Friday, November 30, 2012

Not Yet

I don't think the increase in Daughter's medication is working yet.  I had a call from her a little while ago.  Talking about a mile a minute she informed me she was done with her program and she'd go to the workshop 5 days a week.  She said there wasn't going to be any stupid meetings about it and there was nothing anyone could do because it was her decision.  She said that the program is the worst place in the entire world.  I have no idea what happened, because I didn't get a chance to say a word.  After she raced through her announcement, she hung up on me.  I'm grateful she was stable over Thanksgiving, and hope stability will return soon.  Very soon. 

The Next Challenge

Yesterday Daughter had an appointment with Psychiatrist.  She'd stayed up until 3:00 cleaning and organizing her room, and then was up again at 5:00.  At 6:00 she began sending me pictures of her clean room (it does look good).  Case Manager had seen her the previous day, and Daughter had been a bit ugly.  Case Manager got on her about her attitude, and Daughter got mad.  Of course, Daughter called me and told me it was  a good visit.  CM said the same things I would say to her. I told CM that she set limits, which Daughter liked because it makes her feel safe. 

Anyway, Psychiatrist increase the anti psychotic again.  The big news came when CM said she needed to talk to me following the appointment.  She wants to move Daughter.  She said she doesn't see improvement and can't guarantee Daughter's safety in the current home.  While she was there, they gave her 39 grams of carb for supper instead of 60.  Her blood sugars have been ranging from 90 to well over 200.  They aren't always giving her all her meds.  They only got her her flu shot because I nagged (several times), and because she could get in the pharmacy while she was in the building to see Psychiatrist. 

There are other things going on, as well.  Daughter claimed she hadn't been able to sleep all week.  They supposedly do bed checks every 2 hours, but they had no idea if she was sleeping or not.  It's possible that her mania is a result of missing meds. 

I hate the thought of moving her.  I don't know who has a harder time with change, Daughter or me.  CM gave me information about a new home that is just for women that she thinks is very well run.  The owner is an attorney, and this is her third home.  The downside would be that she would be the youngest and the highest functioning resident at this point.  I'm going to call and go visit.  We won't talk to Daughter about it until after Christmas.  I did make sure she will continue with the current CM if she moves.  She needs someone who is willing to get on her and hold her accountable.  She needs someone who will be looking out for her best interests.  It sounds like CM is looking to begin moving the other women as well.  She is discouraging placements at this home.  I did get an email from the regional manager today saying she is resigning.  I find myself hoping that a miracle will take place and that the new person will have a magic wand to fix the place.  I'm an optimist. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012


So last night at dinner I had an idea.  I shared the idea with the study group I led later in the evening, and they liked it, too.  I knew it would involve some extra work, and that I was thinking of it late, so I was a little concerned about what Administrative Assistant would say.  I had a breakfast meeting this morning, so I sent her an email outlining the idea.  When I walked into her office after my breakfast meeting, I asked her what she thought of the idea.  Her response?  "It's great!" 

Yesterday we thought we were ahead.  Today we left feeling like we were behind.  That was the impact of the idea which she enthusiastically endorsed.  I'm very blessed to be working with her. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Gift

My peer group retreat was last night and this morning.  Last night I spent time talking with my colleagues.  This morning we had 3 hours together for worship, reflection and communion.  Our focus this morning was on Advent.  I got back to the church this afternoon, and after figuring out tonight's class, began work on the Blue Christmas service next Wednesday.  I've also edited the newsletter, which goes to print tomorrow. 

That time away was a wonderful gift.  It was an opportunity to breathe and reflect before getting too caught up in the craziness of Advent.  I'm grateful. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Good Beginning

Daughter is going to see the Nutcracker with her program today.  She has seen it with me, and to say she is excited would be an understatement.  She knows and loves the music, and has been talking about this for weeks.  I think the people at her program were surprised to hear she'd already gone to it once.  I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to expose her to a variety of styles of music at various concerts over the years, and she has loved them. 

She was a little teary when I took her back last night, not wanting to leave me.  I suggested that she think about going to the ballet today, and she smiled.  The tears were replaced by joy as she thought about it.  She's also been obsessing on all the details-- does she need to take a lunch?  are her clothes appropriate?  I hope she enjoys the show, and I will confess to being a little bit jealous. 

This will be a good week for me, though for different reasons.  I don't have to write a sermon this week, which always makes the week less stressful.  Tomorrow night is one of our peer group retreats.  I'm really looking forward to the fellowship with my colleagues and the opportunity to reflect on life and ministry facilitated by my spiritual director. 

