Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thinking and Planning

I can tell that the stress has lessened at the church.  I'm thinking and planning and being proactive about things.  The personnel committee is rewriting all of our job descriptions, some of which haven't been updated in over 10 years.  We're also looking at our personnel policies, which also need updating. 

I told Administrative Assistant that we need to create a work calendar, mapping out the things that need to happen each month of the year.  Today I was working on stewardship material and I also wrote the letter we send out before the holidays to people who have experienced the death of a family member in the last year.  We give them some resources and suggestions for coping with the first holidays after a death. 

Daughter sent me a text telling me I needed to get her out of her house now.  I responded that she needed to take some deep breaths and listen to her music.  I haven't heard anything from her since, which is a good sign. 

It has been a cold, gray day with some rain and snow.  They seem minor compared to what others have suffered through, but it was enough that I decided to come home and start a fire in my fireplace.  Kitten and I are enjoying it.  Now I'm going to do a bit of work on the sermon before I start working on my crafts. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Steady Stream

From about 9:00 to 2:00 I had a steady stream of visitors through my study.  A number of them were leaders with opinions on the phone calls complaining about the statement reminding people to let us know if they are in the hospital or in need of pastoral care.  They were very supportive, and not too concerned about who it was who complained.  Anonymity tends to diminish credibility.

Daughter went to urgent care today for a sore wrist.  I'm a bit concerned that she has found a way to get extra attention by complaining about aches and pains.  We may have to address that when we look at her case plan for the coming year. 

I will not be going home before this evening's meeting.  I didn't get the things I needed get a chance to do the writing I needed to do because of all my visitors.  Late afternoon can be a very productive time as there aren't as many distractions. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Can't Win

A couple of weeks ago someone put a sign in front of the church stating that we don't care for our members who have health issues that keep them from coming to church.  We don't know where it came from, but I was concerned that someone had been hurt by the church, so we put an item, in the newsletter reminding people to let us know if they were in need of pastoral care, and if they initially declined it and then changed their minds they should let us know.  It also said that we don't read minds, and if they don't let us know, we can't minister to them.  The board decided we should include it in the bulletin every week.  So, we put it in the newsletter and it was in the bulletin today.  I just got an email asking that it be removed.  It offended people.  Sigh. 

For a while we were teaching new songs we introduced in worship.  Then people complained they didn't want us teaching new songs.  Today I was told people were complaining because there was a new song in the worship service and we didn't teach it to them.  I didn't even realize that we had a new song in worship this morning.  I thought the songs were all familiar. 

Christian Century has an article in the current issue about health problems in ministers.  This kind of conflicting demands contribute to the stress that takes a toll on our health. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

It Worked

Our work in the basement yesterday did create a spot for me to work on crafts.  I've completed 3 wreaths today.  We bought some storage pieces today so I could organize the supplies.  That has helped, too. 

Daughter had a few minutes of ugliness after the memorial event at the church today.  She was cooperative while we were at the church, so I can deal with a few minutes of ugliness.  We have a mystery dinner at the church.  Not knowing what the food will be or what to expect is really hard on her.  She doesn't do well with surprises.  She told me she wouldn't eat anything.  I think she's made it into something bigger than it is. 

It has been so wonderful to have real time off and to be able to accomplish things here at home.  I'm going to have to paint the rest of the basement now, but not this weekend. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Better Living through Medication

After the increase in her anti psychotic, Daughter slept last night, something she has not been doing.  Today she worked with me in the basement.  She cleaned while I painted one wall.  I painted the wall by my sewing machine mint green.  The basement is unfinished, and I thought the walls were unpainted, but I think they had been painted, but they were dark and dirty.  I also bought some brighter light bulbs, and some pull chains for the lights.  For the first time since I moved in here, I can turn on all the lights in the basement.  The strings were broken on several of them, so I had not been able to reach them to turn them on. 

I want to move the craft things I'm doing for the bazaar downstairs.  They'd taken over the kitchen and family room, and I want to be able to work on them in an inviting area-- or at least an area that is a little less dismal than it was.  In the basement I have a large table and will be able to leave things out without cluttering up my living space.  My main project for the bazaar involves gluing ornaments and such on grape vine wreaths to make candle rings.  They take up a bit of space, so I'm looking forward to getting set up downstairs. 

