Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Daughter has been with me since Tuesday evening.  She was very helpful yesterday in the office.  We got everything one we wanted to get done, and I'm grateful.  Our Christmas miracle:  we ran out of toner for the printer right after we finished the last bulletin.  We didn't have a spare. 

We had children involved in yesterday evening's service, and that was nice.  One major frustration.  Psychiatrist increase Daughter's anti psychotic from 160 mg to 180 mg by adding a 20 mg pill to to the two 80 mg pills.  Staff apparently wasn't told the plan-- they dropped the two 80 mg pills and just gave her the 20 mg.  I'm going to get her up to the proper dosage, but gradually. 

Saturday I've made us reservations to go paint a winter scene.  Daughter is excited.  I'm looking forward to it, too.  So far, she's doing well.  She told me she'd been looking forward to spending this time with me.  That's nice to hear.  I'm working on Sunday, and next Friday we'll have our family Christmas celebration.  The rest of the time I'm off.  I am tired, and need this time off.   We slept in a bit today, and hopefully will sleep in a bit longer tomorrow. 

I hope all of you are having a merry Christmas.  May this coming year bring you many blessings. 

Monday, December 22, 2014


Yesterday morning I woke up with a headache.  I don't get headaches very often, and I'm grateful.  Yesterday's headache was bad.   I had some nausea and dizziness with it.  When I got to church, there were people with questions.  I referred them all to Administrative Assistant.  I thought once worship started I did pretty well.  I had to catch myself a couple of times and I struggled with balance, but I thought I covered pretty well. 

I took Daughter to lunch and then dropped her off at her house.  I then came home and did nothing for the rest of the day.  I got comfortable in bed and did some reading and played some computer games.  This morning I woke up headache free.  (I had it all day yesterday.)  I actually got to the church before AA this morning, and it was a productive day. 

I had announced yesterday in worship that people could bring their poinsettias in today or tomorrow, and they could wave and stay hi as they went by the office, but not hang around, as we'd be busy.  The congregation laughed, and for the most part respected that request today.  One man stopped by in the afternoon.  He walked over to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Are you okay?"  I hadn't spoken to him yesterday, though I know he was in worship.  I assured him I was fine, and headache free.  He told me he'd been worried about my yesterday, and wondered if I'd make it through the service.  Once he knew I was okay, he left.  I guess I didn't do that good a job of covering my discomfort.

I will be picking Daughter up tomorrow evening.  She will spend Wednesday folding bulletins.  AA 2 adult kids are home for Christmas and may get drafted, too.  I think we drafted them last year, too.  Things at the church are in pretty good shape.  My house is a mess.  Daughter promised she'd help me with cleaning when she gets here.  I'm grateful. 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Three out of Five

Daughter saw Psychiatrist on Thursday.  Psychiatrist increased 3 of the 5 medications she has prescribed for Daughter.  I am cautiously optimistic.  When we left Psychiatrist's office, Daughter was sobbing.  She didn't understand what had been said and had misinterpreted much of it.  By the time we got back to the church (Thursday is her day volunteering in the office), I had calmed her down.  She went into my office and crashed, sleeping for a couple of hours.  Last night Daughter had a Christmas party.  She was out late, and was in a crowd with loud music.  When she called me last night, she was happy.  She had been able to handle the chaos.  She wouldn't have been able to do that a week ago. 

The last few weeks have been challenging to say the least.  They would have been more challenging if she'd been living with me.  She was manufacturing drama on a daily basis.  At one point, she had people convinced she had diabetic neuropathy in her feet.  I told them to tell her her feet would stop hurting if she would wear sensible shoes.  The nurse and case manager wanted to rush her off to an endocrinologist.  I informed them her physician had examined her feet for signs of diabetic neuropathy last month, and she had passed with flying colors.  I said it was her latest attempt to get attention, and that when I told her her feet were fine and to cut it out, she insisted that at that moment they had been bothering her. 

She was calling multiple times a day, each time with a new plan.  What was real was that she wasn't sleeping, and something had triggered her PTSD so that she didn't feel safe anyplace.  At one point I was in a meeting at the church in a room with no cell signal.  When she couldn't reach me, she was calling people to go to my house and check on me, as she was sure I was dead.  She was in a panic-- and she knew I had a meeting that evening. 

I've discovered that this congregation has the same tendency to act out in weird ways when Daughter is distracting me.  So I heard all about how we never sing familiar hymns, and the new ones we introduce occasionally all all horrible.  We've been singing a new response in worship, and I said it would continue until Christmas, at which point they said, "Oh, we like that one.  It's okay."  They were contradicting themselves all over the place.  The most frustrating part, though, is that only Daughter and one other person responded to our request for them to give us the names of hymns they wanted to sing-- and the insert was in the bulletin in the midst of their complaining.  So they hate all the new songs (except for the ones we like) and we never sing anything familiar (except for when we do) but they aren't going to tell us what they want to sing. 

They complain I don't visit the shut-ins enough.  I told them I'd take home communion to any who wanted it before Christmas, and told the care group to check with their people to see if they wanted it.  One shut-in wanted it, so her care person emailed everyone except me about her desire to have communion.  One of the people who did receive the email asked me about it.  I told her I hadn't received the email.  She promised to tell the care person she needed to contact me.  Of course, she hasn't.  I emailed her today.  We are running out of time before Christmas.  I understand she sent the email Tuesday, but I didn't hear about it until Thursday evening, and Friday was my day off, a day off I desperately needed.  Administrative Assistant thinks we are in pretty good shape with the work that needs to get done.  There are 4 more bulletins and a newsletter that need to get done in 3 days this week, so I hope she's right.  I also have 2 more sermons to finalize.  Beginning Christmas Day, I will have time off.  I will be leading worship on the 28th and the 4th, but the rest of the time I'll be able to relax.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'll jump back in to get ready for the board retreat on the 5th.  Hopefully, with Daughter more stable, some of the passive-aggressive stuff at the church will stop.  I should also be better able to handle it.  

Tuesday evening I'll pick up Daughter, and she'll be with me until January 4.  Psychiatrist told me how to get in contact with her if there is a problem.  I'm hoping there won't be. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

How Much?

It seems the last couple of weeks in the church office have been about seeing how much work we can cram into a week.  This week the worship committee met Monday night, I had a memorial service Tuesday night, a Blue Christmas service Wednesday night, and choir practice Thursday night.  We had to do 4 bulletins and a newsletter in the office. 

Monday-Wednesday I ate supper at the church.  Last night I took Daughter out for supper before choir.  Today is my day off, and I'm taking it.  Tomorrow I have a bell choir rehearsal at 10:00 for Sunday's concert, which is at 3:00.  I need to make some food for the reception following the concert.  This coming week should be easier-- I only have 3 nights at the church. 

Daughter decided to add some excitement to the week by claiming one of the men at her program was sexually harassing her.  She kept calling me, and I kept referring her back to the staff there.  Her case manager called and filled me in.  The man in question is heavily drugged, and during breaks stands by the lockers swaying and staring off into space.  Daughter claimed he was staring at her.  She had quite a story.  After talking to Case Manager, I was ready for Daughter's call.  She had worked on a plan with Home Owner about stopping the harassment, which she said included groping.  I informed her I had spoken to Case Manager and to cut it out.  I said staring off into space was not sexual harassment and if it bothered her, she should sit so she couldn't see him.  She texted Home Owner and told her to forget everything she had said. 

The next day Social Worker at program called me for advice on how to handle it.  I told her I suspected the problem had been solved by my conversation with her.  Home Owner had sent out an email about her conversation to everyone on the team but me.  I told her it was possible that he was behaving in a way that was triggering her PTSD, which could make her very reactive and lead to exaggerations.  I suggested that if she complained again, she tell Daughter she had talked to me and she would have to go to one of the other programs (away from her friends) until she felt safe.  Social Worker reported that Daughter had stopped complaining. 

Yesterday Daughter was at the church, and was very helpful and cooperative.  We gave her as much work as we could, and she did it all without complaining.  As I was driving to her house to pick up her supper time pills (which staff forgot to give her), she told me I looked tired.  I informed her I was tired and reminded her I'd been at the church every night that week.  She does not understand that I am working when she isn't with me.  She just can't seem to comprehend that. 

Today I'm being very lazy.  With my comfortable new adjustable bed, I have it adjusted so I'm sitting up and reading and spending time on the computer.  I'm warm and comfy.  It makes for a wonderful day off.  Unfortunately, I need to get up and get some of the chores done that I didn't get to through the week. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

That Time of Year

Life has gotten crazy busy around here.  I try to limit my evening commitments to 3 a week.  Last week I had 4 in a row, and it will be the same this coming week.  Including 3 completely different worship services in 4 days.  I have one that I still need to finish. 

Yesterday would have been my mom's 84th birthday.  She was born on Thanksgiving Day, so whenever her birthday fell on Thanksgiving it was special.  This was the first time that happened since her death 5 years ago.  It's hard to believe my parents have been gone for 5 years.  We gathered at my brother's for our celebration, which was my parents' home.  It is the house we all grew up in.  It was small, packed, and noisy, but I got to see my wonderful nephews, so that was wonderful.  Baby Nephew is a very happy baby. I got lots of baby snuggles in. 

