Friday, January 31, 2014


I played Scrabble today.  I was invited to join two single women in the congregation for some Scrabble.  It was fun.  I enjoyed the games and the conversation.  Like me, they allow the use of the Scrabble dictionary.  I was delighted to see they've added some words to the dictionary-- like quo.  They also play by the German rules, which give the players 8 letters instead of 7.  I liked that, too.

Daughter seems to be doing very well right now.  She is not calling as often, and does not seem to be generating drama.  At least, she's not bringing it to me.  She called today and told me Home Owner and Case Manager were meeting, and Home Owner wanted to know when her last doctor's appointment was because she doesn't have the information or lab results.  I pointed out to Daughter that HO was at the appointment and that she took the paper work and lab results with her when we left.  I haven't heard what the outcome of that was.  It reinforces my impression that HO is overwhelmed with the details of managing three homes and the medical needs of multiple residents.  (There are 6 women just in Daughter's house.)

Now I need to do some cleaning.  I've been relaxing so far on my day off, but I guess it's time to be productive now....

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Choir was cancelled tonight because it's snowing again.  I took Daughter out to eat after her day of work in the church office, and as I headed towards her house to return her home, the roads were in pretty good shape.  By the time I dropped her off and headed home, the roads were snow covered and slippery.  I was frustrated when choir cancelled, now I'm grateful. 

Daughter was very helpful today.  She did the weekly filing and then started cutting out the boxtops for education that we had collected.  She worked for hours on that, and was surprised to discover her hand hurt when she stopped.  She didn't get them done, but she made good progress. 

The computer in the sanctuary is dying, if not dead.  I went in this afternoon to load my PowerPoint slides, and couldn't get it to start.  Administrative Assistant got it to start, but it froze on a black screen with a white cursor in the center.  It didn't respond to mouse, keyboard, or the power switch.  We've known it was beginning to have some problems, but hadn't figured out what to do about replacing it.  We'll use a laptop Sunday, and then figure out what to do from there. We've had several hits since fall-- we've had to replace a furnace and a water heater, and now it looks like we will be replacing a computer.  There are several computers at the church that need to be retired. 

They are predicting another 6+ inches of snow Saturday on top of the 2 inches we're getting now.  I am so tired of winter.  We were discussing colors for the newsletter cover today.  We finally chose gray.  It reflects the general mood after all this winter weather. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


The bitter cold continues, and Daughter's program was closed today, as were most of the schools in the area.  She called this morning, but I was at the dentist's office.  I had told her I had an appointment last night, but obviously she forgot.  I sent her a simple text:  "Dentist.  Love you."  I haven't heard from her since.  I take that as a very good sign. 

I got a nice email from Home Owner today.  Daughter had a dental appointment  yesterday, but part way there she decided it was too dangerous.  She took Daughter to the overgrown farm market to pick up some produce.  Daughter cooked for the house last night.  HO was praising Daughter.  I know Daughter was pleased with it when I talked to her yesterday evening.  It's nice to hear positive things from Daughter.

This week is a writing week for me in the office.  I finished writing newsletter articles and communion liturgy today.  Now I have to finish Sunday's sermon, and finish doing some fleshing out of upcoming worship themes. 

I did some grocery shopping on my way home this evening.  This is the second night in a row I haven't been at the church, which is kind of nice.  Of course, the next two nights I will be there, which meant I had to turn down the offer of an extra ticket to a basketball game at the university.  I really am understanding why so many of our members go south for the winter.  I'm ready for spring. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

You Never Know

Sometimes I'm surprised by what people take away from worship.  The weather has hit attendance hard this winter, and we didn't have any children in worship yesterday.  When the time came for the children's sermon, I told them I wanted to share with them something I'd been considering blogging about.  I talked about how hard the winter has been, and then reminded them we know spring will come.  There are no signs of it right now, but we know it will come.  I then draw some parallels to faith in God even in hard times, etc.  It was very short, and totally unplanned.