I still need to get things put away and arranged downstairs, but I think I'm going to like it.  Tomorrow I have a brief memorial service around noon, and then we're having a mystery meal at the church at 6:30.   The sermon and PowerPoint are both done, which means that I have had time to do the things I want to do this weekend. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

News Around Daughter

We saw Psychiatrist today.  She increased Daughter's anti psychotic to help with her volatility.  She said the fall is always a hard time for people with bipolar because of the decreasing light.  Daughter has gained 7 lbs, confirming my suspicions that they are getting careless with her diet. 

House Manager called today to tell me that one of the staff members was assaulted as she came into work the late shift Monday night.  They are installing lights and security cameras around the house, and the women are not allowed to go outside after dark or alone any time.  They are not telling the residents, but they are notifying the guardians, so one of them may tell one of the residents. 

Case Manager told me that Daughter's house has fired five of the staff members.  I knew they had new staff members beginning, as Daughter had complained.  Medical Coordinator has been there almost 3 years, and only one staff member has been there longer than she has.  There are always going to be new people to be trained on how to handle Daughter and her needs.

Daughter is with me until Sunday evening.  She helped me in the yard this evening before choir, so we're off to a good start.  Hopefully that will continue. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Field Trip

Daughter's house took her in separately from the other residents, so she got to her program on time and was able to go on her field trip.  The program director at her program (who hasn't been in this week because she's in training) is the only one who responded to my mama bear email yesterday. 

Daughter texted demanding I pick her up this evening.  I told her no, and reminded her I teach a class on Wednesday evenings.  I haven't heard from her.  I suspect she's mad.  She has an appointment with Psychiatrist tomorrow, and will come home with me after her appointment.  She will be with me through Sunday afternoon.  It could be an interesting time....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mama Bear Time

Daughter called this evening.  She started out mad, and ended up sobbing. 

Every day staff at the house transport the men and women from the two houses to their programs.  Daughter is dropped off last, as she is the only one going to the program she attends 4 days a week.  There have been some issues with her getting their later than the program likes.  I've stayed out of it, because program and house staff need to figure it out between them. 

The program is going on an outing tomorrow, and plan to leave at 9:30.  A staff member told Daughter that if she couldn't get there by 9:29 she might as well stay home because they would all be gone and the building would be locked up.  She told Daughter it was her responsibility to get herself there on time.  Daughter told her she couldn't control the time she got there, and the staff member told her she could. 

Daughter told me about the things that delay them:  the men are still eating breakfast and don't have their lunches ready.  One of the women refuses to get out of the van at her program.   I call Daughter my cuckoo clock, because she watches the clock and is always worried that we will be late.  I can imagine how stressful this situation is for her.  Among the comments she made:  “I’m not worth anything.”  “It’s not fair to put me in the middle.”  “I wish I could get a hug from you tonight, Mom.”  “I might as well stay home 5 days a week.”  “I don’t belong anywhere.”

I just sent out an email, and asked that Daughter not be put in the middle of these situations.  I said staff needed to communicate directly with one another.  We'll see what response it gets.  I also told Daughter she needs to talk to her program director and her house director about the issues.  I wish I could give her a hug this evening. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

So Blessed

I had a board meeting tonight.  We had a lot of business, including by-law changes, preliminary 2013 budget, discussing our response to an anonymous complaint hand written on a yard sign and posted in front of the church, and discussing a chapter of the book we've been reading together.  We were done in 90 minutes.  We deal with most of our business in a consent agenda, freeing us up to have discussions.  As we evaluated the meeting at the end, they said it was a good meeting, in fact, they think our meetings are fun.  They think we are definitely headed in the right direction, and are excited about the future. 

We have had an ongoing battle with a woodpecker, who likes the cedar on a post near the front door.  The property guys purchased a plastic falcon and mounted it on the post.  It kept the woodpecker away for a while, but he must have been studying that falcon, because a new hole has appeared directly below the falcon.  The property guys are stubborn.  They have now found an owl with a motion detector that hoots and moves its head.  One of them had a catalogue page at the board meeting tonight with the owl highlighted.  I find it all very amusing.  Fortunately, they are good natured about it, too.  I suggested that maybe the woodpecker was teaching his children how to annoy them, too.  I consider myself so blessed to be in ministry with these people. 

