Monday, January 31, 2011


I sat and talked to a member for a while today. He was waiting for a report on his sister, but anticipated that she would be declared brain dead and removed from the vent. She fell this weekend. It wasn't a long fall or a particularly hard fall, but it was enough of a fall that she couldn't get up, and it's cold outside, and....
Tomorrow I'm doing the service for Sister Best Friend's father-in-law. He fell last week. It wasn't a long fall, and he was able to get up, but it's never good to hit your head when your on blood thinners....
I don't recall ever having people die as a result of a fall (a broken hip has started a decline that ended in death), but never has the fall been the direct cause. Now I have 2 in less than a week (though I'm only doing one of the services).
Just another reminder that we can't predict life and death. In the midst of life and death, there are people freaking out over the snow. Somehow that just doesn't seem that important right now. There's nothing like dealing with death to give one perspective.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snow and Joy

Capital is north of Tiny Village. It's less then 200 miles, so I was not anticipating this much difference in winter weather. We've had more snow, and it sticks around. We've had more cold days, including about a week when the highs were in the single digits. I think I've worn my boots more this winter than I did in 14 years in Tiny Village. I'm also wearing my winter coat on a daily basis, something I seldom did in Tiny Village (in part because I was only outside for very short periods of time.) They're talking about a foot of snow this week.
So it's cold and snowy and I'm learning to get a running start at my driveway that goes up hill a little bit.... Yet here's the thing: I'm loving it. Now give me another month and I may feel differently, but for now, I'm happy. This much snow in Tiny Village would have shut things down. Here, we just keep going. I'm relearning how to drive in snow, and am very grateful for anti-lock brakes and traction control.
I'm loving leading worship here-- the congregation is responsive and appreciative. We are having visitors on a regular basis. There is an energy and excitement in the air as we watch God at work among us. In the midst of winter, I am experiencing joy.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


We spent part of yesterday afternoon/evening with Sister Best Friend and her in-laws. Her father-in-law died, and I am going to have the honor of doing the funeral this week. (FiL was part of Sister Best Friend's congregation, and it would be too hard for her to do the funeral-- I was honored when they selected me from the suggestions she offered.)
I was somewhat surprised to discover that Daughter had a connection with him. She was distressed to hear he was dying, and then dead. She had recently been to his house while she was staying with SBF and SBF husband for a couple of hours while I was at an appointment in their town. It also triggered her memories of the death of my parents. We talked for a bit on the drive over, and then I suggested she listen to her music while I made some phone calls.
When we got there, we ended up sitting next to each other on a couch in a room that was full of family and friends. Daughter took advantage of the time to snuggle in next to me. She's bigger than I am, and I'm sure it looks slightly ridiculous, but snuggling in next to me like a very young child is very comforting for her. She was bored, and not real happy about being there, but the fact that she was getting that snuggle time made it okay. Actually, I'm hoping it was more than okay for her, that it helped calm her fears. The family knows of Daughter even if they haven't actually spent time with her, and they were wonderfully accepting. She did make a few comments and offer a few observations, all appropriate. In fact, SBFH was sensitive to the difficulties this might present for Daughter, and wanted to make sure I knew I could come around her needs/schedule.
As we left for home, I thanked her for being so patient and cooperative. She was surprised. We talked for a few minutes, and then she retreated into her music and I began returning phone calls. Oh, and the calls stop when I'm in traffic or the city-- they are for the long, lonely sections of the drive. Daughter will go with me to the funeral.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Big Duh

I'm reading this book about Borderline Personality Disorder. While the information isn't necessarily new to me, the book has helped me identify what has been triggering Daughter and some of her behaviors. The big issue for BPD's is fear of abandonment. Since we moved her to Capital, I have been much busier with my ministry. I have to face the reality that I have been less available to Daughter, even when I am physically present with her I am not as emotionally available as I was in Tiny Village. This have been very good for my mental health, and very hard on Daughter. The acting out she has done in response has pushed me further away from her, setting off a downward spiral.

I'm going to work on making daily time to have positive, focused interaction with Daughter. Hopefully that will help calm her anxiety. I am also very much aware that I am much less stressed now that the board retreat is behind me. That was taking a great deal of time and energy. Hopefully having that behind me will make it easier to give Daughter the reassurance she needs so desperately.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting Attention

