an exhausting day. The basement is almost done. We went out to eat even though it's not complete. There are 5-6 boxes we haven't unpacked. They are the hardest boxes. Even with some boxes left, the basement looks 100 times better.

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The window treatments are in for the living room, so we picked them up before supper. After super we went to another store and bought a floor lamp and some additional storage for the craft area in the basement. Daughter could tell I was exhausted, so when we got home she sent me in to put the heating pad on my sore neck and shoulder while she unloaded the car. Tomorrow we will work in the garage in the morning and then head to the church. We are meeting a woman who has a son in a group home, and hopefully can give me hints on getting services for Daughter.

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Slow Going

We've reached the point in our unpacking where we've done the easy stuff. The stuff that is left is hard, and takes longer. The fact that we're running out of energy doesn't help. We were working on the basement today when a member stopped by to fix a piece of furniture that was damaged in the move. That project took longer than anticipated. After lunch, we'll head back to the basement.
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I promised Daughter supper out when the basement was done. I hope that will motivate both of us to get it finished this afternoon. I hope.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Taking a Toll

The uncertainty on what her program will look like and when she will be able to to start is taking a toll on Daughter. She sobbed in my arms this afternoon, insisting we needed to go back to Tiny Village.
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We made progress on the basement this morning, and then this afternoon we went to the home improvement store and stopped by the church, where I talked to some folks and unpacked some boxes. They are getting me a church credit card. I'm going to have to figure out how I want to structure my work week. In Tiny Village, my day off was Monday. Here, the majority of meetings are on Monday night. In fact, I have two meetings this Monday evening. The office is closed on Monday. My predecessor made Monday a reading day and worked from home that day. He took Friday and Saturday off. I'm going to have to experiment. I told the Administrative Assistant to begin thinking of jobs we could have Daughter do.
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Thursday afternoon we have an invitation to some visit some members, who will introduce us to their neighbor, the mother of an autistic man in a group home. She knows the system. Hopefully she'll be a helpful resource. I have more names of potential doctors I need to call. Progress is being made.

Plans

This Sunday we will worship at our new church home. The regional church official is preaching, and after worship I will go out to lunch with him and Daughter will go home with the friends who had us over for supper last night. I am ready to get started, and am looking forward to just sitting in worship with the congregation.
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In 2 weeks, we'll host the minister who guided the church through the search process for supper. I want to get her insights into the congregation, and she suggested we go out for lunch or coffee, but I decided to have her for supper. I love cooking for others, and this way Daughter can eat with us and then retreat to the basement and her TV. We are going to tackle the basement today, which I am eager to do. Last night I got most of my room done while talking on the phone with a young woman from Tiny Village. She was depressed and needed to talk. So, we talked.
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Daughter is missing Tiny Village quite a bit, and I have been surprised by how little I miss it. I was ready for the move, and I love this place. I know that this is where God wants me, and I so I have a great peace about it. Daughter did have a better day yesterday. We worked together on the study/guest room, and she had dinner with new friends to anticipate. I hope that working on the basement and her hang out area will be exciting for her. We will figure out this morning the fun thing we will do this evening to keep us both motivated. We will build in breaks. We will get it done. It will be a good day.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Done with Another Room

Daughter worked with me today to finish the guest room/study. There is some tweaking still to be done-- I think I'm going to bring up a printer cart that is in the basement. There is room and I need more space on the desk. I also need to hang a new valance in there. Now the only rooms that aren't done upstairs are my bedroom and the living room. The living room just needs the window treatment I ordered and some art and decorative items arranged. My bedroom needs a little more work than that, but not much.
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Tomorrow and Wednesday we're tackling the basement. I promised Daughter that when we finish the basement, we'll go out to eat, as that will merit a celebration. I'm hoping it won't be too bad, and I'm hoping I will find my iron in one of the boxes down there. Tonight we have an invitation for dinner at the home of some members.
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I'm getting anxious to start work. I'm hoping that I can go over to the church one day this week and begin to get my study organized. I'm hoping I'll get me lawn mower back in working order quickly. I need to mow the lawn. I don't think I will have to do it too many times yet this fall, but it definitely needs it.
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My back is protesting, but I'm feeling good about all that I'm accomplishing and the way the house is coming together. There is more room in the guest room/study than I thought there would be. Of course, at one point it was the dumping ground for all the boxes we didn't know where to put. Daughter did a wonderful job of organizing batteries and electrical items today. She has done well, and is very anxious to head out for dinner. This couple is her favorite right now.

