Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Call from Camp

I received a call from Health Officer at camp yesterday evening. She was a little frantic. Daughter had just checked her blood sugar and it was over 400. The meter was reminding them to check for ketones. Daughter had assured HO that the meter is never wrong. I suggested she have Daughter wash her hands and recheck. She did. It was a miracle! Her blood sugar dropped 300 points!
This camp experience is almost twice as long as the first, and I think Daughter is getting a bit homesick. Daughter called me after the second check. She was very happy to talk to me, and wanted to to know if she could the braids out of her hair. I knew she'd want to take them out before the end of the week. I told her to leave them in and reminded her that she didn't have a brush. I think she's doing pretty well. There weren't as many pictures posted of her today, but there was one of her doing archery. I'm glad I wasn't there to see that (or be a target!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Crazy Day

I started the day with a doctor's appointment. I need to do a better job of taking care of my health. I go back in a month, and hopefully some things will have improved in that time. I go for blood work tomorrow morning. I need to rethink how I structure my time. I can't keep up the current pace long term and be healthy.
When I got to the church there were a number of people needing time with me. Had a lunch meeting to plan worship and a picnic that involves 4 area churches. Then I went to the hospital to see a woman who had bypass surgery Monday. She is still heavily sedated and on a ventilator, so it was a brief visit. I spoke to her, said a prayer with her, and left.
There were more pictures of Daughter having fun posted this morning. It's so good to see her happy and relaxed at camp. Now I'm going to go home to do a few things before coming back for a meeting this evening. I'm supposed to go spend tomorrow evening with Sister, but am pondering whether I can take the time. I guess taking the time is part of shifting my priorities and taking care of myself. We'll see.
As nice as it is to have Daughter off at camp, not having her here really does throw off my routine. Yes, I miss her-- at least a little.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wonderful Day

I got to the office before 7:00 this morning and started on all the various things I needed to write. I'd accomplished a lot be the time Administrative Assistant arrived at 9:00, which was good, because from then until I left for a lunch appointment we had a steady stream of people coming through the office. There were some really good conversations with those people.
The picture of Daughter appeared on the camp's website this morning. I think she is having fun. We were showing that to people coming through the office. She looks so happy and relaxed. Several suggested it would be a good time to take a picture of me, since I also looked happy and relaxed.
I had lunch with a colleague, and we talked for almost 2 hours. There were supposed to be 6 of us, but only 2 of us showed. He is doing a Wednesday prayer service, which I want to start in the fall. I was asking him questions about how he does it and what works. By the time we left, I had the vision for a space I want to create at the church for use with the prayer service and also small groups I'll be leading the fall. I came back and said something to Administrative Assistant, and we had it all planned out before she left (late, again).
I told her I don't know which one of us is looking forward to my vacation more-- I think she's looking forward to things being a bit quieter around here. In previous years she's cut her hours in the summer. That hasn't happened yet this summer-- maybe while I'm away.
I'm excited about the opportunities ahead of us. Have I mentioned recently how much I love my life? Now, though, I need to focus on the things that need to get done before I leave.

Great Meeting

Last night was our monthly board meeting. It was a great meeting. We have revamped meetings, and reports and routine business are now addressed in one motion in a consent agenda at the beginning of the meeting, leaving the majority of the meeting for education and planning for the future. Last night we were done with our meeting in an hour, the shortest meeting we've had since I've been there.
We discussed an article I'd found on using teams in congregations. At our retreat in January, we had discussed the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and identified our weaknesses as a team. The board decided we've made good progress in working as a team and that as a result the congregation is moving forward in exciting ways. The article talked about the importance of looking at the needs of the team when recruiting new members. We decided that at our next meeting we will look at who is rotating off the board and what our needs are for next year and give that information to the nominating committee. That may seem obvious, but it's not something that has ever been done here before.
One of the board members is on his way to his cabin near Daughter's camp today. He's going to drop her off a flashlight, since that is the one thing we forgot to pack. She will be delighted.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Best Laid Plans

Today was going to be a productive day in the office. Of course, that was before one of the saints had bypass surgery scheduled for today, or another individual went into crisis. The board meets tonight, so the new plans is to make sure I'm prepared for the board meeting. That's the challenge of ministry. You can plan out the work, but you need to be prepared to throw out the plan in response to emergencies that develop. The good news is that with Daughter off at camp, I have the freedom to do some of the work in the evening. That's a good thing, since I won't be in the office for 4 weeks after Sunday.


Daughter asked me Saturday night to braid her hair for camp. She explained that she wanted lots of braids so she could leave them in all week. She told me she hadn't been doing a good job of taking care of her hair. The only problem with the plan was that it was her bedtime and we didn't have little rubber bands.
Since her request and reasoning were reasonable (though I wish she'd mentioned it earlier), we stopped and bought little rubber bands after church and I spent an hour braiding her hair. The braids aren't perfect. They are not evenly sized and distributed. Some should be smaller. I missed a few strands of hair. But her hair is in braids, and she wore a headband pulling the braids back off her face.
I discovered that the arthritis in my hands makes braiding more challenging. I don't like dealing with little rubber bands. With her hair shorter, it doesn't take as much time as it did when her hair was long. Most importantly, though, I discovered I can still braid. I threatened her, telling her that if she wanted me to pick her up next week, she'd best leave all those braids in her hair. She didn't take a brush, so hopefully her head will still be covered in braids when I get there Sunday.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Rough Start

Well Daughter's camp experience this time is not getting off to a good start. The health officer called and said Daughter wanted to check her blood sugar. I pointed out that she needed to do that before eating and explained (again) how to determine how much insulin she needed. She called me back a little after 7:00. Daughter had finished her supper, and she was just getting to her for her insulin. She didn't know what to do. I told her to give her insulin based on her blood sugar before supper and the carbs in her meal. But she didn't know what her blood sugar was. I suggested she ask Daughter and check the memory in her meter. I refrained from pointing out that it was really important that she be there to help Daughter with her blood sugar and insulin before meals.
I got another phone call from someone else at the camp, wanting to know what to do because Daughter's patch had fallen off. She said Daughter said she needed it, and wondered if there was some way to get her another. I pointed out that I sent 2 extra patches to camp with Daughter. I suspect Daughter is picking up on the health officer's lack of confidence and getting anxious. It could be a very long week-- for both of us.