The board is meeting tonight, and we will be finishing a book we began last February.  We will discuss the progress we've made and the next steps on the journey.  I look forward to another good meeting. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Quiet Sunday

For the first time in a very long time I didn't have any commitments beyond adult ed and worship this morning.  It was rather nice.  It was also another good Sunday.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my life here in Capital? 

There was a basketball game early this afternoon, which meant 5 people left early so they could be there.  We have several people who have season tickets for the basketball games.  I'm impressed that they came to worship before going to the game. 

We are in the midst of our stewardship campaign.  It seems to be going very well-- we've had 5 new pledges.  With 10 yet to come in, we're already above last year's pledge total.  Hopefully we will meet our goal this year.  It's exciting to see the church moving forward in such wonderful ways. 

Stress Realization

I looked at my chair with the massager on it and realized it's been a very long time since I used it.  I used it regularly to address the tension in my back and shoulders.  I also had various ways of applying heat to my neck and shoulders.  I haven't used those recently either.  I haven't needed them.  I'm still just as busy.  So what's the difference?  I think the difference is that Daughter no longer lives with me.  I don't have to deal with the drama, and the stress she added to life. 

We've had a very pleasant visit this weekend, thanks to the increase in her anti psychotic.  I know, though, that there will again be times when the medication is off and she is challenging.  For now, I'm grateful for good visits with her and that I don't have to deal with the stress on a daily basis.  I'm grateful that I no longer carry so much tension in my neck and shoulders.  Very grateful. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Time Off

Yesterday Daughter and I worked around the house.  Se was in a very cooperative mood.  I decided I did have to go to the store to get ingredients for lunch for Sister Best Friend and her mom.  Rather than go to the superstore 1/2 a mile from here, I went the back way to a grocery store 1 1/2 miles away.  It wasn't busy, and I was grateful.  Of course, I didn't check my list before checking out, and realized I'd forgotten a key ingredient after I got home. 

Daughter and I watched White Christmas, and then headed to the superstore to get it.  It was 9 in the evening, and I went to the grocery side and only bought the one thing.  The store seemed tired.  I'm sure they were very busy earlier in the day, but it was quiet when I was there. 

We had a wonderful time with SBF and her mom today.  We also got some of the Christmas decorations up today.  Now we're relaxing in front of the TV.  Daughter is so relaxed she's sleeping with her head on my shoulder. 

I'm amazed at how much I'm able to relax and get things done around the house when I don't have a sermon hanging over my head on my days off.  It's been nice to have this time off before jumping into the rush to Christmas.  It's even nicer to have Daughter so cooperative.  She got up from the table and cleaned the kitchen while I was visiting with our company.  I hope she will continue to feel this good. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Fourth Thanksgiving

This was the fourth Thanksgiving since my parents' death.  Mom was born on Thanksgiving Day, so we always celebrated her birthday along with Thanksgiving.  This year I think we were all grieving as Thanksgiving approached.  Sister was really having a hard time, as her ex-mother-in-law died suddenly this fall.  She was close to her, so her death was hard on Sister, and brought back the grief over Mom and Dad. 

Brother prepared Thanksgiving for us, and he lives in the house we grew up in.  It was bittersweet as we turned down that street.  Sister and I were in the kitchen helping with final preparations when she began to cry.  I went over and hugged her, and then Brother wrapped his arms around both of us.  It was nice, the three of us working together-- like old times.  We missed Far Away Sister, who wasn't with us.  She was missing us, too. 

After the hug, things were easier.  When we sat down to eat, it was hot, just like old times.  I told Sister to open the window, just like we used to when Mom turned the heat up to 75.  Brother had the furnace off, but it was unseasonably warm, and the house is small enough the cooking and people heated it up. 

Sister-in-law's family was there, too.  The age range is interesting.  Sister-in-law's mom is my age.  (Sister-in-law is 10 years younger than Brother, who is 12 years younger than me.)  Sister-in-law's half sister and brother are in their early teens.  Short Niece just turned 8, and Baby Nephew is 20 months.  Daughter is closest in age to Sister-in-law. 

A friend of Brother's who is a professional organist was there, too.  He entertained us on the piano for a while after supper.  He left, and Brother got out a dance game for the wii that featured the music of ABBA.  We had a lot of fun with that.  Those who weren't dancing were singing along.  Baby Nephew likes to dance, so he was trying to match the moves.   We were there later than I had planned, and by the time we dropped Sister off and got home, it was after 11:00. 

