Friday, August 31, 2012

Pizza and Blimp

I decided we'd go out for pizza last night.  As we were driving along, I caught a glimpse of a blimp over the tree tops.  I pointed it out to Daughter, but the glimpses were brief and she has spatial issues and she never was able to find it when I  pointed it out to her.  She became rather surly, and remained that way through supper.  She insisted she had no idea what I was talking about, and it wasn't important. 

We don't live very far from the airport, so when we finished our pizza, I decided to drive over by the airport to see if I could find the blimp and show it to her.  She objected when she realized what I was doing, as she'd never recognize what I was trying to get her to see and it was stupid.  Then we turned down an access road toward the airport and she saw it.  She was quite excited.  "I've seen that on TV.  That's really cool.  Other families were stopping, too.  With tall fences we couldn't get close, but that hadn't stopped one family from lining three kids up along the fence to take a picture. 

She did apologize for her attitude later, and I told her it didn't make me eager to spend time with her.

I came into the office to do a few things this morning.  It's almost 2:00 and I'm still here.  The good news is that I will be able to take all of Monday off, and I even have fun plans (that don't include Daughter).  Because of all we've done this week, I should be able to take next Friday off, too.  It's worth spening a Friday in the office.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

To Do Lists

Each day this week Administrative Assistant and I have felt like we've accomplished a great deal of work.  Yet each morning when we come in, the to do lists seem longer.  I'm not sure how that works.  The lead up to September is always crazy, and this year even more so.  In addition to the normal fall start up stuff, we're getting ready to interview candidates for a child care position.  We are getting ready to unveil a new website for the church.  Our pianist has health issues that could knock her out for the entire fall.  The woman who creates the PowerPoint for the worship service has told us she may need a couple of weeks off-- she is moving.   

Today worship leader was in the office to figure out a pianist.  The concessions coordinator came in to tell us something important (though I have no memory as to what that was).  While AA was on the phone with a pianist, the treasurer came in with a piece of paper.  "When is the newsletter deadline?" 

He has been in the office all week as we've been trying to track down articles and figure out spacing.  I looked at him in disbelief.  "Yesterday." 

He said, "Never mind.  I'll just put this in the trash." 

I took the article from him.  It was about how to join our mentoring program, which begins the year this month.  It needed to go in the newsletter.  "Did you email it so AA doesn't have to retype it?" 

"No.  I've got to run." 

He vanished before AA got off the phone.  He didn't reappear all day.  We think he was afraid to. 

The newsletter is almost done (she has to finish the table of contents tomorrow).  She had to add two pages today to get everything to fit, which meant rearranging everything she thought was complete yesterday.  (Fortunately, she is glad she added the pages, because it made it work better.)   We have a pianist for the month of September.  Interviews are set for the child care position for Tuesday evening.  The bulletin for Sunday is printed.  The liturgy for the 9th is done (we just need to figure out who is going to make the slides).  I've written most of the remaining content for the new website. 

I will go in for at least a while tomorrow.  I want to finish the sermon, and there is a registration form and commitment form that need work.  I'm afraid to mention the logo and place mat for the 9th, though I suspect AA is very aware of them. I may see if I can get the Friday morning volunteers to start printing and binding the books we're making for a class that begins September 16th.  The good news is that as we left the office today, we were still laughing, even though we both felt like our brains were fried.  We were both plotting about going out to eat tonight, as neither of us wants to cook....

Stop It

Daughter called yesterday afternoon, complaining about her program and the violation of her rights.  She was ranting and raving, and what I finally figured out was that she apparently refused to go on the afternoon outing, so staff was telling her no one would be able to go.  She claimed she could stay behind while everyone left and the staff was being disrespectful to her.  She was crying, to make it more dramatic. 

I told her to stop it.  Several times.  She finally stopped crying enough to listen to what I was saying.  I informed her that she wasn't in charge, and she had to respect staff.  I told her she was in that program  to go on outings, not to stay behind.  I informed her that sometimes we had to do things we didn't want to do and even do them when we didn't feel good (she was claiming she had a headache).  I informed her that was part of being a responsible adult and I didn't want to hear anymore complaining.  She stopped, and hung up, mad. 