I took Daughter back to camp this afternoon. She was excited. The poor nurse was a little overwhelmed. I assured her she could call me, and she already has. Before I left to take her to camp, I put the keys that I normally wear around my neck in the key drawer. The food is now unlocked. It's going to be a busy week. I hope Daughter has a good week at camp. It will be good for her to be away as I work to get everything done before being gone for 4 weeks.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Vacation Plans

I spent about 4 hours today working in the yard. It was sunny and in the low 70's, and it was a wonderful day to be out there working. I had said I wasn't going to make any major changes to the yard this summer because I wanted to live with it a year. I've changed my mind. Much of my vacation time is going to be spent working in the yard.
I'm going to take out the split rail fence at the back. It's decorative, as there is a taller wood fence behind it. The space between it and the bigger fence is a haven for weeds. The fence is beginning to fall down on it's own, so I'm going to help it along. I'm going to plant raspberry and blueberry bushes along the back fence. I'm going to start my raised garden bed this year. It will be in front of the bushes.
I need to paint the privacy fence by the patio. I'm also going to move the hostas next to the patio and plant flowers. I want color up by the patio. I'm going to take out the ferns that are in front of the hostas up next to the family room. They are taller than the hostas, and there are lots of weeds growing among them. I'll move ferns and hostas back under the pine tree. I already have a row of hostas at the edge, but I want something other than weeds back under it.
I need to do some more trimming on my trees. The maple is rubbing against the house again. I want to get gutter guards. One of the saints will help me install them, I just need to finish measuring and purchase them. It's been fun discovering what's in my yard, now I'm ready to make it my own. I need to do a lot more mulching to keep down the weeds. I also want to plant some grass seed in the bare spots. I think I'm making headway with the grubs and moles.
I'm excited about the plans. I think it will be a great way to spend my vacation time and money-- I'll be getting my outdoors fix plus doing something that I will enjoy and appreciate in future years. I'm looking forward to getting started.

Same Song, Different Verse

Before Daughter went to the adult special needs camp, she complained. She told me she didn't belong with special needs people. She told me she hated doing camp things. She also told me I was forcing her, of course. As you may recall, as we headed to camp, she said, "Daughter, stop smiling! You're supposed to be mad."
Tomorrow she heads to high school camp. Last night she complained. She told me she liked being with special needs people, she didn't want to to go to high school camp. When she heard they were going to a minor league baseball game, she informed she just wanted to do camp things. I listened in amusement and asked if she was going to say, "Daughter, stop smiling! You're supposed to be mad."
I also reminded her it was natural to be nervous about going to camp. We talked about all the ways this time would be different, since she knew the staff and had been to the camp before. She stopped complaining-- at least for last night.

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Blast from the Past

This week I was looking at the contact information on my bank accounts, and suddenly realized that the office phone number wasn't right. It took me a minute, but I realized it was the phone number of the church I served in Inner City-- a church I left in December of 1995. I started with this bank when I moved here, and it's the first time I've banked with this name. However, this bank bought out the bank I used 16 years ago in another state. It was pretty freaky to think that they still had that kind of information about me in their system....

Discerning Truth

This morning Daughter asked if I'd received an email from her program manager about her roller skating outing today. I told her I hadn't.
She informed me that they were going roller sating today-- except they weren't going to let her roller skate because they didn't want her breaking an ankle before she leaves for camp on Sunday. She went on to tell me she wouldn't need to take lunch, as they were having pizza at the roller rink. She told me she'd need $11-12 for the lunch.
This just didn't make sense. They try to keep costs down-- I think Daughter's weekly activities cost $8. The people in the program have very little money to spend on entertainment. It made even less sense that they would plan something this expensive without contacting the parent/guardians about the need for additional money. Program Coordinator had surgery last week, so she's off sick. I couldn't imagine that they'd be relying on her to do the communicating when she's on sick leave.
Daughter was insistent. I was conflicted. I wasn't comfortable with her taking that much money. I didn't want to have to take her lunch if it turned out they weren't having pizza at a roller rink. She finally said, "If you want me to, I'll take a lunch." So I packed her a lunch and let her take $5.
I got a text after she arrived. "We aren't going roller skating. We're going shopping. How much money can I spend?"
Did she deliberately lie? Was she just confused? Did they change plans? I'll probably never know.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Good Things

Administrative Assistant is working on a logo for our fall theme of Building a Spiritual House. She found a book yesterday she said we needed to order-- so we did. I'm looking forward to reading it when it comes. I don't know if it will be any good or we'll be able to use it, but it looks like fun.

I received an email today from Daughter's therapist. The psychologist who had been in court for the guardianship hearing was concerned about Daughter's PTSD and the way it affected her at the hearing. She had spoken to Therapist about it, and Therapist emailed me, Case Manager, and Program Manager to see how Daughter was doing. I thanked her for her concern, and assured her that Daughter had been reacting to a number of things (including beginning to move toward "graduating" from therapy), but was recovering and the reaction hadn't been that bad or long.
The church is paying for Daughter's second week of camp. There is a nice amount set aside in the mission budget for camp scholarships, and since Daughter is the only one going to camp, they're paying the entire amount. Respite money is supposed to cover the first week. Administrative Assistant pointed out that it was not only about giving Daughter a good week at camp, it was about taking care of the pastor. Apparently there is an active grapevine here, and many know that I was pretty wiped out at the beginning of the week. I expressed surprise at how quickly news gets around, and was informed that unlike Tiny Village, they use computers and email here.
After Administrative Assistant and I went over calendar on Tuesday, it turned into a productive week. Today I wrote birthday notes for everyone having a birthday in July or August. I don't know how many it was, but there were quite a few. They're in addressed envelopes, with a date where the stamp goes. When the date arrives, AA puts a stamp on them and puts them in the mail. People are loving receiving personal notes from me for their birthday.
Normally in the summer Administrative Assistant cuts back her hours. She hasn't been able to do that yet, but hopefully will be able to do that while I'm gone in July. Once I get back in August things will get busier as we finalize preparations for the fall program.
I was listening to music while I worked today, and found several songs I want to teach the congregation come fall. We ordered a new songbook today.
I have Sunday's sermon outlined. I went out to lunch, and have found that sitting alone in a restaurant is a good time and place to take all the thoughts that have been floating around in my head into a sermon outline.
Daughter had a better day today. She called once to tell me Birth Brother's son had been born. She was quite excited about it. She'll be more excited when she gets on FaceBook and sees the pictures.

A Day of Lows

Daughter had several low blood sugars yesterday. I find myself playing the guessing game again as I try to figure out what is behind them: Did I mess up her long acting insulin Tuesday night and give her too much? Did I miscalculate the carbs in her food? Did she somehow manage to sneak extra insulin? Are her insulin needs dropping?
She doesn't have these days very often since I tightened up control of the insulin. She called me about 3:30 yesterday to tell her blood sugar was low. She was hoping I'd come get her. I assured her she'd be fine, and suggested she eat an extra package of crackers before she got on the bus at 4:00. Her blood sugar was on the low end of the normal range when she got home.
She was diagnosed 11 years ago. Since she's been diagnosed, I've been hearing that there will be a cure in 5 years. We're still waiting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Knowing Too Much

Sometimes I think I know too much. Today I went to see a woman in the congregation who was struggling with an issue. She has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Yesterday she woke up at 3:30 in the morning and by 5:30 had all the laundry done. Today she was up at 5:00. She had a new recipe for me to try prepared and in the refrigerator with the kitchen cleaned up before 9:00. She says when she wakes up, she can't stop her mind from racing. I asked her what she's on for her bipolar disorder. She's on an antidepressant. She called her doctor once because she didn't think the medication was working anymore, and they told her that she was on the maximum dose of the only medication there was for bipolar. She's never seen a psychiatrist. Sigh.
I suggested that her family doctor can't keep up with everything, and it might be a good idea to see a psychiatrist. I told her that there were medications that would help stabilize her mood. I tried to hide my horror that she was being treated with a medication that could trigger her mania. I did suggest that while it was fine if she chose to get up that early in the morning, it should be her choice and not something she was forced to do because of her illness. I think she's going to follow up and find a psychiatrist. I hope she is, anyway.
I heard much more of her story and pain, and we talked about a situation that has hooked her and why it has hooked her. I am always honored when people share their stories with me.