Daughter continues to struggle some.  We came home early-- the noise and chaos were overwhelming her. She has spent more time with me, and has been cooperative.  She likes me to build fires in the fireplace, and is even willing to fetch the firewood from the garage.  I've enjoyed the fires, too.  It's been cold. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Breakfast in Bed

Daughter is staying with me this weekend.  She's actually been with me since Thursday evening.  Yesterday, she made me breakfast in bed, then accompanied me on a number of errands.  We had our children's ministry last night.  One of the younger guys was unhappy with the group he was in, I was impressed with the way she knelt next to him and wiped the tears from his eyes.  He ended up having a good time, and was glad to rejoin his friends at the end for some videos. 

Today, we've been busy working around the house.  She has been cooperative and helpful.  She continues to work on her dreams, and she continues to be unrealistic.  I continue to remind her she has to go a year without getting into extra food before she can move.  Since she got into food today, she reset the calendar. 

She showed me the notebook in which she's  been writing her plans.  She has decided she wants to live in a house, not an apartment.  She wants 4 bedrooms, a big kitchen with an island and double ovens, and much more.  I told her I didn't think she could afford it.  She wants to adopt a baby.  She wants to baby to be a 10 month old girl from overseas.  She was willing to consider an older child if absolutely necessary. 

Daughter has a very difficult time with the concept of money and what is and isn't realistic.  She is doing better now that she's back on the lithium.  She's decided she'll stay in her current house until she moves into her own place.  She doesn't want to move into another group home.  As far as I am concerned, that is excellent news and a great relief. 

Things continue to be busy at the church.  I've had lots of people wanting time with me.  I told Administrative Assistant that I'm just too popular.  Fortunately, I love every minute of it. The retreat I went on left me a little bit behind, but it was worth every minute I spent on it.  I gained some important insights into myself and why I've been avoiding some things.  I will share some of those insights at another time. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Appropriate Tears

Daughter called around supper time, in tears.  My heart sank.  She'd been doing so well.  What was she going to say to convince me she had to move?  I asked what was wrong, and she told me she'd been on Facebook.  She saw a note from a month ago.  A member of the church in Tiny Village had died.  Daughter called her granny, and they loved each other. 

We talked for a while.  I reminded her how Granny loved to write poetry, and suggested she could write a poem honoring Granny.  She thought that was a good idea. 

I had not told her of the death because I didn't think she was able to handle it.  Today, she was appropriately sad, and was able to receive comfort. 

I'm going to be at a retreat Thursday.  Administrative Assistant is going to pick her up for choir in the evening, but not to work in the office.  When I explained this to her, she was fine with that.  A couple of weeks ago she would have been upset by the change in routine.  She is definitely improving. 

I am much less stressed now, which is good.  I'm looking forward to the retreat, which begins tomorrow.  Life is good. 

Monday, November 3, 2014


Daughter is definitely improving.  She's calling me less, and when she does call, she's happier.  There's much less drama, and I am very grateful.  I get more done when she's stable. Daughter continues to insist that she wants to move.  I've told her we'll talk about that when she's healed.  I'm hoping and praying she'll decide she can stay where she is. 

Last week was very busy at the church.  Things here are going really well.  Worship attendance is growing, and we have a number of visitors who are becoming regulars.  Some of them will join-- we're having a new members class this Sunday following worship. 

On Wednesday, I'll be leaving for a retreat/seminar on spiritual practices and reinvigorating local congregations.  I think we are getting reinvigorated.  Last year we set up for 60 people for the monthly fellowship meal following worship.  This fall, we upped the number to 80, and I think we'll add another 10 come January. Not everyone stays for the fellowship meal.  Last year we averaged 85 in worship.  Our average since September is over 100.

I continue to have to evaluate priorities and how I'm spending my time.  I'm no longer going to everything.  Last week I was at the church every day, so I'm glad I'll be out of the office a few days this week. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Pin Prick of Light

The last few weeks have been challenging, to say the least.  Daughter has been rapid cycling.  She calls me multiple times a day, often times shouting or sobbing.  She has insisted that she has to move out of her group home immediately.  She has begged me to let her come back and live with me.  All this time, Psychiatrist was silent.  Her colleague said Daughter needed medication adjusted, but nothing was happening.  She had no openings in her schedule before Daughter's appointment on December 18. 

I was exhausted.  Beyond exhausted.  The toll she was taking on me with her drama was high.  Then I got a phone call from Case Manager.  There had been a cancellation and she had grabbed it for Daughter.  Daughter saw Psychiatrist yesterday afternoon.  Daughter sobbed, yelled, hid under her coat, hid her hands behind her back when Psychiatrist asked her to give her her hand, said (repeatedly) I was no longer her mother....  In short, she put on a show.  She is back on lithium, and has a prescription for ativan she can take if she wakes up between 12 and 2.  She has been going to sleep for a couple of hours, and then getting up and rearranging her room and such. 

Daughter told Psychiatrist everything was dark.  After her appointment, she told me she saw a pin prick of light.  I hope that will grow, and her mental state will improve quickly.  I ended up going into the office this afternoon.  I was going to finish my sermon, but instead ended up helping Administrative Assistant with folding letters that had to go out today.  In addition to the monthly newsletter and bulletin, we also had a couple of other big things going on in the office:  the stewardship material went out today, and bids were due today for major roof work to prevent future leaks from ice dams.  There is also a bazaar at the church tomorrow, and AA is on the planning team for that. 

The sermon will get finished tomorrow.  Everything that needed to get done today, got done today.  I will be at the church most of the day tomorrow, so I will take some time to go upstairs and complete my sermon.  Daughter called several times this morning, but eventually calmed down.  I can see her pin prick of light now, in fact, it may be growing.  I hope it's growing. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Positive Things

After all the challenges Daughter has presented in the last few days, I'm focusing on positive things today.  One of the biggest ones is that she no longer lives with me.  She is safe in her group home.  I'm grateful.  She is calling me a couple of times a day, trying to sound pathetic.  I listen between the lines and I know she is doing well.  Today she was cleaning and rearranging her room (again).  I think she keeps rearranging it because she is desperate to bring order to the chaos in her brain. 

Today I am watching college football while waiting for the delivery of a new bed.  I've been waking up with back pain at least once a week, so I went out and ordered a new mattress.  I bought a memory foam mattress, and the base is adjustable.  I've had the head of my bed elevated for several years to help with my sleep apnea and  GERD.  I had two raisers under the legs of the bed at the head of the bed.  It made it challenging to move the bed.  Because of the way the headboard was on my old bed, I couldn't lean on it.  It was challenging to read in bed, with the challenges of the bed and my bifocals.  Now, I will be able to do it. 

My old bed will go into Daughter's room, which means I'll have a double bed for guests. 

Tomorrow we have a drama instead of the sermon.  I wrote it, and we will be hearing from 3 characters in the book of Acts.  We practiced last Sunday, and I think it will be good.  The congregation loves it when we do creative things in worship.  I get bored so I have to mix things up.  Things are going really well at the church.  We continue to grow in so many ways.  I am grateful. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Long Night

Daughter was at the church yesterday for her volunteer day.  She came in and got right to work, completing her tasks quickly.  She was cooperative, in a good mood, showing her sense of humor.  Administrative Assistant commented that it was good to have the old Daughter back.  I agreed. 

Shortly before I planned to leave to take her to supper, she informed me that she needed to eat right then, she was hungry and didn't feel good.  She checked her blood sugar, which was 63.  I got 00her some sugar to bring it up, and went back over her lunch-- what she'd had what her blood sugar had been, and how much insulin she'd taken.  She should have been a little high.

I asked how much insulin she'd taken.  Eventually she confessed to having taken an extra 10 units.  I gave her sugar, we got into the car and I took her to the ER at the hospital with a psych unit.  We got there a little after 5.  On the way she had been telling me that she wanted to die.  When the nurse told her to put on a gown and the doctor would come see her, she started screaming about how no man was going to touch her.  I tried to calm her down and she started spewing ugly things at me.  A number of ER staff members came running, and she was told she had to stop screaming.  Eventually she did. 

They fed her, since her blood sugar was only 73.  Then we sat.  The shift changed at 7:00.  A new doctor (female) came on at 11:00, and she finally saw a doctor and was examined.  They took a urine specimen and blood.  I filled out the petition to have her committed for 72 hours.  Some time after midnight an ambulance came and took her to community mental health.  I followed.  I filled out more paper work. 

A therapist talked to her.  They called a psychiatrist in.  He talked to her alone, and then came and talked to me.  He said her medication needed adjusting, and he thought Psychiatrist was the best one to do that, since she knew her.  She has an appointment with Psychiatrist this Wednesday.  He suggested I bring her home.  I told him the last time she was with me, she broke into the pantry.  I dropped her off at the group home at 2:45.  I got home around 3:00. 

She is adamant that she can't live in group homes anymore.  She wants to move back in with me.  Not happening.  I hope that with a medication adjustment, she'll recognize that she is in a good group home and be willing to stay.  I hope.  For some reason, I'm tired today. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Power Struggle

Daughter was having a challenging day yesterday.  Case Manager demanded Psychiatrist come up with a plan for dealing with her if things get worst, pointing out Psychiatrist should have known she was being manipulated.  Psychiatrist refused.  Psychiatrist suggested sending her to a home that specializes in Borderline Personality Disorder.  We looked into that before, and Daughter is not eligible. 