She called later and told me she was better.  By bedtime, she was happy.  I've done this in the past, but it has never worked as well as it did yesterday.  I think I've learned a new technique for stopping the drama.  Of course, I'll have to be ready with a new trick, because I know this won't last forever. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mama Bear

Mama Bear reappeared briefly yesterday afternoon.  There were some questions at the workshop about Daughter's diabetes care.  Daughter told me she explained some of it, and then told staff to contact me.  The staff member suggested she'd call the home with her questions, and Daughter told her the home doesn't understand and she should talk to me.  Yesterday the emails started flying. 

When we had the pre-placement meeting, the nurse and dietitian decided they didn't need to attend.  Now they're complaining we didn't do it properly.  The director of the workshop said there were two conflicting documents related to Daughter's diabetes care.  I asked to see the documents.  The nurse didn't understand my question.  Nurse decided there needed to be another meeting, and if I really wanted to attend maybe they could include me by conference call. 

When I started signing my emails and parent and guardian, I think I got their attention.  I reminded them that Daughter has a difficult time trusting others to manager her diabetes.  I suggested that if they wanted Daughter to feel safe, they'd best make sure I knew and supported the plan.  I was promised the document would be emailed to me.  Of course, that hasn't happened yet.  I may have to sharpen my claws....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Board Meetings

Last night we had a board meeting.  Have I mentioned recently what a wonderful board I have?  We began with 20 minutes of Bible study and prayer, and then moved on to business, most of which was taken care of with one motion.  We discussed new personnel policies that will make it much harder for people to expect me to do funerals while I am on vacation.  We discussed and approved a craft fair.  We talked about budget for 2013.  We discussed a chapter of a book we are reading, and how it applies to our congregation.  We elected a new secretary and members for the nominating committee.  We talked about a mission we support that has suffered a catastrophic loss.  I explained how poorly they were handling the communication, and commented I could show them how to raise the money they would need (hmm, I may have to work on humility).  The board informed me I was needed here and threatened to let the air out of my tires if I even considered moving there.  We made plans to grill the meat for our next fellowship meal.  We laughed and joked.  We discussed home improvements and shared prayer concerns.  We did all of that and more and were done in 90 minutes. 

Daughter didn't call during the meeting.  She has come so far, there was a time when it was a joke.  At some point during the meeting my phone would ring and I would answer and say as fast as I could, "I'm in a meeting.  Call after 9:00.  Love you.  Bye."  They always found that amusing. 

I don't know if Administrative Assistant is healthy enough to come to work today.  I warned the board the newsletter may be late this month.  I have a busy day ahead.  I realize that the next few weeks I'm going to have at least one day a week out of the office.  That means I need to get busy and work ahead some so that I can do the work in the time that will be available.  The good thing is that many of the things I need to do will be fun to plan.  I'm looking forward to digging into it all. 

Monday, August 27, 2012


Daughter started her new program today.  For now, she is only going on Mondays, but we will increase the number of days as she adjusts.  She is taking a job readiness class and doing piece work.  All day I was waiting for her to call, upset about something. 

She didn't call until she got home.  She was very excited.  People welcomed her and made her feel comfortable.  The class was fun.  She completed 99 pieces today.  She went into the restroom and saw someone unconscious on the floor, and ran to get get staff help.  I'm glad her day went so well. 

The challenge will be getting her to be cooperative and respectful at her current program the rest of the week. 

Fall Is Coming Part 2

Today is going to be a day of writing.  Writing newsletter articles.  Writing website content.  Writing worship liturgy.  I can tell fall is coming by the increased workload here at the church.  We're gearing up for fall programs, and this is always a busy time with extra stress.  I am also energized by this time of year.  It's exciting to finalize and implement plans and see the new things God is doing in our midst. 

This will be the first fall that I am living alone in over 20 years.  In many ways, that fact will make life easier.  I no longer have to consider Daughter's needs when setting my schedule.  I can go for a walk early in the morning without worrying about leaving her home alone.  I don't have to wait for her to go to bed in the evening in order to enjoy some time alone before I go to bed, which means I'm going to bed earlier.

Daughter is starting in a new program today, and I've only been peripherally involved in managing her stress.  There have been a few extra phone calls and requests for reassurance.  She has been on edge, and I suspect staff at both her program and her house have had to endure some verbal abuse.  I'm grateful I don't have to deal with that anymore.  I informed her Saturday that if she started whining or creating drama, I would take her back to her house early.  She heard me and was pleasant while she was with me. 