Little Things

Sometimes I am amazed by the things that will set Daughter off. Yesterday she got home a little after 5:00, and wanted some ice cream for a snack. I told her she could have ice cream for a snack at bedtime, now it was time for supper. I was gathering the things I needed to put hamburgers on the grill as I spoke. She said she wanted a snack, not supper. I repeated what I had just told here. She was furious. She went into a rant about how she hates her life and she doesn't like riding the bus and she wasn't going to do her chores and stormed off to her bedroom, slamming the door.
I went out and cooked the hamburgers. I called her when they were done, and she came and ate as though nothing had happened. She had ice cream for her bedtime snack. It's amazing the little things that will set her off.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Yesterday I read an article that asked what one item was the keystone, that when it got out of control sent the rest of your life spiraling out of control. As I pondered that, I realized that at home my keystone was medications. When I don't keep the weekly pill boxes filled, the huge basket of medications sits on the kitchen table, so I can easily get at Daughter's morning and evening pills. Camp, with the requirement that her medications be in their original bottles, has thrown off my system of filling 4 weeks of pill boxes every time I pick up prescriptions. When I got home today, I filled 2 weeks worth of pill boxes for Daughter and counted out the pills she'll need for camp and put them aside. I filled a week's worth for me, and will do more once I get some things I was missing. The basket of meds is now put away, and I feel more in control of things here at home.
As I pondered what the keystone was at church, I decided it was sitting with Administrative Assistant to go over calendar and plan out our work. We didn't do that last week, and it may have been several weeks. I was surprised to realize I had a huge meeting this morning, and didn't feel well prepared. The Holy Spirit came through, and it was a productive meeting and I'm excited about the plans we made. It sounds like people are getting on board with the plan, which is good.
As soon as the meeting was over, Administrative Assistant and I sat down and looked at calendar for the next 2 weeks. I set aside some time to do several visits, and she's calling to set those up. While I was at the meeting AA called and cancelled an appointment for Daughter that was scheduled for next week when she's at camp. I've been thinking about doing it at the wrong times for the last two weeks.
It went from a morning I was feeling overwhelmed to a productive afternoon in which I felt like I was able to accomplish some important things. I've done my part for the bulletins for the next two weeks, so I don't have to worry about another one until August 14. That feels good. It feels very good. I'm now feeling like I may be able to manage the work between now and the time I leave town.


Today is the official first day of summer. While things have slowed down some, I'm still busier than I would like to be. I'm also tired. It's getting harder to push through the work, and harder to be creative as I look toward my time away. I have a meeting this morning at 10:00 about fall plans, and I'm finding it hard to motivate myself to prepare for it. Summer begins today. My body and brain are telling me it's time to slow down. Now I need to figure out how to convince my calendar and workload to cooperate....

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Monthly Battle

Once again it was time to get Daughter's prescriptions filled. Last month the battle was over whether her medicaid plan would cover the needles for her insulin pens when she didn't need a refill on the pens.
This month I went in, and once again some of the 15 prescriptions I was picking up were more expensive than they should have been. It turns out the pharmacy didn't bill her medicaid plan for some of them, but just billed my insurance. They were going to have to run several of them through again. I had already waited in line for an extended period of time, so I told them I'd come back on my way to my evening meeting to pick them up.
When I went back, there was only one of the prescriptions that was still coming in too high. Her medicaid plan said they didn't cover it. Her psychiatrist's office called and got prior authorization so they would cover it. I decided to just pay the $13. I don't have the energy to fight the battle this month. Maybe next time.


My goal is to walk in a 5k event at the end of July, so I have been working on doing more. I have decided I want to work towards walking the 2 miles to the church in the morning, and then walking home at lunch time to eat and pick up the car for afternoon commitments. I drove to the church this morning, and then after I got here I went out and walked 2 miles. I won't be able to walk to church tomorrow, as the schedule and location of my commitments is too tight to take the time to walk home mid-day. The forecast doesn't look promising, either.
I think I'm going to talk to Daughter about my goals, and explain how I'm working to reach them gradually. I'll suggest that she needs to do the same thing if she wants to reach her goal of living independently. Maybe we can make charts for our respective goals, and compare our progress. We've had similar conversations before, but maybe if she sees me working for a goal, too, it will help her understand the work involved. Maybe. I keep hoping, and keep looking for new ways to help her understand.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dreams and Promises

Daughter came to me this afternoon and wanted to talk. She explained that she wanted to move back to Tiny Village. She told me that she wanted an apartment, and she promised me that she would be responsible and take care of herself. She said she was willing to have a nurse come in to help with meds. She told me she wanted to go back to the workshop there so she could work hard and earn lots of money.
These conversations are so hard. I don't want to kill her dreams. I hate telling her all the reasons why her plan won't work. I did point out that it was hard for me to believe that when just yesterday she was breaking into the pantry while I was out mowing the lawn, and then lying about it. I mentioned the fact that she has trouble going a day without calling me from her program, and I found it hard to believe she could handle moving to another state and not seeing me for several months at a time. I reminded her that she hadn't been able to handle the chaos of the workshop when we lived in Tiny Village. Of course, she thought I was terrible and was preventing her from reaching her full potential. Of course she can move down there and live independently and manage her health. She promised me she'd be responsible with her money and wouldn't stop spending it all on junk right away.
The problem is, she really believes she can do it. She doesn't see the disconnect between her words and her actions. She doesn't see that if she can't/won't do it here at home, it's not very likely she'll do it when she's living alone. I want her to be more independent. I want her to experience success and build on it. That's one of the reasons I'm sending her back to camp for another week. She was successful there, I want her to experience independence and success again. I need to look at the psychological evaluation for the guardianship again, but as I recall, the highest age equivalent she had was one area where she scored at 10 years, 0 months. There were at least two areas that had an age equivalent of less than 4 years. It's a challenge helping her find realistic dreams.

Sneaking and Lying

As she continues her downward spiral that started by taking money from me and progressed from remorse to anger, yesterday afternoon the sneaking and lying reappeared. She broke into the pantry while I was mowing the lawn. I'd only used one lock, but since she was spending the afternoon sleeping, I thought that would be sufficient. It wasn't. She ate a whole box of snack packs I had purchased as easy snacks for our upcoming travels.
She explained her sky high blood sugar by saying I'd left the pantry unlocked and she'd eaten a couple of ginger snaps. Then she told me that it was good that she was being honest and not lying to me about it. I was suspicious, but didn't count the boxes until after she'd gone to bed. One was missing. I went and demanded that she give me the empties (I knew she'd have eaten them all).
So, it's back to double locks on all food. My bedroom door is still locked. Next Sunday afternoon I will deposit her at camp. I'm hoping she can turn things around before then.
On a positive note, she played the piano and sang Kum Ba Yah for special music in church today. She did a nice job, and the people were delighted. She stood behind me as I greeted people after church collecting compliments. She didn't take the envelope with the money and note she was going to return to the saint who took her to the movies Friday. I haven't decided what to do about that. We went out to eat with a family after church and enjoyed pleasant conversation over good food. Now it's off to a graduation open house and then to the retirement center where I'm leading worship at 3:00.
During my sermon today, I slipped up and started to say "vacation," instead of "creation." A number of people found it amusing. I have two more Sundays before I have 4 Sundays off. It will be interesting to see how well my mind works for those. I'm always dragging by the time July rolls around and I actually get a break. This is the first time this congregation has seen me as I limp towards vacation....

