#WhatChaplainsDo – #CPE Unit 1 – #Verbatim 2

Emily Christensen – Verbatim #2

DEMOGRAPHICS:  Female, 36 years “domestic partner” with male (common-law married)

RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: Baptist

CLINICAL DIAGNOSIS: Cancer – currently hospitalized due to infection (I had to gown up with gown, mask, and gloves)

PRESENTING PROBLEM: I went to see this patient because I was on-call and she was on the palliative care list.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Chart – patient’s cancer has spread, could no longer move legs because on her spine

Staff – doctor told me she was just told today that she is dying, and maybe has about four
months to live, except that time could be cut even shorter due to the infection

Family – She and husband are common-law married, called each other “partner”, she was
active at church but he was not, daughter is a social worker in Kansas City and busy with foster kids so they don’t want to bother her, friends have come to visit but only were told bladder infection and don’t know she can’t move her leg, she hasn’t told her husband she is dying

1. PASTORAL PLANS: I only had information that she was dying, because she was on the palliative care list, but not how long she had or how she felt about it. I did not know what her religious affiliation was, or if she wanted chaplaincy as part of her team, or if she wanted prayer or anything like that.

2. SITUATION FIRST IMPRESSIONS: On my way, I was thinking about this dying patient and saying a prayer in my heart for help to discern how best I could help her. I got the impression to be cautious, but I wasn’t sure why. Before I could ponder the context further, I was actually paged to another patient who was actively dying. I was with that patient and the family while the patient died, up through making arrangements, before I was able to slip away and head back to the dying patient I had planned on visiting. This provided a more somber context for approaching the patient, and quietened me in a way I needed as I transitioned from work to visiting patients for rounds. When I got to the room, there was a cart outside the door. I checked the sign to see what I needed, and it said gown and gloves, so I suited up. I knocked on the door and peeked in, and the doctor was with the patient with a very serious face, and the patient was crying and a man standing away from her looking out the window. The doctor raised a finger to me and gently said she would just be a few minutes, so I backed out again and waited in the hall. When the doctor came out, she told me the family has lots of questions, and that she was glad I was here, but to be careful because the patient only found out today that she has dying and that she had not let anyone tell her husband yet and so he does not know. I thanked her, and entered the patient’s room. She was half-sitting in bed, with a chemo cap on her head, and huge brown circles all around her eyes and into her sunken cheeks. Right as I began to introduce myself, she threw up on her blanket. Her husband bounced over and pulled the blanket off, and I grabbed a new blanket from a stack by the sink. He and I helped cover her up, and the patient and her husband started making jokes about vomit. He was very gregarious, and she was humoring him, but there was a tangible tension in the air. I don’t think it was between them, so much as something they both were carrying.

