Sunday, October 30, 2011


We were invited to go to Sister's this afternoon to help her as she unpacks and settles into her new home. Brother and his family were supposed to be there. Daughter was against it yesterday, but today thought she might like to do that. By the time we got to the church, she was telling me the reasons she couldn't do it.
The Administrative Assistant arrived. Daughter went out to greet her. I could hear her telling Administrative Assistant how she was going to get to go see her aunt and cousin this afternoon. She was very excited about. I walked over to the choir room and stuck my head in. "I thought you couldn't go." The look on her face was priceless. AA and I thought it was hilarious.
We went. Brother and his family didn't make it, but I helped Sister with several tasks, and Daughter and Short Niece played together. Short Niece loves Daughter. It was a good afternoon.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A New Chapter

It's a roller coaster around here right now. Daughter will start a sentence with, "When I move...." When I respond, she starts yelling about how she's not going and it's not right. We're talking a lot about how hard it is to move, and how good it will be once she adjusts. One minute she's making plans, the next she's insisting she won't go.
The good part is that she's very affectionate right now, and fairly helpful. I am tackling all the paper work that has piled up in the office/guest room. Some of it has been sitting on top of the desk since we moved in a year ago. I'm filing and tossing. Daughter, after protesting, has been shredding. The bed in there will go with her (though with a new headboard). The futon in the family room will go in there, and I'm getting a new couch for the family room next Saturday. Of course, she won't be moved by then. I think we'll take the bed out and stack it in the hall, that will make room for the futon to be moved into its new home.
Part of the sorting is necessary to find the paperwork I need to complete this move. I have set aside an entire file drawer for Daughter's paperwork. I've been procrastinating on the paperwork. I am really struggling with this move. I know intellectually that this is the right move for both of us, but my heart aches. I haven't lived alone in over 21 years. It's going to be hard.
For the past year, the office/guest room has been locked. It was where I put things I didn't have room for in the locked kitchen pantry cupboards. Once Daughter moves I will be able to open the door. I think when the door is open I will make use of the desk in there more.
Lots of changes are coming. I'm sure I haven't even pondered the ripple effect of all of them. We're both moving into new chapters in our lives and relationship. Most of the time I'm looking forward to the new chapter.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Shut Her Up

Daughter is understandably anxious about the move, which has made her very needy emotionally. She has become a Cling-on again. Last night she decided she needed to stay home and help me today. I said no, but refused to engage further as she ranted and raved. She went to bed last night, and I thought the argument was over.
When I woke her up this morning, her first words were, "I'm not going!" She informed me she knew I had a lot of work to do today and she was going to stay home and help me. I said, "Your 'help' comes with shouting and an attitude that wears me out." She stopped shouting. She tried again before she left. I told her that I love her, and when she is stressed she sneaks food and gets grouchy and it's hard work to watch her every move and deal with her attitude. She said, "That's part of why you are sending me away." I didn't respond. She's right, it is part of the reason why it's time for her to move out.
Last night I was depressed. This is going to be hard. I know it's time. I know it's the right thing to do. I know all that, and I am going to miss her. For 21 years, much of my life has revolved around her needs. Life will be easier when it isn't a daily balancing act to juggle the demands of ministry and parenting her. It will also be emptier. I promised her we'd have fun together this evening and tomorrow.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Story

Yesterday evening Daughter was finally able to tell me what had gone on during the supper visit that ad caused her to shut down. One of the women (who is wreaking havoc while there for respite-- they're trying to move her) had said things and and made gestures that Daughter said were "inappropriate." She said she was very uncomfortable with it. She said the woman was sent to her room, but didn't stay there. She told me she doesn't know if the staff there can keep her safe. She said she was crying, and one of the staff members told her she was too pretty to cry.
I'm trying to figure out how to address this. I want to go forward with the move, and I want to make sure that Daughter will feel safe there. We're going to have to teach her how to respond to the things that bothered her Tuesday evening.
I told one of the men here that I needed a favor. A big favor. He got the deer in the headlights look, and I said, "I need help moving Daughter and her furniture." He beamed. "No problem. We've got the trailer outside and there are plenty of people who will help with the move." I knew it wouldn't be a problem, and I'm grateful for the support.
We had three men in examining some cracks in the ceiling in the sanctuary yesterday. I went out to check on them, and when I came back I told Administrative Assistant I wasn't sure if they were the 3 musketeers or the 3 stooges. One of the men put a foot through a ceiling tile. The good news is there wasn't a major problem, and they have made repairs.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Supper Visit

I'm having trouble writing about Daughter's supper visit to her residential placement, probably because I'm still processing it myself. It didn't make her eager to move, but it hasn't completely killed her desire to move, either. I have some concerns after the visit, but am not ready to reject the placement.

When we got there the residents were very friendly and welcoming, the staff less so. I stayed until supper was served so I could give her her insulin and pills. The staff couldn't figure out why I couldn't give her the insulin 30 minutes before she eats (the insulin starts reducing her blood sugar in 5-10 minutes, so if her blood sugar is in normal range, she could quickly go low without food).