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Guilt and remorse are uncomfortable feelings. They aren't feelings you want to stay with very long. Daughter gets rid of them by getting mad. It's all my fault.

  • I shouldn't have moved her from her real home in Tiny Village. That is why she took money from me, because I took her away from her real home.
  • She's 24 years old, and she shouldn't have to live under my roof. She shouldn't have to listen to me, and she's not going to any more.
  • I don't understand her. That's why she got in trouble.
  • She needs to get on FaceBook and talk to her friends. How can I expect her to do any work when she needs to talk to her friends?
You get the idea. When she's not telling me how terrible I am, she's sleeping. I've mowed the lawn and done laundry. She's yelled and slept. In a few minutes she's going to demand to know what's for supper. I've also fixed breakfast for her. She didn't get up until 11:00, so it was breakfast and lunch.

It's too bad she has such a terrible mother. If she could be free of me, all her problems would be solved.

Sometimes I get tired of being the target. Really tired.


Daughter still struggles with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Central Auditory Processing Disorder, but she has truly healed in many ways when it comes to her Reactive Attachment Disorder. She is attached to me. She does have empathy. She does experience guilt and remorse. She really does feel guilty about taking the money.
When she came home from the movie, the saint had given her some money. She was going to use it to pay me back, but then decided she needed to return it. She wrote the saint a note, thanking her for the movie and explaining she couldn't accept the money. She told her she'd taken money from me, and needed to work to earn the money to pay me back. She came to the decision and wrote the note on her own. She also told me she felt like she'd ruined our lives by stealing. I wouldn't go that far, but she certainly has made life more difficult for both of us. I do not like having to keep my purse locked in my bedroom. At least I have a key to my bedroom door in the combination lock box outside now, so I won't lock myself out of my bedroom again.
I asked Daughter why she took the money. She told me she is jealous of the people in her program who have lots of money in their wallets and can pay for their own things. The staff keeps her money because she has such a hard time budgeting and holding onto it. When we get back from our travels, I'm going to talk to the program coordinator. I think I'll give Daughter enough money each week to cover her activities plus an additional dollar or two. I will give her the opportunity to earn more money. She will be in charge of making sure she has enough money for all her activities of the week. Especially at first there will be weeks when she doesn't have the money for the activities toward the end of the week. It will be painful, but perhaps she'll learn something about budgeting her money. Perhaps. I continue to hope. I have to, as it's hope that keeps me going.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm Still Paying Attention

When I took out my wallet to pay for Sister's birthday breakfast, I realized that the change I had received yesterday was missing. I didn't like the implications of that discovery, and tried to think of some other explanation for it not being there: Had I put it some place other than my wallet? Had I spent it some place else? Had I left my wallet or purse unzipped and it had fallen out? Unfortunately, none of those explanations seemed likely, and I couldn't come up with a likely one. My worst fears were confirmed when I received a text message from Daughter. '
3:43 p.m. Daughter: just to let you know i done shopping with my group and i spent 5 dollors all together from my pocket change and two dollors from group
3:44 p.m. Me: And what about the money you took from my purse?
3:50 p.m. Daughter: to be honest i did not take money from u its true
3:50 p.m. Me: Then who took it?
3:54 p.m. Daughter: i only toke 2 dolloors mom and they r still in wallet
3:54 p.m. Me: More than that is missing
3:57 p.m. Daughter: i will pay you back and i am sorrythat i lied can u 4give me
3:58 p.m. Me: Yes.
At 4:53 she sent an unrelated text to see if I was still speaking to her.
She is going to a movie tonight with one of the saints. She came home and after apologizing, announced she'd cancel it. I told her she'd still go. I determine consequences. She will have to earn the money to pay me back. I sent her in to clean her room, where she will discover the new socks, underwear, and pj's I bought her at the outlet mall today. She will tell me she doesn't deserve them. I will tell her I bought them because she needs new ones, and it's not about deserving them. Hopefully she will realize that I'm still committed to her, even when she's being a pain. She'll wallow in her guilt for a while. She'll try to convince me how miserable she is and how hard she's punishing herself.
It won't change what she's done. She's going to the movie tonight because I want a quiet evening at home. My purse is locked up in my bedroom again. I don't like living like this. I need the break, so she's going to the movie. She may not deserve it, but I do.

Birthdays and Grief

Two years ago this month, Mom died. The second anniversary of Dad's death is in September. When my birthday came this year, I was depressed. It surprised me that the second birthday after their death was harder than the first. Last night, I got a phone call from Sister. She was sobbing. Today is her birthday. There are some stressful things going on in her life right now, and between those and the birthday, she was depressed. I met Sister and Short Niece for breakfast this morning near their home, then she headed to her school to finish cleaning up her classroom, and I headed to the outlet mall to do some shopping. The drive to see them was just over an hour, but it was worth it. I told Sister some details about her birth (she's 10 years younger than I am). I told her about the names under discussion for her.
Short Niece (6 years old and just finished first grade) is reading the Harry Potter books. Sister isn't sure that some of the later ones are appropriate for her, but Short Niece is on the third book and is devouring them. She told Sister that if they scared or bothered her, she'd stop reading.
That's one of the advantages of being closer to family. I get to see them more often. Sister and Short Niece are going to come visit this summer. We'll go to the zoo and do other fun things here in Capital. I'm looking forward to spending time with both of them.
When we parted, Sister was grateful. She thought her birthday was off to a good start. I'm sure the grief will hit again later. That's the thing about grief. Sometimes it surprises you.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Sometimes even I forget. I forget how much damage was done in those first 3 years of her life. I forget, and then I am brutally reminded. Today was the guardianship hearing. I am now her guardian. She has been quite dramatic in proclaiming her stress over it. I've been offering glib reassurances. We've explained what was going to happen a dozen or more times. Today, she told me she was scared. I finally asked what scared her. She said, "I'm afraid I'm going to lose you, too."
Suddenly it clicked. She wasn't equating this to her adoption hearing, she was again going through the trauma of termination of parental rights. I'll give you the short version of the trauma. Birth Parent's Attorney saw it as a game. There were a variety of reasons for that, but for him, it was a game. So, as part of that game, he was delaying and drawing things out, and he would subpoena Daughter for every court date. He knew she had been too young and was not a competent witness. But County Attorney was majorly incompetent. I won't even get into how incompetent, but it was unreal. CA didn't realize that it was possible to ask the judge to say Daughter couldn't testify and stop the subpoenas. BPA never called Daughter as a witness, he just made me drag her to the court house every month or so for over a year. Each time I'd take her to court, she would see her abusers. Each time I took her to court, she was traumatized. She wouldn't sleep after those appearances. I was fighting for her every way I knew how, but I kept running into brick walls. After months of begging, the psychologist finally looked back over her notes and realized that every time Daughter saw Birth Father, she regressed. I'd been asking her to stop the visits, but she didn't see why it was necessary, until she finally looked back over her notes.
Does Daughter remember those court visits? Does she remember the details? I don't know. What she does know on a gut level is that the court house is a place where bad things happen. The psychologist who did her evaluation for the guardianship was amazed by the impact it had on her. When we go back to renew the guardianship, she told me to ask that Daughter be excused from attending because it is too traumatic for her. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sometimes I forget.
Psychologist also gave me a copy of her report on Daughter. As I looked it over, what jumped out at me was her biggest deficit. Her receptive language skills are significantly under the 4 years of age mark. Significantly. I pointed at that score and said, "Central Auditory Processing Disorder." For all of you adoptive parents, have your children tested for this while they were young, especially if they have Reactive Attachment Disorder, as the two often go together. When Daughter was finally diagnosed, the window of opportunity to really retrain the brain was closed. I did some research and bought some software that addressed the problem, but it was too late to correct the fundamental issue.
Here is my less than perfect understanding of it: Language processing is one of the things that is at the core of the brain. The language processing center grows and develops when the parents talk to the infant. That verbal stimulation causes the center to grow and develop. In infants who suffer severe neglect, it doesn't develop during that critical time, and language processing gets pushed further out into the brain, into areas that are not as efficient. It's like stroke patient struggling to learn how to talk again. In Daughter's case, at some point in those first three years she literally shut off her hearing to protect herself. It was a real loss, and she was given loaner hearing when she was 3. It was amazing to watch her discover sounds for the first time. She had a high pitched hearing loss, so she hadn't been able to hear ess sounds. Once she got the hearing aid, she began stretching out the ess in words. It was amazing to watch these discoveries. If she'd gotten intense therapy at that point, it might have been possible to improve things, but by the time she was diagnosed 10 or 11 years later, it was too late. I find myself wishing it had been diagnosed earlier. I'm frustrated with the school psychologist who dismissed her as a retard and refused to look further, despite my protests. Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Sometimes I forget.
She has been with me for over 21 years. The damage done in those first 3 years remains. Love, structure and stability couldn't fix it all, no matter what they said in foster parent training.