3.  VERBATIM:

C = Chaplain, P = Patient, H = Husband

C1: Well, that was exciting! My name is Emily, and I am a chaplain. I came by to see if you needed anything this evening. How about some of these lovely blue sacks? (I handed her some blue sacks from by the sink in case she needed to be sick again.)
P1: Thank you so much, chaplain. I can’t hold anything down, not even Sprite.
C2: That’s rough.
P2: It is terrible, chaplain, for sure! I am so sick of being sick! This infection has got me stuck here, and I am pretty miserable.
H2: Nah, honey, you’re just pretty, with those big brown eyes!
P3: He’s not talking about the color of my eyes, chaplain. He’s making jokes about the circles under my eyes. I’m a mess.
H3: You’re not a mess. We just got you new blankets. You’re just fine.
P4: That’s right. I’m just fine, and don’t you forget it.
C4: Well, since you are just fine, I guess that means the staff here is taking care of you okay, and answering all your questions?
P5: Everybody except that short girl that was just in here, chaplain! She just sprayed me with some kind of body scent. It’s not like I am decaying in here! She keeps giving me sponge baths, and I keep telling her not to spray me, and then she sprays me with this stinky stuff that makes me throw up because I am so nauseous! It’s terrible, chaplain! I hate to be a tattle-tale, but someone has to tell her stop spraying me. If she is offended by my smell, then she can go work somewhere else.
H5: You don’t stink, I promise.
C5: I can’t smell you over here. (I took off my mask, since it was not required, and grinned at her. They both laughed.)
P6: Well, chaplain, I am glad to hear you say it, because this whole thing is just embarrassing. I would rather be home than be here. I was here a few months ago, when they found out I had just a touch of cancer. Last week I had to call 911 myself because my legs stopped working. I’m getting old, chaplain, but I am alive so I don’t mind being old.
H6: (At this, her husband quickly gathered up his things, making several lame jokes, and excusing himself because of the cold weather coming in and offering me his seat) Stay and visit with her, chaplain. She needs somebody she will talk to.
P7: (She and her husband told each other good night, and he slipped out and she started crying.) He doesn’t know, chaplain. I haven’t told him, so he doesn’t know.
C7: He doesn’t know? (I repeated what she had said to me, carefully and quietly, looking at her directly. She had dived into our connection, but I didn’t want to push yet, so I left it as an invitation to explore it further.)
P8: Well, he knows I am sick, chaplain. He knows I have cancer. He knows my legs aren’t working right, and that it’s probably because of the cancer. He doesn’t know the cancer has spread to my spine, or that this cupcake team gave me a deadline.
C8: The cupcake team?
P9: You know, chaplain, those people that came here to tell me I am going to die.
C9: The palliative care team?
P10: Yes! That’s them! Why the hell would they bring you a cupcake when they come to tell you that you are going to die?
C10: Because cupcakes are awesome.
P11: Cupcakes are way awesome.
C11: So what did the cupcake team say?
P12: Well, chaplain, hey said my cancer has spread everywhere, and that there are not a lot of choices left for me.
C12: Oh, we always have choices. It sounds like they are the ones without many choices.
P13: That’s it exactly. They don’t have any more options for how to treatment cancer, that’s what I mean. And choice are exactly what they gave me: either stay here and die, or go to some kind of nursing facility and die, or go home and die.
C13: What do you think about those choices? What do you feel?
P14: Chaplain, to confess and be honest, I chickened out. I told them it was overwhelming, and I couldn’t answer them today.
C14: Good for you!
P15: Yeah? Well, I also told on that nurse that tried to spray me with perfume. So I guess it turns out I really am a tattle tale after all.
C15: We like to call that self-advocacy.
P16: I love it. That’s what I want to be, is a self advocator, chaplain.
C16: Oh, but you can only be that if you make hard choices about what it means take good care of yourself.
P17: Yeah, I am going to have to figure this out, chaplain.
C17: Is there anyone who can help talk it out with you?
P18: My pastor knows everything about me, even how bad the cancer is, and I told him today that I am dying, and I think maybe he would be willing to help me.
C18: When can you talk with him about it?
P19: (I noticed patient was tearful, so I waited on her instead of clarifying or changing my question. She let just a few tears begin to fall, and I handed her a tissue.) I guess I need to, chaplain, but I guess maybe it’s hard because I just don’t want to say that I’m…. (patient started to say “dying”, but didn’t say the whole word) I guess it’s just that I will have to admit that I am this sick, and it just is, and there is not much I could do about it.
C19: Sometimes our choices are more about whether to go through an experience alone, or with someone who can hold our hand through it.
P20: You mean my husband? I know you’re right, chaplain, but it’s so hard, because (the patient stopped mid-sentence, and finally started crying real tears and letting them flow)… because he always said that he never wanted to lose me because if I wasn’t here (meaning alive), then he didn’t want to be alive, either. So I just worry about him. And even while I am still here, now I will just be sick and miserable the whole time, and that’s nothing to offer a good relationship.
C20: I saw a good relationship when he was feeding you banana bread and you snagged him a newspaper from the lady with the cart out there. That’s a lot of love.
P21: It is. We have a good marriage. (patient is silent for a while, and I wait. Patient then goes back to humor again as her coping skill). Well, chaplain, I guess it’s a good marriage for not being married! Ha! (she is quiet awhile then, looking out the window like she is a million miles away. I just wait.) But I am a mess, and there is nothing to offer a future when you are dying. I’m a mess, that’s what I am.
C21: Oh! I totally said that today, and you know what one of the other chaplains said to me?
P22: what?
C22: There’s always soap!
P23: (Patient started laughing, and laughed for a long time, then was quiet.) I guess that’s why I like church, because it’s my soap. Maybe that’s why I am sad for him, because I wish he would not swear so much or drink so much or maybe come to church sometimes.
C23: Maybe one of the things you can offer him is knowing that God has that kind of love for us, to accept us even when we are a mess.
P24: (Patient laughs and cries at the same time.) It reminds me of that song, the song we were going to sing in choir on Sunday before I got sick and missed it.
C24: What song?
P25: “Just As I Am.” It’s my favorite song.
C25: (My skin turns fire hot, while my insides turn freezing cold, and I know what’s coming. That mean old Jacob made me hum today, and now I am going to have to sing to a patient out loud to a patient who isn’t dead yet.) I know that one. It’s a classic.
P26: Will you sing it for me?
C26: I am scared to sing, and new at it. Can I sing it with you?
P27: I would love that. We will be our own choir!
C27: (Chaplain and Patient, singing):
Just as I am, without one plea,
But that thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidst me come to thee,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
P28: (crying) Thank you, chaplain. Thank you.
C28: May I say a prayer?
P29: (She nodded her consent, giving a little whisper of ) “Please”.
C29: (I said a prayer for her and her family, that they would have peace and comfort as they need it, and that they would feel the love patient has for them and that God has for them. I prayed for her to know when it was time to talk to her husband further about her illness, and for help finding words for what to say, and that he would find the help and support he needs to cope with the news. I prayed a lot of gratitude things, thinking of things from our conversation for which we could be grateful.)
P30: (still crying.) Thank you, chaplain.
C30: I sat with her for a moment, but it felt like good closure and I prepared to leave. She did ask for a Bible, and I had a New Testament with me to give her, and was sure to reassure her it was still in the package so she could know it wouldn’t make her sick. She made a joke about how much more sick could she get, and waved me goodbye. I remember to take off my gown and gloves inside the room as I stepped out.

4. THEOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS: Some explicit issues were that she had a strong faith, but her husband did not. Less explicit issues for the patient included her concerns of how to measure her worth before her husband and God, as well as concerns for whether or husband or her children would continue trying to attend church or not after she dies. As we talked, I thought of Psalm 32:7 for her, “Thou art my hiding place” because it seemed like she needed a safe place to rest before facing this next big piece that would be the end of things, and for me I thought about the following verse, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go” because she was very witty and lively and kept me on my toes for how to respond next, and with the end of it for both of us: “I will guide thee with mine eye” as we navigated our interaction but also the issues she was addressing. I relied on this guidance throughout, to know when to mirror her humor and when to lift her up a level through encouragement and sometimes even side-confrontation.

5. SOCIOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS: This crisis was deeply affecting her relationship with her husband, because she was secret-keeping in effort to protect him. This was backfiring, though, as I think he already understood (my interpretation of the way he left the room), and so they were isolated in shared knowledge instead of united by sharing an experience.

6. PSYCHOLOGICAL REFLECTIONS: I was scared to sing, and said so, but didn’t let it stop me from trying. It actually became a pivotal moment in our experience, as she faced her fears and I faced mine. It was very powerful, and a turning point for both of us, I think. Also, I think the patient was in some denial: I think even she knew her husband knew, but they were both pretending he didn’t, and her avoidance of talking about her own death is not going to stop it from happening.

7. INCLUSIVE REFLECTIONS: My counter-transference with this patient was definitely focused on her cancer. When I first saw her, I wondered if my eyes had ever been that dark, and I so wanted to free her from that hat which I knew was so hot and scratchy. I didn’t get stuck on these issues, but just a passing curiosity because my own illness is such a blur and I don’t know. At one point she lifted her hat to scratch her bald head, and I realized that even though I hate my shaggy hair right now and still do not feel my appearance is back to normal yet, my hair really has grown so much. I hadn’t realized that until I saw her without any. I was embarrassed that I was worried about something as superficial as hair. I also wondered after the visit, like my peers in CPE class had discussed, why some of us survive and some of us don’t, or like one asked, how do we know who has to die or not, or why some lives are cut short. Other than that, though, I did not notice any strong feelings or thoughts interfering with my interaction with the patient. I think the connection I felt with the patient impacted my visit by making it far more casual in tone than any of the other visits I have had thus far, except that it was also very fitting for her personality and the way she was interacting, as if all my other patient visits have been very slow waltzes, and then she popped in with West Coast Swing.