Today seems to be going better for her.  Program is catching on to her manipulations.  She's been complaining of chest pain and pointing to a red patch on her chest that looks like she's been scratching it.  Putting a wet paper towel on it and not rubbing it for a while caused it to vanish.  Home Owner had suggested they could call 911.  I said absolutely not.  Daughter has to be vomiting (witnessed by a reliable adult) or have a fever before she is allowed to leave program.  I did offer them some suggestions. 

Daughter has not called me today.  I see that as a very good sign. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Latest

Daughter was discharged this evening.  No med change.  Case Manager is furious.  She said, "She snowed them.  She convinced the unit and Psychiatrist that she's fine."  I told her I'd been through this before. Daughter can put on a good show.

According to Daughter, Psychiatrist suggested she aim for independent living by her 28th birthday in March.  I hope that's wrong. 

Home Owner was down there for a med clinic appointment with another resident, so she's going to pick up Daughter and take her home.  That's good, as I want nothing to do with it.

Apparently part of the reason for the discharge was the problem they were having managing her blood sugars.  She has had at least one that was over 300.  That means if she begins to show her true colors again, she'll have to be in the hospital.  I hope if that happens there is a bed available here in town. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


Daughter was in a better place when I visited her today.  She asked me to bring her some hygiene items.  She also wanted me to bring the  Skip-Bo card game, so we played that.  She's been doing some writing, drawing, and coloring.  In the initial assessment, she said her depression was "more than 10."  Tomorrow Psychiatrist will be in, so hopefully she will be able to make some adjustments.  Daughter said they told her people were usually there 3-5 days.  She said she anticipates it being 5 for her.  It was a pleasant visit.  She said Home Owner visited her yesterday.  She was delighted. 

My back is better today.  It has actually improved as the day has gone on.  My new bed (which will be delivered Saturday) came with a 40 inch TV.  For $100 I upgraded to a smart TV.  It wasn't in stock when I purchased it, so I went today and picked it up.  I was able to get it up and running.  It's bigger than my old TV, and much lighter.  Plus, I no longer have to cycle through all the inputs to get the TV to recognize my U-Verse. 

Worship today was good, and after worship we practiced the drama for next Sunday.  It went well.  We had to do some minor edits, but nothing major.  I think it will be good.  The congregation continues to grow, and I continue to love what I'm doing. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

At Last

Daughter's planning meeting for the coming year was yesterday.  I was concerned going into it, as she was not in touch with reality.  Thursday morning she was furious with me.  She was telling me she was ready to live independently in an apartment.  I pointed out that she was still getting into food.  She insisted she wasn't.  I pointed out she'd been into food at the church within the last few weeks.  She informed me the church didn't count.  When we got to the church, she took off across the parking lot to walk home.  She came back before I had to go looking for her.  I sent an email to Case Manager warning her that Daughter wasn't in a good place, and I was concerned about how she'd handle the meeting.  Case Manager forwarded the email to the rest of the team. 

The meeting began, and Daughter gave her speech about wanting to live independently.  It wasn't long before she was shouting and showing her current mental state.  She was making threats.  We stopped the meeting.  Her psychologist was also there, and the entire team agreed that her medication was off, and she needed to be hospitalized. 

The meeting began at 10:00, we agreed to the hospitalization by 11:00, and it was 5:00 before it was accomplished.  It was a very long day.  She actually ended up at the mental health crisis center.  The closest hospital with an opening on the psych unit was over an hour away.  I'm fine with the crisis unit.  That means her psychiatrist will be involved and will see her. 

The team is also becoming more aware of the power of her PTSD.  Psychologist suggested they go for a walk.  Daughter said she couldn't handle the traffic noise.  Psychologist pointed out how little it takes to trigger her PTSD right now.  House Manager also had her eyes opened, and told me she commended me for parenting her. 

When I left her at 5:00, I hadn't had supper.  I stopped at a Mexican restaurant on the way home.  I'd planned to go to the mall to get my hair cut and a new battery in my watch yesterday, so I did.  I also stopped at the grocery store.  It was almost 8:00 when I got home.  I missed the Children's ministry at the church.  I had called and warned Administrative Assistant, and told her what I planned to do with the story.   We had a conversation the day before about Daughter's mental state, and were both concerned about how she'd handle the meeting, so I don't think she was surprised.

By the time I got home, I was exhausted.  Today my back is hurting.  I have quite a bit I'd like to get done today, but my back is interfering with those plans.  This is the second time in the last week I've had a sore back when I woke up.  I have a new bed coming on Saturday.  Hopefully  that will help with the back issues. 

Daughter has called several times, and seems to be doing well.  They have just begun taking type 1 diabetics.  I picked up her home meds and med sheets from her house and took them back, but it didn't include her insulin scale.  I emailed it to them, and got a phone call from the nurse, who was freaking out over the insulin scale.  It was different from anything they've used before. 

Daughter's insulin is based on carbs and blood sugar.  I had done all the calculations and laid it out for the carbs she gets at her meals and her blood sugar.  The nurse said it was too complicated and asked what she should do.  I suggested they ignore the calculations and use the numbers I'd come up with for various blood sugars.  She said that would work.  I was surprised she hadn't figured that out on her own. 

Last night Daughter told me she was basically on her own in terms of figuring out the carbs for her meal (she does have a little book she carries that gives her carbs).  She told me it was a lot of work.  I had the impression she was beginning to see why independent living is not a good idea.  If that's all she gets out of this, it will have been worth it. 

I'm pleased that her med needs are finally being addressed.  Psychiatrist had been informed of the issues but had not ordered any medication changes.  Hopefully she will now. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Daughter has been manic this week.  She's desperately trying to escape the chaos in her mind.  In a 24 hour period she had the following plans: 

  1. To get engaged and marry current Boyfriend.  They have not been out on a date yet.  They have been talking on the phone.  I expressed surprise that she was ready to have sex.  She informed me she planned to adopt, so they wouldn't need to have sex.  I suggested  might have other ideas.  She said when he talks about sex she takes the phone away from her ear and then changes the subject.  
  2. She wanted to move into a nursing home.  That would make her happy forever.
  3. She wanted to move into an apartment with 2 friends.  They could learn how to help her with her medication.
She sent a long email to Case Manager about the last plan, and also said she wanted a new Case Manager.  CM sent it to me and asked what I wanted her to do.  I told her I wanted her to remain as CM and for Daughter to remain in her current house.  I said I thought we needed a medication adjustment.  CM emailed the team, asking them to provide Daughter with extra support.  She asked Nurse to talk to Psychiatrist.  I haven't heard what Psychiatrist said.  I'm still not allowing her to spend the weekend here.  It's been another week when I've hung up on her when she got too ugly.  I'm so glad she's not living with me.  It's still tiring to deal with her when she's like this, but it's definitely easier by phone than when she was living with me. 

At the church, things are going well.  I missed a meeting the property guys were having to make a decision about fixing our ice dam problem.  One of the men was concerned that I wouldn't be there, as he was concerned it might be a contentious meeting.  I gave him some suggestions about dealing with it.  My understanding is that the meeting went well.  They came up with a unanimous recommendation.  It's expensive, and we'll be borrowing money from our endowment to pay for it.  The board also endorsed the plan unanimously via email. 

The nominating committee has the nominees for the board for next year.  Last year they really struggled to come up with names.  This year they completed their task with one meeting.  All 6 nominees will be serving for the first time.

Treasurer closed on  a condo closer to family this week.  He's keeping his house up here, so they'll be going back and forth.  We've found a new treasurer, and I also have someone who is willing to take on leadership of the mentoring program in the local elementary school that he started 14 years ago.  I will miss him, and am glad they will be here at least part of the year.

One of our newer members was in to talk to me this week.  She shared with me that her mother had committed suicide, and she had always thought of that as an option for her.  She said since she's been coming to the church, she is no longer thinking that way.  She really loves the church.  I'm grateful to know we have made a difference in her house. 

Our September average attendance was the highest it's been since I arrived 4 years ago.  There continues to be an energy and excitement in the congregation.  It's nice to have things going well at the church when Daughter is being challenging. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

"I Want Boxes and Bags"

Daughter was confronted regarding some high blood sugars yesterday.  Of course she lied and insisted she hadn't gotten into anything.  Then she became angry and offended that she was being questioned.  Then she called me and took her anger out on me.  I finally hung up on her.  I wasn't very sympathetic. 

She sent me a text demanding I bring her boxes and bags today.  She said she was done with the family and was going to return everything we'd ever given her.  I'm glad she no longer lives with me.  Very glad.  I didn't take her the boxes and bags.  At this point the plan is for her to spend the day with me tomorrow so she can provide childcare at the church tomorrow evening.  I may have to rethink that. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Psychiatrist and Self-Sabotage

Daughter had an early appointment with Psychiatrist this week.  Of course, she was doing well at that point.  Very well.  We decided not to adjust meds at this point, but if she has another extended period of rapid cycling, a phone call is all it will take to add a small dose of her anti psychotic in the morning.  Daughter commented several times that it was scary to be doing so well.