Today we go to court to officially make me Daughter's guardian. Daughter is exceedingly anxious about it. There have been lots of tears over the last 24 hours, lots of reassurance, and it's still very hard on her. She claims it's triggering her PTSD of other court dates. I don't know if that's true, but I'm trying to be patient and understanding. A number of people have explained to her what will happen and that it's not a big deal. Last night she was insisting she wouldn't go into the court room. This morning she tried to convince me she was too nervous to eat breakfast (she did eat). I expected her to be wet this morning, given her anxiety level, but she was dry. I see that as a good sign.
I'm just looking forward to having this finally done. It's been hanging over my head since she turned 18 6 years ago. It was an expensive thing to do when we lived in Tiny Village. Here, the only thing it is costing me is time, which is why I haven't done it sooner.
Progress toward my goal of the 5K: it's pouring rain, so I won't be able to walk outside this morning. I did do 30 minutes on the wii, including almost 1000 steps on the free step. Tomorrow morning I'll double the time on the free step.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Motivated by several friends on facebook and their accomplishments, I have set a goal of walking in a 5K on July 31st. I'm going to work at getting healthier. I've done two mornings on the wii fit now, and this morning I also walked 1 mile. I hope to begin walking to the church in the mornings, and then walking home at noon to get lunch and the car for afternoon meetings/visits.
Daughter is going to work on making mini scrapbooks to sell through the micro enterprise program available to her. I'm liking the somewhat slower pace of summer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Daughter was dropped off at her appointment with her counselor by one of the staff members at her program. I showed up later, having left my meeting early to get to her before her appointment was over. Her counselor thinks it's time to begin winding down therapy. She says each week it seems like Daughter is older and more mature. I'd agree with that. She'll see her again July 19 (skipping next week and then travel plans interfere), and we'll see how she's doing.
She also thinks it's time for Daughter to begin looking for a job, and thinks we should do that before she moves. I don't want her dealing with too much change at once, but wasn't sure whether it would be better to do that before or after she moves into a group home. I'm going to email her case manager, and begin the conversation about a job coach for her.
Daughter is quite proud of herself, and seems to be growing in confidence. She did acknowledge, though, that it feels weird. I'm trying not to praise her too much, as I don't want to trigger a setback. I'm cautiously optimistic, but don't want to push too hard too fast. We'll evaluate things in August.


The hearing to make me Daughter's guardian is coming up this week. An attorney was appointed for Daughter, and that attorney is going to go meet with her today at her program. Daughter is freaking out over it. I mentioned it in passing, and she went ballistic, demanding that the appointment be cancelled. Not happening. The return to program with the group moved and new people coming has been challenging for her. She knows I'm going to be at a meeting a distance from here today, and her program coordinator is going to drop her off at her counselor's appointment at 4:00. I will pick her up from there. I look at her anxiety level right now and am amazed by how well she handled camp. I wonder how she'll do with the 8 day camp....

Monday, June 13, 2011

Bus Adventures

I downloaded the new version Internet Explorer, and it won't let me post on blogger. So, I'm posting from Chrome now. Daughter starts bus service to her program's new location today. We set it up to pick her up on the church Monday-Thursday and home on Friday, and to drop her off at home every day. I received a note from her bus driver saying she would be dropping Daughter off between 5:30 and 5:40, and picking her up at 6:20 on Friday mornings.

I never heard anything about the Monday-Thursday morning pick-ups at the church. I was a little frustrated, but assumed it would also be early. Never assume. That is a lesson I seem to need to relearn on a regular basis. This morning we got to the church at 6:00 and planted ourselves in Administrative Assistant's office so we would know when the bus arrived. I began doing commentary work for Sunday's sermon, Daughter began pacing. At 7:30 I started making calls. The schedule calls for her to be picked up from the church at 9:35. It would have been nice if they'd told me. It would be nicer if that would work. AA gets in at 9:00, and I have a meeting 90 minutes from here at 9:00 tomorrow morning. I'm not going to drop Daughter off at the church to wait alone 2 hours before the bus is due.

Beginning tomorrow, she will be picked up from home 5 days a week at 6:20. I'm not sure how she will do with that schedule, but we will try it for a week before I complain. I think it's going to make for very long days, and it will be challenging to get her fed and to the church when I have meetings Monday evenings. Tonight's meeting starts at 6:00. That will be very interesting. She was upset at first, but has calmed down nicely. She is outside waiting for the bus, even though it won't be here for another 30 minutes or so. I hope her day goes smoothly.