Yesterday evening was another Meet the Pastor gathering in a home. Daughter spent much of the time in the basement playing wii with a 4 year old. Eventually the 4 year old went home, and she was upstairs sitting on the floor leaning against me. We were having a lively discussion on how to make the church more visitor friendly. She became upset and announced that she'd sent a text to a friend from Tiny Village, and the friend's mother had texted back that the friend had died. That certainly kills the conversation. I expressed sympathy, and asked to see the text. She couldn't figure out what had happened to it. As I was examining her phone, a text came in from the friend, telling Daughter she was fine.
"Look, I know you're bored and want attention, but I think you can come up with better ways of getting it than telling me your friend has died."
"Can we go now?"
"Well that's certainly a better way to tell me what you're feeling."
This conversation was quite public, and she was not at all embarrassed or ashamed of her lie. I guess it gives people a good idea of the kind of things I deal with on a daily basis. I am discovering more people within the congregation who have disabled family members. I think that is why they are so understanding.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Today's Laugh

Turning on Daughter's bedroom light and pulling the covers off of her is no longer getting her up. She was awake and cold in a wet bed for 45 minutes today. When we finally headed to the church (late), neither one of us was in a very good work. She insisted she was being mistreated and her rights were being violated. "I'm going to call the cops! It's not right to make me go out to places and have fun!"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Therapist

We met Daughter's new therapist today. She works with people with borderline regularly, and does Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Daughter liked her. I'm glad.
Yesterday I was so tired I went to bed before 8:00. It helped, but then I woke up this morning, Daughter had been into food, of course. It wasn't the best way to start the day. It was a productive day at the church, though. I'm glad I have something positive to balance out the challenges Daughter is giving me right now.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'll Try

I remember clearly the counseling professor at seminary telling us, "'I'll try,' means, 'I won't.'" Daughter told me she'd try to make it a better evening. She's unhappy that I won't let her play video games. She's still very good at watching me work. I suppose I should be grateful she emptied the kitchen trash. Of course, once again she didn't put another trash bag in it.
I looked through all the newsprint from our board retreat Saturday and summarized it. I'll email it to everyone tomorrow. There were several things I wasn't clear about from the notes, so hopefully others will be able to clarify for me. I have my first follow up meeting tomorrow afternoon. We'll be making plans to combine two committees. I also wrote a bunch of newsletter articles today. Administrative Assistant will be in tomorrow to begin putting it all together.
Daughter's program is supposed to move into their own space two weeks from today. That will ease my stress somewhat, as I will no longer have to stay at the church as late in the afternoon, and I definitely won't be going into the church on Fridays. I'll be able to get a full day off again. Of course, that means I'll have to have the work done by Friday. It will be nice, though, to have that freedom again. It will be the first time since we moved that a bus will pick Daughter up and leave me home alone for the day. I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Letter of Apology

Sunday afternoon is always a low energy time for me. Sunday morning takes a lot out of me. We had a dinner after worship today. It was a good time to visit with people. I'm still tired from yesterday, so I had even less energy than usual. Plus, on the way home we stopped to pick up Daughter's prescriptions. Her medicaid is all messed up. Suddenly it won't cover prescriptions she's been on for years. They won't cover her diabetes test strips. Usually her prescriptions are less than $20 a month. Today they were $100. So I got home and the laundry was piled high. It's hard to keep up with laundry when Daughter's linens need to be washed daily and we aren't home most evenings.
I asked her to bring me the dark hamper and bring in some firewood. It is very cold here today, and I wanted a fire as I sat and relaxed. She told me she would. Except she didn't. She complained when I reminded her. So I did it. So went the afternoon. She wanted to watch something on TV with me. Then she laid down on the couch, taking all the space and covering herself with the throw she supposedly gave me for Christmas, except it's never available for me to use because she's using it. I asked her to make space. She got mad, threw a pillow at me, called me a name, and stormed off.
I continued to work on the laundry (the 4th load is in the washing machine now-- and there's still more to do). She pouted. Finally she came out and gave me a letter. It says:
"Dear Mom,
I am sorry for being a jackass to you. I did not mean to ignore you or not listen to. I will try to do my best to do better with teamwork and not to make you tired.
Let me take care of the rest of the laundry. Sorry Mom. I love you very much. I will prove it to you if I have to.
Love-4-ever and always."
She told me she wanted to cook supper for me so I could relax. I had misgivings, but decided to allow her to make amends. The dryer began to buzz. Daughter ignored it. Supper was okay (tuna, macaroni, mozzarella cheese, and salad topping). The dryer stopped buzzing. I went in to check it out. Then I asked Daughter if she was going to take care of it. No answer. She was in her bedroom. She'd snuck some ice cream out of the freezer and was eating it. She wasn't happy about being found.
Oh, and that letter? It was just words, it didn't mean anything. At least, that's what she said. Then she wonders why I don't believe her when she tells me something. So, I'm taking care of the laundry. I'm cleaning up her supper mess. I'm going to have to take the recycling out if I want it to go out. I get to fill her pill boxes. I've been cussed out and called all kinds of names. Oh, and I'm even more tired than I was when she promised to take care of me for the rest of the day. She's in her bedroom considering how terrible it is to be my daughter. She starts with a therapist who is supposedly good with borderline personality disorder on Tuesday. I hope it helps.


