Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Daughter has been super cooperative, and we've accomplished quite a bit this week.  The freezer I the kitchen has been cleaned out.  The guest room is clean.  All the piles of paperwork have been organized.  I've been doing a lot of reflecting on this past year.  At first, I was feeling like 2013 was a bad year.  But upon reflection, I feel better about things.  I realize the mess at home had me avoiding it and spending too much time at the church.  Now that it is clean, I think I'll be more willing to spend time here.  I won't be as overwhelmed. 

At church, I finally have mastered the art of finishing my sermon by Thursday.  It means that I can truly take Friday and Saturday off.  It was a busy year at the church, and we are moving forward in exciting ways.  I've also finally managed to conquer the diet, after years of trying.  I am going to do more planning for my diet this year, so I have more variety and a better rotation in my meals.  I also intend to make some convenience meals for myself-- things I can put in the freezer and pull out for quick meals. 

For this coming year, I've been thinking of what the important things are for me.  The things that energize me and keep me moving forward.  They include spiritual and professional reading, exercise, a clean house, and healthy food.  At this point, we're scheduled to go walking tomorrow, but I may wimp out.  It is supposed to be very cold tomorrow, and I'm not sure I'm ready to walk when the temperature is in the low teens. 

I hope every one celebrates safely this evening, and that 2014 holds many blessings for you. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Restaurant Food

Eating at a restaurant is challenging.  I need to calculate Daughter's carbs, and figure out what I can eat with my various sensitivities.  Fortunately, there is pretty good information out there about carb content on food that I can pull up on my android.  The food sensitivities are a little more challenging, though a growing number of restaurants have allergen menus.  Of course, some of them have separate lists of suggestions for each allergen, so if you have multiple food sensitivities, it can be challenging to try to sort through the various lists to find something that is safe.

Daughter doesn't like the choices I set before her at restaurants.  I allow her to have a few extra carbs (which we cover with extra insulin) at restaurants, but I do limit her.  Yesterday we went to a wing place.  She wanted the boneless breaded chicken.  I told her that that was higher in carbs, so she wouldn't be able to have fries with that.  If she went with the traditional wings, she could have some fries.  I also explained that the sauce she chose would impact that, too, and suggested some of the lower carb sauces.  She was in a contrary mood.  She moved onto the chicken wraps, and I dutifully looked them up.  Once again, she had choices to make.  The wraps were a little above what she should have carb wise for lunch, but I told her that she could have one if she skipped the fries.  She finally made a choice, and fries weren't part of it (she didn't want any of the other side dish options).  When her meal came, she pouted.  The huge wrap wouldn't fill her up.  Eventually, she ate it all.  She tried to convince me she was still hungry when she finished, but by the time we got home, she'd forgotten her complaints. 

She told me that she has an outing coming up to a restaurant.  She wanted me to help her figure out what she could eat.  I instructed her to go to the restaurant website and figure it out.  I'm taking a perverse pleasure in watching her argue with the restaurant website.  She has actually been considering steamed broccoli as a substitute for fries.  Maybe she'll be more appreciative of me in the future. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hard Conversations

"This is not what I wanted my life to be."  "I just want to be normal."  "Why am I like this?"  I heard these words not only from Daughter yesterday, but from another young woman in my life.  It is heart breaking, and there are no good answers.  Both crises were triggered by abusive relationships. 

The Young Woman has autism, a genius level IQ, and an abusive mother.  She was visiting Her Mother, and HM asked her to do something.  YW didn't hear, and asked her to repeat herself.  HM started screaming at her.  YW is very sensitive to sound, and told her to stop screaming.  HM screamed louder.  YW began having an autistic meltdown, rocking and moaning.  HM began mocking her.  This escalated YW's meltdown, and she banged her head against the round, which escalated HM's screaming and exaggerated imitation of YW's autistic meltdown.  YW finally fled the house, and HM followed her down the street, continuing to scream at her. 