I'm going to contemplate how I'm going to structure my day around her new schedule. I need to get exercise into the routine somewhere, and so figuring that out is going to be a priority for me. I've decided I need to pay more attention to my health.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


Today is Pentecost, the Sunday the church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit: "And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them." Acts 2:2-3 I used the story of Pentecost and Jesus' words in John, where he states, "Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water." John 7:38.
Administrative Assistant and I made the banners to represent fire and water, and we had fans behind them to give them just a hint of movement. The pictures don't do them justice-- I hadn't turned the lights on, and I was too close to the water picture, but you can get the idea. We recognized everyone who contributed in any way to the church in the past year. We sang great hymns. We celebrated communion. We shared a meal that had two people outside grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats. It was a great Sunday.
Daughter was telling everyone how much fun she had, and said she thought she'd be ready to move into a group home sooner than she thought. It was a wonderful morning. Daughter is taking a nap, but I'm going to wake her up in a little bit so we can go outside and mow the lawn. It's a cool day, so we shouldn't get too hot. I hope everyone is having a great Sunday.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Signing up for Another Week

I have the registration form beside me and will put it in the mail on Monday. Daughter will go back to camp on June 26, and I will pick her up to go to our conference a couple of hours before the camp officially ends on July 3. She is very excited. The picture is another one from camp. I loaded all the camp pictures onto FaceBook, and a friend commented that she'd never seen Daughter so happy and relaxed. She is obviously having a good time in all of the camp pictures, and she's in a lot of them.

She did a good job cleaning the kitchen, so I took her shopping today, and she got 2 pairs of shorts, 2 tops, and a dress. She was pleased.

I'm looking forward to another week's break. I had purchased 2 tickets for an Independence Day extravaganza on June 30, so I'm trying to think of someone else who would like to go with me, since Daughter will be at camp. I'll be going with Sister and Short Niece, but company for the drive over and back would be nice.... Even if I make the drive alone, I'm sure I'll enjoy the evening. Now I need to go finalize worship plans for tomorrow.

The Fruits of the Spirit

This morning Daughter asked me to take her shopping. Not wanting to go, I told her if she cleaned the kitchen, I'd take her. The kitchen has been neglected lately. She looked at the mess and held out her hand for me to shake, "Deal." I still wasn't worried. Now, it looks like I'm going to be taking her shopping. She is doing an amazing job, going beyond cleaning to reorganizing things. She asked if she could listen to music while she did it. I agreed. Every so often I have to go check her progress, which truly is amazing.

I said, "I think you learned you could be responsible this week at camp."

"Mom, Goodness and Kindness and Faithfulness equals Respectfulness and Responsibility." She said this as if speaking to someone who is very dense. I asked her to repeat it. "We learned that at camp this week. We talked about the fruits of the spirit." My eyes filled with tears. I went to get some socks to put on so I could take her shopping.

I looked at the camp website again this morning, and then emailed the director who wants her back so badly. There is a high school camp that begins on June 26th, and ends at 4:30 on July 3rd. We are supposed to be 3 hours south of the camp that evening for our conference. Registration for the conference begins at 4:00, and supper is at 6:00. I want to be there early enough to get my classroom set up before supper. So, I asked if it would work for me to pick her up about 1:00. I would have to do her laundry while we're at the conference, but I can make it work.
I hope I can create an environment in which she can thrive as much as she did at camp. Another week at camp to reinforce those learnings can only help. Today, I am grateful, and enjoying the fruits of the Spirit in Daughter's life.

Friday, June 10, 2011


Daughter didn't want to leave camp. They want her to come back. There is a special needs adult camp, but we'll be at our conference we go to every year that week. The director said she could attend any of the senior high camps if she'd like to. He said she was a joy, and they want her back. She charmed them all. Unfortunately, I don't think any of the camp dates will work with our schedule.

When I picked her up, she didn't want to leave. She cried as she said goodbye to staff. They told me she wrote a hilarious skit for the talent show last night that had them all laughing. She's tired. I expect she'll crash tonight. She said maybe she will be ready to move out. She acknowledged missing my cooking-- but not me. I'm so glad she had a successful week. I may seek if I can tweak the schedule so she can go to another camp. I'll have to see. For tonight, I'm going to enjoy her success.

Talent Show

From this morning's pictures posted on the camp website, it looks like last night was the camp talent show. Daughter, of course, loves talent shows. Usually she sings and/or dances. It looks like she branched out last night and was involved in a drama. It also looks like she did it with several men. Why am I not surprised? My hope is that it was the counselors she was pursuing this week (very likely). They will be kind to Daughter, but not interested in a relationship. It's not likely she will hurt them.

I pick her up at 4:30 today. It will be good to see her.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Downside of Freedom

Without Daughter here to slow me down, I've been working way too many hours this week. I left the house at 7:00 yesterday morning, and didn't get home until after 9:00 last night. I've made plans to go into the office tomorrow morning, which is supposed to be my day off. Administrative Assistant and I are making two new banners for Pentecost Sunday. I'll post pictures when they're done. The concept is simple, but they are proving to be a bit more time consuming than we anticipated.

While I'm working a lot of hours, I've enjoyed not having to worry about Daughter's needs. I enjoyed the choir party last night. She wasn't hanging on me and bugging me to leave. She wasn't asking for food she knew she couldn't have. It was much more relaxing without her there.

I'm hoping her success at camp will be the confidence boost that will enable her to be more responsible here at home. I hope.

Camp Pictures

This morning I received a link to pictures that have been taken at camp. It looks to me like Daughter is having a great time!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I am so enjoying the freedom to set my own schedule without worrying about Daughter. As I look at how much easier my life is and how much more responsible Daughter is being in caring for her own health needs, I am more convinced that I need to move her into a group home sooner rather than later. I need to let her case manager know that I am ready to start checking out possibilities for Daughter.

Tonight I'm going to the choir's end of the year picnic. I just had a nice long conversation with one of the higher ups in the denomination. It was nice to be able to talk about the good things that are happening and the challenges ahead.

The weather is still dangerously hot, and it's been a good day.


We had a record high yesterday, and are headed for another one today. I do not do well with heat. Fortunately, the church is air conditioned. I'm grateful. Last week I was opening my office windows. This week I'm enjoying the air conditioning.

I'm dealing with heat in another sense, too. After almost 8 months, some of the issues and conflict are beginning to come out in this congregation. There is nothing that alarms me, just the beginning of challenges and grumblings. We've had a lot of change over the past 8 months, and change is hard for people. There are some challenging people in this congregation, and there are people who don't want to be around the challenging people.

Several things I have noticed that seem to be part of the culture here:

1. If someone doesn't like someone on a committee, they quit the committee. There is a reluctance to address the issues, and an eagerness to avoid them.

2. Music (as in many congregations) is a conflict point where the stress comes out.

3. It's hard for people to see the big picture. They focus on one thing, and their happiness depends on them getting their way on that one thing.

I'm grateful I had extra time for prayer on Monday. It has helped me deal with some of the challenges of this week. These are the issues I was called hear to address, and with God's help, we'll get through them.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Phone Call from Camp

I had a phone call from Camp Nurse a little while ago. She called me to tell me that Daughter is doing great! CN is just acting as consultant on the diabetes, Daughter is making good choices and managing it herself. She had a low this afternoon, and she managed it.

This evening they had a campfire, and Daughter challenged one of the counselors to a rap contest. According to CN, Daughter won. She said Daughter involved the others and it was a rap about faith. It was very hot today-- heat index was over 100. Daughter got overheated, but recovered.