I went to bed exhausted last night, and woke up this morning excited and energized by the memory of all we'd done yesterday. I was talking about perspective and looking at the world through the lens of faith, so I decided this morning that I needed sunglasses for the children's sermon. I stopped at the every thing store on my way to church and bought some star sunglasses party favors. The kids (and adults) loved them. One of the adults wanted to know if he could have a pair-- he's going to use them to promote the study we will be doing during Lent. I don't even want to know how, but I think he's going to be wearing them next Sunday while the memory is still fresh for everyone. Should be interesting.
Daughter continues to be oppositional. I think she's frustrated that she's not getting a bigger reaction out of me. Being busy and appreciated at the church is a wonderful balance for the struggles with her. I'm so glad we're here in Capital.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Long Day

Today was our board retreat at the church. We were together 7 hours. The morning was spent on team-building exercises and education, and then this afternoon we spent time planning priorities and restructuring to meet those priorities. We combined 2 committees. We are discussing combining two more, but there was one person who was directly involved and didn't think it was a good idea. We are giving him time to reflect on the proposal.
We decided my priorities for the year are equipping and connecting-- equipping the committees and officers to be more effective in our ministry, and connecting with and getting to know the members, which I am doing through small group gatherings weekly. They also cautioned me on the need to take care of myself and delegate. They are willing to support and help in any way they can. At the end we were talking about positive things to celebrate in the newsletter-- they wanted to celebrate my leadership of them. This group is very responsive to my leadership style. It was a really good day.
The board's priorities are implementation, communication, and accountability. There are some major changes to be implemented. We talked quite a bit about communication, and are going to put more emphasis on accountability. I'm excited about the plans we made. Very excited.
Daughter did well at the home of one of the saints, and as a bonus, her husband decided to hitch a ride with me instead of driving separately. That meant I had help with set-up, clean-up, and loading things back into my car.
I apparently didn't save the work I did on my sermon yesterday, so I'm starting from scratch. On a positive note, I definitely wasn't happy with the work I had accomplished, so it's not all bad. I am exhausted after that long day, though, so I'm not thrilled about starting from scratch. It will be fine. They were still talking about my sermon on evangelism last Sunday. I don't think I'll be able to come up with anything to top that. I think, though, that they will understand that my focus was elsewhere this week.
Now I'm off to construct a sermon. Hopefully it will be less disjointed than this post....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Busy Week

I didn't realize I hadn't blogged since Tuesday-- it's been busy, to say the least. This has been a week of hearing stories. I am always honored when people share their stories with me, especially the painful ones. It helps me understand them a bit better and builds a connection between us. I heard two stories of abandonment by parents, and one of betrayal by a spouse.
I spent an evening with two elderly couples getting to know them and eating raspberry pie and drinking tea (all on china, quite elegant). I spent an evening meeting with a board member to make some plans regarding a tricky pastoral situation with a mentally ill member, and working with another board member to finalize plans for our board retreat tomorrow.
I'm really excited about our plans for the retreat tomorrow. We will spend the morning on education and team building, and the afternoon we will set priorities and make plans for how we're going to do our ministry together this year. Today I realized what my focus has become: equipping the boards and committees to be effective in their ministry.
Daughter has been frustrated by my busyness, and working overtime on creating drama to get my attention. It hasn't been working, so she keeps escalating. As we drove home tonight I explained that when I have busy weeks, she will get more if she cooperates, and her current strategy just stresses me and pushes me away. Will our conversation make a difference? Hopefully it will for a few days, at least.
We are in a deep freeze right now. I ordered pizza for supper, and I'm sitting in front of the fireplace relaxing. I struggled with my sermon this afternoon, and am not happy with what I have. I may do a little more work on it, or I may surrender to the thought that it isn't supposed to be written until after our board retreat tomorrow. I need to go to bed early tonight. It's going to be a long day tomorrow, and I'm exhausted. Daughter gets to hang with one of the saints tomorrow-- her husband is going to be at our board retreat, so Daughter will have fun watching chick flicks with her.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

Yesterday Daughter was very proud of herself. Numerous times she commented on how happy she was because she'd made it a good day. I affirmed her, and told her she could make today a good day, too. She went to bed determined to do just that.
This morning she wasn't up when I got up, so when I finished in the bathroom I told her she could have the bathroom and asked if she was going to have another good day. "I can try." After several more attempts to motivate her to get up, she was still in bed and we were running out of time. She announced she was staying home. I informed her it was icy, so she wouldn't be able to walk anywhere and I would not come back home to get her, so she needed to move. She reluctantly got up and in the shower, and once again I didn't get to work as early as I had hoped.
I do not understand why she makes mornings so difficult. She was so excited and proud of herself yesterday. After my meeting I took her to a store where she wanted to buy some things. It's frustrating to see her continue to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lazy Monday