When I left, she handed me her monitor to take with me, which surprised me. I decided that maybe it just showed how relaxed she was. Wrong. At 7:00 she called and insisted I come and bring her monitor immediately. I assured her she'd be fine and told her I'd be there about 8:30 to pick her up. When I got there, she had shut down and was laying on the couch. I had hoped that while she waited for me the other residents would draw her out and into their activities. Didn't happen. They had a jazz band last night, but apparently it was at the men's house next door, and Daughter was not invited to be a part of that activity.

When we got in the car, she wrapped herself around my arm. She told me how she didn't want to leave me. Her protests and objections were muted, though. She didn't like the food, she worries about whether she'll be safe, but it seems like she is adjusting to the idea, even though it's obviously not going to be perfect.... I guess that's a victory. I just wish I felt like celebrating.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mixed Messages

Yesterday was a day of mixed messages. Daughter started with what looked like pink eye, but after a nap in my study, she woke up and her eye was fine. I took her and dropped her off at her program, so she did get to go see her future home with Case Manager.
She came home and was not happy. She was not moving. She did not belong in that place. She couldn't live with 12 women. She belonged with me. On and one she went. I kept telling her I knew it was scary and talking about other times when a change had been scary and had turned out to be good. I talked about moving out of my parents' home to go to college. I didn't think my words had had any impact on her until she after supper. I sat down with my back massager to relax for a few minutes before coming back to the church for a board meeting. She came over, and with a half smile, said, "Those rooms are really big and each room has a private bathroom!" I dropped her at a friend's house before my meeting, and when her board member's husband arrived at the church, he reported Daughter was very excited about the upcoming move and talking about how great it was going to be. I was relieved to hear that report.
The board meeting was long, hard, and very good. For the devotions, one of the members asked everyone to share one thing they are thankful for with regards to my ministry. It was a little embarrassing and very gratifying to hear them marvel over the positive energy, lack of complaints, forward movement and vision, sermons, and many other things. I shared how thankful I am, too, to be here in ministry with them. For the education piece, I shared a video about differentiated leadership and dealing with the anxiety in the system. I shared a few observations, and then we talked about a committee that is full of anxiety and has the potential to stir up lots of turmoil in the church. The committee had sent a motion to the board that would be voted down as a provocative gesture. I turned it into a case study as we discussed how to deal with it. We voted down the motion and came up with two things we were going to do to address the underlying issues. It was exhausting, but we all felt good about our discussion and the way we handled the situation.
After all this positive affirmation, we heard from the nominating committee. They are quite frustrated by the trouble they are having finding people willing to serve on the board. The board is excited about what's happening at the church and the direction we're going, so it's very frustrating it's so hard to find people who want to be part of the process. I expect this problem in a conflicted, struggling church. It's unexpected in a church in which there is supposedly excitement and enthusiasm for the future. We suggested some names and assured the people on the nominating committee that they are approaching this in the right way. The messages of the meeting seemed as mixed as the messages Daughter is giving me about the upcoming move. Maybe there are similar dynamics at work. Change is hard and scary, even when it is good change.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Pink Eye

Daughter came out this morning and pointed to her right eye, which was very pink and irritated. I wanted to cry. I ran through my calendar, and was glad that the couple I was going to visit today had cancelled. As soon as the doctor's office opens, I'll call to get her an appointment. Depending on when I can get an appointment, I may have to cancel my 1:00 meeting about the prayer chain. I called and cancelled her bus transportation.
Daughter was supposed to go with Case Manager to see the group home today. Instead, she's on the love seat in my study, sleeping. It could be a very long day....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Excitement Gives Way to Anxiety

Daughter is having a hard time now with the thought of the move. She was excited at church this morning, and was telling everyone that she's moving. But this afternoon, the reality has hit. She's been more volatile. She's given me a number of reasons why she can't move. Most of them are fairly predictable. She thinks I'm going to stop being her mom. She's going to miss Kitten. I'm getting rid of her.
The one that both amused me and gave me a glimpse into her fears was the conversation we had in the car: "Mom, I can't leave you. You're getting older. You're already in your 50's. You've fallen before. I need to stay with you to take care of you. Soon I'll have to find a nursing home for you!"
I reassured her that I would be fine. She worries about me and is afraid I'm getting old and need help, yet she is verbally abusive, which certainly isn't good for my health. I'm sure there will be lots of similar conversations in the days and weeks ahead.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Fear Surfaces

Sister closed on a house yesterday, and after being divorced for several years is finally leaving her ex (they stayed together while he tried to get a mortgage modification to something he could afford on his own-- he finally gave up after several years of trying.) She sent me a text this morning inviting me to come see her new house. I decided we'd go.
I painted and waited for deliveries while she took my larger car to buy things like a lawnmower and other needed items. Sister was very grateful for my help. I enjoyed seeing her and was glad I could give her a hand. Daughter started out the day doing great. She helped Sister with the shopping. Part way through the afternoon she retreated to the car.
On the way home she apologized. I told her she'd been helpful, and it was okay if she'd worn out. Finally she told me what was bothering her. "Mom, it reminded me that I'm moving."
We talked about her fears. She pointed out that this is different from camp, because it's permanent. I reminded her she'd be home frequently. She told me she'd miss Kitten, and my cooking. She wants to get off the bus at our house. We talked about it, I reassured her, and she was fine by the time we got home. I hope it will continue to be as easy to calm her fears.
Sister's new home is a little closer to us-- she's just over an hour away now. I am happy about that. She has never never lived alone. I gave her a list of tools she was going to need. I took my card table and chairs and a step stool for her to use until she gets moved in. I also took some tools over. I realized that I was doing what Mom and Dad would have done for her at one time. I was glad I could do it for her.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Daughter's Reaction

