Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This and That

I love being pastor of this congregation.  I'm excited about the things God is doing in and through us.  All of that is good, except it makes it very hard for me to cut back.  I know I need to take more personal time, but I'm having so much fun, I don't want to....

Daughter is struggling right now at the house.  Her favorite staff member is still off, and no one knows if she'll be back (including the Home Owner).  She hasn't been sleeping well, and even asked for her sleeping pill last night.  The only problem is that they don't have any of them.  I'm hoping they were able to get some today.  I also suggested that if she wakes up in the middle of the night she should listen to soothing music on her ipod rather than get up and take a shower and get dressed.

I bought some elastic this afternoon.  I'm going to have to put in elastic in the back waist bands of some of my clothes.  Administrative Assistant is a gifted seamstress, and that is her solution for an easy way to take things in.  It's a wonderful problem to have....

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to Work and the Diet

I started back to work yesterday.  It feels good.  Today was my first day back with Administrative Assistant, and we were quickly back in the routine.  I updated the two brochures we have about the church, and we did some things for worship.  I also worked on my calendar, which generated lots of agenda items for upcoming emails and prompted me to send out several emails about various things that need to happen soon. 

There have been people dropping by the office, and it's good to catch up with them.  I really do love what I do, and so as much as I enjoy vacation, I think I enjoy the return to work even more. 

The diet continues to present some challenges, but overall, it's going well.  The biggest issue is finding food that doesn't have chemical additives.  This week I've added corn to my diet, and I was thrilled to think I could have corn tortillas.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any that I can have.  The masa to make tortillas isn't even something I can have.  I tried making them from corn meal, but wasn't thrilled with the result.  I've lost 15 pounds, so I'm not going to complain too much.  It's nice to finally be successfully losing weight.  Very nice. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Staff Issues

There are two live-in staff members at Daughter's house, and they alternate weekends off.  Last week the main staff member did not return.  Home Owner said she wasn't feeling well.  So, there were substitutes this weekend.

Friday evening Daughter called.  Supper was ready and everyone else had eaten.  Another person was supposed to come in and do meds, but she hadn't arrived, and didn't answer her phone.  Daughter wanted to eat.  I told her to text HO.  She did.  HO called, and Daughter got to eat. 

Saturday morning I started getting calls complaining about the staff.  She was yelling at the girls and cursing.  She was demanding Daughter help her.  Saturday afternoon she was fired.  They didn't have any toilet paper in the house all day Saturday. 

Daughter said HO is on a mini-vacation.  If she's been getting reports about what's happening at the house, it can't be very relaxing....

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My Amazing Administrative Assistant

I cleaned out my pantry today, and took quite a bit of food to the church for Administrative Assistant.  I was on my way to see my nutritionist.  When I walked in, she informed me that Daughter had just called her.  She was out with Home Owner, and the van had broken down in the southern part of the city.  AA was preparing to go pick her up.  Today was Daughter's day to volunteer in the church office, and HO was going to drop her off there after her appointment with the dentist. 

After I finished with the nutritionist, I went back to the church and picked Daughter up.  AA has had volunteers in helping her do some cleaning and organizing in the office.  I'm impressed with what they've done.  When I arrived, AA only worked half a day during the summer.  Since I've arrived, she hasn't been able to cut her hours in the summer.  She's been working on stuff for fall.  I'm looking forward to jumping back in next week.  I feel like I'm behind on fall planning....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Daughter sent me a text this afternoon, telling me she was tired of being abused and disrespected and I needed to pull her out of her house and program immediately.  I replied that I was sorry she had a bad day, and reminded her of her coping skills.  She was not satisfied.  I told her we'd talk.

She called when she got home.  One of the other people at her program hit her and called her the N-word.  Because of this incident as she was leaving, she wanted to leave the program because she's not safe.  I tried reasoning with her without luck.  Finally I asked if she'd gotten some DVD's at the library today.  That was the right question.  She then told me about all of the movies she had checked out, the abuse totally forgotten. 

I reminded her that her Home Owner would take her to the doctor tomorrow and I'd meet them there.  She was happy when we finished the call.  She really does live in the moment.  Seeing the big picture is very hard for her. 