There is a big box store on the corner, and there had been people camped out there for several days.  When we came by it on our way home, the tents had been replaced by a line that wrapped all the way around the building.  I don't think the store even opens until 5:00.  I do not intend to go shopping tomorrow-- or even leave the house.  The next month is the only time of year I don't particularly like the location of my house.  A mall and a variety of other major retailers are located in the two miles between my house and the church.  The traffic at this time of year can be annoying. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

More Progress

Daughter called this morning and told me her program was going to a buffet for lunch.  After consulting with Administrative Assistant I called her and asked her if she'd like to work in the church office this afternoon.  The buffet was closer than her program, so picking her up from there would save me time and enable me to work at the office until the work was done.  Daughter was delighted by the offer.  She sometimes has problems with surprises and changes to her routine.

I picked her up and she sat down and folded and stuffed all the bulletins for Sunday.  She helped AA straighten things up in the sanctuary.  She put address labels on envelopes for me.  She did all of this without complaining and worked at a steady pace.  We were impressed and grateful. 

I completed everything I needed to do in order to take the next three days off.  The sermon and PowerPoint for Sunday are ready to go.  I'm delighted.  We will go to a college basketball game tonight with friends, and tomorrow we will pick up Sister and Short Niece on our way to Brother's house for Thanksgiving.  I'm looking forward to relaxing the next few days. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Daughter had a good day yesterday at the workshop.  She'd been insisting she couldn't stay there, so I was delighted when she called and was excited about what she'd done.  I commented on that, and she acknowledged that she was happy.  She said, "The medication is working!" 

I'm relieved. She did well while she was with me, and will be back with me beginning tomorrow afternoon.  I'm actually looking forward to having her here.  It will be a busy few days.  I'm hoping to have the sermon done before I pick her up tomorrow.  I think I got the hard part done today, so it shouldn't be too hard to finish it tomorrow. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Daughter, like many kids with similar issues, struggles with success.  If things are going well and she is happy, she is frightened, and sometimes will create a crisis just to get back to familiar feelings.  I have told her many times that she deserves to be happy, but it continues to be a struggle for her. 

I have to admit, I'm beginning to understand her fear.  We received 9 new members today, bringing the total for the year to 18.  It's been over 10 years since the church received that many new members in a year.  When I arrived, the church was on a steady decline, and had lost over half their members in the previous 10 years. 

Attendance is also up.  We've run out of coffee the last two weeks.  There is an energy that is amazing.  The noise level before worship is louder, and the fellowship time is longer.  I have another 2 people who are ready to join, and we had a visitor today who is recently divorced and new to the area.  We were able to introduce her to a woman who lives in the same condo complex and is also divorced.  She said she'd definitely be back. 

Today was stewardship Sunday.  We had some new pledges, and a family that refused to pledge last year because they were looking for a new church turned in a pledge card this year (and the financial secretary assures me that none of the pledge cards were blank). 

Exciting things are happening, and I certainly have every reason to be happy.  I'm a little happy, and very scared.  Administrative Assistant assured me that this can and will continue.  I hope she's right.  I wish I had her confidence.  I realize this is God's doing, and I still find it scary.  I understand, now, why Daughter gets so scared when she is happy and successful. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lap Time

I picked up Daughter this morning, and we've been cleaning.  When I finished cleaning the carpet in the family room, and sat down in a recliner.  Daughter came over and wanted lap time.  She's 4 1/2 inches taller than I am, so she kneels in front of me and wraps her arm around my waist.  When she does that, her head comes up to my chin.  It's been a while since she's done it.  Kitten jumped up on Daughter's back.  It was nice, having my girls on my lap. 

I printed out a calendar with the special events coming up this week, and gave it to Daughter.  I told her she needed to decide what she wanted to be here for.  She decided she wanted to be here for all of it.  Wednesday evening we'll be going to a college basketball game.  Thursday is Thanksgiving with Brother and Sister.  Friday we'll be decorating the house, and Saturday I hope to have Sister Best Friend and her mother here for lunch. 

I'm looking forward to the activities of the coming week. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Maybe I Work Too Much

Last night we got home from the church a little after 9:00 p.m.  I quickly realized that I had left my cell phone there, but decided not to turn around and go get it.  Daughter knew it was at the church.   She called on the home phone at 8:30 this morning (the bus picked her up at 6:30). 

"Why aren't you at the church?" 

"It's my day off."

"Oh, I forgot you get a day off." 