I suspect that this fall things will be much less stressful for me.  I wasn't always aware of how much stress Daughter created in my life.  Right now my biggest stress is the fact that Administrative Assistant is sick.  I'm going to email her and encourage her to stay home tomorrow if she's not feeling better.  I'd rather have her stay home longer and come back healthy than come back too soon and have her bug hang on longer. 

Have I mentioned lately that I love my life?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Fall Is Coming

It's beginning to feel like fall.  The temperature is over 90, but it's getting down into the 50's and 60's at night, which I love.  The leaves are beginning to turn, and when I mowed today I caught the clippings to deal with the locust leaves that have begun to fall.  I spent almost 5 hours working in the yard today, It was wonderful.  I got a lot done, but there is more to do.  I haven't spent an extended stretch there for a while-- it's been too hot.  As we move into fall my energy level always goes up.  I don't do well with heat, so the summer months are hard on me. 

One of the neighbors I haven't met stopped to chat while I was sweeping along the curb.  She told me how much she admired my work in the yard and how good it looks.  That was nice to hear.  I really do enjoy the work, as long as it's not too hot.  By the time I  came in today, it was getting too hot.  The heat was getting to me, so I came in and took a cool shower.  I'm grateful that I have working air conditioning now. 

I'm not picking up Daughter until this evening.  She didn't think I'd want to get her until tomorrow morning, but Sundays are less stressful when I don't have to go pick her up.  She was in rare form yesterday.  She was texting and calling to protest her rights were being ignored.  Apparently their outing was to a police station, and she didn't want to go.   She claimed she couldn't go because of her PTSD.  I told her it would be a wonderful opportunity for her to have positive interaction with people in  uniform and realize that their goal is to keep people safe.  (Birth dad used to come home and beat the kids while wearing his security uniform-- uniforms can be a trigger for her.)  I reminded her she wasn't in charge and that she needed to respect the staff.  I told her to cut the drama.  She kept trying to suck me in, and was quite frustrated by my refusal to bite.  She has apologized.  I told her she needs to apologize to her program staff.  She didn't like that.  I'm enjoying have a Saturday to myself.  I'm looking forward to fall.  Life is good.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Making Up Work

I don't punch a time clock.  No one tracks my hours.  If I have a personal appointment mid-day, no one complains.  So when I decided to go to the funeral of Short Niece's grandma yesterday, there were no objections.  I left before 8 and didn't get home until almost 4, so I didn't do any work yesterday.  I didn't even open my computer.  Actually, I take that back.  As I waited for the funeral to begin, I jotted down some notes for my sermon.  On my way home, I called the church.  Administrative Assistant sounded terrible.  Treasurer had shared his cold with her.  I told her to go home early and stay home today if she didn't feel better. 

I was in my study at 8:00 this morning, though.  Not because I had to make up the hours I didn't work, but because even when I have a family funeral, there are certain things that have to be done.  I still need a sermon for Sunday and an agenda for Monday.  I still need to get the content I promised to the webmaster so she can have the new website ready to go live on September 9.  I still need to make sure we have all the committee information for Monday evening's board meeting.  I still have to be ready for fall program to begin September 9 and the newsletter to go out next week.  I also wanted Administrative Assistant to have the option of staying home today if she didn't feel better. 

I've gotten quite a bit done today.  Unfortunately, that doesn't include the sermon.  I doubt I'll have it done before I leave for the day.  That means I'll have to spend some time on it tomorrow.  But that's okay.  This week has had some unusual things going on.  Most weeks aren't quite this stressful.  Next week it should be easier to fit the work into the available time.  Even with all the work and the challenge of taking time off, I wouldn't trade my life for anything. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Crazy Week

Lots going on here this week.  I had a memorial service today, and tomorrow I'm headed to Big City for funeral for Short Niece's grandmother.  There are some difficult pastoral care situations right now.  Young people aren't supposed to get cancer.  Cancer is supposed to respond to treatment.  In between we're trying to get plans made for the fall start up.  Since I'm losing tomorrow, I will be in the office all day Friday. 

Daughter keeps wanting attention, and I keep explaining that I'm busy this week.  She's going with me to the funeral, she'll have plenty of time with me tomorrow.  She wanted me to pick her up this evening, but I'm still hanging at the church while they clean up after the funeral and meal.  