That was Wednesday.  Thursday she was at the church.  She seemed to be having a good day, and in addition to her usual work folded 400 pages for the bulletin.  She again raised the possibility of getting her own apartment.  She has picked out a roommate.  I reminded her that she needs to go a year without sneaking food before we make plans for that.  She became belligerent.  The upstairs kitchen is always locked on Thursdays.  We haven't been locking the downstairs kitchen.  At some point she went downstairs and found some graham crackers and ate them.  Her blood sugar was sky high at supper.

Today we had our annual eye exams.  I just had a call from her insisting she couldn't stay at program after her eye exam.  I told her I had confidence in her ability to cope with it.  She didn't like that, of course.  I refused to allow her to go home.  She often becomes challenging after she is praised.  She has difficulty believing she deserves to do well and be happy, so she self-sabotages.  I keep reminding her that she deserves success, but it is still too frightening for her.  Talks of more independence can trigger these issues, too.  She has to prove she's not ready for it yet.  She's convinced me. 

The good news is that my cold has not gotten any worst.  It was a productive week at church.  I don't have to see Daughter again until Sunday. I'm going to celebrate the good news. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I have picked up a cold.  It's not unusual.  Fall is stressful, and I often find myself fighting a cold.  The good news is that things are going really well at the church. This was our third Sunday in a row with over 100 in worship.  In 2011, average worship attendance was 78, and we only had three Sundays all year with worship over 100.  We have been growing steadily since that time.  It's not at a fast pace, but it is a comfortable pace.  As I was watching people visit before worship, I realized I couldn't tell who the new members are.  This congregation really adopts new members, and here were lots of hugs and noisy conversations this morning. 

We made some changes to the worship service this fall, and so far I haven't heard any complaints, which is pretty amazing.  Actually that isn't true, they don't like learning new songs, but they do it.  Tomorrow night the board is meeting, and we will talk about some of the information I brought back from the retreat.  I'm looking forward to the discussion. 

Daughter was in a cooperative mood again today.  I wouldn't take her shopping, but she accepted that pretty well.  She even listened when I talked to  her about perspective.  I told her that when things are bad she immediately wants to run away, and forgets all the times things have been good.  It took explaining it several different ways, but I think she finally understood what I was saying.

I have some ideas on securing the pantry, so once I get that done, I'll allow her to visit again.  She has begun keeping track of her blood sugars, and seems to be willing to take responsibility-- at least for now.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Good Week

It has been  a busy week.  I was at a retreat for the regional church Monday and Tuesday.  It was very affirming of the direction we are taking at the church.  Our vision statement is in line with the steps they suggest for church growth and renewal. 

Yesterday I had the opportunity to hear the story of a woman who began attending the church in July.  I am always honored when these stories are shared with me.  She has suffered and overcome much in her life, and has a faith  and a story that touched me deeply. 

Daughter was in a better place yesterday, which was nice.  Bell choir started back up yesterday, which I enjoyed.  Our vocal choir director came to me with two things-- a good health report for himself, and a problem with hygiene of a choir member.  I prefer good news, but I guess all news can't be good. 

The energy at the church is translating into more participation in various activities, from adult education to working the football concession stand.  We are moving forward in exciting ways.  I continue to be very grateful that God called me to serve this congregation.  Next month I will celebrate 4 years in ministry with them-- and 29 years since my ordination. 

Daughter is unhappy that she can't spend the weekends with  me, and understands why.  I still have to figure out how to better secure the pantry, and informed her she has to get better control over herself around food.  She acknowledged that the high blood sugars were the result of a friend "forcing" her to eat food.  I told her unless he tied her down and forced the food down her throat, it was her responsibility.  That shut her up. 

I did manage to get Daughter's appointment with the psychiatrist moved up.  She seems even less in touch with reality than she usually is. I am so grateful she is no longer living with me.  Life is easier when I can hang up the phone on her when she gets abusive. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014


Daughter is happy with the woman who is becoming the permanent staff member at her house.  This morning she said she no longer wanted to move.  Of course, this afternoon she wants to move because several staff members have asked her why she missed one of birth control pills.  Overall, though, she seems to be doing better. 

It was another great day at the church.  Attendance was good last week, and better this week.  A friend from the conference we attend each summer was in worship this morning.  She told me I'm preaching at the conference.  I guess that means she liked the worship service.  She did tell me she was impressed-- 4 people welcomed her before she sat down. 

I have a retreat with the regional church tomorrow and Tuesday.  I'm not looking forward to it.  I was trying to come up with an excuse not to go.  It makes for a short week in the office.  It looks like I'll get to work the concession booth at the football game Saturday.  I have told them I'm available if they need me.  Looking at the sign-up sheet, I think they'll need me.  Administrative Assistant thinks she'll be needed, too.  Neither of us is thrilled.  There are pleasurable aspects of it, and it is a lot of work. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Long Week

Daughter seemed a little better today.  It's been a long week.  I picked her up for our Friday evening children's program, but Administrative Assistant agreed to take her home.  I was exhausted.  I will pick her up before church on Sunday.  Since she got into the pantry, she can't come to the house. 

When she is in crisis like this, it is exhausting.  I don't know whether I should look for another living situation for her or not.  I'd prefer to leave her where she is, so I hope the new staff will help her feel safe there.  I never thought I'd be parenting her this intensely at this age. 

It continues to be busy at the church.  Things are going very well.  As I keep reminding AA, it's fall.  Things are going well. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Rapid Cycling

Yesterday I received an email from Case Manager.  Daughter had sent her an email asking her to convince me to let her move and get her out of the current house.  Case Manager forwarded the email to me and asked for my thoughts.  I responded that Daughter had been working on this idea for a week, and I was surprised it had lasted this long.  Yesterday she was mad at me and needed to get out of the house immediately.

This morning I picked her up to do her volunteer work at the church.  She got in the car and said, "Okay.  I'll listen.  I know you have things you want to say to me."  By the time we got to the church, she was accepting the idea that she should stay where she is and give the new staff a chance. 

By lunch time, she was mad again and refusing to work.  At some point she gave me a note demanding to go to the psych unit.   She then drew me a picture with lots of blood and a list of all the people she was going to kill before committing suicide.  She does know how to get attention. 

By suppertime she was apologizing and agreeing to stay at her current house again.  Have I mentioned dealing with her is exhausting right now?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Protective Services

I received a call from Adult Protective Services this morning.  They were investigating Daughter's house.  The gentleman who called went out and talked to Daughter this afternoon. 

Daughter is adamant that she wants out of her house and will not go to another group home.  She's recruiting a couple from her program to take her in.  Of course, this weekend she broke into my pantry again, and I'm sure these people have no idea of what would be involved in taking care of her.  She wants me to meet them.  She is quite convincing.  I finally told her I'd think about it.  I'm not sure what to do at this point.  I have not heard anything from the Home Owner, who didn't respond to either of my texts yesterday.  She also hasn't responded to the one I sent today about Daughter's program needing more needles. 

I suppose I need to talk to Case Manager at some point.  I find the silence from the house and Case Manager interesting.  You'd think they'd want to offer me some reassurance....


Daughter has been having problems with the main staff person at her house.  Staff keeps her TV on all night.  She doesn't always measure Daughter's food or follow her diet.  She complains  to Daughter about things going on in the house, and then tells her not to tell anybody. 

This afternoon Daughter called me.  They were back at the house, but no one was answering the door.  I texted Home Owner, but she didn't  respond.  I tried calling her, but she didn't pick up and her voice mail box was full.  Eventually 3 buses were in front of the house waiting for someone to let the women in.  They eventually decided to call police, as they couldn't wait indefinitely.  Case Manager called Daughter, and Daughter told her what was going on.  Case Manager got someone over there. 

They went and looked in Staff's bedroom.  It was empty.  Apparently, she quit today without telling anyone.  Daughter was quite distressed about it.  "She didn't even say good by!" Once they got in, she called me, sobbing.  During the crisis, she sounded fairly calm.

She continues to complain about having to be the strong one.  She's the only resident with a cell phone and decent communication skills.  I hope the next person hired will have a bit more sense than the last one did. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Daughter's Big Plans

Daughter likes to dance.  She hasn't had any formal instruction, but she enjoys it.  Staff members have seen her dancing at her program, and they decided to give her a chance to teach a dance class in October.  She is very excited. 

This morning she was up before me, working on a list of things she needed for the dance class:
  • a boom box
  • CD's
  • towels
  • dance shoes
  • wood dance floor
  • mirrors
  • a rack for dance shoes
  • a rack for walkers (one class will be for people in wheel chairs and using walkers)
  • little water bottles
  • a refrigerator for the water bottles
So at breakfast we sat down and talked.  I asked her about the goal for the class.  She finally decided it is to have fun.   We talked about what would make it fun.  We talked about encouraging people to move and praising them for any movement at all.  We talked about being positive.  We talked about keeping it simple.  She decided that she has what she needs, though she would like to get the soundtrack from the movie Fame. 