I slept in this morning, which felt wonderful. I let Daughter sleep as late as she wanted, too. We worked on the schedule for the week, and Daughter jumped into her chores. I have completed one valance for my bedroom. I have one more to go, and then I'm done with the curtain project. It hasn't been difficult, but it has been very time consuming and tedious. I like the way they look, though, so it's worth it.
I'm getting my first estimate on replacement windows tomorrow evening. I knew I was going to need to do it within the next year or two when I bought the house. I'm not sure I want to know how much it is going to cost. This company was going door to door this morning. I will have to check them out and see how they stand with the Better Business Bureau. It will be interesting.
Now I'm going to see if I can get the other valance done today. It will be good to be done with that project.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This afternoon I realized that I am exhausted. The first clue was when I backed into the garage door as i was leaving to lead worship at the nursing home. I did some damage to the garage door, but the car seems to be okay. I needed to replace the garage door, and I think it moved up on my priority list. The second clue was when I wasn't interested in a phone conversation with my sisters.
I'm taking tomorrow off. Well, at least during the day. I have a meeting in the evening. For the foreseeable future, I have commitments at least 3 evenings a week. I'm going to have to work at finding some balance. I was going to see about getting an estimate for a new garage door, and then I realized that I didn't know when I could schedule them to come give me an estimate. I'm hoping things will get easier after the board retreat this Saturday. I suspect it will take more than hope. I'm going to have to set some careful priorities and boundaries.

The Alarm Clock and ODD

When I got up at 5:40 this morning, Daughter was in the bathroom. Her alarm had not yet gone off. I realized that she never gets up with the alarm clock. She either ignores it, or is up before it. I'm thinking that her Oppositional Defiant Disorder is such that she won't listen to the alarm any more than she listens to me.
She is very happy this morning, and quite proud of herself. As promised, I will take her out to eat after church today. Her life is going to be challenging if she continues to be unable to get up with the alarm. For today, though, I will be grateful that she is up and ready to go before me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Didn't See that Coming

This morning we needed to be at the church at 10:00 to put Christmas decorations away. I called Daughter twice, the second time a little after 9:00. She'd been in bed by 9:00 last night, so she'd had plenty of sleep. I decided that today was a day she could stay home. I wouldn't have to leave the church to come pick her up, she could stay here until I got done with the grocery shopping and came home.
I was kind of surprised that she didn't call. I had locked up the electronics and the food, though I knew she had managed to unlock the pantry in the past. I had promised her lunch out this morning if she cooperated, so I decided to drive through and get lunch for myself after the shopping. As I was picking up my food (about 12:25), she finally called. "Hi, Mom. Are you at home?"
The greeting shocked me a bit. "No, I'm not home. Where are you?"
"I'm out looking for a job."
"I'm headed home now, and I think you'd better head home, too."
She filled out an application in a place of business, brought one application home, and has the website to apply for another place. I doubt she'll get any of the jobs. I have to say, I'm impressed that she had the initiative to walk over half a mile to the businesses. It sounds like she avoided crossing the busy streets, so she was relatively safe. I really didn't see that coming.
She's drying the dishes I just finished washing. I told her she could earn TV if she was super cooperative this afternoon. She's set that as a goal. I think I'll continue to leave her home if she doesn't get up. I'm done bugging her about it. Maybe eventually she'll actually get a job. Interestingly, on the one application she put that she was only available in the evenings-- she wants to continue in her program.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Too Many Days

I am going to take Monday off. Daughter will be off for the holiday, and as of Sunday, I will have been at the church 8 days in a row. Tomorrow I will be at the church to help put away the Christmas decorations. Next Saturday I will be at the church all day for a board retreat. I'm loving what I'm doing, and am surrounded by possibilities and ideas. I also need a break.
Daughter did not get up again this morning. She has an appointment with a therapist who has done work with individuals with borderline personality disorder on the 25th. I hope she will help.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Keeping a Straight Face

Sometimes it is hard to keep a straight face when Daughter is telling me something. Yesterday evening was one of those times. She was subdued yesterday, knowing that I was getting tired of her refusal to get up in the morning. She apologized for the morning and I informed her that she needed to show me she was sorry by changing her morning behavior-- I was getting tired of all the apologies.
So she came out of the bathroom and said, "Mom, I'm going to have to be hospitalized tonight."
I knew this was going to be good. "Why do you need to be hospitalized?"
"I'm getting pale."
It took all the will power I have, but I managed to be compassionate. When I didn't jump all over the pale problem, she added that she'd spent several minutes in the bathroom. I told her I was sorry she didn't feel well, but I didn't think it would be necessary to hospitalize her.
This morning she was up, showered and dressed by 5:20. We'll leave as soon as we can lock the building this afternoon. I may take her out to supper. Morning cooperation will be rewarded.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Rejoicing