I had people mentioning it to me following worship.  Today there was a Facebook conversation about it.  It was a really good Sunday.  Really good.  I'm excited about the way God is moving at the church. 

I'm glad things are going well at the church, because it gives me something to focus on other than the ongoing frustrations with Daughter's house, and the pharmacy issues, and....

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Daughter called, furious with one of the staff members.  I asked her what had happened.  The staff member told her to put her boots away. 

"Then put them away."

"I already did!"

"Good.  Then there isn't any problem."

Daughter wants this staff member removed from the house.  I reminded her that she wasn't in charge of staff, and she needed to respect them.  She hung up on  me. 

I'm pondering if I need to address a diabetes issue with the house.  Daughter had a low blood sugar yesterday.  She felt it, and so she tested.  Her blood sugar was 60.  I gave her some orange juice.  She retested in a few minutes, and it was going up, so I gave her some cashews.  The house didn't give her enough strips to cover that low.  She had to use my meter today.  I have explained the importance of Daughter always having at least 2 more strips than she needs.  Home Owner ignores that and makes them carefully ration out the strips. 

I reminded Daughter that she has a voice and can speak for herself, and had her practice saying, "Just to let you know, I had a low blood sugar and I didn't have enough strips." 

I really thought it would get easier when Daughter moved out.  In some ways it has.  There are some things, though, that I find exceedingly frustrating.  Refusing to give her enough strips to cover lows is one of them. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Something New and Different

It's snowing.  Again.  Daughter suggested it might be easier to get her today than it will be tomorrow morning, so I did.  She helped me clear the driveway, and has done some housework.  I'm pondering the purchase of a small snow blower.  My poor left wrist does not like shoveling snow, especially since the piles are now so high on either side of the driveway.  We still have a lot of winter ahead of us. 

I think it's time to go light a fire in the fireplace.  It's the one positive thing about winter.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014


I'm at the church while Daughter is at choir practice.  People are dragging.  It is bitterly cold (again) and we are expecting more snow with white outs tomorrow.  I said I wanted to go hibernate.  Several people thought that was an excellent idea.  One man asked if I could do something about the weather, and said he was calling uncle-- he'd had enough. 

I keep reminding myself that spring will come.  Even now the days are getting  longer.  It was still light when we went out for supper at 5:00.  The other night I dreamed it was spring, and the trees actually had leaves.  Then I woke up and looked out the window.  I want to hibernate.  I'm tired of being cold.  I've been wearing long underwear and have turned up the heat.  I'm still cold. 

Spring will come.  Winter will be over.  Spring will come....

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I've been dealing with Daughter's ever growing pharmacy bill off and on since she moved out.  I'd call, they'd say, "Oh, there are mistakes.  I'll get them fixed and send you a new bill."  I'd ask for an itemized statement.  I'd never get the corrected bill or itemized statement.  This happened several times.  A year ago the agency got involved, and assured me they'd get it fixed.  After all, the pharmacy is located in their building and has a contract with them.  We're required to use it.  So they said we'll figure it out. Except they never did.

I finally held Daughter's spending money for 3 months and sent them that plus an insurance check.  I enclosed a letter outlining my frustration.  I also sent in the paperwork to the agency to determine Daughter's ability to pay.  This week I got responses.  The pharmacy returned my check as totally inadequate, and demanded I pay.  They sent me an itemized bill (through July) and highlighted corrections.  The agency decided to allow Daughter $20 a month for copays.  Her July copays were over $40.

The Home Owner called Daughter to talk to her about the food she took from the freezer.  I'm not sure what was said, but Daughter called me following the conversation, furious and yelling at me.  I told her when she was calmer and could show me proper respect, we'd talk, and hung up on her.  She claims HO told her she was never to bring up her past again. 

I asked if Home Owner could lock the freezer or put an alarm on the garage door.  She ignored my email, as she often seems to do. 