The Diet

This diet is certainly challenging.  The foods I'm allowed right now are not my favorite things by any stretch of the imagination.  However, I'm losing weight.  My ankles and feet are very skinny, even though I've stopped taking my diuretic.  I'm not hungry.  The cravings and compulsion to eat is gone.  I find it interesting that I'm really not tempted.  Don't get me wrong, I'd love a pizza or some chocolate right now.  However, I am very comfortable not having them.  Due to my dairy and wheat sensitivities, I may never have my favorite pizza again.  I am convinced though, that it is worth the sacrifice.  I know it is worth the sacrifice.  So I make the sacrifice. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Another Frustration

I sent Daughter a text asking her for the location of something.  She responded with the location, and the told me she'd had a great day.  I was pleased. 

This evening she called, obviously upset about something.  Case Manager had been there and had confronted her on the way she treated another resident the other night.  The Home Owner had told her she was being inappropriate at the time.  She called me, furious about being misunderstood and abused.  I listened to her story and helped her understand why her behavior was inappropriate.  She decided she needed to apologize. 

This isn't the first time this has happened.  It seems like staff makes a list of everything she has done wrong and then gives it to Case Manager to address.  Daughter leaves her meetings with Case Manager feeling like she is a terrible person and doesn't deserve to live.  I then get a phone call and have to remind her of her strengths and the good things she does.  I believed the issue had been resolved the evening it happened, and I don't see the value in revisiting it, but then, maybe I'm just weird. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vacation Snippets

One day we were out hiking.  Daughter was ahead of me, as she often is.  I heard a thud followed by crying.  I rushed to her, and found her laying on the ground, complaining about her wrist.  I could see some redness, and it looked funny.  Since I fell and broke my arm, I'm paranoid about falls.  So I began pondering taking her to the urgent care center I've had to take her to before.  I helped her up, and we returned to the car.  When we got there, she took her cap off and proceeded to undo her bun and lower it to make it easier for the cap to fit on.  She was using both hands and showing no sign of any pain.  I decided we didn't need to go to urgent care.  On the way back, she told me she was in so much pain, she felt like the bone was poking through her skin.  I told her to cut the drama, but since she was so badly injured, we were done for the day and would go back to the campground.  She was not pleased. 

We had a concert.  It was a classic rock band.  We were sitting, waiting for it to begin, when Daughter turned to me.  "I'm tired.  I need to go to bed.  I can't stay for this." 

"We aren't leaving."

She proceeded to pout for the next 5 minutes.  Then the concert began, and she was on her feet, dancing.  So much for being too tired for the concert.

I had my first pedicure-- complete with lotion and foot massage.  I found it very relaxing.  I think it may become one of our vacation traditions....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The New Diet

Before we left on vacation, I visited with a nutritionist.  I MRT testing, which showed I have a number of food sensitivities.  Lots of sensitivities.  She explained the program to me, which involves gradually reintroducing food.  Since the diet was so strict, I knew there was no way I could follow it at the conference or while we were camping.  I did decide, though, that I could avoid the foods that showed the highest level of sensitivity.  It was very challenging, but I did pretty well overall.  My cravings have stopped, and I'm not as hungry.  I also have fewer aches and pains.  I also lost weight.  In fact, my weight is the lowest it has been in years. 

I have now started the strict part.  For the next 10-14 days the foods I eat are limited to pork, garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, millet, barley, pears, blueberries, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, pecan butter, and pecan oil.  For seasoning, I can use salt, lemon, cinnamon, garlic, carob, ginger, and baking soda.  I can drink water and goat's milk.  I can expect to feel worst while my body detoxes, but eventually I will feel much better.  I'll gradually add foods back, but there are some things I will probably never be able to eat. 

It's going to be interesting, to say the least.  So far the biggest surprise is that I'm no longer hungry all the time.  The fact that I'm losing weight is a huge bonus.  Breakfast was a pear with pecan butter on it.  Now I'm off to figure out lunch....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vacation Stories

Daughter and I went tent camping to the place we visit most years.  It's in the north, so the weather is generally comfortable.  It can get down into the 50's at night, so we often end up snuggled into our sleeping bags.  Campfires feel good at night.  We may need sweatshirts in the morning.  It usually is comfortably warm during the day-- with highs in the upper 70's to low 80's.  There is water near by, lots of hiking trails, and a wonderful concert venue within walking distance.  For rainy days and hot days, there are museums, movies, and a shopping mall within a 30 minute drive.  In short, I consider it the ideal vacation spot for us. 