I'm cleaning the carpet in the family room.  I know how to live it up on my day off. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Daughter hates meetings.  Especially meetings about her.  We're approaching the meeting where we make her case plan for the year, and she is not happy about it.  Part of the problem is that with the Central Auditory Processing Disorder, she has difficulty following and processing what is being said.  Because she is so articulate, it is easy to forget that her receptive language skills are on the level of a 3 year old. 

She called me this week, furious about the upcoming meeting, and blaming me for it.  She's home tonight, so we talked about it.  It was hard to get her to acknowledge what was bothering her, though she said she couldn't handle choir tonight.  Finally she admitted she was afraid of the meeting.  She couldn't tell me why, she's just afraid.  We talked about who would be there and what the meeting was about.  We considered every one's reason for being at the meeting.  After a while, she got up and got ready to come to choir.  I think that means talking help.  I know the stress went out of her voice as we talked about it. 

Life is challenging for Daughter right now.  She doesn't like it when they get new staff at the house, and there have been a lot of new staff members recently.  Unfortunately, that is not going to change.  I can understand, though, why it would be unsettling for her.  It's too bad, though, that those who have so much trouble with change find the people who are caring for them changing so regularly. 

I'm very grateful she no longer lives with me. It's much easier to deal with her drama from a distance. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Long Days

This week has been a week of long days.  I stayed at the church through supper for evening meetings Monday and today.  Yesterday I was at a meeting all day.  The all day meeting put me behind.  I'm hoping I can finish things up tomorrow so I can have Friday and Saturday off.  I'd like to clean the carpet in the family room Friday.

Daughter seems to be a bit volatile today.  She called me tonight, furious because the meeting about her case plan is coming up December 7.  She was furious with me for agreeing to it.  When I answered the phone, she said, "How dare you!"  I had no clue what she was talking about, of course.  I wasn't very sympathetic.  She will be home tomorrow night.  I can't say I'm looking forward to that right now.  At least she won't be here Friday night this week. 

The last football game of the season is Saturday, but I'm not working it, for which I'm grateful.  I'm looking forward to a Saturday without any church responsibilities.  Of course, that means I have to get the sermon and PowerPoint done tomorrow....

Monday, November 12, 2012


This was the Monday I have two meetings.  Both of them went well, and I'm pleased with some of the guidelines we're making regarding our finances.  The finance committee was very pleased with the stewardship sermon I preached yesterday.  They felt my predecessors weren't willing to preach stewardship. 

Daughter had the day off, so of course she was telling me she wanted to spend the day with me.  She did well, though, only calling once during the day.  

Tomorrow I have an all day meeting.  I've already warned Daughter that I won't be able to take her calls.  I suspect that spending the day in a meeting will mean I have to work at least part of the day on Friday.  Good thing I love my job. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Great Weekend

This has been a good weekend.  Friday I spent making ornaments for the bazaar on Saturday.  Yesterday we had a holiday bazaar at the church.  It was the first one we've done in a number of years.  The crafters who were there really liked it.  A number of them told me they hoped we'd invite them back next year.  We had a good crowd, and it was a fun day.  I enjoyed it, though I was exhausted when I came home.  Daughter ended up hiding most of the day.  It was too overwhelming for her, but she figured out what she needed to do, and was very cooperative when I needed help. 

Today I preached stewardship, which is often hard.  It was very well received.  One member told me it was the best stewardship sermon he'd ever heard.  This afternoon I met with 5 people who will be joining the church next week.  I have 4-5 others who have also expressed interest.  We've had a number of deaths this year, but we will be showing a growth in membership for the first time in a number of years.  Success builds on success, and I'm excited about the opportunities ahead of us. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I had a meeting this afternoon.  It was over 70 miles from  here.  It's a committee that I have found to be exceedingly frustrating at times.  I attempted to redeem it today by meeting Sister Best Friend for lunch before the meeting.  The meeting itself was frustrating, but I think progress was made.  There are some major communication issues in this larger church body, and those communication issues were very evident today.  Over the course of the meeting we realized that we don't know our purpose, and we don't know the purpose of a task force that is working on issues that intersect with our responsibilities.  We were able to state quite clearly that we need to know those purposes.  It will be interesting to see if that gets communicated.

As I reflect on that meeting, I begin to understand why people get so frustrated with the church and with meetings.  It also makes me very grateful for how well this particular congregation functions.  Very grateful. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

God's Will

I didn't realize I hadn't blogged since Sunday.  Things are busy at the church this week.  I told Administrative Assistant that this looked like it was going to be an administration week.  We've had a number of meetings, including yesterday morning and again this morning.  We are moving forward in exciting ways, which is fun. 