8. ANALYSIS OF PASTORAL CARE: This patient and her husband both really relied on humor as their coping skill and interactional style; it made for an interesting visit, but it was a lot of hard work to keep it on track. I think it went okay, but I was also very aware that it could quickly go badly if I wasn’t careful. I was concerned about that during my visit, but it ended up okay and exactly what she needed, I think. It was definitely an interesting experience following the death I had just attended, and perhaps the levity lightened both of us to face more dying. The death before this patient was the first experience I had of getting there before the death happened, sitting for some time with the patient, seeing the patient die, waiting on family, and consoling family, who then also even asked for help making funeral arrangements when the nurse started asking questions. It felt like a rite of passage somehow, in the same way my first night shift felt like one, which I found to be interesting to experience that and then walk in to this patient experience where she kept calling me “chaplain” every other sentence. It almost made me laugh sometimes, except that it was also maybe the first time I really felt like that, and could feel myself shift into my new chaplain identity and be mindful of it fitting me appropriately and well. That felt good, after being anxious and not knowing and wondering what that would be like or if I would ever get there. It was a solidifying experience for me, somehow, to hear them call me chaplain and for me to believe it.

9. PASTORAL OPPORTUNITY: The one thing I wish I could have done for this patient, and would have if it had not been so late at night, would be to contact the pastor that was visiting her frequently and tell him (with her permission) of her desire to sing with the choir once again. She was shaving so many visitors, that it would be easy, I think, to organize them to come together once to sing to her or with her.

10. SPECIFIC ASSISTANCE YOU NEED: I think I chose this experience because it really felt like I was being a chaplain: I had just dealt with one death, had to put on protective gear to visit this patient, I talked with the doctor before going in, I talked with the husband after going in, and I danced with the patient right into a small moment of worship, I think. It felt powerful, and an experience of all the different aspects of what we do. I still need guidance in forming my pastoral identity, but this was a taste of it, and I really loved it.

#WhatChaplainsDo – #CPE Unit 1 – #Reflection 2

Emily Christensen – Reflection #2

1. What has been my internal dialogue (with God, other…)?

The challenge for me on Wednesdays is the hours and hours of sound. I have never before worn my cochlear implant processors for twenty-four hours at a time, and the noise is very over-stimulating. I am having to learn how to create an internal space for dialogue with God while so much sound is pouring in, and the dialogue with myself has been one of trying to discern what are my actual limitations and what is just hard because it is new and unfamiliar.

My dialogue with my peers has been one of exploring what it is like to hear with cochlear implants, and I wanted to share these very short clips.

Sound Progression:  The following video demonstrates what it is like to learn to hear with cochlear implants, which will give you an idea of why it is such hard work and so many give up before being successful.

 

So hearing with cochlear implants is a challenge, though still a miracle. I have come a long way, though.

Here is the video of my first implant being activated five years ago:


I remember that day, the first day I heard my name.  I remember the first time I heard my mother’s voice digitally.  I remember time I heard a sound and knew it was a bird, the first time I heard a sound and knew it was rain, and the first time I said words and someone understood me.  I remember the hard sounds that used to make me throw up: the garage opening, the dishwasher running, and toilets flushing.  I remember the painful sounds that made me dizzy and faint: glasses clinking together, getting silverware out of the drawer, my puppy barking.  I remember the sound my brother made when our father died, the sound of kissing my mother goodbye, and the beeping hospital sounds when I lost our babies.  I remember the sounds that made both surgeries worth it: the sound of my children laughing in the back yard, the sound of my husband’s violin, and the soft sound of waves lapping against the boat in Galilee.  I remember the still small voice of God, and how prayers can still fly on my hands when I do not hear or speak.

Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for help.
~ Psalm 39:12

2. What experience/ministry events have created the most emotional response within me or have impacted me the most?

But this week I was challenged by Jacob (CPE supervisor) when he asked me to hum for class what I had hummed with my patient. I did not want to, and even said no because I had assumed his invitation was one I could actually decline. But I did do it, barely, but it was terrifying. Besides being terrifying, I think maybe there is a piece of truth in that I do not know that I am comfortable yet with the sound of me.

My internal dialogue then was only of panic, and yet as I reflect on that day – and having had to sing with a patient tonight – I do not want my dialogue to at all be one of contention. I am also aware that the only way I have made such progress is by working really, really hard. That means I must keep trying.

Here is a song from our church that I often sing to our children:

I am a child of God,
and He has sent me here,
has given me
an Earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
to live with Him someday.

3. What questions does this event raise for me about?

a. My ministry?

