Saturday, August 31, 2013

Productive Relaxation and Diet Lament

Yesterday I shortened a couple of skirts.  I've been working on laundry.  I did some weeding and mowed the lawn today.  I've also been watching college football.  Probably too much college football. I enjoy it.  I confess, I was relieved when they didn't need me to work the concession booth this weekend.  I'm concerned about how I will handle all the fumes from stuff I'm sensitive to.  I've asked them to station me on the ice cream cart when I do work, which is outside of the booth.  They will make special arrangements for me to take food in.  I can't eat anything in the booth. 

This diet is very inconvenient.  I'm still finding it depressing to go to the grocery store.  This week she told me I need to stay gluten free permanently.  I'll also be dairy free forever.  I've been exploring websites looking for recipes.  I have yet to find any meat that I can eat due to all the things that are added to our meat-- even that which is "minimally processed" has chemicals I react to.  I can try to add egg now, but it may be easier to just remain vegan.  The problem is that the recipes I can have all take time and planning.  This is an entire change of my lifestyle.  Even the nut butter I can eat is not available commercially.  I've become an expert at making it.  Actually, there are versions available in specialty shops online, but they all contain ingredients I can't have. 

I am pleased that I can have bananas and rice now.  Both of those are much appreciated.  I'm adjusting.  It's just there are times when I'd like to order a pizza.  I made all that vegetable soup for the freezer a couple of weeks ago, but it contains gluten, so I can no longer eat it.  I'm going to have to find other things I can make for the freezer.  I'll figure it out.  I told Daughter she could pick out several frozen dinners for meals while she is hear.  When we left the store, we had raw fruits and vegetables and a variety of chemical laden frozen dinners.  I know better than to try to make Daughter eat vegan....

Friday, August 30, 2013

Time Off

Even as the fall rush looms, or maybe I should say, especially as the fall rush looms, it is important to practice good self-care.  The sermon is done, in the notebook in place in the sanctuary.  The PowerPoint has been sent to the sound desk, with a slide saying, "video here" for the video someone else captured for me to be placed.  Our volunteers will put it in Sunday morning when they finalize the slides for the worship service. 

That means that I have today and tomorrow totally off.  I don't have anything hanging over my head.  I will also take Monday off, though I might sneak in a little bit of work from home, especially if Administrative Assistant sends me future bulletins.  We like to work ahead.  It helps with the stress level.  The bulletin for the 8th is in pretty good shape.  The announcements aren't done, but the worship service is all laid out.  We've planned music well into October.  The sermon on the 8th includes a drama, so it is pretty much done.  We've practiced it, and the slides for the rear screen that will serve as teleprompter have been tried and edited to make them easier to read.  I do still need to write the communion liturgy for that service. 

I haven't decided yet how much time Daughter will spend with me over the holiday weekend.  There is the challenge of diet.  I'm now vegan, and she is definitely not.  I will have to buy different food for her to eat while she is here.  I also have to look to see if there is something fun going on in the community that we could do together.  I'm sure she'd love to go shopping, but that is not my favorite activity.  It would be helpful to have her here a couple of nights.  I think her insulin needs to be adjusted, and I prefer to do that while she is here with me so I know what she's eating and that the insulin is right.  I think they continue to make some mistakes at the house.

Today, I'm going to enjoy my time off.  I think I will finish shortening 3 skirts.  I may make some more ornaments.  I should do some cleaning and weeding.  There is plenty to keep me busy in the yard, if the weather cooperates.  I'm looking forward to the weekend. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fall Rush

The calendar doesn't say September yet, but the pace in the church office sure does.  Everything changes after Labor Day.  I will begin teaching 2 classes a week.  All the meetings that haven't taken place during the summer will start up again.  At the very time there is more work to do, there is less time in which to do it.  We've spent the last 2 weeks trying to get the newsletter done.  It was especially complicated this month, as there were so many things that had to go into it.  It was one of the longest we've ever done.  We've also had to expand the bulletin again to fit in everything that needs to be there. 