I began contemplating bringing Daughter home.  I sent Case Manager an email indicating I was pondering this.  Case Manager asked agency to deal with the pharmacy issues and consider increasing Daughter's allowance for copays.  She also said the only reason Daughter tells me she isn't safe is because she knows that hooks me, and any problems have been minor.

I responded that for others they would seem minor, but not for Daughter.  I told her Daughter and I haven't talked about her not being safe.  When Daughter tells me she doesn't feel safe, I inform her she is has a voice and I have confidence in her ability to keep herself safe.  I explained that I know Daughter doesn't feel safe for two reasons:  She is waking up at 3:00 in the morning and can't go back to sleep.  I've been problem solving with Daughter and am going to put her lullaby CD on her ipod and give her some new ear buds so she can listen to that when she wakes up.  I explained that the 3:00 wakings happen when her PTSD has been triggered.  I also pointed out that she was testing the house to see if they would keep her safe, including from herself.  I said if they didn't secure the food in the freezer, Lena would start eating the meat to prove she still had access. 

Case Manager emailed Home Owner to ask about the sleep issues and find out if she was going to lock the freezer.  Home Owner said Daughter has been waking up at 3 or 4 to go to the bathroom, but indicated she then goes back to bed.  Of course, that doesn't mean she's sleeping.  She also is going to begin locking the freezer and get the alarm on the garage door repaired. 

For right now, Daughter will stay there.  I don't see it as a long term solution.  At this point, my emails often go unanswered and any mention of problems result in angry accusations.  I don't see how this house can work long term.  I also am frustrated that they don't listen to me when I seek to explain Daughter.  They are triggering my PTSD.  I'm tired of being blamed for Daughter's issues.  I wasn't the one who molested her at 3:00 in the morning when she was 2 years old.  I'm tired. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014


I was really stressed about the big board retreat yesterday.  I was seeing some reactivity that I suspect was a result of all the change that has taken place in the congregation.  After freaking out a bit, I realized I needed to deal with it the way I always do, by being open and equipping the board.  We talked about the reactivity/stress and I showed a short video to help them understand and equip them to deal with it. 

When one individual displayed some of that reactivity later, they handled it beautifully.  I realized that a large part of the problem is that this man does not know/trust the rest of the leadership.  This evening I received an email.  One of the men (who has been very clear he doesn't like the reactive one) wants to talk to me tomorrow morning.  The reactive man has asked to join the property guys.  The man who emailed me (and leads the group) said he is not opposed.  I see this as very good news-- the reactive one wants to begin to build relationships.  He didn't withdraw when he didn't get what he wanted yesterday, he decided to reach out.  I think that is a wonderful blessing.

Daughter called a member and arranged to get to worship this morning, since I am home on a personal retreat day.  It's been a good day for me.  I've been able to relax and reflect.  I'm very optimistic about the coming year.  Exciting things are happening at the church. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Better Day

Today was our big board retreat.  I made some last minute adjustments to the agenda, and it went very well.  We have one individual who was challenging, but the board handled him very well.  We made plans for the year and I'm excited and energized (and a little tired-- it was a long day). 

Daughter has arranged for a ride to church tomorrow, since I'm not going.  I will be on a personal retreat.  Despite Home Owner's insistence that there was nothing in the freezer that could have raised Daughter's blood sugar, that was the source of the food.  She ate all the waffles and French Toast that were in the freezer.  I don't think that this house will work long term for Daughter.  I think the owner is overwhelmed with running three houses, is unwilling to delegate, and in the long run will find Daughter too challenging.  Case Manager ordered all food locked up, but it's becoming obvious that Home Owner cannot or will not do that. 

I was very angry with Daughter when I found out that after all the drama about getting into food on Thursday, she was back in the freezer Thursday evening.  I wish I knew how to teach her to stop sneaking food.  Maybe Home Owner can do it in her spare time. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

And the Frustration Continues

The first email I opened this morning was from the owner of Daughter's house, saying she didn't think Daughter was in the right house and Daughter needed to be taught to take responsibility for her actions instead of being given excuses.  It triggered my PTSD.