Figuring Things Out

Daughter moved out almost a year ago.  It's just been in the last few weeks that I realized that means I no longer have to be up at the crack of dawn on Mondays to get her ready for her program/school/whatever.  As a pastor, I have flexible hours.  There are certain times I have to be at the church to lead worship, teach or be part of a meeting, but the hours I spend preparing for writing/preparing and visiting are pretty flexible.  I've taken advantage of that when it comes to scheduling appointments that can't be on my day off, but not so much when it comes to when I get into the office in the morning. 

Slowly, I'm figuring out that I have some flexibility.  Today it was 9:30 when I arrived at the church.  I slept in.  I went for fasting blood sugar, and then I went to a diner for breakfast.  I read material related to Sunday's sermon as I ate.  It was a wonderful, relaxed way to start my week.  Eventually I may get used to this.  Sometimes I'm just a bit slow.  I have a board meeting tonight, so even though I came in later than usual, it will still be an 11 hour day.  You'd think I'd have figured it out earlier-- when I'm going to be at the church into the evening, I can come in later in the morning.  Sometimes I'm slow. 

Daughter called this morning.  She has changed her mind about Friday's field trip.  She doesn't want to go now.  She wants to spend the day with  me instead.  I think it is a good decision.  It would have been a challenge for her to hold it together with a group in a strange place for that length of time.   It also will make my life much easier, as I don't have to worry about getting her back to her house after choir Thursday night or early Friday morning for the trip. 

Both of us are figuring things out.

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Daughter's home is going on a field trip on Friday.  We offered her the option of going with them or spending the day with me (her program is closed for an in-service).  I'm somewhat surprised, but she has chosen to go with her house on the field trip.  She found out about it yesterday, and I told her she had until today to decide.  So she decided. 

I wrote an extra verse for a spiritual to fit the theme of the service this morning.  I was embarrassed to see that Administrative Assistant had credited me, and that credit had made it up on the screen with the lyrics this morning.  I was even more embarrassed when someone lifted it up as a joy during the joys and concerns prior to prayer this morning.  I told AA I'm going to write an extra long article now for her to try to fit in the newsletter.  She was amused and totally unrepentant. 

It looks like she has made it through her month of jury duty without having to go in to the court house.  We are both very relieved....

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Daughter called last night, outraged, and demanded I pick her up immediately.  What was it that had her so angry?  They had planned a hayride for all the women.  She insisted she doesn't like or do hayrides, and they were torturing her.  If she didn't go, she'd have to go to the men's house next door, and she doesn't like the men. 

Being the mean mom I am, I refused to pick her up.  I also had the nerve to remind her that she claimed she hated hayrides, and she always had fun when she went.  I told her to cut it out and lose the attitude.  She hung up on me.

She called back later.  She chose to go to the men's house.  She apologized, and said she was afraid I'd refuse to come get her today because of her attitude.  I told her we'd talk about it today.   I'll go get her, simply because it is easier than picking her up before church tomorrow. 

Friday, October 19, 2012


With the stress of the memorial services off of me (though I have short death related services each of the next two Saturdays), my brain is back to generating what Administrative Assistant calls brain flares.  I was working on the agenda for Monday's board meeting last night.   I emailed it to AA to look over this morning and post on the board's secure website.  But then I kept thinking of additional things that needed to be added.  In one of the mails I said it was the final agenda for the next 30 seconds.  After I got home last night I remembered that there had been some visitors in worship last Sunday.  They vanished before I could greet them, and we hadn't checked to see if they'd signed the guest book or friendship pads.  So, this morning I called AA an apologized, telling her my brain was at it again.  She laughed, "I know, I saw all of your emails."  She's going to check and see if we have names or addresses, and if we do, I'll go in and right them notes today.  She had already put stickers with the alarm company's phone number on all the phones....

Two years and I never set off the alarm.  Then I set it off Sunday morning, and twice during choir last night.  That takes talent.  It wouldn't turn off last night, and the alarm company didn't call, and I couldn't find their phone number, and a deputy showed up....  At least AA finds me amusing.  She was directing the choir last night because our regular choir director is on vacation.  Did I mention that AA also has a 2 year degree in music, has studied art, and is a gifted seamstress? 

I left peanut butter out last night.  Daughter claims she hates peanut butter.  She doesn't hate it so much that she isn't willing to eat it straight out of the jar if I forget to lock it up. 