There is one week that is especially busy, so I like to avoid that week.  We avoided it this year.  Problem is, the economy has improved, and so there were more people there.  Traffic was heavy and parking was challenging.  Places that are usually quiet were busy.  Then, the heat wave hit.  I stopped cooking at the campsite.  We stopped having campfires.  We quit hiking.  We visited museums, saw 3 movies, took some tours, and sought out air conditioning.  This year's vacation was more expensive, and I pondered whether we should head further north next year.  We just love this area so much, I doubt we'll change our plans. 

Our tent camping is not necessarily roughing it.  I choose campsites relatively close to the restrooms, which have flush toilets and hot showers.  I seek a place close enough to run electricity to our tent.  I need it for my c-pap machine, and it also enables us to keep our cell phones, ipods, and my kindle charged.  We have good air mattresses, and mine is thick enough I don't have to struggle to get up off the ground in the morning.  We have a screen house, propane stove, and various other things that make camping less challenging. 

Daughter was generally cooperative and in good spirits.  She'd be in bed asleep by 9:00, and then I'd sit up and listen to lectures and sermons from the Festival of Homiletics while playing games on my cell phone.  I'll share some stories over the next few days, it was a good vacation, and we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Home and Frustrated

We got home this afternoon.  Most of the camping gear has been put away.  Daughter has been delivered home.  I have picked up my new computer from the church, but haven't decided what I'm going to do about software for it.... 

And I'm frustrated with Daughter's Home Owner.  Daughter will not be returning to the workshop tomorrow.  They say they called to schedule transportation, but that the bus people don't have her on the list, so she can't start back until Monday.  I wish they'd be honest with her-- tell her you forgot to schedule it because you weren't sure when she'd be back. 

Before vacation we had an issue with Daughter's quarterly doctor's appointment.  Shortly after she moved in, I gave HO the orders for Daughter's blood work.  I also told her when the appointment would be.  About a week before the appointment, I emailed her asking her to get Daughter in for the fasting blood work.  I never got a response, so I rescheduled the appointment.  HO claimed I never gave her the orders, and I'm supposed to have them called into the lab.  So I asked the doctor's office to send the order to the lab.  She wanted to take Daughter to the appointment without me.  I said that we could both go, but since I was the one managing Daughter's diabetes, I need to be there.  She didn't respond to that email. 

This evening, Daughter called me.  Staff told her they had a call from the doctor's office and Daughter has an appointment Monday morning.  I looked at my calendar.  I have it scheduled for Wednesday.  Since they called the house, the house must have set the appointment (I tell them to call me).  I knew nothing about this appointment.  I don't know if it replaces Wednesday's appointment, or was scheduled at another time.  I told Daughter they need to check with HO tonight to find out what is going on with it.  She has to have fasting blood work done before Monday if they are keeping the appointment.  I need to know when she has a doctor's appointment.  In addition to being her mother, I am her legal guardian.  I'm frustrated, to say the least. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Spies Everywhere

We had a delightful evening with friends yesterday.   We cooked sausage over the fire and went to a good concert.  This morning I posted a picture of our campsite on Facebook.   I called tbe church to find out if Administrative  Assistant had an update on a member who had major surgery yesterday .  She didn't,  but had heard from last night's guests.  She also said a member had stopped by to show her a picture of our campsite.  She isn't on Facebook so hadn't seen it.  Sbe said there are spies everywhere.  I believe her.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

It Begins

Daughter was in my room at 7:00 this morning, excited because today is the day we begin our camping adventure.  I'm glad she's excited.  There have been times when she insisted she hated camping.  I'm certainly looking forward to it.  We have some friends from church joining us at our campsite for supper tonight, then we will head over to a concert at the center across from state park.  I'm a little concerned about having the campsite up and a campfire ready to cook by 5:00, but we'll manage.  We always have the camp stove if I can't get the fire going in time....