Program Manager was convinced that Daughter knew I was looking for a placement. She suggested she was reading my text messages or my email. I was skeptical, but considered it was possible.
When Daughter got home this evening I told her to come sit down, I had some good news. She asked me how good the news was. I told her to come in and have a seat and I'd tell her. I told her I'd found her a new place. She was ecstatic, and shocked. She had no idea I had been looking, and was shocked that I'd been visiting places for several weeks.
The more I told her about the place, the more excited she became. She wants to see it now. She said we needed to go out to eat to celebrate. So we went out to eat. I suspect that at some the fear and doubts will kick in, but for now, I'll enjoy her excitement. Her reaction reassured me that this is the right thing to do.

A Plan

We have a plan. I will tell Daughter about the plan tonight. Monday Case Manager is having lunch with her, and they'll go check out the place. Tuesday, after her appointment with Therapist, I'll drop her off at residential for a supper visit. I'll stay long enough to give her her insulin. I'll pick her up again around 8:00.

The weekend of the 4th she'll visit for the weekend. That week we'll have a pre-placement meeting and set a move in date. I was comfortable with the team. New Case Manager as concerned about the borderline diagnosis. I explained that her biggest problem was Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I gave them the short version of her first three years. Attitudes changed.

They will provide transportation for her to continue in her current program for a while. They will work with us on finding another appropriate placement for her. We will work together to make her work.

I have a huge stack of paperwork to complete. I am relieved and comfortable with the plan. My life is going to get much easier. I'm also very sad.

Pre-PrePlacement Meeting

This morning I am meeting with Daughter's Program Manager, Case Manager, Therapist, and in-coming Case Manager. We are going to plan her transition to residential. I want to be able to begin talking to her about it this weekend. I think she is going to be ready. I hope so, anyway. It was actually a relatively peaceful morning today. Maybe spending intentional time with her yesterday and explaining her drama didn't work helped-- at least for this morning.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Voices that Don't Speak

Daughter was quite dramatic in her return home this evening. She was throwing out a number of lines, trying to hook me. At one point she was beating her head and telling the voices to stop. She explained to me that the voices wouldn't leave her alone and she had to get them out of her head. I asked her what they were saying. She informed me they weren't speaking.
I finally sat her down and informed her that her attempts to get attention from me were pushing me away. I suggested that if she wanted time with me, she should ask for it. She was very subdued for a few minutes, then asked if I would play a game on the wii with her. We got in one game of bowling while the lasagna finished baking. I'd like to say she learned, but as soon as supper was over, she started throwing out reasons she couldn't come to choir. I had her snuggle next to me for 40 minutes of TV, and then we came to the church (arriving just before choir instead of over an hour early, when the bells practice). She immediately grabbed her music and headed off to sing. On the way here she was talking about her desire for people her own age to do things with. She'll have that when she moves. Tomorrow morning we figure out how to prepare her for the move. Maybe she'll embrace the idea.


Daughter woke up this morning and began crying. She cried through her shower, and came out to the kitchen still crying. She says she can't go to her program today because she can't stop thinking about the orphaned children. I told her she was going to her program, and she should pray for the children. I know she's sad, but I'm not convinced the tears aren't pure manipulation.
I got a text from Program Manager yesterday. Staff reported that Daughter was saying things that made them believe she knows she is moving. I asked her yesterday evening if she had anything she wanted to talk to me about, or anything she was stressing over. She kept asking what I'd heard and insisting she didn't know what I was talking about. I decided not to talk directly about her moving.
I think she knows I'm looking, and I suspect she's being dramatic in telling staff about it. I don't think she wants to know or is ready to talk about specifics. We'll make a plan tomorrow on how to tell her and how to smooth out the transition. I think I'll have her Case Manager or Program Manager tell her. They can sell it as doing her a favor. If I tell her, I suspect she'll decide I'm getting rid of her. I guess I'm manipulating her, too. I hope, though, that my motives are a bit better. I hope.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Enemy

Last night Daughter snuggled against me to watch a TV show we'd recorded Monday night. This morning I was the Enemy. I don't know why. It may have been because they have an outing to an apple orchard this morning and she doesn't want to go. It may have been because she woke up in a wet bed again this morning. She may not know why she was so angry. What I do know is that on mornings when I'm the enemy, I'm tired before I even leave the house.
I woke up thinking about my friend's family, and pondering if there is some way I can support them in their time of sorrow beyond prayers. My heart is heavy.
I started this this morning, and then got too busy to come back to it. Daughter came home in a better mood. I asked if she was still mad at me. She told me she wasn't, and then told me she couldn't stop thinking about my friend's children all day. "I need to be thankful I have a mom who is still alive." She even took all the trash out without complaining.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