YW asked (again) why her mother doesn't like her.  HM most likely has a personality disorder, making it impossible to reason with her.  This is just one of many abusive incidents YW has endured.  I regularly reassure her that HM's behavior is irrational, and that it's not YW's fault, no matter what she says.  This one was of the more horrifying incidents.  I don't understand how a mother could respond that way, of course I also don't understand why they ignored the school when the school said she needed help.  They responded by pulling her out of school and "homeschooling" her.  It was a challenging conversation, as there are no easy answers. 

YW feels like a failure because she doesn't have a PhD and isn't working.  She was expected to accomplish great things.  She still might, and if she had had involved, supportive parents who were willing to seek the help she needed, I think she'd be in a better place right now.  I get so angry when I think about HM (I know HM pretty well).  HM saw any suggestion that one of her children needed help as a personal attack.  Several of them could have used help. 

Then there was Daughter's meltdown.  It turns out that when she broke up with Boy Friend, it didn't last a day.  We had an extended period in the car as we drove to Sister's for Christmas.  She had an incident with BF before he was BF in which he bent her fingers back and twisted her arm behind her back.  She's afraid of him.  She had decided to stop the pressure she'd agree to become engaged, but tell him it would have to be a long engagement.  She was afraid to go back to the workshop after vacation and see him. 

After a long  conversation, I suggested she break up with him by phone today, then he'd have time to adjust before she saw him in person.  She called him today, and wanted me to hear the conversation, so she put it on speaker.  I understand why it was so hard for her to break up with him.  He kept interrupting her, begging for another chance, asking what he'd done wrong.  When that didn't work he told her he'd already bought her ring and couldn't get his money back.  I finally told her to hang up on him.  He then called one of their friends and asked him to pressure Daughter.  She stood firm, and I hope will have the strength to continue to stand firm. 

We also talked about how this is not the way she wants to live her life.  She still would like to adopt a child.  She informed me all group homes are hell.  My heart aches for her.  They once again sent her to me without all her meds.  Her patch was supposed to be changed Tuesday, but we didn't get them until today.  I'm sure that contributed to her challenges yesterday.

On a more positive note, we had a good time at our family Christmas yesterday.  Today we cleaned the kitchen and ran a bunch of errands.  Daughter worked on the kitchen floor while I tackled the stove.  We delivered recycling, dropped off clothes Daughter is donating, went to the health food store, the warehouse club, and one other store to get things on our list.  It feels good to be getting these things done, and it was wonderful to have Daughter's help. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


This morning I called a member, and he and his dad came and picked us up and took us to the church on their way to check on his dad's house to see if the electricity was back on.  I called emergency road service from the church, and the tow truck was there in less than 30 minutes. 

We dropped the car off, and then walked home, stopping for lunch along the way at the new Mediterranean restaurant.  Daughter was complaining about how she didn't know what to order, so I ordered for her.  She didn't stop complaining until she took the first bite.  Then she was too busy eating to complain. 

We walked about a mile to get home on interesting sidewalks.  We have another 3 inches of snow on top of the previous snow and ice.  I had another 3 members offer to take us back to get the car.  The news on the car was really good-- it only needed a battery, and the whole thing cost less than $155.  The better news is that Daughter has been super cooperative today.  I'm enjoying our time together. 

I'm doing some cooking tonight, as we will be heading to Sister's tomorrow for Christmas.  I'm looking forward to it. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Daughter and Christmas

Christmas with Daughter is always interesting.  She has a terrible time holding on to money, and then a few days before Christmas panics, because she doesn't have money for Christmas shopping.  This year, I told her I'd save the money she earned working for me for her Christmas shopping.  Between the weather and the work, we hadn't talked about Christmas shopping.  Yesterday I realized that, and asked her if she needed to go Christmas shopping.  "I'm just doing Christmas cards this year." 

I was tired and stressed, and that annoyed me.  Part of it is that I don't want her to think Christmas is all about her getting lots of gifts.  When she realized I was annoyed, she said, "I don't have any money."  I reminded her I'd saved money for her.  I had packed one meal for yesterday and clothes for last night, but decided we'd go out for one meal.  So while we were at lunch, I gave her the money she'd earned.  Her face lit up, "Maybe I can by something for myself!"  She could tell that was not the right thing to say. 