I'm going to do some cleaning today, and I'm also going to make some more centerpieces for the craft show at the church.  I have a centerpiece I made for Christmas several years ago.  One of the women saw it last year and informed me I needed to make more and sell them at the craft show.  I started making them this week, 3 1/2 weeks before the craft show.  They involve using a hot glue gun.  So far I've got blisters on the tips of two fingers and my thumb.  I am so talented-- I can burn fingers, set off alarms, forget important tasks, and complicate AA's day with one hand tied behind my back. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Another One

We've had another death.  This one will not be as much work, fortunately.  I'm also grateful that there's been some space between them.  I still remember the Saturday in Tiny Village when I did funerals for two different people--both were at the church and both had meals in the community building following the service.

Daughter continues to be volatile and unreasonable.  I continue to refuse to buy into her drama.  Last night she was complaining about the bickering between two women in her house.  I informed her she had noise blocking headphones and a private bedroom, and she should make use of one of them. She was not happy with me. 

She'll be home this evening, and I'll be bringing her over to the church for choir.  Maybe I can clear off my desk while she's singing....

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Chance to Breathe

With the big memorial service behind us, this week it finally feels like we have the opportunity to breathe.  Today Administrative Assistant and I sat down with our calendars and looked at the schedule for the rest of the year.  It has been several weeks since we had (or made) time to do that.  We also went out to lunch today to once again celebrate surviving a challenging time in ministry. 

I've been working on newsletter articles today, and I've mapped out adult education for the rest of the year.  We scheduled communion dates for 2013.  I'm grateful for the time to do this.  We have our work mapped out for the next few weeks, and it really does ease the stress.

This week is the second anniversary of beginning my ministry here.  As I wrote in a newsletter article a little while ago, with each passing day I grow to love these people more.  I'm grateful to be here. 

Monday, October 15, 2012


So yesterday one of the members was telling me how great the hymns had been yesterday, and how well they fit with the sermon.  He went to his small group last night, and they were complaining about how terrible the hymns had been.  He pointed out he had liked them, and that they had fit perfectly with the whole theme of the service.  The response?  "Words only matter in the sermon." 

That is one of the struggles of ministry.  It is impossible to please all the people, yet there are those in the church who expect us to do exactly that. 

Daughter is having problems at her house.  It sounds like staff is calling her on her bossiness.  Every time they call her on it, she calls or texts me, insisting I get her out of there immediately.  She does not appreciate it when I back up the staff.  I'm so glad she doesn't live with me anymore. 

In my ongoing pursuit of balance, I have decided that I will sleep in on Monday mornings.  I got up at 7:00 this morning instead of 5:00.  I think it will serve me well to start the week well-rested.  So far today has been productive, so the new strategy seems to be paying off. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bad Beginning to a Good Day

I got up this morning and came into the kitchen to fix pb&j sandwiches for our lunch.  I had bought a new jar of peanut butter and some low sugar strawberry jam.  They were in a bag under the kitchen table with a few other items.  When I picked up the bag, the strawberry jam was missing.  I went into Daughter's bedroom and demanded to know where it was.  She ate the whole jar during the night. 

When we got to the church, I unlocked the office without turning off the alarm to the office.  Then I couldn't figure out how to turn off the alarm.  I called Administrative Assistant, who laughed at me, and told me how to turn it off before I even asked. 

The prayer class before worship went well.  Worship went well, though attendance was down a bit.  I think some people skipped worship and just came to the memorial service.  It's amazing to me who many people have told me how much they like this sermon series on the Lord's Prayer.  Next week will be the last sermon in the series.  Worship was over at 11:00, and the band for the memorial service started bringing instruments in at 11:15.  We'd told them they couldn't come before 11:30, but they don't listen well. 

The memorial service went very well.  There were over 240 people at the service.  The family was pleased.  I'm glad it's over.  The family continued to be a bit controlling, but we remained polite.  One of the members told me he'd lock up following the service, so I was able to come home a bit earlier.  Some other members had dropped Daughter off at her home. 

AA and I are looking forward to a quieter week.  Of course, the property guys have some projects they will be working on this week, and that always makes life interesting.  We're going to begin work on the newsletter this week.  AA knows she doesn't have jury duty this week, but she has two more weeks she is on call.  She has the bulletins for the next two Sundays ready for me.