These are good problems to have.  It reflects our growth. We also know that with continued growth will come additional work.  I've decided I'm going to take Labor Day off.  Tuesday, I'll jump right in.  We're in pretty good shape, all things considered.  I'm excited about the plans we've made for this fall.  I hope it will be meaningful for the congregation. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


I finally heard from Daughter's Case Worker today.  She has straight Medicaid.  So she is covered.  I can relax.  I still need to deal with the pharmacy (or someone does).  I hate dealing with this stuff.  The last week or so has been heavy on it.  I had to complete the annual report to Social Security.  I have to finish the annual guardian's report to the court.  I do understand why Far Away Sister is not thrilled about being the back-up guardian.  There are times when it is a real pain.  I don't think Daughter is aware of the drama.  Home Owner is still not communicating with me, which is rather frustrating.  Daughter overheard a conversation yesterday and apparently the plan is to only have one staff member at the house from now on.  It would be nice if she would be officially told and guardians were kept up to date on what the plans are.  Daughter thinks the one staff member is too busy and has too much to do and that's why she forgets to give her her bedtime snack.  I don't care how busy she is.  Daughter needs a snack most nights, and to skip it can be life threatening. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

No Insurance, No Answers

Daughter is still eligible for Medicaid, and her case is shown as active.  For some reason the Medicaid plan she is enrolled in was cancelled in November.  The plan can't tell me why.  The information line can't talk to me without Daughter's permission.  I tried to fax them the guardianship order, but the number they gave me didn't work.  When I tried to call back, I kept getting shuttled to an automated system.  Her Medicaid caseworker doesn't answer her phone.  I (hope) got her email address off of her phone message and emailed her.  I also cc'd her Case Manager, the Nurse, and the case worker who gave me her name and number.  Administrative Assistant scanned the guardianship order and I attached it to the email, so she has no excuses for not talking to me.  I stayed at the church late waiting for her to call.  She hasn't yet.  She also hasn't responded to my email.  I should have asked to be notified when she opened it, but I didn't.  As far as I can figure out, no one was notified that her Medicaid plan was cancelled. 

Yes, I'm frustrated.  I'm not sure about next steps.  Hopefully she'll call tomorrow with answers....

Monday, August 26, 2013

Frustrated Mama Bear

Daughter called around lunch time today.  Her blood sugar had been low before lunch, and after lunch it had dropped even lower.  She was down to her last 3 strips.  This morning her blood sugar was sky high.  She wasn't given a snack last night, so I suspect her blood sugar bottomed out over night and rebounded.  Because the high was from a rebound, she didn't need as much insulin as she was given.  I've explained multiple times that she has to have a bedtime snack.  It is in her plan.  She could die from undetected lows over night.  So I was frustrated--but then it gets worst. 

I had to give her extra test strips because she ran out.  She claimed she couldn't get any more until August 27.  Yesterday I saw the receipt for her strips in her med box, and it said she could get more strips on August 7.  I send off an email to the Home Owner and Case Manager seeking clarification.  CM forwards email to Nurse.  Nurse calls pharmacy.  Bottom line:  They claim that her Medicaid has been cancelled, and she has no insurance.  They say they haven't been paid for the last 2 months of strips, resulting in an outstanding bill of $400.  I was in a meeting in another city all afternoon, so tomorrow I'm going to have to get on the phone.  I was answering emails about this in the meeting, but they are a group of pastors, and understood my distraction....  I told the board tonight they should pray for the people who will be answering my calls tomorrow.  I decided I probably shouldn't use the church phone to place the calls, as I don't want the church name showing up on caller ID....

I hope I can quickly get this mess straightened out.  The thought of Daughter not having any medical insurance is scary.  I hope this is miscommunication.  I hope there is not notification of a problem floating around out there that I have never seen....

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A Confession

I have a confession.  There are times when I'm not very patient.  There are some people who I find very annoying.   There are some people who I find it very hard to give pastoral care.  I ran into one of these women today.  I think she first got under my skin when she was bothered because we weren't concerned enough about her husband's illness some time ago.  We were in the process of celebrating the life of a young person who had died way too young.  She was upset because her husband's mystery illness had been diagnosed as an infection that would require two days in the hospital for antibiotics.  He would make a complete recovery.  She thought it was terrible that he had to spend two days in the hospital.  I thought it was great that he had a diagnosis that would lead to a complete recovery.  I pointed that out to her, but she couldn't hear it. 

She has a new crisis.  She was grieving today.  Her son graduated from college in the spring.  He found a job in retail that put him on the management track.  He would have to complete training, and then would be assigned to a store.  He has completed training.  He has been given an assistant manager position in a store a couple of states away.  He is moving.  He doesn't know anyone in the new state.  He doesn't have an apartment yet.  The economy here is still not doing well, yet he graduated college and walked into a job.  He's been given a management position.  He is on the ladder.  We have one man who graduated almost 2 years ago, and has not been able to find a job.  We have a woman who had to move back into her parents' home after being laid off and not being able to put together enough jobs to pay her rent.  Yes, she will miss her son.  He has been given a wonderful opportunity. 