I was tired, the stores were jammed (and many of the stores at the mall were still without power and closed).  I was going to take her to the mall, and told her she could get me a sweater.  I gave her my discount coupons.  Then she said, "I want to get you something that will last and is more special.  I want to go to the Dollar Store!"  Time was running out, and I finally told her to go pick out something on amazon, print out the picture, and she could give that to me.  That's what she did. 

My siblings have been texting today.  They aren't receiving mine, and I'm missing some of theirs, so the conversation doesn't make much sense.  I just gave up on it.  I hope you all have had a blessed Christmas.  Please remember what it is really about.  I hope you all have had an option to worship Christ this Christmas. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

As we scrambled to get things done today (and decided the newsletter would have to wait) I realized that least week we spent a great deal of time preparing 3 very different services for Sunday-- and all of them were cancelled. 

Administrative Assistant and her family are still without power.  As are many others in the congregation.  They are now worried about the pipes freezing.  Patience is wearing thin.  Treasurer and his wife found a motel where power had just been restored and decided to stay there.  By the time they got back with their clothes, half the power was out.  They were still allowed to stay, but were told they could have either electricity or heat in their room, but not both.  They chose electricity, as the room was still warm.  By the time they showered this morning, it was pretty cold.  Another couple ordered a generator from amazon (there aren't any available locally) and had it shipped overnight. 

The families with children are having a hard time.  The kids don't understand what is going on, and they want to be home in their own beds for Christmas, but with temperatures in the homes down to the 30's, it just isn't possible.  They worry about Santa finding them. 

Attendance at the Christmas Eve service was interesting.  In many families, one person stayed home to nurse the generator.  We had more visitors than members, many coming from churches where Christmas Eve worship was cancelled due to lack of heat.  The service went well, despite my worries that it wouldn't flow well or would be too long. 

After the service and all the conversations, Daughter and I loaded up the car to come home.  The car refused to start.  AA's husband brought me home.  He's very knowledgeable about cars, and his son is an automotive engineer.  The two of them tried unsuccessfully to get it going, and are stumped about what the problem might be.  I'll deal with it Thursday. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Aftermath

The church has its electricity back on-- probably because we are next to two buildings that house senior citizens.  Many in the congregation are still without power.  Administrative Assistant and her family are camping out at the church this evening. 

Many signal lights are still out.  Only about half the stores in the mall are open.  They say it will be the weekend before power is restored for some people.  Power lines are still going down, since the temperature has been in the 20's and we've had more ice and snow. 

Daughter was very cooperative today at the church.  She did quite a bit of filing, without complaining.  There is still quite a bit to do, but I think it will get done.  I hope so, anyway. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013


I went to bed last night, putting on my cpap.   The power became erratic, and every time the power went out, so did my cpap.  I'd be bolt up and pull it off, unable to breathe.  I finally got smart and left it off.  As I woke this morning, I began to hear crashes.  Tree limbs were falling under the weight of the ice.  I was delighted to discover we still had electricity (which was still erratic). 

We are fortunate.  There is a large tree limb in my front yard, but some of my neighbors have much more to clean up.  We still have power, and much of the city doesn't, including the church.  I called the church, and when voice mail didn't pick up, I suspected that was the case.  We salted the driveway before we left, and I was part way there when Administrative Assistant called.  They were without power, and I asked what the procedure was if we decided we had to cancel worship.  She didn't know-- it had never been done.  She called one of the men, who joined me at the church.  He had been out buying gas for his generator. 

The church was without power, and while it was still warm, and it was too dark to do anything-- we have very small windows in the sanctuary.  I reluctantly agreed we needed to cancel worship.  We put signs on the doors.  We couldn't call anyone from the church, as the phones were out.  I suspect they were out for many of our members, and we don't have a printed list of cell phone numbers-- the numbers we have were all trapped in a powerless computer.  I posted on facebook via my smart phone and came back home.  I had several calls, texts, and emails asking about worship. 