This evening I heard that a friend had been killed in an accident this morning. I'd only met her face to face a few times, but we had made a deep connection via an online support group for the parents of children with Reactive Attachment Disorder. She had 3 children, 2 of them adopted, 1 of them with RAD. Two months ago her husband dropped dead of a massive heart attack. It was a devastating blow for the entire family. I can't begin to imagine how the children will recover from this second blow. Daughter had met all of them. She saw my reaction when I read the news, and asked me what was wrong. When I told her, she asked if we could pray for them right away.
My friend had been blogging about her journey through grief. You can read her blog here: (Blogger is being difficult tonight). I ask for prayers for her family. I felt sick when I heard of her husband's death. I don't even know how to describe what I am feeling right now.

On Being a Woman in Ministry

I've been in ministry for 26 years now, and over that time women in ministry have become more common. At various conferences and events for women in ministry there have been discussions about some of ways it's different for a woman. One of the things I've heard mentioned (and experienced) multiple times is the number of times people walking out of church and shaking the pastor's hand will comment on a female pastor's appearance, something they wouldn't ordinarily do with a man.
Today I received an email from a member telling me how much she appreciated worship on Sunday. She closed by telling me she liked my new hair cut. I had been concerned, because this woman hadn't been in worship for several Sundays and had dropped off the committee on which she'd served. I was delighted to receive her email. Her comment on my hair made me smile (and pleased me, too), I'm glad she mentioned her appreciation for worship first, though.
We've been working with the theme of building a spiritual house all fall, and Administrative Assistant (who is also our resident artist) has done a wonderful job of coming up with various graphics and visual displays related to the theme. We've been using empty paper cases to build a spiritual house during the children's sermon. AA has been putting cut outs of stones with various activities on them on the boxes each week. Yesterday the treasurer said he thought people were understanding and connecting with the theme, which pleased me. I've heard several conversations connected with various sermons, which is gratifying.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love serving this congregation? I have entirely too much to do and I'm overbooked, and I love every aspect of my ministry here at Capital.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday Challenges

Daughter was in rare form yesterday. She informed me she was too sick to go to church. She didn't have any specific complaints, she just was sick. You'd think by now she would realize that won't fly with me. My policy has always been that unless she has a raging fever or has thrown up in front of me, she's going. I've always said I'll pick her up later if she really is sick, but she's going. The same applied yesterday.
We got there and she promptly fell asleep in my study, though Administrative Assistant convinced her to get up and go to worship and sing with the choir. She was fairly cooperative right after worship, and we got a quick lunch before coming home for a few minutes. I watched some football, and then we went to pick up one of the saints and go to a local retirement home to lead worship.
When we got home, I watched the end of the game, and then decided I was going to tackle the lawn. I'd wanted to get out there since Friday to mow and take care of the leaves, but the weather hadn't cooperated. I decided that it had dried up enough to go out and do it, especially since I knew it was going to be a challenge to find time during the week to do it, since I have evening commitments Monday-Thursday. I didn't want to wait until Friday to do it. So, I had the audacity to ask Daughter to sweep the leaves off the small patio. She thought it was stupid to out and to the yard. Her new thing is to express her frustration (and she has a very low tolerance for frustration) by swearing, throwing and slamming things around.
I have to give her credit. She did sweep the patio. Often in her frustration she refuses to do anything. I was catching the leaves and clipping, which meant I was stopping and starting the mower with great frequency. After dumping the catcher about 20 times and filling my allotted six cans of yard waste, I had to switch to mulching. By this time I had made it to the back yard, where Daughter was still sweeping and fuming. She said, "If I don't get out of here and into a group home soon, there will be he** to pay!" She said she was going to call Case Manager and make her find her a place immediately. I told her she needed to make sure it was the right place. She informed me she didn't care, as long as it was away from here.
I think that's why she's being so difficult, she's rejecting me before I reject her by "getting rid of her." She still has been told explicitly that we are looking for a placement for her, but I'm confident she knows. As soon as I find out if this placement is a go, we'll begin talking to her about the transition.
About 8:00 she "discovered" she'd wet the bed overnight. She insisted she had no idea, and she hadn't felt the wetness in the morning. I work real hard at not reacting to the bed wetting. If she wets the bed, she needs to take a shower and wash her sheets. I've taught her how to do that herself. She hadn't taken a shower yesterday morning, so I told her she needed to take one after she put her linens in the wash. That prompted 15 minutes of throwing and slamming.
I ignore her when she's acting out this way. I have told her multiple times it's not acceptable behavior, but any attempt by me to get her to stop will cause her to escalate. As tends to be the pattern lately, she began the day today by apologizing for her behavior yesterday. She then informed me she couldn't go to her program today. I didn't laugh in her face. She is on the bus.
I realized yesterday evening that I'm staying up too late so I'll be exhausted when I go to bed. My hope is that if I'm so exhausted I fall asleep right away, I won't think about all that is going on and worry about the placement. I know the move is going to be hard for both of us. I know it's time. I know that she'll test and manipulate them and create crises. I'd like to go to sleep and wake up in a year when she has settled in to her new home and is happy. Of course, there's no guarantee she'll ever be happy anyplace. I aim to have a peaceful and happy life in spite of her.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