I met with the building committee this afternoon. It's the first time I've been able to make one of their meetings. As the men began arriving for the meeting, they were stopping in my office to chat, so we ended up having the meeting right here. We have a lot of talent in this congregation. One of the men is a retired building inspector. He had the plans for the heating system and was presenting his theory on the source of a problem.
They were very open to the things I brought up, and are following through on two suggestions I made. I think they are going to get a programmable thermostat for the sanctuary. It didn't get turned down after worship Sunday, as I discovered as I was walking in there Monday morning.
Daughter isn't very happy right now. It seems that when I don't get into the office on time in the morning that I have to stay later in the evening. That means supper is later. That means she has less time at home. Is she unhappy enough to get up in the morning without a battle? Probably not. Tomorrow night we have choir. Maybe I'll pack sack suppers for us, and if she doesn't get up in the morning we can just stay here until 9:00 when choir is done. That would make it really hard to get her linens washed and dried. I can be almost as devious as she is.


I have a choice. I can focus on Daughter's continued opposition and contrariness, or I can focus on all the things that are worthy of celebration. Today, I choose to rejoice.
  • I received a note yesterday from a young man who has indicated that he and his wife are interested in joining. It turns out he's director of alumni relations at my college. In Tiny Village, there weren't any alums from my college in the region-- so it's a real treat to be back near my alma mater.
  • We have planned out our work well enough in the office that it wasn't a disaster when Administrative Assistant was home sick yesterday.
  • When I pulled into my driveway yesterday evening, one of my neighbors was using his snow blower to clear it.
  • Daughter pretended to be unconscious yesterday in her program. Staff recognized what was going on and even knew the trigger-- there had been much drama and she had not been involved in any of it.
  • I was at a gathering of colleagues yesterday at a church less than 5 miles from here. My colleagues include an African American and a Korean American, bringing diversity to our discussions and giving us a different perspective.
  • The two committees that have had some conflict and struggles the last few months both met Monday night. There were no issues or conflict in either one of them. Improved communication has solved the problem.
  • This congregation has a wide range of experience and expertise. It is wonderful to be able to tap into those people resources.
  • Sitting next to a fire in my fireplace is a wonderful way to end my day.

Now I'm going to kick Daughter downstairs into her program and tackle the tasks of the day. I hope everyone has a good one!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Talent Leads to New Challenge

After I discovered that Daughter had taken a box of sugar free chocolate candy from the pantry, I was trying to figure out when I had left it unlocked long enough for her to get it. Generally I unlock it to get something out and then immediately lock it back up. I hadn't been able to pinpoint a time, so I had decided I just needed to be even more careful. Then Daughter said, "Do you want to see the key I used to unlock the pantry?"
I was shocked. Had I been so stupid as to leave a key where she could get at it? No. She had found a skinny key for something else that she had used to pick the lock. She had bent the key up in the process, but she was able to lock and unlock the pantry doors. Sigh.
That key is now locked up. The challenge, though, is that I'm sure there are other things she can use to pick the lock. I can't lock everything up. This morning she announced she wasn't getting out of bed. I informed her she was, as I couldn't leave her home alone anymore now that she'd figured out how to unlock the pantry. I guess she found a way to get me involved again. I'm not sure how I'll respond to this new challenge, but I'll figure out something. I wish she'd put the energy and creativity she uses for getting into trouble into more positive pursuits. If she did, there would be no stopping her.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Natural Consequences

Daughter's blood sugar was sky high this morning. All day she has been complaining off and on of stomach issues. I was wondering if she'd caught the intestinal virus circulating in the church, but this evening I discovered that she somehow managed to get a box of sugar free chocolates out of the pantry when I turned my back and it was unlocked. She ate them last night. Sugar free does not mean carb free (hence the high blood sugar), but it does mean that there are sugar alcohols in it, which, eaten in large quantities, have a laxative effect. Will she remember this misery? For a few days, maybe.