She does like to make big plans.  I was amazed at how easy it was to downsize those plans today.  She's in a good, cooperative mood.  I like having her around when she's like this. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's Fall

Several times this week I found myself thinking, "Yup, it's fall."  After a wonderful Labor Day with Sister Best Friend, I jumped into  a full week on Tuesday.  I first thought, "It's fall," as I was arriving home just before 9:00 that night.  There were two late nights this week.  We had more people stopping by the office.  They are beginning to come back  from their cottages on various lakes. We kick off our fall program on Sunday.  We've made some adjustments to the order of worship. 

Daughter has been in crisis, and quite frankly, I understand why she doesn't feel safe.  Staff wasn't going to give her a bedtime snack Monday night.  I had to explain the importance of a snack in light of her blood sugar.  She finally agreed to give her half a sandwich.  They ran out of needles for her insulin pens, so she spent two day reusing needles, which puts her at risk of infection.  Staff is in the bedroom next to her, and keeps her TV on all night.  Daughter says she's not sleeping well. 

When I picked her up and brought her home this evening, she disappeared. I finally called her name, asking where she was.  She was snuggling in my bed.  She felt safe there.  I've emailed the home owner, who was on vacation.  Daughter called in tears this evening.  Home owner is in the hospital following  and auto accident.  I'm  dreading the possibility that I'll have to move her again. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Boy Friend and a Good Week

I told Daughter her new Boy Friend needed to call me.  He did, and I told him that Daughter had a history of sexual abuse, and didn't like men touching her.  I went on to say she'd actually made false accusations in the past.  He decided they'd stick with phone calls for now.  Daughter is disappointed, I'm relieved.

I saw the orthopedic surgeon today.  While my arm hasn't healed, there is definite improvement.  I go back in February for "one last x-ray."  I'm relieved. 

I've been busy as we gear  up for fall.  I'm excited about  the plans we are making.  God is doing exciting things at the church, and it's amazing.  This past week I had a board meeting, scheduled interviews for a new childcare provider, wrote interpretive material for out fall theme, visited a woman who has had a recurrence of her cancer, and is quite frustrated with her doctor, worked on our website, helped plan a Taize worship service, picked music through the first Sunday in October, walked the prayer path one of our members is building through the woods on our property, dealt with property issues, visited  with people dropping  in, and laughed.  We laugh  a lot in the office.  We love what we are doing, and have a genuine joy about it.  I love it when I get to do a bit of everything.  It is a huge stress reliever when Daughter is more relaxed and happier.  Knowing that my bones are finally healing is wonderful. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Good Day

Daughter is back in a good mood.  She's asking for more furniture in her room, so I guess she's decided not to go to the homeless shelter. 

We are gearing up for fall at the church.  We've been working ahead, but it still feels like it is coming too fast. We've been working on the website and Treasurer is pondering a move to another state.  Administrative Assistant and I don't like that idea, but we will find someone to take his place if he does move. 

Friday I go get another x-ray on my arm.  Six weeks ago it still hadn't healed.  It's now been over 6 months since the second surgery with the bone graft.  I have now had a broken arm for 15 months.  I found a study online.  I am getting appropriate treatment.  It will eventually heal, but according to the study, it could take as long as 18 months.  Obviously I'm hoping it will take less time.  I am lining up people to clear the snow from my driveway this winter.  Even if it has healed, that may put  too much stress on it. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Here We Go Again-- with a twist

Daughter has a new boyfriend.  This time, though, her boyfriend is not developmentally handicapped.  He is a young man who recently joined the church.  He lives with his parents, but he has a car and a job.  They have been talking after church, and yesterday he gave her his phone number.  He wants to know why they can "hang out."

Here comes the twist:  he is a registered sex offender (children).  His neighbor warned me when he got out of prison and started attending worship.  He has acknowledged being an ex-con, but has not talked about  his offenses.  Right now, I'm delaying Daughter.  I think, though, I'm going to have to have a conversation with him.  If Daughter feels threatened, she may accuse him of sexual abuse and he might find himself back in jail.  I'm also concerned about Daughter, of course.  He could see her as an easy target. 

The good news is that she is in a much better mood this week. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Rough Weeks

I apologize for my long absence.  The last few weeks have been rough.  Daughter has been in full drama queen mode.  I have been doing a lot of writing at the church, and after dealing with Daughter, I just don't have the energy to do any more writing when I get home.

She wants out of the house and her program. I have hung up on her numerous times over the last few weeks, as I didn't need the verbal abuse.  Some highlights from the last few weeks: 

  •  One of the other residents hit her. She had a little bit of bruising, and within a day, it was gone.  She stayed home from program one day, and then when she went back she told them her left ear and eye hadn't worked properly since she was hit. They were convinced she had a serious head injury.  I "cured" her by telling her that I wanted to rest her eye and ear by not watching TV or listening to her music.  I had to stop them from taking her to the ER. 
  • She insisted she wasn't safe in the house, that all the residents were violent, that staff was messing up her medications, and she needed to move immediately.  When I wouldn't come get her out of their immediately, she told me she was going to pack what she needed and move to a homeless shelter.
  • She was hysterical at program one day, insisting I needed to come talk to her.  Staff called me, unsure of what to do.  I talked to her on the phone  and told her to cut it out, calm down, and ride the bus home. 
  • Her house was going on an outing.  She didn't want to go.  It was on a Sunday, and informed me that if I didn't let her come to church, she was done with the church and God. Being a mean mom, I made her go.  That evening she called and was telling me about how much fun she'd had.  She told me they were already talking about  doing it again next year.  Then she paused, "If they do it next year, please don't make me go."  
  • She claims she isn't safe at program, because she is constantly harassed and kicked.  
  • She did a bunch of extra blood sugar testing, using up all her test strips.  When I confronted her on it, she said she didn't remember doing it.  I guess she thought that was a way of getting around a direct lie.  I informed her the fact that she didn't remember now didn't mean she didn't know it was wrong when she did it.  
  • She complained that people were getting in her room.  Someone had stolen her dress and put popsicle wrappers under her bed.  I told her that explained the high blood sugars she'd been having.  Once again, she didn't remember eating them.  Once again I told her even if she didn't remember now, she knew it was wrong at the time.  Her dress had fallen off the hanger and was on the floor or her closet.
  • We went to a baseball game with the church.  She insisted she was sick and dying, trying to convince me to leave early.  I refused.  It was amazing how she had a brief recovery to watch and enjoy the fireworks before going back to being sick and dying.
There are were other incidents as well, but once they are over I try to forget.  It's a survival skill with her I learned a long time ago. 

Thursday evening I had a sudden insight into what might be behind all of this.  Over a month ago she had expressed a longing to see the younger of her two birth brothers.  I gave her two times in August when I would take her to meet him halfway.  She contacted him.  He never responded to or even acknowledged her contact.   As were pulling in a restaurant parking lot, I asked her if this was about her brother.  She wondered what made me say that.  I said I'd just been thinking.  She asked me to keep driving around so we could talk, as she didn't want to cry in the restaurant.  We sat in the parking lot for quite a while, talking about her brother.  She sobbed.  I reminded her that he had been damaged, just as she had been.  She recently received a ring from birth mom.  She refused to wear it, as she didn't want to see a constant reminder of her birth family.  She asked me to hide it, because she knew she would  be tempted to wear it, and that wouldn't be good.  I suggested that might be the way Brother felt about seeing her.  Later that evening she sent me a text thanking me for the talk.

Are we through this round of crises?  I hope so.  I've been wondering, though, if discontinuing her lithium (she was developing thyroid issues that could be connected to it) might be behind some of this. 

Hopefully I will find the time and energy to blog more frequently in the future.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Daughter and New Staff

Daughter does not like change, so she's never thrilled when there is new staff at her house.  She always tells me she doesn't know their name.  She resents having to take orders from them.  She worries that they will mess up her meds and diet.  She called to complain yesterday, and informed me she didn't have to do anything until she was told by Home Owner.  I told her she needed to listen to and respect all the staff.

As I was taking her home this evening, she told me what hard it is for her to train new staff and make sure  they are doing everything right.  I reminded her that she is not the boss, and that she needs to listen to and respect staff, even when they are new. She always responds, "Yes, Mom," or "I know, Mom" in  very submissive way.  Somehow I doubt she is that submissive at the house. 

I'm picking her up after supper tomorrow to spend the weekend.  She will help me get some things done around the house. 

The first week back went well. It's good to be back to work.  I'm enjoying the last few slow weeks before things get really busy again, and trying to get as much done ahead of time as possible. Administrative Assistant and I are back in sync, so that's good. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back to Work

Administrative Assistant's prediction of a constant stream of visitors for today was not accurate, and I'm grateful.  There have only been a couple.  Treasurer and I chatted for a while.  He has some interesting things going on in his family, and we have some interesting dilemmas with the church finances.  We are dealing with some major building issues, and need to determine where we will find the money to address them.  I think we have a plan.  He also reported about a potential conflict I will need to address, and I have a plan for addressing it.  It really is good to be back to work. 

The committee responsible for worship and education is meeting tonight, and as I worked on the agenda, I realized that this could be a very long meeting.  We continue to have more opportunities, and I hope we will embrace those opportunities.  I read an article today that talks about how being the pastor of a growing church can be exhausting.  It described our situation beautifully.  I'm going to share it with the board, as we will have a discussion of their priorities for my work.  I can't do it all, much as I'd like to.  It will be interesting to see where they think I can cut back. 