At this point they say it may take several days to get all the power back on.  I hope we can have worship Christmas Eve.  We are still getting more ice, and I wonder if we will end up losing power.  It helps that our utilities are underground, but I know that others with underground utilities are without power, so it's no guarantee.  The one power company you can't even reach, they are so overwhelmed with calls. 

I was supposed to do worship at the nursing home this afternoon.  They were dark when I drove by this morning, but I suppose I should call and check to see if they have power and what the plan is....  I'd rather deal with snow than ice.  Of course, the snow is coming later today, so I'll get to deal with both....

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Winter arrived early and brutal.  After last week's snow, we're now getting ice.  I picked up Daughter today so I wouldn't have to go that way to get her before worship tomorrow.  She has compiled lists of things for us to do over break.  All we've done so far is brave the grocery store.  I needed to get some food Daughter could eat.  I considered stopping some other places, but the parking lots were full. 

Tomorrow I'm involved with 3 different worship service-- 2 different sermons and I'm playing piano for the third.  At this point I'm not optimistic about attendance.  The ice storm warning ends a few hours before worship.  I'm trying to be optimistic, but it's not looking good. 

I made enchiladas for supper tonight, putting cow cheese on Daughter's and goat cheese on mine.  We both liked them.  I have a fire in the fireplace, and we're watching movies-- first Christmas Story and now the most recent Star Trek.  For now, it's nice having Daughter here with  me. 

Friday, December 20, 2013


I went into the office today, and it was a busy day.  We finished the material for this Sunday, and Administrative Assistant and I both brought some things home to work on to make next week a little easier.  We'll be in the office Monday and Tuesday, and then won't be back until January 2.  Next week the focus will be finalizing the January newsletter. 

This afternoon I tackled the paperwork I needed to get in for Daughter.  I also dealt with the pharmacy again.  I've called several times.  Each time they tell me there are mistakes in the bill.  Each time I ask for an itemized statement.  I've never seen an itemized statement or a credit.  Daughter's Case Manager tried to get the agency to deal with it.  They told me to wait until they got things straightened out before I paid the bill.  They never got back to me.  Today I sent them a check for $171.  That  was all of Daughter's allotted spending money for the last three months plus a check I got from the insurance company.  It paid less than 10% of her bill.  I've been avoiding this stuff, so I thought I'd feel better once I was done. 

A forum of clergy types that I am a part of was discussing a hymn with the following verse:

For just and unjust, a place at the table,
Abuser, abused, with need to forgive,
In anger, in hurt, a mindset of mercy,
For just and unjust, a new way to live.

The discussion was about whether the verse would be too hard for the abused.  Administrative Assistant and I marked the hymn in our hymnal so we won't sing that book, and I entered the discussion.  Someone said the hymn was fine and that anyone who couldn't sit across the table from their abuser had some work to do. 

I didn't like that comment.  I responded that I thought it was fine for the abusers to have a place at the table, but Daughter's abusers would never sit at the same table with her if I could do anything about it. 

Adoptive parents are told that with love and stability the child they are adopting will heal and be fine.  That's not always the case.  If there has been extreme abuse and neglect, it's not the case in most cases.  Daughter did not have enough verbal interaction when the language center of her brain was developing:  the result is Central Auditory Processing Disorder.  Her receptive language skills are at the level of a 3 year old.  She has severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  She doesn't understand cause and effect thinking.  She is permanently damaged.  She has done a great deal of healing, but it takes a bunch of psychiatric medications to keep her close to stable.  I sometimes wonder where she'd be today if she'd been with me since birth.  I suspect she'd be working and living independently. 