I think part of it is that parenting a special needs child, I have learned a different perspective.  For me the cup is half full.  For this woman, the cup is half empty.  The other issue is that while she is wrapped up in her "crises."  I am providing pastoral care in some horrific situations.  When her husband was sick, I was in the midst of dealing with a grieving family and a grieving congregation.  While her son is off following his dreams, I am ministering to someone who came out of an experience of horrific abuse and had dreams sabotaged by an abusive parent. 

I was able to listen this morning.  I hope my face reflected compassion, not impatience.  There are times when it's hard to show compassion.  It wouldn't be appropriate to tell her about other situations and tell her she has lots to celebrate, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is confidentiality.  It's not always easy being a pastor. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Relaxing Day

Sister Best Friend came bearing lots of clothes.  I now have a new professional wardrobe.  Some of the things fit now, some will fit soon.  I gave her the things that are now too big for me.  After sorting clothes (I declined the dry clean only silk dress), we moved on to creativity.

While SBF worked on a water color, I made a wreath for the front door, pinned the hem on 3 skirts, and the made 20 teddy bear ornaments.  We played one game of Scrabble before she left-- we're pretty evenly matched.  The final score was 307-305.  I've baked them now, so they are ready to go.  I have to go downstairs to the ironing board and sewing machine to finish the skirts, so that will wait until tomorrow. 

I picked up Daughter at 7:00 this evening, so I don't have to worry about getting her tomorrow morning.  She made a half-hearted attempt to guilt me into picking her up last night or this morning.  It didn't work, and she accepted that reality relatively quickly. 

Here are some of the ornaments I made today:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Experiments in Cooking

I haven't been doing much cooking-- I've fried a few potatoes, cooked some corn, and cooked some dry pinto beans, but most of what I'm eating is raw....  I have also been focusing on single ingredient things.  Today I decided to get creative and try vegetable barley soup.  Unfortunately, I couldn't find a recipe for vegetable broth that contained only things I could eat, so I had to wing it.  I just added a variety of vegetables.  I broke the rules, as there are several vegetables in it that I haven't tried on their own yet to make sure I don't react to them.  They were from early stages, though, so I think I'll be okay.  The reality is I don't like most of them on their own.  I'm hoping they'll be more palatable when mixed in this soup.  We'll see.  I haven't been tried it yet, but I don't think all the vegetables are cooked-- I added snap peas, green beans, mushrooms, cauliflower, carrots, and corn.  All of them were fresh, purchased today. 

I'm hoping I'll decide the soup is worthy of serving to Sister Best Friend tomorrow.  I made enough that I can freeze some for the future.  We'll see....

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ministry, Sick Daughter, Diet

Sometimes someone will come to see me and pour out a story of pain.  The things parents do to their children can be unbelievably evil.  After one of those stories, I'm exhausted.  I'm also honored to be entrusted with these precious stories of pain and suffering that have made them the people they are. 

Daughter spent the day at the church, but most of the time she was either sleeping or in the bathroom.  I think she had some sort of stomach virus.  I was concerned when she complained of back pain in the kidney region.  By the end of the day, she was beginning to perk up.  She apologized because she hadn't been able to do any work today.  I assured her we understood.  Administrative Assistant and I quickly folded the bulletins.  We have a member who I recruited to cut the stickers that need to be cut up for use this fall.  It was a quieter day in the office, so we got quite a bit done. 

On the diet front, I continue to be pleased with the weight loss and lack of hunger.  I have decided that some denim skirts that will become my weekday wardrobe for the foreseeable future.  I wear a belt with them, and they are much more comfortable than the slacks that are getting too big.  I am going to shorten them, though, as they were long to begin with and have gotten a bit longer with less to cover. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Long Day

After two productive weeks, this week has been more frustrating.  We've been busy, but we aren't accomplishing the things we want to accomplish.  We had our third act of vandalism since spring at the church.  This time the lock was removed from our shed.  We don't know what happened to the lock.  Our mission trailer has been broken into (several tools were stolen) and a window in the lower level of the church was broken.  The shed was discovered yesterday evening. 

Today we had one of the members of the property team in and out of the office all day.  He needed the credit card to get keys made.  He got keys made and brought the receipt, but some of them didn't work.  He needed a sketch of the building with dimensions so he could consult with his daughter in the security business about the cost/advisability of installing security cameras.  He couldn't figure out how to send pictures from his ipad, and then he was connected to our wireless network. 

