Monday, December 31, 2012


Apparently planning to come to a Christmas celebration at my home is hazardous to your health this year.  Sister Best Friend and SBF Husband were supposed to come yesterday-- except SBF Husband was hit by the same bug that wreaked havoc in Brother's family.  Everything has been rescheduled for tomorrow-- we've combined the two Christmas celebrations into one.  I'm looking forward to it, and hoping everyone will be healthy.

Obviously, Daughter was once again disappointed, and once again handled the disappointment amazingly well.  I promised I'd take her to the mall yesterday after church.  She was excited.  So as we were sitting in a restaurant in the mall eating lunch, Sister called.  She invited us to come.  She wanted my help going through some of Mom and Dad's stuff that had been stored in her basement.  I expressed concern about changing plans on Daughter one more time and told her she could talk to Daughter about it.  I handed Daughter the phone, and she thought it was a great idea.  We finished lunch, came home and changed, and headed to Sister's house, getting home at 9:00 yesterday evening. 

Once again, Daughter showed flexibility and didn't complain about a change to our plans.  This has been an amazing visit.  She has matured so much in this past year.  I'm proud and grateful. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Daughter is a master of manipulation and triangulation, so when she has begun to complain about things at her house, I have generally said something along the lines of, "I have confidence in your ability to figure it out."  I've reminded her she has a voice, and encouraged her to use it to advocate for herself. 

She's been here with me for over a week now, and I'm beginning to hear some stories.  They aren't coming out so much as complaints, but as responses to questions I ask after she says something that seems wrong.  Yesterday before supper her blood sugar was 97.  She immediately said, "It's below 100, so I can't take my insulin until after I eat."  I assured her it was okay since her food was right in front of her and she'd be eating right away.  I explained that I made that rule for when she was away so that they wouldn't give her her insulin too long before she ate and cause her to go low.  She said something about them doing it their own way.  I asked for more details. 

According to Daughter, they check her blood sugar and give her her insulin at 5:15 every evening.  They don't give her her anti psychotic until she eats, but they give her insulin at 5:15, even when supper isn't ready or even started.  Some times they eat as late as 6:30.  I was horrified.  She said, "House Manager needs to be there.  She doesn't know what they do when she isn't there.  They don't do things right.  They don't care." 

I really wonder if the staff even cares.  Do they realize how dangerous it is to give her insulin that far in advance?  The insulin is in her blood stream working within 5-10 minutes.  We try to match it to the food.  That is impossible when they give it that long before she eats. 

I'm going to have to find a different house for her soon.  I'm going to be filing a complaint with the state licensing board.  What they are doing is dangerous. 

Oh, Daughter also told me that she's afraid to ask for things because of how mean they are when she asks.  Maybe I should have listened to her stories sooner. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Home Improvements

When I bought my house 2 years ago, the inspector told me that I should replace the range hood with one that vented to the outside, since the one I had recirculated air.  It was a lovely almond color, while all the other appliances are black. 

So yesterday I went to the home improvement store.  I was shopping for new flooring for the kitchen.  The son of the previous owner had put peel and stick tiles over the old sheet vinyl to get the house ready to sell.  The tiles are sliding around, and they weren't very good quality, so there are scratches and holes in the surface.  I'm not sure what I want to get to replace it, and have been pondering various options.  The reality is that I am hard on floors.  I drop things.  The ice maker often has ice that falls out after we've walked away from filling a glass with ice.  So I've been exploring options. 

After getting more confused than ever exploring flooring options, I wandered over to look at range hoods.  I purchased a new black one, and it was installed today.  The old one was vented to the outside.  I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't be, since there was duct work in the cupboard above.  All my appliances now match.  The man who installed it is a carpenter who does home improvements.  I was quizzing him about flooring.  He added to my confusion.  I'll keep exploring.  I do hope to get new flooring in the coming year.  There is always something to be done around the house.  Always. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sleeping In