Daughter called me at 7:30 this morning, and I haven't heard from her since.  She is becoming so much more independent.  It's great to see her maturing and becoming more responsible. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

One Hundred Fourteen Years of Experience

I had a wedding this evening.  The couple live across the street from each other, and their spouses died within days of each other several years ago.  Between them they had 114 years of experience in marriage.  They are a neat couple, and I enjoyed working with them.  By the time they came to talk to me, they had planned out a prenuptial agreement and agreed on the fact that their children would be responsible for medical decisions.  They sat through most of the ceremony, as standing was hard for the man.  They had a reception at the church following the service. 

They had arranged for the pianist to play a special song for the recessional.  It was supposed to be small and simple, but weddings always grow. Always.  They went from 50-60 max to over 70.  Their families were meeting each other for the first time today. 

Today we worshiped at the church.  I told them that after 3 Sundays away, I was ready to come home.  People were glad to see us back.  I told Administrative Assistant that I anticipate that I will have a steady stream of visitors tomorrow.  She agreed, and suggested I not plan on getting any other work done.  I think she's right.  I'm grateful I went in Thursday to get a head start on some things.  I'm pretty much ready for tomorrow evening's meeting, which will have a long agenda.

Daughter had a good weekend with me, and I'm grateful. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Day of Depression

It seems like every time I go to see my orthopedic surgeon and look at x-rays of my unhealed radius and ulna, I come home and am depressed the rest of the day.  I saw him yesterday.  He pulled out all the previous x-rays so we could compare them.  The good news is that it's not any worst, and it may be marginally better.  Yesterday was exactly 5 months after the second surgery.   I did some research last night and found a research paper on non-union of the ulna and/or radius.  According to the paper, those treated like mine all healed within 18 months,and the median time to heal was 7 months.  Reading the paper was reassuring. For now, I continue to wear the brace and be careful what I do. 

I picked up Daughter yesterday evening, and today is a better day.  We went out to breakfast and to the grocery store, and then came back and tackled the list of things I  wanted to get done before I go back to work.  The kitchen is now clean, and I have gluten free, dairy free preservative free pizza in the freezer along with a dozen sandwiches.  There are some more things I want to get done, but we've made a great start, and if the essentials are done. 

I'm really looking forward to getting back into the routine.  I have ideas percolating for fall, so I'm looking forward to getting them fleshed out. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Into the Office

I went into the office for a while this morning.  The worship committee is meeting Monday evening, and I wanted to make sure that Administrative Assistant and I had a coherent proposal for some recommended tweaks to worship.  It was also good to catch up with her and some of what's going on at the church.  I have decided we're going to worship there on Sunday, even though technically I'm still on vacation.  I'm ready to be back home. 

I also need to get back into some sort of routine.  I'm still pondering how to adjust my life into a healthier routine.  It's going to take some work. 

Daughter has handled her re-entry fairly well.  There have been staff changes at her house, but she seems to be taking that in stride.  I saw some members today when Daughter and I went to the local diner for lunch.  They were glad to see us, and said they'd missed us both.  I believe them. 

It is good to be back.  Very good to be back. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Conference

Before our camping adventures we attended the conference we go to each year.  This year Daughter decided to take adult classes.  The last few  years she has been helping with the children.  A movie clip in class a number of years ago triggered her PTSD, so when the children's coordinator heard about it, she offered her the opportunity to help with one of the children's classes. 

I was delighted to hear good reports from both of her instructors.  The woman leading the Bible study said Daughter has a "wise soul."  I was pleased that she did so well, and am grateful for a nurturing, supportive community that understands her and gives her that opportunity. 

Daughter also did well with her food choices in the buffet line.  There was one morning when she selected two waffles and two hash brown patties for her breakfast.  I informed her that was too many carbs and confiscated the hash browns.  That was the only time we had an issue, and she had a very good week.

I hid the first few days.   I attended my one class and then retreated to my room, where I did some reading and rested.  I just needed some time to myself before I was ready to engage the community.  It was a healing week, and I'm grateful that we were able to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Adventures in Camping Part 2

One of Daughter's days when we were at the mall, I convinced her we should get massages at the Chinese massage place.  I got us both 20 minute chair massages.  Working that day were a woman and a man.  The woman took me and the man took Daughter.  I realized part way through that was probably not a good idea.  Sure enough, when we were done, Daughter was furious.  "That man was touching my a**!"  We were side by side, out in the open, so I know nothing improper happened.  I also know that any touch to certain areas of her body are very difficult for Daughter.  I tried to hide my amusement from Daughter, as I know for her it was really was distressing.  But the way she was saying it was rather amusing.  She normally doesn't use that type of language. 

We did a couple of short hikes, but they were all relatively close by and none led to spectacular overlooks.  I didn't want to do the driving, and I was trying to avoid the crowds,as there was a big festival in the area that had attracted lots of tourists.  The more popular hiking spots would have required longer travel through more traffic. 

Vacations can be challenging, as I want to go be away from people and rest.  Daughter isn't thrilled with the outdoors, and wants to be around people and shop and go to movies.  She loves the crowds I hate.  Obviously, on rainy days or days when it's extremely hot, we seek out things to do indoors, which thrills Daughter.  We didn't even take any of our scenic drives this year.  What I did do, which was helpful, was read.  After Daughter went to bed for the night, I sat by the campfire with my Kindle and read.  I finished Barbara Brown Taylor's new book, "Learning to Walk in the Dark,"  which I really enjoyed.  I also spent some time with my journal.  One of the things I was pondering was my level of exhaustion.  I began lists of the the things that energize me and the things that drain me.  My goal is to do a better job of balancing those things.  One of the things I realized is that having a messy house is exhausting for me.  I'm going to work  to get it in shape before I start back to work next week and then make keeping it clean a priority.

We had one night when it poured rain.  Some friends from church were camping there,and offered us shelter in their camper.  Daughter wanted to accept their offer, but I declined.  She cried when we got back to our campsite, and I think had some genuine fear about being in our tent during the rain.  I went to bed at the same time, and assured her we were safe.  Our tent stayed dry, but everything in our screen house got wet.  I'm pondering replacing the screen house before next year.  It is old and is a real challenge to set up and take down each year.  The roof has sprung a number of leaks, which limits its usefulness.  Initial research online has been disappointing, but I will continue to look. 

Today I have designated a lazy day.  I'm hoping the grass will dry enough that I can mow it this afternoon.  It rained this morning.  It was weird-- after getting used to the sound of rain on the tent, I didn't recognize it initially on the roof.  I guess I haven't adjusted completely to being back home. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Adventures in Camping Part 1

We got home today from a week of camping.  Overall, it was a very good week.  We tent camp.  We have a tent and a screen house.  We have a fairly elaborate kitchen set-up, with a propane stove and a container that has silverware drawers, storage for plates, bowls, and such, and spice racks on the side.  This year I traded in my air mattress for a cot, which gives us more room in the tent (we can store things under the cot).  I had used a cot for years, but 14 years ago we were rear-ended on the interstate, and the resulting back pain caused me to shift from a cot to an air mattress.

Daughter was amazingly cooperative.  Our first day was rainy, so I let Daughter choose the activities for the day.  We ended up shopping and going to see Earth to Echo.  That evening some members joined us for a concert.  I had planned to prepare a meal over the campfire, but it was still raining.  It did stop in time for a fire and s'mores following the concert. 

Last year was very hot.  This year was very cool.  The temperature was down into the 40's a couple of nights.  We had to go out and buy blankets to supplement our sleeping bags.  Once we added the blankets, we slept quite comfortably. 

For the first time ever, I complained about some neighbors.  The people next to us had a small tent and screen house.  They had a huge tv in the screen house, that was on pretty much all the time.  I came back form the restroom at 2:00 in the morning and the tv was on.  Most of the time, it was down so low we could barely hear it.  There were two men, a woman, and teenage girl.  The men disappeared all day, while the others were there all the time.  I finally heard enough to realize that the men were going off to work.  They had at least one person sleeping in the screen house, which couldn't have been good the nights it was raining. 

Then came the evening that another daughter joined them.  She was either yelling or crying. The tv got turned up, and at 11:00 I went to bed listening to a documentary about ghosts-- not exactly pleasant things to listen to while camping.  At 7:00 the next morning, the screaming began.  The woman was swearing up a storm.  I looked over at Daughter, and her eyes were open and she was clearly terrified.  "Can we go to a motel now?" 

In the restroom that morning everyone was talking about it-- several asked me how we'd gotten any sleep.  I knew people were complaining, so as we headed out that morning, I added my complaint.  As we prepared to head back to the campground, Daughter kept asking to do more including things she normally hated doing.  Finally she said, "Mom, I'm afraid those people will still be there."  I told her the ranger had promised to go take care of it right away. 