This morning one of the men was talking about how the words of the last two hymns were perfect for the sermon.  He commented that the tune to the last hymn was familiar, but not the words.  I told him we hadn't liked the tune that the words were set to, so we had used the metrical index to find a tune we liked better.  He was amazed.  I told him it's easy, but he thinks we worked wonders.  AA thinks we should have let him think it was hard work.  For those of you who don't know, most hymns have there meter listed.  This particular hymn was  That means there were 7 syllables in the first phrase, 6 in the second, and the D means it was double.  So 8 phrases that alternated 7 and 6 syllables.  Most hymnals  have a metrical index in the back, so we looked up and found a list of 7 or 8 tunes with the same meter.  We decided the second one worked well.  Most people have no idea the work that goes into putting the worship service together.  He was right, though, the words to the last two hymns were perfect.  When I first arrived, there were many who couldn't understand why I thought it was important that the hymns and such go with the sermon.  My response was I never heard anyone go out humming a sermon, and so I wanted the hymns to reinforce the message. 

I love my life, even when it is full to overflowing.   

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Cold and Gray

It's a cold, gray, rainy day here.  I don't feel very energetic today....

I picked up Daughter right before lunch, and came home and started a fire in the fireplace and turned on college football.  I'm finalizing the PowerPoint for tomorrow morning.  I still need to finish the memorial service for tomorrow afternoon.  Even with a fire, a sweatshirt, and a blanket over my legs, I was cold enough I bumped the thermostat up a few degrees. 

We're going to have tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for supper.  I'm still not convinced that all the staff is handling Daughter's diet and insulin properly.  She seems to have a better attitude today, though that could be because she knows tomorrow is going to be a long, exhausting day, and she knows she'd best not push things if she wants to stay with me.  Whatever the reason, I'll take it. 

Friday, October 12, 2012


After I got a hair cut this morning, I went into the office.  We had 800 pages to fold, raffle tickets to number and score, and we needed to print and bind 5 more 120 page books for the prayer class I'm leading.  I decided I needed to go lend a hand.  Administrative Assistant harassed me a bit, but she was grateful for the help, especially when the copy machine began to misbehave.  It kept shutting down due to a non-existent misfeed.  She took over nursing it along, and I took care of punching holes, collating, and binding the books using our comb binder. 

We also set up an itunes account for the church, and downloaded an album that goes with the prayer class.  I will use one of the tracks for the class Sunday morning, meaning I don't have to prepare a lesson for Sunday.  Once I get to the church Sunday, I'm staying until after the memorial service, so it will be a long day. 

Daughter was hoping t stay with me all day Sunday, but she's having her first period on her new birth control pill.  She reports it's heavy and she's having cramps and back pain.  I may encourage her to just stay home this weekend.  My bug has settled in my sinuses. 

I just received an email from AA.  They met with the band for the memorial service this evening, and that was okay.  She took care of some other things.  And she asserted her authority as my keeper to order me to take it easy tomorrow.  I do have to finish the memorial service, and I should do some work around the house, but I'm not going to work very hard.  Sunday will be a long day. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Taking a Toll

I have been fighting a virus for a couple of weeks.  Anytime I get over tired or over stressed, it gets worst.  I get a good night's sleep and slow down, and I feel better.  I slept 8 hours last night, but woke up coughing and blowing.  I decided not to go to my meeting this afternoon.  I also decided not to go hang out at the church during choir tonight. 

Today the family wanted to rewrite the Lord's Prayer for the Memorial Service.  I said no.  I offered to take it out of the service, but not rewrite it.  I'm told that there final version of the lyrics are full of grammatical errors.  They are not getting changed again.  The bulletin went to print before they could make any more changes. 

I received an email this afternoon from a member telling me how much she had appreciated the Memorial Service last month for the young person who died.  The part about unanswered prayers had spoken to her, and she was continuing to ponder it.  I quickly thanked her, telling her she'd made my day.  I told Administrative Assistant I was grateful, but couldn't help wondering if that meant the bad week isn't over....

Daughter has been lying to staff about her blood sugar, which has been running high.  She's been giving them numbers in the normal range.  I have to write an email about that yet tonight.  I told her she has to make a decision about Sunday.  I can see if the woman who sometimes provides transportation for her would be willing to take her home Sunday; she can stay through the memorial service (without complaining); or she can skip church this Sunday or go with her friends from the house.  I told her it's up to her.  It will be interesting to see what she decides. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Making Up for Monday

When there were all the good things happening on Monday, I wondered what bad news was coming.  I thought God was giving me good stuff before trouble came along.  Today I think I got the answer.  Someone put a yard sign in front of the church saying we don't call, visit or care if you are handicapped and can't get to church.  It was disturbing, to say the least.  We aren't sure where it came from, but the most likely place is the family of a woman we have reached out to repeatedly.  I called, and she wouldn't answer.  I left messages, she wouldn't respond.  I wrote her a note, and finally connected with her.  We found someone to bring her to church, and she decided she didn't want to come.  She finally wrote us a letter telling us to leave her alone.  So, we did.  It bothers me that someone has been hurt by the church, and we don't know who or how to make things right. 