I'm busy, but it's a good busy.  The memorial service went well, and I'm always glad when the family is pleased with it.  I'll write more when I have some time, but just wanted to let you all know I'm still alive-- just busy.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Children with RAD generally have trouble showing compassion for another.  Daughter has compassion, showing how far she has come.  Short Niece's grandmother died yesterday evening.  Daughter has been quite upset about it, and yes, some of her grief has been manipulative.  There has also been genuine grief and compassion for her cousin.  "Mom, Short Niece won't have any grandparents to go to her high school or college graduations.  That's not fair.  She needs a grandma." 

I told Daughter this morning about the death, and she sobbed.  I told her that the tentative plans were to have the funeral on Thursday, and I thought we'd be able to go.  I told her I'd let her know more when the plans were finalized, and we could figure things out.  Her program has a big field trip planned that day, one Daughter has been talking about for weeks.  She said, "I didn't want to go there anyway."  She wants to be at the funeral for Short Niece.  The only problem is Short Niece's dad doesn't want her at the funeral.  She was at the memorial services for my parents 3 yeas ago, so I think she can handle being at this funeral.  He finally agreed with Sister to talk to the minister about it.  Hopefully she will be able to help him see why Short Niece needs to be there.  If he still insists Short Niece can't attend, I'll do a memorial service for SN.  She needs the closure the service will bring.  She loved her grandmother, and spent quite a bit of time with her.  Her grandmother had planned to pick her up from school 2 days a week this year.  Sometimes life just isn't fair. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I'm Getting Too Old for This....

I am dragging today.  In addition to worship this morning, I led it this afternoon at the retirement home near the church.  I am tired.  I guess I'm getting too old for short nights.  Friday night I was at the hospital for a death.  I got home a little before 2 a.m. and it was probably 3 before I fell asleep.  I got about 4 hours sleep before I had to get up for the AC installer. 

Last night I intended to go to bed early.  As I was getting into bed, I got a text message from Sister.  Her ex-mother-in-law had a massive stroke this week, and yesterday they told the family she would not survive.  Sister didn't want to call me, because she didn't want Short Niece to overhear the conversation.  So we proceeded to text.  This is Short Niece's only living grandparent, and they were very close.  I finally told her good night.  Of course, my mind was racing after that conversation, and about the time I fell asleep a car alarm across the street went off.  I had the windows open, so it took me a minute to figure out the noise was coming from outside.  When I fell back asleep, I didn't sleep well. 

I'm determined to get a good night's sleep tonight. I'm going to need it.  This week, which was supposed to be a bit slower, is rapidly filling up.  I have a memorial service for the man who died Wednesday evening, and I'm meeting his daughter tomorrow afternoon to plan it.  If Sister's ex-mother-in-law dies I'd like to go to the service, but that may not be possible, depending on when it is scheduled.  I have commitments 3 evenings in a row this week.  I'm not ready for all the evening commitments that come with fall....  I was hoping to get a solid block of time to do some fall planning.  It looks like that is going to be a challenge this week. 

Right now I'm going to go can some tomatoes.  This will be my only opportunity until Thursday....  I really think I'm getting too old for this.....

i Said That?

Yesterday I called a woman in the church to inform her of a death.  She had done a great deal in the past to help the deceased, but over time the relationship became very unhealthy, and attempts to set healthy boundaries had failed.  I had counseled her to end the relationship.  Yesterday I realized that this death might be hard on her, so I called so she could hear it from me and I could offer support. 

She was not surprised at the news, and told me that she knew the deceased had been ready and probably welcomed this.  She was pleased that another member had stepped up to support the man when she had to back away.  "You told me that I didn't need to worry, God would call someone else to minister to him.  You were right." 

I have no memory of saying that.  It seems like it was exactly what she needed to hear, and had allowed her to let go and move on.  I'm always surprised and pleased when someone quotes back something I have no memory of saying.  It's nice to know that I have been a channel of God's healing and that the Holy Spirit was able to speak through me to address a need.  It's always a little freaky to find out that they have held on so tight to words I don't even remember saying. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012


At 10:00 last night, I received a phone call.  The family was preparing to move a member from life support.  Could I come to the hospital?  I changed my shirt, combed my hair, and headed out the door.  He was at the big hospital, which is closer than the small hospital we referred to as a "band aid station" was in Tiny Village, where I'd have had to travel an hour to get to someplace offering the same level of care.  As I was driving, I was reflecting on how much easier it is when the hospital is close by. 