Daughter was in second grade.  She was hallucinating snakes in her classroom.  She was afraid to go into the bathroom.  The only way to get her to bathe was to shower with her and stand between her and the drain.  She believed her brothers were in the drain, and wanted to drag her down there.  The only way she could sleep was when she was literally on top of me.  That was when she began antipsychotics.  It also was clear that we had to get her out of the large class and into a smaller one.  The teacher insisted Daughter didn't have a problem, I did.

Daughter was cutting herself, and every day was a battle to get her to school.  She had watched the Power Rangers, and decided if she wore pink like Kimberly, she would be powerful and could keep herself safe.  I let her wear pink every day.  We finally went into the assessment meeting with her therapist, an independent psychological evaluation (and had the psychologist at the meeting), a letter from the psychiatrist, and my sister, who taught emotionally handicapped children in another state.  It was still over strong protests from the teacher that we got her into special ed. 

I finally responded to the email from the House Owner, and apologized for my inadequate parenting.  I quoted Daughter's apologies yesterday.  "I know you  are disappointed in me."   "I know I'm sorry is not an eraser."  "I know that I'm responsible for what I eat."  "I know I'm digging myself into a deep hole, and I don't know why."  "I knew I shouldn't eat that food, I don't know why I did."  I think she might have an idea or two about her responsibility. 

Case Manager has suggested we all cool off and revisit the issue on Tuesday, since the agency is closed for the holiday on Monday. 

In other news, I have developed some plans to deal with the issues at the church, and my co-leader for the retreat tomorrow agrees that they are good ones. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Frustrating Day

Daughter's blood sugar was sky high this morning.  After angry denials and a lie, she finally told me she was getting food out of the freezer at her house.  I'm frustrated with her, to say the least.  I also know, though, that on some level she is testing to see if staff will keep her safe.  They aren't doing very well on this test. 

I have a couple of members who are mad because they want to see me, not their care group leaders when they are sick.  I had a woman walk out of worship Sunday because she was upset over the lyrics of a hymn and all the men being installed to the ruling board.  She was right, the lyrics in the hymn were very sexist.  I selected the hymn from a hymnal that used very inclusive language.  I don't know where the woman who puts together the PowerPoint slides found the version she used.  One of the first things I had Administrative Assistant do when we got into the office this week was to send the correct lyrics to our PowerPoint volunteer, with the instructions to get rid of the others.  I happen to know that the nominating committee approached many women about serving on the board, but they all declined.  I have some ideas about how to improve the situation next year, but after I train the nominating committee, I leave. 

I have a man preparing to launch an attack on the board Saturday at his first meeting as a member.  He doesn't think we are doing enough for mission.  The overall budget went up 3.4% this year.  The mission budget, 6.25%, which was the biggest percentage increase in the budget.  We had some money left beyond what we need in reserves, so we are splitting it evenly between mission and capital improvements.  Over 15% of our budget goes to mission, and the extra money we are giving them increases their budget by 20%.  We have started two new mission projects at the church in the last two years.  We are involved with Habitat, mentoring local elementary students, and filling backpacks with food for them to take home for the weekend.  We provide food for a soup kitchen once a month.  We collect coats in the fall.  Our quilters give quilts to people struggling with illness.  We do a mission trip annually.  Could we do more?  Of course, but our mission is growing in exciting ways, and to come in and tell the people who have been making sure that our mission support is growing that they aren't doing enough isn't a very good idea.  I have a couple of other men who didn't want him on the board because of his obsession with mission.  They are already reacting to things he might or might not say.  The mission man has also asked us to print out all the board documents for him, he doesn't want to read them online like everyone else does.  The documents can combine for 15-30 pages a month.  I guess environmental stewardship is not a priority for him. 