We don't have anything on the calendar until Sunday.  It's a very strange feeling.  We slept in today.  We have on Harry Potter movie left to watch in our annual Christmas Potter marathon.  I intend to read a book today.  A book that I'm reading for pleasure, not for work.  I don't remember the last time I did that.  Perhaps most miraculous, Daughter isn't complaining about the down time.  She generally hates unstructured time, but she hasn't complained.  I've been plotting my response if she should complain, but haven't needed to use it.  Now I'm off to read a book while Daughter connects with friends on facebook. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


After Daughter's victories of yesterday, today she is handling a new challenge: disappointment.  Today was to be our family Christmas.  We were up early, making the final preparations.   We had to run to the store, and when we got home the phone call came.  Brother's family has been fighting a norovirus since Christmas Eve.  They still can't stray far from the bathroom.  Plus, we are getting lots of snow today. 

I think we will do it on January 1, but Sister needs to negotiate to have that day with her ex.  Of course, she hasn't contacted him yet, and isn't very optimistic.  I told her I thought they could work a trade, especially since it involves the entire family.  I also suggested that the sooner she contact him, the better. 

Daughter cried when she heard we were postponing the celebration.  She said she might as well go back to her house.  She recovered quickly.  We are continuing our Harry Potter marathon and eating.  I have a fire in the fireplace, and Daughter insisted I sit next to her on the couch so she can snuggle.  I'm impressed with how quickly she recovered from the disappointment. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Daughter, like many adopted children, struggles with holidays.  She asks for the impossible, and looks for reasons to explode.  The traditions have to be followed perfectly.  I've worked hard to create traditions:  sweet rolls and egg casserole for Christmas breakfast.  PJ day, where we stay in our pj's and watch movies.  Daughter insists on a ham dinner on Christmas day-- she didn't like my suggestion of ham steak this year rather than buying a ham. 

This year Daughter begged for a puppy-- she'd take care of it, of course.  I pointed out that I'm not home enough for a puppy.  She was extremely disappointed, and wasn't sure she believed me.  I found a recipe online that I decided try instead of the traditional casserole. 

When I called her for breakfast this morning, she was skeptical.  She tried them, and liked them.  Victory #1. 

I purchased her a sweater and top, and when she opened them she was ecstatic.  "This is hip!"  She said this with amazement.  It was obvious she didn't think I was capable of picking out something hip for her for Christmas.  Victory #2

Then she opened the puppy.  While looking for toys for my Short Niece and Baby Nephew, I came across an electronic puppy.  She was ecstatic.  Victory #3.  The puppy has been named Noel and has a ribbon around her neck.  Kitten isn't too sure about Noel, but Daughter is ecstatic. 

Daughter began gathering up the wrapping paper.  Then she looked at me, amazed.  "Hey, I have controlled myself.  I haven't exploded!  I've done well."  Victory #4. 

She changed into her new PJ's, put on her new slippers, and we're now watching her new DVD.   It's as bad as the reviews say it is, but it has  cute puppies, so Daughter is happy. 

Today I have two things to celebrate, Christ's birth and Daughter's progress.  I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Murphy's Sunday

This morning was one of those day when everything that could go wrong, did.  The really good news is that most people in worship had no idea.  We were later getting to the church than usual because Daughter was slow getting out of the shower, and she took hers first. 

I was late getting upstairs from teaching my class, and the woman who runs the projector was looking for me.  I had forgotten to send her the slide for my sermon.  Unfortunately, I hadn't turned on my computer this morning, so I had to turn it on before I could send her the slides.  My laptop is almost 3 years old now, and it is getting more temperamental.  Outlook had a hard time starting, freezing twice.  The woman came to find out what was taking me so long.  I tried to put it on a flash drive.  The computer wouldn't recognize it.  I tried a different flash drive.   I tried a different USB port.  Finally, Outlook unfroze and I was able to send the slides.  I also sent the ones for tomorrow night and next Sunday. 

I grabbed my microphone and headed to the sanctuary, where the communion servers were waiting for instructions.  Putting my microphone on is a pain.  It's an over the ear one that has a wire that I drop through my clothes and attach to the transmitter which I have to hook to my skirt.  One of the communion servers was straightening my clothes and such when I remembered I hadn't turned on the mike.  I turned it on, and the sound technician came over to tell me the battery was almost dead.  So we had to unhook it and put a new battery in.   Rewired and straightened I looked to the communion table and realized we were short one tray of juice and one of bread.  I moaned, and one of the servers rushed off to fix the additional trays. 