Daughter was safe at her group home, so I didn't have to worry about leaving her home alone.  I did leave her alone at night in Tiny Village, but there was the constant worry about how long I could stay before heading home to her.  (Our arrangement was I'd leave a note on the bathroom mirror telling her I was at the hospital and get home before she got up in the morning).  It was easier to be fully present with the family when I wasn't watching the clock and worrying about what was going on at home. 

Sometimes I wonder if my presence at the hospital really makes a difference.  This family has had a number of challenges that have made relationships hard.  When there are problems in family relationships, it is harder to deal with death.  The family member who called me told earlier in the week that he wasn't into all that "God stuff" and didn't really believe.  With a broken relationship with the dying family member and no relationship with God, he was really struggling.  After I'd been there a little while, I pulled the family together around the bed, I talked to them and prayed with them.  I could see that my words were helping, and that they were calmer. 

It wasn't as easy or quick as they had hoped.  There were many doctors who were involved in his care and need to sign off on the decision.  When I left the hospital, the family was grateful, "I don't know how you do this," said the individual who had called me.  I told him, as I tell all families, that it is an honor to be present with them at such times.  It was almost 2:00 when I got home.  I had to get up this morning because the man who is installing my furnace and AC was due by 8:00.  I may try to sneak in a nap this afternoon-- or at least go to bed early tonight.  I am grateful to be here, where hospitals are closer, Daughter is in a group home, and the logistics of this kind of ministry are easier. 

Friday, August 17, 2012


My new furnace and air conditioner are being installed today, so I'm stuck at home.  It's a gray, rainy day.  I had hoped to work in the yard, but unless the weather improves, that doesn't seem likely.  Today may come a cooking and canning day-- I need to go see how many more tomatoes are ready for harvest. 

Since I had so many commitments this week, I need to put the finishing touches on the sermon.  I'm looking for one more illustration, and have a clearer idea of what I'm looking for today. 

Daughter was in a bit of a mood this morning.  These two weeks between visiting the new program and beginning there are hard on her.  She's also frustrated that she will only be going one day a week to begin.  She continues to do remarkably well over all. 

I'm hoping for a productive day today-- either in the yard or the kitchen....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Too Many

I had too many meetings and appointments this week-- at least 2 every day.  As a result I didn't get long blocks of time to do the writing and planning I had hoped to accomplish this week.  It's frustrating, but it is also a learning opportunity.  I told Administrative Assistant we need to work my schedule so I have those blocks of time.  Yet while I didn't accomplish the writing and planning I had hoped to complete, it was a very productive week in other ways.  Those commitments that chopped up my days were all worth while.  Looking back, I don't know that I would have eliminated any of them.  That's the challenge of achieving balance in my life-- I want to do it all. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Two Hours in ICU

Two weeks ago today, one of our members had major surgery.  The family was told the surgery had gone very well.  It's now two weeks later, and he's still in a drug induced coma.  They've tried bringing him out of the coma several times, and each time there have been complications that caused them to put him back in the coma.  One of our deacons has been doing wonderful ministry with the family, and he called from the hospital parking lot after his visit with them yesterday.  I decided I needed to go see them.  I spent the next two hours talking to various family members.  This family has had many struggles.  They came into this expecting a sprint, and it has become a marathon.  They are exhausted and on edge.  They are getting different stories from different doctors.  They're struggling with decisions they may or may not have to make.  I listened and offered support.  I prayed with them.  I gave them business cards listing every possible way to reach me.  The atheist in the family spent a lot of time talking to me and apologizing for his tears. 

I'm glad I went.  It's an honor to be able to minister to families as they struggle with these issues.   When I left the hospital two hours later, I was exhausted, but it was a good exhausted.  I love my life. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Placement Meeting

Daughter did pretty well in the placement meeting yesterday.  She will begin going to the workshop on Mondays beginning August 27.  At the beginning of October we'll gather to assess how she's doing and consider adding additional days.  She did really well until the tour.  She saw a former boy friend in the hall, and that bothered her.  My impression of the place was that it was very chaotic.  They weren't working when we did our tour, so maybe it is better when they are actually working on not on break.  The encounter with the former boy friend provided the opportunity to tell her that part of being a responsible adult is working with people you don't like.  It goes with the territory.  She thought I loved everyone at the church.  I told her there were several people that I found annoying, and I still had to minister to them.