Tomorrow is my day off, and I will be spending it in prayer as I prepare for the day long board meeting on Saturday.  I think I'm going to need it. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


After the last round of team emails in which it was suggested that Daughter's phone needs to be taken away and she needs to be told to stop having boyfriends and to quit saying she feels threatened by boyfriends, I sent out an email acknowledging that she was difficult and explaining the source of some of her issues.  She wants a normal life.  She sees a boyfriend as the road to marriage and normalcy.  She thinks she can handle it, and then her PTSD kicks in and she feels threatened, not because of what current boyfriend is doing but because she was forced to perform oral sex on family  members when she was 2 years old.  I acknowledged she is difficult.  I continue to tell her that she is capable of speaking for  herself and keeping herself safe, and she needs to continue to get that message.  I wish the team, though, would understand the long lasting impact of her early trauma.  I sent a link to an article about it.  All conversation (at least conversation in which I am included) has stopped.  Case Manager has told  me she sees Daughter as a spoiled brat.  I think they subscribe to the "love and stability cures everything" school of thought. 

I know that I have gone the extra mile seeking the resources Daughter needs, educating myself, and doing everything I can to hold her accountable and encourage her to become responsible and independent.  Maybe they think they could have done a better job.  Maybe they think they can now succeed in rewiring her brain by telling her she can't sing in the choir.  It's not going to work.  Of course, that's probably my fault, too, since I refused to take her out of choir at the church because she got into food at the house.  In no way is that a logical consequence, and it certainly will not help her learn cause and effect thinking. 

That's the end of today's rant. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Small Victory

Daughter was enrolled in a Medicaid program and assigned to the doctor.  They automatically assigned her since they wouldn't talk to me because of privacy issues.  They now have a copy of the guardianship papers, and will talk to me.  Anyway, her new card came, and she was assigned a new doctor.  I called today, and it only took about 20 minutes on hold to get to a real person.  She is now assigned to the proper doctor, and I am grateful.  Very grateful. 

Administrative Assistant came in today, and I think we have all the documents we need for the board retreat, which begins with a meeting this evening, and will conclude on Saturday.  January seems to be a time of planning-- we will be doing some planning this evening and Saturday, and yesterday I spent a good bit of the afternoon planning out themes for Lent this year.  I hope to get quite a bit of planning done the remainder of the week, since I won't be preaching Sunday.  It will be a day of quiet reflection on the Saturday meeting. 

Daughter was ready to go home yesterday, and says she had a good day today.  I'm hoping we are now through this round of boyfriend drama.  She so wants to be normal, and she sees a boyfriend and marriage as a path to normalcy. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014


This winter has been brutal, and is taking a toll on everyone.  Our property guys have been going above and beyond to keep the snow cleared from the walks around the church.  We hire the plowing done, but still have significant walks that need clearing.  We've also had two major leaks in the last three weeks.  A hot water tank in the ceiling of the janitor's closet right off the sanctuary began to leak.  We still don't have hot water, but new tanks have been ordered for both upstairs and downstairs, and they've done some plumbing work to prepare for the install.  Of course, in the course of their plumbing work a mistake resulted in more flooding. 

Yesterday ice dams on the roof resulted in a leak in a banner closet off the sanctuary.  Once again wet vacs were used on soaked carpeting and a fan was set up.  Yesterday we ordered a heavy duty floor drying fan for the church.  Hopefully we won't have to use it.  The weather has kept us out of the church several days, and the building issues have brought extra chaos to the church the days we have been able to be in.  In addition to the usual work involved with closing out one financial year and beginning another, we are also dealing with the preparation for the big board retreat, which is a week earlier than usual this year.  I ended up working on my day off yesterday, and Administrative Assistant will be working on her day off Monday. 

Daughter was extremely helpful on Thursday.  She did a ton of filing-- from items for member files to catalogues to putting the 2012 financial files into a box for storage to moving the 2013 financial files from the Administrative Assistant's file drawer to a filing cabinet across the office.  I picked her up again yesterday to help with our Friday evening children's program, and again she did well.  We could see the toll the winter has taken in the fact that we had 5 children who were registered but didn't make it-- 4 due to illness. 