Then there is the memorial service this Sunday.  The family has modified the lyrics 4 or 5 times.  Today we had a disagreement in the number of verses in Amazing Grace.  They were insisting that 2 verses were 1.  Really?  You are going to tell me I don't know how the verses for Amazing Grace work?  One daughter kept insisting we were wrong until I informed her that every hymnal in the office had the verses the way we were telling her.  Then they wanted to see the bulletin, and decided we needed to make lots of changes.  We have 4 strong women who have perfectionist tendencies offering opinions on this, and it makes it challenging.  I told Administrative Assistant I feel another lunch to celebrate survival coming up for next week. 

Then there is the jazz band they are bringing into play the service.  I had our sound guy there Sunday to answer questions, but they didn't have anyone from the band.  Now the band wants to set up Saturday.  They don't seem to understand the time that volunteers are giving to this or the demands they are placing on them.  I offered 30 minutes Friday for the band to look at the space and the sound system.

To make up for it all, we had another great discussion at adult education this evening.  We're talking about important issues.  Such are the rewards and frustrations of ministry.  I'm supposed to go to a meeting tomorrow afternoon.  It will take about 5 hours out of my day.  I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get everything done. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Drama and a Confession

Yesterday Daughter told one of the supervisors at the workshop that she wants to quit right now and can't wait until the January meeting.  She said nobody would listen to her when she said she couldn't stay there.  The supervisor contacted the case manager, who contacted me.  Daughter also insisted she had to move out of her home last night.  Today she said she needed to leave the program she likes to go home.  In other words, she's not in a good place.  I suspect part of it may be related to changing her birth control pill.  It's also October, which is when birth mom took the kids and moved into a shelter. 

I got a phone call late this morning from the director at Daughter's program.  A staff member had counted the carbs in her lunch, and instead of 45 it was 84.  She wanted to know what to do.  I told her to give Daughter additional insulin.  She then talked to Daughter.  Turns out that Daughter has not been following the proper diet for quite some time.  Staff is not measuring her food.  I had suspected there were issues, but was tired and didn't want to take it on. 

I asked the director to make a report to the entire team, but I don't think that has happened yet.  Daughter is now sobbing and insisting she's no good and I shouldn't want to spend time with her.  I am hurting for her, and I'm grateful she's not living with me.  I'm not sure what the next steps will be. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Nice Things

Attendance has been steadily increasing this fall, which is nice.  So has giving.  It's nice to see the changes we've made and the work we've done having an impact.  This morning a retired church professional stopped by the office to tell me how much she is liking my current sermon series on the Lord's Prayer.  Several people have commented on it.  She told me she's glad I'm here.  So am I. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Seeking Balance

This was the 5th Sunday in a row with afternoon commitments, and I'm busy again the next 2 Sunday afternoons.  I've also had several weeks of 4 nights a week commitments.  Yesterday as I was working in the yard I realized that I haven't been home enough to keep up with things. 

I guess it's no wonder I'm tired.  I overslept this morning-- I didn't get to the church until 8:15, which is the latest I've arrived on a Sunday.  I didn't have any commitments until 8:45, so that was okay, except a deacon was waiting in the parking lot to make the coffee, which had already been made.  I think he must have been playing golf the night we discussed that the office would make sure the coffee was set up on Friday and I would plug it in when I got to the church Sunday morning.  He was good natured about it, fortunately. 

This is going to be another crazy week.  I have a number of meetings and a very large memorial service in addition to the normal two classes and Sunday morning worship. 

Daughter is on edge.   She is in her third week with a brand new birth control pill, so I'm wondering if that might be the issue. 

In other news, I received my gas bill yesterday, it was significantly lower than last year.  I may look to see how the temperatures this year compared with last year.  I was delighted though, because I think the new furnace will save me money. 