She was fine when I talked to her last night.  I'm sure that about the 23rd she'll start worrying about her first day.  Several of the women from her house are at this facility (there are over 100 consumers there, some working, some in what amounts to day care.)  It will be a big adjustment, and I hope she will be able to handle it.  She has grown and matured so much since she moved out, so I am cautiously optimistic....

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Big Step

Today we have a placement meeting for Daughter.  She is going to begin going to a sheltered workshop one day a week.  As she adjusts, we will increase the number of days she goes.  She wants to earn money.  From my understanding, it is a large, noisy space, so we are somewhat concerned about her ability to handle it.  Because of her PTSD, she is sometimes overwhelmed in situations like that.  My hope is that she will be able to handle it, and that it will be the first step toward employment and more independence.  She is understandably anxious about the meeting.  She wants to sit between Case Manager and me, because then she says she'll feel safe and we will speak up for her.  My hope is that she will speak up for herself.

Daughter has mixed feelings about the whole thing.  Some days she wants to start going 5 days a week immediately.  Other days she doesn't want to go at all.  I've reminded her that she will have to show she can continue to work, even when she gets bored or doesn't feel good.  I've told her she has to be successful there to move on to community employment.  I hope she is ready for it.  She is doing a better job with cleaning jobs I give her around the house.  She is maturing.  I suspect it will be an interesting ride as she adjusts....

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Today the area churches gathered in a local park for worship and a picnic.  Daughter was a little on edge this morning, but nothing too bad.  She chose to sit with some friends during the worship service.  I was involved in leading the service, and she didn't want to be near the front.  After the service she came and joined me, and her attitude was terrible.  She wanted to eat immediately.  She wouldn't eat at all.  I didn't understand her.  Usually she's pretty good in front of others, but her attitude was on full display.  She stormed off a few times.  After we ate, she asked for the keys and retreated to the car.

I was taking her home when it hit me.  The preacher had a powerful sermon, and she had told a tragic story about a sick mother giving up her young child for adoption.  "Did the sermon bother you?"

Daughter looked at me like I was an idiot.  "YES!"

She talked about how unfair it was.  We talked some more, and by the time I hugged her in front of her house, she was crying.  She asked me to go in with her, so I did.  I should have realized earlier that the sermon would be a trigger for her.  I can't protect her from everything, and life is unfair and there are lots of sad stories.  I reminded her that the preacher was going to be doing mission work to minister to people like that mother and child in the hopes that stories like that wouldn't happen.  I could tell that many people were touched by the story this morning.  Most didn't relate as personally as Daughter did, though.  There was a reason for her attitude.  I'm going to have to continue to work on encouraging her to use her words to tell me what she's feeling, rather than waiting for me to guess.  I gave her lots of hugs and reassurance before I left her.  I hope it helped. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It Was a Good Plan....

I went to the craft store and gathered the supplies that were listed as needed for the class.  Before I purchased them, I decided to make sure the class was happening.  As a line formed behind me, various people were contacted.  My items were placed aside while they did research so other people could be checked out.  Finally, word came back.  The class was cancelled.  Then I got to wait some more for some one to refund my money. 

I was disappointed.  There will be other classes.  I will try again.  Next time, though, I will call before I go.  I had been told someone would call if the class was cancelled.  I won't trust that next time. 

Daughter wants to come early today.  I put her off until after lunch, and told her she'd have to work.  She was agreeable.  Tonight we have a bonfire and gourmet s'mores at the church.  Hopefully it won't be raining by then....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Me Time

I have signed up for a painting class this evening at a local craft store.  I've never done anything like this before, and I'm looking forward to it.  This year the focus is going to be on taking care of myself and creating balance in my life.  It will be harder once the fall program begins, and it will be worth it.  

It's raining today, and has gotten cooler.  I don't like the grayness, but love the rain and cooler weather.  It means I won't be working in the yard, though, so I think the painting class will be a special treat.  Daughter continues to be on edge, but we survived our evening together. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

On Edge

Daughter continues to be on edge.  She called a couple of times today, and was over reacting to minor things.  Once again I refused to go get her.  I'm not looking forward to having her at home this evening.  It's been raining today, but if it clears, we may walk someplace for supper.  Exercise usually helps when she's on edge like this.  Usually. 