Someone else wanted to know who is responsible for cleaning under furniture (not the cleaning crew who spends less than an hour a week there).  The piano tuner was in.  The exterminator came by.  We couldn't complete a phone order without faxing a letter on letterhead changing the authorized purchasers. 

On a more positive note, we did get worship music selected through the middle of October.  I did write some more newsletter articles.  We still love our work. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two Hours and Ramblings

It took over 2 hours for Microsoft to fix my problem with Office.  A woman called today, took control of my computer, and eventually got it working.  I'm not sure what she did.  I was doing other things.  I do know she tried everything I had done first.  I felt somewhat vindicated. 

I'm beginning to feel the pressure of the upcoming fall schedule.  We're in fairly good shape, but there is still a great deal that needs to get done.  I'm glad I got the computer problem fixed before it gets any busier.  A locksmith came out to fix the broken lock at the church.  After working on the lock for a while in his van, he told us he was going to have to take it into the shop to fix it.  Apparently it had more problems than he initially thought. 

Last night I left a meeting before it was over-- they said they didn't need me for anything else.  Today the committee leader came in and told me 3 things had come up after I left that he wanted to talk to me about.  I guess that's what I get for leaving a meeting early.  Every Monday night I'm at the church for meetings.  We've been looking for ways for me to cut back on them.  So much for that idea.....

They are currently having a book sale at the library.  A number of our members volunteer at the library.  Daughter was there today, and found the lullaby CD I had given her and she had lost.  We had talked about it recently as something that might help with her sleep issues.  When she went to pay for it, she was told not to worry about it, the member had paid for it.  She was very excited when she called me to tell me about it. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

And It Continues

An hour and a half on the phone with Microsoft.  The last hour they took control of my computer and uninstalled and reinstalled Office 365.  Some of my contacts were lost in the process.  The problem is still there.  They are going to turn it over to the problem solving team and call me with a fix tomorrow.  We'll see. 

Then we discovered the lock on the door at the church is broken.  It's impossible to remove a key when the door is unlocked.  It could be worst-- the problem could be locking it rather than unlocking it.  We propped the door open for this evening's meetings. 

I hope everything will be fixed tomorrow.  It may be time for me to stay away from equipment and technology....


Sometimes it seems like technology is out to get me.  Today is one of those days.  We ordered a congregational subscription to a prayer class for this year.  We did something similar last year.  We print and bind the books with our comb binder in the office.  Each book is probably 200 pages long (about 100 pieces of paper printed front and back).  I downloaded the material when it became available Thursday evening and this morning I decided to make one book for myself so I could start preparing to lead it and make the copies for another 9 books, leaving them for office volunteers to bind later this week. 

The copy machine and I have a love/hate relationship.  I struggled a bit with figuring out how to get it to do the cover in color on cover stock, but I finally figured it out.  I printed the first page of each chapter in a different color to make it easier to find where each month's material began.  Again, there was a bit of a learning curve, but I figured it out.  Then I got to the easy part.  Printing 10 copies of the chapter pages front and back on plain white paper.  The machine did wonderfully until I reached March.  Then it started with the paper jams.  Of course, it is supposedly idiot proof, and gave me pictures showing me what to do to clear the jams.  About that time, a member came in and asked me to print out some stuff for this evening's meeting.  The two of us were taking turns clearing the jams.  I finally cancelled the book printing and printed what he wanted.  I decided the machine must be tired and overheated, so I decided to let it rest.  After a couple of hours I went back to print the last couple of chapters.  Once again, I had to deal with paper jams.  I am stubborn, though, so it is done.  I have bound one for me, and the rest are ready for binding when we have volunteer help (or I decide I need a break and bind one). 

So then it was on to working on Sunday's worship.  I have a new computer, and a couple of weeks ago I subscribed to Office 365.  The computer came with a 30 day trial installed, so it wasn't that big a deal.  Except that every time I'd open one of them I'd get an error message telling me I needed to connect with their server.  I'd click the link, and would be told the server was temporarily down.  This has been going on for 2 weeks.  It is showing as an unlicensed account some places, but the only option it gives me in the account settings is to uninstall it, because according to the account settings it is installed and licensed.  It's threatening to shut down because my trial is going to be over, but I've already paid.  So today I decided I would bit the bullet and call technical support, since the website has no information about this particular problem. 

So far I've talked to two people who have said that my problem is really weird, and that they are going to have to transfer me to someone else who knows how to deal with it.  I'm back on hold.  I called over 30 minutes ago.  I'm told the wait time is over 20 minutes.  They helpfully offer to call me back, but what are the chances that will be at a convenient time? 