I got up front and the lay leader was missing.  She finally joined me and we began the service-- a couple of minutes late.  Once the service began everything went smoothly, and most people had no clue of the chaos that had reigned before worship. 

We have a number of people who are fighting the flu and various other bugs.  One of the women scheduled to read tomorrow evening is coughing too much and begged off.  I think we've located someone to take her place.  Because the next two worship services are all ready, I'm able to relax, and enjoy real time off.  It's nice.  Daughter and I are in the midst of our annual Christmas Harry Potter movie marathon. 

Friday, December 21, 2012


We have our first real snow.  Yesterday the wind took some of the siding off the church.  We were concerned that the siding was going to damage the roof, we could here it scraping.  None of the property guys answered our calls.  Eventually it fell off. 

This morning when I got up I saw that the wind had blown over the pole with the bird feeders in my back yard.  When the guys came and took out the locust tree, they pulled the pole out of the ground.  Apparently I didn't get it back in very well.  I'm grateful, as it hit the frame between the windows.  An inch in either directions and it would have hit the window, probably breaking it. 

Daughter folded bulletins and newsletters in the office today.  She chose that over the Christmas party at her program.  There were lots to fold.  She did well, and didn't complain.  I took her shopping when we got done.  She's happy.  I have a little bit of work to do on the sermon for the 30th, but everything else I need to do for worship is done. 

I'm going to do some baking and crafts over the next few days.  Tonight, though, is for enjoying another fire in the fireplace and watching It's a Wonderful Life. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Yesterday I was panicking about all I had to get done-- 3 sermons, a newsletter, Christmas shopping, some cooking for the family Christmas celebration.  Then I started thinking things through.  I'll go into the church tomorrow to finish things up, and it looks like I'll have all the sermons done when I leave.  That means all I have to do is the stuff I want to do for our Christmas, and the family isn't coming for Christmas until Wednesday.  Suddenly, the stress was reduced. 

Daughter came dragging off the bus today.  I'd promised to take her shopping today.  I suggested it would be better to relax tonight, and promised a fire in the fireplace.  She asked if we could watch White Christmas, too.  I agreed.  So, we're relaxing.  There is a fire in the fireplace and White Christmas is on the TV.  I could get into this relaxing thing....

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Festivities

I finally did some Christmas shopping this evening.  We had our staff Christmas party today-- lunch at an Italian place with a buffet.  It was just Administrative Assistant, Treasurer and me, but we shut down the office and put up our little sign that shows when we'll be back.  The services are coming together nicely.  Daughter will be home tomorrow evening.  They finally talked to Psychiatrist today, and she cut Daughter's lithium in half.  I need to take her in for another lithium level in a week. 

I'm finding that Sandy Hook is casting a pall over my Christmas preparations.  It is a reminder of the brokenness of our world, and the commentary and posturing since has just magnified that brokenness.  Of course, as I said in my sermon Sunday, Christmas is about God sending light into the darkness of our broken world.  And the darkness will not over it....

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blood Work

I received a call from Daughter's doctor yesterday evening.  She got the blood work back, and there were issues.  I wish we'd had the results at the appointment.  Her lithium level is too high, and there are some signs her kidney function is worsening.  Nurse is on vacation, so I emailed Case Manager about contacting Psychiatrist.  She was on it first thing this morning, but I haven't heard what was done, which bothers me a bit.

Daughter is struggling back at the house, and part of me wants to bring her home.  I know, though, that that would not be good for her.  She'll be with me Thursday through the holidays.  Of course, depending what happens with her psych meds, it could be an interesting vacation. 

I'm officially taking the week after Christmas off, except I'm preaching on the 30th.  Our big planning meeting with the two boards begins January 14 and will continue on the 19th.  That is a week earlier than I thought it would be, but that's when everyone could come.  There is a great deal of work to do to get ready for it.  Both Administrative Assistant and I are anticipating doing some work from home that week the office is closed.  I finished writing newsletter articles and communion liturgy today, but still have 3 sermons to write.  I also need to do begin my Christmas shopping....