When we got back, the people were packing up.  Another daughter and toddler had joined them.  They packed an extended cab pick-up truck to overflowing, then packed 7 people and a large dog into the cab and left.  As they were leaving I heard one of the daughter say, "Mom used the n-word!"  I guess they knew the source of some of the complaining.  I had explained to the ranger that Daughter has severe PTSD, and I suspect that got passed along.  Fortunately, Daughter didn't hear the comment, and I didn't care what they said as long as they left.  It was wonderfully quiet after they left. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jealousy and Points

Daughter is jealous because I am on vacation this week and she still is at her house attending her day program.  Yesterday she tried to convince me that she needed to take this week off to get ready for vacation.  She had a number of arguments:

  • She was too stressed to work.
  • The workshop didn't have any work, anyway.
  • She needs a break from all the drama at the workshop.  
I listened and then pointed out that being at the workshop would distract her from her worries about v vacation.  I also pointed out that she gets very bored and frustrated when she's not at the workshop.  She acknowledged I had a point, and dropped the subject.

Last night she called me, "Good night to the mom who knows me too well and has too many good points."

I've spent my first day of vacation being very lazy.  I did get the lawn mowed between thunder storms.  I also listened to several lectures and sermons from the Festival of Homiletics.  I bought all the recordings last week.  I'm enjoying them tremendously.  I guess that's not technically a vacation activity, but I find it feeds my soul,and that is what I needed.  

Friday, June 20, 2014


I decided yesterday that it was past time for my arm braced to be washed.  It has to be washed by hand and air dried.  It is drying, but very slowly.  So, today I haven't been able to wear the brace.  I thought it would be okay, since I was not planning to do much.  I've been very careful, not doing much of anything.  My arm hurts.  It's probably bothered me more today than it has in months.  I am discouraged, to say the least.

I did manage to get everything done in the office yesterday.  I have a few emails to answer, and one sermon and a meeting, but then I will be on vacation.  I'm ready for vacation.  I'm ready for down time.  

Monday, June 16, 2014

One More

I have one more sermon, and then I'm on vacation.  I'm tired.  I'm more than ready for vacation.   Even with my exhaustion, though, yesterday was a good day.  Two people mentioned specific changes a spouse said they were going to make after hearing yesterday's sermon.  I was still getting good comments about the previous week's worship service, too. 

Daughter is confused by the fact that I've changed the pattern for this vacation.  I'm off a week before we head to our conference.  She will not be off that week.  I told her I needed a week of vacation before I'd be ready for her.  Administrative Assistant said yesterday that she's noticed I'm getting grumpy and I'm ready for vacation. 

I got a call today about Daughter's insurance.  I get so tired of dealing with their mistakes.  So tired.  I wish I could take a vacation from that. 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Yesterday I was at a regional church meeting all day.  They aren't my favorite thing to do.  This one wasn't too far away-- just over an hour.  I went with a colleague, which made for a pleasant drive.  Administrative Assistant complained.  She had people in and out of the office all day.  She said she now knows what my Mondays are like. 

Daughter was talking about how much she enjoyed her house yesterday.  Today she called and told me she needed to talk to her Case Manager ASAP.  She is ready to move out.  She wants her own apartment.  I reminded her that yesterday she like her house.  I also informed her that we wouldn't be talking about anymore freedom for her until she had gone a full year without eating extra food or taking extra insulin.  She was not happy. 

This evening she informed me she thought she might just want to stay home tomorrow instead of working at the church.  I reminded her she'd said she didn't want to stay in the house.  I also told her she could do whatever she wanted, but she had to let me know what she was doing this evening.  She asked if the work would be waiting for her next week.  I assured her it would.  She called about an hour later to announce she's going to be at the church tomorrow. 

It should be interesting.  I've gotten very good at not getting sucked into her drama.  I think she finds that very frustrating.  

Monday, June 9, 2014


Yesterday was Pentecost, the day when the church celebrates the coming of the Holy Spirit.  We revealed our new vision statement, and 4 members got up to talk about some aspect of it.  3 of them gave testimonies, which is not something that generally happens in our denomination.  They all got applause.  They all deserved it, because they did an amazing job.  The Holy Spirit was at work among us yesterday, and it was wonderful.  There have been a number of good comments posted on facebook about the worship service, which is nice.  Even Daughter told me how much she liked the service. 

I realized today how stressful the build up had been.  We also unveiled our revamped logo, and the company that was making a clean copy of the logo we designed needed 3 attempts to get it right.  This morning I felt much lighter.  Of course, the fact that there are only 2 more sermons until vacation undoubtedly helped, too. 

Tomorrow I have an all day meeting, so this will be a short week.  Fortunately, I already have some ideas for this coming Sunday.  Now that I'm less stressed, hopefully I'll work more efficiently. 

Friday, June 6, 2014


Daughter deleted all my phone numbers from her phone.  She was mad at me.  Why was she mad at me?  Because I wasn't happy when she went to sleep after I told her what time I would pick her up yesterday morning.  I called her 8 times on my way there, and she didn't answer the phone.  She knew I was coming and that she was supposed to be watching for me.  I was picking her up at 8:30, and she knew that.

When confronted with her misdeeds, she works hard at becoming the victim.  She got my home number, but wanted my cell and church number.  I told her she'd have to wait.  She threatened to delete me again.  I told her that was fine, but she was going to have to live with the consequences of her actions for a while. 

She eventually turned it around and did her usual work yesterday, but it was not a very pleasant day.  I basically ignored her.  I had plenty to do, so it was easy to ignore her.  I kicked her out of my study when I was meeting with a couple about a wedding, and she went from pouting to working at that point. 

Not that I'm counting, but 3 sermons to vacation.  I haven't done anything today.  I'm so ready for that vacation....

Wednesday, June 4, 2014


So since Monday night's meeting, I've had three different people directly or indirectly express frustration with some of the negative comments that were made.  One of the women commented about a man who said he felt worship was lacking "a spark" and had become routine and boring, "I wanted to ask him what that said about his spiritual life."  Another woman emailed a document she was working on and told me how much she'd appreciated my sermons recently. 

I know we have a great deal of variety in worship.  I know we try new things.  I know that I work hard to vary the sermon style.  I know that attendance is steadily increasing. I also know that different things speak to different people.  Apparently what we are doing is not speaking to some people.  I will continue to seek to change things up.  Right now, my focus is getting through the next 3 sermons.  In less than 3 weeks, I'll be on vacation.  I will start by sleeping, probably for a good long time. 

I also know that at the July meeting, I am going to ask the board to talk about the priorities for how I spend my time.  Do they want me doing more pastoral care?  Do they want me doing less reading?  If I do less reading, do they understand that will have an impact on both sermon quality and the leadership education I do? 

I have no idea where that conversation will go.  I'm hoping that I will return from vacation with the energy to juggle more things.  This week, in addition to the normal things, I'm meeting with a couple about getting married (they are both in their 80's-- a neat couple).  I'm being asked to sign off on a number of publicity pieces for the new vision.  I've needed to give feedback on the reworking of our website.  At some point I'll need to write some new content for it, but that may need to wait until after vacation.  I also have 2 end of the year dinners for the choirs.  I'd like to skip the one tonight, but I know that would raise questions, so I'll go.  I will probably leave early, though.  I'm tired. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tired and Grumpy

I am tired and grumpy as vacation approaches (3 more sermons).  Last night's meeting with our worship and education folks didn't help.  We have one worship service on Sunday, yet all of these things were asserted as fact last night:
  • We don't sing enough traditional hymns.
  • All we ever sing are traditional hymns.
  • 90% of the music we sing the congregation doesn't know.
I could go on, but you get the idea.  They didn't even recognize that they were contradicting themselves.  Two of the women sitting across the table from me were staring at me, waiting to see if I would blow up.  I just sat there.  One of them finally got angry, as she has been involved in picking music and knows the care we take with it.

I told Administrative Assistant that it looks like the honeymoon is over.  It is impossible to please them all, especially since their demands are contradictory.  I am tired and grumpy.  This Sunday we will be announcing our new vision statement, and I suspect that that is creating some anxiety.  We have been dealing with a great deal of change, and the congregation is growing, which also creates anxiety.  When I'm not able to remain calm, it increases the anxiety, and people end up complaining about singing too many traditional hymns and not enough traditional hymns and don't realize that it is contradictory.  

Because of Daughter, I know that what they're complaining about is not the real issue.  I know I'm a target, and I don't necessarily deserve the things being tossed my way.  I'm tired and grumpy, though, which makes it harder to deal with all of this in a constructive manner.   I spent some time with my journal this morning, and that helped.  I think once the new vision statement is announced, that will help, too.  It really does grow out of our identity and formalizes what we are already doing.   I have yet to hear from anyone who doesn't like it.  Hopefully that will continue.  3 more sermons, and I will have 4 weeks to recover.  When I return, I won't be tired and grumpy. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Daughter's Heart

In worship I always ask for joys and concerns prior to the prayer time.  On the way to church, Daughter asked me to pray for one of her current house mates.  She's been having a hard time and creating chaos in the house.  Daughter said, "I know she doesn't mean to.  She just can't stop herself."  I was impressed with her empathy towards this woman who she finds so annoying.  When I asked during worship, prayers were requested for the daughter of a shut-in member.  Her daughter was just diagnosed with breast cancer, and is facing surgery.  She is having a difficult time understanding it.  Daughter knows this woman-- they were housemates in her first placement, and she still sees her regularly when all the group homes go to the VFW for jazz night. 