I think she has forgiven her abusers, but to be in their presence would trigger her PTSD, and the results would not be pretty.  She can't even handle phone conversations with them.  There are so many people who don't understand.  They point out she was too young, and doesn't remember what happened.  She was young, and she can't tell us anymore (though she told me about performing oral sex on a family member when she was much younger), but her body does.  Her body responds to triggers, and it's not something she can control. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Sometimes, ministry is all about juggling.  This week I led a joint board meeting, and wrote articles for the January newsletter reflecting on 2013.  I worked on the sermon for this Sunday, planned a Christmas service for the nursing home Sunday afternoon, worked on Christmas Eve, and finalized the bulletin for December 29.  I began preparing for the board retreat in January, ordering material for it.  We also designed and ordered bracelets for Lent.  There was a hospital visit in there, a staff Christmas lunch, and a clergy breakfast.  At the clergy breakfast I learned that the guitarist for Sunday evening's Taize service is sick.  The pianist had already backed out, leaving us with just a flute for instruments.  I began working on the piano music for that service. 

Daughter was in the office today, and she was a bit down.  She is upset because she won't have group therapy again until January 8.  She doesn't think she can go that long without it.  She's concerned about the unstructured time while her program was closed, so she was stressed about that.  So between writing and planning, I was offering her plans and diversions.  I suggested she make a list of all the things she wants to do while she's her on break.  That kept her busy for a while. 

We were feeling pretty good about our progress, but after bell choir rehearsal this evening I realized we hadn't printed the material for Sunday afternoon, so I will be in the office tomorrow.  The bulletin for Sunday evening needs to be printed, too.  We were readjusting musicians and vocalists for that service after bell choir this evening, so that will require some editing of the bulletin tomorrow morning.

I'm still working on paperwork for Daughter, too.  Right now I'm doing a great deal of juggling.  I hope I don't drop anything.  

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Shopping and Parties

In a few minutes I'm going to head out and do some Christmas shopping.  I do not like Christmas shopping.  I have ordered a couple of things online, but haven't been to the stores.  A member stopped by after shopping, and said the stores were crazy.  That certainly didn't increase my desire to shop....  Daughter hasn't been shopping yet, either, so I suspect she will be bugging me to take her.  We'll figure something out. 

We had our office Christmas party today.  The Administrative Assistant, Treasurer and I went to Denny's for lunch.   We enjoy one another's company, and don't get the opportunity to that very often.  It has been made even harder by my diet and food sensitivities.  We have a sign we can post in the door saying what  time we'll be back.  We were gone for less than 90 minutes, but during that time at least 2 people came by looking for us, and couldn't figure out why our cars were in the parking lot and we weren't here.  Neither of them read our sign.  We tried.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Great Meeting

Our meeting last night with the new and old board members was really good.  We talked about the accomplishments of the year and identified things that didn't get completed.  We talked about what it means to work together.  We discussed the next steps in our development of a new vision statement.  Someone suggested I needed to preach a sermon series on it.  As I was wondering when I could do that, I realized that I've already chosen "Follow Me" as the theme for Lent.  That will be a great opportunity to reflect on where Christ is leading us and what it means to follow. 

This morning I had conversations with a several people about some possibilities for expanding our ministry.  Two people who had said something could not be done are now excited about doing it and talking about how to make it work.  The Holy Spirit is definitely at work in our midst.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love serving with this congregation? 

Monday, December 16, 2013

New Officers

Tonight is my first meeting with our new board members.  We will review the year, thank those who have served, and look to the future.  I was warned this morning that a new board member was gathering material to advance his personal agenda with the board.  My policy is to train the nominating committee and then step aside and trust them to follow God's leading.  Sometimes, I question the wisdom of that policy.  To make things even more interesting, we have a board member who is vehemently opposed to this individual's agenda.  I've prayed for both of these individuals as I prepare for this evening's meeting. 

It will be interesting to see if the new member brings up his agenda, and if he does, how the board responds.  Parenting Daughter has taught me much about ministry.  I will be able to respond calmly, and I know that any anger expressed tonight is not about me.  I am exceedingly patient.  Of course, knowing how to handle it doesn't mean I enjoy handling....

Sunday, December 15, 2013


It's been snowing for the last two days.  Daughter shoveled the sidewalk clear at church this morning without complaining, and did a good job.  I was impressed.  I didn't get involved because of my wrist, which has been complaining since I sat down to play the piano the other evening. 