People are tired and grumpy, and much of it is due to this weather.  Yesterday it began to rain, so now instead of ice and blizzard and wind chill warnings, we're living under fog and flood warnings.  Some schools missed all of last week due to bad roads.  Plowing has not been completed, and even roads that have been plowed are still treacherous.  There have been multiple accidents on area interstates due to black ice, resulting in closures and traffic messes.

Yet in the midst of all of this, we've had plenty of volunteers-- to deal with snow, leaks, finances, and our children's ministry. They have done hard work without complaining.  They have also given generously, with the result that while colleagues are struggling with deficits, we're dealing with surpluses.  We will able to be able to make gifts to several agencies that have had to go above and beyond to deal with needs created by the weather.

Daughter is busy cleaning the house.  She spent the night with me last night, and found the one pantry door that I managed not to get locked last night.  Two granola bars caused a very high blood sugar this morning.  I haven't decided what to do about that.  I'm letting her worry for right now.  It has prompted her to go above and beyond with the cleaning as she seeks to make amends.  She won't be with me at all next weekend because I will be busy with the board retreat.  Beyond that, we'll see.  It's helpful to have her come clean.  It gets her some spending money and saves me lots of time. 

I'm hoping that spring will be as early and definitive as winter was.  If not, I'm pondering a trip to Florida to visit all of our snowbirds.  I wonder if I could consider it a professional expense....

I'm hoping that spring will come

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Getting Out

The church parking lot has been cleared and they are beginning to clean side streets, so we were back working at the church today.  I was delighted when I pulled into the parking lot to discover not only what the parking lot plowed, but someone had gotten out the snow blower and cleared the walk. 

We had lots of people drop by, and they stayed.  I think everyone has been eager to get back out and have some human contact.  The property guys were in working on various projects, one of which had the water turned off to the entire building for hours.  We were a little frustrated, because they didn't warn us they were going to do it, they just came into the office and announced it was off. 

I will be picking Daughter up tomorrow, and she is delighted.  Everyone in her house is getting a little grouchy after several days of being together constantly.  I hope that her program will be open tomorrow, too.  Everyone is eager to get back into some kind of routine.  The days we have missed have put us behind in the office. 

The recent storms have also made us aware of the fact that we need to be better prepared for emergencies.  We have some work to do, and we will get it figured out.  First, though, we need to catch up. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


This morning I was going into the church.  Of course, first I had to clear my driveway.  I put on my long underwear, wool socks, lined hoodie, winter jacket, warmest hat (with a face mask), warmest gloves, boots, and headed out.  I quickly realized that I was not going to be able to get it over the piles, so I started pushing it to the edge of the driveway.  My driveway wide enough for two cars, so it's not a problem if I lose some of my driveway to snow.  I just have to keep it clear enough that I can manage to get up the slight hill when I come home. 

My driveway has 12 squares, and by the time I'd done 6, my fingers were so cold they were hurting.  I came in the house and warmed them up, then headed back up.  The bottom of the driveway was a challenge, as a plow had been through, but the majority of the snow was piled on the other side of the street.  I finally got it clear enough I thought I could get back in and headed out.  The car started with no problem, and I was on my way.  The roads are bad.  There is hard packed snow and ice on all the surfaces, and it's too cold for salt to work. 

I made it to the street the church is on without problem.  As I got closer, my heart sank.  Our snow removal company had not been there since early Sunday morning.  The plows had been out to clear the 5 lane road.  There was about 3 feet of snow blocking our driveways.  I turned the corner to head home when my cell phone rang.  Administrative Assistant had also turned around and gone home.  We were so close.  We worked from home today, emailing some documents back and forth.  Of course, we didn't have all the information we needed at home (like the phone number for the snow removal people).  AA called one of our property guys, and they located the number, and the lot will be cleared by tomorrow morning. 