Monday, December 17, 2012

One Year Later

Last year Daughter missed the open house.  It was a very challenging time for both of us. 

This year, she was with me from Thursday through this morning.  She helped with every aspect of the open house.  Yesterday afternoon she was getting frustrated, but she told me that rather than blowing up she was blowing raspberries.  It worked.  I told her several times how proud I was of her.

We had more people this year, and the house was crowded and noisy.  At one point she was a little stressed, and I reminded her she could retreat to the basement if necessary.  She decided it wasn't necessary, and stayed up to help with the clean up. 

Several members stayed to help with the clean up, which was very nice.  Some of our newer folks were there, and were obviously enjoying themselves.  Several times I asked, "Why did I want to skip this this year?"  It was fun.  Of course, packing 40+ people into my house is not easy, but we managed, and a good time was had by all. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Preaching in the Wake of Tragedy

Today's sermon title was "The Gift of Joy."  Our opening song was to be "He Has Made Me Glad."  I rewrote the sermon, finishing it as I was preaching it.  I also changed the opening song.  I didn't think it was appropriate for today.  Sometimes I know that I am a channel of the Holy Spirit.  Today was one of those days.  I had everyone's attention.  There were lots of tears as people thanked me after worship.  One woman told me her granddaughter's school had been locked down Thursday after a stranger got into the building.  Her granddaughter is in kindergarten.  On days like today, I'm preaching to myself as well as the congregation.  On days like today, it's an honor to be able to point to God.  Our joy isn't the result of a good world.  We have joy because God is good.  All the time.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More Confirmation

Yesterday I got more confirmation that I need to move Daughter.  I asked the medical coordinator last week if Daughter had gotten her blood work done in preparation for her appointment yesterday.  She insisted she had.  She was wrong.  I took Daughter for her blood work yesterday.  The appointment was pretty much a waste.  Except for the fact that I was able to ask her opinion of Nurse's recommendation Daughter see and endocrinologist.  She saw absolutely no need for that-- Daughter's diabetes is well managed-- when her house follows the program. 

Tomorrow is my annual Christmas open house.  There is still lots to do, and I need to rewrite the sermon to address the school shooting and all the issues around it.  The open house will be fun.  The preparation has been frustrating at times, lots of little things have not worked as planned, requiring more time.  I'm looking forward to it, and I think I'll manage to be ready.  I always am. 

Friday, December 14, 2012


Those of us who have adopted traumatized children know that our world is broken.  We know how hard it is to heal that brokenness.  We know that "love and stability" do not cure a damaged brain. 

I don't know the story of the young man who began shooting in a room full of very young children.  I do know, though, that today the world got a glimpse of a very broken young man, and the damage that brokenness can inflict on a family and community. 

It was a reminder of how broken our world is, and in the midst of the darkness, we desperately need hope.  It is Advent, and we are waiting.  Waiting for Christ to break again into our world with the dawn of God's love and grace.  In the midst of our brokenness, that is the source of our hope. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012


I have long been of the opinion that church office equipment has a sensor that alerts it to the busiest times of the year, and that is when it breaks down.  Yes, it is more than a little paranoid, but it does seem to be an accurate depiction of the situation.  My cell phone had been giving me trouble.  It was almost 2 years old, and the battery life, which was never good, had gotten even worst.  Yesterday morning it began turning itself off.  It still had over half a battery, yet it would just turn off.  I pulled the battery to reset it, but that didn't help.   After the third time, I decided that I needed to replace it now. 

I spent most of the morning in the company phone store.  I was able to transfer the upgrade on Daughter's phone to mine, but it was still expensive.  Then, when I left, I discovered they'd put Daughter's line on it.  I went back, and they got it right.  I knew what I wanted when I went in, and I got there when it opened, but it took time. 