CN said I am the only parent she called, but she knew I was worried, and she wanted me to know that Daughter is doing great. Tonight, I'm grateful. Tomorrow I won't be anticipating problems, waiting for the phone to ring. I am enjoying setting my own schedule and not worrying about her needs. I'm delighted to hear that she is being responsible and doing well.

A Silent Phone

Daughter couldn't take her cell phone to camp, so she can't call me. It's rare for her to make it through the day without calling me at least once. She's well known for that. She often asks me to come get her early, and even though I always say no, she continues to ask. Sometimes I think she just creates reasons to call me. It's like she has to check to make sure I'm still here. As of right now, I haven't seen or heard from her since I dropped off her medication at the camp at noon yesterday. I'm enjoying the break from the phone calls, though I must admit it's a bit weird.

Kitten misses her-- she slept with me last night, and yelled at me a bit when I got home at 9:00. By 10:30, she was biting my toes, trying to get my attention. The house is quiet, and it's nice. I like having things unlocked. It's wonderful change.

It looks like it's going to be sunny and hot most of the week. I'm sure Daughter is having a good time. I'm hoping for a productive week at church and home without the work and distractions Daughter brings into my life. I haven't had this kind of break since she went to diabetes camp 9 years ago. When she's been in the hospital she's still called, and I've had to make the 45 mile journey to visit her most evenings. I do miss her, but it's good. I know she's safe and that she is having a good time. Now to see how much I can accomplish today.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Gift of Time

When I got to the camp today and discovered I had forgotten her medication and would have to get it back by lunch so she would have her insulin, it really didn't bother me that much. It meant an extra 3 hours in the car, but it was okay. In fact, I viewed it as a gift. It was 3 hours when I couldn't do research for the sermon, respond to emails, or plan for this evening's meeting.

I prayed, I talked to my sister on the phone, and I enjoyed the drive. I drove through a fastfood restaurant for lunch, and then once I got to the church, I just stayed there until my meeting this evening, eating my planned lunch for supper. It was wonderful not to have to worry about Daughter. I am going to enjoy the gift of time: the time away to pray in the car today, and the time without Daughter this week. It truly is a great gift.

Belly Laugh of the Month

Daughter has been protesting about going to camp for months. She wouldn't go, I couldn't make her, it wasn't fair, I was trying to get rid of her, etc. Her protests just increased my resolve that she would go, but it hasn't been pleasant.

So today, as we're driving down the road, she said to herself, "Daughter, stop smiling. You're supposed to be mad." I don't remember the last time I laughed so hard.

When we got to camp almost 90 minutes later I was especially grateful for the laugh, as I realized I'd left all her medication on a kitchen chair. I dropped her off and came back home to get it. Instead of getting into the office by 11:00, it was after 2:00. But she's at camp already charming everyone in sight, and the food is unlocked in my kitchen. A little bit of heaven, and worth 6 hours on the road.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


We are packing Daughter's things for camp. The people were great this morning. Many of them have been or sent children to the camp she will be going to. They filled her with stories of what a great place it is and how much fun she'll have. That definitely helped. She's still nervous, but then so am I. It's hard, trusting someone else to manage her diabetes. My week is quickly filling up-- I now have commitments Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings. I told someone that I was not going to do anything on Thursday evening-- I wanted one night to myself while Daughter's gone.

I looked at the lawn this afternoon and thought about my calendar, and decided we needed to get out and mow it. The good news is my lawn is getting healthier. The bad news is that it's growing rapidly, and I'm having to mow more frequently. I'm doing well if I make it 5 days right now. It isn't raining as much, so I've turned my sprinkler system on.

I hope that Daughter has a good time at camp and that things go smoothly. I think the break will be good for both of us.

Making up for a Good Day

My goodness was Daughter oppositional yesterday evening. She is going to camp tomorrow, and realizing that, her anxiety level went sky high. She complained about everything. She told me flat out she wasn't going to camp. She informed me that she needed new clothes for camp. Suddenly she only has one pair of jeans and one t-shirt (which I bought her yesterday) that fit. I worked real hard at not reacting, and she did make that a challenge.

Every protest just underlined my need for her to go to camp and give me a break. I have some concerns about this, too. It's not easy trusting strangers with the care of her diabetes. This is the second year they've done an adult special needs camp, so my hope is that they made all their mistakes last year. In fact, this year they're doing 2 camps, since last year's was so popular. The second camp is the week of the conference we attend, so she's going to this one, which I believe is the first camp of their season. It's less than 90 minutes from here, and I'm sure once she gets there she'll have a good time. She went to diabetes camp when she was 14, and had a great time. She didn't shower, so she was fairly ripe when I picked her up, but she was quite upset when she couldn't go the following year because of a broken ankle.

Today we will be doing laundry and packing. We'll leave her before 8:00 tomorrow morning to get there. I've sent them detailed information about the care and feeding of Daughter. Now I get to trust that she'll have a great week. I'm looking forward to finding out what it's like to live without locking up the food....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"That Was Fun!"

Adoptive parents of hurt children know how our kids sabotage fun things. If they do have fun, they won't admit it. So for Daughter to tell me throughout the day that things were interesting and fun and then to have her pronounce that the whole day was fun is nothing short of a miracle. When we stopped at the store afterwards she returned to form, asking for things she knew I wouldn't get her and such, but while we were sightseeing, she was wonderfully cooperative. Capital had a program today where you could tour various sites and there were shuttle buses running several routes between various attractions. We spent almost 5 hours walking and touring. It was supposed to be in the low 80's with the chance of thunderstorms. Fortunately, there was no rain. Unfortunately, it was pushing 90, and the air conditioning wasn't working in several places.

We saw the state capital, a radio station, several different gardens, a used book sale (amazingly, Daughter was the one who spent money, not me). We went to museums and shops. We ran into one member family, but that was all. We only saw a fraction of the possibilities. We will definitely do it again next year. If we do it enough years, maybe we'll actually get to see everything! There were several places that we will go back to at some point this summer. I don't anticipate having any trouble convince Daughter it will be fun.

Oh, and she was dry last night. Maybe next year she'll skip the prom completely.

Defining Success and Program News

Daughter and I have been talking quite a bit about men and relationships. She is so determined to have a boyfriend and incapable of maintaining any kind of a relationship. She was complaining about the guy she just broke up with, and I was pointing out the mixed messages she'd given him. To her credit, she heard what I was saying, and recognized she hadn't been fair to him. With the move happening on Monday, a number of young men will be joining Daughter's program. I asked her if she could stay away from them for now.

"Probably not." It was an honest, though frustrating, answer. She acknowledged that these challenges with men are a result of her history. The she said, "Why is Birth Brother so successful?" BB is 30, and on at least his 3rd marriage. He's had a number of girl friends between marriages, and at least one while married. I pointed out that he's been married three time, and asked if that sounded like success. She thought it did. So we talked about whether his ex-wives or daughter from a previous marriage would see it as success. She decided they wouldn't. I'm not sure she is able to see that he isn't successful. The connection between them is strong, and I don't think she is ready to see his shortcomings.