I probably won't be posting while we're gone.  The computer isn't going, and it's too hard to post via phone.  Daughter reminded me of our standard deal-- if she cooperates and doesn't complain for a day of activities I choose, the following day we do the things she enjoys.  If she complains, I get another day of choosing.  It works well.  I'm looking forward to time in the woods. 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Daughter's Stress

Daughter has struggled today.  She's in the midst of another round of not liking her hair.  She wants a hair cut like mine, which is short.  My hair is also straight, and hers is not.  I got a hair cut today, and my hair dresser explained to her that short hair would not work well for her-- it would poof.  She needs the weight of longer hair.  Daughter was furious, said I shouldn't let people judge her.  I told her it wasn't judging, it was explaining.  After much drama, she finally told me she's frustrated with the tangles in her hair.  I put lotion on it for her this evening, and that helped. 

She is very concerned about our camping trip.  She's afraid I'm going to do something that will damage my arm.  I've reassured her, but I don't think she's buying it.  I'm a little concerned, too.  The reality is my arm isn't up to any lifting right now.  I'm taking my splint with me, and will wear it if my wrist starts bothering me.  It not only provides good support, it is a reminder not to do too much.

When she wasn't stressing out, Daughter was helpful today.  I'm grateful.  She's also getting better at telling me what's bothering her.

The Surgeon

Today I went to see the surgeon, and he took x-rays.  Originally he told me the bones would heal in 6-8 weeks.  It's been 8 weeks now, and the bones are not healed.  There is still a gap between them, but he says that will fill in in time.  Apparently they were not clean breaks.  Both bones have visible gaps on the x-rays. 

On a more positive note, he's delighted with the range of motion I have.  He's still talking about removing the metal in a year.  He says that it will be an easier surgery and I don't necessarily have to have general anesthesia....

He didn't give me any restrictions, but I won't be doing any heavy lifting for a while-- my arm complains if I forget and try.  I'll go back in 2 months.  I hope I will see signs that the gaps are filling in then. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lazy Day

We worshipped at a friend's church this morning, and then stopped by the mall.  We did a little shopping, got lunch, got Daughter's glasses adjusted, and had a conversation with a colleague. 

We've been relaxing this afternoon-- though I did do some food prep for camping-- repackaging some sausage and freezing it and making pecan butter.  The only meat I'm not sensitive to is pork, but it's hard to find sausage that doesn't have additives I'm sensitive to.  There is a store here that makes their own sausage, and I can eat it.  So we'll be taking some of that camping.  I'm thinking we'll take a second cooler with some dry ice....

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Getting Ready

We will be heading out to go camping on Tuesday, so we are busy getting ready.  Daughter has been very helpful.  While I was out mowing the lawn and doing some weeding, she was working on cleaning the kitchen.  She even cleaned out the refrigerator.  I was impressed. 

We're debating where we are going to go to church tomorrow.  Daughter would prefer to stay home, but we will go someplace.  I get very few opportunities to just sit and worship, and so I look forward to the 6 Sundays I have a year to visit other congregations and worship.  My only requirement for tomorrow is that the church have air conditioning.  It has gotten hot.  I had to take several breaks while mowing today. 

I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to be able to eat while we are camping.  Daughter is worried about the fact that I can't have any dairy--we usually have ice cream at least once while we're on vacation.  Restaurant eating is very hard.  I have a number of allergies to a number of additives.  I am finding that when I eat something I shouldn't, I spend a great deal of time in the bathroom-- not good when we're camping....

Friday, July 5, 2013


We got home early this afternoon.  We would have been home much sooner, but we stopped at the church to drop off the things that belonged there, and then had to talk to Administrative Assistant and Treasurer.  I hadn't seen AA in 3 weeks, so there was lots of catching up to do.  She's going to order a resource I liked, and she's done some work on the worship information I sent her for fall.  We stopped for lunch when we left the church. 

We got home and changed gears-- we're working on laundry and we've been in the garage sorting through camping gear and working on a list of things we'll need to buy before we leave.  Camping is going to be challenging this year.  Many of our favorite camping foods are things I can no longer eat.... 

Daughter got a little grumpy.  We're both tired, but we don't have to rush.  We don't leave until Tuesday, so we have time....