So I'm listening to possibly the worst hold music in the history of the universe with my phone beside me on speaker. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday and the Diet

One of the passages I used in worship was from Isaiah, and the story of a vineyard that was well tended and nurtured but yielded only wild grapes.  God is going to remove the protection from the vineyard and allow it to be destroyed because it is not yielding good fruit.  I put a picture of my garden on the screen, and talked about how I had doubled the size this year, planted lots of my favorite food, and then had testing for food sensitivities.  I explained that the only thing I could eat now was the corn, and the only thing that wasn't doing well was the corn.  I said I had no desire and tend to the nurture the garden anymore, so I understood how God felt about the vineyard. 

After worship I was inundated with questions about my diet.  Most people thought it was an impossible diet.  It certainly is challenging.  I'm beginning to settle into a routine with it, though there are still challenges with it. 

It was another good Sunday.  I have to lead worship at the nursing home this afternoon.  Daughter isn't going with me, so for the first time I'll be doing it without anyone else from the church.  I hope there are some people who come-- some Sundays there are only 3 or so people there, which is discouraging.  The people who come appreciate it, so I keep doing it each month.  I wish I enjoyed it more....

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Good Weekend

Daughter has helped me do quite a bit of cleaning around the house this weekend. I also did some work in the yard today.  This afternoon we went to see The Butler-- a very powerful movie. 

There have been some glitches, of course, Daughter isn't able to experience success without acting some.  When we got here yesterday after I picked her up, she wanted to take a break and watch some TV, then she'd work.  I unreasonably told her to talk to me about TV after she'd done some work. 

This morning her blood sugar was sky high.  She got into food overnight.  Of course, both times she was immediately insisting I take her home.  Both times I ignored her request, and she managed to turn it around.  As I said, it's been a good weekend. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Amusing Daughter

I picked Daughter up for the weekend this morning.  She had today off, and promised she'd be helpful.  I needed some help with cleaning, so I took her up on the offer.  As we were driving to the grocery store, I explained to her that she'd be with me all weekend, but next weekend that wouldn't be possible.  I told her that Sister Best Friend and I had plans.  SBF's husband is going to a men's event Friday and Saturday.  "So we're free, and we're going to celebrate and do wild things!"

She found that amusing.  "Yeah, two ministers doing wild things." 

"You never know, we may go bar hopping and visit strip clubs."

She finally stopped laughing long enough to say, "I want to see video!" 

Actually, our plans are to trade some clothing and do some painting.  But Daughter doesn't need to know that....

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Unpleasant Surprise

I got notification that my American Express statement was available yesterday evening.  It claimed I hadn't logged into my account since June, which concerned me.  I was sure I had paid the July bill.  So, I logged into my account.  I looked at the too large balance with a sinking feeling.  Maybe, in the midst of our travels, I had forgotten to make that payment.  The payment had been posted, so that wasn't the case.  I knew I'd spent some extra money, but didn't think I'd spent that much.  I looked at the charges, and discovered almost $1300 in charges I didn't make.  I didn't know whether to be relieved the charges weren't mine, or concerned about what other credit card information might have fallen into the wrong hands.  I called American Express, and 30 minutes later the charges were gone, the account closed, and a new card had been promised.  There was a happy ending, fortunately. 


I've decided I'm going to post numbers on my weight loss.  In January I weighed 208 pounds.  Through weight watchers, I was able to get down to 202.  My weight hadn't been below 200 in a very long time.  In May, my weight was about 206.  My Nurse Practitioner told me to stop eating wheat and dairy, and ordered food sensitivity testing.  I  stopped eating wheat and dairy.  The testing was delayed by my broken arm, but I had it in June.  It showed I had a number of sensitivities, including to many common food additives and preservatives.  I began avoiding the foods I was most sensitive to, but delayed the start of the very drastic diet until we returned from our camping. I officially started the diet on July 20.  As of today, I weigh 185 pounds.  I suspect I haven't weighed that little for over 25 years.  During those 25 years, I tried a variety of diets: weight watchers, atkins....