Grief, Again

Last night Daughter and I watched a show, and then I remembered we needed to get the recycling out. We worked together on getting it out to the curb, and she began to cry. I asked her what was wrong, and she talked about how it wasn't right that Grandma and Grandpa aren't here to see our new home. I agreed with her, and then I began to cry. I reminded her that it was their money that enabled us to buy our home. I told her I was sure they were proud and happy for us. She was very apologetic about making me cry. She was also very concerned for me.
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I do miss them. September 29 was the first anniversary of Dad's death. It was the day the movers arrived with all of our belongings. I know they would be so excited to have us back in the same state. I know they would love our new house. Mom would fuss over decorating and organizing the kitchen. Dad would have more practical suggestions. He would have wanted to know all the details of the inspection and mortgage process. He would think we needed more light in the house, and would be suggesting where to put lamps and such.
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Daughter went to bed, apologizing for making me cry and giving me lots of hugs and telling me I needed to go to bed and get a good night's sleep. She's right. I was weepy the rest of the evening, and stayed up much longer than I should. I guess I was due for another round of grief. It's part of the healing process.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Change of Pace

After worship this morning we ate in a restaurant Daughter has been wanting to try. We went to the famous farm market down the road and bought more apples. Then we came home and I read the paper while Daughter napped. I turned on a football game and we began cooking. I peeled apples and Daughter used our corer/slicer on those that would fit (some were too big). When we were done, we'd made 10 cups of apple sauce. There are 16 servings of apple sauce in individual containers labeled with date and carb count locked in the freezer. The other 2 cups we're going to give to our supper hosts tomorrow night. .
Then I made spaghetti-- 13 servings of it. We ate 2 servings for supper, and the rest is labeled and locked in the freezer. Once again I am amazed by how much easier it is to cook in my new kitchen. I am amazed by how much less exhausting shopping is when the stores are within 5 minutes of home instead of 20 minutes (or more) away. The kitchen is clean, and Daughter is downstairs watching her shows while I am upstairs watching my shows.
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This week I'm gong to see if I can begin the process of getting Daughter assessed for service without Medicaid. We're going to finish unpacking. I may start unpacking and organizing my new office at the church. Friday we're going to go see Secretariat with Sister Best Friend and SBFHusband.
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In a while, I'll have Daughter come watch a show we both enjoy with me. I'll have her help me plan out the week. She's already said she wants to tackle the study/guest room tomorrow. Sounds good to me.

Worship

Today and next Sunday I will have the opportunity to simply sit in a congregation with no obligation for leading worship. That is an opportunity that I don't get very often (with vacation and study leave, I can do it up to 6 Sunday mornings a year). This year I used some of my vacation for the search process, so I really didn't get as many opportunities as I would have liked.
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Today I will go across town to the church where the theologian is preaching. I will go and be anonymous. I will go and experience worship in a new place. It will be wonderful. Next Sunday my hope is to go and sit in the congregation at Capital. I want to experience worship there before have the responsibility of leading it each week. I look forward to that, too.
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I have gotten out of the habit of listening to podcasts of sermons on a regular basis. I want to put that back into my day, too. I want to be spiritually strong, that I might lead the people of Capital to spiritual growth. I'm excited about beginning ministry with them. There is much to do this week, but I think (hope) that by the time I begin work on the 18th, we will be unpacked and settled in. For today, I am grateful for the opportunity to sit in worship.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Intellectual Stimulation

About 5 years ago Brother was in my part of the world on a business trip. He came and spent the night with us. He informed me it was time for me to get out of Tiny Village. He carefully listed the reasons why I had to leave. He informed me my brain was shrivelling up and dying due to lack of intellectual stimulation.
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I live just west of Capital. This evening I drove to a church just east of Capital for a free lecture by a theologian. It took less than 25 minutes to get there. It was wonderful. I sat there soaking in his words and taking notes. I'm going to have to rework the sermon I had planned for the 24th as a result of what he said, and I'm already thinking through the modifications. I don't think my brain is in danger of shrivelling up right now. We will go back tomorrow morning for worship, since he is going to be preaching. I'm looking forward to it.