More About the Potential Placement

In response to Sharon's comment, I'll share more about Daughter's potential placement. This company runs several homes in our area and offers different levels of care. If Daughter does well, eventually she could move to an apartment that would offer more freedom. It took me about 15 minutes to get there from the church, and it was interstate most of the way.
She won't be able to continue in her current program long-term, but after the way she acted out during her period of rapid cycling, that might be good. My hope is that we can ease her out of the current program, maybe having her attend several days a week as she transitions into a new program.
There is still much I have to learn about the way this program works. The building backs up to the interstate, and is at the end of a dead end road that has a number of higher end apartment complexes. There are lots of trees around it. Next door is an identical residential facility for men owned by the same company. There is visiting between the homes, but no overnights. The residents go to a variety of programs during the day.
There is a nurse, nutritionist, and case manager assigned to the home, and they will work with us to set up a program for Daughter. Currently, the kitchen isn't locked, but we hope that there will be enough staff supervision to prevent problems. Daughter's case manager was going to change anyway, because her current one is going to a different job. The new case manager is described to me as less nurturing and more abrupt. That could be good, as it will be harder for Daughter to manipulate her.
We still have to figure out a timeline and plan for the transition-- but first we need to make sure that the placement will go through. I understand there are several case managers who would like to place people there, but the residential manager referred us there before the possibility of an opening was announced, so I'm pretty confident we'll get the placement. I will share more as I know more.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Daughter's Goal and a Decision

Daughter informed me that she is trying to get me to stop caring about her and loving her. I told her it wouldn't work, but she's still trying. I suspect that she's determined to reject me before I "reject" her by placing her in a residential placement.
Yesterday afternoon I toured yet another possibility, and decided to pursue placement there. It is all women, and there are young women there with whom she will be able to carry on conversations. They have a new house manager who comes after 4 years at another home owned by the agency. I liked her. She's trying to get more activities going, and they are enforcing the menu. The place was clean and spacious. Daughter will have a large room with attached bath to herself. There are about 12 residents, and there are always at least 2 staff members working. The staff is all female. The menu looks good, and all bread is whole grain.
Technically, Daughter doesn't qualify for this level of care, but they finally figured out that the possibilities at her level of care won't work.
Now we wait for the other resident to move out and come up with a plan for introducing this to Daughter and easing her transition. It will be interesting, to say the least. I'm looking forward to the freedom I'll have once she is settled. I won't have to lock up food. I'll be able to have a fruit bowl on the table. I won't have to worry about what I'm going to do with her when I'm at meetings. I'll miss her, of course, but the time I have with her should be more pleasant when we're not living together.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"I Can't"

I told Daughter that the trash needed to be put out last night after Bible study. So on the way home from Bible Study, she started in. "I can't. I need to get my insulin and pills and go straight to bed when we get home. I just can't take care of the trash."
"Fine. I'll do it."
"You shouldn't have to do it."
"You're right, I shouldn't have to do it, but it has to be done, and since you can't, that means I will have to do it."
So when we got home I wheeled out the trash can, carried out 5 cans of leaves and grass clippings, and toted 3 recycling bins to the curb. When I got inside, I washed my hands and put away the clean dishes. Daughter pouted, because I took care of the work before I got her her insulin, pills, and snack. I wasn't done until 8:30. Any other night she would have been begging to stay up until 10:00.
She woke up growling this morning. I gave her a pb&j from the freezer and an apple for lunch. There are times when I get annoyed that she can't get her own meals and that any attempts to get her to help around the house result in rages that do damage to the house. She's acting like a spoiled brat. This morning she told me she wasn't yelling because she was mad at me. I pointed out that didn't stop the fact that she was yelling, and that I deserved better than that. Emotionally it's easier for me to do it myself than to listen to her verbal abuse. Even when I don't ask her to do anything, she's verbally abusing me, just not as much as if I were to have the audacity to suggest she could be a contributing member of the household. I sure hope that I like the residential placement I'm visiting this afternoon and that there is an opening soon. I'm tired of living like this.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good News