I'm doing a pretty good job of remaining disengaged in the morning battle. I had promised Daughter lunch out if she got up on time yesterday. She didn't, so we didn't eat out. I didn't rant and rave or bring it up again, it was over.
She was apologetic, and she did get up in time to make it to church. This morning I promised her that if she did well this week, we'd go see a movie Saturday afternoon. She was interested and pleased when I mentioned it, but I don't know that it will be enough to get her moving in the morning.
We are settling into a routine, and it feels good. I have a schedule posted on the refrigerator that lists chores and the menu. Daughter likes that, and she was much more cooperative in the evenings. If only she could conquer the morning.... It's her problem, and her choice.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Some time back I made the decision to focus on Epiphany today in worship. We moved the wise men from the sound desk to the nativity scene, and the focus was talk about how we need to shine with Christ's love. I had the basic outline weeks ago, but as I sat to write the sermon I kept hitting roadblocks. I went looking for illustrations for one of the points I wanted to make, and what should have been easy to find was proving very difficult to find.
The reason for my struggles became clear yesterday as I watched the story in Arizona unfold. I needed to address what is going on in our nation. The struggle then became how to address from the Scripture without my political leanings becoming an issue.
As I prayed and struggled, it finally fell into place, and I went to bed sometime after 1:30 this morning. This morning I got up and did some mild tweaking. I put together a PowerPoint that was very basic without many slides. I stood up in this congregation that is still getting to know me and talked about how fear is destroying us. I talked about the importance of listening to and respecting those with different view points. I talked about how we needed to stop labelling people in order to dismiss them. I talked about how we all loved our country, and we needed to focus on what we have in common, not on our differences. I talked about how as Christians, we need to model a different way, a better way. I challenged people to find ways to shine, and offered specific examples, encouraging them to sign up for various activities after worship.
The congregation was very attentive. Super attentive. Earlier this week I had picked Shine, Jesus, Shine, as the hymn we would sing immediately after the sermon. It was amazing how well it fit with my sermon. We closed with This Little Light of Mine, and people immediately lined up to sign up for the various activities. People were very appreciative. I am grateful that I hadn't forced the sermon earlier in the week, and was able to focus completely on yesterday's events today. I am grateful for the way the Holy Spirit worked through me today-- I was preaching to myself as much as anyone. I just wish the Holy Spirit would inspire me a little earlier in the week. I really need more than 4 1/2 hours of sleep on Saturday night.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Watching the News

Like many people, I'm sitting here watching the news of the tragedy in Arizona. I grieve for the families, and I grieve for our country. We have lost something very precious. There are many who have lost the ability to see those with different perspectives as fellow patriots who love this country as much we do. There are those who have lost the ability to listen to those with different perspectives and show them respect.
I fear that the backlash from the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords will be increased security around all government officials, which will mean they are further removed from conversations with the people they are supposed to represent. The finger pointing has already begun, and all that will do is deepen the divides between us. I hope that this will be seen as a wake up call that will result in people slowing down and toning down the rhetoric. We need to rediscover what it means to have a civil discourse and work together for the common good.
End of sermon.

Friday, January 7, 2011


I met with a member last night to begin planning the training portion of the retreat I'm going to have with the board later this month. I was excited about the plans we made and some of the discoveries as we looked at some historic documents. I'm looking forward to spending a day with the board.
I also set some dates for in home small group meetings so I can have conversations with members and hear their stories and their dreams for the congregation. Administrative Assistant and I sat down and mapped out the work that needs to be done this month. It's going to be a busy month, so we spread the work load out in manageable chunks. We are both pleased with what we accomplished this week. We feel like we're figuring out how to work together and settling into a routine.
Daughter did not want to get up this morning. There won't be any pizza tonight. She saw her doctor today, and her blood work showed excellent control of her diabetes. I was pleased, especially right after the holidays. She won't be happy to find she's lost electronic privileges, too. We don't have any commitments tomorrow (unlike the next 2 Saturdays), so I'm hoping to get quite a bit done around the house.
It's frustrating to know that even though I'm handling her appropriately and calmly, she still is not motivated to do well on any kind of consistent basis. On days when she gets up and is cooperative, she is so happy. It's frustrating to watch her making choices that leave her miserable. Very frustrating.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What Goes Up....