I arrived back at the church and got busy.   I had decided that I wanted to delete a number of contacts before syncing my computer and phone, so after I finished several tasks, I started on that.  Then I tried to sync.  I couldn't get it to work.  I had to stop to go teach a class, and when I got home, I tried again with different software.  At one point I had a dialogue box that was moving whenever my mouse got near it.  It would vanish off the edge of the screen.  I finally restarted the computer, and tried again.  After 3 more hours, of trying, I gave up.  None of the trouble shooting suggestions I could find on line were working. 

This morning was the planning meeting for Daughter.  It went very well.  After Christmas I'm going to go check out a possible home for her.  Case Manager is compiling a list of problems with her current home, and it is a long list.  It sounds like the agency is building a case.  Staff only earns minimum wage, and they will tell the director that they are waiting for her to fire them so they can go collect unemployment....  Daughter had several stories, including that on several occasions staff has left residents in the van with the van running while they go in to various homes/stores on a personal errands.  House Manager acknowledged that there are staff members who don't measure her food if she isn't there to supervise. 

While I'm fighting with electronics and dealing with Daughter's needs, Administrative Assistant  is losing things.  After losing a piece of music earlier this week, she started putting current items in a file folder.  Today she lost the file folder. 

Treasurer is fighting the budget, and is frustrated with some mistakes he made in his calculations last year.  He spent several hours today trying to find the worksheets from last year so he could figure out where he made his mistake.  He hates making mistakes, and was very frustrated when he came in to talk to me late this afternoon.  I reminded him that as humans we make mistakes, and it's okay.

We've also had a steady stream of visitors this week.  People want to talk.  December is hard for many people, and they end up at the church to do something else and then come in to talk. 

Fortunately, we know all of this and so we work ahead.  We have all the bulletins for the month pretty much done.  They just need some minor tweaking and announcements will need to be updated.  Next week we're going to have an office Christmas lunch.  That will be fun.  I'll try to get most of the work done on the last three sermons of the month.  Beginning Christmas Day, the office will be closed until January 2.  January will be another busy month, and I am looking forward to it.  I love my life, even when the electronics are out to get me. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Today I walked into the office.  Treasurer and Administrative Assistant were looking at the computer screen and laughing.  Administrative Assistant explained, "We were looking at this picture you sent me.  We think it's definitely you."  I had sent a cartoon that showed a leader asking, "What do we want?"  The crowd yelled, "A cure for ADHD!"  The leader asked, "When do we want it?"  The crowd pointed and said, "Squirrel." 

I love hearing the laughter, and it is nice that my shortcomings prompt humor and not anger.  Treasurer then reminded me that I have to figure out the breakdown of my terms of call.  Soon.  He's been bugging me for a couple of months.  It needs to be done by tomorrow afternoon.  I guess I'm running out of time to procrastinate.  I'll have to sit down and concentrate on numbers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday Morning

When I pulled into the parking lot a little after 9, there was already a truck in the parking lot.   I went downstairs and found a man cleaning and fuming.  We have a woman in the church who is obviously mentally ill, and has a variety of other issues.  Doctors and medication are against her beliefs.  There are times when she is very challenging.  Yesterday was one of those times.  We had two receptions with food, and she was seen taking a bite out of veggies and then dipping them again.  She also licked her finger and used it to gather up the crumbs on one of the serving plates.  For a variety of reasons, this woman hooks this particular man, and every so often he goes on a rant about how we need to do something about her.  There are no easy answers.  I acknowledged the difficulty of the situation.  We will have to address it, and it will be a situation that will require prayerful preparation. 

By 10:30 this morning 6 people were in the building, there had been several phone calls, and in trying to make a resource available for the first man, I'd had to find the toner and replace it in the copy machine, (which meant I had to locate 2 hidden keys first).  It was busy, crazy, not at all what I planned, and I loved every minute of it.  We're up to 10 people through here on a day the office is supposedly closed.  I love ministry in this place.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I told Daughter I'd pick her up at 7:30 this morning.  A little after 7:00 she called.  The morning staff, who were due at 7:00 and were to pass medications, had not arrived.  I told her they had plenty of time to get there before I picked her up, and it would be okay.  She wondered what would happen if they didn't get there.  I told her I'd give her meds if necessary. 