Yesterday brought more good news. Daughter had an appointment with her Counselor, and after the appointment I sent Daughter out to the car so I could talk to Counselor for a moment. Counselor works with the residential placement I'm visiting tomorrow. She thinks it would be a good match for Daughter. That is good news.
It feels like every day this week is overbooked. I sat down with Daughter last night to watch TV. We got home at 7:00 last night, which will be our earliest night this week. I had a terrible time staying awake to watch the program, and it wasn't even 8:30. Daughter cuddled up next to me. It was the first peaceful time we've had together for a while. I wasn't making any demands of her. I think we both needed that quiet evening in front of the TV.
Monday night's meetings revealed yet another major area where people in this congregation have a difficult time letting go. I've already had several conversations with people disturbed by the discussion, and I know there are more coming. The challenge with the inability to let go is that the individuals are so stuck on one idea that I haven't been able figure out a way to reason with them or get them to see a different perspective. It's going to be a challenge to get them to step back and look at the bigger picture, and it will take time and lots of prayer. I knew coming into this that there were conflicts and challenges. I've been here a year, and they are becoming more obvious. We'll work through them together with God's help.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I've been here a year, and I've begun to see more clearly some of the issues in the life of this congregation. For one thing, many have a hard time attaching to a new pastor. They have never let go of the past. I'm beginning to think about ways to help them process their history so we can move forward together.
Today has been busy. The treasurer was in and we worked on budget. There were several conversations about this difficulty with letting go of the past. I got a little bit of work done on worship for this coming Sunday, and a very long to do list for the week.
We have a woman having a joint replaced tomorrow. She refused to tell me what time the surgery will be, because she doesn't want me to take time to come. Yesterday I asked if I could stop by to visit her today before the surgery. She said she'd stop by to see me instead. So after everyone else left, she appeared. We talked some about her surgery and her plans for recovery. Before I could pray with her, she said, "I need to tell you something."
She proceeded to tell me how much my ministry here has meant to her. She says she's a different person now. She appreciates my leadership here at the church. I thanked her. She ministered to me today, and in the midst of a busy day at the start of a busy week, I'm grateful.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

A Better Day

Daughter started out the morning a bit grouchy. She informed me she had to act this way, she had PMS. She was sitting in my study, scowling. She couldn't find her ipod this morning, and that had frustrated her. I pulled out the plaque Sister Best Friend gave me Thursday and showed it to her. It says, "Spare Me the Drama." Daughter looked at it and tried to stay mad, but she couldn't, she began to smile. I told her I was considering beating her with it, or wearing it around my neck. She began to talk about what I'd have to do to wear it.
When we got home, I wanted to continue with a project I'd started yesterday: cleaning and organizing the garage. I still don't have it set up the way I'd like. Yesterday her frustration tolerance was very low, and she kept storming off. Today I wanted to finish hanging an organizer I'd purchased yesterday. I had her handing me tools: drill bit, screwdriver bit, hammer, level, screws. She told me it was man's work and I shouldn't be doing it. I don't know where she got these ideas. I've been single all my life, and I've always worked with tools and taken on small projects.
She was very cooperative, though, and we got more done. It's not complete, but we're making progress. It's a beautiful fall day, so it was great to have an outside project to work on. This is going to be a crazy week, so I'm grateful for all I can get done around the house today. Daughter wants me to wash and style her hair. I have refused to relax it until she shows me she will wrap it nightly, but I am willing to give her a shampoo, conditioner, and maybe trim it some. We'll see. For now, though, the laundry is going and I'm relaxing with my back massager.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Morning with Daughter

Daughter is doing her best to frustrate me this morning. We had fasting blood draws this morning, and she needed a lithium level 12 hours after she took her last lithium. As we headed out she informed me she wasn't walking with the Walk Saint this morning. She had too much to do at home. When I asked her what she had to do at home, she got angry. I reminded her that every Saturday she tells me she's not going to walk, and every Saturday, she walks and has fun.
Yeah, that's because I'm forced to have fun."
"Really? Can I learn how to force you to have fun?"
"No, you have to be (she listed unique characteristics of Walk Saint)."
Her period started over night, and the doctor had ordered another urinalysis, because the last one showed a lot of protein, but had been contaminated by the fact she was on her period (which I didn't realize when I took her for the tests). I looked over the lab orders (three different orders from two different doctors, each with unique items and common items). I gave the lab all three orders, but asked to hold the urinalysis until she was off her period. The clerk tried to convince me that it didn't matter that she was on her period. I assured her it did, so under protest she ended up giving me a cup to bring home for when she's done with her period.
After the blood work we went across the street to a diner for breakfast. Daughter sat there pouting. She couldn't eat anything, she was too sick. The low murmur of adult conversation was too loud for her. I asked the waitress to come back 2 or 3 times. Daughter went from not being too sick to eat to wanting the largest breakfast on the menu: 4 eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and toast. I finally convinced her that 2 eggs, one meat, potatoes and toast would be a better choice.
When the food arrived, she cleaned her plate very quickly, of course. On the drive home she repeated her insistence she wasn't going for a walk this morning. I ignored her. When Walk Saint showed up (with her dog that starts barking with joy when they turn down our street because she gets to see Daughter), Daughter said she wasn't going. I informed her she was. She stormed out the door, yelling at me, "You owe me!"
Actually, I think I owe Walk Saint. Sister Best Friend gave me a plaque she bought me while she was on vacation. It says, "Spare me the Drama." I think I may use it to beat some sense into Daughter. I had planned to go do some thing fun today, but if she's still in a foul mood when she gets home, we'll be staying home. I'll send her to the basement or her bedroom....