Today Daughter came down, and landed hard. She was slow getting up this morning. In fact, she didn't get up until I asked her if I needed to start locking up the electronic devices. When she got out of the shower, she saw that it was almost 7:00, and she knows I like to be at the church at 7:00. She came out to the kitchen sobbing hysterically. Of course she was crying too hard to tell me what was wrong, but eventually managed to tell me that the voices wouldn't leave her alone.
I told her I was sorry the voices were bothering her, and urged her to hurry up. As we were leaving the house, I told her to leave the portable DVD player at home. Her case manager was here today, and is getting Daughter in with a therapist who does a great deal of work with individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder. We discussed the voices, and decided that Daughter was hearing her guilty conscience. We talked about her romantic struggles, and she acknowledged that 50% of it is her fault.
In response to Miz Kizzle's comment, here are some of the reasons why this is an excellent program for Daughter:
  1. The program coordinator is a therapist and daughter of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. She understands Daughter, and recognizes her manipulations.
  2. The staff has been well trained by the coordinator on how to manage Daughter. She is not able to manipulate them, and they don't react to her attempts to create drama.
  3. Here's how completely they get Daughter: At the Christmas party Daughter sent me a text asking me to come get her because she was overwhelmed by the noise and chaos. When I didn't take the bait, she tried it on the program coordinator. She refused to be hooked. Unable to find anyone to rescue her, Daughter began dancing. I received a picture message from the program coordinator telling me not to let Daughter tell me she wasn't having fun.
  4. When there was a party they knew would be too overwhelming for Daughter, they consulted with me and we came up with a plan to keep Daughter from attending.
  5. They minimize the drama by keeping Daughter away from her current romantic obsession as much as possible.
  6. They have yet to call me to ask me to come get Daughter-- they handle things on their own, including the day she wet herself-- they gave her dry clothes to put on and kept going.
  7. They are very low key about the insulin and diabetes. They haven't required doctor's orders, and are quite content to let me direct the care of her diabetes. I forgot to put the carb and insulin information in with her lunch today, so Daughter and one of the staff people cheerfully appeared in my office to ask for the information.
  8. The system here looks at the complete individual: Program staff attends appointments with the psychiatrist, and the therapist will be through the same agency. The coordination is wonderful.
  9. They recognize and affirm Daughter's abilities. They encourage her to use the sign language she has learned with the deaf woman in the group. She is helping plan the menu for the party they are planning when their new building is finally ready. They encourage her to bring ideas, and take them seriously. They praise her contributions.

This has been a very good move for both of us.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Up She Goes....

Once again Daughter was up and dressed before 5:30. Like Monday, she was super cooperative this morning. I gave her back her DVD player since she was so cooperative. She needed a blood test before an appointment on Friday, so I decided to take advantage of the extra time to get that taken care of this morning, and told her we'd drive through for breakfast following the blood test. I'm going to try to find different ways to reward her when she gets up and is cooperative. I want her to want to be cooperative.
The lab was across town, and we had to call someone to come to the main entrance and let us in, but we were at the church by a few minutes after 7:00. Daughter decided to join me for my walk this morning. I told her we'd be home earlier today since she was so cooperative this morning.
So how long will she stay up? I have no idea, but I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts and continue to work on making sure I don't go down with her.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


I came home and got Daughter about noon. She made a couple of interesting (and truthful) observations to others once she got to the church (of course they immediately reported them to me). She felt find this morning, she just didn't want to get out of bed. She was frustrated because I'd locked all the electronics and food up.
I stayed late at the church to get some work done and to make her suffer a bit. When we got home, she went straight to the schedule on the refrigerator and started in on her chores. After supper, she asked me if there was any way she could earn her computer or DVD player back this evening. I informed her that she couldn't have them tonight, but if she got up with the alarm in the morning, she could have them tomorrow night.
She's pretty frustrated right now. I'm not buying into any of her drama. She's having issues with one of the men in her program. She sent me a text telling me she'd broken up with him, then sent me another text asking me to call the police because he wouldn't leave her alone. I replied that she needed to tell staff and stay away from him. I find it interesting that she uses her cell phone to ask me to call the police but not to call them herself. She's walking and doing steps without problem, but insists that her knee is in terrible shape.
She sees her doctor on Friday, so tomorrow I'll take her in for blood work. I warned her about that, and she informed me she wasn't going to let anyone take her blood now that we live in Capital. She keeps fishing for the thing that will get a reaction from me, but she hasn't found it yet. I'm sure at some point she will. For now, though, I'm doing a very good job of not taking the bait and refusing to engage the drama.

Home Alone 3

Daughter refused to get up this morning. As Sister pointed out, I can't expect her to get up and be dry two mornings in a row. She hasn't called me yet, but at some point I'm going to have to go get her. I locked up all the electronics, and the thermostat drops back to 55 during the day, so she's not going to be comfortable. It will be interesting to see how long it takes her to call me.
Yesterday was a quiet day, as I was the only one in the office. Today is busier. Administrative Assistant is in, Treasurer is working with her on closing out the books, a man came into count the change that was collected for mission, and the man who loves to stop in was here for a while. It's nice to be reconnecting to people. It's going to be a busy week.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Getting Mom's Attention

As the Nurse Practitioner at her physician's office was examining her knee, Daughter went into a long speech about how I was so busy and this was taking time away from my work and she wasn't worth time away from my work. I assured her she was worth my time, but added that there were better ways of getting Mom's attention. She made a comment that this time the injury she was claiming was real.
Her knee is bruised and swollen, but by the time we got back to the church, she was walking on it almost normally. I think it will hurt her when she doesn't want to do something, but won't interfere with things she wants to do. She did get x-rays on the knee, and NP said if we didn't hear anything, there wasn't a problem. She did not anticipate there being a problem.
Whenever she injures herself I find myself wondering if it's an intentional act designed to get my attention. I don't think it was this time, as her tears seemed genuine, and the injury is obvious. She seemed unhappy about missing bowling this morning. She had been quite proud of herself this morning about how well she handled getting dressed and out the door. With Daughter, though, I can never be sure. Hopefully she didn't get enough attention to make her want to fall down the stairs again.