A Day Off

We haven't taken on any new projects today. I got up and cooked breakfast (usually we just have cereal). We finished cleaning up from yesterday, and then went to a neighboring town for a fall festival. We ate junk food and shopped at the craft show. We stopped to pick up a couple of things at the store, and then came home. We're watching a college football game. A theologian is giving a lecture at a church on the other side of town, so I think we'll go to that this evening. He's also preaching tomorrow morning, so I think that is where we will worship tomorrow. I heard this man about 30 years ago, and I was impressed. I'm amazed he's still speaking, as I thought he was old then, though looking at his bio, he was younger than I am now.
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Speaking of old there was a classic car show at the festival today. How can cars that were new in my lifetime be classics? It was rather disconcerting.
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I have adopted a new strategy with Daughter. She wants to go back to Tiny Village. I informed her that wasn't going to happen, so she might as well put that thought out of her mind. I went on to explain that she was making choices that were making her miserable, and she could continue to do that, or she could make better decisions. I explained that there was still a lot of work to do to finish unpacking the house. I told her she could help and work with me, and there would be time for games, shopping, and fun together. I told her if she chose not to work with me, I would have to do it alone, and there wouldn't be time for those things and she would be miserable.
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I'm going to print out a calendar for the week so she can see what's happening. I'll let her choose when we will work on particular rooms. I'm hoping she is enjoying this day off and will want to work with me. Monday night we're going over to have supper with her favorite couple in the church, so that's something for her to look forward to. She doesn't do well with unstructured time, and it's a challenge, trying to provide structure for her in the midst of the chaos of moving.
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This day off has been good for both of us, I'm sure. Moving is stressful. I'm happy and confident that this was the right move for us, and it's stressful for me. Daughter didn't have any control over the decision to move here, and she still doesn't know what life will be like for her. That makes it even more stressful. All things considered, she's doing well. We both are.

Done!





























Sister Best Friend and SBFHusband came yesterday to help with the ongoing settling in. We didn't get everything on my list done, but I'm delighted about how much we did get done, including a big job that wasn't on my list. The pleated shade has been hung in the living room. My first local newspaper arrived yesterday, and the big department store at the mall is having a huge sale on window treatments, so SBF and I headed there while Daughter and SBFHusband headed to the home improvement store to get supplies to hang a mirror and a clothes rod. I was looking for scarves to drape over the window with the pleated shade, but as we were wandering through the window treatments, we discovered the perfect drapes for the family room. We had to order two scarves for the living room, but after 2 trips we hung 8 panels in the family room. We all agree they were perfect.

I knew I wanted something with grommets, but was struggling to find the right color. I had considered brown (to match the panelling), blue (blue to match the furniture) and had finally decided on a light off white or natural to lighten the room. The ones we found are off-white with a wide brown panel at the bottom and narrow horizontal blue and brown strips right above the brown panel.

We came home and took the drapery rods that were in the windows apart, removing the working parts and dusting them. We threw the panels in the dryer to get out the wrinkles, and then we hung them. We also selected and hung some art. I have decided I need to purchase a touchier light for the corner behind the TV and a new lampshade for one of the lamps, but other than that, the family room is done, and I love it. I love it as much as I love the kitchen. Last week we had drilled holes to run speaker wire to the top of the built in bookshelves and notched the cabinet to allow room for an extension cord to run to the components.

Daughter is struggling. She didn't have TV privileges yesterday because she wouldn't get out of bed. That soured her mood. At one point she said, "Get these people out of here!" and stormed off to her bedroom. SBF asked if they should leave, but I told her to stay. When we finished the family room, we called Daughter back to play a card game. She had a blast, and went to bed happy. I was glad that we were able to end the evening on a positive note for her.