I've cut back on blood pressure medication.  My blood sugar is lower.  I'm not hungry.  I'm in less pain.  Here is a link to the testing I had done:

Today I'm venturing into a restaurant for the first time as I meet with the local clergy group for breakfast.  I don't anticipate being able to eat anything.  I'll drink ice tea and enjoy the company.  I won't be tempted.  In fact, I'm more concerned I'll find the food and smells repulsive.  It's another milestone. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Creative Worship

On September 8 I've got another crazy idea for worship.  I'll be talking about a Bible story and the character will interrupt, contradicting what I'm saying.  She will be interrupted by another character, who will be interrupted by another character, who will be interrupted by another....  I have 4 women who are involved in it.  We did a dry run tonight, to see how it would work and what tweaks it needs.  I'm excited.  I have to do some editing, but we figured out logistics, and I'm exciting.  We will do a final run through on August 25th. 

I love this congregation.  I never have trouble finding people to be a part of my crazy ideas.  The women I was working with tonight all have a background in theater.  I am blessed. 


Daughter has this ongoing need for drama.  She's been assuring me that she's been sleeping well at night.  Her mood would seem to indicate that is the case.  This morning I received a phone call from her telling me she's been lying to me when she said she was sleeping well and she's not sleeping at all and can't cope anymore.  I was unavailable much of the day, and missed some calls, probably from her.  I received a text telling me her day had been terrible.  I wish I knew what was real.  Tomorrow she'll be in the office with me, so it will be interesting to see how she is then....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Turning the Corner

The diet has been rough.  I haven't had an appetite.  Eating has been hard.  I haven't had much energy.  Today, I feel better.  I'm thinking maybe I'm through the detox and will start feeling better.  I also cut my blood pressure medication in half today, so it could be I'm feeling better because my blood pressure is no longer low.  Whatever the reason, I'm grateful....

Daughter's Phone

Daughter desperately wants a boyfriend.  All the men she meets at program have some form of mental disability, and for many that translates into a poor understanding of boundaries.  Daughter meets them, likes them, gives them her phone number, and then tires of them and gets upset when they won't stop calling or texting.  In some cases, I end up having to put a block on their phone numbers. 

I have told her we will get her a new phone and finally change her phone number to a local number.  I've also told her I don't want her giving the new phone number out.  She says she'll only give it to trustworthy individuals.  I pointed out that she always thinks people are trustworthy when she gives them her number.  I wonder how long it will be before she wants me to block numbers on that phone....

Monday, August 12, 2013


On Monday I'm alone in the office.  Or maybe I should say, Administrative Assistant is off on Monday.  Financial Secretary and her son stop by briefly, but that's the only one scheduled to be in the office.  The entire congregation knows that I'm alone in the office on Monday.  So it is a good day for them to stop by to chat.  It makes it hard to do the reading and writing I want to do, but I love the visits.  I have some amazing conversations on Mondays.  I love Mondays.  Even with the visitors, I did get some of my reading and writing done today. 

Daughter couldn't reach me while I was in meetings this evening.  She forgot Monday night is meeting night.  I left my cell phone in the office.  By the time I got home and called her, she was very worried.  I reminded her that when I fell and broke my arm, I made sure someone had my cell phone and could tell her what was going on.  She was relieved, and said, "Mom, we have a good church."  I agree. 

Diet Results

I saw my Nurse Practitioner today.  She cut my blood pressure medication in half.  I'm delighted.  She thinks I may be able to cut some other meds down as well.  For now, though, I'm celebrating small victories. 

I also emailed the nutritionist today.  I asked her for more protein options.  Right now my options are pinto beans and garbanzo beans, and I'm having trouble eating either one.  While I like fruit, I think I need more than fruit to stay healthy.... 

In other news, I have yet to receive a response from Home Owner to the email I sent about the lost check she cashed and Daughter's need for sleeping pills.  Yes, I'm a little frustrated....

Sunday, August 11, 2013

More on the Diet

Have I mentioned recently how much I love doing ministry with this congregation?  Worship went well this morning.  A number of people felt the sermon was exactly what they needed to hear.  Of course, I was preaching what I needed to hear, so it makes sense that they would connect with it. 

People are noticing my weight loss, which is nice.  Several suggested I check out the local thrift shops to keep me clothed until my weight stabilizes.  That sounds like a good plan. 

Administrative Assistant confirmed my belief that I'm more focused and less distracted in my work.  I'm a little concerned about how little I'm eating right now.  I hope I'm getting enough protein.  I had some pinto beans for lunch today, and only ate a few bites. 

I've now been to a couple of events with food, and find I'm not even tempted, which I find pretty amazing.  I went to an open house for a 60th anniversary celebration, and just had some water.  It is exciting to step on the scale and see that I'm losing weight.  Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with my Nurse Practitioner.  She's the one who referred me for the testing.  I think she'll be pleased with the results. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Link to My Diet

I was asked to share more about my diet, so here's the website for the test I took:

I had a lot of sensitivities, including many food additives/preservatives.  Initially I was allowed pork, garbanzo beans, millet, barley, sweet potatoes, cabbage cauliflower, carrots, pears, blueberries, pecan oil/butter, goat's milk and tea.  The pork and goat's milk didn't work for me.  I've added items twice now.  The additions I have used most are pinto beans, corn, and now oats. 