I stayed up entirely too late last night watching election results.  I am puzzled by the people who prayed so hard for this election and are more willing to believe that God didn't answer their prayers than that maybe the results reflect God's will.  I know it's easier to believe something is God's will when it coincides with mine, but I also know that sometimes God has different (better) ideas than what I have.  I was very pleased with some of the results, and quite frustrated with others.  I trust, though, that God has had a hand in all of this, even the parts I don't like. 

I believe that now we need to come together as a nation, and encourage both parties to set politics aside and work together to find solutions for the challenges facing us as a nation.  They are going to have to make some hard decisions, and we elected them to make those decisions.  They need to stop obsessing over the next election or the latest opinion poll and get to work. 

I also think it's important to remember that there are people who are quite distressed by the election results.  Gloating does not bring the country together.  Neither do cries of election fraud or laments over the death of our country.  I wrote a post on my church blog yesterday afternoon, before the outcomes were known, suggesting that it was time to accept the results as God's will (whatever they might be) and move forward together.  I acknowledged I was writing it before I knew the results because I might be one who needed to read it and take it to heart following the election.  Ultimately, our security comes from God, not the government.  I think we forget that far too often. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Little Things

It's interesting, the difference little things can make.  I like to write notes to visitors.  Last week, I noticed that there was a woman I didn't know in worship.  She rushed past me after worship, so I didn't get a chance to meet her.  She'd signed the friendship pad, so last week I'd sent her a note, saying I'd hope she'd been warmly welcomed and I looked forward to meeting her.  She rushed over and stood in line following worship.  She was delighted to have received my note.  Next Sunday I will be meeting with people interested in joining the church.  All of them have commented on how much my short note meant to them.  I'm delighted. 

It was cold at the stadium yesterday, and I was standing on the concrete for over 5 hours.  I was wearing good shoes with inserts and warm socks, but by the time we left my feet were complaining.  After I got home, I went down to pick up Daughter, and she volunteered to give me a foot massage.  I took her up on the offer, and it really helped.  I was concerned about how well I'd be able to walk today, but my feet were in pretty good shape this morning.  I was able to do my usual pacing during worship with no problem.  I'm sure the extra hour of sleep helped, too.  It really is the little things....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

No, you can't suddenly decide you want to help in the concession stand for the football game 18 hours before the game begins. 

No, you can't take the money you've been saving for months to redo your room and use it to get your hair done. 

Daughter is back to making requests that she knows I will turn down.  She does this every so often just to prove how unreasonable I am.  I've been known to challenge her to see how many things she can ask that will cause me to say no.

Today I'm working at the concession stand for the football game.  She would not be able to handle it-- too crowded, too much pressure, too long.  Next week I'll be spending all day Saturday at a craft show at the church.  She wants to hang out with me.  It could be a very long day.  Very long....

Friday, November 2, 2012

How Much Insulin?

Daughter is doing cooking classes at her program.  The woman teaching the classes means well, but is not very bright.  So today they called me.  They're making omelets and pancakes today.  How many pancakes can Daughter have?  How much insulin does she need.  I explained that it all depended on how big the pancakes were, and I couldn't tell them without seeing the pancakes.  I explained this several times.  I said they needed to read the nutrition information on the mix box and measure things out to determine the carbs.  I explained that she needed to divide the total carbs by 15 to figure out her insulin.  I explained that I couldn't tell them how much insulin because I didn't know how big the pancakes were, and there was a huge difference in the number of carbs between a silver dollar size pancake and a plate size pancake.  I explained it in several different ways.  The staff member's final question:  "So how much insulin does she need 1 or 2 pancakes?"  Sigh. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is It Real?

Daughter is complaining about intrusive thoughts and disturbing images.  She says things keep popping in her head and she can't get rid of them.  I have no idea if she is telling the truth or not.  I'm hoping she's not having these issues, especially since we just increased her anti psychotic.  It's so hard when I don't know whether she is telling the truth or manipulating. 

It looks like I'm going to have to come into the office at least briefly tomorrow.  While it was a productive week, I haven't managed to get every thing done.  We had two major mailings this week.  I wrote the last piece for the stewardship mailing this afternoon.  I had two medical appointments which took me out of the office.  I had several daytime meetings which cut into my writing time.  So I'll come in and wrap some things up tomorrow.  Saturday afternoon I'll be cooking hot dogs in a concession booth at the football game.  I don't want to have to worry about finishing anything when I get home.