I'm going to have to figure out something for her to do this coming week. The unstructured time is just so hard on her. She claimed she was hearing voiced on Thursday. Yesterday she had a sobbing meltdown and insisted we had to go back to Tiny Village. I need to give her something to look forward to here and a place where she can make new friends. Hopefully I can begin that process on Monday or Tuesday (don't know what will be open on Columbus Day.)
The pictures are the family room. Again, my cell phone doesn't provide the best quality, but you get the idea.

Friday, October 8, 2010

So Much for Doing Things Gradually

I had great plans for living with things the way they are for a year before making changes to the house. Of course, when I had a crew of volunteers ready to paint, I decided not to wait to choose paint colors. When the curtains in the living room fell apart in the washing machine, I decided to order a pleated shade immediately for in there. The pleated shade has arrived, and is sitting in a box in the living room. Sister Best Friend and SBFHusband are coming today, and installing the shade is one of the items on my list of things to do. I also find myself wanting to find the valance or whatever I will put over it to finish the room. I've been looking at drapes for the family room, and have decided that I definitely need to paint the ceiling and the walls above the panelling. I want it all done now. Never mind that there are still some boxes to be unpacked in my bedroom, study, basement and garage.
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I hope to hang some art work today and finish unpacking the upstairs boxes. It didn't take very long for this place to feel like home, and I'm impatient to get things finished. Hopefully today will be a productive day.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another Blessing

Daughter began complaining again last night about her bad tooth. The dentist we saw when we lived in Tiny Village stopped taking Medicaid and refused to see her. I promised to get her an appointment today. So, I called the office of the dentist who is a member of the congregation. He had an opening at 2:00 this afternoon. I took her in, and he took an x-ray, and the tooth couldn't be saved. It was a baby tooth that didn't have a permanent tooth under it. The cavity was to the nerve, and the bone had pulled away. So, he pulled it. They were wonderful with Daughter, who had never had her mouth numbed like that. He didn't charge me. I made an appointment for myself on November 1. Once her mouth heals, we'll talk about whether she needs an implant or not.
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A member came with his truck and took my lawnmower to the shop to be repaired. It's warmed up this week, so I'm going to have to mow at least one more time. I'm continuing my quest to fill the freezer with easy meals before I start work. Today I separated 5 lbs of shredded cheese into smaller portions and used my vacuum sealer on them and threw them in the freezer. I also turned 5 lbs of ground turkey into taco meat. It was also vacuum sealed into smaller portions and thrown in the freezer. Have I mentioned that I love my new kitchen?

Little Things

Yesterday evening I was in the kitchen making broccoli salad and cooking turkey filets. Daughter was in the kitchen making a jello salad. We were both in the kitchen cooking at the same time. We were both cooking things that required multiple ingredients. We both had plenty of room in which to work. Have I mentioned recently that I love my new kitchen? The quality of these pictures isn't great-- but here's the kitchen:




Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Frustrations and Joys

A friend warned me it will likely to take more than 45 days to get Daughter's Medicaid. According to her sources, the system is overwhelmed and understaffed right now. I decided I'd best find a doctor, since she will be out of some of her meds at the end of the month. So, I called the family practice group recommended by the nurse on the search committee. They aren't accepting new patients right now. I can call back in a couple of months. The woman couldn't tell me of any doctors who were accepting new patients. I tried another family practice group connected with the same hospital. They might take us. The woman took a lot of information and said they'd let me know in a week or so. She asked about the meds Daughter was on, and suggested an internist might be a better choice. I asked that they provide a referral if they aren't willing to take her on, and requested it be a woman. She warned me I may need to take Daughter to urgent care to get her prescriptions. Sigh.
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On a more positive note, we went to the bank, out to lunch, the home improvement store, and an office supply store. We went east and then west of home for these. The total mileage for all of our errands was less than the mileage one way in Tiny Village.
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The bank I chose also holds my mortgage and is the one the church uses. Because of the mortgage, I got a good deal on my other accounts. They faxed the forms to the church, and I'm already set up for direct deposit of my pay checks. In Tiny Village, they didn't trust computers and would never have considered direct deposit. They contacted Social Security for me about getting Daughter's SSI direct deposited. They entered many of my accounts into bill pay for me.
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I've been pondering what I'm going to do with Daughter as I wait for her Medicaid to start so we can get her assessed and enrolled in a program. Today I offered her two options: we can find adult daycare, or we can get her activities to do at the church. She chose activities to do at the church. I'm going to look for craft things she can do. She requested beads to make jewelry. She wanted to go buy them today, but I said we'd wait until right before I start work so she won't be bored with them by then. Anyone have suggestions for easy crafts to keep her busy? Crafts that don't generate junk? I think I'll throw some academic work in, too. She talks about wanting to get more education every so often.
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We'll make it work. Tomorrow I need to find her a dentist. She still has a bad tooth.