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Coherent Thoughts

Daughter got mad tonight when I told her she needed to clean her room. So she went in her bedroom and threw things. She said it was okay, she just scratched the door. I, of course, didn't agree with her assessment. One of the things I've noticed is that since we increased the antipsychotic, she is capable of using her words to tell me what she's feeling. So she used her words.
She pointed out this move gave me my dreams, but she isn't happy in her program. Then she told me she missed me. She said she comes home and we have a hurried supper and then rush back to the church. She has a point. The problem is made worse by the reality that her behavior is pushing me away. I'm pleased that she's better able to put her feelings into words. Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to the things that are frustrating her.

Customer Service-- a Rant

I decided I wanted too buy two new chairs for my living room with some of the money Far Away Sister just released as she closes out our parents' estate. The chairs I have in there were cheap when I bought them over 15 years ago. They have not worn well, and I've had to make repairs to them over the years. So, I went to Furniture Row and walked all the way through the living room section. I walked through examining chairs and carrying the arm protector from my couch so I could match colors. I was ignored by everyone in the store, and didn't see anything exciting enough to seek out someone to help me.
From there I went to Bob Evans for lunch. I was hungry for the Wildfire Chicken Salad. I walked in and finally the hostess stopped her conversation long enough to show me a table. I then sat and waited for 20 minutes for my waitress to figure out I was there and waiting. I was busy with my droid, so it took me a few minutes to realize I was being ignored. Once I realized it, the other waitresses were avoiding looking at me. When my waitress came, she said she didn't see me and didn't know I was there. Maybe the hostess would have told her if she hadn't been so intent on her conversation. When the hostess checked me out, she asked as an after thought, "How was everything?" I pointed out I had waited 20 minute for my waitress to serve me. She ignored my response.
Whatever happened to customer service? The economy in our area isn't good, and neither of these businesses were busy. You'd think they'd want to take care of the customers they get. I was helped almost immediately at the next furniture store I visited. There were two chairs I liked-- one is too wide for the small space I have, and the other wasn't available in an appropriate color. It's too bad, I'd have liked to have given the man who was so helpful my business.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another Celebration

Almost every day I receive a similar phone call from Daughter.
"I need to get out of here now! I'm being harassed. If you don't come get me I'll call the cops."
"I'm sorry you're having a bad day. I have confidence in your ability to keep yourself safe. I'll see you tonight. I love you."
Sometimes there are multiple phone calls over the course of the day. Occasionally she tries a new angle. I don't pick her up.
Today I had a seminar I was attending. I wondered what Daughter would attempt to pull me out of it. She knew I was going, and had expressed alarm that I wouldn't be home when she got home. I assured her I'd leave after she left, and return before she got home.
My cell phone was silent all day. No calls, no text messages. When she walked into the house this evening, she through her arms around my neck and began jumping up and down with joy. She was so proud of herself. She had a good day (she was separated from most of the group). I asked her if she had the standard conversation with me in her head. She acknowledged she did. She also proudly showed me her cell phone-- which she had intentionally left at home today.
Whatever it takes. I'll celebrate a successful day with her.


Yesterday Treasurer and Administrative Assistant took me out to lunch. They decided we needed to celebrate my first anniversary as pastor here. Technically, it's still a couple of weeks away, but that didn't matter. It was wonderful to share lunch with them. I'm glad they see it as something worth celebrating.
I'm glad I'm here. I'm enjoying my life and ministry here. I'm excited about the things we're doing at the church. I'm busy, and it's good. For the most part, I think the members are pleased as well. My work here is very different from what it was in Tiny Village. I'm doing more education. I teach Bible study, and just as important, teach leaders and committees how to be more effective in their ministry. The congregation is very receptive to this. They want to learn, and soak up the information.
Daughter continues to struggle, but there are resources here for her. Case Manager looked at another residential option yesterday, and thinks this one might be a good possibility. I'll go check it out next week. It would be all women, and there is more staffing than at some of the other places we've visited. I think Daughter will be ready when the time comes to move her. Because I'm so involved at the church, the transition will be easier for me than it would have been in Tiny Village. I won't miss her as much because I have so much I'm doing.
Today I'm going to a continuing education event. It's the first Thursday of the month for the next 8 months. Sister Best Friend will be there, too. I'm looking forward to it. Of course, I'll have a lot of work to make up after losing today in the office, but it will be worth it. One year after moving here, I am celebrating my lie here in Capital.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Righteous Rage

Daughter overheard a conversation I had with Sister last night. Sister and Short Niece are finally getting their own place after continuing to live with Ex while he tried to refinance the house. The situation is very complicated, and they finally decided that a short sale or foreclosure was the only option. As is to be expected, the separation process is messy, and there are disagreements over custody arrangements.

Daughter is furious with both of them. She cried and screamed and was very distressed about the entire situation. It was the biggest meltdown I've seen in a while. She doesn't think they are giving enough consideration to Short Niece's well-being. She said it's not fair to Short Niece, and she deserves better than this. I agreed with her, and reminded her that life isn't fair. I talked a little about what she'd gone through-- but she didn't want to talk about that, she just wanted to talk about Short Niece and what they're doing to her. She thinks Sister and Ex both need to grow up and stop thinking only about themselves. There are times when she has amazing insights into people and situations.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Last night, as a meeting I had wound down, Daughter was doubled over with pain. She almost had me convinced something was seriously wrong. I promised her something for the pain when we got home, and she insisted it wouldn't work and she couldn't take it because of her other medications. I began to wonder if she was having a brain aneurysm or something. Outside I was calm, but inside I was pondering a trip to the ER. We got home and she put on her PJ's and took her pills, including Tylenol. I gave her a snack, but she tried to convince me she was too sick to eat it. I turned on the TV to catch the Sing Off, and miraculously, her pain was forgotten.