I've been drying pears and blueberries in my dehydrator.  I discovered corn nuts last night.  The dried fruit and corn nuts are a good, portable snack. 

I saw Brother and his family this evening-- first time since Christmas.  I think he's going to have the testing done, too.  He has a number of issues the diet should address.  I saw Sister, too.  She was impressed with the weight loss.   Apparently she and Far Away Sister are plotting to take me clothes shopping once my weight stabilizes.  That will be interesting. 

Phase 3 of the Diet

I saw the nutritionist yesterday.  She added more food, including oats.  I had oatmeal for breakfast this morning with some dried blueberries mixed in.  If I don't have any problems for the next 3 days, I can add something else from the list, which includes quinoa and tapioca.  Chicken is also on it.  The problem is, most chicken is processed with things I know I react to.  I think I'll remain vegan for now. 

I continue to lose weight, and I continue to see that in the way my clothes fit.  My foot pain is gone.  I hadn't thought there was much difference in the way I feel or my energy level, but on reflection, I think there is.  It was an extremely productive week at church, and I didn't have as many problems focusing and was not as easily distracted.  I also think I have more energy.  I am contemplating mowing the lawn, going to the funeral home for visitation this afternoon (a member's mother died) and then heading to Short Niece's violin concert 80 miles from here.  Tomorrow I'm attending a wedding (I haven't attended a wedding that I wasn't officiating for over 20 years).  I have found some corn nuts I can eat, and so I will take those and some dried fruit to the wedding tomorrow, along with a full water bottle.  I don't want to eat anything there and risk reactions that will mess up my Sunday.  Sunday afternoon I will be attending an open house for a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary....

In short, I'm planning to do quite a bit this weekend and don't find it as overwhelming as I would have at one time.  I guess the new diet is helping in a variety of ways.  I still find it frustrating at times, though. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

More Frustration

I got a text this morning that my checking account was overdrawn.  I knew I was running close this month, but was confident I had enough to cover all the checks.  I got online, and discovered Home Owner had cashed a check for Daughter's May rent that she said she'd never received.  I sent another when she told me she hadn't received it.  Yes, I'm frustrated. 

I picked up Daughter for her volunteer work at the church, and she was not in a pleasant mood.  She's still not sleeping well, and they still haven't gotten her sleeping pill for her.  She said, "Who can I trust?"  Different staff members have done things that have caused her to lose trust-- they've made promises they didn't keep, or failed to give her some of her meds, or miscalculated her food and insulin. 

I hope that they have her sleeping pills now.  She needs a good night's sleep or her mood will continue to deteriorate.  Sigh. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Frustration with the House

Daughter has been having trouble sleeping at night.  The psychiatrist ordered a sleeping pill, but the house doesn't have any.  Apparently they haven't done anything about getting her some from the pharmacy. 

Last week she called and told me she was waking up very early in the morning and just getting up and getting dressed.  I told her she needed to go back to sleep, and suggested she put some soothing music on her ipod when she wakes up in the middle of the night.  I also told her she shouldn't be taking naps.  The next day she reported she had done that.  Apparently she didn't continue to do it. 

Staff complained to Case Manager that Daughter is waking everyone else up when she gets up at 3:00 and showers and gets dressed.  Case Manager confronted Daughter.  Daughter called me, hysterical.  She wants out of there right now.  It's like living in a prison.  She's not free to be who she is there.  She'd rather die than stay there. 

I again reminded her of the things she can do when she wakes up like that.  I suggested she ask them to get her sleeping pill prescription filled.  She wasn't screaming when we hung up, but she wasn't happy. 

I agree that Daughter should not be getting up and starting her day at 3:00 in the morning.  However, the staff should talk to her when it happens, not keep a list for Case Manager of everything Daughter is doing that they don't like.  If she's waking the entire house up, one of them could tell her to go back to bed, it's not time to get up yet.  At breakfast they could tell her she had disturbed their sleep and she needs to go back to bed when she wakes up like that.  I'm frustrated that they don't communicate directly with Daughter when this happens.  I also think they need to do some problem solving with her to figure out a better way to handle her early morning waking. 