Finding the Right Motivator

Daughter has been staying in bed in the mornings-- when I call her (and she finally acknowledges), she's wide awake; she's just avoiding getting up because she's wet. Monday evening I told Daughter that if she wasn't up on her own before 7:00, I would know that she wasn't getting enough sleep and she'd have to go to bed at 8:00. That didn't work. So last night, before she went to bed at 8:00, I told her that if she couldn't get up this morning on her own, there'd be no TV today. When my alarm went off at 6:00, she was already in the bathroom.
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I think getting back into a routine was helpful for her. She has asked for (and received) a list of chores for which I will pay her. She seems to be in a very chipper mood this morning, for which I'm grateful. Of course, the downside of this is that I'm not getting my time alone in the morning. Right now she's stacking collapsed boxes against the wall in the garage. I'm hoping it will take her a while so I can finish my morning reading and reflection.
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I want to finish unpacking the main floor today and open bank accounts. Hopefully we can get to the basement tomorrow. I also need to make some appointments.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

45 Days

We picked up the medicaid application today, then went to a train station that has been converted into a pizza place and ate lunch and filled out the application. We took it back. They will let us know within 45 days if Daughter is approved. We don't have an appointment with a caseworker, and the only thing the worker who took the application would tell us is that we'll hear within 45 days. We need Medicaid before we start assessment to get her into a program.
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Daughter was distressed by the application process, and told me it made her feel worthless. The fact that it could be 45 days before we hear from them and can begin seeking out services for her was also very distressing. I have to admit I'm not thrilled with the idea that it could be months before I get her settled into a program.
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On a more positive note, I now have church keys and an alarm code. I stopped by the church today, and I'm going to love it. There were people stopping by and activities being discussed. I found a flyer on my desk about a program this weekend. One of the churches in the area has a well known theologian coming in for several events. I heard him over 25 years ago, and he was wonderful.
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Tomorrow will be another busy day. I'm working to get some structure and routine into Daughter's life. If it's going to be a while before she can start in a program, I'm going to have to help her figure out ways to cope without one.

A Morning of Running


I am slowly beginning to get my freezers stocked up. I made spanish rice Sunday evening and put 6 servings in the freezer. Yesterday I bought 2 packages of chicken at the warehouse store and put them in the freezer. I also have the ingredients to make spaghetti and taco meat for the freezer.

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This morning, though, is going to be a morning of errands. We'll drop off things off at a donation site, go pick up a medicaid application, drop some things off at the church, go open bank accounts, and probably stop by the store yet again for more items we need. The nonstick surface on the bathtub wore off long ago, so I really need to buy a bathmat before one of us falls.

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Daughter continues to do well. I'm sure at some point the lack of a daily routine will begin to take a toll, but it helps that I'm keeping her busy and that she is getting lots of attention from me. Last night she went to the basement to watch TV. She loves the fact that the system I ordered enables her to be downstairs watching a different TV show from what I have on upstairs. She likes having the food locked up and having to ask for food. She's a little bit frustrated because I have yet to let her go explore the mall on her own. I've promised that will come in time.

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When we were coming back from Tiny Village on Sunday, she insisted the move was a mistake and we needed to turn around and go back. Once we got home, she was content. I really am amazed at how well she is handling things. The weather is cool down and it is feeling more like fall. I think I may need to see if I can find some firewood today so we can try out the fireplace this evening. I think we'd both enjoy that.