When we got home today, I couldn't get the car up the driveway and into the garage.  I parked in the street, and told Daughter we were going to have to shovel the driveway.  It's not a big hill, but it's enough of a hill that it can be hard to get a vehicle up it when it is icy or snowy.  Daughter went out and began, but her competence of this morning had vanished.  I finally went out to help her.  I suggested it would work better if she didn't throw the snow into the west wind, but she insisted she was doing it the only way she knew how.  I picked up a shovel and told her to watch.  As she watched the wind blow the snow I tossed to the west back across the driveway, she finally understood.  I tried to show her how to loosen up the packed snow that had been driven over, but she refused to figure that out.  My wrist complained, but I suspect I did most of the work.  It took almost 2 hours with both of us working, but we got it done.  The car is now safely tucked away in the garage.  It is still snowing  and we will be heading out again for Christmas caroling in about half an hour.  Hopefully we won't get too much more.  I don't know who much we've gotten, but it came over the top of my boots when I walked in the yard.  It's supposed to continue snowing through Tuesday.  It looks like it could be a very long winter. 

Friday, December 13, 2013


Last Friday Daughter insisted that she didn't want to do any more outings.  She wanted to stay at the workshop and work so she could earn more money.  She wanted that written into her plan for the coming year.  I suggested that she should keep her options open, and there might be outings she wanted to do.  She insisted she wouldn't change her mind and wasn't interested in any more outings.  We finally decided that there would be the option of attending outings.  I warned them that once she made up her mind, she couldn't be allowed to change it.  If she said she didn't want to go on the outings one week, she needed to live by that decision, not change her mind at the last minute and be allowed to go.

This morning she called me.  She told me she'd made a mistake, and should have signed up for today's activity.  I told her she had to live by the decision she'd made earlier in the week.  She was not happy, but she didn't go on the outing.  (I don't know if she asked to go or not.) 

In one week's time, both of my prediction have turned out to be accurate.  She is so predictable....

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


In Daughter's current home, which is much better than the average group home, mistakes continue to pile up.  In less than a week there have been the following issues:

  • Inadequate protein in her lunch.
  • Running out of her anti-psychotic without taking action to secure more.
  • Giving her half of the insulin she should have had at supper, resulting in blood sugars in the 200's the next day. 
It's frustrating, to say the least.  It's hard to trust her health and well-being to strangers.  This house has some real advantages:
  • It's smaller.
  • There is less staff turnover.
  • It has a much better location. 
  • The staff is more competent and more caring.
So she's in a good house, and there are still major mistakes.  I choose my battles carefully.  I work at equipping Daughter to be her own advocate, and avoid getting involved whenever possible.  I did get involved with the antipsychotic, and I have raised the issue with lunch.  I haven't decided what to do about the insulin yet.  I will look at her blood sugars Thursday when I receive them.  I will probably have some comments at that point. 

Part of the challenge is that on paper, she doesn't qualify for the level of care she needs.  She can do many things independently.  She requires constant supervision, though, due to the diabetes and food issues. 

The mistakes and problems are taking a toll on me.  I'm still trying to figure out what to do about it all.  I'm trying to convince myself that I'm trusting her to God's care.  It would be easier, though, if the humans involved with her care were a little more competent. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust

Daughter has broken up with yet another Boyfriend.  We had a long conversation about it yesterday evening.  They had been together less than a month, but he was pushing for marriage.  I have told Daughter I won't talk about marriage with her until she's been with a man for a year.  That is very hard for Daughter and her friends.  They seem to begin talking about marriage in less than a week.  I think Daughter is grateful for my rule, especially since I tell her that is the advice I give all couples considering marriage.

She said Boyfriend already had figured out his guest list, and was telling his friends they were invited.  Daughter said that his friends were going out and getting dresses and tuxes for the wedding.  Really?  Daughter has a hard time discerning what is realistic and what isn't.  I assured her that one man had not gone out and purchased and tux and had it altered for their wedding. 