Daughter found out this afternoon that her program is going to be closed again tomorrow.  She has handled it all remarkably well.  She keeps bugging me, wanting to know the plans for Thursday.  I've told her my plan is to pick her up to work at the office, but we'll have to wait and see if the weather is cooperating or not.

This has already been a long winter. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Snowed In

I think I got around 15 inches of snow with the first round.  The picnic table below had 19 inches on it, but there was a little bit of old snow on it.  We are now dealing with the polar blast.  Last I checked the wind chill was -30.  We are getting some more snow tonight-- but only a couple of inches.  A neighbor cleared my driveway with his snow blower, but I suspect it will be blown shut by tomorrow morning. 

A church member warned me that they had finally plowed the busy road the church is on, so it was now impossible to get into our parking lot.  Hopefully our snow removal contractor will be there to plow by tomorrow morning.  Of course, my street hasn't been touched yet, so I don't know if I could even get out to the main road 3 houses down.  They may not get to my street until tomorrow evening.  Of course, once they do, I'll have to clear the end of the driveway....

This winter is not off to a good start.  I've already shoveled more snow than I did the last two winters combined.  We're having to cancel events at the church, and attendance is down.  Daughter has a second snow day tomorrow-- they missed the last day before break due to bad weather, and I think tomorrow makes the 4th day they've missed since the break was supposed to end.  I don't think they missed any days last year.  Daughter is handling it fairly well, but she's bored.  I bought her house a wii for Christmas.  She hooked it up today and played it some.  None of the other women would play it with her.  She is by far the highest functioning. 

The good news is that the church had a good year financially, so we will have over $12,000 to split evenly between capital improvements and mission.  Some of the mission money will probably go to the local shelters, which are bursting at the seams as they seek to accommodate all the homeless during this cold snap.  I am delighted that we will be able to help them. 

I'm also pleased that I've been able to work at the desk in my guest room today.  I think, though, that I'm going to get a keyboard and mouse to use here at home.  I'll do that as soon as I'm no longer snowed in. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I Spoke Too Soon

After I bragged about Daughter's progress, she started calling me.  She doesn't do very well with changes in routine.  Yesterday she got her hair relaxed.  Apparently Home Owner took her to a beauty school to get it done, and it took longer than anticipated.  Lunch was late, and staff was unhappy because she wouldn't be able to eat supper with the rest of the women.  She called, quite upset.  I calmed her down and gave her suggestions as to how to talk to staff about it.  She did, and it worked.  The HO was upset because they hadn't given her product and instructions for maintaining her straight hair.  Daughter heard her say it was a crime, and Daughter called me, distraught.  She was afraid the woman who had done her hair was going to be arrested.  She was furious, explaining to me that the woman had never relaxed hair before and was just learning.  I again calmed her down, explaining that HO didn't mean it, it was just something people said when they were frustrated with something.

I had warned her that if the roads were bad I might not be able to pick her up this morning for worship.  I was up early and cleared about 5-6 inches off my driveway, again pondering the wisdom of buying a snow blower.  I've cleared enough snow that I'm having trouble throwing it over the piles.  My wrist is complaining.  I figure it's good exercise.  When I started out toward the church, I quickly discovered the roads were terrible.  Even the east-west route for the region was a mess.  I called Daughter and told her the roads were bad, and I wasn't going to get her.  She was upset, not wanting to miss worship (I love that).  I finally suggested she call a member who lived closer to her than I do and owns a 4 wheel drive truck.  I have a crossover that has front wheel drive.  It handles pretty well in the snow, but I still didn't think it was a good idea to head 5 miles in the wrong direction to pick her up. 

She called, and the members were willing to pick her up.  After worship and the fellowship meal, I said I'd take her home.  The members said they'd take her home-- the roads in her subdivision were really bad, and there was no point me attempting it.  Daughter began to cry.  She wanted me to take her home.  She's concerned that her program will be closed again tomorrow.  It's just been to much change and too little routine.  I gave her lots of hugs and sent her home.  I'm glad I didn't try to take her home.  The roads were even worst coming home. 