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The picture is our front door-- with the wreath given to us in Tiny Village on Sunday. I'll post more pictures as we get more rooms finished. I've yet to hang any art, but we are making progress.

Monday, October 4, 2010

So Much for 2-4 Hours

So the tech arrived to install stuff a little after 9:00. The signal wasn't strong enough, so he put in a request to a cable tech. He got a stronger signal, and the original tech came back. It was after 4:00 before he finished. They said 2-4 hours for the install. I was actually tied up for 7 hours. We did get a lot of work done in the garage, and how have room to park the car in it again. Unfortunately, Sister wants me to save all my boxes as she expects to be moving in a few months. We are collapsing them, but even collapsed they take up a lot of space. Daughter worked with me on the garage, and is delighted to have her own TV space in the basement. She is also back online.
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We didn't get a medicaid application, nor did we get to the bank. I think we'll head to the warehouse store this evening. Tomorrow morning we'll pick up the medicaid application and go to the bank to open new accounts.
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One major frustration is with the post office in Tiny Village. I had ordered my mail held, and then asked to have it delivered on Saturday. My plan was to pick it up Sunday, and have forwarding begin today. So I checked yesterday. No mail.
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I called the post office today. They didn't deliver it because there was a forwarding order to begin today, and they were confused. They offered to deliver it today. I pointed out I wasn't there today. So, they are forwarding to it. I'm not happy, but we'll survive.

Waiting

This morning someone is coming to install our phone/internet/TV. I was told installation could take 4 hours. There is a 2 hour window during which the installer is supposed to arrive. Of course, my morning appliance delivery last week didn't happen until 2:00 in the afternoon, so I'm not overly optimistic. Much of the day is going to be spent waiting-- waiting for the installer to arrive, and then waiting for him to finish. There is obviously still plenty of work to be done around the house, but there are also many errands that need to be run and phone calls that need to be made.
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It will be like being back in Tiny Village, but the county seat is 20 miles away, and I need to go there to pick up a medicaid application for Daughter. She needs to have that approved before we can set up the assessments to get her services. I also need to get that so I can get her set up with doctors. Some of her prescriptions run out at the end of this month, and I will need a primary care doctor in order to access the specialists she will need. The doctors will need to get her medical records from her old doctors.
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It took 2 hours to get driver's license, state ID, and the car registered on Friday. Brother and Sister were questioning why I went on the 1st of the month, when the office would be extra busy, then they were questioning why I hadn't done other things yet. I explained to them that I had to establish residency to do all those other things, and that in order to establish residency, I had to spend 2 hours getting driver's license and state ID on Friday. Things have to happen in a certain order. There is lots of waiting involved.
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One of my friends gave me a card. It has a photograph of a woman looking harried as she carries a mattress through a narrow corridor lined with junk. Inside it says, "Moving-- a little bit of hell on earth." My friend was afraid I'd be offended. I was delighted. I think it is a wonderful description of moving. Now it's time to get Daughter up out of bed and get busy compiling the to do list for the week. Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Final Chapter

Today I said goodbye to Tiny Village. I was delighted by the people who made a special effort to be there-- one older gentleman who grew up in the church drove 2 hours to be there for today. He doesn't come this way much, as his health has faded. He's a retired pastor, and has always been supportive of my ministry. One woman who I felt had been avoiding me since the announcement of my departure came to find me after worship. She fell into my arms crying, "What am I going to do without you?" I had suspected she was upset by the news of my departure.
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There was a poem, and memories shared, a beautiful cake, and lots of hugs. I did pretty well, though one song they sang for me was hard:



Daughter did well. It was an emotional day for her, too. There were lots of children there today. I baptized many of them. The wife of one man told me he said goodbye, but couldn't handle telling me personally. He was too emotional. I understand.

Sister and Short Niece were great company. Sister insisted on driving both ways-- she doesn't believe in following the speed limit like I do. I told her to slow down several times, but it was nice to let someone else do the driving.