Boyfriend had come to the Blue Christmas service we had last Wednesday night, and also was at yesterday afternoon's Christmas concert here at the church.  I was a little surprised it had lasted this long.  I'd overheard a conversation Daughter had with him when she was with me at Thanksgiving.  She obviously did not want to talk to him. 

She had begun to pick up on inconsistencies in his story.  "He says his mom won't have anything to do with him, but he just saw her." 

We talked about how needy he was, and I tried to explain what I saw as an attempt to control her by convincing her she was the only one who loved him or cared about him. 

We talked about how our culture tries to make you feel like you have to be in a relationship, and how it is okay not to be in one.  We talked about how I'm happily single.  I do feel sorry for these men.  They don't understand that Daughter is not ready for a serious relationship, and they don't know how to take it slow.  I'm grateful that Daughter seems to grow a little more independent with each relationship.  I hope the time will come when the relationship doesn't begin, when she is content to just remain friends, and is able to insist on that from the beginning. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Annual Planning Meeting

We had Daughter's annual meeting today to come up with her plan and goals for the coming year.  She handled it well, and set some good goals for herself.  Case Manager wants to take away choir the next time Daughter gets into food.  I have told  her that is the only place Daughter feels normal, and I will not take it away from her.  I pointed out that I took away the privilege of coming home, so I am willing to do meaningful consequences, but not that. 

The good news out of the meeting is that the agency will take over Daughter's finances.  Her pharmacy bill continues to be a mess, and I haven't been able to get it straightened out.  I will still be her guardian, they will be her payee.  It gets rid of a big stress for me.  I'm very relieved....

Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Comedy of Errors

Daughter saw Psychiatrist Friday.  On the way out, Home Owner dropped her prescriptions at the pharmacy, and they promised they would be delivered to the house on Monday.  Daughter came to our Blue Christmas service last night, and then went home with me since today was her day to volunteer in the office and stay for choir. 

I noticed last night she was out of her antipsychotic.  She'd had it yesterday at supper, but didn't have any for today.  Daughter was concerned.  I assured her we'd pick it up from the house today.  So, this morning she called the house.  Staff informed her that the pharmacy hadn't delivered it and they didn't have any more at the house.  I asked if staff was going to talk to Home Owner, and she said she didn't mention it.  I told her to call Home Owner.  She did.  No answer, voice mail full.  I told her to send a text.  She did.  Several hours later Daughter hadn't heard anything, so I sent a text (I try to stay out of these things, encouraging Daughter to be her own advocate). 

Finally, this afternoon, I emailed Case Manager.  Daughter has her planning meeting for the year tomorrow.  These meetings are always stressful for her, and to ask her to sit through it without her antipsychotic isn't fair.  I finally got a text from Home Owner, who dropped the medication off at the church for us.  It turns out the pharmacy lost the prescription.  Home Owner didn't know it hadn't been delivered (this issue has been addressed with Staff).  Home Owner went and got the copy of the prescription the pharmacy had made and given to her.  Then she delivered it to the pharmacy, waited for the prescription, and brought it here.  She'd been in meetings and court most of the day, so didn't know what was going on. 

Daughter had been getting increasingly stressed, but once she knew the medication was on the way, she relaxed.  I'm grateful the situation got fixed.  The pharmacy is going to investigate how the prescription got lost.  I hope they figure it out so it doesn't happen again....

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


We have a sign at the church.  You can put messages on it the old fashioned way-- we have a box of letters and a key.  We also have a volunteer who was regularly putting inspirational sayings on it.  With an emphasis on communication the last few years, we've recognized the sign as a way to communicate with the general public.  So, we've been asking the volunteer to advertise certain events. 

He was asked to advertise the bazaar, and didn't.  After he put a new saying up, he was again asked to advertise the bazaar.  He did.  Recently the sign was empty.  I wondered if he was frustrated that we were now telling him what to put on, and it was a from of protest or something.  Last week he was asked to advertise the Blue Christmas service tonight and the Christmas concert this coming Sunday.  He dutifully came in to post those last week.  Both Administrative Assistant and I were in the office.  He was worried about how he'd fit it all on the sign.  "I suppose you won't let me use Xmas?"  We all had a good laugh over that. 