Tonight I'm going to do some work on the memorial service and the Wednesday night class.  Any thing I can get done today will make the week a little easier.  I need to make the week a little easier.  I am very grateful that Daughter is no longer living here.  I wouldn't be able to do all I'm doing if she did.  It's much easier to deal with her mood swings by text  message than in person.                       

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Fall is definitely here.  Thursday was a beautiful warm day, but yesterday it got cooler again.  I went shopping yesterday, and found it amusing to see the various things people were wearing.  There were people with winter coats and a guy wearing shorts and sandals.  I was wearing a sweatshirt.  Today I'm doing some work in the yard.  I have harvested the last of my garden and pulled the tomato plants.  I'm going to mow the yard and put the clippings and leaves in the garden.  I'm bringing to chili pepper plants in for the winter.  I decided the habanero pepper plant was too big to bring in, but I'm considering protecting it from the frost at night so that a few more of the peppers on it will ripen. 

I'm thinking about my plans for next spring.  I promised Daughter I'd come and get her after lunch.  She will going to do some cleaning while I continue to work in the yard.  She likes being able to earn some money.  I'll probably build a fire when we watch TV together this evening.  She bought a new video yesterday for us to watch. 

I received the material I was waiting for from the family of the woman who died, and I figured out what the organizing principle will be for the service.  Once I had that, I was able to relax, because I know the rest will fall into place.  Even better, the daughter loved my idea.  I think they are finally trusting me to plan something nice for their mom. I hope so, anyway. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Successes and Frustration

It's been a busy week, and a mixed one.  At this point, I'm trying very hard to focus on the good things and not let the one major frustration get to me.  We have a huge memorial service coming up on the 14th.   I met with the family last Sunday, and they promised to get me a bunch of information so I could have a draft of the service ready for them when we meet again this Sunday.  Wednesday I said I needed the material by 9:00 Thursday if they wanted to see a draft.  Yesterday evening I asked for an update and an estimate as to when they might be able to get the material to me.  I have heard nothing.  I should just resign myself to not having anything for them to look at Sunday, but I keep hoping they'll get the material to me and I can put something together and get it to Administrative Assistant today.  It's supposed to be my day off, but if the information comes in, I will want to work with it.  I'm frustrated that they haven't even given me an update or estimate as to when they will get the material to me....

I need to let that go, and focus instead on the good things.  We had an awesome book discussion Wednesday night.  We started with 3 people last month, and we're now up to 10.  The discussion was great.  A woman who has been visiting worship the last few weeks came and was very engaged in the discussion.  I'm looking forward to our next gathering on Wednesday.

I have the sermon for Sunday pretty much done.  I need to finalize the PowerPoint, and even that is close to done.  I have a list of things I'd like to get done around the house today-- it is my day off, and I am going to take it.  Daughter is happy, and we had a good visit yesterday evening and this morning.  I am picking her up tomorrow afternoon, and she'll stay until after lunch on Sunday.  There are many more joys right now, so I'm going to set the frustration aside for now. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Daughter's Meeting

Last night Daughter called and told me she didn't want to continue at the workshop.  She claimed it wasn't for her.  She made similar comments in a phone call this morning.  It was an interesting meeting.  After much drama, she is staying, and we'll meet again in January to discuss increasing her days there.  Among the highlights:
  • Apparently one of the staff members has been verbally abusive and physically threatened another program participant.
  • A staff member at her house is telling Daughter that she should be living in an apartment on her own, and has questioned why I placed her in that house.
  • She'd been there 4 Mondays, but had only gotten one pay check for $2.50, so she wasn't experiencing any reward for her work.  When her second pay check was located and given to her, her entire attitude changed.
  • She is scared.  She is afraid she is going to be pushed to take on too much responsibility before she is ready.
  • The new manager of the program she attends 4 days a week is amazing.  Her background is as a therapist at a residential treatment center for children.  She said Daughter reminds her of the kids she saw there.  She was very good at drawing information out of Daughter, and was instrumental in helping Daughter tell the story of the staff member whose behavior so scares her. 
  • I'm getting Daughter some noise blocking head phones for her ipod so she can block out distractions, and I'm taking her shopping Thursday evening so she can spend the almost $11 she has earned so far. 
It was a good meeting, and Daughter and I were both happy at the end of it.   I'm especially pleased with the staff and their insights into Daughter and her needs/fears.  I'm glad we moved here-- it's been good for both of us.