When I arrived at 7:30, they had not arrived.  The over night staff person was new and didn't know what to do.  She called the manager to get permission to give me Daughter's meds.  By that time, it was late enough that I just took her bin to give her her meds after we got to church.  I drove through and picked up McDonald's for her, and was later getting to the church than I would have liked. 

I'm glad I'd planned on feeding her breakfast and allowed time for that.  Perhaps most disturbing, the other diabetic was eating breakfast when I arrived.  Daughter told me that she always eats before they check her blood sugar and give her her insulin.  Her blood sugars from yesterday were posted-- they ranged from 375 to 71.  I don't think the plan is working.  I do think I need to check out the new house.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


After doing a mental inventory of the food  had in the kitchen, I decided we'd go out for breakfast this morning.  We got to the restaurant, and Daughter began her predictable game, asking for things she knew she couldn't have.  After vetoing various forms of high carb pancakes, I finally said, "Why don't you be grateful I'm taking you out for breakfast instead of trying to pick a fight with me over what you'll eat?"  She got this huge smile on her face, looked down (I hope a bit embarrassed) and picked out one of the options I had suggested.  When it arrived, she refused to acknowledge she liked it, but she sure did have a huge smile on her face after the first bite, and she ate the whole thing.  She was cooperative after that. 

I went to 3 stores today looking for belt for the vacuum cleaner.  I finally ordered one on the internet.  In some ways, it was easier when I didn't have so many stores around, and I'd start with the internet.  When we were out seeking the belt, I told Daughter that when we got home and finished up a few more things, I had a surprise for her.  She said something about taking it home.  I told her it needed to stay at the house.  She looked at me for a minute.  "It's the ABBA dance game like we played at Thanksgiving, isn't it?" 

I guess both of us are predictable.  Either that, or we know one another too well.  She had a meltdown this afternoon because she wants to go to the Christmas party tonight.  I reminded her again why we decided she wouldn't go.  She finally asked if she could take the new game back to her house tonight to share with her girls.  I agreed, and we decided I'd drive through and get her breakfast tomorrow morning after I pick her up.  She stresses out about the staff getting her meds and breakfast in time on Sunday mornings.  With the game and the promise she didn't need to worry about breakfast, she decided it was fine to miss the party tonight.  It's been a good day, and it will be a good evening. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sexting and Happy Accidents

Daughter has a friend (female) who sent her a picture of a man's privates today.  Predictably, Daughter went off, and texted threats of jail.  After I picked her up, another picture came through, with a not very nice message with it.  I responded, identifying myself as Daughter's mom, and telling her to stop.  The response was even uglier.  I went online and blocked her number, and then deleted all the messages and her phone number from Daughter's phone.  Daughter was grateful.  She said she was shaking after she got the first picture.  Talk about triggers for her PTSD.  I'm glad it was a night she was coming here, so I could take care of it.

Last week I got a letter from Social Security scheduling an appointment for the review of Daughter's SSI for today.  I called (twice) seeking to change it because we were supposed to have Daughter's planning meeting today (scheduled months ago).  I left messages, but never got a return call.  This morning, the man called, asking why I wasn't at the appointment (Daughter's planning meeting had to be rescheduled).  I told him I'd left him 2 voice mails.  He apologized, then said, "It looks like this will be a simple one, and we can handle it by phone.  Do you have time to do it now?"  Of course I said yes.   What was frustrating yesterday became a joy today-- what would have taken over an hour if I'd had to drive to the office and wait was done in less than 15 minutes.

This evening I called the man around the corner to get some firewood.  He delivered a load, and I showed him the tree I want removed.  He gave me a very good price, because he wants the wood and needs the work.  All in all, a very good day. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Daughter's Fear

Last night Daughter was worrying about me dying.  She was imagining herself having to deal with settling my estate.  Of course that's an impossibility, but she was frightened. 