Miracle Monday

At 3:45 this morning, Daughter entered my bedroom. "Guess what, Mom, I'm up before the alarm and I was completely dry!" I think I said that was wonderful before I asked her the time and informed her she wasn't allowed to speak to me again until my alarm went off at 5:30. There was no snoozing this morning, as she was standing at the side of my bed staring at me as soon as the alarm went off.
Getting up and ready on time, needs rewarding, so I opened a chocolate muffin mix and made them for breakfast. She put away the clean dishes and made our lunches while I fixed breakfast. She took our things out to the car while I cleaned up after breakfast and started the dishwasher. When we finally drove out of the driveway, she did a dance, singing, "I did it. I did it. I did it."
When we got to the church at 7:00, I grabbed my ipod and headed the sanctuary to walk while I listened to a sermon podcast. Daughter got my computer out of my briefcase and set it up. She said, "This is the beginning of a New Year and I'm going to make it a good one." That works for me.
As I was writing this, Daughter fell down the stairs on her way to her program. Taking her for x-rays of her right knee and ankle. Sigh.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Worship and Mornings

Since I had the Sunday off, we went to a neighboring church for worship this morning. It reminded me of the church I served in Inner City. It's a similar setting, there were similarities in the architecture, and there were even similarities with the members. It was nice to sit in the pew and worship.
Daughter didn't get up this morning, so we didn't go out to eat today. As we were coming home, she was talking to me about her morning issues. She claims that when the alarm clock goes off she begins having nightmares, or flashbacks, or hearing voices or something. Do I believe this? Maybe. I suggested that she start some Christian music as soon as her alarm goes off, and that would keep the nightmares/flashbacks/hallucinations away. I'm not convinced that this is a problem she wants to solve.
I did remind her of how scared she was when I left her home alone, and told her I would do it again. It will be interesting to see how she does tomorrow morning.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Back to Normal

Today we've been busy taking down the Christmas decorations and putting them away. As the day has progressed, Daughter has become increasingly cooperative. This morning I wasn't sure she was ever going to be able to turn it around. She's worked hard, carrying multiple boxes up and down the stairs and wrapped the ornaments to put them away. I promised her a movie if she cooperated, but I think it's more than that. I think that putting away the ornaments marks our return to our normal routine, something she craves.
When we finally got the tree down and packed away, she said, "It feels good to get this stuff out of the living room. She needs her routine. I'm wondering if one of the reasons she has acted out so much is because we have been home, where she can do it. She usually holds it together pretty well when we're traveling and with family. This year, for the first time ever, we spent Christmas vacation here at home. She felt safe enough to act out. She didn't have the distraction of family, either.
I have to admit, I'm looking forward to getting back into the routine, too. It's been a wonderful break, and I'm ready to get back into it. This morning I sat down and made some notes on the calendar for the week, scheduling work and planning the menu. I put pizza on the menu for Friday night. I told Daughter that if she cooperates, we'll get the delivery pizza she likes so well. If she doesn't cooperate, I'll get the take out pizza with all the veggies that she doesn't like. I'll be happy either way.
Her program will continue at the church for a while yet. Their building was supposed to be ready mid-November, then they said mid-December, and now they're saying mid-January. She's already stressing over the move-- says she wants to be near me. Of course, last night she left and wasn't going to live with me anymore. It must be hard to live in her head. Back to normal sounds good right now.

A New Year

2011. A New Year with new opportunities. It's no longer last year that my parents died. I guess that means we're supposed to have worked through our grief. As I reflect, my grief has diminished. I will always miss them, but the pain is no longer as sharp. We talk about them and remember them as we carry on their traditions. Our Christmas menu was the menu Dad established a number of years ago. My siblings and I now consult one another about the ways Mom and Dad did things.
In this year I will complete all the "firsts" at the church here in Capital. I will celebrate my first Easter and Pentecost with them. I will go with them on my first mission trip. I will experience the first annual meeting, and most likely do my first funeral here.
I hope that this is a year in which Daughter will blossom and grow. My prayer is that she'll feel safe enough to stop wetting the bed. My hope is that a new therapist will help her continue her healing.
In this year, Brother will become a father, and I will meet a new niece or nephew. Sister may finally move out of the house she shares with her ex-husband. Tall Niece will start college.
In 2010, I became much more organized, and finally mastered the art of keeping the house clean. I hope that in 2011 I will accomplish the same with my study at the church. I'm not going to make formal resolutions this year, but I will continue to seek personal growth.
I hope that 2011 will bring much joy to all of you who accompany me on this journey.