In comparison to some other issues, this is relatively minor.  It is frustrating. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Computers and Calendars

I have a new computer.  After doing some research, I decided to get Windows 7 Professional on it again.  That has been good.  I've gone from Office 7 to Office 13, which has been challenging.  There are also little challenges.  The new computer won't read my flash drive.  Administrative Assistant's will read it.  I ended up doing some work on her computer today, which was fine, since it was her day off.  I still am amazed to remember that when I was in seminary I didn't think there was any use for computers in the church. 

This evening we had a meeting and were going over calendar.  As we got to December, someone commented that they were already tired.  There are lots of good things going on, and that means lots of work to do.  The calendar is filling up, and I'm ready to jump in. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Today was my first Sunday back.  It was wonderful to be back.  I got lots of hugs and lots of people told me they'd missed me.  Attendance was up, and I had a larger than normal group for the children's sermon.  I love that time with our children. 

Our new pianist started today.  The congregation applauded when he finished the prelude.  They are delighted to have him back.  He is amazing.  He played themes and variations he wrote on the spot to the songs and hymns we were singing today.   He brought so much energy to the music, and the congregation responded with great singing.

After worship I had two meetings.  We've planned our Friday night children's ministry through December, complete with themes and activities.  Then we worked on the timeline we will be using in worship this fall.  We have some work to do perfecting things.  I'm excited about the plans we are making. I so love being in ministry with this congregation. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013


I've noticed that Daughter is more comfortable at the house this week.  I thought it was because she likes the new staff member.  Yesterday I offered the observation that she seemed happier.  She acknowledged that she wasn't as stressed.  I suggested it was because she liked the new staff member.  She acted like I was crazy.  "I'm less stressed because I did what you told me to do and trusted (missing staff member) to God." 

Today she was expressing some frustration with the one staff member she doesn't trust.  I offered a suggestion, and while she was dubious, she said she'd try it.

Today I've been cooking.  I've made polenta and hummus.  I never imagined myself making either of these.  I also have another load of blueberries in the dehydrator.  I've discovered I like dried blueberries.  I want to dry some more pears, too.  Dried fruit has become my treat.  The commercially prepared stuff has things I can't eat, so I'm learning to make my own. 

I still am amazed at the changes in my diet.  Hummus and veggies has become my favorite lunch.  I'll be taking some to church tomorrow, as I have meetings after worship that will keep me at church into the afternoon.  We're getting things ready for fall.  August is always a busy month for me....

Friday, August 2, 2013

Day Off

After a lazy morning, I went out and mowed the lawn and did some weeding-- as in I filled one of my 30 gallon yard waste bins.  Still more weeding to go, too.  I never caught up after I broke my arm this spring.

The diet is beginning to get to me.  My friends seem to be sharing and extraordinary number of recipes on facebook lately.  Right now the mainstays of my diet are corn, pinto beans, hummus, cauliflower, carrots, pears, and blueberries.  I've been eating polenta fried with various toppings on it.  I'm going to experiment with putting blueberries in the polenta next time I make it.  I'm going to try making some falafel.  I'm going to have to be creative, as some of the ingredients in the recipes I've seen are things I'm not allowed to eat yet.... 

I keep reminding myself that I'm losing weight  and that my feet no longer hurt.  That helps, but I'd still like a meat lovers pizza right about now-- except I know that I'd feel terrible after I ate it.  Those times I've had foods that I'm sensitive to, I felt terrible afterwards.  Last time I had some pork, I had a headache that night and diarrhea the entire next day.  I never imagined myself going vegan, but that is my new reality.  My feet don't hurt, and I'm losing weight.  My feet don't hurt, and I'm losing weight....

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Daughter's House

Daughter's favorite staff member still isn't back, and her family won't provide any information.  Home Owner was told that she wasn't feeling well, but supposedly, that's all she knows.  Daughter has been quite stressed by this, and has not wanted to be at the house.  She's called numerous times, asking me to come rescue her.  I haven't, of course. 

This evening, after supper, she was ready to go back.  There is a new staff member there.  Daughter says she's just temporary, but it's obvious that she likes this woman and is much more comfortable now that she is there.  I'm glad.  I'm relieved. 

Daughter did her volunteer thing in the office today.  She shredded, picked up bulletins and hymnals in the sanctuary, and folded the bulletins for Sunday.  She wasn't too thrilled to be folding bulletins, but that means the Friday folder can focus on the brochures we got updated and printed today.  They are tri-fold, and I knew those would be too frustrating for Daughter. 

It was a productive week in the office.  It's good to be back.