She called me a little while ago, and she was cheerful again.  She is still a little worried about tomorrow, but was coping with it. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I took Daughter back to her house Thursday after supper.  Her program was cancelled Friday.  I was anticipating a day of phone calls telling me how much she missed me, how bored she was, how much she wanted to come help me, and anything else she could think of that would convince me to come get her.  She called several times, but she was cheery with each call, and didn't ask me to come pick her up at all. 

I was in the office all day yesterday, finalizing sermon, bulletin, announcements, newsletter, and dealing with various other administrative details.  Treasurer and Administrative Assistant got the 2013 finances closed, and it was a very good year.  We will be giving some extra money to mission and putting some money aside for all the various repairs that are needed on an aging building. 

Administrative Assistant told me she could see growth in Daughter.  She is much more cooperative and less manipulative in the office.  She is still slow, but she works steadily to complete assigned tasks and does a good job without complaining.  When we don't have work for her, she quietly entertains herself.  I had purchased her a book of graphic floral designs to be colored, so she was doing a nice job with a very intricate one on Thursday. 

I told her I would pick her up Sunday morning for worship, and she hasn't questioned that or tried to convince me to pick her up earlier.  She was playing the piano at the church one day, and I observed that it sounds like she has been practicing.  She's actually using the keyboard I gave her well over a year ago.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Often she wants these expensive gadgets and quickly becomes bored with them. 

I am pleased to see her growing and maturing.  We are under a winter storm warning, with snow and dangerously low temperatures forecast.  I suspect it's going to end up interfering with some of the planned meetings and events at the church.  Last winter was unusually mild, and it spoiled us.  I'm becoming an expert at clearing my driveway.  It's not an area in which I sought expertise.  I'm just grateful that the sidewalks in my neighborhood are on the other side of the street....

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Back to Work

Today was our first day back in the office.  Administrative Assistant, Treasurer, and I had some catching up to do.  We enjoy one another's company.  It looks like we ended the year well financially, which puts us all in a good mood.  The weather, however, does not.  The last few years, it seems like they have always over-estimated the amount of snow we will receive.  This year, they've been underestimating it.  We had 10" during the first snow storm of the season, and yesterday we received another 6".  I am getting tired of shoveling snow, and I seem to be doing it quite a bit this year.  I'm short, and it's getting harder to throw the snow over the piles along the side of the driveway. 

Daughter was cooperative today.  She is dreading going back to her program.  BF called and left her 8 voice messages (most likely all were tagged as urgent) and sent her 2  text messages, including a picture of the engagement ring he bought her.  It seemed to strengthen her resolve to resist his efforts to convince her to give him another chance.  Unfortunately, her program is closed tomorrow due to weather, so she will now get to worry about it until Monday. 

I will probably be going in to the church tomorrow.  I am not ready for Sunday, and I need to be ready for Sunday.  It's good to be back planning for the future and leading God's people forward. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Gearing Up

Today is my last day of vacation.  I experimented with making corn tortillas this morning.  We'll try them this evening in enchiladas.  We watched the Rose Bowl this morning and will be watching some football today.  It's snowing and very cold.  I canceled on the first walk of the New Year, not wanting to do it when the temperature is in the single digits before considering wind chill. 

Yesterday morning Daughter informed me she wanted to get back with Boy Friend.  She is genuinely worried about facing him Friday.  Daughter worked with me to compose an email to team members.  It explained the situation and her fear, including her fear of giving in to pressure and saying yes to him.  It asked for their help and support in feeling safe. 

I'm beginning to think about my return to the office tomorrow.  I'll have 2 days to write a sermon, communion liturgy, and finalize the newsletter.  I'm beginning to think about what I'm going to need to get done.  It's been a good vacation, and I'm delighted with what I've gotten done around the house. I've also been able to get a handle on Daughter's insulin needs.  The last 2 mornings her blood sugar has been in the target range.  I'm pleased.