I am discovering that there will be times in my ministry when music or singing or humming in some way will be a small piece of the experience for me and the patient both. My next verbatim is on one of those experiences, and in that instance I was honest with the patient about it being a struggle for me – but only because the goal really was for her to sing, because it is what her heart needed to do. But her heart was not going to sing without some help, so we helped each other, I think. Usually, though, it would be me leading, so it would be good for me to become more comfortable with those opportunities.

b. My theology?

In our church, there is one person called to the stake (a geographical area like a diocese, the phrase comes from Isaiah 52, where he says “enlarge the stakes of my tent”), whose role is Patriarch to everyone in that stake. The “patriarch” is one, who like a father, gives one formal blessing to everyone individually in that stake. This patriarchal blessing is a one time experience, meant to be like a “road map” for your life, and is printed out and kept very sacred and shown to no one but your spouse. There are times when it is appropriate to share different pieces of the blessing, but never the whole thing in its entirety because it is considered a special revelation from God just for you personally. My patriarchal blessing includes a whole paragraph about being blessed with the gift of music. This has baffled me since getting the blessing following my conversion. The blessing was before I got cochlear implants or even knew that would happen, and it seemed impossible at the time. Now I am starting to see it show up in different ways, especially in chaplaincy, and so I wonder if this might relate also to my goal about identifying spiritual gifts as part of developing my pastoral identity. If so, then the challenge is to act in faith in developing this gift, rather than avoiding it because of fear or lack of confidence.

4. What new things have I become aware about myself lately?

I have learned that I am still obstinate and stubborn when I am afraid.

5. What goals have I thought about or worked on this week? What is my plan as I go into next week?

This whole week seemed to be about my ears.  My only page was from Ron (director of the program), who wanted to chat it up on the phone like it was no big deal.  Jacob made me hum.  The lady from my verbatim needed me to sing with her.  It was definitely a moment where Heavenly Father confirmed my learning goals, and then kicked me in the pants with it.  My plan for next week is to try to practice at becoming more comfortable in this area by being vulnerable and initiating the sharing of this experience, rather than being cornered by Jacob and participating reluctantly, which did not feel very fun at all.

6. In what ways do I experience my pastoral identity taking shape/broadened?

My pastoral identity is being shaped by how the Spirit leads me to minister to people, and that sometimes this comes in the form of what will help (like prayer or singing) as much as who to help.

7. In what ways are my faith/and or my theology being challenged and/or experienced as a resource?

My faith also challenged me to be more compliant with Jacob that what I thought I felt ready for, which made me feel like a petulant child instead of a willing student. I want to explore my patriarchal blessing and claim that gift of music by acting in faith as I follow spirit promptings or patient requests for song or humming in some way as appropriate.

8. What ways have I utilized my group/supervisor for my learning?

Paul’s song today moved me, as it was one my mother used to sing. This made a terrifying moment at least tender in some way, adding a layer of safety that I did not feel at first. I appreciated that my peers created such a safe place in which I could be that vulnerable or embarrassing or even naughty, giving me time and space to work through the challenge I had been given.

9. How are my relationships going with my peers and supervisor?

I learn from my peers and supervisor in every class, and have been challenged by their questions and insights. I really appreciate them so much.

10. What would I like to focus on in supervision today?

I just need to sing a stupid song and get it over with, except that it is not stupid, of course, but that is my internal dialogue: “let’s just get this over with already”, because it feels that scary to me, almost as scary as the dentist. For realz.

Public Announcement

Because we did not get to search any rooms today due to car drama, and because we do want to give the kids the benefit of the doubt and a chance for 13 to handle herself well, we made the following announcement at dinner:

We have a problem, and we want to solve it as a family.

There is money missing.  It was our tithing money, and so it is God’s money, and so we would really like it back.  It is important to try and find it if we can.

If you notice one of the babies with money, tell us, because maybe the babies think it is a toy or something to play with, but really it is actual money that we are looking for that is missing from our bags for church on Sunday.

If you took the money, because you thought it was play money or you wanted it for some reason, please leave it on the dining table tonight.  No questions will be asked, and no one will be in trouble.

If there is something you are worried about, or need money for, then please use words and tell us so we can help arrange that.  Everyone has allowance for their hard work on chores, and something really big is our job to help with anyway since we are the parents.  So please feel free to ask us for what you need.

Also, please make sure to check the bathtub for poop when you are finished with your shower.  Use toilet paper to pick it up, and the clorox wipe to clean the bathtub.  Gloves are preferred, and are located under the sink.