In other news, I got word as to part of the bus schedule once Daughter returns from camp and starts back in the program at the new location. Monday-Thursday the bus will pick her up at the church. It will drop her off at home every day and pick her up at home on Friday. She will be getting home between 5:30 and 5:40, and on Friday morning she will be picked up at 6:20. I hope pickup from the church won't be that early. I'm going to give it a try, but I'm not sure she'll be able to handle a day that long. The late drop off in the evening will give me more time for visits and such in the afternoon, but I'm not sure that will be good for me, either. I need to be forced to stop and focus on other things at some point in the day.

She had her psychological evaluation for the guardianship yesteday morning, so I dropped her off at her program in the new location Friday afternoon. It's a beautiful building. They will have more space and it will be a wonderful base for them to return to after their outings. Program Cooordinator is still working on getting the staff to understand the importance of not talking about their personal lives in front of the group. While Daughter was being tested, a sub was describing the auto accident she was in a year ago. She lived, but her unborn child died as a result of the accident. PC was all over her about sharing personal details, and reminded the rest of the staff that they needed to remind one another of the rules. I'm glad Daughter wasn't there to hear the gory details (which were pretty bad, I understand).

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Prom

Daughter lost her prom ticket. We went, and they believed us and let her in. We sat at a table with the guy she just broke up with, and she made sure I was between the two of them. There were several hundred people there, wearing every thing from tuxes and tiaras to t-shirts and shorts. There were wheelchairs and walkers, the young and the old. It was in the ballroom of a motel, and it was a very nice setting. The meal was okay.

The band was excellent. Within 15 minutes of them starting, Daughter was done and had to leave. She started out by dancing with the guy who had her running upstairs in tears yesterday. She got mad because he saw his ex-girlfriend and brought her into dance with them. I waited 15 minutes for her to calm down, and then gave up and brought her home. Next year it's going to take a lot of convincing for me to invest the time and money.

Interesting Conversation

So Daughter wanted to earn money last night to go shopping. She wanted money to buy things for the dance. I asked her what she wanted to buy. She wanted makeup, and then she was wondering if she could earn enough money that night to buy a video camera. Have I mentioned that she has a difficult time with money. I gave her some chores, and told her if she did them properly I'd take her to the store to get makeup. She she finished and I went in to inspect. Of course they weren't done properly. I gave her one chance to fix them. She was quite frustrated and decided we wouldn't go to the store. She was playing the victim, all persecuted.

I sat her down and talked to her about employment skills, and the importance of doing things right the first time. I talked about double checking your work. I said if she'd looked at the floor, she would have seen the hair on it. The best exchange of the night: "Or maybe I saw the hair on the floor and swept around it."

"Why would you do that?"

"So you'd say I couldn't go to the dance."


Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Crisis Managed without Me

I got a call this morning that sent me to the hospital to visit one of the saints. While I was gone, Daughter came running upstairs, sobbing. She was shocked that I wasn't there. Administrative Assistant hugged her and calmed her down. One of the men in her program had been pushing her buttons. Daughter's only done that 3 times in the six months they've been downstairs. I'm glad I wasn't there when it happened today. Tomorrow is their last day in our building, and so Daughter needs to adjust to the fact that I'm not going to be right upstairs to manage her crises. When she called and asked if she could come up at the end of the day, I told her she needed to wait 10 minutes. AA and I were in the process of doing the final edits on the newsletter, and I didn't want her disrupting. She wasn't happy, but she waited, and when she came up, she waited respectfully while we finished our work.

Today was a day that did not go as planned. I had a 9:00 meeting and a 1:00 meeting, and I planned to go hide in a restaurant and write my sermon between the meetings. A phone call a little before 9:00 put an end to those plans. An elderly woman was calling from the hospital. Her husband had been there since Tuesday and she said he wasn't doing well and was slipping. She wanted him on the prayer chain. As soon as the 9:00 meeting was over, I headed to the hospital. He was down for tests when I arrived. I don't think it is the crisis his wife feared, I think she panicked when she heard he'd been confused over night and that they wanted to do tests on his heart. I talked to her for a while, and then left to get lunch. I returned to the hospital and got to visit with the man and say a prayer with him before heading back to the church. The visits ate up most of the time between my meetings. The man may be discharged tomorrow. He'll do better when he's home.

Tomorrow morning Daughter has a psychological evaluation in preparation for the guardianship hearing. That will take all morning. The "prom" is tomorrow evening. Saturday we're going to go to a festival here in town. I still have a sermon to write at some point. Maybe I'll be able to get some of it done while Daughter's being tested tomorrow. Maybe.

Two Steps Forward, One Back

After several pretty good nights/mornings, Daughter wet the bed last night and has been slow getting up this morning. I allowed her to watch a TV show we recorded on Monday last night. She was so eager to get to the show that she didnt do her chores well. I was outside mowing, so wasn't in here to check up on her until after she turned on the TV. She did not respond well when I told her that there shouldn't be clumps of cat hair on carpet she had just vacuumed. She did come and redo it, but was quite dramatic, announcing she'd just leave. Fortunately, she didn't, and I did let her return to her show.

Her frustration is coming out this morning. She won't have time for a full breakfast. Hopefully she'll turn it around this morning and we'll have a better evening. When she does well, she panics and does something to sabotage herself. My goal is to maximize the good times and minimize the time she's back into this frustrating state.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Brain Flares

One of the saints was in talking to me today. T's discouraged because he is beginning to realize that things aren't going to change overnight, and there is going to be some resistance. He is so excited and optimistic about the future, he can't understand why the entire congregation doesn't feel the same way. I listened and encouraged, and explained some about the challenges of bringing transformation to churches. He's just beginning to realize how complicated churches are. As we were talking, I began to get ideas. Administrative Assistant has compared my brain to the sun. The sun has solar flares, I have brain flares, with ideas popping out all over the place at unexpected times. I told T he was triggering brain flares, and he apologized. I told him it was Administrative Assistant who needs the apology. We walked out of my study together and as we were walking by AA's office, I told her, "It's T's fault!" He left the church before I could explain or AA could ask any questions. Then I went into AA's office and told her I was having brain flares again and was going to give her several additional articles for the newsletter. "Oh, that's what's T's fault!" She's going to have a talk with him about why brain flares newsletter week are not a good thing....


Mom was a perfectionist. She constantly challenged me to do better. As a result, I struggle with feelings of not being good enough. Yesterday one of the saints stopped by my study to chat. He does this regularly. Yesterday he was talking about his competitive nature, and how he finally decided to step away from competitive running as a result.

As he began to apologize for the diversion, I thanked him for the message. I can become so driven in my quest for perfection that I push volunteers too hard. We are working on a big program for fall, and I've been in danger of crossing the line and pushing too hard without regard for the needs and limitations of volunteers.

Yesterday's conversation and the insight it gave me into my behavior is one of the reasons why I appreciate the encounters I have with members who drop by. Those conversations often provide me with insight, often into the member or the church, occasionally into my own actions and behavior. I view them as a gift from God.

The downside, of course, is that those visits do make it hard to have concentrated time to do study and planning. I'm going to begin taking some blocks of time away from the church to do some of that work. Prioritizing my work and how I spend my time is an ongoing challenge. I'm still working to figure out the best rhythm for my work here in Capital.