This morning part way through my walk my cell phone died.  Daughter tried calling it, then the house phone, and finally the church.  She was terrified.  She called Sister, leaving her a voice mail asking her to check on me.  When I got home, I called her, and explained what had happened.  My cell phone shut itself off this afternoon while it was on the charger.  Daughter called the church when she couldn't reach me on my cell, so I was able to explain what had happened.  She tried to talk me into picking her up.  It didn't work. 

I may be going to the cell phone store tomorrow.  I know how much it means to Daughter to be able to reach me, and I need a working cell phone for me, too. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Gift

There was great celebration in the church office this afternoon.  I received an email telling me a meeting scheduled for next Thursday afternoon had been cancelled.  It would have taken at least 4 hours out of my day, and it's very hard to set that time aside with everything else going on at this time of the year. 

Tonight we are having our Blue Christmas service.  I never know how many to expect for this service, but suspect attendance will be up over the 18 we had last year.  I know of at least 18 people who plan to attend.  We've had a number of deaths this year, and some of our new members have tragic family stories that may prompt them to attend, too.  I hope it will provide comfort to the families who come.  Daughter was disappointed she was going to miss it.  It is a service that she has always liked. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Nice Problem to Have

So today a fair amount of time was spent in the office discussing coffee.  Administrative Assistant and I don't even drink coffee, but Treasurer loves coffee, and has a special travel cup that gets him a discount price on coffee at a local bakery.  He stops by there daily to get his coffee.  He also sets up our two 36 cup coffee pots every Friday.  I plug them in when I arrive at the church Sunday morning.  About a year ago we started having coffee available before worship in addition to after worship.

Recently we have begun running out of coffee.  Attendance is up, which has had an impact.  There are also some people who bring travel cups, which hold more than your typical Styrofoam cup.  So we had quite a discussion about the situation.  Treasurer is frustrated with those who are filling up travel cups, and thinks that's the reason we're running out.  I think it's great-- as it's better for the environment.  

So the discussion shifted to how to meet the growing demand for coffee.  I suggested buying two more 36 cup pots. I did some research, and it takes about 1 minute a cup to brew coffee.  I said we could then plug another pot in at the start of worship, and it would be ready by the end.  Treasurer wants to buy the vacuum pump dispensers, because that's what the high class coffee places have (probably like his bakery).  I checked that out, and they don't hold much coffee.  I told him I thought it would be more work to keep filling them, and it wouldn't solve the problem of needing additional coffee. 

At one point I went and measured water into our pots to see what they consider a cup (6 ounces).  We got on line to check out prices and capacities.  Administrative Assistant searched the files to find out how much we paid for our current coffee pots and when we purchased them. 

It was really rather ridiculous.  Treasurer wondered where we'd store the additional coffee pots.  I have to say, though, dealing with problems caused by growth is wonderful. 

Monday, December 3, 2012


The energy and excitement at the church is building.  Attendance continues to grow, the stewardship campaign has done well, and ideas continue to bubble up all over the place.  The treasurer and finance chair were here this morning, and we discussed several issues.  We agreed to explore a new approach for addressing our capital needs, which has been an issue that we have been talking about since I arrived two years ago.

It is gratifying to see things going so well, and a little bit scary.  I know that it is God at work in and through us.  I don't know where it will lead, and I know there will be some bumps along the road.  There are so many good ideas, and of course, individuals want to talk to me about those ideas.  At times it gets a bit overwhelming.  I'm grateful I no longer have to deal with the stress of Daughter living with me, but I'm finding it hard to do the things I should be doing for her through the day, especially some of the phone calls and such.  Even though she no longer lives with me, I still find being her parent involves a lot of juggling.  Some days I'm better at juggling than other days.  Today hasn't been one of the good ones.     

Sunday, December 2, 2012


We had a wonderful Sunday today.  Attendance was excellent-- we only had 2 chrismons left after the service, so we'll have to make some more this week-- we thought we had enough to last through Advent.  This is the second year we've given beaded chrismons to the congregation as a necklace to wear through Advent and then hang on their Christmas trees.  The program we had this morning went very well.  The people loved it.  A good group stayed to decorate and to share a fellowship meal.