I live in fear that someday I won't get her the treatment she needs, because I won't believe her when she tries to convince me she's dying. We've talked about this numerous times. I've told her the story of the boy who cried wolf numerous times. Sometimes, though, I feel like I'm beating my head against a solid brick wall. I should be the one with the headache.

Monday, October 3, 2011


I keep a container of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the freezer. When Daughter is refusing to cooperate and help out around the house, she gets a sandwich and an apple in her lunch. Today she finally asked me why she has to have PB&J. I told her that when she decides to become a contributing member of the family again, she will have more options. She didn't argue or object.

This morning I realized that the honest conversation last night may have been made possible by the increase in her anti psychotic. It's possible that enabled her to think more clearly and talk to me about her feelings. Her thinking process could have been too chaotic before to express what was going on. I'm choosing to be cautiously optimistic today.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Honest Conversation

Daughter asked to talk to me at bedtime. I want to record some of that conversation now, because it was pretty amazing. I can't remember all the words, but basically, she was talking about how guilty she feels about the way she's been acting. Part of her wants to do more, but her fear gets in her way. She's terribly jealous of her friends from Tiny Village who are living more or less independently. She wants to be out on her own, but terrified by the thought of leaving here. She wants to be under her own roof, and wants to stay with me until I die.

I listened, and then I reminded her that before we moved, I told her that after we'd been here a year, we'd start looking at options for her. I reminded her of how well she did at camp. I pointed out that a residential placement would be like that, and if she could prove she could be responsible away from me, there would be the possibility of more freedom and less supervision in the future. She didn't embrace the idea, but she also didn't reject it. She talked about how frightened she was when she first went to camp. I told her that moving away would be the same way, she'd be frightened at first. I also reminded her we'd still be a family and spend time together. She rolled her eyes and informed me, "I know that."

The conversation left me confident that a residential placement is the right thing for her, and the timing is right, too. It was a good conversation, and she went to bed happy. I'm going to go to bed happy, too. In fact, I'm headed there now....

Foul Mood

Daughter continues to be in a foul mood. I mowed the lawn this afternoon, and asked her to sweep off the patio. She worked at it for a minute, then came inside and watched me mow, take care of the bird feeders, and do various other outdoor chores. When I came in she sat on the couch pouting while I put away clean dishes, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and washed things that couldn't go in the dishwasher. I dared to point out that she had a couple of lunchboxes in the car. She yelled at me to leave her alone.

When I finished the chores, I wanted to watch a football game, but I didn't want her here oozing ugliness. I told her she could go to her room or the basement. She informed me that was separation and we were no longer a family. She tried running away again. She didn't stay gone long, and since she didn't have her key, she had to call me and ask me to let her in the house. She apologized and retreated to the basement. She's downstairs watching TV and giggling. I'm watching football, grateful she's not in my space sucking the joy and peace out of the room.

Case Manager and I will be talking this week. We need to change some things up for her. The move will be hard, but it's time. I'm looking forward to some peace.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Safety Concerns

This afternoon I feared for my safety. Daughter was furious, and threatened to hurt me. What had I done? She wanted some chicken fingers. I was making some dip. I got out the chicken fingers for her, and told her she could have that or the dip, but not both. That was enough to set her off. I don't like being afraid. It reinforces the reality that she needs to move out. Sooner rather than later.

She ended up taking off, though she came back quickly. Then she ranted and raved about how much she hated herself and she was going to start hurting herself. I just sat here, numb. I suppose I could have taken her to the hospital, but I figured the threats would pass quickly. They did, but they left me exhausted. It's to the point I'm afraid to say anything to her, because I don't know how she'll react. This is no way to live. Of course, I find myself wondering how she'll do in a residential placement, and how long they will put up with her....


Daughter just left for her weekly walk with one of the saints. Today they are going to a special place. They will be gone longer and are eating a picnic lunch. I am very grateful. I will enjoy the peace while she is gone. She woke up yelling at me this morning. I wasn't even engaging her, and she was yelling. She discovered she was tracking mud with her hiking boots, and she started yelling.

Last night she finally started the increased anti psychotic. I took the prescription in Wednesday evening, and discovered the resident hadn't bothered to put a quantity on it. They said they'd have to call. Thursday evening they still hadn't heard from the doctor. They don't have the 80 mg pills in stock, and can't order them until they hear from the doctor. I told them to just give me a refill of the lower strength, which I picked up yesterday. They still hadn't heard from the doctor. I gave her two pills last night. We have enough to last two weeks. I'll email the nurse Monday and ask her to make sure they contact the pharmacy with a quantity.

When Daughter gets home, I think I'll let her hang out in the basement and watch as much TV as she wants to today. Maybe she'll yell at the TV instead of me.