I made arrangements to purchase a new furnace and air conditioner yesterday.   It won't be cheap, but hopefully it will save me money on my utility bills.  Without deadlines this week, it's been a strange week in the office.  We are having worship in the park Sunday with our sister churches.  I don't have to preach.  It's been nice, and I'm looking forward to the worship service and picnic on Sunday.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Email

I received an email from Daughter's house manager yesterday evening.  She asked me to talk to Daughter, who was being rude and abusive with the staff.  I told her I would, but didn't know that it would do much good.  I told her I had been on the receiving end many times, and was sorry staff was experiencing it now.  I didn't add that I am exceedingly grateful that I'm no longer the target. 

Monday we have a meeting about Daughter beginning at a workshop one day a week.  I think the anxiety over the upcoming move may be behind her current attitude.  Hopefully she will settle down once she gets started.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Being Faithful

A relatively new member accepted my facebook friend request and read through my previous posts.  I will sometimes post articles that shed light on some of the myths that are out there around some of the hot button issues.  One was a quiz about what was really in the health care law.  Another analyzed which presidents had most increased government spending.  In another I pointed out the people who would now be able to get insurance coverage through the health care law and observed I hadn't heard any of them complaining.  I suggested that we use the law as a starting point and seek to improve it rather than throwing it out completely. 

New Member responded with a series of rants, and accused me of being a socialist.  I didn't respond, but I found his posts offensive, and quite frankly frightening.  Some of them were close to irrational.  If he hadn't been a member of the church, I would have unfriended him.  After I shared a post that said, "The Republican will live with the Democrat, the bully will lie down with the geek, and a little child will lead them." He posted yet another rant about there having been too much working together.  I decided I needed to respond.  I was stressed by his responses, and they were getting in the way of accomplishing the things I needed to accomplish.

I sat down and wrote him a note.  I shared with him 4 stories of people who desperately wanted health coverage, and for a variety of reasons couldn't get it.  "He had said anyone who wanted insurance should go get a job."  None of these situations were lazy people seeking a hand out.  Several were working multiple jobs.  I said I didn't have the answers, but knew the current system hasn't been working.  I said we have a variety of political perspectives in the church, and we respect and value one another.  I hoped he would continued to be a part of the congregation and invited further conversation with him.  I also expressed the hope that all Christians were seeking out multiple news sources and praying for God's guidance in this election.  My response may  just make him angrier, but I have been faithful to what I understand my calling to be.   Hopefully I can set his rants aside and move on to other things now....

I continue to grieve the polarization that is tearing our country apart.  I hope we will learn to listen to one another and work together to find common ground.  I hope we will shift from a win-lose perspective to a win-win perspective.  Right now it feels like everyone is losing. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Part of the Story

Yesterday I only shared part of the story with Daughter.  I had a delightful afternoon/evening at the home of a colleague who hosted a pool party for the area clergy and families.  It was hot enough to swim, cool enough to sit around talking.  We hadn't seen one another all summer, so it was great to catch up on news and meet the children of my colleagues.  I decided not to tell Daughter about it, as I wanted to go alone and not have her there complaining. 

She called during it, and I told her I was busy with some colleagues and would talk to her later in the evening.  I tried to deal with the call as quickly as possible so she wouldn't hear the delighted shouts of the children in the pool.  When I talked to her later in the evening, she was suspicious, "Where were you?"

"I was with some colleagues."

"Who was there?" 

I mentioned the names of some of them she knew, and told her there were others there as well.  I told her we hadn't seen one another all summer, and were catching up on the news, talking about weddings and such. 

"Oh.  I'm glad I'm at my house.  I would have been bored."

She's right, she would have been bored.  Everything I told her was true, I just neglected to mention the spouses and children who were present.  She still would have been bored, though, as most of the children were young (a total of 11, 2 were  4 years old, the oldest was 16, the majority probably in the 6-8 year old range).  I did sit around and talk shop and politics.  I had a wonderful time. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Blessing in Disguise

My air conditioner is broken.  The inspector warned me I should plan on replacing it when I bought this house.  It is 30 years old, and I've gotten almost 2 summers out of it.  I was not thrilled, but it does look like we're going to have a cooler week.  Yesterday, though, my concern was a good night's sleep prior to this morning's worship.  Then I found a note on my door.  A neighbor was going to have a going away party.  It might get loud.  It would begin at 10:00 (p.m.) and should be over by 3:00 a.m.  Now I was really concerned.  A loud party and no AC.  Daughter brought up some fans from the basement.  Big fans.  We put them in front of our open bedroom windows.  We turned them on.  The noise from the fan took care of any party noise, and I got a decent night's sleep.