Daughter was sitting in the front row, and I could see her reaction.  She had a look of shock, and then her eyes filled with tears.  She began to cry, but she was working hard to control it.  I suspect I'm the only one who saw her crying.  I went over and placed a hand on her shoulder as I continued to collect prayer concerns.  We had a conversation about her friend on the way home.  I mentioned all the women she knows who are breast cancer survivors, and I suggested she make a get well card for her and pray for her.  When I dropped her off at home, she was planning what the card would look like. 

She has a heart full of compassion.  Yes, she can create drama and be attention seeking, and she has a good heart. 

In other news, today our attendance was excellent-- Easter was the only Sunday this year it was higher.  It's great to see the growth taking place.  One of the women who has been visiting brought a friend with her today.  I think we will have more people than I thought joining the church in a couple of weeks.  I'm grateful for the growth we are experiencing.  We now have 24 raised garden beds, and all of them have been taken, most of them by people in the community.  Our neighbors are surprised when they call and find out the beds are free.  It's our gift to them.   

Saturday, May 31, 2014


I have been looking for things I can delegate and places where I can cut back.  I've been spending a great deal of time at the church, and it's taking a toll on me.  So this past week the personnel chair met with me to share a shift in my priorities.  They want me to spend more time in one area of ministry.  They realize that means I'll have to cut back elsewhere.  I asked what it was they wanted me to cut back.  She said that was up to me.  I couldn't figure out what to cut before they added another responsibility.  I know that vacation is approaching, and I'm experiencing the level of fatigue that tends to hit me as vacation comes near.  I'm tired.  I've pushed myself all year, and now I'm grumpy.  I don't like being grumpy. 

At the last board meeting, we were trying to figure out when to schedule a new member class.  I suggested it might need to wait until after my vacation.  They didn't think that was a good idea.  I've scheduled it for next Sunday following worship.  I sent notes to 8 individuals, inviting them to the class.  I know that there are a couple of them who may not be able to come next Sunday, so that means I'll have to work something else out for them.  I have no clue what that will be, but I'll figure it out. 

Next week is Pentecost and the announcement of our new vision statement.  I've been having meetings almost every week on this since January.  There is still a lot of work to be done.  We're recruiting various people to talk about the vision statement and how they have experienced it.   We also have a new logo that will be revealed.  After the reveal on the 8th,  I need to begin planning for fall.  We will be exploring the new vision in more depth September-November. 

It's strange, not having Daughter here for the weekend.  It's nice not to have to lock things up, but I do miss her.  She hasn't been calling as often, which is usually a good job.  The current boy friend is going to come to church tomorrow. 

I mowed the lawn today, using my new mower for the first time.  I had a few challenges with it, but once I figured things out, it was fine.  I also spent some time weeding and pruning in my gardens.  I hope I can get some members to come help me with weeding and spreading mulch.  I know I can't do those on my own with my weak wrist. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Short Week

It was a short week in the office.  Home Owner took Daughter shopping today, so she wasn't in the church office until this afternoon.  Both Administrative Assistant and I were thrown off by this-- it felt like Wednesday, not Thursday.  I should be able to take tomorrow completely off, which will be nice.  I think I'll tackle the paper jungle here at home. 

Daughter had an appointment with the Psychiatrist yesterday.  Case Manager is still struggling to understand Daughter, but I think Home Owner is beginning to get her.  We talked about the insulin issues. 

I bought a new lawn mower on Monday.  I will use it for the first time this weekend.  I need to put the oil that came with it in and then buy some gas, and it will be good to go.  It's electric start.  There are still some people who are unhappy about my decision to go back to mowing.  I told them that mowing is easier on my wrist than some other things that need doing in the yard, so I'd prefer their help on the weeding and spreading mulch.  I think one of the men is actually going to recruit some workers to do just that.  '

I think my wrist is getting better.  AA and I were looking at it today, we think there was swelling that has gone down, so that's good.  Hopefully the next x-ray (in 2 weeks) will show it has healed completely.  Hopefully....

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Gardens

Yesterday I spent some time outside doing one handed weeding.  I didn't want to kneel down (and push up with my hands), so I was bending over.  Today I have a sore back.  I'm also tired, as Daughter took extra insulin during the night and had a low at 5:30.  She won't be spending weekends with me for a while.

I have had three different church members use my lawn mower and mow my lawn.  They all thought it was terrible.  I had been thinking about buying a new lawn mower, and I began to think about it and realized that maybe, with a better mower, it wouldn't be the strain on my wrist and I could do it now.  Treasurer had recommended the kind of mower he bought last year, and offered to let me try it out to see if I liked it.  I went to talk to Treasurer about it today.  He said he'd bring it over tomorrow and I could try it, and then he'd mow my lawn.  He then went to talk to another man, D, who had volunteered to mow my yard this week.  D came over and informed me a major conflict was brewing in the church, as I was trying to mow my lawn and wouldn't let them mow it.  I told him that there is so much I can't do, and if I have a decent mower, maybe this is something I could do.  He's going to bring his mower over for me to try tomorrow.  His was also new last year, and has electric start and was less expensive than the one Treasurer bought.

Daughter did clean the kitchen yesterday, and I'm grateful.  I was going to post something about how well she's doing, but then she took extra insulin.  I didn't even have to praise her this time for her to sabotage herself.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Wrist

Monday afternoon I began wearing a brace on my wrist.  I have much less pain now.  I'm hoping the brace will be the final step to complete the healing.  I'm looking forward to the day that the fracture line is no longer visible. 

Some college friends were arranging a reunion for a weekend in June.  I rearranged my vacation plans to be there.  Today they decided to postpone the reunion until October.  I'm not very happy, and neither is the one who'd already bought an airline ticket.  We may just have a smaller gathering.  It will be nice to have the 15th off.  That's the Sunday after Pentecost and the big reveal of our new vision statement and logo.  I'm sure I'll be tired. 

With Administrative Assistant back, it's been a productive week.  In addition to sermon and PowerPoint, I've also picked worship themes through the end of August, done some work on interpretive material for the new vision statement, and written a bunch of newsletter articles.  I shouldn't have to do any work on Friday or Saturday, which will be very nice. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

She's Back!

Administrative Assistant was back in the office today.  We had asked her to come back with a memory, as we needed someone with a good memory in the office.  Today I had to let her into the church, since she had forgotten her keys.  I told her it wasn't a promising start.  She had a wonderful vacation, and is glad to be back. 

It was good to have company in the office.  We had several people drop in today.  With one of the visitors, we turned our backs on him and went to work (after we'd taken care of his reason for coming in).  He continued to talk for a while before he finally got up and left. 

Daughter seems to be doing well.  She has really has cut down on the number of times she calls me each day.  It's nice.  She has asked to come spend the weekend with me.  I told her I'd think about it.  I'll probably have her come. 

Monday, May 19, 2014


For the first time since I broke my wrist over a year ago, it is now immobilized in a brace (which I requested over a cast).  It looks like the bones are healing, but the pain is a concern.  I'm confident that the brace will help.  When the doctor saw me, he announced he was going to South America.  I know this has frustrated and puzzled him. 

Administrative Assistant is back in the office tomorrow.  One of the men was talking about something he needed her to do.  I told him he had to wait until Wednesday.  Just the mail on her desk will be a little overwhelming. 

Daughter and I have cleaned my office at the church.  It is wonderful!  I am enjoying working in it again.  Now it's time to go do some work....

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Restaurant Game

It's been a while since she played it, but today Daughter decided it was time to play the restaurant game.  We went out to eat after worship.  Daughter zoomed in on the highest carb portion of the menu, knowing I would veto anything she chose from that area.  That gave her the excuse she needed to spend the rest of the meal pouting. 

Overall, it was a good weekend with her here.  She did a lot of cleaning.  Friday  I was going to go outside and pull dandelions.  She decided she wanted to stay inside and clean.  She handed me the bicycle lock for the refrigerator door before I went out and asked me to put it on.  I did.  I'm glad she's asking for that support, and sorry she still needs it. 

Administrative Assistant is back in town.  Her daughter was in worship this morning and offered that assurance.  I was pleased.  I look forward to seeing her on Tuesday. 

Now I get to enjoy a quiet Sunday afternoon.  I may even take a nap. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

I Made It!

Administrative Assistant returns to work Tuesday.  I officially survived her vacation. Daughter folded bulletins and announcements for Sunday today.  AA had done most of the work before she left, so all I had to do was add a few things. I still have to finish the PowerPoint and do some stuff for the Monday night board meeting, but this week was better in terms of getting work done, even though I had a lunch meeting and an overnight retreat.

In other news, I am having an increasing amount of pain in my left arm, and it has moved from the wrist to the area of the break.  It's been raining all week, so I'm going to wait and see if it improves with the weather.  I suspect I will be going to see the surgeon next week.  I am very discouraged.  I'm going to ask him about alternatives other than surgery if there is a problem.  It has now been over a year.  I broke the arm on May 11, and the first surgery was May 12.  The second surgery was February 18.

Daughter has a doctor's appointment tomorrow morning, so she came home with me today, and will be with me all weekend.   I'm hoping she will help me get the house cleaned up.  It looks like it will be too wet and cold to work in the garden.  I am hoping for a productive weekend.  Bringing order to my chaos would certainly be a mood booster, and I need one right now.