We were getting ready to leave, and one of our older women was struggling with stuff she was trying to carry out of the church.  As I was coming around a corner, I heard Daughter offering to help her carry things.  Then Daughter said, "You're dropping things."  It turns out she had a partial bag of chips she was carrying upside down, and the chips were falling out all over the place.  Daughter and the woman started picking them up while I went to get the vacuum cleaner.  When I came back, she was down on the floor picking up the chips.  I was reminded of Mom, who used to get down like that to clean the floor.  Daughter was telling her that she should go home and we would finish the clean up.  She said, "I'd go home if I could find my keys."  Her small purse was open, and there were no keys there.  I suggested she check her pockets.  She said she had, but she reached in them again, and when she pulled out a scarf, we heard her keys jingle.  She got them out and headed out.  I used the vacuum to get up the rest of the crumbs, and then we headed out, too.

After I dropped Daughter off at her house, I felt this wave of sadness sweep over me.  I was remembering Mom.  This is our 4th Christmas without her.  She loved Christmas, and I find myself thinking of her frequently at this time of year.  I thought it would get easier, but it seems to be getting harder.  I tell people that grief is like that.  It comes up at surprising times.  We are having a Blue Christmas service this Wednesday.  I guess I need the comfort it will provide this year....

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Feeling Old

Yesterday I did lots of baking. It was fun. The good news is that my nurse practitioner started me on thyroid medication when I was in there last time. I have more energy now, and am very grateful. I was delighted by how much I got done yesterday. While baking 3 different things and making 2 kinds of candy, I also completed two loads of laundry. Of course, it helps that the laundry area is in a closet in the bathroom next to the kitchen.

I went to lunch and to see the movie Lincoln with a young colleague.  She is about Daughter's age.  Her mother is younger than I am.  When did I get so old?  It was an enjoyable afternoon, even if I do feel old.  After the movie I picked up Daughter.  We stopped at the grocery store to pick up the items I needed to make macaroni and cheese for the fellowship meal tomorrow.  Tomorrow should be a fun day.  We're kicking off Advent with a program featuring lots of music, then completing the decoration of the church, and then enjoying a fellowship meal. 

No Progress and Progress and Sigh

Phone call number one:   Thursday at Psychiatrist we discussed increasing Daughter's anti psychotic.  She had been on 80 mg, and then a month ago Psychiatrist added another 40 mg pill.  She wanted to take her up to 160 mg, which eventually would be dispensed as 2 80 mg tablets bubble packed together as one dose.  There was a discussion as to whether the pharmacy would take back the current bubble packs and repackage them so there was 160 mg in each bubble.  Finally we decided it would be easier for me to take the current ones and start with a new prescription for the house.  I would know how to make sure Daughter got enough of it while she was with me.  Psychiatrist emphasized again to the house medical coordinator that the medication would not work unless she took the medication with her supper.  So yesterday evening Daughter called me right before supper.  "Did you keep my anti psychotic?  Is that what we talked about yesterday?"

Apparently the staff knew absolutely nothing about what had happened at the appointment with Psychiatrist.  They couldn't figure out what had happened to her anti psychotic.  They were looking for a new prescription, which they eventually found.  Then they couldn't figure out how to give it.  "One now and one at bedtime?"

Finally, Daughter handed her phone to the staff member who was on meds.  I carefully explained what had happened and again emphasized the importance of giving the medication with her supper.  This staff member claimed she understood.  Of course, that doesn't mean the next staff member will....

Phone call number two:  Daughter called yesterday evening and apologized for the earlier call in which she announced she was quitting her program and hung up on me.  I suggested she had contributed to the problems.  She informed me it was everyone else who was being difficult.  I said, "When you are having problems with everyone it is time to look at yourself and see what you are doing to cause them."  She paused, and then said, "Okay, point taken."  She still insisted she was done with her program, and I told her we'd talk about it later.  I see that call as progress. 

Phone call number three:  Daughter called at bedtime.  I asked about blood sugars.  It had been in range at supper time, and then was high at bedtime.  I quickly figured out why.  They may have measured out her food initially, but then they told her she could have more fruit.  Fruit that they didn't cover with insulin.  I think Case Manager is right about moving Daughter.