There is a member of the church who installs AC on the side.  I'm going to talk to him about replacing the unit this week.  With it 30 years old, I'm not even going to try to repair it.  A new unit should also save money on the electricity bill.  It will be okay. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Daughter's Jealousy

Daughter was jealous of the interaction between our guests and me Thursday evening.  She was frustrated because she wasn't the center of attention, and because she didn't have my undivided attention.  So, she's been working hard to get it. 

Normally Friday is my day off, but I gave yesterday to the day camp at church.  We exchanged text messages through the day.  I've copied her messages as he wrote. 

Daughter:  Blood sugar is 95 and i fill sick to my stomach.  i ate some of it but could i come home tonight please and go back sunday afternoon?

Mom:  Not tonight.  Sorry you don't feel good.

Daughter:  Your not helping.  i need your help.  and you r not giving it to me.  you do better than any staff that i have to put up with soooo pllllllease help.

Mom:  Lots of garlic bread will upset your stomach.  You will survive.  I love you and will see you tomorrow. 

She tried calling an hour later.  I didn't answer, but sent a message that I was busy with camp.  

She called during the program with the parents, and I answered and said I was busy and would to her later.  "Fine. If I can last."

We did have several conversations in the evening, the last one 30 minutes after I sent her a text telling her I was tired and going to bed early.  I refused to listen to the plans for today, telling her I'd been asleep and would talk to her today.

Her home is going to the fair, and she wanted me to pick her up before they left.  I refused, since I needed some alone time and I knew that she'd bug me nonstop to go do things once she got here.  I told her to call after the fair, and I'd come get her.  She started to argue.  I told her she had a choice:  I'd pick her up after the fair or tomorrow morning.  She's calling when they get back from the fair. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Random Ramblings on a Good Week

Today is the last day of day camp. It has been a fantastic week.  The young adults who are working as counselors are wonderful.  I had them over for supper last night, and I enjoyed our conversation so much.  They are intelligent, caring, people of faith.  Daughter was a little bit frustrated because she wasn't the center of attention.  She was a good help, though, with the final preparations.  I used real plates and silverware, so my dishwasher got a work out last night.  When I left the house this morning there were 4 chairs to take to the basement and two crock pots to put away.  I was grateful we'd done most of the work last night. 

I was tired last night, and forgot to lock up the food.  Daughter raided the refrigerator.  She confessed before I saw the high blood sugar or the missing food, which is progress.  She has matured so much, but she still has difficulties with self-control.  Her therapist recently recommended an apartment complex to me that might work for Daughter.  I don't see how she can live alone when she still can't be trusted around food....

On the 13th we will have a meeting about her starting at the sheltered workshop one day a week.  She was there for a party yesterday, and is now having second thoughts about going there.  I suspect it will be overwhelming to her at first.   I reminded her that was why she was only going to start with one day a week while she adjusts. 

It has been a productive week in the office.  Administrative Assistant and I are quite pleased with what we've accomplished.  I've got everything ready for Sunday, finishing yesterday afternoon.  It means I will really have tomorrow off-- nothing will be hanging over my head.  I'm looking forward to that, since I'm working with the day camp today.  Of course, I'll have to mow the lawn, do laundry and various other household chores, but I'll enjoy that. 

Now I'm headed out to join the campers as they make s'mores.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ministry with Adopted Children

This week we are having a day camp.  One family has brought their 4 adoptive sons to day camp.  The two youngest are having some behavioral issues.  I'm proud of our people, because they have been patient and supportive.  I think knowing what I go through with Daughter has helped open their eyes.  They have not complained to the mom, but of course, one of the older boys tattled.  She wasn't going to leave them today.  Our director told her that we wanted them to stay.  We have two of the counselors who have taken them on and are willing to address the behavioral issues. 

I have explained that this mom needs a break, and that their issues are not her doing.  I've warned them that this mom probably gets blamed and dumped on by the system on a regular basis.  These people are stepping up to meet the challenge in creative ways, and I'm delighted we are able to minister to these boys and their parents this week. 

I wish there had been more opportunities like that for Daughter, and more people who understood the challenges that came with being her mom.  I'm so blessed to be in ministry in this place.