Thank you.

This is our life, you guys, our life with a minivan and a 13 year old in crisis.

 

And then we had hot chocolate.

You know, because normal.



Confirmation of Parenthood

There is only one thing that confirms true parenthood in America.

And that is a moment Nathan and I have dreaded and avoided for two years this far.

We have only been able to stall by illusion, having borrowed Nathan’s parents’ van anytime we had more than three foster kids, which has been most of the time.  My car was paid off, so we let them use that while we borrowed their van, and we have been very, very grateful for their help.

It has been a miracle to us, despite its worn out state and broken windshield.  We are thrifty people, and have used our savings for things like burying my parents or paying for Cancer.  A new car was not an option as long as it was not a necessity.

Until this morning.

This morning the van finally passed, after a slow and painful death. We shared vacation memories and reminisced about old arguments of children no longer here.  We sang a short hymn, and held a moment of silence.

Old faithful was gone.

There was nothing to do but throw baby car seats into the other car, and permit Six to ride in the front seat just to get her to school.

This, of course, cured her of her weekend blues faster than anything because she is now officially more special and cool than anyone else ever has been.

13 had already gone to school, and thank goodness the new baby isn’t here yet.  There were just enough seats for me to deliver everyone to school and get myself to work while Nathan stayed home to work. But we knew the time had come.

We have been researching and praying and thinking.

Nathan’s dad had a small credit at once place, but the 8 seaters at that place are more truck like and twice as expensive.

We went back, then, to where I have gotten other cars, even though not American but higher on safety and longevity and half the price.

Because safety and price matter most to me right now.

That is how we spent the end of our day shopping for a new friend to carry us through this journey of parenthood.

Because nothing says “we are adopting two or six kids this year” like finally succumbing to the thing we have dreaded most: a minivan.

The plan of happiness, right?

Ugh.

Gross.

Blargh.

Except yes.

So here we are, purchasing our first minivan. I found a last year one with not too many miles on it in excellent condition with a good warranty and half the price of what I could find locally. It was worth the drive, however painful, and we did a good job of not getting things added to it that we don’t really need (like not getting the backseat DVD player or entertainment center).  I am not thrilled for spending more money each month, but am grateful that once again we have sufficient for our needs.

And today we needed a new van.

It was weird because they remembered me from my last car I bought there, the one Nathan’s parents have now.  They even remembered I was getting that one so I could give my other car to my mom.  So they asked me, “did that car free up your mom like you thought it would?”

What do I say to that? 

Eternally.

Then when showing us the features, he went into a speal about how the engine will drop out if there is a front end collision, so that it won’t catch on fire.

Just stop.

Then, he says, there is roadside assistance, so if you are coming home from Joplin, and something happens…

Stop! Are you kidding me?

I didn’t cry for him, though.  

I did squeeze Nathan’s hand pretty tight.  

I took some deep breaths.  

And I was okay.

And I drove home a minivan, knowing it was more of a commitment to the local ER than it was to these children I would just walk all over town of that hadn’t already been done to them.

But it’s okay, because we are cool now, almost like real grownups.

Almost.

Happy birthday, mom.

Thanks for the new car.

Car Wash

I took 13 out, just her and me, as a special treat for such good days recently.  She has been helpful, and kind to the little ones, and had an excellent attitude.  I have been impressed. She still is not attaching so much, but we have had moments of affection and closeness, of hugs and hair braiding, of late night chats and cooking together. I though, maybe naively, that maybe she would come around over time.

Until tonight, when we found $300 missing.

It was our tithing money from last month.

It’s my fault for forgetting to turn it in.

We will see tomorrow, with a random pocket check before school and a room search after she is gone to school.

Sadness.

I see now, in a new way, how God must see me sometimes, when he is watching me mess up or throw away all He has prepared for me.

I’m just trying to help, He says.

That’s why I went to the car wash today, because I needed a good cleaning.

I’m just trying to help, I say.

That’s when she disappears into the shower for a good hour, just because there isn’t anywhere else to hide.

We’ll see what happens tomorrow.



Family Home Evening

It was 13’s turn to teach the lesson for Family Home Evening, and she picked service and talked about gratitude.  I was really impressed! Even if she doesn’t want to be here or adopted, she has been very pleasant in the past week and super grateful.  I am going to surprise her tonight with some one on one time with ice cream because she is doing so well.