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Mixed Day

Daughter's day started well.  During worship, 5 different people shared the one word they thought of when they thought of the Gospel.  Daughter was one of them, and her word was "safety."  She was told she could offer a 2-3 sentence explanation.  I helped her edit what she wanted to say.  Her first version was focused on  me, and not God, and I told her worship needed to focus on God.  Here's what she said:

"I was born into a family that abused me.  God rescued me and sent me to live with my mom, who kept me safe while I was learning to keep myself safe.  When I was little, every night she would sing “Be not Afraid” and read the book “I’ll Love you Forever” to me,  pray with me and tell me I was safe so I could sleep at night without fear."
I'm told there wasn't a dry eye in the place when she was done.  She did a beautiful job with it.  That was the good part of her day.  The hard part came this afternoon, when Brother called.  He had been talking to Oldest Brother, and wondered why she didn't want to talk to him anymore.  She told him that he was making her uncomfortable.  I didn't hear about this until bed time.  She so desperately wants answers as to why those terrible things happened to her.  She's understandably frustrated at the lack of answers. 

The good news is that after our conversation she was able to sleep well.  She is growing stronger every day.    

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Daughter's Tough Day

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in the lobby, talking to friends, when one of the teenagers came running in.  Daughter had been playing kickball, and was now shaking uncontrollably.  She needed me.  I headed to the field, and as I approached, Daughter, said, "I'm fine.  You don't need to come."  She walked back up to the lodge with me.  I suspect she had a low blood sugar, and then rebounded, since her blood sugar was a little high. 

I sat back down and was resuming my conversation when Daughter came running down the hall from our room, sobbing.  She thrust her cell phone into my hand.  "I can't talk to him!" 

"Who is it?" 

"Oldest Brother." 

I took her phone and told him not to call Daughter anymore, it was too distressing for her.  Daughter then sat next to me with her head on my shoulder, sobbing.  I offered reassurance, and she slowly recovered. 

Someone asked if I thought she was manipulating me.  I don't think so.  She had recovered and didn't want me when I arrived at the field.  She wouldn't cry in public or put her head on my shoulder if she weren't genuinely scared-- she would think it too embarrassing.  The good news is she recovered quickly, and by evening she was back to normal. 

Several people have commented on how much she has matured in the last year.  As one man said today, she's not as clingy.  It's nice. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Daughter and I have been attending this conference for years, and many of the participants return each year.  It truly is a community, and it is a community that understands Daughter.  She is helping with the preschool class this year.  They brought enough supplies so Daughter can make the projects with the kids. 

One of the teenagers wants Daughter to do something in worship tomorrow.  His mom checked with me to see if I thought Daughter could handle it.  She has been eating with the teens for most of her meals, checking with me on blood sugar and insulin, and then going off to enjoy time with them. 

She was still hanging out with them after lunch, and Sister Best Friend told her she needed to come back to the room and rest.  She did.  I was grateful that I didn't have to be the one to bug her. 

I am grateful for this community.  It embraces Daughter with all her challenges, easing my load and giving both of us a wonderful experience. 

She slept well again last night.  Hopefully the worst of this round of PTSD is behind us. 

Monday, July 1, 2013


Yesterday Daughter asked me to tell her what happened in her birth family.  She said she'd been having nightmares.

"Is Oldest Brother calling you again?"

"He's not calling me on the phone, but he's calling me in my dreams.  I need to know what happened." 

I wasn't sure how much I should or could tell her.  I told her what I knew of her birth family and the history of abuse in it.  After sharing some general background and gauging her reaction, I finally told her that OB had forced her to perform oral sex on him.  "I was just a baby!  I didn't know how to do that!"

I told her that what he'd done had been very wrong.  We talked about how frightened she had been as a young child.  We remembered the bedtime ritual, and how I had to tell her she was safe and nobody would hurt her every night before she went to sleep.  We remembered all the times she had awakened, screaming.  She listened intently.  I told her she was doing a good job of using her voice to keep herself safe, and we talked about some of the recent incidents at her program.  There are several men she won't allow to sit near her now. 

This morning she woke up around 6 and announced, "I slept through the night." 

I am impressed.  I guess she did know what she needed.