Kitten was glad to see us when we got home. She is using the litter box all the time now-- for the first time ever. The litter box is in a back corner of the basement, so I don't have litter tracked all over the house.

I know this is disjointed. I'm tired. Daughter is asleep on the couch beside me. Tomorrow morning we'll finally get phone/internet/TV hooked up. Then we'll need to sit down and begin to figure out a schedule for the rest of the week. There is much to do. I'm feeling pretty good about the progress we've made on the house. There's much more to do, but it feels manageable now.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Different Day

I slept in this morning until almost 7:00. I did some cleaning in the morning, and then welcomed Brother, Sister, and Short Niece to our new home. Brother hauled out my grill and cooked turkey filets and hamburgers. I made broccoli salad (which Sister pigged out on big time. It's her favorite thing I make.) We sat around and talked. It's been a long time since the three of us have been together just to be with one another and visit. When we've been together recently it's been for a funeral, or a holiday, or to sort through Mom and Dad's belongings. It was nice just to sit around talking together. Very nice.
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Now Daughter, Sister, Short Niece and I are in a motel 12 miles from Tiny Village. Sister drove my car, because she doesn't like the way I drive (I believe in the speed limit). Daughter is having a hard time. She doesn't want to say goodbye to everyone tomorrow. Having Sister and Brother at the house made her miss Grandma and Grandpa. It will be a hard day. Saying goodbye won't be easy. We spent over 14 years in Tiny Village. Knowing that we will be heading home to our new house in Capital tomorrow afternoon will make it a little bit easier.
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Daughter loves our new home. She loves her bedroom. She loves the people. She loves being able to have more contact with family. Saying goodbye will be hard, but the sorrow will be diminished by the excitement of the new opportunities that lie ahead. I know it won't be perfect in Capital (though I haven't told Daughter yet), but I'm ready for new challenges. For four years I told Daughter that God would call us to the right place at the right time. She acknowledges I was right. Now it's time to get some sleep before an emotional day.

Water

In Tiny Village I had well water. Well water that was full of sulfur and iron. I stopped buying white clothes, knowing I would never be able to keep them white. I bought water at the station in the grocery store that I put into 5 gallon jugs. If I needed ice, I bought it. I could never get my sink clean, because the water let a white film on it. My drinking glasses were permanently cloudy.
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The water was heavily treated. We had a softener and a system that used hydrogen peroxide to get the sulfur out of the water. They helped, but it still wasn't "good" water. For 14 years, I lived with that water. The sulfur ate through the controls of my washing machine. I went through 3 machines and had major repairs between replacements. It ate the coils on the air conditioner. We went through 3 coils and finally had to replace the entire system. My sister wouldn't spend the night in my house, as the sulfur odor made her sick.
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After 14 years, bad water was normal and to be expected. Then I moved to Capital. I can drink the water. I need less shower gel. Our new refrigerator gives me water and ice through the door. My glasses sparkle when they come out of the dishwasher. I had forgotten the joy of drinking ice water, of having ice in my ice tea, of being able to leave the sink sparkling clean. I am loving it. I will never again take good water for granted.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pain

I've had a sore muscle on the left side of my neck running down into my shoulder and back for weeks. I've attributed it to stress and put heat and muscle rub on it. I take arthritis tyl.enol, but have been off ibuprofen due to stomach issues. I just ate a sandwich and took ibuprofen. The pain woke me up. I also put a heating pad back on it.
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Friday shouldn't be quite as hectic. I'm going to take care of driver's license, getting a state ID for Daughter, registering my car, picking up a Medicaid application for Daughter, and getting some groceries in the morning. Sister Best Friend and her husband are coming around noon. We will then continue the unpacking and organizing efforts.
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I still have to finalize sermon and worship plans for Sunday in Tiny Village. Brother, Sister, and Short Niece are coming on Saturday. Sister and Short Niece are going with me to Tiny Village on Sunday. We've decided to get a motel near there on Saturday evening to make Sunday a little bit easier.
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I think it's time to see if I can go back to sleep. I've been up for almost 2 hours now. I think the pain is a little bit better. It will be another busy day, so sleep is good.