Sunday I thought something was off about the sign.  I looked again.  He'd left the H out of Christmas.  AA and I talked about it, but didn't do anything.  It wasn't high on the priority list.  Someone called the church Sunday to tell us about the mistake.  Today the property guys were meeting.  One stopped by, then left.  Then he came back.  He'd had a phone call from his wife.  "How do you spell Blue Christmas?" he asked, grinning.  "With an H."  I replied.  He looked amazed.  "You know about the mistake?"  "Yup."  "Are you going to fix it?"  "There's a box of letters and the key in the next room.  You are welcome to go grab 4 H's and fix it."  "Four?"  "Yes, 4.  It is misspelled two times on each side of the sign.  That makes 4."  After a brief protest and trying to convince me I should never trust an engineer to spell, he and one of the other men went in search of the box.  It is now fixed. 

I am still pondering how I ask our volunteer if he'd like someone else to take over the sign responsibilities.  He is a very intelligent man-- a medical professional in private practice.  I suspect there is a bit of the passive-aggressive coming out the last couple of weeks.  I suspect he may not like being told what to put on the sign.  Of course, if he says he'd like to give it up, we'd then have to find someone who would be willing to do it.  If I wait long enough, maybe someone else will fix the problem.  For now, I choose to find the humor in it and wait....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Seven Miles

When we lived in Tiny Village, I regularly drove 10 miles to get to the store-- or almost any place I needed to be.  After just 3 years here in Capital, I am spoiled.  I need some things from a store that is 7 miles away, and it just seems too far to go....  I am going to head over there this afternoon, since this is the one day I don't have an evening commitment. 

Administrative Assistant is out of town, and the office has been very quiet without her.  I've had a few people come by today, including the activities director at the local nursing home.  I lead worship there once a month, and the number of people attending worship has been shrinking.  Last time there were two people.  I'm supposed to go again on December 22.  I don't mind doing it, but I'm questioning the expenditure of time and energy for such a small group.  I shared my concerns with her.  She had lots of excuses, but finally decided that she would issue special invitations and move the service from an out of the way conference room to the main living room for Dec. 22.  We'll see if that helps. 

Daughter had an appointment with Psychiatrist yesterday.  There was agreement that she is doing well.  I had finally remembered that fall is always hard for her due to anniversary events.  Psychiatrist agreed with my theory, which was nice.  Daughter is in a good place right now, and I hope it will last.  

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Program

Today we had a Christmas program.  When I arrived 3 years ago, we had 3 children, all from one family.  Now we have 7 children who regularly attend.   This is the second year we've done a program/play as part of the first Sunday in Advent, which is traditionally hanging of the greens.  I decided that we had enough children this year to have them form the nativity.  I had 3 boys and 3 girls who seemed old enough to do it, so we had Mary, Joseph, 2 angels and 2 shepherds. 

We were supposed to practice last week, but there was miscommunication, and when I went to get them to do their part, they'd finished practicing for children's choir and gone home.  More emails went out, and we went forward. 

The angels and Joseph arrived first.  One angel carried the manger, one a blanket, and Joseph carried baby Jesus.  All went well.  Mary arrived, and I explained what she was to do, and escorted them to the office, where Administrative Assistant was waiting with costumes.  The shepherds arrived, one of whom announced at the very beginning he wasn't participating.  Joseph was refusing to put on a costume.  The other shepherd decided not to participate.  I went back to the sanctuary, where the angels had shed their costumes.  One of the angels has sensory issues, and the costume was bugging her. 

The grandmother of Mary came and asked if they could substitute a different doll for baby Jesus, because that was the only way Mary would agree to participate.  In the end, one nervous Mary and two costumed, scowling angels participated.  I suggested to the lay leader that she keep everyone away from a very grumpy, coughing pastor.  The congregation, of course, was delighted to once again have a children's pageant.  I was reminded of why it is I find Christmas pageants involving children to be exceedingly stressful.